US interests behind fall of Kabul
AMIDST Taliban rapid inroads to major cities and provincial capitals, take over of Kabul by Taliban has startled the world. Taliban’s entry into Afghan Presidential Palace reminds us the episode of ‘Fall of Saigon’.
This significant development has sparked a new debate in all international political circles to ponder over the precarious and vulnerable situation of Afghanistan.
Taliban’s eventual reach to Kabul gives birth to some important questions as who has won the war—Taliban or US? What would be the policy options for Pakistan? What would be the possible role of the US in Afghanistan after Taliban come to power? And would Taliban restrain from reverting to their erstwhile epoch of callousness?
It dates back to the era of disintegration of the (former) Soviet Union in 1991; a geopolitical tragedy which pushed the US to the podium of superpower.
After thirty years of longest the US global dominance, it has started declining now and its hegemony is being threatened by rising China.
US military engagements on various fronts had held its attention from reaching other sides paving the way for China to become superpower. Thus, to counter China’s advancement, regime change was plotted in Doha agreements.
US needed a strong, brutal and reactionary political set-up unlike the democratic dispensation of Ghani’s Government, mainly to create hindrances in the way of China like once the US had carved out a Jihad narrative and emboldened Islamist factions especially Al-Qaeda against the invasion of the Soviets in 1979.
Therefore, Taliban are now prioritised as a policy option to entrust them with responsibility to create a new front against their newly emerged adversaries in this renewed cold war in swap of transferring of the Government to them because Taliban’s military efforts were solely based on regaining their lost regime which they are on the verge to get back.
Further another assumption too cannot be negated being part of the US changed Afghan strategy to deliberately leave Afghanistan in chaos after a planned transitioning of Government aimed at fomenting further insurgency leading to eruption of civil war among warring fighting groups, more apparently they are Taliban, Northern Alliance, Islamic State of Khusran group, Al-Qaeda, war lords’ owned militias and TTP.
The country will once again plunge into the era which was seen after Soviet Union withdrawal in 1989 resulting in bloodshed, turmoil, destruction and anarchy, making the entire region to face devastating consequences.
The US particularly wants this chaotic atmosphere solely to impede China’s progressivism westwards through its mega BRI project.
Moreover, Afghanistan remains no more important for US at a time when China is flexing its muscles in Indo-Pacific region and South China Sea challenging US global position, so relocating US focus from Afghanistan to South China Sea had become inevitable for US.
China’s expanding influence in the region has brought US into the state of perplexity. In his latest book “The Future is Asian” Dr. Parag Khanna “presents his analysis exerting his stance that 21st century belongs to Southeast Asia” prompting US and all her western allies to focus their energies on this region to safeguarding their hegemonic agendas.
Thence, US war came to an end and Pakistan war has started now with toughest foreign policy challenges.
It would be a great test of Pakistan as how far it succeeds in maintaining neutrality between two imminent choices: If Pakistan recognises and legitimises Taliban’s regime majorly to overpower and counterbalance India’s presence in Afghanistan as an advantage, it may have to suffer international isolation, economic sanctions, being labelled as terrorist state, more harsh conditions in FATF, and halting of aids.
On the contrary, if Pakistan condems Taliban’s take over by force and does not accept them, it may have to face Taliban’s animosity in form of terrorism, fundamentalism, extremism that are then bound to gain roots inside Pakistan soil. Another big challenge would be of Refugees influx to Pakistan if Afghanistan descends into civil war.
Pakistan here has to be very much cautious and has to meticulously and prematurely find its policy options with concerted diplomatic and political efforts to ward off such impending challenges. However, choosing neutral position would be most favourable for Pakistan.
In this whole conundrum, India stems out to be the biggest loser. Now with Taliban’s take over, India’s closest ominous nexus with TTP and Al-Qaeda are all set to be shattered. Its investment of billions of dollars is going to be sunk.
Absence of Ghani’s Government and US and NATO troops will directly lead to the absence of India from Afghan soil since it was positioned there depending on Afghan Government and US.
All her sinister plans to sponsor terrorism across Pakistan will be dashed to ground and it will be left with no other options but to flee.
Apprehensions in connection to Taliban’s take over are still soaring, if Taliban attitude does not change and they stick to their archaic, rigid and conservative way of regression leading to blatant violation of human rights.
Women seem to suffer the most. Their services in different government and private sectors will be totally banned.
There could be a great restriction on their free movement. Their right to education will be snatched. They will be forced to live under strict Sharia Law. Furthermore, cinemas, music and dance will also be prohibited.
Unfortunately, people will have to live in a more stiff and rigid environment, directly leading to underdevelopment of state. At this critical juncture, the onus lies on our policy makers and Pakistan in this respect needs to revamp its policies and keep itself prepared before a disaster reaches its doors.
Amidst this fast changing scenario, Pakistan should rationally and diplomatically seek a midway in order to avert any unpleasant happening in coming days.
—The writer is Gujranwala based geopolitical analyst and freelance columnist.