27.05.2021 Author: Valery Kulikov

Ghani Staggered after US Withdrawal from Afghanistan

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Even the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes is no longer hiding the panic flight of American troops from Afghanistan, reporting on their hurried withdrawal from the country amid a three-day ceasefire on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Such a hasty “withdrawal” of US troops occurred after US President Joe Biden violated the terms of the process (according to an agreement with the Taliban (banned in Russia), it had to happen by May 1), and after the Afghan fighters declared in this connection that they consider themselves free of all their previous obligations.

In late April, the US once again entered behind-the-scenes negotiations with the Taliban, hoping to persuade them to allow a conflict-free withdrawal from Afghanistan, speeding it up by a couple of months. However, the Taliban did not agree to the US proposals, forcing Washington to step up the process of “freeing Afghanistan from foreign military presence.”

The Americans have already left the largest base in the area of the military airfield in Kandahar province, which at the height of hostilities hosted up to 30,000 soldiers and contractors. According to Stars and Stripes, the “withdrawal” of troops was carried out so hastily and secretly that the Afghan representatives, to whom, according to official statements, the base was handed over, could not even say exactly when it happened. According to Colonel Sonny Leggett of the 205th Corps in Afghanistan, “the American withdrawal came as a total surprise to the Afghans and was done without any coordination with the local authorities.”

Regarding the development of the situation in Afghanistan in recent days, it is noted that the number of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan has increased, two of them took place on the night of May 13, killing nine civilians. The Taliban captured a key area near the Afghan capital Kabul in central Maidan Wardak province, forcing government forces to retreat after a fierce firefight. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that the attack killed and captured several members of the Afghan security forces and seized a large ammunition cache.

The Taliban now control Wardak province, which is west of Kabul, less than an hour away, and neighboring Logar province to the south, using those provinces as outposts for suicide attacks and bombings in Kabul.

Faced with such circumstances, the current ruling elite in Afghanistan, created by Washington and supported by the United States, is already in a state of genuine panic. Against the background of the hasty “withdrawal” of US troops from Afghanistan and the intensification of fighting with the Taliban in the Islamic Republic, Lieutenant General Mohammad Farid Ahmadi, commander of the Government Army Special Operations Corps (ANASOC), at Washington’s apparent prompting, suggested to the geographical neighbors “to join practical efforts in the fight against terrorism” at a common (international) special operations base. Suggesting the creation of such a tool “to effectively repel the attacks of mujahideen fighters on the territory of Afghanistan and contain the migration of terrorist groups into neighboring countries of Central and South Asia,” Mohammad Farid Ahmadi essentially offered his geographical neighbors to replace the US and enter into a new round of war in Afghanistan. The “leading role of the US” in promoting the idea of “friendship of special forces” in the region is evidenced by the visits of US Presidential Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, who recently visited Tashkent, Doha and Dushanbe to “mobilize international support for the Republican government in Kabul.”

Given that decisions on the use of Special Operations Forces in Central Asia are made at the highest level, the above idea of Washington’s “friendship of special forces” of several states in Afghanistan, although possible, is unlikely in the near future. In today’s politico-military reality, the governments of the Central and South Asian countries neighboring Afghanistan are more inclined to negotiate peacefully with the victor (whoever that may be) than to engage in protracted hostilities with the numerous guerrilla groups on that country’s territory. In particular, with regard to the fact that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistani Army, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, confirmed on May 11. On May 12, China also called on Central Asian countries to help promote the peace process in the IRA. However, this idea of creating in Kabul a Regional Center for Cooperation of Special Operations Forces and Combating Terrorism of South and Central Asia can certainly be realized if there is a clear threat of terrorist expansion, in particular the expansion outside Afghanistan of the Islamic Emirate (banned in Russia), which the Taliban have not given up.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani expressed his serious concerns about his personal security and future developments in Afghanistan in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel. He emphasized the fear of a civil war in the republic after the US troops left the country and said that if the Taliban came back to power he himself would be shot.
However, referring to the words of Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Afghan President Ghani indicated on May 13 that the revival of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan is not in the interests of Pakistan. After Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Ghani addressed the nation and called on the Taliban (banned in Russia) to seize the current opportunity to end the war. According to Ghani the largest chance for peace is the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, that has begun recently. According to Ghani, the only solution to the conflict in Afghanistan is a political compromise, and after the withdrawal of troops, cooperation with the international community will be better and more manageable.

In a May 4 article in the US magazine Foreign Affairs, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he was ready to leave office if the talks with the Taliban lead to a peace agreement, the formation of a transitional government and elections in the country. “I will not run for office in this election, and I will step down before my presidential term expires if whoever succeeds me has a mandate for peace,” he assured.

“The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, which Washington is trying to portray as organized and coordinated, is a mere rout.” The Americans lost the war and now are leaving the country to its fate,” said Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev after a meeting of the CSTO Committee of Secretaries of Security Councils in Dushanbe. “It was the US, now actively wrapping up its military presence in Afghanistan, who created the Taliban to counteract the USSR, and later Al-Qaeda (banned in Russia) emerged from it,” explained Nikolai Patrushev. As such, the US is leaving Afghanistan and its people facing a very difficult scenario.

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 


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