The night when Kabul collapsed

August 18, 2021
The night when Kabul collapsed

Rami Al-Khalifa Al-Ali

While a flurry of videos was streaming out of the Afghan capital Kabul when the Taliban fighters were consolidating their control over the capital, one video caught my special attention.

The leaders of the Taliban movement and all other movements and organizations that claim that they belong to political Islam should contemplate on it well and see how the Afghan people thronged the tarmac of the Kabul International Airport, clinging to the tail of the US military aircraft in the literal sense of the word, unmindful of the fact that this could lead to them to falling to death from great heights.

The Afghan people decided to escape from political ideologies that have always imposed their model on the people, which distorted the true image of Islam and made alienate Muslims in front of others.

It goes without saying that the fall of Kabul reminded us and of the world about the moment of the fall of Vietnam’s Saigon in the mid-seventies of the last century when the American plane landed on the roof of the US embassy to rescue its diplomats.

That scene was repeated this time as well in all senses of the word so that Afghanistan represented a new defeat for the American army, and the Afghan war will remain as a scar lingering deep in the memory of Americans.

Thus, successive administrations failed to establish political stability in this troubled country, leaving the sacrifice of the lives of hundreds of Americans and tens of thousands of Afghans in vain, causing the two-decade-long operation to collapse like a house on sand.

The American failure turned the Afghan mountains into a quagmire for American policies and defeated the most powerful empire in history and made it an easy prey for a handful of people whose strength is not comparable with the strength of the invading army.

Away from Washington’s calculations and strategic balances, what happened in Afghanistan leaves us with two dilemmas that will haunt the Islamic world over the coming years, and we must anticipate them well.

Firstly, the model represented by the Taliban movement, which will appear as a representative of Islam, will further distort the image of the tolerant religion. The challenge is great for the Islamic countries, led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which represents Islamic moderation.

We are facing two images that have always struggled over the past decades, the extremist ideologies versus the tolerant moderate Islam, and the ideologies that use violence as the most important tool in political action in exchange for the religion of peace that follows the words of God Almighty: “If they (enemies) inclined towards peace, make peace with them...”

The ideologies that use religion as a means to achieve political goals and the society that serves and presents religion in a pure manner.

The success of resistance against these ideologies rely on serious work and concerted efforts from the part of not only states, but also that of preachers, sheikhs, clerics, and Islamic societies as a whole.

The most dangerous dilemma is the security dilemma. After the elimination of the physical presence of Daesh (so-called IS), besieging of Al-Qaeda and overthrowing of Muslim Brotherhood from more than one Muslim country, we fear that extremist groups will find a foothold in Afghanistan.

So Kabul will turn into a black hole that attracts all extremists and eventually will re-export them to the Islamic world as well as to the rest of the world. All together let’s start again a new round of the bloody struggle against terrorism, in which the victims are often Muslims.

On the night of the fall of Kabul, there were many concerns and anxious questions that make the dream of peace that the peoples of the region aspire to go farther away. No doubt, this is a defining moment that poses extreme challenges in front of the Islamic peoples before anything else.

August 18, 2021
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