Recognizing the evil! The Afghan Dilemma

An American soldier in 2019 at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Credit: Erin Schaff/The New York Times

August 15, 2021, is one of those days which reveals the intentions of the US and West for the world. The fall of Kabul was inevitable as the US and Western forces have never intended to empower the people of Afghanistan, flourishing democracy, or depend on women’s rights rather the then mighty and irate US administration wanted revenge and a place in central Asia. In an interview on July 27, 2022, Hashmat Ghani, told a journalist that the fall of Kabul was decided way before August 15, 2021. It was decided on February 29. 2020 when the US officially signed the Doha deal with the Taliban. Sarah Chayes, a writer and former journalist who worked as a special adviser to the US military leadership in Afghanistan has put it clear that the US and the West from the beginning, had no plans of nation-building but rather quite the opposite. This was also evident from President Biden’s speech after the fall of Kabul where he said that The US was never there in Afghanistan for nation-building.

Read More: Biden ‘We did not go to Afghanistan to nation build’ 

Speaking to Martin Sandbu at Rachman review, Sarah Chayes, recalled the beginning of the fall of the Taliban when she was driving with one of the warlords. She said that one of the warlords heavily equipped with US military equipment fighting the Taliban told me that “why are we in this? It should not be about us “the warlords” but rather about the people of Afghanistan. This is what was found in the investigative report of the US congress in 2010 named “Warlords Inc“. The report states that over 2 billion dollars worth of contracts indirectly funded warlords.

Read more: Warlord, Inc. Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan

The early morning of July 2, 2021, saw hundreds of US soldiers leave the Bagram Airbase Kabul overnight without informing the Afghan authorities. The electricity was shut down during their departure and the base was sunk into darkness. During the same time, the Western media outlets were already propagating the Taliban’s wins over the southern districts of Afghanistan. This sent a clear message to the Afghan government that they must pave way for the Taliban. It also demoralized the Afghan army. The Afghan govt had a choice to either fight, fulfilling the US desire to continue fighting on their own so the burden of failure does not fall onto the US, or surrender and save thousands of lives. Either way, Kabul was planned to fall to the Taliban as agreed by The US and Taliban Doha deal.

Related link: The US left Bagram Airbase overnight

On the other side, despite Pakistan being the founder and strong supporter of the Taliban all these years, The US and the West considered her a strategic partner and to this day consider her as one. Within Afghanistan, The US and the West never let the elected official do their work autonomously. In the December 2021 interview, President Ashraf Ghani told the former chief of the British Defense Staff, General Nick Carter that he was not even allowed to change the Kandahar police chief, let alone run the country. President Ghani criticized Washington for leaving his government out of years of peace talks with the Taliban. Anand Gopal an American writer and journalist wrote the story of an Afghan woman in the article The Other Afghan Women. The woman has seen the last forty years of war with her own eyes. The woman recalled every moment of her life and saw the coalition forces killing innocent people while funding the warlords. Anand Gopal has also written the book “No Good Men Among the Living” where he wrote that the coalition forces clashed among themselves in Helmand province for various contracts and civilian deaths. US forces were funding one warlord to fight the other and this went on until they handover the country to the Taliban.  

Read more: The Other Afghan Women

Over the past two decades of the invasion of Afghanistan, the US and the West not only surrendered the sovereignty of Afghanistan to the Taliban but made them more powerful than ever. The group now owns weapons that many sovereign countries do not have. Afghans are now at the mercy of the Taliban and Pakistan Intelligence agencies personnel are all over the country.

Illustration of a US-made military vehicle in Afghanistan. (Wikimedia Commons/MSgt Benjamin Bloker)

The people of Afghanistan not only rejected The US Doha agreement and Pakistan’s support of the Taliban but protested the advancement of the Taliban and their media coverage by western media outlets during the last month before the fall of Kabul. The Afghan Diaspora protested outside US and Pakistan embassies throughout the world over their Doha agreement and support of the Taliban. At every such rally, one slogan was common, the US and the West are responsible for the destruction of Afghanistan, The US and the West replaced the Taliban with Taliban and they should be brought to justice for bringing back the terrorists to Afghanistan.

In January 2022, when the Norwegian Govt with consent from the US and allies called the Taliban leadership to Oslo for talks, it reaffirmed to every Afghan that the US and West are not interested in a sovereign and terror-free Afghanistan but rather going after their strategic interests.

The Afghan Dilemma

If nothing else, the Doha agreement between The USA and the Taliban should be an eye opener to every Afghan that the US and West imperialists forces are not on the side of human rights, nation building, sovereignty, democracy, or women’s rights but instead, they go after their own strategic interests.

The millions of Afghans worldwide protesting US involvement in bringing back the Taliban show that the people of Afghanistan know the US and West guilt. But the dilemma is that some neo-liberal Afghans in the West are still behind the same war supporting forces of the US and West who handed over the country to the Taliban through a properly signed agreement.

The US and West play around Afghans while both Taliban and neo-liberal Afghans continue to undermine the sovereignty of Afghanistan. Photo From Mike Pompeo and Ali Maisam Nazary Twitter

It is staggering that some Afghan ex-government officials along with the neo-liberal Afghans in the west are meeting with the conservatives, liberals, and Social-neo-liberal political leaders and NATO officials for support against the Taliban even though it was the same West that brought the Taliban to power just a few months ago. Some of the activists arrange meetings in the EU parliament to get support to oust the Taliban knowing that the same EU is inviting the Taliban for talks to various forums like Antalya Diplomacy Forum and Oslo conference on Afghanistan. The US Special Representative to Afghanistan Thomas West has met Afghan Taliban leaders at various forums including at Antalya Diplomacy Forum. Thomas West has met Taliban leaders as recently as June 30 this year in Doha along the US State department personnel. They discussed the political and economic situation in Afghanistan and released 55 million dollars in aid apart from 774 million dollars aid since the Taliban took over Afghanistan last year. The neo-liberal Afghans in the West on the other hand are meeting the same Western officials to get support against the Taliban.

Read more: Afghanistan, Qatar, US hold trilateral meeting in Turkiye’s Antalya

US Representative to Afghanistan Thomas West meeting Taliban leaders in Antalya Turkey. Photo Source MOFA

Way forward

No nation in human history has built itself over the support of colonizers and imperialists. Nations are never built by funded NGOs but instead by mass movements and public mobilization. Some of the Afghan social activists still believe that arranging a seminar in the European parliament or meeting with US officials will change the fate of Afghans while ignoring the fact that the same officials were there in Afghanistan for 20 years, killings thousands of innocent people just to replace the Taliban with Taliban.

Afghanistan’s way forward is only to believe in the power of the people of Afghanistan. Afghans need to mobilize fellow Afghans and organize themselves on political lines. The West´s NGO culture has left Afghan movements to conference halls and online meetings which must be abandoned to achieve the dream of a sovereign Afghanistan. US Senator Richard Black once rightly said that the NGOs US and West fund around the world are actually the goodwill ambassadors of US imperialism, and they promote the soft image of the US.

Millions of Afghan diaspora can make a real difference only if they join the anti-war movements. The neo-liberal and war-supporting political parties in the west will only further the devastation of Afghanistan. Afghans need to distance themselves from the neo-liberal pro-war imperialist forces of the US and West who believe in war and escalation of militancy. Afghans must believe in peaceful resistance. Non-violent resistance will take time to bring about the development that Afghanistan needs, but it will end the vicious cycle of war in Afghanistan and shatter the US and West’s desire for another war in Afghanistan.

Naqeeb Khan is the President of Green Human Resources and can be contacted via email.