Kabul fiasco | By Dr Farah Naz


Kabul fiasco

THE heart-wrenching scene of Kabul airport with desperate Afghans clinging to the infamous C-17 transport plane will be remembered forever.

The fall of Kabul unveiled the dark side of the United States along with the NATO allies in Afghanistan. They initially claimed to build a coherent and functional democratic Afghanistan.

But, recently President Joe Biden denied the policy facts that the United States goal was to fight terrorism, only.

Rule of law during the American presence in Afghanistan remained complicated and corruption at its peak.

Mismanagement of civil society that enabled growth and development was ignored. So the issue is what were they doing in Afghanistan for twenty years?

If their goal was killing the terrorists they should have left Afghanistan long ago. By staying for over two decades, they not only damaged the infrastructure but also their unique culture, religious and tribal fabrics.

The purpose of the war could be to contain China, keep an eye on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and keep it under turmoil; contain and create hurdles in the successful implementation of the CPEC project; monitor Russian presence in the region and Central Asia.

While their strategic allies such as India stayed there to damage Pakistan by operating militant acts against Pakistan; however, the Afghan leaders enjoyed perks and privileges of the West while the Afghan population, politics and cultural dynamics suffered.

After the Kabul siege, all three spoilers, America, India and the former Afghan government under Ashraf Ghani lost their regional strategic status.

The Indians abandoned Afghanistan because the Americans had to but the Afghan government fled because they were left all alone by their masters. Now all three of them will try their best to destabilize and malign Pakistan in world politics.

Instead of being spoilers, the United States should have introduced a local model to nation-building development than implementing a model that was brought from outside that never fit in the Afghan culture and way of life. Overall, this was a war without a strategy.

When they landed in Afghanistan they had no plan for what and how to manage the situation. They were looking for a strategy. Hence, it was a war in search of a strategy to justify their actions.

Despite the over-engagement of western media to defame the Taliban, the Taliban are emerging as tolerant towards criticisms and refined in their approaches towards regional powers and politics. Most of the Taliban returned from the western countries.

They are highly educated, reasonable enough, and fully aware of international politics and diplomacy.

After getting hold of Kabul, they opened dialogue and discussion with the former leaders of Afghanistan and regional players.

The issue of women rights is in greater discussion across western media outlets. If in France women are not allowed to dress according to their will such as covering their heads then the West has no right to make the issue of hijab a matter of international human rights violation in Afghanistan.

The United States along with all Human Rights proponents needs to look at how women dress in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia and many more Arab countries.

They also need to see why women are not allowed to wear hijab based on various governmental restrictions.

Once they fix all those issues they can pressurise the Taliban to reflect on their policies regarding women’s hijab in Afghanistan.

The western media treat the promises of the Taliban to provide basic rights of women to seek an education and empowerment with skepticism.

However, the western media needs to understand that it’s unrealistic for the Taliban leaders to sit and answer queries coming from a female host on the Afghan media outlets.

The question is why the West is not allowing breathing space to the Taliban to get control of the damage the West left behind while fleeing from Kabul?

I think the West is still not ready to accept the signpost of the United States and its NATO allies’ failure in Afghanistan along with the strongest military, high-tech equipment, gadgets, cyber warfare, artificial intelligence and the latest weaponry.

The United States military and weaponry strength does not allow it to go around the world and attack states and subvert regimes they don’t like. To cover up their defeat they are bashing the Taliban for being brutal, cruel and barbaric.

But, the issue is if the United States can hold the states accountable for violating the American laws and standards, why the United States can’t be held accountable for the debacle in Afghanistan and elsewhere?
I think the fall of Afghanistan happened due to three main reasons: (i) the arrogant behaviour of the United States, (ii) intelligence failure and (iii) the hollowness of the American think tanks who believe in long-distance analysis.

Everyone from the CIA, military generals, diplomats, analysts and all cheerleaders for war should be held accountable for the Kabul fiasco.

The West should learn from its mistakes and improve on its war strategies by understanding in-depth that peace-making and peace-building are two different approaches.

They should reflect on their wars from Vietnam to Libya, Iraq to Afghanistan which were primarily based on false accusations and lies.

The United States should have some limits and justification because the Americans further cannot afford missionary fervour to convert their proselytize and ideological bias.

The Taliban takeover of the government was peaceful which is seldom witnessed in recent decades.

For example what happened in Iraq when the Saddam Hussain government fell, the fall of Libya and many other states where revenge killings were all over the place but on the contrary, the Taliban government pardoned all their adversaries on their very first day which is rare to happen in worn-torn nations.

Taliban seem to be in a better position to control the reins of Kabul and enforce safety and security for all.

The Kabul fiasco has left a gash in the American image. The unfolding situation will have serious policy ramifications for shifting the interest of the regional power and may lead to the creation of new blocks in international politics. The United States status has been declared weak and frivolous.

Surrendering and abandoning the current chaos shows the reckless image of America being a selfish and highly unreliable ally. The damage done will take decades to improve the image of the United States.

The US never calculated the cost of providing a deadline and its impacts. That was a huge blunder that America will reap for decades to come.

Linen has rightly said that there are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen!

—The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Public Policy, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Sciences and Technology.

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