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Russia has a model for peace and stability for Afghanistan–it’s called Chechnya

One only needs to study Russia’s experience with bringing former Chechen rebels to the table, in order to learn why the Taliban must be spoken to rather than bombed into anger and alienation.

Between 1994 and 1996, a Russian Federation weakened by internal political chaos fought the First Chechen War. The war was fought between the Russian armed forces and forces loyal to the self-proclaimed Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.

During the First Chechen War, one of the leading commanders of rebel forces was Akhmad Kadyrov. His battle field tactics helped win the war, forcing an uneasy truce with Russia.

During this time, Kadyrov’s forces were backed by foreign Mujaheddin, many of whom were battle hardened from fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989. As with Afghanistan, the US supported the Mujaheddin against Russia, albeit in a more covert manner than during the 1980s.

In 1999, war flared up again in Chechnya when Islamist extremists from Chechnya invaded the neighbouring Russian Republic of Dagestan. It was at this time that Akhmad Kadyrov switched sides, pledging his loyalty to Russia.

This was motivated by several factors. First of all, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria was a self-proclaimed country of chaos, corruption and poverty, one which was ultimately in need of Russian material support, just as Afghanistan needs much the same from Pakistan today. Secondly, Kadyrov found that the Mujaheddin forces which helped win the First Chechen War were both unreliable and too extreme for his liking, their designs on the region were very different than his.

By the year 2000, the wars in both Chechnya and Dagestan were over and Kadyrov was once again on the winning side, only this time the winning side was the Russian side.

In the subsequent years, some local rebels as well as foreign Mujaheddin continued to cause problems in the region. Things came to a head when in 2004 Akhmad Kadyrov, who had become the President of the Chechen Republic, was assassinated. Chechen rebel Shamil Basayev later claimed responsibility. He was killed by the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service) in 2006.

In 2007, Akhmad’s son Ramzan Kadyrov became the Head of the Chechen Republic. Ramazan’s leadership marked Chechnya’s transformation from an uneasy hotbed of rebellion and foreign terrorism to a place that is generally stable, a loyal subject of the Russian Federation and a place with zero tolerance for trouble makers. Crucially, the region has a high degree of autonomy in which Islamic customs and local laws are integrated into the overarching laws of the Russian Federation. It is a balance that has worked far better than many could have imagined. It many ways, it is a textbook example of 21st century compromise in respect of cultural autonomy combined with sovereign loyalty to a large state.

Afghanistan requires a similar solution. Russia learned from experience what the US has failed to learn after nearly 16 years in Afghanistan: no peaceful solution can take place without the Pashtun majority having their interests accounted for. The strongest group around which many Pashtuns now rally is the Taliban and has been so for decades.

Russia who in the 1980s fought against the people who would come to support the Taliban in the 1990s, has realised that there is a time for war and a time for dialogue.

It was this approach that allowed Russia to accept Akhmad Kadyrov as a loyal subject to Russia even though he had been a supreme enemy of the state just years prior to this reconciliation. Likewise, in Afghanistan, Russia realises that the Taliban, the moderate rebels of modern Afghanistan, cannot be disregarded and nor can they be bombed into coming to the peace table, not least because many Taliban leaders have already made comparatively generous peace offers that Afghanistan’s neighbours such as Pakistan could easily work with.

Russia has let the ideological wars of the past slip into memory and Russia’s modern leaders have learned the lessons necessary to formulate a new Afghan policy. This new Russian policy of dialogue with the Taliban is in line with that of Pakistan which seeks a stable country free from American or Indian influence on its western border and it is also what China seeks as China requires a stable Pakistan and a comparatively placid Afghanistan in order to complete a crucial section of One Belt–One Road infrastructure in the region. Iran too has come to this realisation in more ways than one.

The future leader that Afghanistan needs is someone like Ramzan Kadyrov, an individual who is local, can implement Islamic law with sincerity and authority, can act pragmatically though patriotically when dealing with others, including non-Pashtun Afghans such as the Tajiks, Uzbecks and Shi’a Hazaras, and most of all, a leader who can work with the country which for all intents and purposes is Afghanistan’s lifeblood: Pakistan.

