War on terror to be meaningless.

On Monday, May 4, 2005, the Kabulis watched in horror a TV interview with Mawlawi Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil, once the foreign minister of the Taliban during the Molla Omar and Osama Bin Laden rule. Without any doubt Tolo TV is supposed to be one of the best TV channel with the highest number of spectators. Tolo team seems to be very efficient and capable in exploring and covering a lot of interesting news and facts which are really worth watching. The interview with Mutawakil was one of the exclusive telecasts of Tolo. Interview was recorded in Kabul and seemed to be in one of luxurious houses (or may be in the guesthouse of a powerful man) of Kabul.

This interview was telecasted just a day after the release of 85 Taliban prisoners from various military jails in Afghanistan. Out of these 85 prisoners 70 were from American base in Bagram and the remaining 15 were freed from Kandahar, once the stronghold of the Taliban. Associated Press reported the news in detail along with a photo showing the released the Taliban soldiers enjoying the soft drinks and snacks. It is the largest group released till now.    

Some people say that the open interview and the release of the largest number of the Taliban detainees must have some links. A lot of people have already expressed their worries about the probable re-entry of the Taliban back into the political scene. Regarding the prisoner release, the US military spokeswomen Cindy Moore said it was the result of the regular review rather than any drive to reduce the number of people at the American bases in Cuba or across Afghanistan and none of them had spent time in Guantanamo Bay. A number of the people already reached their home earlier from Guantanamo Bay.

Better leave the probable causes of this gesture by the American Army to release such a large number of the Taliban prisoners. It will be discussed some other times. Here, we will analyze the social and political impacts of these kindnesses toward the Taliban.

Mawlawi Motawakil was one of the key and influential leaders of the Taliban who was involved in all the crucial decisions taken by the Taliban leadership council. Now if he says after the fall of the Taliban that he was not involved in the crimes committed by the extremist movement it seems nonsense. It was very strange that there was no sign of any remorse or regret on his face. Instead of condemning the Taliban and the atrocities committed by them, he simply said that “like any government, the Taliban were also comprised of good and bad people.” He tried to save his face indirectly by implying that he was among the good Taliban. On the same day, he had another interview with NNI where he expressed the same views. He also had another interview with a Pakistani private TV channel “Khyber” where again he said that the Taliban system had some flaws but as it had some good things as well.

Although President Karzai seemed to rely very much on him, but Mutawakil didn’t even confirm the legitimacy of this government. About the Karzai government, he said during his Tolo interview that like any system this government also has some good and bad features. One of the shortcomings of the Karzai government, which he highlighted, was absence of a seminary in the huge capital city.           

During his interview he told that Afghanistan is the home of all Afghans. It was really a big change because the way the Taliban defined Afghanistan is still fresh in the memories of millions of people. According to them Afghanistan belong to only a single ethnic group and all the other communities had the status of foreigners who came from outside. So they had a famous saying that the Tajiks should go to Tajikistan, Uzbeks to Uzbekistan and Hazaras to Qabristan (Graveyard). Without any doubt multiple massacres of Hazaras in various parts of Afghanistan confirms that the Taliban really wanted to send them to the graveyards.

Mawlawi Mutawakil can’t justify the systematic crimes committed deliberately by the Taliban. He was also part of all those crimes. He can’t be forgiven for all those systematic crimes against the innocent people of Afghanistan simply because he is the operational need of the President to strengthen his local base. When NNI asked him about the suicide attacks, instead of condemning these inhuman actions, he simply said that “only those can make observations about suicide attacks who are ‘Muftis’” and they are the only people who can issue decrees.” Bravo! Mr. Mutawakil.

Projection of these types of criminals is not only a disgrace and insult to the human rights organizations victims’ families and innocents Afghans who still shiver at the thought of the Taleban return but also put a huge question mark on the concept of the war against terror that is so loudly trumpeted across the globe. How his name is not enlisted among those real culprits in short list of criminal Taliban? It is highly recommended that the list of the criminal Taliban should be revealed as soon as possible, otherwise all the criminals soon will be seen in the luxurious guesthouses of Kabul giving interviews to TV and radio stations.

Mysterious silence by the international community in the same regards is again another side of the tragedy. Why have they become so indifferent toward this issue?  Would this silence not discredit the whole process of war on terror which would render their presence in Afghanistan meaningless?  


By Dr. Yasa

Editor in Chief Daily Outlook Afghanistan