Will to fight
LIKE most of us, I have been stick to my computer screen for a couple of days, scanning multiple sources for fresh updates from Afghanistan. If anyone says they did not see it coming, then perhaps they were not looking close enough.
Ever since the US started thinking to leave Afghan soil, it was clear that the Taliban would once again come into power.
Taliban remained connected all over the country, building their support; on the contrary, the weak and corrupt Afghan government was busy arguing about power and control.
Although the US says that they do not negotiate with terrorists, they did sit down with the Taliban for the negotiation. Maybe the White House thought it’s time to change their status once again from terrorist to just Talibs.
Before they were terrorists, they were freedom fighters just because back then their fight was valuable to the US.
Anyhow, after spending twenty years, fighting tooth and nail with Talibs, they were negotiating a peaceful withdrawal from the country and, of course, offering something in return.
That is what happens in negotiation, all the stakeholders come to the table to negotiate the best outcome for them.
Ashraf Ghani on the other hand, became an obstacle in the peace negotiations, this would not have happened had he been serious about peace.
When Taliban forces started reclaiming Afghanistan, they did not face much resistance. Afghan security forces either left their positions or joined the Taliban.
So when people started questioning that what was the US doing in a country for twenty years, how come they couldn’t ensure that Afghanistan has a stable and well-equipped military to defend itself, American President Joe Biden came with such a shameful answer.
He said, the US gave them sufficient time and equipment to prepare but what they could not give them was the “will to fight”.
Although it is such a disrespectful thing to say, Joe Biden is right, Afghan forces didn’t have the will to fight for a country that the US shaped in two decades.
We all know what the Australian forces did in Afghanistan; we have seen pictures of US Navy seals taking pictures with corpses and then the US President coming to their rescue so they don’t get punished.
Mr. Biden should also talk about the significance and effectiveness of night raids and blooding rituals that were used to free Afghan people from hostile Talibs.
Maybe that’s the reason they choose Talibs over the US and lacked the “will”.
According to Human Rights Watch study, Afghan government airstrikes resulted in 27% of the overall civilian casualties.
On June 29th, 2020, mortar attacks from Afghan forces resulted in 19 casualties including 6 children.
Furthermore, the report states that civilian casualties in 2020 increased by a staggering 70% as compared to 2019.
Does Ashraf Ghani or first Vice President Saleh, who is now calling for resistance, consider those deaths insignificant or just spoils of war?
When Marshal Dostum along with his so-called brave soldiers fled, his palace was captured along with his horses and armored vehicles.
A video was surfaced where Taliban soldiers were sitting in a big room with a golden interior that looked like a royal palace; it was Marshal Dostum’s residence.
When millions of people were dying from hunger, these officials were spending their pleasure time in foreign countries and building palaces for themselves.
That’s why I was not surprised to know that Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan with cars filled with cash because that is why they came in the first place.
Their objective was never to stabilize the country or form a government that can focus on governance because their time was spent on pointing fingers and putting the blame on other countries for their corruption.
By no means am I portraying the Taliban as heroes or liberators of Afghanistan because that is something that they will have to prove in the future.
The reasons Afghan forces didn’t fight back was that they were tired from the wars, same goes for Taliban forces as well and the people of Afghanistan.
All the parties would like to form a government that can control the territorial borders of the country and open up the economy for growth. The reason people are trying to flee the country are out of fear.
Therefore, it is now the responsibility of the Taliban Administration to ensure that they are not going to rule by fear and they are willing to right the wrong.
Genghis Khan said, “Conquering the world on horseback is easy, it is dismounting and governing that is hard.”
—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Karachi.