Notably, tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan have led to frequent closures of border crossings at Torkham and Chaman in the recent past.
The intra-religion conflict has assumed chilling proportions in the Afghan capital, where as many as 21 people were killed and dozens wounded after a bombing at a mosque in Kabul during evening prayers on Wednesday. Emergency, the Italian NGO, which operates a hospital in the city, said it was treating 27 of the wounded. Five of them are children. The Taliban government spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, confimed that there were dead and wounded, but did not specify the number. It must appear to be a mite unusual that the mosque massacre has been condemned by a representative of the administration. “The murderers of civilians and perpetrators will soon be punished for their crimes,” he wrote on Twitter. Police said there were multiple casualties, but stopped short of disclosing the numbers.
The powerful explosions targeted the Siddiquiya Mosque in the northern Kabul neighbourhood of Khair Khanna, shattering windows in nearby buildings. The imam of the mosque, Mullah Amir Mohammad Kabuli, was among the dead. Despite the Taliban’s assertion that they have brought security to the nation ~ on the hardliners’ lights, one feels tempted to add ~ Afghanistan bears witness to regular attacks by armed groups, many of them claimed by an ISIL affiliate known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) in recent months. Last week, a prominent Taliban religious leader, Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani, was killed in a bomb attack at a seminary in Kabul.
The chain of tragedies does suggest that the conflict within Islam in Afghanistan can be hideous, to say the least. In June, the ISKP claimed responsibility for the attack on a Sikh gurdwara in Kabul, one that killed two persons. The Taliban re-assumed power in August 2021 during the chaotic pullout by US-led Nato forces. No country has as yet recognized the Taliban government of hardliners. Afghanistan is on a powder-keg. The conflict within a religion must of necessity be reined in, if indeed the dispensation seeks a measure of stability. On Wednesday, the Taliban government did not reply to multiple requests to confirm the number of casualties.
This is suggestive of a strained, yet conscious, effort to keep the details under the hat. There is much that has been brushed under the carpet in recent times; far too little of what the comity of nations would treat as “breaking news”. The conflicts in the country, and the continual denial of rights to women are pushing the country towards an intractable imbroglio. To gain recognition, Afghanistan must make itself acceptable to the world at large, most particularly in respect of the three parameters ~ status of women, education of girls, and the mortal conflict within Islam.