Solomon Obi and P. Njodzeka AmbaNews24, New York, USA
Yesterday, August 16, the Talibans retook control of Afghanistan after barely nine days of a lightning sweep of the country. The United States and its NATO allies who had chased the Taliban out of power in 2001 and declared them terrorists withdrew as the Taliban advanced, and Afghanistan’s democratically elected President, Ashraf Ghani, disappeared. We “intercept” the Taliban’s message to Ambazonia in its sweeping re-takeover of the country.
An ideology in the People of the Land cannot be defeated by Guns; it begins the end of Occupation
For twenty years, the Taliban believed their country was under occupation by foreign western powers who had invaded Afghanistan in search of Osama Bin Laden, and to demolish terrorism cells. The USA and its NATO allies pushed the Taliban to the fringes of the country; yet, the Taliban never disappeared. They held on to the ideology that Afghanistan was their land, and the occupation of their country by foreign powers must end. Today, it isn’t some foreign power but the Taliban themselves who are back in the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Their conviction forced the United States to choose between continuous blood of Americans and billions in tax payers to sustain a weak regime and the security of Americans.
Ambazonia, which has nothing to do with terrorism, has been under illegal occupation by an annexationist Cameroon Republic for more than sixty years. The road to its liberation begins with the firm believe in the Ambazonian people that this occupation must end no matter what it will take. The freedom of Ambazonia depends on the people of Ambazonia. No one, foreign or domestic, can force us into living with or under Cameroon – whether as a unitary state, a federal state, or “special status state”, or whatever form of state anyone can imagine. The future of Ambazonia depends on Ambazonians who are individually and collectively the liberators of their land!!!
Time is not on the Side of the Occupier
It has taken the Taliban 20years to end what they believed was “occupation” even after the killing of Osama Bin Laden over a decade ago. Black South Africans fought against apartheid for over forty years. It ended in 1994! The Eritreans battled Ethiopia for over thirty years. Eritrea become independent and sovereign on May 24, 1991. The Namibians were in revolt and warfare for 24 years in which over 25,000 people died. In 1990, Namibia became independent! And prior to all this, the Americans fought a far stronger British army for over eight years to become independent and sovereign. Liberation is not a quick fix; only those who make up their minds for the long haul emerge victorious. As the leader of the Ambazonia Liberation struggle, Dr. Cho Ayaba has said severally, liberation is not a sprinter race; it is a marathon, and Ambazonians must tune their minds and be ready for whatever length of time it shall take to end Cameroon’s occupation of their homeland.
Do Not Lay down Your Gun until you Attain Your Objective
For twenty years, even when battered and chased to the country-side, the Taliban held unto their guns. They progressively increased their fire power and never gave up. With those guns, they forced the Americans to admit that life in Afghanistan depends on what Taliban do with their weapons. They became contenders in the Afghanistan stability equation. They quickly ran over cities and President Ghani left Kabul partly because of their fire power – some of it being American armory abandoned in the fields.
Ambazonians must never lay down their guns until they are free from occupation by Cameroon! Premature calls for ceasefire and end of ghost towns across the entire territory are traps! Never fall for them. When John Garang of South Sudan was asked to ceasefire as a sign of good faith to enter into peaceful negotiations, he agreed to nothing more than a two weeks ceasefire confined to the small Nubia Mountains. Everywhere else, he was increasing his fire power and engaging in battles. Whoever tells us to drop our guns must first tell us whether we have achieved the independence and sovereignty of Ambazonia for which we picked up guns to defend ourselves and our territorial integrity. Until there is no sign of a Cameroon soldier’s gun in a sovereign Ambazonia, Ambazonians must never drop their guns! No man agrees that the other should be free – even at a negotiation table – unless that man has fire power pointing at him!!
Guns Alone Do Not Suffice; Diplomacy Matters
The Taliban tried to chase those they perceived as “occupiers” out for two decades without success. How then did they take nine days to achieve their objectives? Twenty years of fire power alone did not make it. Unto their fire power, they added an agreement that they negotiated and entered into with the same USA that had labelled them as a terrorist organization.
Here is the chain of events: in 2018, the Donald Trump administration got Mullah Abdul Ghani Barader, co-founder of the Taliban released from jail in Pakistan. On February 29, 2020, Barader signed a deal with the Americans, and met with senior diplomats from Russia, Indonesia and Norway after that. In September of the same year, Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo met with Baradar in Qatar. In 2021, America allowed the Taliban to take over the country with Barader likely to be the next President of Afghanistan! What we see today is three years of diplomacy, which always walks slowly.
There are no permanent enemies in the politics of international relations; there are only the safeguarding of interests. Once America safeguarded its interest in the agreement with the Taliban, the rest was history!
Arms battles against Cameroon on the ground will not suffice to shorten the days of liberation martyrdom, chaos, Ambazonians becoming refugees, etc. Solid diplomacy must be added to self-defense. Diplomacy here does not mean negotiations with Cameroon. It implies getting the powerful on the side of Ambazonia. Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the Taliban entered Kabul because he knew the Taliban had the support of the USA per the Taliban-American Agreement of February 2020. Fire power enforces such solid diplomacy, and it takes persons in high places to concretize it in this contemporary world that is predominantly capitalistic.
Liberate before Governing
The Talibans governed Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. They have tested power; but when they perceived their land under occupation, they pushed governance to the back and prioritized liberation. They did not create a cabinet before advancing on Kabul – even if they had a list of ministers written, but hidden while they advanced. Appointing ministers and directors would have caused more in-fighting among them, and distracted them from the goal of re-taking Afghanistan. They focused on defense and diplomacy, with a few individuals – a majority unknown to the public – leading the diplomatic front. When faced with occupation, liberation must always take priority over governance!
Ambazonia is under occupation by Cameroun. Its liberation has to take priority in time over governance. Although the creation of a government is necessary for de-facto statehood, a government is neither a priority in the liberation process nor a requirement for the international recognition of the state. It often has the risk of prioritizing power above freedom, and creating in-fighting in the liberation struggle. Ambazonia has already experienced this. We have to learn from the Taliban – and many other liberation struggles – and shun anything that prioritizes governance before liberation.
The Eritrean People Liberation Front (EPLF) throughout its over three decades of fighting Ethiopia for the independence and sovereignty of Eritrea, and of providing health, education and social services to the Eritrean people never created a government or turned itself into one. It did erect a government only when it took over the capital City of Asmara in the culmination of its liberation struggle, and declared independence. It had governance plans and policies prepared, but no government – whether interim or by whatever name – was erected!! Freedom is primordial to liberators; power is primordial to governors! And freedom and power are often in conflict with each other!