Only fatwas cannot end Afghan war

Wednesday, 06 June 2018 03:23 Written by  Read 469 times

Religion may be a motivating factor in the Afghan conflict, but it is not a wholly religious war. Seeing the ongoing war in Afghanistan through the prism of religion can complicate than solve the problem. Challenged by growing insurgent activities, Afghan government is in hot pursuit of fatwas declaring the war Un-Islamic. First, it requested Pakistan to encourage its clerics to issue a religious ruling against the war in Afghanistan. Though Islamabad had pledged to do so, it, as usual, betrayed this promise as well. Then came the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Indonesia Ulema Conference in Jakarta, where Pakistani Ulema also apparently blocked the issuance of a fatwa against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. And finally on Monday, over 2,000 Afghan clerics from across the country gathered in Kabul to denounce the Afghan war and suicide bombings as “haram”.
While the anti-war verdict of Afghan clerics is a commendable step, the violence in the country does not have only a religious aspect that can be stopped by issuing a fatwa against it. The role of Ulema in a highly conservative and religious society like Afghanistan is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, pivotal. However, they alone cannot be expected to encourage an end to the war given its multi-dimensional nature. All contributing factors need to be addressed. This should start from bringing clarity to American goals. Even after two decades of military presence in Afghanistan, American goals are still vague. At least Afghans cannot believe that the United States is here to eliminate terrorism from the region, as its actions also support the assumption. The behavior of Washington and its allies towards Pakistan, which is “the mother of terrorism,” can well define their seriousness and honesty. It is now an undeniable fact that Pakistan uses militants as proxy forces in Afghanistan, but Americans and their allies are chasing them in Afghan homes and villages instead of suppressing them in their sanctuaries in Pakistan. If the ultimate goal is the decimation of terrorism, the fight should start from where the terrorists have safe havens, training camps, and state support. If Americans are not in the belief that Pakistan does so, and also cannot curb the growing Taliban activities, they better talk to the Taliban.
Issuance of fatwas alone cannot put an end to a multi-dimensional war such as that in Afghanistan. In addition to the religious aspect, there is a need for the political will and honesty, and more importantly, the compromise of all sides involved in the conflict. All sides must show willingness to give up some of their demands for the sake of peace.


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