US back to square one vis-à-vis Afghanistan | By Dr Shahzad Latif


US back to square one vis-à-vis Afghanistan

THIS writer back in 2001 wrote a letter to the then US President George W.Bush that instead of indulging in a war in Afghanistan, the US should implement a Marshal Plan type initiative in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The writer suggested spending about 30Billion US Dollars in that region on modernization of infrastructure, education and job opportunities creating industrialization.

This would have been a small investment comparatively speaking to what the US has lost in terms of money and lives.

That would have put the US in the good books of people of that region for the long haul.

The US would also have achieved its strategic presence in this region to counter anyone that it always desired.

It is always easy to get in Afghanistan but real hard to leave.In this protracted war which lasted almost 20 years, the US wasted more than USD 3trillion of its taxpayers’ money and lost more than 8000 lives of its own and NATO defence forces.

In the process, thousands of Afghans were killed and neighbouring Pakistan also incurred a loss of about US dollar 75 billion and about 80,000 lives for cooperating with the US.

The involvement of India further exacerbated the situation and resulted in the failure of the US in the region because India was playing its own game against Pakistan using Afghan territory due to its situation.

The US went into Afghanistan without proper calculations.US intelligence totally failed to judge Afghanistan.US military was confident “to smoke out Taliban out of Afghanistan.

” They didn’t realize they would be fighting against the local culture, geography and the history of that country.

Even though George W.Bush went in but this war lingered on under the watch of three other presidents: Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

In this period, the Taliban continued to gain a position of strength.And when the US and Afghan governments agreed to negotiate, the Taliban did so on their terms.

History tells us that no invading force has ever won a war in Afghanistan.Knowing that with this writer’s suggestion, the US would have succeeded in nation-building that it is now claiming it didn’t intend to go to Afghanistan to do.

The US, being a leader of the free world, does have a responsibility to bring peace to regions that are unstable.

But not make themt further unstable and leave.The US leaving Afghanistan without any conclusively favourable results can be construed as a US loss to the Taliban.

Thus, unfortunately, the US has repeated its perpetual war losing streak since it left Vietnam with the similar results.It is easy to draw parallel between these two wars.

—The writer is Chairman, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Nizam.


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