Who ruined Afghanistan? | By Sikandar Noorani 


Who ruined Afghanistan?

QUICK evaporation of Ghani regime from Kabul needs to be focused to comprehend the infinite deterioration of Afghanistan.

As of today once Taliban are busy in negotiating the future (interim) set-up with different stakeholders, it is quite relevant to remember that how President Ashraf Ghani’s baseless rhetoric at Dushanbe not only created bitterness in strain bilateral ties but practically spoiled the upcoming conference of Afghan leaders in Islamabad called by Pakistan.

Later, President Ashraf Ghani and Head of Reconciliation Council Abdullah Abdullah tried to convince President Biden, in an exclusive rare meeting, to reconsider or delay the withdrawal to avert the inescapable outcomes.

Unfolding of events with every passing day amply proved that all assessments of the Kabul regime were correct except the baseless insistence to portray itself as a sole legitimate authority capable of governing Afghanistan.

President Biden in a way turned down the proposed reconsideration of withdrawal but assured full support to Kabul government.

This support came in the form of intermittent air strikes with repeated assurances from US military officials that bombing would continue as per the wishes of the Kabul Government.

However, why the air strikes couldn’t help Ghani regime to survive in the eye of the storm has yet to be explored? There were multiple claims from Afghan Defence Ministry about killing hundreds of assailant Taliban on a daily basis.

If the attacks were being repulsed successfully by Afghan forces then how come the important border crossing points with Iran, Tajikistan and Pakistan had gone under Taliban’s control?

Undeniably, Kabul government faced worst ever exposure of its inefficiency and serious shortcomings at the final phase of US withdrawal.

The Kabul regime remained an essential part of the complex crisis looming over Afghanistan. Non- flexible stance from Ghani regime continuously hindered the months long multiple dialogue sessions in Doha.

While insisting for its fragile legitimacy President Ghani couldn’t ever question the US about inking an agreement with Taliban last year.

The Doha Agreement was the biggest repudiation of dysfunctional Kabul government’s legitimacy by none other than its own architect — the US.

What transpiring now from Afghanistan is enough to establish that peace has never been apriority for Washington during the past two decades.

Fallout of follies committed in Afghanistan by the US and its allies have deeply damaged the entire region especially Pakistan.

Terrorist outfits responsible for dreaded attacks in Pakistan are operating from Afghan soil with full impunity.

It is about time to question why the US and NATO forces could not act against anti-Pak terrorist groups on Afghan soil? NDS had been acting like an off-shoot of RAW in nurturing India-sponsored proxies to destabilize Pakistan.

While playing the terror games of New Delhi, the Kabul regime laid deep foundations for the destruction of Afghanistan.

Baseless verbosity and fiery statements against Pakistan from dubious characters like Amar Saleh and Hamdullah Muhib could not alter the ground realities.

While pro-Indian dubious characters of the Kabul Government were busy in spreading false optics about Pakistan, during last weeks of his melting presidency Ashraf Ghani started pointing fingers towards the US by attributing the recent debacle to a hasty decision of withdrawal.

Word hasty itself gives a meaningful shade to the US stay in Afghanistan spread for two decades. Doubting the sincere efforts of Pakistan and extraordinary reliance on New Delhi proved a serious mistake on the part of Afghan government.

A stage came when the Ghani regime, in sharp contrast with Indian propaganda campaign, almost paused diplomatic ties with Pakistan basing upon dubious short disappearance of the envoy’s daughter.

This nexus took another leap once under its rotational presidency of UNSC India obstructed Pak participation from an important session on the situation of Afghanistan.

At every critical phase, Pak political and military leadership significantly supported serious efforts aimed at restoration of peace. Unwise ways of Ashraf Ghani and his aides further complicated the fragile peace process.

Instead of engaging with local stakeholders to restore peace, Ashraf Ghani and his aides opted to rely on US air strikes and mischievous support from New Delhi.

This flawed strategy eventually ended at the disgraceful departure of Ghani and his aides from power corridors of Kabul where they never deserved to be.

Taliban’s peaceful entry in Kabul has given them an edge over those critics who were expecting a brutal bloodshed.

Even Biden and Boris Johnson had to admit mysteriously that such a rapid takeover amid no resistance from their own trained Afghan army was never estimated.

It is not hard to understand that the US wanted a blood soaked resistance against Taliban in Kabul.

Though, Afghanistan is more crippled with twenty years long servicing of US and NATO but it seems more peaceful and free of violence after entry of Taliban in Kabul palace.

The West should let Afghanis to set the future course of governance for their homeland. India and the US, being strategic allies share a common agenda to counter China in the region with no exception to Afghanistan.

Ghani chose air strikes over dialogue and relied on Indian wisdom to trivialize the Pak sincere efforts just to prolong his stay on Kabul’s throne. Time has proved that such unwise ways actually ruined Afghanistan.

—The writer, a retired army officer, is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad.

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