IN a major development, American forces Friday vacated the Bagram Airbase — their main military base in Afghanistan — that once housed 100,000 troops to fight Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
Some US troops are still in Kabul, and if they are pulled out, it would bring an end to the United States longest war in its history on a foreign land.
In an ordinary situation, the withdrawal of occupation forces would have been a highly welcome development as presence of foreign troops was the main reason for prolongation of the conflict in Afghanistan.
However, there is a predominant view that Washington was leaving the country in an irresponsible manner as the prevailing situation is worse than two decades back when Americans invaded the country on the pretext of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan.
In 20 long years, the US could not defeat the Taliban and only compounded the problems of the country by bombing it to the Stone Age and killing at least over one hundred thousand people.
The pullout plan was there for years and this should have been accompanied by timely initiatives for peaceful resolution of the conflict, which invariably meant acknowledging the need for power sharing by all segments of the society. However, nothing was done except categorization of ‘militant’ as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban.
The failure of the American policy in Afghanistan is evident from the fact that in recent weeks, Taliban forces have captured dozens of districts in a nationwide offensive, surrounding several provincial capitals and blocking key roads into Kabul.
Finding it difficult to encounter the offensive, which is being carried out by just about 15,000 Taliban, President Ghani tried to get a renewed lease of life from Washington but President Biden disappointed him.
As Afghan Army units are being wiped out by Taliban, the government has invited the ethnic militias to remobilize, a move that could push Afghanistan back into the worst phase of ethnic infighting.
Latest intelligence assessment claims the government in Kabul might collapse within six to twelve months of US withdrawal.
There is, therefore, an urgent need on the part of the international community to promote the prospects of intra-Afghan dialogue, may be under the aegis of the UN to prevent further bloodshed and strife.