Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Employing Mullahs are a Gaffe

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Employing Mullahs are a Gaffe

As counterinsurgency struggle stretches beyond previously assumed scheduled timings and foreign military drawdown is about to start, the Afghan govern ment now, more then ever, desperately seeks assistance and holds measures that have made analysts mindful of consequences. One of the principle factors both the government and its foreign allies maintain that can heal security crisis is definitely empowerment of Afghan security forces in order to bear responsibility after foreign military withdrawal. But for the mission, mistakes were committed.

During past years, what foreign and domestic military officials set as a priority was putting effort to increase numerically the Afghan security forces in order to just complete the number previously fixed to be kept permanently under the control of government, while ignoring the grim ground reality that, in lack of US and NATO financial support, the military budget would go beyond Afghan government economic capacity. According to many observers, even this process has been faulty and performed with haste. The process of recruitment was such that every body was welcomed. Particularly, if he was from provinces which have been restive, because of the evil reality of ethno-egoism, or communal-differences which were the main source of more than two decades of civil war, as well, is still assumed as a danger if foreign military withdrawal occurs in unsuitable time.

Let me explain it a bit. A dominant notion among foreign decision makers and analysts is that the US and NATO assault in 2001, ending to six year-long Taliban regime, which was overwhelmingly supported by only one of the four major ethnic groups in Afghanistan, in deed, alienated major part of Pashtun from new democratic process. Thus, the struggle has been circulating around a point to diminish such a feeling among common people and entice them to join the government; the thing I strongly support too.

One of the ways to decrease such feeling has been recruitment. But unfortunately, the process has been riddled with faults and recklessness, as I noted.  Two things win major blames here. One, the hasty and reckless measure to increase security force numerically and second, refers to Afghan social fabric. The notion to maintain security and bring social and political stability in countries like Afghanistan is not possibly achievable without strong security force. Therefore, in order to meet the necessity, the numbers of soldiers and policemen have been recognized vital and, therefore, the government has attempted to recruit whoever wishes to join the government during past years. Needless to say, the process has provided Taliban-led intelligent devotees to infiltrate into security forces and then deal pervasive damages. The Taliban infiltrators now have become a real danger as well as shame for entire Karzia's administration, which is already in a grim situation due to widespread corruption, embezzlement and inefficiency.
Frequently, police officers and soldiers shot down their fellows and foreign allies, which were mostly deadly and militarily threatening.

The most embarrassing attack organized and operated inside defense ministry in April which killed two and injured many more. Such incidents are not rare and it frequently occurs, and usually Taliban-led militants claim the responsibility and talk about their brave infiltrators.

Second, the social fabric is largely woven by communal mentality and ethno-egoism, unfortunately. Perhaps, employment of police officers and daylight patrol of soldiers of other ethnic groups in restive areas of south and south-western is not favored much. Because such thing may support the mentality that government is largely dominated by North alliance, and Pashtun tribal group, who runs the country since long time, is marginalized.

Ostensibly, to deal with the problem of infiltration as well as strengthening Afghan security forces, along with physical training and equipments, recently Afghan officials brought another scenario: giving the will security forces to fight through religion's instructions. This is terrible and perhaps may prove more dangerous to faulty process of recruitment. According to the plan, religious scholars and students who have gained education in Madressah will be employed to teach Afghan security forces about Islamic rituals and sharia.

Definitely the objective is good, and religion during the history has been the core of all mass motivation. If Afghan security forces are equipped with religious notion, they might turn more committed to national issues. But this wouldn't occur and Afghan officials are committing a dangerous mistake. In order to avoid unwanted consequences, they argue that employed Mullahs as well as their teachings would be assessed and scrutinized. And, according to them, teachings would be based on modern interpretation of Islam. I do not think so at all. I do not believe there are any mullahs who believe in modern values and democracy.

Perhaps some of you may blame me of over anxiety or opposition to Mullah. But this is not the case. I do appreciate them, but their thinking is based on intact pre-modern-world interpretation of Islam. Is there any one to show me any orthodox Mullah in Pakistan, Afghanistan and in countries like Saudi Arabia to talk satisfactorily about democracy and modern political and social values? Or, simply, show me any orthodox mullah without long beard. If they still think a very periphery ritual of Islam—beard— as sign of righteousness and religiousness, how to deal with issue of a religion-less state?  However even moderate officials may get angry if I use the term "religion-less State", but they should understand that it is the core principle of democracy and pluralism not to involve religious matters in politics, the thing which they endeavor for.

There is not any moderate Mullah, if there is, he is marginalized by their fellows and do not hold any influence, particularly, in Afghanistan. The employed Mullahs were trained mostly in Pakistani Madressahs, which schooled persons like Mullah Omer, Taliban leader. Even if the religious employees are educated in Kabul University, even after 2001, again I strongly oppose the plan. I have been in Kabul University and closely touched with scholars who were teaching in Shariat Faculty. I was surprised when I got to know their real notion of Islam and Sharia. It was the organization that prohibited shaving for men and banned women to get out of the house without a male partner, and…

Thus consider yourself, is it possible to be educated with such ideas and notion, and they will start teaching Afghan security forces about justification of foreign military engagement, women's rights, democracy and secularism! Of course not!  

Jawad Rahmani is the permanent writer of Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached through mail@outlookafghanistan.com

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