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Tribute to Professor Mojaddedi
by Abdullah Shariat

A Brief Political Biography of Professor Sibghatullah Al-Mojaddedi

Sufism and Shariah

 

 

A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY

AND

FAMILY BACKGROUND

OF

PROFESSOR

SIBGHATULLAH AL-MOJADDEDI

LEADER OF

AFGHAN NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT

AND

FOUNDER OF

ISLAMIC STATE OF AFGHANISTAN

November 2006

Afghan National Liberation Front

House No. 26, Main Wazir Akbar Khan Road

Between Street No. 15 and Mosque

P.O. Box No. 18, Kabul, Afghanistan

Tel: 0093-20-210-1694

In the Name of God, The Merciful, The Beneficent

Brief Family Background

Prof. Sibghatullah Al-Mojaddedi was born in the year 1926 A.D. in one of the most prestigious and religious families of Afghanistan known as the "Mojaddedi" family.

The Mojaddedis are descendants of Imam Rabbani, Mojadded Alfe-e-Sani (the revivalist of the second millennium) Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi Kabuli, whose roots are traced to the second Caliph of Islam Hazrat Omar bin Al-Khatatb (M.A.P.W.H) in the 32nd generation. Imam Rabbani (widely known as Hazrat-e-Mojadded) stands as the most renowned scholar and religious personality of the tenth and eleventh centuries of Hijra who has rightfully gained the title of "Mojadded", the revivalist of Islam in the second millennium.

Imam Mojadded, who lived during the era of Jehangir Shah, has rendered unparallel services to the fields of Islamic Shariah, Da’wah and Tasawwuf in the Indian Sub-continent. He stands not only as a capable Imam in matters of Shariah but also as an eminent leader in various disciplines of knowledge. He enjoyed great respect in the entire region and is still revered widely by Muslims around the world.

At the start of twentieth century two well-known personalities of Prof. Mojaddedi’s family rendered great services in the struggle for the independence of Afghanistan as well as the reorganisation and restructuring of the social, political and administrative aspects of the Afghan life. Hazrat Shamsul Mashaikh (Fazal Mohammad Mojaddedi), the grandfather of Prof. Sibghatullah Al-Mojaddedi, is known as the most outstanding reformist of the first part of the twentieth century who, during the years of the First World War, played a most determining role in special circles, organising anti- colonial movements against the British rule in Afghanistan and in the Sub-continent.

When King Amanullah succeeded in crushing the colonialists’ shaky grip (1919 A.D) Shamsul Mashaikh and his younger brother Mohammad Omar Mojaddedi (known as Noorul Mashaikh) had mobilized and organised the Mujahideen fronts in southern Afghanistan against the British forces. Following the independence of Afghanistan, King Amanullah issued special decrees in recognition of the conspicuous services that these two renowned religious leaders of Afghanistan had rendered in the independence struggle and he granted them special considerations.

During the internal unrest of 1929 in Afghanistan, the Mojaddedi family once again played a conspicuous role in re-establishing peace and tranquillity in the country and in preserving the unity of Muslims. In this course Hazrat Mohammad Sadiq Mojaddedi effectively used his religious influence to prevent bloodshed in the capital city. By the end of the unrest of 1929, Hazrat Noorul Mashaikh Mojaddedi, who was in exile in India, was asked by national and religious circles of Afghanistan to return to the country. In this period Mohammad Nadir Khan (father of King Zahir Shah), who was in France, arrived at the border of Afghanistan. Following the unrest, it was the Mojaddedi family (the father and great uncle of Prof. Sibghatullah) who took the responsibility of leading the Muslim Afghan nation in various fields, religious and spiritual in particular.

Education and Start of Activities

From the start of the second half of the twentieth century however, the political, religious and ideological leadership of the Afghan society demanded a rather new approach; an approach which could take full account of and remain fully alert against infiltration of the atheistic communism with its various damaging dimensions that had its roots in a materialistic and faithless doctrine. The ideological offensive of this atheistic movement was strongly geared against Islam and the Muslim lands, following the Second World War.

