New Delhi: It's a dangerous mind game. What's common between Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, and Afghanistan? Jihadists have a pretty good influence in these countries.
The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has generated a perception that 'holy warriors' has humbled no less than the United States of America (USA). Those who know a little bit of history – would say – they have been blessed to achieve so twice as only a few decades back, even the erstwhile Soviet Union was vanquished.
Here comes the relevance of a phrase spoken out by Mehbooba Mufti, PDP leader and a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
"….duniya ke liye (Taliban) misal kar sakten haen (The new Taliban regime can emerge as a beacon or a role model for the rest of the world)," she said. Real powerful words and she is not alone from Kashmir – which for long has been India's hotbed of Jihadi terrorism and chaos. Another former Chief Minister (J&K), Farooq Abdullah, said he is 'hopeful' that the insurgents in Afghanistan would deliver "good governance in accordance with Islamic principles." Both these former Chief Ministers would not have exuded such optimism for any regime in an Indian state or at the centre, maybe. Of course, there are strong reactions already.
BJP leader Nirmal Singh, who worked as Deputy Chief Minister under PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, said – "In our country where Muslims are a minority, Farooq Abdullah wants secularism; and where Muslims are a majority, he wants Islamic rules."
This is no state secret, but here comes the moment when the cat is out of the bag.
The Taliban takeover might have generated debate about Joe Biden's blunders and general concern about the rise of Jihadi terrorism, but in some corners around the globe, the stories were different.
In Yemen, enthusiasts sparked off fireworks; in Somalia, they handed out sweets in joy and jubilation. There was praise for the Taliban leadership and foot soldiers for providing a "living example" in Syria.
This is the mindset, and it is the real global challenge today.
Now, how to take on the 'challenge' and hold the bulls by their horns?
"Bad government creates an opening for jihadism. Many rural Afghans decided that Taliban justice, though harsh, was quicker and less corrupt …. This is one reason the Taliban's final march to power met so little resistance," says 'The Economist' report.
Another area of concern is terrorism does not only mean 'killing' innocent people and erasing out the detractors. It is largely to "control territory," as has been proved by the nature of Islamic terrorism in the last few decades. In places like Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia and Mozambique, they already 'control' the territory.
Therefore, the utterances by Kashmiri leaders – and two stalwarts in regional politics – cannot be taken lightly to put them under cover after some media wrangling.
Taliban footsoldiers are already committing atrocities. A video has gone viral in social media and electronic media that shows a woman being continuously hit by a Taliban with his stick, perhaps on the streets of Kabul.
There are already reports that Jihadists in some parts of Nigeria are hard to beat because 'locals detest' the authorities or the government. There are instances of army officers "selling" their weapons to the guerrillas.
Jihadism also survives and thrives amidst people who have grievances. This could be against a government, against a community living alongside and a group of people considered 'intruders'.
In Kashmir, all these challenges prevail, and so does the nasty politics of the Neta class, too.
A little beyond the Af-Pak region, there is already powerful propaganda that the United States had entered Afghanistan in 2001 to dominate the region, including parts of Iran, Russia, and China. Eventually, the Taliban have emerged victorious, and the Americans fled the region.
To sum up, dealing with the 'Jihadi' mindset is a real problem, especially in the region and countries such as India, where multiple communities have been living for ages.
Where would the next round of 'global Jihad' be?
Handling the Taliban diplomatically and from a security perspective is only the tip of the iceberg. The 'Taliban's triumph' as a perception or half-cooked idea is the real challenge.