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Editorial News of Wednesday, 18 August 2021


The Taliban uprising: Implications for Nigeria

Taliban Taliban

Drawing parallels is an inevitable aspect of literary and creative writing. Nothing exists in isolation.

Perhaps that informed Chinua Achebe’s submission that “when one thing stands, another thing stands beside it”.

It explains the iconic relationship between a figure and its silhouette - they are never apart from each other.

One is an adaptation of the other. Speaking of adaptation, we can profitably stress how it foregrounds many literary works, providing them the necessary ingredients to flourish.

A literary work in one genre can be adapted into another literary genre in which case, ideologies, storylines, character developments, and thematic thrusts are manipulated in different ways.

Ola Rotimi’s The gods Are Not To Blame is a classic adaption of Sophocles’ King Oedipus.

Those who have read the two plays either for leisure or academic purposes will easily identify the parallels and appreciate Rotimi’s creation as an impeccable work of adaptation.

In the spirit of adaptation, let us draw a parallel between The Taliban forces and the Afghanistan National Army and examine the implications for Nigeria. Some days ago, the Taliban forces overran the Afghanistan National Army, invaded Kabul, and took over the reins of power in that country.

In the wake of the uprising, Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani and all the government officials fled the country, leaving the citizens to their fate.

Now, the Taliban forces are in control of the government in Afghanistan.

Intriguingly, the US is ready to cooperate with them after issuing statements outlining the conditions for such cooperation.

In the wake of the Taliban uprising, many Afghanistan nationals fled the country, some to unknown destinations.

Many have died, including women and children.

The Taliban is a breakaway faction of the Afghan Mujahideen, which was made up of various insurgent Islamic groups within and outside Afghanistan.

The Afghan Mujahideen was supported by the US to fight the then Afghanistan president Babrak Karmal who was seen as a stooge of the Soviet Union.

For the US and other countries, fighting the government of Babrak Karmal was fighting the Soviet Union which was the backbone of the Afghanistan government.

After many years of war, the Soviet Union eventually pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989 leaving the Afghan National Army to fight against the insurgent group, Afghan Mujahideen.

In 1992, the Afghan Mujahideen overran the Afghan National Army and took over the government in Kabul. But disagreement followed among the Afghan Mujihadeen as to who will control power at the centre.

This gave birth to the Taliban, a group trained by the US to fight against the Soviet Union earlier on. Given their US-trained background, they were the most sophisticated group of the Afghan Mujahideen and they wanted to rule Afghanistan much against the interest and approval of the US.

The relationship between the Taliban and the US degenerated to conflict dimensions when the Taliban declared vast portions of Afghanistan as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan where they enforced strict Islamic laws especially the Sharia Law.

Following the terrorist attacks on the US in 2001 which were masterminded by Osama Bin Laden terrorist group Al-Qaeda, there were reports that he was hiding in Afghanistan, in the regions controlled by the Taliban.

The Taliban refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden and the US, under the government of Barack Obama, invaded Afghanistan, killed Osama Bin Laden, and commenced a long war again the Taliban to flush them out of the country.

However, a Peace Pact between the US and the Taliban took place in 2020.

The government of Joe Biden, in keeping with the Peace Agreement, recently pulled US and NATO troops out of Afghanistan.

It is that US and NATO pullout from Afghanistan that has allowed the Taliban to take control of the country chasing away democratically elected government.

The US spent billions of dollars fighting against Taliban forces but in the end, a Peace Pact was signed and the Taliban took over the Afghanistan government. What are the implications of these developments for Nigeria?

For a discerning mind, there are striking parallels between what has happened in Afghanistan and Nigeria with the intractable terrorist group Boko Haram. Certainly, the role of the US in the whole Afghan-Taliban saga does not dress the ‘Gods Own Country’ in any shed of glory.

The US roles in Afghanistan have been, to say the least, subversive and this is the nature of US international politics. Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s former president alleged in his book, ‘My Transition Hours’ that the US government led by Barack Obama plotted his defeat in the 2015 presidential elections.

Since the demise of the Jonathan administration, the terrorist group Boko Haram has grown in leaps and bounds in Nigeria.

It was a dreaded piece of information when the media reported that ISIS and the Taliban have links with Boko Haram.

It became more disturbing when the general officer commanding the 7 division of the Nigerian army General Abdulmalik Biu avowed that a repentant Boko Haram member will one day become the president of Nigeria.

It all adds up. The success of the Taliban in Afghanistan is a success for all terrorist groups in the world. Boko Haram is a terrorist group in the mode of the Taliban.

The ideology of the Taliban terrorist group is identical to Boko Haram’s ideology. Their common interest is to expand and annex as many territories as possible and institute Islamic government and laws there.

The truth is, following the success of the Taliban, Boko Haram will be emboldened to attempt a take-over of the government of Nigeria. Is this possible?

Can it come to pass? Ordinarily, given Nigeria’s heterogeneous nature, such possibilities are remote and unattainable.

But given the kid gloves approach of the current government in treating captured Boko Haram members, then there is a call for concern. The Nigeria government has not made it a secret to negotiate with Boko Haram terrorists and grant them amnesty.

There are also reports that some of the terrorists were sent abroad for further studies and training. Some of them will be absorbed into the Nigerian army too.

Given the above situation, it will be impossible to defeat Boko Haram, because it appears that the fight against them is not honest and genuine. Reported cases of the abandonment of duty by many Nigerian military officers are disturbing.

Sometime last year, a Major General of the Nigeria Army, Olusegun Adeniyi, through a video that went viral, revealed that his men were ambushed and outclassed by Boko Haram terrorists who had more sophisticated, modern weapons and ammunition.

According to the video report, the army was given a false report and when they advanced, they fell straight into the hands of the enemy. Since the incident, the public is not aware of what happened to General Olusegun Adeniyi except that he was relieved of his duties as the commander of Operation Lafiya Dole.

One is bound to ask, why was the US with all their famed military sophistication unable to defeat the Taliban forces but were quick to sign a pace-pact with them and then withdrew from Afghanistan, stopping all hostilities with the Taliban?

Why has Nigeria not defeated Boko Haram despite all the billions spent on acquiring weapons and military equipment to fight them?

Will Nigeria one day embrace Boko Haram officially and sign a peace pact with them that will embolden them to take over the government of Nigeria?

It was reported recently that Boko Haram terrorists hoisted their flag in some local government areas in Borno State, so now, they control parts of Nigeria.

The continued romance of the Nigerian government with these terrorists which leads to amnesty does not portend well for the country.

Unfortunately, Nigerian Lawmakers seem not to be worried about these developments in our country as they continue to chase ineffectual objectives.

In the case of any eventuality, these Lawmakers and government officials will be the first to escape from the country just as it happened in Afghanistan.

Now that the Taliban are officially in power, they will control the economy, immigration, and international politics.

Nigeria is sitting on a gun powder. Time will tell. Promise Adiele could be reach

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