Interfere And Retreat: The Classic American Move
Updated: Sep 18, 2021
On the day India celebrated 75 years of Independence, Afghanistan lost every last semblance of it. With terror ravaging the country, freedom is not even in question, only escape is.
What happened in Afghanistan? How did the entire country collapse and succumb to the wrath of the Taliban in just three weeks?
The insurgents pressed for deals against individual soldiers and low-level government officials to provincial governors and ministers - their strategy proved effective, with the Taliban so close to victory, why put up a fight?
Even when the choice to fight was made, the Afghan Army which had seen constant support from the US was suddenly not as powerful on its own. “More than 114,000 people have been airlifted from Kabul airport in the past two weeks as part of the U.S. effort.” Reported Reuters. With such a dearth of manpower and resources, and the Taliban prepared to take over, there was very little hope in the first place.
Now, with the US troops leaving the country, there is a possibility of a potential relationship between the Americans and Taliban - however, this faces a threat posed by Islamic State militants.
Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), first appeared in eastern Afghanistan in late 2014 and quickly established a reputation for extreme brutality. They claimed responsibility for an Aug. 26 suicide bombing outside the airport that killed 13 U.S. troops and numerous Afghan civilians. In retaliation, the United States has carried out at least two drone strikes against the group since then and Biden has said his administration will continue to retaliate for the attack. The crossfire between the two has led to the deaths of scores of Afghan civilians.
The USA has firmly stated that the war is ‘over’ when the era of terror for Afghanistan has only just begun. The reason for this is simple - America, throughout history, regardless of leadership, has been a country that has only cared about itself. From the very start, when it took over the continent at the cost of the lives of its natives, to today - when it is done with its ‘war against terror' and has made a cowardly escape.
In February 2020, at Donald Trump’s instigation, The United States of America signed an agreement with the same Taliban that it had been waging a war against since 2001 - without inviting the legitimate government of Afghanistan. The agreement said to the Taliban “We will leave on the condition that you promise not to harbour the enemies of America and that you enter negotiations in good faith to share power with the government in Kabul.”
Joe Biden, going along with this, chose to abandon the Afghan Army, leading to instant demoralisation, which in turn played a big part in the speed with which the Taliban took over the country. The Taliban on the other hand “had started putting deals and surrender arrangements in place reportedly long before the launch of their blitz in May.” reported Livemint.
While there is a dichotomy between the issue of the US abandoning Afghanistan and the country losing troops in a foreign war - the choice to invade the country was that of America’s.
“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.” said president Joe Biden, while addressing the withdrawal of American troops. "In 2014, NATO issued a declaration affirming that Afghan Security Forces would, from that point on, have full responsibility for their country’s security by the end of that year. That was seven years ago.
So when will it be the right moment to leave? One more year, two more years, ten more years? Ten, twenty, thirty billion dollars more above the trillion we’ve already spent?
“Not now” — that’s how we got here.” He added.
President Bush had passed hefty statements about the plight of Afghanistan, “We're encouraging economic opportunity and the rule of law and government reform and the expansion of liberty throughout the region." he had said. The condition of the Afghans now remains forgotten.
The loss of life and money, while is a viable reason for withdrawing support, the promises that were made during the invasion of Afghanistan shouldn’t have been made. The raging hypocrisy of the country is highlighted not just by this move but also through their role in the formation of the Taliban in the first place.
The ease with which the Taliban has taken over alludes to the possibility of something being awry. Either the Americans don’t care about the wreckage they leave with their escape or they have a role to play in the course of the events which have taken place.
Is it safe to say that the US had a deal with the Taliban, and left fully knowing that they were going to take over? We don’t know for sure. One thing, however, is certain - Now that the very last of the American troops have been withdrawn, Afghanistan will be forgotten by the media and by virtue of that, by the people who currently pretend to care.
References & Image Sources:
1. Ali, I. (2021, August 30). U.S. drone strike destroys Islamic State car bomb in Kabul, officials say. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/us-carried-out-military-strike-kabul-officials-say-2021-08-29/
2. Ali, I. D. B. (2021, August 31). Explainer: What happens now that U.S. troops have left Afghanistan? Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/world/what-happens-now-that-us-troops-have-left-afghanistan-2021-08-30/
3. Al Jazeera. (2020, November 13). Afghanistan: Suicide car bomb blast in Kabul kills many soldiers. Conflict News | Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/13/afghanistan-suicide-car-bomb-in-kabul-kills-several-troops
4. Rights and Aspirations of the People of Afghanistan. (2005, August 17). Georgewbush-Whitehouse.Archives. https://georgewbush whitehouse.archives.gov/infocus/afghanistan/20040708.html
5. A. (2021, August 16). How did the Taliban take over Afghanistan so quickly? Mint. https://www.livemint.com/news/world/how-did-the-taliban-take-over-afghanistan-so-quickly-11629107483285.html