Such a leader may already exist among the more moderate rebel ranks of the Taliban. Such a leader would clearly by willing to work with Pakistan, Russia, China, possibly even Iran but certainly not with the United States. Russia understands this because Russia has the experience of Afghanistan in the 1980s from which Vladimir Putin learned that in order to bring peace and loyalty to a volatile region, one must work with locals who are willing to meet one half way. Putin learned equally from the mistakes chaotic Yeltsin regimem how to best deal with such issues within Russia, in Chechnya in particular. In return, Russia has not made extraordinary demands over the style of government in Chechnya, one which is now stable and increasingly prosperous, but very different from the kind of Russia one sees in Moscow, Crimea, Vladivostok and almost everywhere else in the Russian Federation.

This is the solution, but America is doing the opposite, because unlike Russia in respect of Chechnya, the United States is not looking for a solution in Afghanistan in the first place.

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Brendan Trainor
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Brendan Trainor

Yes I believe that Chechnya is better off now as a very conservative Muslim state in the Russian federation. However, I do not believe that respect for the Muslim social rules should extend to torture and honor killing of gays. Kadyrov said on American cable television in an interview over his love of MMA that there are no gay people in Chechnya, and if there were, he did not believe that people who act outside the law against them should be punished. Violence against anyone, including gays, should not be tolerated in Chechnya!

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

I dont know if the people to whom you refer really do hold these emotions: “Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Gay: happily excited : merry in a “gay” mood : keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits: a bird’s “gay” spring song. 2a : bright, lively “gay” sunny meadows : brilliant in color.” I suspect you are referring to homosexual men. If so, could you do so please, and leave the lovely old English word, for which there is no substitute, to it’s proper meaning. Re the Western MSM garbage you are quoting, there appears to be no evidence to… Read more »

BobValdez
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BobValdez

Perhaps you and your boyfriend should head over to Chechnya, in your crotch-less leather pants and Village People hats, wave your rainbow flags and protest. I’m sure they’ll listen to you.

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

Gays are less than 2% of the population in most countries. Why is this issue so important to keep glorifying and using it as a tool to apply pressure to different societies and beliefs? Enough already! There are other peoples at a much larger percentage that are discriminated against, like left-handed people, and not a peep from anyone. This so called “gay lifestyle” is proven by statistics as destructive, with much higher suicide rates, drug use, and early death, when compared with Heterosexuals. Destructive lifestyles of small minorities should not be endlessly talked about and glorified as being something normal.… Read more »

AM Hants
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AM Hants

Nice photo of both President, owing to their body language.

The US is only there to make sure the poppy harvest is harvesting well and see what they can grab with regards natural resources. Not forgetting to upset China, with the ‘One Belt and Road’ partnership with Pakistan. That is the only reason they will not leave. Saudi – 9/11 and I never knew Saudi was part of Afghanistan. Bin Laden family and Bush family, partners in Carlsle Group, even after 9/11????

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

It is a nice photo is not it? Marked by spontaneity and natural spirits. No, America is in Afghanistan for one reason and one reason only – it suits its personal agenda of making big money from the heroin trade, moreover, it uses that heroin as a social dis-locator in target countries. It’s a major problem for Russia especially. Plus they have a “base” to try and launch a much longed for attack on Russia via the “underbelly”. The American Ruling Junta are just a criminal Mafia gang who lie to cover their actions – lies now accepted only by… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

I was drinking water earlier, and it must be something to do with the sun around here. It only went and turned into wine and for some reason I cannot think nice thoughts. I have no problem with the people of America and feel sorry for those that have woken up, like us over in the UK. Wish them all the best. However, I am happily in a rage, with regards the things we elect. I do believe in karma, but, sure certain powers will not mind me wishing they all suffered some serious reaction from a Bill Gate vaccine… Read more »

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

🙂 I’ve heard about that wine. Magic Water we call it – try and do it to make a few bucks, it never works 🙂 It is – beyond pathetic – I agree. But try and remember, when it gets bad – and believe me, I know how that is, I’ve let fly and sworn at them too – that if you get into a rage and filled with hate and bad thoughts, it’s you you’re hurting. They dont feel it at all, but your inner balance and serenity which you need for good health go right out the window.… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

