An Extremely Serious & Unpredictable Situation
The US is responsible for what is happening in Afghanistan. Washington DC would also have to take the responsibility for what shall happen in Afghanistan in the future! In past, the Taliban wanted to hold talks with the US in Qatar. However, the US rejected the proposal. At that period of time, the only target of the US was Osama bin Laden. Washington DC requested the Taliban to hand over the former Chief of al-Qaeda to the US. As expected, the Afghanistan-based Deobandi Islamist movement and military organisation refused to do the same. This is how the crisis had begun in the South Asian Nation after the 9/11 terror attack in New York. Both the parties got involved in a war in early 2002, and the US portrayed its War against Terror as the War for the Liberation of Afghanistan! Neither George W Bush nor Barack Obama had tried to build a Democratic Afghan State. They did not take any major step to Liberate the People of Afghanistan. It is a fact that the US provided the Asian country with financial aid. However, it was not a big deal, keeping in mind the overall development of Afghanistan in the last 20 years. Gradually, this Truth came to light. Then, the COVID-19 Pandemic rocked the world in December 2019. Like other countries, the US, too, came under immense economic pressure that prompted Donald Trump to announce the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan. The slow pace of troop withdrawals suddenly became fast after Joseph Robinette Biden Jr took charge as the 46th President of the US in January 2021. The US troops have returned home. However, there is no change in the fate of the Afghans. They remain where they were two decades ago! The political and administrative situation has remained the same!
It may be noted that the Administrations of Hamid Karzai (December 2001 – September 2014) and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (September 2014 – August 2021) were largely corrupt. None of these two Afghan Presidents worked hard for the betterment of the common Afghan people, which angered general public. The Afghan Provinces are run by Local Lords, who have their own Militias. The Taliban captured Kabul on August 15, 2021 only after defeating those Local Lords, one by one. When the Taliban had seized power in 1996, they had to defeat those Warlords first. When the US troops had arrived in Afghanistan in 2001, the power of those Warlords was reduced. However, after the formation of the Hamid Karzai Administration, these Lords gradually came closer to the Government, and started ruling their respective provinces, once again, with the help of Afghan Armed Forces. They were against the Taliban from the beginning. Instead, the Warlords used to maintain cordial ties with the Mujahideens. Mujahideens are Islamic guerrillas who engage in Jihad (Struggle), the fight on behalf of Islam or the Islamic community (Ummah). Later, the Afghan Government started relying on those Warlords.
Ghani made an attempt to hand over Power to the Warlords so that they could fight against the Taliban. However, only some of them resisted the Taliban in 2021. The reason is still not very clear. Balkh is one such province that could have resisted the Taliban fighters. Mohammad Ismail Khan put up some resistance in Herat… but he changed his position later. The question naturally arises: Why did they act against the Government of Ashraf Ghani?
The US’ desperate attempt to establish Democracy in Afghanistan might have prompted the Warlords to join hands with the Taliban. In fact, no Government in Afghanistan, including Ghani’s, had been properly elected. The US had played an important role in making Ghani the President in 2014. It created a negative attitude of the Afghans towards the US. The top administrative officials did not like the Taliban. At the same time, they were also against the US because of American atrocities throughout the country. The US Forces had not only destroyed a Red Cross Hospital, but also claimed many innocent lives. The Western Media did not cover these events. Even the Afghan Government had never tried to address these issues. As the Government used to receive millions of US Dollars, it was not possible for President Karzai or President Ghani to go against the US. Karzai had opposed the US’ Afghan Policy towards the end of his term… however, he had to leave the Presidency.
The situation created by the US slowly turned the tide in favour of the Taliban. The Afghans, frustrated by the US’ oppression, started believing that there was a revolutionary spirit among the Taliban fighters. They gradually realised that it would not be possible for them to fight against the US Forces without weapons and logistics. This realisation gave birth to a new chapter of Afghan History. Pakistan and China started providing the Taliban with direct support. The Taliban held a meeting with the Chinese officials earlier in 2021, and during the meeting, the officials from Beijing made it clear that they would back the Taliban Administration, if the terror outfit agreed to protect Chinese investment in Afghanistan. No wonder, the Taliban accepted China’s proposal.
The US economy collapsed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Washington DC realised that it would not be possible to bear the cost of waging a war against the Taliban. Initially, the US had thought that it would receive a huge amount of money from opium cultivation. Although the Americans received some money, they did not get the expected amount. Furthermore, the US suffered a huge loss for waging the war for two decades. Of course, the US had a goal to defeat al-Qaeda, and they achieved that goal. The Taliban, too, agreed not to bring al-Qaeda to the forefront. The US had nothing to gain after this.
The US did not send troops to Afghanistan in order to establish a Democratic State (as claimed by Washington DC). Hence, the Americans decided to leave Afghanistan quietly when they realised that fighting a war against the Taliban would take them nowhere. The US Government had been under tremendous domestic pressure for keeping troops in Central and West Asia. Now, the US’ only goal is to manage its own economic situation. As a result, the Biden Administration has decided to reduce expenditure in various sectors. The withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan is a part of that plan. The US does not want a new war.
It seems that the March 2020 Doha Peace Talks between the US and the Taliban was an eyewash. Perhaps, a deal was struck between the two parties. There is also a possibility that the US informed the Taliban in advance that the former was ready to hand over the power to the terror outfit. Such a move would certainly make China, Russia and the Arab World happy, as they were against the US presence in South Asia. Moreover, the US can ensure a steady supply of oil from West Asia by making such a move.
This episode would remain an important chapter in the History of International Politics, as it indicates the return of Bi-polar Politics. The fall of Kabul is in fact an indication of the US’ defeat to China. Beijing did not trigger a war in recent times. The Asian Giant has stamped its authority as an emerging Global Power through diplomacy and economic struggles. Unlike China, the US triggered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and also in Syria). However, it failed to taste success both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally, the US had to leave Afghanistan after losing the battle. They did the same in April 1975 after losing the Vietnam War. On the other hand, the Taliban still has a huge amount of weapons and money that they received from Pakistan and China. In fact, the Americans have handed over Afghanistan to China and Pakistan without any resistance. The irony of history is that the US has shared the same fate with the erstwhile Soviet Union. The Soviet Forces had left Afghanistan in February 1989 after accepting defeat to the Afghan guerrillas. The guerrillas, who had received support from the US to fight against the Soviet Forces at that time, have won the battle against the US this time. Unfortunately, the condition of the Afghan people remains the same, as they become victims of Global Geopolitics, time and again!
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