This time the burden of guiding the movement against atheism fell on the shoulders of a young member of the Mojaddedi family who, in addition to possessing a deep knowledge of Islam, was fully aware of the role of modern science in human life, the complicated political issues in the world and the changing Afghan mentality in response to its expanding exposure to western civilisation. This young individual was Hazrat Sibghatullah Al-Mojaddedi.

Following high school education at Habibia High School and acquiring a basic understanding of Islam from eminent scholars of Afghanistan at private level, Prof. Sibghatullah Al-Mojaddedi entered Al-Azhar University in Cairo where he completed college and post graduate degrees, with honours in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence. Following his return to Afghanistan in 1952, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi refused offers of work at government positions and decided to serve as an educator instead.

He thus taught at Kabul University as well as the Higher Institutes of Teachers’ Training and Arabic Studies. Being aware of the need to train the younger generation, he also extensively lectured at various high schools in Kabul. As an educator and strong advocate of justice and social and political reform, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi spoke openly against the prevailing injustice under the authoritarian rule of Mr. Daoud and his harsh and cruel treatment of political oppositions. He also lectured on the need for political reform and taught a class on Islamic Politics and social justice at Kabul University.

As a capable educator, he effectively enlightened his students who devotedly revered and respected him - something that highly disturbed Mr. Daoud, the communist elements and their Soviet supporters across the border. The extent of the love and respect that Prof. Al-Mojaddedi’s students had for him can be understood from the fact that while Mr. Daoud’s establishment ultimately barred Prof. Al-Mojaddedi from teaching at Kabul University, his university students would, voluntarily and against the will of the government, join his classes at other institutions or even come to take lessons from him at his modest residence.

Prof. Al-Mojaddedi’s popularity among the youth and the respect he had earned in the educational and scholarly circles as well as his success in effectively dampening the otherwise speedy advent of communism among the youth disturbed the Soviets who were determined to promote their ideology in Afghanistan at any cost. Thus in a joint conspiracy of the two neighbouring authoritarian regimes, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi was arrested in 1959, when Mr. Daoud decided to host the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Kabul. Prof. Al-Mojaddedi was accused of campaigning against Khrushchev’s visit and was imprisoned, without trial, spending over four and a half years in prison cells. Nevertheless he continued his struggle even under the severe conditions of the prison.

Following his release Prof. Mojaddedi was exiled to Egypt and Saudi Arabia by King Zahir Shah for one year, and was barred from teaching after returning to his homeland. In the course of over five years of Prof. Al-Mojaddedi’s absence from the political and educational scene in Afghanistan, communism spread at an unprecedented pace in the country, affecting the innocent minds of thousands of Afghan youth who no longer had the opportunity to be exposed to the meaningful and decent ideological and political alternative that Prof. Al-Mojaddedi’s school of thought provided. This, in itself could be construed as one of the main causes of the tragic turn of political events in Afghanistan.

Social, Political and Religious Services

In 1972, in his capacity as the most effective and best-recognised religious and scholarly personality of Afghanistan, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi established the movement of Jamiat-e-Ulamae Mohammadi. This movement played a decisive role in awakening the various sectors of the Afghan society all over the country, against communists, their conspiracies and foreign backing. Exchanging views with intellectuals, religious scholars and government officials, Prof. Al- Mojaddedi emphasised that Afghanistan’s relations with its neighbours has to be based upon a policy of non-interference and mutual respect for one another’s territorial integrity and national independence.

In 1973, while Prof. Mojaddedi was attending a multinational Islamic conference outside the country, the communist-dominated military coup of Mr. Daoud took place in Afghanistan. Thus, at the earnest request of his followers as well as his colleagues at Jamiat-e-Ulamae Mohammadi who feared for his safety in Afghanistan, Prof. Mojaddedi went to Saudi Arabia for a year and then proceeded to Denmark where he established the Islamic Cultural Centre of Scandinavia in Copenhagen, and several smaller centres of Islamic learning in different parts of Denmark and another Islamic Centre in Oslo, Norway. During his four years stay in Denmark, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi undertook the education of hundreds of Muslim children and thousands of adults, arranged for the Islamic processing of meat products for interested Muslims living in Scandinavia as well as its export to Muslim countries. He rendered effective services in introducing Islam to the people of Scandinavia by elaborating on this great religion’s diverse aspects including its valuable injunctions on issues of moderation, tolerance and respect for other religions.

