30.06.2021 Author: Viktor Mikhin

Afghanistan is Once Again in the Taliban’s Clutches

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Deborah Lyons, head of the United National Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, expressed “serious concerns” about the military successes scored by the Taliban rebels (an organization that is banned in Russia) by virtue of the withdrawal of US and coalition forces from the country. All the major trends – politics, security, the peace process, the economy, emergency humanitarian aid, and COVID – are either negative or sluggish, Deborah Lyons told the UN Security Council during a video conference. This international official was forced to acknowledge that the recent successes scored by the Taliban are even more significant, and are the product of an intensified military campaign.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield stressed that the world will not accept that the Taliban has seized control over Kabul and the government, or establishing any government in Afghanistan that is imposed by force. There is only one way forward: a negotiated, comprehensive political settlement based on an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process, this lady proclaimed bombastically.

Indeed, the world has not heard this kind of overt demagogy, blatant lies, and slander about the situation in Afghanistan for a long time now. There is one simple, direct question that begs to be asked of these ladies: “And who specifically bears the responsibility for creating such an explosive situation?”

Afghanistan – no; Russia – no; China – no. And, as many facts prove, the guilty party here is the United States. It was the US that 20 years ago, under a far-fetched pretext, brutally invaded the country, plunging the Afghan people into a catastrophe of poverty, multiple calamities, completely destroying the economy and government mechanisms. And, for some reason, no one asked what kind of government the Afghans themselves wanted. Everything was decided in Washington, including the US representative to the UN. Back then the state was ruled by the Taliban, and now, occupying half of the country, they will come to power in the event US and NATO troops disgracefully take flight.

What exactly has changed over these past 20 years in a country that has been run down by the United States, where it is necessary to build up government mechanisms, boost the economy, and establish ties between numerous warring tribes: nothing good.

But for the sake of finding out the truth, it must be admitted that something has changed: drug production, under the strict control of CIA officers, has grown by at least 10 times. That is why these officers on airplanes belonging to this “no-nonsense” organization are overlooked, “mindfully” delivering drugs all over the world, and filling their pockets with huge sums of money which, quite naturally, do not get back to the Afghans, and do not go to this impoverished country’s budget. Officially, its reckless schemes in Afghanistan have cost the United States $2.26 trillion over the past 18 years, and the cost in lives includes 2,442 US military personnel and 1,144 US allied soldiers, according to Brown University. NATO does not keep records on those who die during its operations. The casualties suffered by Afghans drastically overshadow these figures, which include more than 47,000 civilians, up to 69,000 members of the national military and police forces, and more than 51,000 opposition fighters.

Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who still enjoys tremendous authority in the country, bitterly said that the United States came to Afghanistan to fight extremism and bring stability to his war-torn country, and is leaving it nearly 20 years later, failing at both attempts. In an interview with the Associated Press, just several weeks before the last US and NATO troops leave Afghanistan and end their “eternal war”, Hamid Karzai said that extremism was at its “highest point”, and that the withdrawing troops were leaving a disaster in their wake. “The international community came here 20 years ago with this clear goal of fighting extremism and ensuring stability, but today extremism is at its highest level. So they have failed,” he stated. Their legacy is a nation fragmented by war in “complete disgrace and disaster.”

Since the United States has spearheaded the generally craven flight of the Europeans from Afghanistan, its European allies and Canada want to hear not only Joe Biden’s views, but also his guarantees for how security will be ensured at their embassies, along major transport routes, and above all else at the Kabul airport. Many are wondering whether the Afghan government will be able to survive the revival of the Taliban (an organization that is banned in the Russian Federation). Some people believe that the surrender of Kabul is merely a matter of time.  “We are currently involved in active discussions with our member states, the United States, NATO, and the United Nations about the lack of essential security conditions for our continued diplomatic presence. It will be difficult to preserve it,” proclaimed Joseph Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

For now, NATO plans to keep on civilian advisers to help build government institutions. It is not really clear who will help protect those. The 30-nation alliance is also pondering whether it is worth training Afghan special forces outside the nation’s borders. As an organization, NATO does not intend to provide safe haven for Afghans that have worked alongside its forces, regularly risking their lives.

