“The US invasion of Afghanistan was a bad idea,” said Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of Soviet Russia.
From the beginning of that invasion and occupation, the United States has been making mistakes in Afghanistan. In the final analysis, Washington had to make up for that mistake by losing. First, in retaliation for the devastation, 9/11 attacked a country whose government or citizens were in no way involved in that heinous attack. The then Afghan government did not refuse to hand over bin Laden. Only offered to hand over bin Laden, subject to proof of involvement. But then-US President George W. Bush ignored the Afghan government’s request and used sophisticated weapons and military force to invade and occupy the impoverished war-torn country.
The United States has only made a mistake in establishing such a mistake in Afghanistan. The Occupied Territories have spent only 2 percent of the 2.6trillion spent on development for the development of Afghans. British Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Nick Carter said, “Everyone has made a mistake there, a false intelligence report has been made” After the occupation, the United States marginalized the Taliban socially and politically in Afghanistan. The Taliban are kept away from all forms of government formation and constitution-making. The United States has misunderstood the Taliban’s capabilities. So they have relied on non-Pashtun warlords and their loyal militias. Washington depended on warlords such as Ismail Khan of Herat, Abdur Rashid Dostum of northwestern Balkh province, and Ahmed Masood of Panjshir.
They wanted to eliminate the Taliban by relying solely on political tactics and sophisticated weapons, excluding the basics of Afghanistan’s society, history, geography, and so on. The Americans did not try to understand the intense hatred of Afghans towards foreign occupiers, their militant culture, extreme conservatism, tribal society, etc. Instead, for 20 years, the United States has tried to build a Western-style state system. Russian President Vladimir Putin has therefore criticized the “irresponsible” US policy of imposing values from outside on war-torn Afghanistan.
He said, ‘What the people of a country will or will not do; You (outside forces) cannot impose standards on what their political life will be like. ‘ Thus, the US-backed government has never been or even tried to be popular. And Afghan government forces have only paid and helped the Americans. Because the occupying forces have only focused on Al Qaeda and bin Laden. Never mind the philosophy of the Taliban.
University of Maryland, Afghanistan expert said. Yusuf Zai said, ‘The main strategy of the Americans was to capture only the major cities. Outside the city, control was in the hands of the Taliban. The Taliban knew that America would one day leave Afghanistan. They were just waiting for the time. As a result, the US military, without understanding the real tactics of the Taliban, has only ignored the arrogance of sophisticated weapons for 20 years. That’s why Menendez, chairman of the U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations, said: “Today’s defeat is the culmination of a series of mistakes by Republican and Democrat administrators over the past 20 years. Today we are digesting this terrible result due to many years of intelligence failure and misguidance.
Changing US geopolitical priorities: In 20 years, the US geopolitical canvas has changed considerably. The world’s unipolar system is slowly being transformed into a multiplayer system. As Iran, Russia, and China became stronger, an unwritten axis was created against the United States. Turkey is showing strength. And as China has become an irresistible economic power, it has become relevant to regional and global geopolitics. Corona has been able to establish a single dominance in the world, especially in recent times with its introduction, prevention, and vaccination diplomacy. On the other hand, the whole western world, including the United States, is in turmoil. At the same time, China is determined to establish a monopoly in the South China Sea. Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative has gained popularity, giving China a strategic advantage.
Against this background, China faces the United States and the Western world over the origins of the corona, the Hong Kong issue, and the dominance of the South China Sea. In this situation, the United States considers it a priority to divert attention from the “war on terror” and prevent China. Because in any conflict with China, the US troops in Afghanistan, which are absolutely between Iran and China, will be threatened. It became a matter of concern for US and NATO forces. US President Joe Biden said, “The United States can no longer hold on to the policy of 20 years ago.” Topics include relations with China and tackling the coronavirus, ranging from climate change. And these are the ones we need to focus on for energy and resources. ”
Changes in American priorities have recently become visible through the activities of Indo-Pacific Strategy, Quad, etc. Pakistan, on the other hand, has been a comrade-in-arms in the US war on terror for the first time. Pakistan has lost 70,000 people in the war, lost 150 billion, captured its citizens and sent them to Guantanamo Bay, and US drone strikes have caused bloodshed in tribal areas (Geo News and Sama TV). As a result, the United States became more isolated in the war, with the Taliban withdrawing support from Pakistan. In all, Biden had two options; Either retreat or make the situation worse. He chose to retreat as a visionary leader.
