Brave, faithful and committed to national cultural renaissance, the Afghan people have been fighting foreign occupations in modern history for far too long. In fact, an entire young generation of Afghans have grown up knowing nothing except the brutal and vicious military occupation of Afghanistan by the US and its Nato allies. The question is: How would the Germans, Britons, Spaniards, Austrians or any other nation for that matter, have felt if such a grave injustice or military terror had been inflicted on their society. And that too without any legitimate reason or an established political-military cause for the conflict. Indeed, the entire civilized world (obviously there are dangerously uncivilized nations) knows fully well that no Afghan national was involved in 9/11 (by many accounts, an inside job to create a pretext for war), and when Osama bin Laden was accused of masterminding 9/11, the then Afghan Taliban government offered to surrender bin Laden to a third country for trial. That offer was turned down by the Bush administration.

Now the time has come, in humanitarian fairness to the Afghan people and in the interest of regional peace (most specifically the overflow of the Afghan war into Pakistan) to separate fiction from reality: the Afghan Taliban are not murderers. They are soldiers fighting a brutal occupation of their country against a specified alliance of Western nations led by the US for an immoral inhumane political-economic global agenda for hegemonic control of the region and the economic exploitation of regional resources in the interest of Western corporate capitalism. It is time for President Hamid Karzai to bury the hatchet with the majority of Afghans and realign himself with the nationalist forces for a final struggle to liberate his nation from the clutches of imperialist powers. It is this political conduct that will give the incumbent Afghan president a place in history; otherwise, he will be buried as a nameless, self-serving politician who assisted a foreign alliance in a more than a decade-long genocide of his people.

Let President Hamid Karzai make a new start at national reconciliation by making a simple and yet hugely inspiring symbolic political act: dumping the conveniently coined label of “Taliban” (it automatically generates negative perceptions because of years of propaganda) and replace it by terming the said movement as “Nationalist Resistance Movement” or “Nationalist Resistance Force” even better what Ronald Reagan called them “The Freedom Fighters” while the same very Afghans battled the occupation of their country by the Soviet Union. Imran Khan, Chief of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf, has justifiably called them “The Mujahadin”.

The point that is vital in my thesis of “peace” and “national reconciliation” process is that the political wisdom that should prevail in today’s Afghanistan is to come to grips with the reality that the majority of Afghan citizens are supportive of a “national resistance force” that is fighting against Afghanistan’s occupation. And that “nationalist force” in common terminology is named “Afghan Taliban”. Hence the “Afghan Taliban” are the legitimate representatives of the majority of Afghani people. Logically and politically, therefore, the “Afghan Nationalist”, or if you wish to name them as “Taliban”, are a legitimate political force to reckon with. Without the full political participation of the “Taliban” in the national peace and reconciliation process, the prospects of lasting peace are virtually nonexistent.  No matter what – this is a factor that President Hamid Karzai must admit, acknowledge, accept and make the fundamental element of his approach to bringing peace to his long-suffering nation.

Let us look at some of the psychological elements that are historically implicit in the mindset of the occupational US-Nato political-military establishment and play a basic role as impediments to peace initiatives in Afghanistan. Foremost among these factors is the ideological belief system of the US-Nato “War Doctrine”. This doctrine, which in practical policy formulation and execution, means that peace can only be attained by application of political-military force. This mindset and “belief system” is so phenomenally ingrained in the imperialist nations that they are not willing to give “peace” by political means even a remote chance. The idea is conceived in the doctrine that an adversary must be occupied, humiliated, humbled, shamed and militarily defeated – because “we” have superiority in military force.

The end-purpose of this military strategy and political mindset is to achieve “a victory”: War  creates Victors – the masters, conquerors, champions – and the Vanquished, who cannot challenge the victors. Victory is a triumph, a trophy unmatched in its glamor and power projection.  Why opt for a lesser deal?  In peace by “political process” there are no “victors” – there is give and take, equality, mutuality, deliberations, fairness, at times enormous concessions, humanitarian concerns, co-existence, balance of power and suggestive military-political equilibrium. Obviously, the Western powers ask themselves: Historically we have prevailed – why choose a course of lesser benefits? It is against the very nature of the Western mindset. The incumbent Afghan President will be well advised to comprehend the fundamentals of his allies’ mindset as he ponders over the future of his nation. Hamid Karzai’s present approach to Afghan conflict resolution is absolutely politically misguided and flawed.

In the 21st century US-Nato political doctrine and their aggressively pursued military activism, it is claimed that these powerful nations have the lawful right to military intervention anywhere in the world to promote democracy. They say it is the pursuit of universal humanitarian principles and in the interest of their own democratic values. But this is sheer hypocrisy full of  contradictions and propaganda charades.

Consider what the US-Western pursuit of democracy has given to the world (to quote some examples): Batista in Cuba, Pinochet in Chile, Reza Shah Pahlavi in Iran, Suharto in Indonesia, Ayub Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and Musharraf in Pakistan, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Marcos in the Philippines and innumerable dictatorships all over Latin, South and Central America. Recently the US-Western military interventions for democracy have decimated a centuries-old civilization in Iraq, destroyed the Afghan nation, reduced Libyan civil society to tatters, destabilized Yemen  and the entire African continent – and not to mention the genocide of Palestinians and the killing of millions of innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and clandestinely who knows where else.

The Afghan nation by the virtue of its “Jirga” culture knows very well how to resolve conflict by peaceful processes. It is amazing that President Hamid Karzai, himself an Afghan, gives such little credit to his own culture and its historically-established strategy of conflict management. It is a shame, isn’t it?

Perhaps, Hamid Karzai needs to de-learn the mindset that his patrons have cultivated in his intellect by prolonged association; he needs to be emotionally, intellectually, and politically more of an Afghan than a believer in the West’s precepts of individualism, self-interest and the element of incurable egotism!

Hamid Karzai needs to change the direction of present political discourse in Afghanistan – and not to leave a legacy of political poverty for his besieged nation.

The writer is UAE-based academic policy analyst, conflict resolution expert and the author of several books on Pakistan and foreign policy issues. He holds a doctorate and a masters degree from Columbia University in New York.