The Moor has done his work, so the Moor may go – or to put it more accurately he is preparing to be hounded by the Taliban (an organization that is banned in the Russian Federation). The experience gained in Iraq has shown that the American military did not care one whit about those Iraqis who were their translators, guides, and guards – and then paid for helping the United States with their lives. The same fate is in store for the Afghans, who helped the US and NATO by risking their lives. This shows their outright ingratitude, callousness, and indifferent attitude. Apparently, those “well-bred, democratic” Europeans cannot behave otherwise.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg simply cynically declared that it is finally “time to leave.” He evidently still has vivid images in his head of the cowardly, shameful flight from Vietnam. Back then footage made its way around the entire world of how a hovering cargo helicopter evacuated some Americans from the roof of the US Embassy, the last refuge for the American diplomats. Not even one helicopter was made available for those Vietnamese that helped US military personnel, putting their lives at stake. After that, there was a widespread wave dubbed the “Vietnam Syndrome” washed over America, and owing to that the number of former American soldiers who fought in Vietnam and then committed suicide far surpassed the Pentagon’s losses during combat. From all appearances, now another wave of the “Afghanistan Syndrome” awaits the United States, and a great deal of Afghanistan veterans could potentially commit suicide.

The unilateral decision made by Donald Trump to leave by May 1 stupefied US allies. This underscored the weakness running through NATO: its European partners and Canada simply cannot provide support for large-scale operations without logistical support from its largest partner. Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington has changed very little, although he did consult with allies this time around. James Dobbins, a former Afghan envoy who is now with the RAND think tank, predicts that the withdrawal would mean a loss of government legitimacy. “The US withdrawal will be seen as a victory for the Taliban, and a defeat for the United States,” he stated. The consequence will be a blow dealt to American credibility, eroding deterrence, and the diminishing value of American confidence in other countries.

The US Senate is also vigorously debating how the situation in Afghanistan will develop. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke with trembling voices to senators about the risks of radical extremists emerging in the country, and that Al Qaeda and ISIS (both terrorist organizations are banned in the Russian Federation) could soon experience a revival in Afghanistan. The US Secretary of Defense  frightened many senators by not ruling out that this “could take two years.” And who is actually to blame for this? Nothing needs to be proven, since it is tacitly obvious that America and its intelligence services were just what created these two terrorist organizations.

The Taliban, for its part, said it is committed to peace negotiations, adding that they want a “true Islamic system” in Afghanistan that will ensure women’s rights in accordance with its cultural traditions and religious canons. This announcement was made amid slow progress in the talks between the radical Islamic group and Afghan government officials in Qatar, and a surge in violence across the country in the run-up to the withdrawal of foreign troops by 9/11. Officials expressed concern about the stalled negotiations, and said that the Taliban (this organization is banned in the Russian Federation) has not yet submitted a written peace proposal that could be used as a starting point for meaningful negotiations.

Along with those talks, the Taliban movement (banned in Russia and deemed a terrorist organization by decisions made by both the UN Security Council and the Russian Federation Supreme Court) launched an offensive in Afghanistan, taking control of dozens of administrative regions after the US and NATO began withdrawing troops from the country. Since the start of its offensive campaign in May, the Taliban have taken control of more than 50 regions throughout the country, and could seize the capitals in many provinces, said the same special representative to the United National Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons. The Taliban themselves confirmed that they control 87 regions in the country. In regard to recent events, many politicians have called upon the international community to try to sway the Taliban so that they look for solutions to problems while negotiating with the Afghan authorities, and not on the battlefield. At the same time, they forget to mention the reasons for the current explosive situation, which is founded on the invasion by US troops – and the “peaceful” NATO bloc – into Afghanistan.

It is not the first time that the United States, without thinking beforehand, creates hotbeds of tension and then, instead of resolving these problems at the negotiating table, flees in a cowardly fashion, leaving behind countries in tatters, and peoples thrown into squalor and poverty.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 


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