Why We Must Not Abandon the People of Afghanistan

(Tony Blair Institute for Global Change) Tony Blair - In the aftermath of the decision to return Afghanistan to the same group from which the carnage of 9/11 arose, has the West lost its strategic will? Anyone given commitments by Western leaders will understandably regard them as unstable currency. We have given up much of our leverage in dealing with the Taliban, but we retain some. The country's finances and public-sector workforce are significantly dependent on aid from the U.S., Japan, and the UK. The average age of the population is 18. A majority of Afghans have known freedom and not known the Taliban regime. They will not all conform quietly. The motivation for the 9/11 attack arose from an ideology many years in development: radical Islam. Its essence is the belief that Muslim people are disrespected and disadvantaged because they are oppressed by outside powers and their own corrupt leadership, and that the answer lies in creating a state based not on nations but on religion, with society and politics governed by a strict and fundamentalist view of Islam. It turns the religion of Islam into an exclusionary and extreme political ideology in a multi-faith and multicultural world, holding that there is only one true faith and we should all conform to it. We recognized revolutionary Communism as a strategic threat which required us to confront it both ideologically and with security measures for more than 70 years. We would never have dreamt of saying, "well, we have been at this for a long time, we should just give up." If we understand that radical Islam is a strategic threat, we need to decide how those opposed to it, including within Islam, combine to defeat it. The writer is former Prime Minister of Great Britain.

2021-08-23 00:00:00

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