Apart from that, one of the attractions of the war was the abundant mineral resources, crude oil, and natural gas reserves in Afghanistan. But in fact, being a fertile ground for guerrilla warfare, the United States has by no means been able to access those attractive natural resources. As a result, the receipt was zero in 20 years. In contrast, the investment in life and property was skyrocketing. Therefore, the US leaders have decided to return to their homeland without wasting time, resources, and manpower.
Taliban Skills: The killing of US troops, torture by Afghan government forces, and widespread corruption in the Guinean government led to the Taliban’s speedy settlement of cases, the suppression of various social crimes, including theft and robbery, and the establishment of justice in society.
At the same time, the Taliban established a system of proper masohara for village-based government officials and police guards. Internal communications through modern technology, efficient intelligence management, the use of government intelligence and interpreters in exchange for money, successfully shutting down American supply lines and terrorizing foreign and government authorities through small successful attacks on government forces. Apart from that, he has gained considerable experience and maturity in military strategy as well as diplomacy by fighting the superpowers for a long time. Qatar opened an office in Doha in 2016, forcing the United States to sit down for talks. Washington is also sitting at the table for discussions. Participated in diplomatic talks with China, Russia, India, and Turkey. The Taliban have used this diplomatic activity as psychological pressure on the Afghan government and government forces. The Afghans understood that the Taliban regime was over.
Indeed, the Taliban have skillfully tackled the best diplomatic culture in the United States. The agreement was reached by agreeing not to allow any terrorist group such as Al Qaeda or IS to use its territory in Afghanistan. At the same time, attacks on Afghan government forces continue to put intense pressure on all foreign forces, including the United States. In this way, the Taliban paved the way for victory by simultaneously negotiating war and peace. The Taliban used to say, ‘They (the Americans) have watches in their hands, and we have time in our hands.’ The Taliban fighters have proved themselves unique on the battlefield. By using the land in favor of guerrilla warfare, they have harassed the foreign occupiers. Small attacks at minimal cost at low cost turned into shark-like terror for foreign forces in Afghanistan. As a result, the US generals gave up all hope of victory. In this way, the Taliban was able to turn the American “war on terror” into a “counter-insurgency” and turn the occupiers into a sea of money and manpower loss. “Over the past 20 years, the United States has focused on short-term military gains rather than the formation of a truly democratic government and the protection of human rights,” Human Rights Watch told AFP. As a result, the Taliban were able to maintain double morale in the fight against the occupiers.
Strategic Mistakes: The United States has been making a number of strategic mistakes since the invasion of Afghanistan. These strategic mistakes came up in a top-level discussion in the US. The first mistake Americans made was losing the opportunity to stop Osama bin Laden in the 2001 Torabora operation. Second, the withdrawal of a large part of the troops from Iraq in 2003 without ending the Afghan war. On the other hand, not paying attention to the gradual rise of the Taliban in Pakistan as the war in Afghanistan continues. Again, the sudden withdrawal of US advisers from Afghanistan a few years ago weakened the overall position of the Americans there. According to Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, President Trump also refused to accept the recommendation to keep 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan. The most serious mistake was the agreement reached in Doha between the Trump administration and the Taliban on the withdrawal of troops. “The Doha agreement has had a devastating effect on the Afghan government and the US military,” McKenzie said. According to him, President Biden’s announcement to reduce the army was like the last nail in the coffin.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Bush Jr. contracted his personal ambitions, internal instability, vengeance, pursuing political interests, keeping a large military force busy, extracting Afghanistan’s natural resources and supplying arms dealers and other large companies. A war broke out in a non-aligned country on October 7, 2001. The next four presidents have spent trillions of dollars fighting the war for 20 years. More than one and a half lakh people including local and foreign soldiers have lost their lives. Finally, after a humiliating defeat, the United States withdrew its last troops on August 31, 2021. Although the cause of the war in the United States, its purpose, the rationale for the long war, and the final outcome of the war are the subject of research, but apparently, only humanity, human rights and justice have been trampled on by Western powers claiming civilization.
Author: Pathik Hasan, Dhaka-based researcher, and columnist with a particular interest in current international issues.