This article reviews the current situation of Pashtuns of both countries Pakistan and Afghanistan and the nature and structures of Pashtun society and factors responsible for failure towards peace and progress.
First, it should be realized that the war on terror has been fought mainly in Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and this reality constrains the political status of Pashtun in both countries. For this, everyone blames the three decades brutal warfare, the effect of Afghan Jihad, and the invasion of American’s after 9/11 for the backwardness and destruction of Pashtun society, but no one does some soul-searching that how much Pashtuns are responsible for this mess.
After 9/11 incident, America invaded Afghanistan to eliminate the culprit of the incident and could not gain control even 50% of the country area, and Afghan people also could not get rid of Taliban militants. US policymakers are of the view that more money and more soldiers throw at the problem it would eventually come to an end, but it is not like that, it will become more difficult to extract themselves from Afghan quagmire. There are numerous reasons for USA failure in Afghanistan, among those, Pashtuns people of both countries are also responsible: they are sheltering and giving logistic help to Taliban for fighting a war against the USA.
1978 Saur Revolution swept across the country in Afghanistan, and millions of Afghani people took part in the revolution for uprooting social backwardness and property relation and liberating slavery, abuse, and extreme oppression. It is believed that if Saur Revolution was succeeded, Afghanistan would have one of the modern and prosperous countries on the World map. Unfortunately, the Revolution could not succeed because of some Pashtun religious militants group stood in the path of the great Saur Revolution, and to topple this Revolution, Countries like USA and Pakistan used those militants groups, in fact the USA wanted to stop communism from further spreading.
Late Dr. Muhammad Najeed Ullah, a highly intellectual man, he was known to understand his countrymen better than almost any other Afghan leader before or since. Many governments eventually came to feel that President Najeeb Ullah had a firm pair of hands that might well have held Afghanistan together. But unfortunately, the government of such men of vision was thrown by Taliban guerrilla fighter in 1992 and after four years Najeeb ullah was assassinated by his own Pashtun tribe Taliban on 27 September 1996.
The dilemma of Jihad is the biggest irony for Pashtun society, which still exists, and countries for their own self-interest using Pashtun against Pashtun. As it is not hidden that country like Pakistan has been recruiting and giving them all kinds of support and training to fight so-called Jihad in Afghanistan. Majority of Afghani people like neither USA nor Taliban presence in their country, all they want is peace and prosperity, as we remember that when Taliban government was toppled after 9/11, people in Kabul were dancing and celebrating and were bowing to Allah for such a relief. But the irony is that there are some group who are pro-Taliban and according to the Afghan man, they (Taliban) collect 10% tax on all income, even from the government fields.
No doubt America and Pakistan are responsible for such a mess but not completely, Pashtuns have also contributed to their own backwardness and disarray, why Pashtuns are that much innocent that who is kind to them, uses them for their benefits. Now it is also not like that they can’t differentiate between what is good and bad.
The Taliban that is behind the bulk of the brutal militancy both in Afghanistan and Pakistan are mainly Pashtuns and derive their support from strongholds in tribal areas across Afghanistan and Pakistan’s borders, as late Pashtu poet and philosopher said,
و میگی تہ خدائ پہ کا ر شہ دوہ وزر ورلہ تیار کہ۔
(When God becomes furious towards ants, he gives them wings
و پشتون تہ خدائ پہ کار سہ لویہ ملک یہ دسرکار سہ
(When God become furious towards Pashtun’s, Malak become an important man in government)
The same tribal Taliban shoot at Malala Yousafzai a young Nobel Laureate in the head in Swat because of speaking for girls’ education, even the irony is that a 23-year-old student of Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, Mashal Khan was killed by a vigilante mob for allegedly publishing blasphemous content online as everyone knows the truth behind this incident. After nearly four decades of war, the Pashtun people in both Afghanistan and Pakistan have developed a reputation for violence. It’s an image—partly based on fact, but mostly fictions.
It is the time that Pashtuns should learn from the past as Christian’s did in England, now the UK is one of the most progressing countries in the world.
Secondly, Education is the key to combating fundamentalism in Pashtun society, through education, religious tolerance, an understanding of the dignity of others, the liberty of the individual, free speech, and respect for the institutions of the country will make them great again as it was before.
As Steve Maraboli state’s “It’s time to care; it’s time to take responsibility; it’s time to lead; it’s time for a change; it’s time to be true to our greatest self; it’s time to stop blaming others.”