The Declaration of Armed Resistance and Wise Leadership

The bloody communist coup of April 1978, which took place at the hand of pro-Soviet elements, brought Khalq party’s Taraki into power in Afghanistan. In the face of this tragic development Prof. Mojaddedi immediately started to play his role and serve for regaining the liberation of Afghanistan. First, he went to Pakistan (within ten days after the communist coup) and laid the foundation of a common Front for resistance, then he went to Saudi Arabia and held an important meeting of religious and political Afghan personalities in Mecca Al-Mokarrama, and finally returned to Pakistan and established the Afghan National Liberation Front.

Like his grandfather Hazrat Shamsul Mashaikh Mojaddedi who led the independence movement against British imperialism, Prof. Sibghatullah Al-Mojaddedi took his struggle for independence very seriously, establishing it on a firm foundation and clearly declaring its high objectives. Being fully conscious of his family background and his religious and national leadership, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi was the first to call the Afghan nation to Jehad in the face of the Soviet aided communist take over of Afghanistan, by announcing a general resistance through-out the country on 13th March 1979.

As a reaction to Prof. Mojaddedi’s declaration of Jehad the puppet regime of Taraki arrested and prosecuted all his male relatives, including his brother, cousins and brothers-in-law. Over one hundred members of the Mojaddedi family have been persecuted by communist regime in the process of arrests and executions, in addition to many others who lost their lives through active participation in the resistance.

During the years of the resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi made considerable efforts and immensely contributed towards unity of Mujahideen. Based on the wide trust and prestige that he enjoyed among the Mujahideen and other sectors, the Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen elected him as its President. He capably remained in this position till the liquidation of the said unity and formation of the seven-party coalition in 1985. Prof. Al-Mojaddedi tirelessly strived for the realisation of a meaningful understanding and productive co-operation among Mujahideen parties.

Conscious of the norms and demands of twentieth century in the areas of human contacts and international relations, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi has emerged as a moderated Muslim leader who, with his full knowledge of Islamic principles, respects international values. He has travelled to different countries, participated in numerous international gatherings and has exchanged views with many prominent world figures. Having a number of valuable literary materials in Dari (Persian) and English, he also stands as one of the most prominent speakers and effective lecturers of the Muslim World.

Election as President

The Grand Consultative Council convened by the Afghan Mujahideen parties in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, elected Prof. Al-Mojaddedi as the President of the Islamic Interim Government of Afghanistan (famously known as the AIG) on 23rd February 1989. The election of Prof. Al-Mojaddedi in this gathering of over 450 delegates representing a cross-section of the population was a testimony of his popularity and extensive support base in the Afghan nation.

In his capacity as President, Prof. Mojaddedi effectively represented the valiant Afghan Mujahideen both at the national as well as the international levels. During the Gulf War he was among the first world leaders to condemn the unjustified invasion of Kuwait. While most other Afghan leaders, particularly the extremists, had opposing views, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi boldly took the decision of sending Afghan Mujahideen troops to Saudi Arabia for defending the holy sites of Al-Haramain Al-Sharifain. His readiness to provide further troops for the defence of other Gulf States was also warmly received by leaders of these brotherly Muslim countries.

Establishment of the Islamic State of Afghanistan

Prof. Mojaddedi remained President of AIG for over three years until the Mujahideen leaders reposed their confidence in him under the historic Accord of 24th April 1992 for implementing the transfer of power from the defeated communist regime to the Mujahideen Islamic government. Following a dramatic road journey from Peshawar to Kabul at the head of a 50 member Jehadi Shura, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi took office as the first President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan at a very critical and risky juncture of the Afghan history.

But in a meagre two months time and by virtue of his dynamic and extraordinary popular leadership, Prof. Mojaddedi managed to steer the country out of its most difficult period of history in the post communist era.

He succeeded in restoring peace and security by swiftly controlling the law and order situation thus creating conducive circumstances for the return of hundreds and thousands of Afghan refugees to their homeland with honour and dignity. By securing international recognition and strong commitments of worldwide support for the Islamic State of Afghanistan, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi put the war-torn country on track for prosperity and stability.

