KT edit: Is America not accountable for Afghan misery?


At the end of two decades, what we are seeing, and dreading, is the return of the country to its dark past.

Published: Tue 10 Aug 2021, 11:34 PM

The fears of Taleban taking over large swathes of land in Afghanistan have not just been realised but surpassed projections by all standards. Since US President Joe Biden’s announcement of withdrawal of troops from the Afghan soil, cities have fallen out of control of the government and taken over by the extremist group. The phrase, Afghanistan is a graveyard of empires, is being revived and used largely to deflect criticism of US forces and its failed war on terror that was started in 2001 to change the course of the country. At the end of two decades, what we are seeing, and dreading, is the return of the country to its dark past.

The last two decades succeeded in bringing about a change in society and was instrumental in giving its girls, women and ethnic minorities and population at large a voice, and a new direction. There was hope of a better future and faith that the brilliance of its people will give the country a new direction. Vibrancy was returning to its society, but the fragility and incapability of the political system to stand against the extremist group is shattering all dreams of a beautiful tomorrow. Without the security umbrella of the Americans, the Afghan government has been unable to safeguard the rights of Afghans or work on improving the social and cultural landscape of the country. The centralised power system that emerged post-2001 is creaking under its own weight and is losing its relevance to the extremist group. It is worth asking, what will stop a resurgent Taleban from using violence to seize power? Do Western countries, especially the US, not owe responsibility to the Afghans? Is the American administration accountable only to the Americans and not to people in a country where it launched its misguided war of revenge?

Afghanistan is suffering from a confluence of crises ranging from the pandemic, dire economy, a resurgent Taleban, which is being supported by external forces, and a weak political system that is incapable of fulfilling the aspirations of its people. The Taleban are using violence to monopolise power and return to their old ways of doing things. The US should not be allowed to simply walk away without achieving any of the goals outlined by the George W. Bush administration in 2001. Military violence doesn’t transform societies. Afghanistan and its people need help. Western countries should first support and provide refuge to all Afghans who have been working in various capacities to help foreign forces during their time in the country. They should not be abandoned. Moreover, the Taleban need to be restrained. UN-brokered peace talks have given the extremist group a seat on the negotiating table and limelight. The West needs to counter this by coming together to the aid of the Afghan government and rights of the people.

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