Much has been and will continue to be written about the Taliban’s takeover of military and political power in what is now called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. It is an emerging story that has left the world aghast at its sheer incredulity and the implications for Afghans, its neighbours and the whole world.
For sub-saharan Africa, particularly Nigeria which now finds itself buffeted by an unending war against insurgents in the northeast and religiously motivated cells of militias and bandits in the North West and Central, there could be explosive consequences as local jihadists could very well find motivation for their actions and be spurred onto even deadlier actions in pursuit of shared objectives with the Afghan Mujahideens.
There are serious concerns here. Religious fanaticism and extremism have been fingered as the culprit behind the Boko Haram insurgence and the general abhorrence of western-styled education even amongst a northern populace with neither affinity nor sympathy for insurgency. Misguided romanticism for fanatically conservative ethos in northern Nigeria could very well be fertile ground for even more extremist strains to be sown and spread. If it happens, if we lose the north to the seduction of extremism as represented by spectrums such as the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) aka Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, we would all be sorry.
What’s more, with increased ethno-religiously motivated killings in Jos, Kaduna and Benue state, Kano Hisbah’s nonplussed banning of mannequins and contemplation of banning female drivers; Boko Haram’s imposition of its own Governor in Borno state, hoisting of its flag in Shiroro, Niger state so dangerously close to the nation’s capital, Abuja and the guerrilla campaign of herdsmen and bandits whose murderous assault on innocent civilians remain unchecked, one fears that the Taliban ideology has pervaded and permeated the fringes of northern Nigeria than is sufficiently admitted or talked about. We must be wary!
The lesson for Nigeria from Afghanistan is therefore specific. No one will fight for our continuous independence outside of ourselves. This is our war and we can’t afford to lose. We must embrace our pluralism and work harder to achieve an integrated society amenable to constructive change and development. Taliban and Boko Haram represent the very opposite of progressive as seen in their objectification and relegation of women, abhorrence for science and innovation, and rather violent disposition against the right to thought, religion and assembly. Even Afghans know!
The videos and pictures out of Afghanistan reveal so much desperation. There is an uneven scramble for available conveyance out of Afghanistan by diplomats and indigenes alike. In one particular video, two young men are seen hanging onto the recoiling wheels of a plane that takes off into the air, they are then seen to lose their grip and fall to their deaths with their blood-spattered bodies on the sidewalk a befitting, if not sober, canvass of the despondency in Afghanistan today.
I recollect that when Libya fell, a proliferation of arms and jihadists found their way into Nigeria to join the so-called ‘holy war’ and stunted the imperative of a hitherto progressively successful war against Boko Haram. With Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban, we must be even warier. They will hope to embolden local terrorists and the casualties would be the nation’s sovereignty and the freedom of you and I.
Indeed, if we let our country be consumed, we may never find our way back to nationhood. We are warned!
Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq., is a Legal Practitioner and the Principal Partner at LAW CORRIDOR, Abuja, Nigeria.