The Taliban has taken over Kabul without any strong resistance after twenty years of melee. The west, who came to eradicate terrorism, in 2001, is leaving with heads down and calling the same guys as ‘country boys’, whom they called terrorists once. It is another mystery that either US came to Afghanistan to punish the perpetrators of 9/11 or there was another motive, but lets’ look into history that who were Taliban and who created them in the first stage.
There is a general perception all over the world that Pakistan was responsible for the creation of the Taliban, but it is not true. According to Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, a member of Taliban leadership, madrasah students from Kandahar and surrounding provinces came together to fight against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, these students were trained by the Pakistan military and the US helped them by supplying arms.
After defeating the soviets, different afghan groups started fighting each other to capture Kabul. The group that was supported by Pakistan, at that time, was composed of non-Pathan nationalities and led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. However, the Taliban defeated Hekmatyar and captured Kabul. This was the time when Pakistan’s support shifted from Hekmatyar to the Taliban when the latter consolidated their authority over Afghanistan.
Indeed, Pakistan is not the creator of the Taliban, but it cannot be denied that it is Pakistan who facilitated those who fought against the Soviets. Jalaluddin Haqqani was one of them, who was impelled by Pakistan security services to join the Taliban against the soviets. The support was not based on Islamic ideology, instead, it was based on the fear of India using Afghanistan for causing turbulence in Pakistan.
The interesting thing that Anatol Lieven has written in his book ‘Pakistan a Hard Country’ is that Pakistan takes the credit for influencing the Taliban in 2000-2001 to reduce the production of heroin to get recognition from the west.
Though Pakistan had some leverage over the Taliban but after 9/11, according to some Pakistani generals –the roof fell in on Pakistan. At that time US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage threatened to bomb Pakistan back to Stone Age in case of non-cooperation with the US over Afghanistan. Under that pressure, the Musharraf administration agreed to help the US and established two airbases In Pakistan. In return, it is documented that Musharraf was able to evacuate an unknown number of Pakistani military advisers and volunteers, who were stranded in Kunduz when Northern Alliance forces started their operation against the Taliban.
Another proposition that Pakistan helped Osama bin Laden, Aiman al Zawahiri and other Al Qaeda leaders to escape into Pakistan, is inadequate as well. If Pakistani troops were not active on the border, so were the Afghan troops which the west employed on the Durand line to capture Al Qaeda’s leadership. It might be the reason for which US media and members of US congress accused Musharraf of Double-dealing.
To conclude it can be said on the behest of documented evidence that Pakistan has not supported the Taliban, in the way, US, UK, Saudi Arabia and other countries supported mujahidin against the soviets.