- Afghanistan, an unfettered enclave for jihadists.
- Nigeria, a formidable axis of evil for Islamic insurgency.
- Situation in Afghanistan not a blessing for the West and the whole world.
One world Islamic caliphate is close to realization. This idea has been the desire of radical Islamists, the world over.
The withdrawal of allied forces from Afghanistan last weekend has made the hitherto ridiculous notion of one world Islamic caliphate a plausible idea.
The allied forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as a consequence of the Al-Qaeda led Islamic terrorist attack on the United States of America. This attack on September 11, 2001, claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people and destroyed the tallest building in US, World Trade Center in New York City.
Before the attack, Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban. Taliban believes in strict observance of Islamic law, Sharia. This form of Islamic law prohibits human and women rights. Women should not get education. This was the case of Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan. Women should not work in the same office with men. Children should not play in the parks or open fields. Or their parents should be arrested and punished.
Afghanistan was treated like a pariah state by the whole world at the time except their sole recognition by President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. They shared the same ideology with Al-Qaeda and it made the latter to use the country as one of their major operational locations in the world.
President George W. Bush organized allied forces after the September 11 incident and attacked Afghanistan to flush out Al-Qaeda terrorist group and its ally, the Taliban. Because of the overwhelming strength of the allied forces, Al-Qaeda and Taliban were over powered and operationally defeated within a short time. Some of their leaders asked for amnesty from President Bush but were denied; while others scattered around the world – Middle East, North Africa, Western Europe, North America, Sahel region of Africa, and Nigeria.
The West thought that Taliban had been defeated and democracy established in Afghanistan. They tried to extend the hard-won Western democratic culture to Iraq. Extension of the war to Iraq was seen by the Arabs and Muslims around the world as an expansionist agenda by the West. Although some Iraqi Americans were among the strong advocates of the invasion, asking President Bush to remove Saddam Hussein because of his purported accumulation of weapons of mass destruction.
The invasion of Iraq coupled with Arab spring, undermined the gain made in Afghanistan and the country became a beautiful corridor for Islamic terrorists around the world. While the allied forces were trying to cope with the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS, was established. The coming of this jihadist group exacerbated the crisis situation in the region and beyond.
They were able to recruit their members from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the US. At this point, the world narrowly escaped another world war, especially, as the West exhibited uncoordinated and reckless approach in handling the Middle Eastern Islamic crisis between 2016 – 2020.
The explosion of Islamic insurgency in the Middle East was strengthened by the already volatile Islamic terrorism in the African Sahel region. In Nigeria, Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group that has been terrorizing the country since 2009. In 2015, a pro-jihadist government came to power in Nigeria and Boko Haram morphed from a local hide and seek group to a regional terror in West Africa.
Since Boko Haram was growing unabated, other terrorist groups, Fulani Herdsmen and Fulani Bandits, emerged in Nigeria. The newest groups became more audacious because of their link with the federal government of Nigeria. Nigerian government incentivized them with the sum of N100 billion for them to stop their terrorist activities. The money was collected and used to increase their arsenal. Thereafter, they became more fortified and increased their campaigns.
Boko Haram that was originally rejected by Al-Qaeda because of its ideology found a beautiful suitor in ISIS. Thereupon, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria created its West Africa Province because its alliance with Boko Haram and chose Nigeria as its headquarters. Recently, the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, was killed in a controversial circumstance, accusing him of being highhanded against his followers and abandoning the real job of jihadism. He was replaced with a new leader appointed by the leader of ISIS all the way in Syria.
The new leader of ISWAP quickly conducted governorship election in the Northeast of Nigeria. Now, ISWAP has a sitting-governor in Nigeria with full paraphernalia of government – commissioners, judges – including commissioner for taxation who go about with his staff collecting taxes from the indigenous people. And judges who register and celebrate marriages in different districts.
Having established strong presence in the Sahel region of West Africa, the Islamic insurgents extended their presence to Central Africa, Mozambique and Central African Republic. These two countries were already weakened by the jihadists. The insurgents created instability and violence in Central Africa with the support of their counterparts from the Middle East, Nigeria, Libya, and other parts of West Africa.
President Biden said recently that September 11 of this year, 2021, would mark the twenty years of the counter terrorism war in Afghanistan and withdrawal of American troops from the country. He set August 31, 2021, as the deadline. The withdrawal would be carried out in military fashion, one leg up and one leg down.
The multinational troop will be handing over to 300,000 Afghan government troops as against 50,000 of Taliban soldiers. Once the presidential announcement was made, Taliban went on offensive. They started from the flanks gaining ground without resistance from the government strong force.
International embassies in Afghanistan warned foreign nationals to leave the country, informing them that Taliban was about to overrun the country and take it over. Taliban soldiers continued their advance, capturing towns and cities with ease. The president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, promised the Taliban a tough battle ahead if they entered Kabul, the capital city. While the Taliban soldiers were still on the way, the president fled to the neighboring Uzbekistan and from there to United Arab Emirates.
Why Afghanistan Fall Like a Pack of Cards.
Taliban was designated as a terrorist group. Therefore, they have limited access to the world including acquisition of weapons for their military campaigns. It is a paradox of military experience that a group in this condition with ramshackle militia in sandals and slippers and headscarf will defeat 300,000 official government soldiers trained and equipped by the best military in the world.
Corruption and sabotage by the Afghan government officials and citizens played a big role in the fall of the country. If 20 years were inadequate to train 300,000 military to take over from the multinational forces, 50 years wouldn’t be enough either.
Now that Taliban has gotten official recognition, Afghanistan is going to be a safe haven for Islamic terrorists. Taliban will liaise with ISIS who was their weak enemies before, work in synergy to achieve their common goal. That goal is Islamization of the whole world.
Western political leaders are sometimes not proactive in their handling of international affairs. They need a different approach to handle this issue if they want to avoid regrettable outcome. The blame game going on in Washington of who did what and who did not do what, will not help matters. America and the whole West should come together and fight the emerging terrorism vigorously.
Some of the people jumping into military planes to escape Taliban rule in Afghanistan are not sincere. Some of them are sympathizers of Taliban political culture while others are goats in sheep wool ready to launch attack from their new abodes any time.
With the pro-jihadist government in Nigeria, many parts of Africa in their hands, it will be wrong for Western political leaders to turn blind eye on the evolving situation in Afghanistan thinking that it will not get to the West. Some of those pretending to be running away from the new Taliban government in Afghanistan will easily sneak into Nigeria to join their members there.
There is nothing like a changed Taliban. They are waiting for time to show their true color. Stopping the one world Islamic caliphate is an imperative option for human civilization.