In 1989, the USSR was defeated by Afghan Mujahideen with the help of the Western powers. The Islamic warriors became heroes all around the world and the Western powers were celebrating the Communism defeat. The war between Capitalism and Communism, that lasted 60 years, finally reached an end with the defeat of the USSR in the dry mountains of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a dead region, no any emperor or powerful empire successfully conquered or permanently sustained in the region from Alexander the Great to USSR. This happened to the red bear and after eleven years of their power and occupation, they completely withdrew their forces from Afghanistan in May 1989. This was not only a defeat of USSR, but a rising threat of Islamists, which the Western world did not recognize at that time. They considered Mujahideen as their trained toddlers and did not take them as mad dogs. But, actually, they became bloodied wolves, that only needed blood.
The Western world suddenly abandoned Mujahideen and these militants were no longer assets of the Western powers anymore. The United States essentially turned its back on Afghan Mujahideen, whom once they called true freedom fighters and their trained toddlers. The US forgets that once they leave the country, after their strong presence, there is a real possibility that the US and the Western powers may pay a great price in the end.
An even worse situation is that the Western powers not only abandoned Afghanistan, but fomented further civil war. The pro-USSR government remained for three years after the 1989 Soviet withdrawal, and rather than support the negotiated arrangements between pro-Soviet government and Mujahideen, the US sustained relations to continue the proxy war that leaded to a civil war which was known Kabul massacre. Those Islamist militants who fought side by side with other Mujahideen against the Soviet regime, started massacring each other in the name of religion, which was a great sectarian war.
Those mujahedin who fought against the Soviet Union were nothing but a gang of criminals, warlords, killing mafia and private criminal militia. They were fighting for money and for their share in the government, not for the Islam. Once the USSR withdrew from Afghanistan, these so-called Mujahedin fought each other only to gain power and rule in Afghanistan. They played a bloodied game, massacring in the streets of Kabul, killing innocent people, including children, women, young and old. They abducted thousands of people, selling most of them in different parts of the country. They put young Afghans, from opposing group into containers, set fire and burnt them alive. They slaughtered many people because they belong to the Hazara (Shia) tribe. They cut their eyes, their hands and feet and beheaded children in front of their parents because they belong to Sunni tribe. The hundreds of books and hundreds of thousands of articles and journals are written on war crimes of Afghanistan.
When Afghans were tired of collecting dead bodies of their loved ones, they turned their eyes away from those so-called Mujahedeen towards another power and that power was the Taliban.
According to Ahmed Rashid (bestselling author of the Taliban):
“Out of this conflict, which was to claim 1.5 million Afghan lives and only end when soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, would emerge a second generation of Mujahideen who called themselves Taliban (or the students of Islam.)”
I recall my memory, when I was in Kunar province of Afghanistan in 1994, when the Taliban came to our camp and started negotiation whether we stay in Afghanistan or leave for Pakistan. Taliban hardly faced any resistance, most of the provincial governors received the bags full of dollars from Taliban leadership and handed over the keys of the cities. In the beginning, most of the Taliban consisted of Madrasah students from Pakistan. They were speaking Pushto and had residence in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
We provided soft shoulder to extremism in order to achieve our political goals against enemy states, but forgot to realise that the extreme ideology that consists with religion is a great danger for everyone.
Religious extremists have no permanent friends and have many foes. They can turn their back to their masters whenever they desire. This is what happened with Pakistan and Western powers that their trained Mujahideen became their blood thirsty wolves such as Osama Bin Laden.
Radicalisation is a main factor that everyone in the world suffers from and if the radicalisation is connected with the specific religion, it creates a great chaos and corruption on Earth. Religion is very sensitive issue and individual belief in religious clerics (imams), in countries where religion is used as a political and religious tool for control and benefits.
We induced religious ideology in the minds of first generation after the Afghan cold war and now the second generation is grown up possessing extreme religious ideology which are ready to die or kill in the name of religion anytime. It’s very hard to root out the extreme ideology from their minds, but I believe that nothing is impossible. We need to educate the next generation in hope that the third generation would follow the peaceful image of religion instead the extreme one.
Every religion has two sides, moderate side and extreme side and now it’s up to the individuals which side they follow. The founders of the religions, such as Prophets appointed by God, have already warned of extremism and did warn their followers not to take the extreme side of religion, neither follow the footsteps of religious extremists. As I always say in my writings, we Muslims have politicalised Islam to dominate religious power over other people, whether to achieve political or religious ends. The Islamic states and even Muslims themselves are entirely responsible in spreading religious extremism in the name of Islam.
The Prophet of Islam (PBUH) has already warned his followers about religious extremism which exists in religion:
“Beware of extremism in religion…..” (An-Nisa’i/3059)
I personally oppose claims that extremism has no room in religion. Indeed, extremism exists in religions and definitely in Islam according to the above statement of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH). It is clear that the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) informed his followers that extremism is a reality and it will take place.