The state and development of the Afghan issue seems to reflect all the flaws of today’s global order, which has also begun to “radically transform.” While the relevance of this kind of change process is more or less obvious, it is not clear where their generalized vector is headed.
Furthermore, an important question seems to be whether the process develops “by itself” or whether it has “scriptwriters/directors”? If the answer to the second part of this question is “yes”, who are they and what are their objectives?
Perhaps the key “flaw” in the world order today is (and has always been) the disunity of the participants in the narrow pool of leading world powers, often taking on the character of mutual hostility. One illustration of this was the holding of international events at 24-hour intervals (November 10 and 11) in Delhi and Islamabad, that is, in the capitals of two conflicting countries (India and Pakistan), dedicated to the same Afghan problem. Incidentally, the only common participant in both events was Russia.
The very fact that the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 was also a consequence of the aforementioned “flaw”, i.e. it was substantially motivated by military-strategic considerations. China was already seen as the main geopolitical opponent for the entire period of the coming 21st century. Therefore, Washington decided, it would not be a bad idea to take advantage of the situation behind China’s “back” in advance.
With the arrival of B. Obama’s administration in Washington in 2009, events in Afghanistan gradually began to unfold in a manner similar to that of the final phase of the Vietnam War. In other words, for several years there have been attempts to shift the brunt of the war effort against the Taliban (banned in the Russian Federation), increasingly enjoying support by the local population, to local collaborators.
These attempts eventually led to the realization of their futility and the decision to hastily end the entire 20-year adventure in Afghanistan. The very process of the flight from Kabul in mid-August 2021 of the last US military units, as well as the most active Afghan collaborators, replicated almost in detail what had happened in Saigon in late April 1975.
However, the subsequent situation in Afghanistan takes on a much darker tone than that of unified Vietnam in 1975. The latter began its post-war reconstruction under two fundamentally important circumstances. Firstly, a single and firm state administration of the North extended to the South, exercising full control over the entire territory of a single state. Secondly, the North had the full support of the powerful socialist camp led by the USSR.
There is nothing like these both conditions in the case of Afghanistan. Moreover, there is not yet even a minimum possibility of either one occurring. Far from homogeneous, the Taliban (banned in the Russian Federation) are trying somehow to reconcile the slogans under which they came to power with the urgent and immediate needs of the country they now lead. While the former are no match for the latter, and Afghanistan itself remains in a state of simmering civil war.
A report by the UN World Food Programme, released in late October, paints a grim picture for Afghanistan’s population in terms of the availability of basic foodstuffs. The head of the Afghan branch of the Programme, M.E. McGroarty says 8.7 million Afghans are already “one step away from starvation”.
First of all, there are the increasingly alarmist assessments of Afghanistan’s immediate future, against which the spectacular TV reports from Kabul airport in August this year seem like innocent misunderstandings. For the imminent prospect of hundreds of thousands of children dying of starvation in various (often inaccessible) corners of Afghanistan is already becoming quite likely. Which will happen slowly, quietly and unnoticed.
No media outlet will spend any time covering this process. A TV picture of a hundred distraught collaborators clinging to the landing gear of a taking off C-17 is quite another matter. It can be replayed for weeks for the many fans of watching such a thing, sitting in a comfy chair with a can of beer in hand. The global media take advantage of this kind of demand and build a fence out of a set of simulacra that separates the individual from real life.
As an urgent measure to avoid the prospect of starvation in Afghanistan, the money (totaling some $9.5 billion) deposited by the previous government in US banks could be used. In a meeting in Islamabad, the Pakistani delegation urged the American interlocutors to do so.
However, the problem here is the Taliban government’s status in the international arena. There may well be a counter-question from bank operators to the new Kabul authorities: “Who are you guys actually? Yes, we have the money of the Afghan people stored in those vaults over there, which is accruing interest and can be taken by the legitimately elected Afghan authorities at any time. Do you have papers certifying that you represent Afghanistan? Not yet? As soon as you get your hands on one, come and see us. We look forward to seeing you again.”
This (hypothetical) message towards the current Afghan authorities is just one element of the extremely difficult situation external to that country. So far, at least some assistance in supplying the country’s population primarily with food and vaccines from COVID-19 has been provided by charities, including those acting on behalf of the UN.
Leading international actors, on the other hand, have been recently preoccupied almost entirely with “climate change”, the introduction of “green energy” and the specific fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Taken together, this provokes a global economic crisis and raises the prospect of entire countries being left without food, heat and electricity. Despite the fact that there are no more or less clear answers to the questions arising from both the designation of these problems as of prime importance and the methods chosen to solve them.
For example, according to statistics, the mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases (until recently considered the “scourge” of the modern urban society) is tens of times higher than that from COVID-19. Human beings in general are very vulnerable and can die from a variety of causes. Why are (always limited) public resources allocated to fighting COVID-19 in the first place? This fight is being conducted in such a way that there will soon be nothing to eat either.
The role of the human factor in “climate change”, on the other hand, is revealed by some mathematical models. In the meantime, all recent activities are aimed at combating this factor. Its already obvious consequences are forcing us to put aside the “decarbonization” commitments just made and engage in a feverish procurement of coal as well as other “greenhouse gas” generators.
That could lead to the establishment of an International Tribunal before which the most vocal combatants against COVID-19, against “climate change”, for “green energy” and the most persistent propagators of “European (?) values” would appear. With an accusation of a crime against humanity.
Much of the world’s players, preoccupied with such “problems”, simply do not care about any Afghanistan. This means that in the near future they may have a new source of forced mass migration, with flows running into the hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of refugees.
For now, the general state in which the Afghan issue finds itself today is illustrated by an episode during the madness recently witnessed at Kabul airport, which probably was the only positive one. However, madness also accompanies the whole process of the notorious “radical transformation of the world order.”
It is about an American soldier who picked up an infant baby from the arms of parents who apparently had reason to fear the Taliban coming into the capital. It is likely that subsequently the child has been in more than one pair of hands.
Nothing happened to the parents and now they are looking for their baby. But they can’t find him yet.
Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.