War, not even for the strong…!
War can be started, but it is not always easy to predict its end—when and how it will end. The warmongers had, therefore, better watch it.
The battle, as they say, is not always for the strong, nor is the race always for the swift. A time even comes when the strong get war fatigued. The war commanders are weary. The fighting spirit of troops wanes. Some of the fighting men get ill-disposed to continue seeing bodies every day of both the enemies and colleagues. Some members of the public find it nauseating talking about conquest or casualties.
A national leader with deep feelings gets tired of receiving dispatches from the war front whether the contents are positive or spirit sinking. President Joe Biden falls into this category. Biden is unable to bear the mind-blowing number of body bags of United States soldiers being shipped back home from Afghanistan.
The U.S. Defence Department says at the last count, 2,352 American soldiers died in the war, but the U.S. Special Inspector-General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, according to Washington Post online, put the fatalities a little higher— at 2, 443, and 20,666 wounded.
The United States was enmeshed in the Afghanistan military engagement for 20 years and this has cost her a humongous sum of $20 trillion apart from the fatalities. Mr. Biden in his address on the withdrawal of the American troops said: “After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces.”
President George W. Bush launched the hostilities in October 2001 as part of his sweeping wider war efforts to stamp out terrorism after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The unexpected simultaneous bombardments on two twin towers in New York, one in Washington, and a crash in Pennsylvania were traced to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist organization with Osama himself in the situation room directing the operation. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban had been linked by UN Security Council as terrorist organisations.
There was outrage in all the free and civilized war. The trigger for the American launch of the war, therefore, was a carry-over of the outrage and the refusal of the Taliban Government in Afghanistan to hand over Osama bin Laden and the 19 hijackers who had seized the planes that made them suicidal ramming into the Towers. The hijackers were trained in Afghanistan. The Taliban government upon being overthrown by the U.S. forces fled to the southern part of the country sharing boundary with Pakistan. However, they were not going to give up on returning to Kabul to overthrow the liberal administration the U.S. helped to put in place. This is not the whole story.
The story began with a re-enactment of a clash of freedom and unfreedom, a never-ending struggle between liberties and imposition. Free will is an inalienable property of the human spirit. It is in a perpetual quest to give expression to this inalienable right. But there are always forces close by determined to curb the freedom and dominance driven by all manner of reasons among them one ambition or the other but largely by severe limitation of knowledge of life and the higher correlations driving it.
The conflict in Afghanistan began as a contest of influence between the United States waving its flag of freedom and democratic order and the then Soviet Union brandishing communist credentials.
The U.S. temperament is assailed at the thought of the Soviets expanding its influence. America unable to bear the Soviet backing the Administration in Kabul clandestinely supported the jihadists in Afghanistan, the same jihadists it sought to tame since 2001. The U.S. support angered the Soviet Union which decided to invade Kabul and host its flag. When eventually the U.S. drove away from the Taliban government, it installed its own. The U.S. helped to fashion out a new constitution that was promulgated into the organic law of the land. With it, the Afghans were able to breathe in novel and fresh air of freedom. The U.S. made rapid moves to restore normalcy and guide the new administration in democratic practices and ethos. The new times witnessed educational, agricultural, and judicial reforms. Health and educational facilities were expanded. Infrastructural deficit the country had suffered from war ruins was restored to normal. Markets were built and so were roads to them. The hitherto draconian laws were liberalised. Courts were built and judges were appointed and trained. Although the new constitution made Afghanistan an Islamic State, it guaranteed civil liberties and even freedom of worship. A woman was made head of Human Rights Commission. Indeed 25 per cent of seats in Parliament were reserved for women. Report by White House at the time said the Ministry of Commerce was established to help women. Communication facilities grew by leaps. Networks, including radio stations, covered all 32 provinces. The normalcy created a window for 2.5 million refugees to return home.
In the old order under the Taliban government, the courts meted out severe punishment to men who did not keep long beards and bushy sideburns. They were not supposed to be shaved. Women were excluded from public life and denied the right to education. Before the emergence of the Taliban government, women had progressed remarkably. They were teachers, professionals, doctors and health technologists. All that stopped when the Taliban took over. Educational opportunities were prohibited. It was such that only three per cent of girls attended school. As is often the case in the prohibition of matters of this nature human nature would try to find a way around the law. Education for girls was driven underground in the rural areas. One woman who denounced the laws of the Taliban was reportedly hit with a rifle and was eventually shot in the head and stomach.
To demonstrate the gruesomeness of the killing, it was done in the presence of her students, husband, and daughter. Under the law, women could not move alone except they were chaperoned by even when they boarded taxis.
According to reports, a woman was beaten for buying and eating ice cream from a street vendor. The vendor was jailed for selling ice cream to a woman not accompanied by a male family member. Beating was the order of the day, generously applied for the slightest infraction of the laws by women. There were separate hospitals for men and women.
Under the new liberal dispensation after the Taliban government was overthrown, sweeping educational, reforms saw 170, 138 students enrolled, 58 per cent of them, girls. Teacher training institutes were built, distributed to all parts of Afghanistan. Mrs. Laura Bush said NATO countries collaborated with the U.S. sharing responsibilities in returning Afghanistan to normalcy and modern administration. NATO partner nations that participated in the war were 51. A total of $145 billion was spent on restructuring, including building Afghan Security Forces, promoting good governance, and countering narcotics. The number of Afghan military personnel trained in the U.S. was considerable. President Barack Obama said in 2014 that the war was ended. The U.S. and allies drew down their numerical strength considerably. And the tide turned!
