August 26, 2021

The Sacrifice of Afghanistan

Operation Enduring Freedom turned out to be a disaster. Let's see how Operation Rehabilitating Terrorists turns out.

The quote, "there are no permanent alliances, only permanent interests" which is attributed to the 19th century British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston has once again rung true in Afghanistan. 

Washington, London, and the rest of the NATO coalition were quick to cast blame on the Afghan army for their collective failure and whitewash the Taliban as they marched to victory. 

Western officials have begun casting the Taliban as a tolerant and forgiving force in order to make an alliance with them more palatable. The shameless British army general even described them as nothing more than a bunch of "country boys."

The global effort to legitimize the Taliban is a grand betrayal of Afghanistan and the soldiers who died in the needless war. 

Afghanistan has been cast aside as a pawn on the chessboard, and its people are being sacrificed once again on the altar of geopolitics. 

Political talks with the Taliban in the interests of peace were inevitable, but what took place in Doha between Trump officials and the Taliban was not compromise but capitulation.

The Afghan people have been taken for a ride but they are not stupid, they know who their real captors are, and it isn't the Taliban. 

Taliban leaders are trotted out in front of the world cameras as if these imbeciles are the brains of this ghastly group. 

Pakistan is the main villain of this tragic drama. Its shadow over the country is starting to be felt in government buildings, across media channels, and on the vacated streets of every captive city.

Pakistan's pursuit of total control in Kabul began after the Soviet withdrawal. Najib Lafraie explained the nature of its anti-Afghan agenda in a 2012 article for the Middle East Institute called, "Post-Soviet Pakistani Interference in Afghanistan: How and Why"

"Once Pakistan realized Hekmatyar’s inability to attain power in Kabul, it designed a new plot. As Professor William Maley notes in his book, The Afghanistan Wars, General Naseerullah Babar, the then-Pakistani Interior Minister, can be considered the “Godfather” of the Taliban. However, soon after their emergence, the ISI also threw its weight behind them. ISI seemed not to have cut all ties to Hekmatyar, though. This author witnessed Hekmatyar’s genuine surprise that the Taliban had reached the gates of Kabul in late September 1996, a few months after he had finally agreed to enter Kabul as Prime Minister, and heard him murmur to the effect that the ISI had told him this would not happen. Apparently he had forgotten the old adage: “There are no permanent allies, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests!”

The symbolism of Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban has not been mentioned in the Western media or any media apart from India's.

It was no accident why Pakistan and the Taliban picked August 15 to conclude their military campaign and seize Kabul from the Afghan government and coalition forces. It was a direct message to India, which celebrates its independence on that day.

Pakistan's obsession with India is deeply irrational and counter-productive for both sides, and it is Afghanistan that has suffered the most from their rivalry. Its security, sovereignty, diversity, and freedom have been sacrificed to gratify the ambitions of Pakistani generals.

Pakistan's own independence day was a day before India's, on August 14. 

The founding of Pakistan was no grand event. Its borders were drawn on a piece of paper by the British and its Muslim founding father who was not enthusiastic about his religion or the creation of his new country. He died too soon after to realize the mistake that he made.

Pakistan was created not for the sake of Muslims, as it was falsely advertised at the time, but for the same reasons why the West supported the Islamists in Afghanistan and across the region: to act as a buffer state and counter the Soviet Union

Journalist and author Tarek Fatah (YouTube):

"In July 1945, Churchill lost the elections in England. Everyone was shocked. Labour Party's Prime Minister Atlee's first government was formed. In the Labour Party convention, when the people asked why India, which is the Jewel in the crown of British empire, why are you breaking it up...Mr. Bevin, who was the Secretary of State, said that we are dividing India to maintain the security interests of the West to thwart the Soviet expansion in the Middle East." 

The history of the region demands attention. The crisis in Afghanistan cannot be addressed without revisiting the Partition of India in 1947 and earlier British machinations in the 19th century.

Historian Priya Satia writes in her article for Foreign Policy titled, "To Understand Afghanistan’s Future, Reckon With the Region’s Colonial Past":

"Pashtuns on both sides of the deny the validity of the Durand Line, but the Pakistani government, in the hands of a Punjabi elite perhaps hardened by the violent partitioning of their own community in 1947, has relentlessly repressed the Pashtun desire for unity and autonomy. It has clung with increasing desperation to the principle of territorial integrity, especially after losing the Bengali half of the country, now Bangladesh, in 1971. The colonial U.S. presence in Afghanistan has abetted this effort. Of late, Pakistan is disrupting cross-border life by building up the frontier in a manner that is likely to rival the India-Pakistan border to the east—a border so fortified that it is one of the few man-made structures visible from space. In holding on to Pashtun land claimed by Afghanistan, the Pakistani government, with U.S. support, has extended the outlook of the past British colonial government toward the land and its people, twisting a knife in the wounds of 1893 and 1947. Meanwhile, the Modi government, in stoking the notion of the Muslim “other”—both inside and outside India—also twists a knife in the wounds of 1947."

The fates of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are intertwined. Today, Afghanistan is a failed state but tomorrow it could be Pakistan. Pakistan is a militaristic state but that could be India soon.

History will judge Pakistan harshly for installing the Taliban regime in Kabul, and it won't be kind to India if it chooses to cast its gaze away and leaves Afghanistan to its miserable fate.

It would be foolish to assume that Afghanistan will have peace and stability now that Taliban car bombs and American airstrikes are no more. Peace is not the absence of terrorism. What exists in Afghanistan is a state of fear and hopelessness. It is no longer a country but a giant prison. And the guards are handing out death sentences.