Above all, being a great leader with firm principles and strong adherence to his commitments, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi transferred power at the expiry of his two months presidential tenure to the Leadership Council of Afghanistan on 28th June 1992 in an extremely smooth and peaceful manner, not witnessed in contemporary Afghan history. This was done with the intention to give the transitional process a proper chance for success, to be followed by the Afghan nation’s right to exercise self-determination.

Subsequent Developments and Prof. Mojaddedi’s Role as a Mediator

But unfortunately, in the wake of future developments the nation was denied its fundamental right to self-determination when a fake and unrepresentative so-called Hal wa Aqd Shura was convened by the government of Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani, thus barring the masses from expressing their views and electing their leader in a free atmosphere.

It is tremendously disturbing that despite the sincere efforts of Prof. Al-Mojaddedi and other devoted Afghan notables the concept of a truly Islamic government that could ensure peace, security, stability and prosperity failed to materialise under Mr. Rabbani mainly due to the regime’s insistence to illegally remain in power, beyond its agreed 4-months tenure. The use of force against the will of the majority resulted in immense innocent bloodshed and untold destruction in the country, particularly in the capital Kabul.

But with the course of time the regime weakened and a new force called the Taliban Islamic Movement, which originated from Kandahar province, started gaining ground. By September 1996 the Taliban captured Kabul and two years later most of northern and central Afghanistan also came under its control at the cost of thousands of lives and devastation of the remaining parts of the country. The Taliban then pushed for total victory without caring how much further bloodshed and destruction the continued war would bring.

Throughout the internal fighting, Prof. Mojaddedi endeavoured to convince the warring factions and their foreign supporters to abandon armed conflict and initiate meaningful negotiations. He firmly believed that the war for power could not be justified and that no side could win militarily.

Feeling very strongly about the continued sufferings of the innocent Afghan people, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi tried actively to build-up consensus among Afghans. By laying down the foundation of Association for Peace and National Unity of Afghanistan in January 1999, along with Pir Syed Ahmad Gailani and other influential Afghan personalities, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi worked towards unifying the voice of the majority of the Afghan people who were totally against the power struggle.

Prof. Al-Mojaddedi could not remain silent in the face of the blatant foreign interferences in the affairs of his country and thus advised the leaders of some neighbouring countries to refrain from indulging in this dangerous and unfair practice. When his repeated advice and requests were not adhered to, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi left the region in protest.

Although based in Copenhagen for over two years due to certain obstacles, Prof. Mojaddedi did not spare any effort for securing a cessation of hostilities between the warring factions and finding a lasting solution to the conflict in his homeland. In line with his principle stand on providing the Afghan nation the opportunity to decide upon its future, Hazrat Al-Mojaddedi actively participated in various Afghan peace initiatives, including the Cyprus and Rome Processes. While extending his wise and valuable guidance, he maintained that meaningful cooperation and coordination between the various peace initiatives is imperative for reaching a just solution to the Afghan conflict.

The Fall of Taliban and Preceding Events

The Taliban failed to benefit from the wise advices of Sheikh Al-Mojaddedi towards moderation, respect for the legitimate rights of the Afghan people and accepting a negotiated settlement to the Afghan imbroglio. Instead the administration continued to harbour foreign extremists and thus deepened the miseries of the innocent Afghan people, while it prepared the groundwork for its own downfall.

Prof. Mojaddedi was among the first Afghan leaders to denounce the horrendous terrorist attacks of 11th September 2001. On the basis of Islamic principles, he unequivocally condemns terrorism with all its evil forms and manifestations. While supporting the identification of terrorists and preventing such incidents from recurring, Prof. Mojaddedi strongly believes that in the process of bringing the perpetrators of such attacks to justice, no innocent civilian lives should be lost.

Prof. Al-Mojaddedi also protested to the overwhelming and careless aerial bombardment of Afghanistan by the US-led coalition that followed the tragic attacks of September 11 on the US. In a statement issued on 24th October 2001 and in the course of a press conference, he termed the scope of the aerial bombardments of his country as excessive and citing the anger of the Afghan people he called the massive loss of civilian lives and property as unacceptable. He also called on the allied forces to strictly prevent the loss of further civilian life and property.

