One of the best ways to understand the current wave of violence in Pushtoon society is to look at the respective perspectives of ANP and TTP on violence because sometimes these comparisons verge on the hilarious if not ironic. There are certain strange characteristics that make ANP an ideological counterpart of TTP like, for instance, ignorance, stone age mentality, and the tendency to succumb to violence at the drop of a hat. Even worse. Aimal Wali, the head of ANP, called for military operation in the KP in his tweet today (24/04/2023) knowing full well the consequences of such operations, in terms of human lives, in an already fragmented Pushtoon society, who have literally become The Wretched of the Earth. He used the term “rad ul fasad” in his tweet which has grave connotations in Pukhtoon context. The question is whether this tendency to resort to violence is a Pukhtoon phenomenon or mere ignorance and the fruits of a fossilized mentality in ANP and TTP?. I prefer to say it is the latter because one of the biggest polls to gauge Pushtoon mentality, has already been conducted twice in KP and the majority have supported PTI’s take on the resolution of violence in Pushtoon society by giving them resounding majority in the House twice.
When ANP was busy selling ‘Taliban’ to Pushtoon society as they were defined by American Empire (ironically they still consider themselves anti-imperialists because they are, as Anthony says, ‘honorable men’), IK was tearing into American narrative of the war in Afghanistan, on the one hand, as Chomsky and Tariq Ali and any credible intellectual worth his salt tore into their imperial narrative, on the other. What ANP failed to understand or see, or ignored to see, was the fact that one of the hottest debates in the Western Academy during American occupation of Afghanistan, spearheaded by Chomsky and other postcolonial writers, was that American wars and their absurd justifications must always be filtered critically because their propaganda apparatus is so overwhelming that it acts as a dominant discourse and misleads people. ANP fell for the American trap willingly because in Americans they had someone who could avenge Dr Najibullah, the cause of their enmity with Taliban, when it deliberately did not differentiate between Afghan and Pakistani Taliban. They supported their mantra when they could have drawn a clear line: Taliban are wrong and the Americans are also wrong and should have been promoting a peaceful resolution of the conflict. What it did instead is indicative of the ignorance of their leaders, their inability to come out of their stone age mentality, and their reluctance to desist from further violence. They gave Americans carte blanche to do whatever it did in Afghanistan and supported their installed puppets there. In other words, it got caught up in a situation where its leadership did not grow into mature statesmen. They sold American puppets in Afghanistan as ‘Baba’ when the whole world knew that this was an old Imperial tactics. They sided with American narrative in Afghanistan and against Taliban simply because they wanted to settle an old score. Taliban followed the same ideology, i.e., the friend of my enemy is my enemy as well. This led to a very long trail of bloodshed in Pushtoon society which could be avoided had ANP had the intellectual wherewithal to stand for what was just and non-violent. This approach not only exposed them and their endless tales of the stability of the ‘democratic’ regime of Ashraf Ghani ‘baba’ but it also decimated its traditional vote bank. Probably, therefore, Aimal Wali wants, by inciting military operation in KP, to take his revenge on Pushtoons for taking him and his party to the cleaners twice.
Imagine the head of a non-violent movement inciting violence in an already devastated Pushtun belt still call this Bacha Khani!
The problem is ignorance of political leaders, journalist and policy makers. Instead of learning to differentiate between Afghan Taliban and TTP, we are still playing America’s game. ANP lost some of the best people not because they stood up against extremism but that failed to differentiate, owing to an entrenched culture of ignorance, between freedom fighters and terrorists. When IK made this distinction he was branded Taliban Khan. Here is what ANP could do to save any more Pushtoon blood being spilled: a.) it could announce that we don’t agree with Afghan Taliban’s definition of Islam but their fight against America Empire was just, especially given the new revelations regarding 9/11 (e.g. @georgegalloway today’s podcast.) and that b.) the only solution to the threat of TTP is bringing them to a negotiating table and working our way up from there to bring in social transformation. This how you kill an ideology by bringing it to that Quranic dictum: Bring your proof if you are truthful. It is neither wise nor educated to support American stance on Afghan Taliban and expect them to help you with TTP which cannot be killed with gun. Extremist Islam is an ideology.
ANP’s support for an operation in KP is indicative of being out of touch with contemporary world of knowledge. It is seriously thinking on the lines that an ideology can be killed by killing these TTP people? They are the result, the product, not the cause of this problem of violence in Pushtoon society. But in ANP’s blind hatred for the person who led the two and a half trips to cleaners and back, it is bent upon unleashing hell on this land because it wants to stay politically viable in KP. ANP has not evolved. It remained fossilized in Stone Age mentality. It sold American puppets in Afghanistan as BaBa to Pushtoons who were, at the same time, listening to IK, Chomsky, Tariq Ali, and Edward Said tear into American Empire and its heinous Imperial agendas. That's where ANP totally lost it. It was on the wrong side of history. Now in their desperation, they are inviting another Rad ul Fasad on Pushtoon lands. This mindset is not different from TTP’s.