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Afghanistan’s Apocalypse

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An armed Taliban fighter stands guard as Muslim devotees leave after Friday prayers at the Pul-e Khishti Mosque in Kabul on September 3, 2021. (Photo by HOSHANG HASHIMI / AFP)

Sir: As the Taliban has swept through Afghanistan slaughtering their way to the governance of the country, Afghans have been forced to painfully relive the suffocating years in the 90s when the group held power, imposing a strict version of Islamic law and closing off the civic space to long suffering Afghans. Families have been forced to leave everything behind, and scamper to safer places for the safety of their children, the world was forced to witness the limitless chaos that unchecked terror can engender.

Terrorist organizations must have followed the events in Afghanistan closely, reading in the Taliban script the fingerprints of success they must replicate to achieve their mission. In Nigeria, Boko Haram must still be relishing the success of an organization with similar interests which success came after decades of persistent warfare. The sect must be in awe of what the virtues of patience and perseverance can do for the vice of terrorism.

Perhaps, the most insidious thing about terror is that the success of terror anywhere emboldens terrorists everywhere. When one terror organization picks up some perverse victory on its trail of terror, terror groups elsewhere study the patterns to better strategize and achieve their goals that do no sane society any good.

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Terrorism is about the loss of freedoms. Terrorism is antithetical to the very ideals of democracy. Terrorism is about the displacement of people. It is about the slaughter of innocents. It is about the psychopathic interests of a selfish few. It is about the destruction of democratic institutions. Terrorism is about chaos.

Most times, these groups, which usually are at a loss about the solutions to the societal problems they exaggerate, want power and nothing more. To gain power at all cost, they redefine and refine what violence means.

To these callous criminals, women and girls mean nothing. They stop at nothing to ensure that women and girls are reduced to nothing.

They balk at the education of girls. They insist that women should only work at home in the provision of sexual services and care of children. They insist that women should always be shrouded in clothes which more than anything portray mental subjugation and servitude. They insist that women cannot move around without male escorts. In summary, they take male dominance to perversely unprecedented levels.

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Terrorism poses an especially vile threat to human capital development and the development of countries and their citizens. By seeking to import into societies beliefs and methods long discarded for outliving their usefulness, terrorism seeks to drag countries into darkness long escaped from.

Now that the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan, it will pretend to run a government that serves long suffering Afghans. It will pretend that it means well for the country and its people. Its public diplomacy will at some point involve trying to woo the largest country in Africa. When it does, Nigeria must not mince words in demanding that the rights and dignity of every man, woman and child in Afghanistan be respected without fail.

Terrorists and their mindless violence have nothing to offer countries that seek to transition into virile and viable democracies.

• Kene Obiezu wrote from Abuja.

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