Parallel to the downfall of the Taliban government, representatives of several Afghan factions held peace deliberations under the auspices of the United Nations in Bonn where they reached an agreement on the formation of an Interim Authority with Mr. Hamid Karzai as Chairman, which took over power in Kabul on 22nd December 2001. Even with the unbalanced composition of the Bonn meeting and serious drawbacks in its proceedings, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi supported its outcome in view of the larger national interest.

The Inalienable Right of Self-Determination

Prof. Mojaddedi’s firm commitment to the principle of self-determination by the people of Afghanistan and his strong support for their legitimate right to freely elect their leadership has earned him a special status among various segments of the Afghan nation. Based on this principle he had always advocated with strength the need for convening of a widely representative Grand Shura (Loya Jirga) to solve Afghan crises.

The institution of Loya Jirga carries great importance in the history of Afghanistan, wherein matters of leadership and other political issues of national implication have been decided upon with highly successful results. Enjoying strong traditional support, the Loya Jirga has its roots in the Islamic doctrine of ‘Ahl Al-Hal wa Al-Aqd’ and Shura which provides Muslims with the opportunity to express their political views through their representatives drawn from various categories of the nation.

The Emergency Loya Jirga of June 2002 that elected Mr. Hamid Karzai President of the Islamic Transitional Government of Afghanistan was an effort in the right direction but certainly had its serious shortcomings. Despite his reservations, Prof. Mojaddedi participated in this gathering and backed its results with a view to support the institution of Loya Jirga as a forum through which the true representatives of the nation can participate in the country’s political process.

Prof. Al-Mojaddedi hoped that the future constitution of Afghanistan would provide guarantees for a transparent process through which members of Loya Jirga and Parliament could be elected, whereas it would ensure that the proceedings of such important state institutions are carried out in a fair and dignified atmosphere free of manipulation and coercive effects.

The Constitutional Loya Jirga

With convening of the Constitutional Loya Jirga from 14th December 2003 to 4th January 2004, the Afghan nation was provided with a long awaited opportunity to freely choose the type of political system it deemed fit for the country. Once again the outstanding personality of Prof. Mojaddedi came to light, as he was elected Chairman of the Loya Jirga by a strong majority vote.

As important an event this was, as delicate a challenge it proved to be. The over 500 delegates hailing from all parts of the country and harbouring various viewpoints debated the draft constitution with great zeal and interest. At times the debates became extremely polarised with the opposing camps entering deadlocks on contentious issues, thus creating fears that the Jirga would fail. However, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi’s effective leadership played in positively not only in maintaining calm and order in the proceedings of the Grand Assembly, but also in finding common grounds and reaching agreements.

Following 21 consecutive days of serious and tiring deliberations, the Afghan nation proved once again that it is capable of living up to the most complicated challenges. The approval of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan by consensus under the capable leadership of Prof. Mojaddedi is a remarkable achievement which lays down, God willing, the foundation of an independent, prosperous, stable and moderate Islamic Afghanistan.

Promoting Reconciliation and Encouraging Measures for a Brighter Future

As a dedicated true national leader, Hazrat Al-Mojaddedi spares no effort in helping promote national unity and genuine reconciliation. His presence in the Afghan capital and his tireless efforts are a blessing for all Afghans who greatly value his wise and selfless guidance. Enjoying deep respect among various segments of the population, while keeping a low profile, Prof Mojaddedi continued to successfully help defuse political, tribal, ethnic and religious tensions that arose from time to time. In his capacity as an authority in religious and spiritual circles, a seasoned political figure and a respectable social leader, he commands a unique status by virtue of which various political, religious, tribal and governmental circles seek his sagacious advice at the highest levels.

