By Abid Wani
What the world witnessed with the “Fall of Kabul” is actually a failure of state building project that the U.S tried in Afghanistan after dislodging Taliban in 2001. Was it a realistic plan to be implemented despite knowing the afghan history with invaders? Was it in first place justified to occupy a country with a pretext of “Intervention” when the people of that country looked upon it as an, “occupation”? Even when the purpose of dislodging Taliban from power was served in 2001 and a handpicked civilian government were put in place. Wasn’t it the right time then to have no more boots on ground and strike a peace deal with the civilian government and the Taliban, a right time for allowing an inclusive government? All these questions got answered with the, “Fall of Kabul”. The World saw what the western intervention did to Iraq, Libya and Syria. The promised peace never prevailed but what was achieved was mass loot of resources, unprecedented chaos and human sufferings, emerging of Frankenstein like ISIS, Sectarianism and the visuals that came out of these war torn countries will haunt the world forever.
All this and much more, but the only thing that remains common among this entire west created conflicts is the pretext of, “western intervention for peace”. The Bush and Blair duo along with their allies leaved no stone unturned in using this dangerous pretext in Afghanistan and Iraq. The fake theory that “Iraq possessed WMD’s (Weapons of mass destruction) and the west needed to intervene to save the world from the threat that Saddam regime caused was actually all a hoax. Iraq was ruined and the country was loaded with sectarianism and corruption. Remember the, “Oil for food scandal”. In the very first 14 months under America’s watch $8.8 billion of Iraq’s wealth disappeared. Not to forget that in 2011, the Iraqi parliament sent a letter to the UN demanding the return of $17 billion in oil money, it said was stolen by U.S. institutions in the wake of the 2003 invasion. What mess was left in Iraq teamed up in Syria and gave birth to the most barbarian, fanatic and brutal terrorist group which came to be known as ISIS (Islamic State Of Iraq and Syria) the Frankenstein that came out of the western intervention for peace in these countries. Another country that met the same fate was Libya under Muammaral Gaddafi who was coined as, “Mad dog of the middle east” by the west in order to showcase him as a dictator and present to the world that western intervention was the only hope for people of Libya. The figures say contrary to what the west claimed. Gaddafi had managed to give his people the highest standards of living before he was overthrown and eventually killed by NATO forces.
As Afghanistan tumbles into Taliban hands, the condemnation of Biden administration’s withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan has become unrelenting. While this being the case, what Biden did is just an extension of Trump’s policy and the former POTUS pretends to be a credible critic of Biden’s Afghanistan policy but to think only Biden has to shoulder all the blame is out rightly unjustified, given the fact that just three weeks ago, Trump in a rally in Ohio took credit for U.S. exit from Afghanistan. He said, “All the troops are coming back home. They couldn’t stop the process. 21 years is enough. Don’t we think? 21 years. The Biden administration couldn’t stop the process. They wanted to, but it was very tough to stop the process”. It was Trump who cut a deal that left Taliban in a good position. It was Trump who invited the Taliban to Camp David shortly before the anniversary of 9/11 in 2019. The present transition of power in Afghanistan is a watershed moment especially in South East Asia and with an impact that is global. With a crossroad of oil pipelines, a stopover of the Silk Route and a valuable strategic location, Afghanistan is going to define many aspects in coming time, especially when it is related to interests of CHINA and PAKISTAN. Concomitants and impact are unpredictable for now.
When seen both as a military or political perspective, the U.S. and all its allies in the support of western intervention failed miserably in fulfilling their promise of peace and state building in Afghanistan just as they failed in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Today many in Afghanistan feel abandoned and cheated because this dangerous pretext cost Afghanistan an irreparable loss in terms of lives, resources and at the top of it 20 years of turmoil. Taliban promises an Islamic Welfare state and says it won’t use its soil for war fare against any other country unless provoked or underestimated. Taliban with their sanctuary in ISLAMABAD and CHINA maintaining its reputation as an all weather friend of PAKISTAN, the power corridors can utilize Taliban to their convenience by recognizing , “ The Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan” and supporting them militarily, economically and politically. The world is yet to see what consequences transition of power in Afghanistan will have in South Asia and beyond. What seems inevitable for now is the Taliban’s absolute control of Afghanistan and the strength it has gained since 2001. The neighboring countries like India must find a way to have a say in this new power corridor that is coming up in the sub continent. Taliban supported by two nuclear powers and now as an authentic player in the sub continent will definitely be a point of concern for a country like India which had invested a lot in the previous regime but now to no use. The pretext of Western intervention has now left Afghanistan and the entire sub continent in a Catch-22 situation where everything can become a paradox. How good suits the old Vietnamese saying, “Never trust a friend who leaves you saying he’ll be back”…
Abi Want is an India-based analyst who writes on international affairs.