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FOLLOWING the conquest of Khurasan (present-day Afghanistan) by Muslims in the year 624 AD, Caliphate Omar Ibn Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) had said, “I wish I had not sent an army to Khurasan. I wish that there was a sea of fire between us and that country”.
Muslims had a hard time in Khurasan. Despite the conversion of its people to Islam, the conditions of the country did not stabilize. As soon as a crisis ended, another one that is more complex would emerge.
Throughout history, this region, which some geographers refer as the “Asian Roundabout” due to the fact that it represents a strategic knot in the ancient Silk Road, has always ended in isolation. In many cases, its people are left to fight each other, while armies stand on the border watching the situation without interfering.
The scene currently appears similar to what Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab had said, as most of the neighboring countries, and even those far from it, are wishing for a sea of fire separating them from this country. Afghanistan has fallen again into the trap of tribal conflict, the sparks of which have begun to emanate from the ashes of the Pashtun-majority Taliban’s control of the country, while other minorities are preparing to resist.
Based on this fact, the world views with suspicion the assurances given by the leaders of this extremist movement regarding good neighborly relations and the protection of other minorities. The international community is worried about the return of Kabul as an incubator of terrorist movements, most of which have been neutralized, many of their leaders have been eliminated, and their sources of funding have dried up.
There is no doubt that any departure from the system, which was established after September 11, 2001 and lasted for 20 years, will be confronted with a much greater force than before. It will make Afghanistan a country that would be under political and economic quarantine, unable to harmonize between the daily requirements of its people and the sponsoring and supporting of terrorism.
Perhaps, Afghanistan is bound to return to the unknowns of history and the ideology of obscurantism that prevailed between 1996 and 2001, a behavior that Islam did not approve in wars and conquests, as it sought to establish moderation and advocacy for the common word.
It has become clear that the Taliban is currently facing several challenges, as it must first protect civilians, and not obstruct the evacuation of foreigners. Therefore, when it announced that it will close Kabul Airport by force in case of any delay in the withdrawal of foreign forces, there is no doubt that such an attitude is a subtle threat, and deemed as a declaration of war on the world at a time when voices have started rising both internally and externally in rejection of the oppressive and terrorist practices in some provinces.
The acting Afghan President Amrullah Salih said, “The members of the movement prevent the entry of food and fuel into Wadi Andarab. The humanitarian situation there is terrible, as the Taliban during the past two days kidnapped children and elderly people to use as human shields.”
These developments called for the issuance of sharp-toned warnings of what awaits the movement if it continues with this behavior. These calls came even from the countries that are considered friends of the Taliban such as China and Russia. Therefore, the Taliban should either change completely or the world will deal with it like Iran and North Korea, and there will be a sea of fire around.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times