The Fall of Taliban regime from most of the parts of Afghanistan was something like a nation taking full breath after she had entered a sinister tunnel, whose other end they were desperately looking for since last five years of brutal Taliban rule, and abruptly they got it when their hope of to have the air of freedom in lungs was getting to vanish with every passing day.

US war on terrorism, in the after math of September 11 cataclysmic events in NYC and Washington D.C gave back that optimism to Afghan nation, which after suffering two decades of civil war had been languishing under Taliban regime since September 1996. Global community had simply lost their interest in their appalling conditions and pain since Soviet Union ’s withdraw in 1989. However, Global community returned to their rescue when realization came to free world that humanity can not afford blunder of leaving a country untouched to be ruled by scoundrel rulers who not only had become menace for world peace and tranquility with the passage of time, but also they had kept their own people in terrible condition. Short of complete slavery indeed. Taliban zealots with distorted image of static Islam forced their obsolete belief of living on Afghan people. As happens with a schizophrenic, they were detached from reality, calling their hallucinations the command and will of God. Early in the year 2001, when they blew up world’s tallest standing Buddha Statues in Bamian, Central Afghanistan , Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Omar had stated that He had heard voice of God, urging him to destroy Buddha’s statues as they were symbol of infidelity, so he did.

As one columnist noted,” People who whip women because their ankles are showing or force every man to keep six inch long beard, do not live in the same world as you and I.”

What else liberation is if some very trifling otherwise becomes most sought after moments of life? Cutting hair, shaving grown hairs on ones cheek, not seeing world through net of long veil (covering body of a woman in habeas corpus) but through corners of eye lash, and listening flute on airways? People of Afghanistan were liberated in real terms after the defiant Taliban crumbled to US aerial bombardment and Northern Alliances’ forces advance on ground to drive hem away.

All the acts, that Taliban declared as sins are otherwise part of normal living. To a certain extent, we do not pay attention on these trivial in our routine living.

Jawaharlal Nehru, Free India’s first prime minister, who struggled bravely against British rule over India , wrote in his memoirs the trivia of imprisonment as freedom fighter. He writes, “If I am asked to identify one single most suffering that saddened me while in prison is this that in jail I was missing to listen to the melodic voice of feminine and child crying.”

So, did happen with Afghans who celebrated Taliban rout with playing music and shaving off their mandatory beaded. An indirect act of defiance, besides.

Now that Taliban have run out of Afghan cities, Afghan people can sing, dance, shave and women can do what ever to their uncovered faces, women can feel soft breeze on their face while walking on the streets and alleys of Afghan cities, as there are no more Taliban who would lash people at their pursuit of natural instincts of seeking pleasure and attention. Barbers saloon had long queues out side for shaving off what ever they were forced to wear on their faces in the name of Faith by Taliban fanatics. People in Kabul are seen cleaning dust off from their TV and radio sets to see and hear the rhythm of life, that they were forced to forget by puritan regime, as they proclaimed it to be against the wish and command of God.

So, the life starts to return to Afghan cities as Taliban bigots sprint to desert and mountains for what they boast of, a protracted guerrilla war.

But his jubilation is being marred by anti-Taliban Afghan groups’ tug of war over the question of who will hold sway in post-Taliban Kabul . United Front (or Northern Alliance as it is most often called) that drove Taliban out of most parts of Afghanistan encompasses often-conflicting interest and egos of several ethnically and regionally distinct armed groups. All anti-Taliban groups are participating in UN sponsored talks in Bonn , Germany to agree for future transitional government in Kabul .

General Hamid Gull, Ex Chief of Pakistan ’ intelligence agency ISI, an ardent supporter of Taliban regime, relentlessly call Taliban withdrawal from major parts of Afghanistan a tactical retreat. “Taliban eldership knew that United Front is not so united in real terms. Their differences will surface once they are having something to call ownership.” He comments, “Therefore Taliban let in United Front ( Northern Alliance ) control Afghan cities to invite their differences to be surfaced.”

For him after the decline and fall of Taliban, Afghanistan has been thrown back to the 1992 position, the year Afghan resistance groups toppled communist regime in Kabul and a bloody civil war ensued that paved the way for Taliban movement that ultimately entered the Afghan capital triumphantly in September 1996.

Northern Alliance forces that entered Kabul mainly comprise one ethnic group, Tajic, and this rouse ire of other ethnic groups in Northern Alliance , who despite common abhorrence for Taliban lack mutual trust among their rank and file.

