The US flight from Afghanistan could trigger another humanitarian crisis, Swedish Svenska Dagbladet writes.
A Spokesperson for the US Department of State Ned Price said the other day about the growing threat of civil war and crisis in Afghanistan.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated the complete failure of the US mission in Afghanistan and pointed to the rapid degradation of the situation in this country. Lavrov said that the US military is fleeing Afghanistan, having abandoned a considerable amount of equipment. Moscow has been forced to call on the CSTO countries and Uzbekistan to consider their capabilities due to the deteriorating situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Especially in the North of the country, where, among others, militants of the DAESH militant group banned in Russia, are becoming more active.
In Afghanistan, there is now a “bankruptcy” not only of American but also of European security policy, claims Klaus Geiger, head of the foreign policy department for Die Welt.
Twenty years later, NATO countries are withdrawing their troops while the Taliban (an organization banned in the Russian Federation) develops its offensive. All this leads to a growing wave of Afghan illegal immigrants to Europe.
So far, those fleeing the Taliban have accumulated on the borders of Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, but their ultimate goal is Turkey, and from there, Europe. Ankara has not yet had time to “digest” the Syrians, who are a heavy burden on the Turkish budget and social and health care systems, when a new attack from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: 6.5 million Afghans are now in danger of immigrating to Turkey. The wave of immigrants from Afghanistan could turn into a tsunami even greater than immigration from Syria. Fearing this disaster for itself, Turkey is building a wall about 300 km long on the border with Iran to escape refugees from Afghanistan: 1.5 thousand people have been detained in the last week alone. The Turks have already erected a similar fence on the border with Syria.
Public opinion polls show growing anti-immigrant sentiment in Turkey and discomfort with the “open borders” policy, creating new risks for the ruling party of the Government of National Accord in the upcoming elections. All of this is exacerbated by a surge in crime, overburdened welfare and health care system, and the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, anti-Western sentiments are growing: “They made this mess – let them clean it up. Ankara is not going to pull chestnuts out of the fire with its bare hands for the sake of other people’s interests“.
The echoes of the Afghan war look very different in this century than they did in the past. Now it’s not so much the territories needing complete reconstruction and endless areas dotted with mines. These are primarily refugees. Hundreds of thousands, millions.
In a new report released by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the U.N. recorded a record number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021, including a sharp increase in killings and injuries since May, when international armed forces began withdrawing. About 2.5 thousand civilians were killed between May and June, almost as many civilians as in the previous four months. It is of particular concern that women and children accounted for nearly half of all civilian casualties in the first half of 2021 – 32% of the total were children, 14% were women. In this regard, UNAMA warns that without significant de-escalation of violence, Afghanistan will have the highest number of documented civilian casualties in 2021.
According to the Afghan State Ministry for Peace Affairs, the Taliban (an organization banned in the Russian Federation) actively recruits civilians and sends them to fight as cannon fodder. The Taliban are fighting very cautiously. According to media reports, in the last 20 days, at least 22,000 families in Kandahar alone were displaced due to clashes between the Taliban and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), and now they need urgent humanitarian assistance.
The lives of US aid workers and their families in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan were particularly endangered. About 100,000 US Army aides from Afghanistan could be abandoned along with their families to their fate as US troops withdraw, Forbes reports. Meanwhile, only 19 Afghan interpreters and 364 employees of US agencies received visas in 2020. According to the International Refugee Assistance Project, more than 1,000 Loyalists and their families were killed while waiting for a visa. Afghans who are denied visas rightly believe that America has abandoned them.
Back on July 8, US President Joe Biden promised to evacuate Afghan interpreters and their families working with the US military in Afghanistan before the Taliban killed them. But that pledge still stands because the evacuation plan has not yet been agreed, and most of the American troops have already left the country, the American publication Task & Purpose stresses. For the last 20 years, US troops have faced bureaucratic nightmares trying to get Iraqi and Afghan interpreters to safety. Those who made it to the United States were the exception rather than the rule.
CNN reports on the plight of Afghans working with the US military, recalling that some 18,000 of them have already applied for the Special Immigrant Visa Program, which allows them to move to the United States. But that doesn’t mean they can move there or escape the Taliban’s death threats at all. There are hundreds of Afghan interpreters whose contracts they feel have been unfairly revoked, but US authorities say they will not review the cases. In contrast, the interpreters themselves fear that if they remain in Afghanistan, they will die.
On July 24, US President Joe Biden authorized up to $100 million to evacuate US citizens from Afghanistan who provided various forms of assistance to US troops. This was stated in a notice sent by the American leader to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on July 23. As stated by the US State Department, currently, only about 2,500 Afghans can qualify for special US immigration visas.
However, according to the Western media, not 2.5 thousand, but about 18 thousand Afghans who helped American troops, including as interpreters, and about 53 thousand members of their families hope to get such visas. What will be their fate? Or will Washington once again abandon its aides to the mercy of fate? – The sad prognosis was confirmed by the statement made by the US State Department’s representative in a special telephone briefing on August 2, that “Afghans who fear reprisals by the Taliban (an organization banned in the Russian Federation) should come to the United States on their own.”
Today there is much talk about the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as a failure, but there is another side, as the Turkish Cumhuriyet notes: The US has deliberately ensured that there is no strong central government in this country that would require the withdrawal of foreign forces and is now looking for a “manager” to maintain this situation after they leave.
There are other assessments of Anglo-Saxon intentions and plans for Afghanistan. For example, the British publication Rai Al Youm believes that the US has failed the Kabul government by not bargaining with the Islamist opposition for guarantees of its security before the US withdrawal. And the Americans plan to lure their enemies from all over the region to Afghanistan. After all, if they start implementing different projects in Afghanistan, they will face tremendous difficulties that could burn even the most powerful resources to the ground. So the US is getting ready to obstruct projects in Afghanistan that China, Russia, and Iran can start.
Afghanistan is a hotbed of conflict, the consequences and outcome of which are unknown. Anything can happen because of the conflict of international and regional interests and various players in the Afghan arena. But what is already clearly visible to everyone today is the growth of another humanitarian crisis caused by the adventures of Washington and its allies. And for this, the US must answer to the international public.
Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.