Khaleeq Nazar Kiani
The most expensive, lengthy, and deadly Afghan conflict is over with the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, in which the one side superpower has spent over a trillion dollars, and about 0.2 million have lost their lives from both sides. The commander in chief of superpower accepted the defeat in words, “The events we’re seeing now are sadly proof that no amount of military force would ever deliver a stable, united, secure Afghanistan, as known in history as the graveyard of empires. What’s happening now could just as easily happen five years ago or 15 years in the future. We have to be honest, our mission in Afghanistan made many missteps over the past two decades.”
He also tried to justify the U.S intervention in Afghanistan, arguing that Al-Qaeda has been severely degraded and got the Usama bin Ladin, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 incident.
He was candid in pointing out the rampant corruption in the U.S. installed Afghan regime and blamed the Afghan force’s unwillingness to fight against the Taliban despite that the best available modern war machinery was at their disposal. China and Russia were also happy with the U.S/NATO and Taliban duel in the Afghan quagmire.
The controversial and debatable part of Joe Biden’s speech was the denial of nation-building in Afghanistan. It is a fact that the U.S. and West invested a heavy amount in the development of infrastructure and raising the nation-building departments. They tried to introduce democracy and regularly conducted the elections that were mainly manipulated in the interest of occupation forces in Afghanistan. The Ghani and its coterie have long pockets. They equally betrayed the poor Afghan people and their masters.
Why did the U.S fail in Afghanistan?
The main reason for U.S failure is the unfriendly and hostile neighbors of Afgha-nistan who were largely not in agreement with its policies in Afghanistan. Afgha-nistan, a landlocked country, shared its boundaries with Pakistan, Iran, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. All these were overtly or covertly were not happy with the U.S intervention in Afghanistan. Pakistan, a most important and influential player in Afghan affairs, was disturbed by the strategic partnership of the U.S and India in Afghanistan. India was patronizing the Baloch insurgents who have the base camps in Afghanistan. Iran, a victim of anti-Iran actions of the U.S, wanted also has the desire of its defeat. The central Asian States, under the influence of Russia, resorted to a neutral or somewhat anti-U.S position. China also does not want the presence of the U.S near its borders. The control of the whole of Afghanistan by the Taliban with lightning speed in just two weeks was impossible without the tacit approval of neighboring countries in their influenced areas. The analysts are surprised by the surrender of the northern regions without any bloodshed. It was only possible when every powerful entity wanted to get rid of every remains of the U.S in Afghanistan.
Despite the spending of huge amounts by the U.S, the per capita income of about 90% Afghan population was less than 2 dollars. There was great resentment on corruption and the wid-ening gap between rich and poor. The rural economy, abode of over 75% population and a breeding ground of Taliban was fragile.
National pride and dignity is a peculiar feature of Afghan society. Historically, Afghans never accepted the foreign hegemony. Revenge (Badal) is in their blood. They never forget their enemy and wait for generations to take revenge. This may be one of the reasons to abstain from infighting because they don’t want to take this revenge to their coming generations.
What is next?
To govern Afghanistan was not easy in the past and is now more difficult in the present time. The resources of the country are limited to feed over 30 million population. Now the rich countries will not be so generous as to lend or grant the money to Taliban for running the country. The U.S already hinted to stop the IMF funding to Afghanistan. Apparently it looks that the Taliban have realized the gravity of this entire situation and decided to form an inclusive Government. They are not in hurry and holding talks with every stakeholder. They ensured the respect of human rights, declared general amnesty to all. Now their focus wills the China and Russia for the new investment. If they succeed in giving justice and peace to their citizens and respect to female rights, then ultimately West will also change its stance towards the Taliban. Any misadventure from the Taliban will pave the way for another leadership in Afghanistan as the Taliban emerged after the failure of Afghan mujahideen after the Soviets.