Burhanuddune Rabbani deposed Afghan president who was in charge of Capitol Kabul in 1996 when Taliban entered as victorious, has returned to Kabul as de facto head of state. Political analyst see his return to Kabul in these times a blow to UN effort to build a broad based, post-Taliban government in Kabul. Afghan exile King Zahir Shah’s representative went public to criticize this one sided decision which they call breach of previous agreed accord. Multilateral forces are being snubbed for their presence in Afghanistan .

“WE do not expect any more foreign troops (in Kabul ). WE see no need for that.” Northern Alliance ’ acting interior minister Younus Qanooni told AFP, while showing his displeasure to presence of British troops around Kabul soon after they entered Kabul . Ismail Khan, ex-Mujahdeen commander who now controls western Afghan province Heart has declared that foreign troops on Afghan soil are not welcomed.

Nonetheless, the group that is presently controlling Kabul has softened his tone on prospect of broad based Afghan government and has declared that they will go by international community in any decision regarding future of Afghanistan, political observers are suspicious of their sincerity in their pledge. The Northern alliance’s monopoly on Kabul affairs is being felt nervously by all the power centers from United Nation’s HQ in New York to Washington and Islamabad .

Toughest task in ongoing war so far is to seek a balanced formula on which all parties agree. After meeting Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in Ottawa other day, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned Northern Alliance leadership, “If they do not do that, and one group tries to control power (in Kabul ) and assert itself, it is going to be problem down the line.” He said, “And I would hope that Mr. Rabbani also is aware of this happening since he knows intimately the history of his own country.”

Some informed circles in Islamabad are hopeful that USA has been pressing Northern Alliance to share power with other Afghan factions and ethnic groups, and to let the U.N. to supervise assemblage of a new government. Pakistan is pressing for lion’s share in future Kabul administration for Pashtun ethnic groups of Afghanistan , who are in majority in Afghan demography.

There are also reports of stand off amongst anti-Taliban alliance factions over the question of who will get upper hand in future political arrangements in Kabul . Several hundred Hizbe-e-Wahdat militia men, ethnically Hazara, are camped outside the capitol Kabul in apparent bid to secure edge in future political arrangements for their ethnic group. However Abdul Karim Khalili, head of Hezb-e-Wahdat has declared that his troops had no plans to stage a Northern Alliance-style storming of Kabul . But one can not be so naïve to exclude this risk out rightly if their faction is not satisfied with power sharing formula, that world hope will emerge from Bonn conference.

Interestingly, it seems, say for a moment, forces opposite to Taliban have lost interest in Global community’s Agenda to rout Taliban completely, as Anti-Taliban forces are more concerned with march on to Kabul with piles of ammunition than to Kandhar, Last safe heaven and spiritual and political stronghold of Taliban regime; and to help US to bring Osama Bin Laden to his nemesis. Only exception is Kudzu, extreme north province, in the heartland of Northern Alliance power base, where thousand of Taliban forces surrender to Northern Alliance after two weeks of siege and US aerial bombardment.

People well versed with Afghanistan’s immediate past now fear that anti-Taliban coalition now lacking the common enemy or sensing emerging opportunities will revitalize old hostility or declare their in control areas their personal fiefdom, thus refusing any national authority’s claim over area under his influence. It happened in past after the fall of communist government in Kabul in 1992, different Afghan Mujahdeen factions fought pitted battled in attempt to control capital Kabul. Civil war ensued that killed fifty thousand people in Kabul owing to falling rockets fired by antagonist Mujahdeen faction. This civil war paved the way for creation of Taliban militia in 1994 and their ultimate successful march to Kabul in 1996 “ In what today, looks like increasingly like deja vu, Kabul trapped in a time-warp, we seem to have returned to 1994, the year the Taliban came into existence.” Ikram Sehgal, Editor, Defense Journal, Karachi , writes,

World and moderate Afghans should not forget that Taliban, a band of medieval warriors got in line with luck to rule Kabul when moderate Afghan factions failed to settle their differences amicably. Afghan People had in 1994 to choose between worst and bad. They had no option but to accept worst when Taliban forced their way to Kabul in the face of moderate Afghan group’s failure to deliver peace to Afghan people. Taliban ruled Kabul over the skeleton and corpse of civil war that killed thousand of Afghan in Kabul city alone during 4 years of civil war during the years of 1992-93.

Now, eyes are all upon peace process initiated by United Nations with conference in Bonn . Though it is naïveté to expect early positive outcome from conference, but we must be knowing that if world fails to find a common wise path to future Afghan government this time, threat of imminent civil war looms over the head of hapless Afghans. Afghans would be facing dilemma of choosing between badness of chaos, civil war and worst of Taliban style peace and tranquility.