As the images started emerging from Afghanistan of disheveled Taliban members convening in the Presidential palace in Kabul, reactions varied. Some expressed their concern about the inevitable deterioration of human rights in Afghanistan, particularly to women.
Some expressed anger towards the US betrayal of the Afghans, most notably Tony Blair who penned an essay calling the impetus behind the withdrawal “imbecilic.” And, there are those who shared their jubilation of the resurrection of the insurgents who were able to humiliate the West and their cronies, recapture the country’s rugged terrain and exude awe and fear in the hearts of the feeble who desperately fled for their lives.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said the Taliban had broken “the shackles of slavery.” Imran’s sentiments were echoed across the world in sometimes muted and sometimes pronounced voices, even here in Egypt.
There has been lots of speculation surrounding the reasons behind the celebrations of the Taliban’s rise to power. When any rational person can clearly see that it is a calamity of huge proportion, and one that will not remain contained within
Afghanistan itself, the reasoning that the Taliban’s “victory” is a victory for Islam is futile.
That Islam and Muslims have been humiliated for such a long time that this act is a vindication and restoration of Muslim pride across the world is preposterous, and I refuse to entertain it. The resurrection of the Taliban is effectively a resurrection of the Islamic caliphate that dwindled with ISIS.
For some, this is the beginning of a united flag that will ripple across the Muslim world. It is no accident that the Taliban are raising their own flag across their country. They didn’t come to rule Afghanistan, they conquered it.
Another reason for the glee was that by vanquishing the Americans it symbolized the end of imperial rule.
As Khan described it along with other leftist intellectuals, it was a symbol synonymous with freedom.
Yet, I fail to comprehend how this so-called freedom from the western oppressors can drive the oppressed citizens to tie themselves to moving planes so that they can at least die trying to escape the reign of their freedom fighters.
Or, how can this freedom allow a mother to juggle her baby through the suffocating crowds to be picked up by a soldier over a barbed wire fence, and not knowing if she will ever see her child again.
The Quran describes the agony of Moses’s mother when she had to drop him in the casket and throw him in the water as her heart was vacant. A mother can never let go of her baby, unless it is to save the child from inevitable doom.
Shouldn’t those people be the first to welcome the Taliban with open arms? After all, this is the group that broke the shackles of slavery.
The celebratory discourse surrounding the tragic events in Afghanistan is delusional, misguided and incredibly insulting to the Afghans who fear, not only their freedom, but for their very lives. Yet, a cacophony of voices cheer on as symbols of civility are trampled upon in the name of Islam.
These voices started emerging in Egypt with calls to embrace the Taliban’s success and to support the Muslim cause. These voices are insidious and dangerous. The Ministry of al-Awqaf, the responsible authority for supervising mosques and Imams, issued a decree to prevent any Imam from preaching in mosques if suspected of harboring extreme views about Islam.
It understands that Islam needs to be detached from terrorism. That if a young and uneducated man or woman listens to a preacher who speaks of the pride that the Taliban has brought to Muslims, they could be inclined to follow the same path. It understands that the Taliban have amassed their authority, not through the guns they stole from the Americans, but by presenting themselves as the agents of God on earth.
They are Islam. They are the representatives of God. Going against the Taliban is going against God.
This is the narrative being spun like a spider’s web, and if we don’t tackle it now we will become entangled. We must renounce the Taliban. We must renounce terrorism. The Taliban does not represent Islam.