That blasted water, I thought it was holy and my liver needed blessing. I don’t stay angry for long, as you say, it is a waste of energy. However, it is seriously frustrating. Like you, I no longer vote, owing to all parties in Westminster supporting the genocide in Ukraine and encouraging it. Not just Ukraine, but, that is where I switched off from UK politicians. I have just read a brilliant article by Robert Parry, over on RI. Here is a section, but, it is worth reading the whole article. Ukraine’s SBU security service also has been implicated in… Read more »

Samantharbuck
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Samantharbuck

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BettyTDominique
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BettyTDominique

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Scott Robinson
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Scott Robinson

The REAL reason the US is escalating the Afghanistan invasion….see the Jimmy Dore Show titled “Rachel Maddow Promotes Stealing Afghan Minerals & Endless War”

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

I will, thanks for the link Scott.

Bessarabyn
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Bessarabyn

Spot on !

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

Thank you Bessarabyn.

Neil
Guest
Neil

Excellent article, Adam. Nice picture too.

Freethinking Влади́мир
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Freethinking Влади́мир

Weird article. The comparison with Chechnya is incorrect. Chechnya is a republic of Russia. Afghanistan is not part of Pakistan. This article needed to flesh this out but didn’t. A reasoning such as “something something Afghanistan depends on Pakistan” doesn’t work for me. Besides, the peace with Chechnya is a burden. They don’t bring in anything, but are only a cost. Kadyrov himself is a high maintenance. I always raise my eyebrows when I read the comments of Russia-dreamers on these blogs who never even visited my country, yet judge or interpret the actual situation here. What you need to… Read more »

Simon
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Simon

A thoughtful comment, Vladimir. But many (vast) parts of the RF are as you say ‘a burden’ – in that they cost a lot of money. But that does not mean they are not Russia. And Chechnya has form compared to other regions – so just NOT fighting a war there is itself a huge ‘benefit’ which outweighs the ‘burden’. I do agree with you about the stability and its temporary nature; also it and some of its diaspora are in criminal syndicates throughout Russia. But imperfect as it is, this strongman (Kadyrov) stability is perhaps the best way forward.… Read more »

Freethinking Влади́мир
Guest
Freethinking Влади́мир

I don’t deny that peace is the better option, but I criticize this article for painting the current situation as too bright. This article cuts too many corners, not counting in the opinion that Afghanistan should have some kind of a dependency on Pakistan like Chechnya has on Russia. This article needs to elaborate on what that means and why the Afghani people would agree – other than assuming the people would go along with a leader comparative to Kadyrov.

Edit: also not counting in why the Pakistani would agree…

Gary Wells
Guest
Gary Wells

Whatever the Americans do will fail. Notwithstanding the fact that Afghanistan is probably unconquerable, ten or fifteen thousand US troops are certainly not going to achieve the task. These are sufficient numbers to ensure an ongoing simmering conflict and to make certain that the opium/heroin business proceeds unimpeded. This should be obvious to everyone. I think there’s an awful lot of willful blindness about.

Jeff King
Guest
Jeff King

Chechnya? You mean the place where they murder gays? Get a better example than that.

pogohere
Guest

Details? Sources? TIA

ajokete
Guest
ajokete

“…the United States is not looking for a solution in Afghanistan in the first place.” That exactly is the method in the US apparent madness.

Navneet Bhatnagar
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Navneet Bhatnagar

The writer ADAM GARRIE seems to be highly mistaken , when he recommends ” Pakistan to be the lifeblood of Afghanistan, for all intents and purposes and proposing generous peace offers for Taiban that Afghanistan’s neighbours such as Pakistan could easily work with” . At one stage, he professes for a country, which should be able to deal peacefully with all ethnicities in Afghanistan , ” including non-Pashtun Afghans such as the Tajiks, Uzbecks and Shi’a Hazaras “. While on the other hand, he seems to forget the pathetic record , which Pakistan has in maintaining a peaceful environment for… Read more »

Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

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