The Taliban forces took advantage of this; they intensified their quest to retake Kabul. About 66,000 Afghan soldiers and 47, 245 civilians died; in the first half of this year alone 1, 659 were killed and 3, 524 were wounded. As the bid intensified people who had fled the country were 2,500,000 about the same size of refugees that returned home when in the last 20 years normalcy was restored. This year alone, the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) was 270,000, bringing their total size to a staggering 3.5 million. It is in this atmosphere that the U.S. troop pull-out took place at the end of August. Indeed, Amnesty International issued a statement lamenting the withdrawal. It said Afghan woman’s rights were on the verge of rollback as international forces withdrew and peace talks stalemated.
The world is divided over the pull-out of the U.S. troops and the closing down of her embassy in Kabul. This is being seen as abandonment and a negation of what necessitated the mission of the U.S. enunciated by Mr. Bush and what America stands for in the first place. Mr. Bush had said the intervention in Afghanistan was to support the war on terror and to keep with America’s tradition of assisting those in need. The U.S., he said was working to build a stable society in Afghanistan that meets the needs of its people and eliminates an environment that breeds terror.
Many a commentator is disappointed that hapless citizens of countries beleaguered by tyrannical backward-looking governments would now have no major power to turn to for rescue any longer, a power to stand up to evil. President Biden is unmoved. He counters the argument by saying that Afghan military should defend their people. After all, the U.S. has helped to train Afghan soldiers. In collaboration with allied countries, the U.S. trained Afghan police. The contribution of the US in this was the training of 20,000 policemen. Germany trained 5,000. Weighing more on Mr. Biden’s heart is whether he should continue to watch Americans die in foreign lands and body bags continue to mount and be brought back home; huge sums of money should continue to be expended on Kabul. The Republican Party big wigs disagree with Mr. Biden even though President Thump had given notice in February 2020 of his intention to pull out the U.S. troops. A school of thought believes that the opposition of military-industrial complex chiefs was predictable as withdrawal of U.S. troops would result in a sharp drop in sales of war weaponry.
Biden has my sympathies. But I also recognise the realities of the world in which we live. In the world of the unscrupulous, to whom and to where do the oppressed and the terrorised turn for help? The depraved in immaculate raiment using governmental powers can force war without qualms on the unprepared, the weak, or the beleaguered. And this would appear to be the crossroads with which the American Presidents, from Mr. Bush to Obama and Mr. Trump, had grappled. Mr. Biden elected to pull out nevertheless. The lesson from the fall of Kabul is that ultimately, every people must be strong and less dependent on others. One of the factors that brought about the fall is the failure of leadership both political and military where corruption was rife. President Ashraft Ghani fled at the signs of the approach of the Taliban offensive.
The return of the Taliban government in Afghanistan signifies the beginning of new times. Whether the country will witness descent to illiberalism and fundamentalism remains to be seen. The omens are not yet cheering. The silver lining, however, is being provided in the resistance by women. The freedom of the long years has triggered an irrepressible awakening in women. They have tasted freedom and they know its value. Mrs. Laura Bush said while reforms were being carried out: “Our dedication to respect and protect women’s rights in all countries must continue if we are to achieve a peaceful and prosperous word…Together, the United Nations and all our allies will prove that the forces of terror can’t stop the momentum of freedom.” Given women’s own inherent power deriving from the abundance of their unique spiritual endowment, if they are determined, they will link up with help from On High to which women striving to cultivate virtues are connected. The Rays of Light streaming down through them may yet bring about a new Afghanistan. The Rays will unhinge the hold of wrongdoing and evil in that country as it will do in several other countries of the world.
As Mr. Herbert Vollmann says in his priceless book, A Gate Opens: “All these problems and conflicting situations will cease to oppress and afflict men as soon as the woman turns once more to her true tasks, namely, with her finer intuitive ability, and solely through her quiet working, to mediate to mankind those luminous radiations of spiritual power that help to keep awake and ever more strongly set aglow the longing for Paradise.” In the struggle between Light and Darkness, the Light will undoubtedly triumph. As it is revealed in higher knowledge spreading on earth today, the challenges a country may be going through are products of its ethereal environment. At the moment, it is revealed, the ethereal environment is inconceivably dark from pollution which has arisen from the impure volition, thoughts and actions of us mankind.
Another factor that has brought about the all-pervading evil in the world, according to higher knowledge, is that more than 50 per cent of human beings do not belong to this earth. They are dark, depraved human souls who have been kept away in the dark region of the Beyond who live among their own kind inflicting on one another torments which are characteristic of their different planes of the region. The heavier the deeper the soul sinks in the region. But out of debased, sordid living, men on earth have opened the floodgates for their premature reincarnation on earth. They have not served out their terms of atonement before they helped to saunter onto the earthly plane. Doesn’t the cruelty and unfeeling exhibited by a great many astound us? Such people kill their fellow men with glee and triumphal beating of the chest. The time in which we are has its driving force in the pressure of the Light, the Holy Spirit, which no power can stem or contain. This pressure is animating all mankind and bring to awakening all that slumbers in us for judgment. This is scripturally rendered as all the dead will be awakened to face judgment. The correct rendition, however, is all that is dead will be awakened to face judgment—our weaknesses as well as our strengths defined by our accumulated goodness. We are in the prophesied End-Time, the Age of the Holy Spirit, the Judge of our universe, and the whole world. The awakening is here and so is judgment. Mankind is not noticing it because it has not reached a crescendo! But Nature Beings working with the mechanisms governing our world are infused with increased power from the Creator. The mechanisms are Creation Laws, the Creator’s Laws, and only knowledge of them can bring help to battered humanity in these perplexing times.