Who is vulnerable: Taliban or the western powers | By Dr Farah Naz


Who is vulnerable: Taliban or the western powers 

RECENTLY Sarah Chayes has written an article published in Politico Magazine titled ‘the Taliban is vulnerable.

Here’s how to seize the moment’. Sarah has written that you can win the war but lose the peace. It’s a lesson the Taliban is being taught today by the US.

She mentioned further that Taliban rule is tottering and the US and its former coalition partners leverage over the group – leverage of a kind we have never enjoyed before.

I think it’s time for the writer to change her lenses to observe/analyse/comprehend who is vulnerable and under what circumstances. This article attempts to reply to the above article.

Taliban may face temporary difficulties particularly financial hardship but given the regional blessings, they will overcome sooner rather than later. Taliban in Afghanistan is not a belligerent insurgent group as it is projected.

They are victorian freedom fighters who have decimated the image of invincibility of the existing superpower plus 46 allies along with 11 partners all at the same time.

The failure of the western strategy in Afghanistan is one of the mega failures of the intellectual program in Afghanistan. Indeed, one cannot deny the fact that Afghanistan has been a black hole and looks like it will remain the same for aspiring powers.

With this background, it is a well-known fact that America has not only lost the war but lost the peace. It is reluctant to learn from its mistakes, fix them and stand again much stronger.

If any lesson they can learn from Afghanistan they should carry out serious retrospection on what went wrong and how to fix the damage done to the image of the US in global politics.

Only in the press reports of the Congressional hearing of the US senior Generals and military statistics indicates that a lot of things went wrong that has threatened the position of the US when it comes to peace and stability in Afghanistan.

It is believed that the US erred in 20 major intelligence assessments/failures. Here is now an opportunity to learn from the blunders/mistakes instead of looking at how fragile the Taliban are.

America has to learn from the fake analysis provided earlier by people like Sarah etc that put America in an unwanted situation. It is high time for assessing ground realities and framing policies accordingly.

When it comes to humanitarian crises in harsh weather food and medical supplies shortage brings along an alarming situation not only for the Afghan population and Taliban leadership but challenges the US ethical standards as well.

The Afghan population needs emergency humanitarian assistance to go through this challenging weather and circumstances.

This seems to be incredible that humanity stooped to this low level in taking revenge on the poor Afghan people who already suffered from the miseries inflicted on them by the western coalition since 2001 and before that at the hand of the (former) Soviet Union intervention for 10 years from 1979-89 in Kabul.

The strategic objectives of the US in the wake of its withdrawal appears to be curative on setting humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, prolonging chaos and bringing down the Taliban/regime change.

This has resulted in innumerable misery to the people of Afghanistan whose economic and social life has been shattered and in ultimate chaos. Nothing could be worse than this kind of attitude which does not have any practical gains from its protagonist policies, even less leverage of any kind on the situation in Afghanistan.

If at all this has united Afghanistan and achieved the impossible task of forging unity against foreign interference the US action has paradoxically gone to the Taliban’s advantage. Since the resilience of the Afghan nation has only become greater to face these calamities.

The dawn of the new regime came amidst an atmosphere of regional exuberance and friendly sentiments as the Taliban are seen in Asia and Africa as freedom fighters like most of the developing nations who did the same during the colonial era.

It is important for the western world, particularly the western media to understand that Afghanistan is an example of their last colonial/imperial enterprise which had to go wrong. The victory of the Afghan people is the victory of justice-loving people.

The Taliban have proven much smarter, wiser and enlightened that the world may not be ready to believe. It appears that the western world is still carrying baggage from the past.

They need to change their lens to look at the ground realities and assess the situation correctly. Depending on suspected vested interest groups due to which the US in particular and the West, in general, have to confront this dilemma.

The Taliban have made a decent civilized appeal to redeem their frozen assets – their actions represent an international code of conduct.

The numbers of regional powers including Russia, China, Pakistan and others asked the US to release their $9 Billion funds to the poor Afghan population to enable the Kabul regime to run its affairs, feed its population and provide medical assistance.

By freezing their assets the US government can expose itself badly not only in the eyes of Afghan people but also justice-loving people who believe in minimising cruelty and insensitivity to human sufferings.

To overcome the glooming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan the international community should support the rightful and peaceful demands of the Taliban to access their financial resources.

The western world does not correctly read the situation. Their fall in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban has proven to be worse than Vietnam, Korea and the Middle East.

Where they left behind around $83-$85 billion worth of military hardware and equipment. It is not the Taliban who are vulnerable but the US and its partners.

At the same time, the regional powers like Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan etc are sensitive to the Afghanistan situation for their interest and will not let Afghanistan go down the drain, no matter Taliban or no Taliban!

—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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