Did everyone get it wrong on Taliban takeover?

picture courtesy: hindustantimes.com

By: Nalin Jayetileke

Questions have been raised as to how the Taliban was able to take control in such a speed when there were over 70,000 US and other troops in Afghanistan and what really went wrong , something even the Taliban may not be able to answer as at now. .

If you look at what happened in Sri Lanka with the last stages of the Elam war, it was evident that the Sri Lankan forces kind of overestimated the then LTTE due to what was not really known of the Rebel Army which was very fragile and at the later stages some of the so called strong holds of the rebels stared to fall into the Government Military hands in a flash, as resistance was not as expected and no match to the skill, tactics, Strategy and fire power the Sri Lankan Military had. In Afghanistan it was the other way around is my personnel view.

BBC has reported stating that Sir Nick Carter the chief of the Armed forces in the UIK has said “It was the pace of it that surprised us and I don’t think we realized quite what the Taliban were up to.” It’s kind of confirm the principle of war the Taliban focused on as it came as a ‘surprise’ to all and it appears that almost everyone got it wrong of how and what  speed that Taliban would be able to take over control of Afghanistan.

It is said that when Gen Sir Nick was asked by BBC on Sunday as to how the predictions had been wrong. Gen Sir Nick has said “I think everybody got it wrong is the straight answer,”. “Even the Taliban didn’t expect things to change as quickly as they did.” In the same lines I see this, but it was a surprise for the Taliban them self. Its not a matter of question if this Principle of War “Surprise” can be only one way? No, it can be both ways where one applying pressure to gaining surprise too, could be surprised with the outcome, which has just happened in Afghanistan.

It has also been reported by the BBC that when asked about the intelligence that it has been from various sources and that it’s not purely on military intelligence that one needs to look at, but much broader sense of intelligence that the then Afghan government needed to act upon, and the result being the last British and US troops leaving  Afghanistan a week ago.

The Taliban is expected to announce a new government in the coming days. How should the rest of the world deal with this will be something that is interesting to see. The international Community and foreign powers will have to adapt to the way the Taliban administration is. Having said that, Taliban too may adopt a different strategy than they have applied before and will have to be seen as an administration that is  capable of executing proper governance and thereby build confidence for the other countries to accept it as a state, to be within other states of good governance at least up to a certain extend. However, as most experts say it’s too early for anyone to predict or comment on how the Taliban would go about managing a country that had seen war for the past 20 plus years.

Where the international community is concern, its up to them to now encourage the Taliban to govern in a different way, and a way that is acceptable by the rest of the world which I guess they would, as now that they have got what they have wanted and might as well do as the majority accepts so that they could harness support and ensure what they have is secured and developed in a way it is expected to be done by the rest of the world. Anything different to that would see a kind of a failed state which the Taliban may not want their country to be referred to as. Of course, they are going to be need of help to run as a modern and a mindful administration, for which they may resort to some assistance from a aligned Country like Qatar.

Qatar has longstanding ties with the Taliban. While this approach is criticized by some, others benefit from the country’s contacts. Qatar’s main interest as highlighted by many experts in international relations is to cement its position as a regional mediator. It was just a few days ago that the US President is said to have expressed his gratitude for the generous support Qatar extended in the ongoing evacuation from Afghanistan.

As early as 2013, Qatar allowed the Taliban to open an office in Doha, with the support of the US administration under Barack Obama. However, the Flag of Taliban was not authorized to be hoisted. So this is an indication that the Western states, appreciates Qatar’s services and contacts with the Taliban, despite the criticism. As a result, harnessing support from Qatar may be the platform for Taliban to obtaining support from the international Community and the western states.

Situation  being so , to start with If Afghanistan is to move forward as an accepted identity it will first have to sort the ongoing fighting with a resistance group fighting in the mountains, the last remaining part of Afghanistan which the Taliban does not yet control. If this is not possible, it’s likely that a civil war scenario can take place which with the new state will have an issue to deal with right from the start.

BBC also reports that Gen Sir Nick told the BBC the risk of terrorism will depend on whether an effective government can be formed in Afghanistan.

Fingers crossed!

information courtesy: bbc.com/news