Anis Matta Reminds All Parties Not to Let Foreign Powers Turn Indonesia Into a New Battlefield

Partaigelora.id – The chairman of the Gelora Party, Anis Matta, reminded all parties not to allow foreign powers to turn Indonesia into a new battlefield as a result of global and regional geopolitical conflicts in Afghanistan.

Anis Matta delivered his warning in last week’s Gelora Talks entitled ‘Taliban Challenges; Can they Form an Effective Government?’ in Jakarta, Wednesday (1/9/2021).

In the discussion which was attended by former head of BAIS TNI Vice Admiral (Ret) Soleman B Ponto, State Intelligence Agency (BIN) spokesperson Wawan H Purwanto, and terrorism observer Haris Abu Ulya, Anis Matta cautioned that there would be too many variables beyond Indonesia’s control arising from this conflict.

“This is one of our important national interests, that we would not be turned into collateral damage. The conflicts are between other people but we are the one who die. That is what we need to avoid, because we have experience, so that we as a nation must focus on not letting this happen,” said Anis Matta.

Anis Matta refered to Indonesia becoming under Japanese occupation during the Pacific War of World War II as ‘collateral damage’. Furthermore, during the Cold War Indonesia endured a communist insurrection, and after the Soviet Union collapsed Indonesia also underwent the political reforms of 1998.

“We do not know if Afghanistan would become a battlefield, a new model of conflict that can be opened up. Indeed, it is best for us in Indonesia at this time to see what will happen next.

We are concerned with our interests as a nation so that we will not be turned into a collateral damage of other parties’ conflicts,” he said.
According to Anis Matta, the establishment of the current Taliban government in Afghanistan in principle will face three difficult challenges: forming an effective government, reintegrating Afghanistan, and building the economy.

The United States’ (US) decision to leave Afghanistan abruptly has created many rifts, both internally in Afghanistan and in the Central Asian region. That includes relations with China, India, Pakistan, and the Islamic world in general.

Anis said the first challenge would be related to the country’s development process, from politics to the consolidation of the government elite. Then related to the shift in the tribal paradigm, as well as matters related to the preparation for basic statehood, a constitution and the formation of government institutions.

“Afghanistan’s second challenge, in this case under the Taliban, is of course a matter of reintegrating the country back into the international system. I think this is a crucial point because it will relate to the third challenge, namely economic development,” he explained.

The Taliban will face major economic problems in Afghanistan with 54% of its population living below the poverty line, 23% unemployment rate, and a GDP of only around US$ 20 billion. Afghanistan certainly in need of investments from the international community.

Hence, Afghanistan’s future will be determined by many global and regional geopolitical factors. Moreover, the international community mainly views the Taliban as a terrorist movement, not a resistance movement in Afghanistan.

“Can the international community accept the Taliban, who they previously labeled as a terrorist movement? And the response of the international community still varies today. There are many other factors that can affect its effort to form an effective government, which in itself is not easy to realize. For example, we see failed democracies in the Middle East, such as Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Syria,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, former head of Bais TNI retired Admiral Soleman B. Ponto reminded Indonesia to be careful before making any decision regarding Afghanistan.

Do not let Indonesia’s friendship with neighboring countries be damaged by being deemed as taking an excessively wrong stance. Indonesia must first consider the benefits and common interests that would be served because many countries have interests related to Afghanistan including India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, the US and Europe.

“If you want to make a relationship, you have to see what our interests and advantages. We should wait and see the conditions, so that there is no misunderstanding between the friendly nations,” he said.

Wawan H Purwanto, BIN Deputy-VII for Communication and Information and its spokesperson, added that Indonesia has an interest in a peaceful Afghanistan, so that relations and stability can be established.

According to Wawan, the Taliban needs international recognition to realize their promises as stated in agreement in Doha, Qatar with the US some time ago.

By gaining the trust of the international community, the Taliban can begin to organize Afghanistan. Without it, the Taliban is just waiting for the time to fall, and Afghanistan be embroiled in a civil war.

“Give the Taliban a chance to show their efforts, even though they cannot completely control the existing militias. In a transition period, it is not easy to overcome the damage in an instant. But day by day, week by week, we still try to help with efforts diplomacy. Hopefully with international cooperation, stability will be created in Afghanistan,” said Wawan H Purwanto.

Meanwhile, Terrorism Observer Haris Abu Ulya from The Community of Ideological Islamic Analyst (CIIA), analyzes that the ideology of the Taliban is not as extreme as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

He also said that the vision of the Taliban as Sunni is not oriented towards building a caliphate like ISIS, but only building the Emirate government based in Afghanistan.

“Until this moment the Taliban have never declared that they will establish a caliphate state, they only mention an Imarah government, a kind of several key ministers. The Taliban today appear different, their way of thinking is different,” said Haris Abu Ulya.

“This of course opens a gap to start building trust, but it’s all still waiting, wait and see. Will this become a country and can get along, and not become a home base for groups that can create problems in other countries,” he adde.

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