Prof. Al-Mojaddedi believes that the Afghan people must put the past behind them, learn from their mistakes and initiate a fresh sense of unity, brotherhood and cooperation. He emphatically opposes all forms of ethnic, linguistic, sectarian and political prejudices and encourages his compatriots to revive their Islamic principles and national values, which inspire feelings of unity, love, peace, tranquillity, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

Based on these principles Professor Mojaddedi accepted the offer to lead the Independent National Commission for Peace and Reconciliation in March 2005. Since its establishment, the Commission has had remarkable success in convincing thousands of Taliban supporters and their allies to lay down their arms. In addition, the Commission has also secured the release of hundreds of Afghan prisoners from jails and detention centres in Afghanistan and abroad. Those who have reconciled and denounced violence, lead a peaceful life today. Many of them have re-integrated in the society by finding jobs in the public and private sectors, taking part in social and political life, contesting elections, serving as members of parliament and contributing to the society by a diversity of peaceful means.

Hazrat Mojaddedi continues to advise both the government as well as call on the armed opposition to focus on peaceful means of reconciliation for ensuring just and lasting peace in Afghanistan. Considering foreign interference as the root-cause of continued fighting, he openly criticises those foreign circles that still continue to support and encourage fighting, bloodshed, suicide bombings and destabilisation of the country.

He strongly supports efforts aimed at strengthening state institutions, such as the Parliament, Police and the National Army, whereby representatives of the people could have a direct say in affairs of the state through the Legislature and the Afghans could address their security and defence concerns in an effective manner. This would in turn pave the way for the early withdrawal of foreign forces including ISAF/NATO and US-led coalition troops, the prolonged stay of which on Afghan soil would certainly entail negative repercussions.

Prof. Mojaddedi hopes that the international community would continue supporting Afghanistan and that the Afghan government as well as non-governmental organisations would be able to work efficiently, transparently and sincerely for the speedy reconstruction of his devastated country.

Presidential and Parliamentary Elections

Conscious of the importance of an elected Parliament that represent the views and aspirations of Afghans in the political life of the country, Hazrat Al-Mojaddedi worked hard for realisation of free and fair general elections following the constitution’s approval by the Constitutional Loya Jirga in early 2004.

Inspired by the new constitution, Afghanistan held its first Presidential election under the universal franchise of ‘one man one vote’ on 9th October 2004. Prof. Mojaddedi was approached by several candidates for support and blessing. Following in-depth deliberations and analyses, the Afghan National Liberation Front under his leadership supported Mr. Hamid Karzai. Not only ANLF members but a vast spectrum of Afghans from different parts of the country sought Prof. Mojaddedi’s opinion on whom to vote for. By virtue of this far reaching valuable support, Mr. Karzai won the Presidential election with a comfortable 55 percent of the vote.

In the Parliamentary elections of 18th September 2005, he advised his supporters within and outside his party to vote for candidates based on their honesty, sincerity and dedication to serve the country, regardless of party affiliation.

While giving his blessing to the administration that emerged from the elections, Prof. Mojaddedi has kept a close eye on the President and his government’s performance and handling of affairs. He has continuously extended his advice, presented his analytical observations, and encouraged measures that could ensure better governance.

Election as Chairman of the Senate

The Afghan people have no doubt in the sincere and charismatic leadership of Hazrat Al-Mojaddedi and he is probably the only Afghan leader in contemporary times to get repeated votes of confidence from his compatriots, in various forums, over a stretch of nearly three decades.

His election as Chairman of the Upper House of Parliament, the House of Elders (Meshrano Jirga) on 18th December 2005 is yet another unequivocal testimony of his popular leadership. The Senate proceedings function very smoothly under his wise leadership and the body lives up to the task of legislation.

The initial confidence that the public had in President Karzai and his administration is unfortunately eroding with the passage of time. Inappropriate appointments, wide-spread corruption, inability to deliver on promises made to the people and violation of the constitution by certain key members of his administration are some of the reasons for the emergence of this mistrust. As Mr. Karzai was unable to take effective corrective action, despite the repeated advises of Prof. Mojaddedi, he deemed it necessary, in the larger national interest, to go public with his constructive criticism in October 2006, demanding a positive change of course. Prof. Mojaddedi presented his proposals and suggestions to the President, stressing upon better governance, and warned that unless bold steps are taken to correct the prevailing state of affairs, Afghanistan would lose the present window of opportunity.