“Indian media goes berserk while reporting on Panjshir” Saman Siddiqui
The media has been busy with reports from Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan. Panjshir Valley meaning‘valley of five lions’, situated in north-central of Afghanistan has the largest concentration of ethnic Tajiks. A Persian speaking ethnic group, Tajiks make up to 25% of Afghan population, are the second largest community in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan andconstitute most of the population in Afghanistan’s bordering Tajikistan.
Panjshir is also known for its iconic legend Ahmad Shah Masood (1953 – 2001). He had been a towering figure of anti-communist movement ‘Mujahideen’ against the Russian invasion in the 1980s and became the leader of Northern Alliance. He held the position of the defense minister under Burhanuddin Rabbani government, and later was killed two days before September 11, 2001, by Al-Qaeda.
Taliban’s decisive victory over US, NATO and Afghan forces made the world tremble at the thought of them coming into power again but it has also given hope tosome Afghans. Taliban 2.0 with a new image, declaredamnesty, promised an inclusive government, andinvited all ethnic groups to join for a way forward to create a cohesive society. At the same time Taliban extended the diplomatic hand to Iran, Pakistan and China which is likely to bring peace in the region.
With U.S withdrawal, ISIS-K surfaced and attacked US soldiers and Afghanis reminding of a replica of what happened in Syria 2019, an ISIS attack on US troops. Of the Kabul terror attack, both British and French intelligence had prior knowledge, but the US did notdisclose details to the Afghan army. Many questions thus left unanswered.
Long before Taliban took over Kabul without facing resistance, Ahmad Masood Jr, warned of a possible ‘civil war’. We note that America itself made the peace agreement with Taliban thus recognizing Taliban as a political reality before withdrawing after 20 years of occupation. Masood Jr’s twitter threads and readinessto fight Taliban brings about confusion among people. He has already begged France for military support. Dowe smell civil war in the air? Iran, Pakistan, and China have been explicitly keen for Afghanistan to avoid civil war. Now which particular foreign government would be interested in having chaos and destruction inAfghanistan that would serve to jeopardize the China-Pakistan CPEC and Iran-China strategic agreement?
India’s support for Masood only highlights doubt about Panjshir resistance and Indian media’s eager reporting on recent developments in Panjshir raises many questions. Instead of begging for support from France and other foreign nations, Masood Jr should pragmatically build a working relationship with Taliban.
India’s anti-Pakistan propaganda not only maligned but also increased. One criticism against Pakistan, is why did Pakistan’s ISI chief meet Taliban in Kabul and not the Afghan government. Is any Afghan government ruling out there? China, Russia, and Iran have alreadyrecognized Taliban as the ruling government, and so has Pakistan.
Is Masood Jr amassing forces in Panjshir? Why is India betting on ethnic Tajiks while having a secretmilitary base in Tajikistan? Social-media is flooded with civil war propaganda and ethnic Tajiks have fallen for it.
America’s sudden disappearance from Afghanistan is viewed as part of a new political script of making a permanent client state inside Afghanistan, against the Chinese global superiority. Is Panjshir valley set to become the ‘Kurdistan’ in the region? Using ISIS, America and NATO tried to create an independent client-state in Kurdistan region of Iraq and Syria. After failure in Syria, ISIS-K was introduced into Afghanistan against Iran, China, and Pakistan with support of America’s regional allies.