Common fates of Burma & Afghanistan

N.B Chyoi / August 17, 2021

A photo-shop image of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Taliban fighter costume

Introspection of recent developments in Afghanistan and the way Taliban have come back to power after twenty years definitely speaks off the courage and coordinated efforts despite all odds. It is accepted that Taliban will commit all sort of human rights violations including forceful marriages or executions, but one must acknowledge that Pasthuns remained largely united.

Afghanistan is also diverse as Burma. Pasthun, Tajiks and Hazara are main tribes and Pasthun, who are Sunni Muslims, are in majority as “Bamar” in Burma. Burma has been a home to approximately 135 tribes and, perhaps a country with largest number of Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs). Unfortunately the country had remained fragmented as majority Bamar and minorities ethnics hold their own agendas. Ethnics never imbibed the feeling of being addressed as “Burmese”.

Ask any ethnic in Burma, he will proudly address him or herself as proud Kachin, Chin, Karen or Shan rather Burmese. This alienation is too deep now and it is the reason, the Army successfully ruled for decades and continues to do so. Junta wants people to remained divided and Junta has created Pyusawhti, a core group, to achieve this objective.

Since last six months, there have been lot of propaganda on social media with regard to People Defense Forces (PDF) and Ethnic Armed Organizations highlighting their achievements but ground realities are different. The number of IDPs have multiplied in Kachin and Karen States. Civil Disobedience Movements (CDMs) have almost disappeared and Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) or National Unity Government (NUG) are only virtual entities and they have lost their lustre too.

Ethnics will neither support Bamar nor EAOs will ever step out of their comfort zones. It’s the real truth that EAOs unable to capture the towns and cities across the country to encounter Burma Army. Unless the anti-junta forces have “Unified Command” comes into action. However, it seems to have difficulties in all aspects to overthrow the Burmese military rule.

Bamars and Ethnics needs to dissolve their agendas first and unite for larger cause in the interest of nation rather Ethnic priorities, otherwise we are bound to fail. Nothing is bigger or above the nation and the feeling of “Burman” needs to be instilled rather acknowledging ourselves as Bamar or Kachin or Chin or Shan. Sense of insecurity among the Bamars and Ethnics needs to be eliminated for good. As insecurities exists within us, Junta knows how to better utilize it.

A country gets more weak due to internal aggression rather external and this aspect can be studied comparatively in Burma and Afghanistan. Whether it’s Junta or Taliban both needs China! It is also very unfortunate to see that except China no other country is ready for investment in Burma or Afghanistan.

N.B Chyoi is a Kachin lawyer and geopolitical analyst focusing especially on Burma, India and China.

The opinion expressed here is the author’s own, and does not represent the editorial policy of The Kachin Post.