The armies established on the fortunes of the United States collapsing as soon as God’s own country withdraws could be interpreted as the infallible power of America. In other words, some believe that myriad regimes, which have various institutions across the globe, owe their existence to the support of the U.S.
My colleague Abdullah Muradoğlu reiterated this in his column on Monday. It seems as though former U.S. President Donald Trump’s warning to the Saudi king, when he said in full arrogance, “King - we’re protecting you - you might not be there for two weeks without us - you have to pay for your military,” was not just an empty threat but actually confirmed in Afghanistan. Perhaps, based on this example, it could be ascertained that, despite everything, some Muslim regimes owe more than they would like to admit to the U.S.
There has been no official statement from neither the Muslim nor the Arab world that holds any weight concerning the events in Afghanistan. The “let us wait and see” attitude is prevailing.
Yet, with the exception of the Palestinian issue, very few matters affect, and have affected the Muslim world in every respect as much as the events in Afghanistan.
All the events that have unfolded in Afghanistan, in at least the last four decades, have directly or indirectly resonated in the Muslim world. Afghanistan was the entire Muslim world’s concern during the Soviet invasion. Almost the whole Islamic world participated in the war with their official political stance or the aid of non-governmental associations. It was as a result of this participation that the Muslim world en masse had a share (good or bad) in what happened in Afghanistan from then on. Everybody equally contributed to the warlord and tribal rivalries, as well as the political atmosphere post-invasion and pre-Taliban. What happened after has always concerned the Arab and Muslim world.
In other words, neither the Muslim nor the Arab world is far from Afghanistan. In fact, no part of it is removed from the Afghan influence. Those in Turkey today who consider the Afghanistan issue as a luxury for the country are, most likely, speaking out of ignorance. At the end of the day, questioning what Afghan refugees are doing in Turkey amounts to sheer carelessness that is sufficient to drive anyone with an ounce of intelligence completely bonkers. You may not want Afghan migrants or refugees in Turkey, but you have to pay great attention to the Afghanistan affair. You need to be involved in the most intense diplomatic or military operations there. Surely, Turkey’s Afghanistan concern is, beyond this, an inevitable result of the influence of its own presence.
The Afghanistan affair may be initiating a process that will build a new world. We must look beyond the “horrific” picture, beyond the image of the Taliban around the world, and perceive that this event does not consist of the Taliban’s capture of Kabul alone. In fact, it would be more accurate to interpret this as an incident that broke out as a result of the pressure for change which has been ongoing for at least 15 years.
After 15 years, the U.S. has now discerned that such social-political engineering operations are not sustainable in the Muslim world. All it needed to do was take a bold step for a new political style and return home. When this decision, which had been postponed for 15 years, reached the point of risking all costs and consequences, it paved the way for a new wave of change that would not be limited to Afghanistan but affects the whole world. Contrary to assumptions, the outcome of this wave is obscure, and will be determined entirely by the actions of political players.
Well, what approach is the Muslim and Arab world taking in general; how have they prepared for such a wave of change? Should the Muslim world not display greater awareness by developing a collective opinion in these sorts of events?
Unfortunately, no effort is being made, neither by the Arab nor the Muslim world. Yet such events may provide opportunities for Muslim and Arab countries to unite and develop common opinions or solutions. There is no doubt that Turkey, as well as Qatar, Pakistan, and Kuwait need to be excluded from this.
Qatar has proven its diplomatic efficacy, political depth, and vision with the office it opened to the Taliban at a much earlier stage, hosting it for almost a decade. Despite those who reduce Qatar’s role to protecting the Taliban based on the cliches, even the U.S., which has been seeking grounds for an agreement with the Taliban for the last 14 years, touts Qatar’s role in this sense. Meanwhile, it seems that the Taliban has developed, to a certain extent, its new policy with the political and intellectual vision it gained during its time in Qatar.
Though the Arab world is currently standing along the sidelines instead of taking an official position on the Taliban, its official or civilian media, much like Turkey’s, are doing nothing other than demonizing the Taliban through old images. All the Islamophobic paraphernalia utilized by the U.S. in the last 25 years to legitimize its presence in Afghanistan, as well as all its operations in the Muslim world, are circulating the Arab media more than in Turkish media.
It may be questioned why we associate Taliban-phobia with Islamophobia. We are not seeking to defend the Taliban, however, all the symbolism currently used to vilify the Taliban is discursively and inevitably strengthening Islamophobia. Nobody will even stop to think at this moment whether growing a beard or wearing the burqa is compulsory in Islam; and if they are, what the boundaries are. Even Western media is not concerned with this much.
While even German Chancellor Angela Merkel has high hopes that the Taliban may have changed, the Arab world continuing to add fuel to the fire of Islamophobia with these images of the Taliban seems to indicate one thing: The waves of change first strike those who insist on holding on tightly to their prejudices.