Combating Extremism and Terrorism, the Two Cancers

Ahmad Massoud

Guest post by Ahmad Massoud

The Taliban seized power in Kabul almost three years ago, and the disasters are already considerable. The population is malnourished and even starving. The country has no government and is in a state of total anarchy.

Afghanistan has become a pariah state and a sanctuary for regional and international terrorism. The economy is in a catastrophic state, the healthcare system is deplorable, women are erased from public life, the education system is devalued, and girls’ education is reduced to nothing. Basically, gender and ethnic apartheid reign the country today.

Terrorists continue to commit crimes, murder, and stalk citizens in their homes. They even organized several attacks against me, all of which were fortunately thwarted thanks to our networks and trusted men.

These obscurantists from another era also plunder the properties of the people of Afghanistan, occupy houses, loot businesses in contempt of all local customs and principles, not to mention international law.

Ethnic cleansing operations have clearly taken place in Kabul, Daykundi, Takhar, Faryab, the Kandahar region, and the Andarab district. How many war crimes will have to be counted before the international community finally agrees to react?

The evidence is there, irrefutable, patiently collected and painstakingly verified. The risk that terrorism supported by the Taliban will spill over their borders and inspire other regional and international extremist groups has already started. History is full of lessons in this regard, which show that when a geographical base is established, when a movement obtains a vast territorial base, it creates emulators.

When Daesh seized Raqqa in Syria and then Mosul in Iraq in 2014, the terrorist organization attracted thousands of extremists from all over the world, including Western countries.

But hope remains. Hope for a better world, hope for a Muslim world free of the imposters who impose extremism and distort the true convictions and values of Islam. I am convinced that the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan for freedom, peace, and democracy will one day be realized. It is impossible for the yoke of terror and totalitarianism to prevail in the long term. History has demonstrated this on many occasions.

There is always a turning point in history when a dictatorship collapses, and this will soon be the case in Afghanistan. Our future can only be freedom in democracy and pluralism.

The people of Afghanistan and the international community now know that the Taliban’s exercise of power and their radical Islamism are in total contradiction with the teachings of Islam, and that they have distorted its holy precepts to nurture extremism.

Although over the last twenty years, the people of Afghanistan have undergone notable changes, particularly in education, the brutal policies applied by the Taliban terrorist group prove that they have changed neither their dogmas nor their objectives.

The Taliban’s determination to establish a regime based on an erroneous and abusive interpretation of Islam makes it impossible to establish an inclusive and democratic political system in Afghanistan’s diverse society. It is, in fact, a criminal syndicate, as I argued in my bachelor’s thesis, that hides its face behind a hypothetical intention to return to religion, while its aim is to confiscate power for its own benefit and secure its gains and privileges, including royalties from drug trafficking.

Opponents of their politico-religious line are massacred or at best thrown into prison, and ethnic, sectarian, and religious groups such as the Hazaras, Twelver and Ismaili Shias, Sikhs, and Hindus are in no way protected from attacks and bombings by the Taliban or their henchmen and extremist merchants. In fact, it is quite the contrary.

The attack on worshippers at the Sayed Abad mosque in Kunduz, at mosques in Kabul, Kandahar, and Balkh, and the massacre of Hazara children at the Kaaj school are all crimes committed by the Taliban against humanity.

Subjugation and the prohibition of rationality and critical thought are intrinsic to the Taliban ideological system. In this dark nebula, all Muslims are obliged to consider the hypothetical and self-proclaimed commander of the believers, the so-called supreme leader of the Taliban, as the shadow of God on Earth.

Whereas, as we have seen, the essential question is whether this terrorist group’s actions of imposing their demands on the citizens of Afghanistan are in line with the very essence of Muslim doctrine. Coercion is intended to conceal this gross deception.

Clearly, the exercise of domination and the sanctification of violence to ensure an oppressive order can only lead to tyranny, unlike a system based on the will of the people. And tyranny only serves to engender all manner of corruption and destruction within society.

Among the many benevolent theories and ideas that have been propounded to curb despotism throughout history, democracy is the only way to guarantee the legitimacy of a government by ensuring democratic rights, justice, and values. The Taliban condemn the democratic system all the more because they fear the electoral process and the verdict of the ballot box.

Hope is also the clandestine action of women, mothers, teachers. Braving many dangers, they meet, occasionally protest, defy the regime, organize secret meetings, and set up parallel education to provide a proper education for girls.

Despite the near certainty that the Ministry of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice will intervene to disperse any gathering, Afghanistan’s women regularly take to the streets to protest against the restrictions imposed on freedoms. I admire their action all the more as most of these women have very little means and are often deprived of a job because of the prohibitions put in place by the Taliban’s iniquitous power.

The actions of our resistance forces and the civil society are converging. As every day passes our operations are increasing in precision and intensity. Many local Taliban commanders and repentant Taliban have joined the National Resistance Front.

Every link of the population is important, in urban as well as rural areas, and creates connections between the military and the civilian. Little by little, we forged relationships, even underground, with personalities from different ethnic and religious groups, women’s rights activists, civil society groups, human rights defenders, intellectuals, political figures, party leaders, and former parliamentarians.

The physiognomy of the resistance has thus completely changed in the space of a few months, with ramifications on the international scene.

Ahmad Massoud, an ethnic Tajik from Northern Afghanistan, is the leader of the National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan. Mr. Massoud is the son of the late anti-soviet and revolutionary commander, Ahmad Shah Massoud. Following the Taliban’s takeover on August 15, 2021, Ahmad created the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan to struggle for justice and freedom. According to NRF’s strategy, they are struggling for a democratic, decentralized and pluralistic Afghanistan where all citizens enjoy equal rights regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, and gender.

His new book, The Name of My Father: Struggling for Freedom in Afghanistan, details his part in the resistance against the Taliban, his father’s assassination, Joe Biden’s foreign policy mistakes in Afghanistan, and what the future looks like for the country.