September 22, 2021

Afghanistan: Predicting a Outcome, Martin Bollard (Le Monde Diplomatic).

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Johannes Sell AFP Getty

TOAfghanistan It is rightly called the ‘graveyard of empires’. The Afghans defeated the Mughals and the Persians one after the other and drove out the British in the 19th century and the Soviets in the 20th century. Now the Americans are the latest to pick up and drop off.

After a 20-year military campaign – the longest in its history – in which it recruited 38 countries to the US crusade (under NATO command), Washington is leaving Afghanistan in complete chaos. Symbolically, the military withdrawal – like a route – is taking place on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which was the pretext for the first attack. Donald Trump originally set a deadline of May this year. Joe Biden is completing it in just a few months.

From ambassadors to lower levels, they say we are doing a great job. Really? If we are doing very well, why do we seem to be losing?

Michael Flynn

His predecessor, George W. Bush, told the world that it would be a power operation, and claimed victory against the Taliban government in late 2001, saying that revenge had been taken from the United States and that what remained was a new state. To build as close as possible to the American model, something that was within the capabilities of the world’s greatest power. However, the United States had defeated communism and could claim to be the defender of world freedom with its ‘democratic values’. Western governments fell step by step.

In 2009, Barack Obama, who had initially promised to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, sent aid for the final ‘increase’. And in a passionate speech on May 1, 2011, he praised the death of Osama bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan. [the US’s] Attempts to defeat al Qaeda and “proof of the greatness of our country.”

The complete end of America.

A decade later, in February 2020, the Doha Accords signaled the complete end of the United States. It was signed between the Trump administration and the Taliban without reference to the Kabul government, which the United States had so far supported financially and politically. The Afghan people were not consulted, and no attempt was made to coordinate with other NATO members, who still have 7,100 troops on the ground, in addition to 2,500 US troops. 300 from Germany, 1,110 from the United Kingdom, 900 from Italy and 900 from Italy, a few hundred from Georgia and Poland; France withdrew its last units in 2014).

About 17,000 private military contractors from the United States, Afghanistan and elsewhere were also recruited. This high-handed approach should stop all those who dream of an ‘Asian NATO’ that will defend the same ‘democratic values’ against a new enemy, China. (1.).

The United States has not only imposed its Afghan strategy on the world: it has paid a large part of the bill – more than 1 1 trillion (2.). Some 775,000 US troops have served at least one duty in Afghanistan, including 100,000 during Obama’s rise. The United States has built state-of-the-art military equipment, including drones, and has funded dozens of NGOs. Considering the poor results so far, this has been a huge investment: at least 160,000 Afghans have been killed, as well as 2,400 US troops, 1,500 coalition troops and 1,800 private military contractors. And it’s not over yet.

Conditions in Afghanistan are worse than before the war, except for women whose conditions have improved, at least in the cities. But the Taliban’s pressure to stay at home has increased in recent months, with threats against female writers, journalists, doctors and teachers (forced into exile if not killed), and girls’ schools. Deadly attacks. The West’s ‘civilized mission’ has made Afghanistan the world’s largest producer of opium (90% of global supply), producing more than 15% of the country’s GDP.

Afghanistan has become a cryptocurrency. Col. Christopher Colinda, a U.S. military adviser, said in 2006: ‘I like to use the metaphor of cancer. Small corruption is like skin cancer. There are ways to deal with it and you will probably recover. Corruption within ministries is like high-level, colon cancer. It’s worse, but if you catch it on time, you’re probably fine. Kleptocracy, however, is like brain cancer it is fatal ‘ (3.). And things haven’t improved since then.

If not, but when.

Not surprisingly, the Taliban face little opposition. The war with the West has put him back in the saddle, with one Pakistani journalist noting that before the attack (after five years in power), “he no longer had much popular support.” (4.). Recently, some asked. You They will only take back power. When.

We will never withdraw US troops from Afghanistan unless something is happening there that will give us the stability we need to get out. Help!

Donald Rumsfeld

This war, described as a good war (George W. Bush, 2001), a “just war” (Obama, 2011) and a war against “ambiguity and terrorism” (French President Nicolas Sarkozy, 2008). – ‘Our war, as Bernard Henry Lowe, Pascal Perinau, Stephen Courtois and other French rulers called it wrong – was to save the world from terrorist attacks and to free the Afghan people from barbarism.

In 2009, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kochner spoke of “winning hearts and minds with a bulletproof vest.” (5.) – It is as if one can fight terrorism with terrorism and impose democracy with guns and dollars. But these people never admitted that they were wrong, even when they suffered a clear defeat. They called for one intervention after another – Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, the coast – in the name of human rights (except for ‘friendly’ countries like Egypt or Saudi Arabia), with the confidence that they are with the good.

But these attacks do not bring good. They spread chaos, promote the formation of groups like ISIS, destroy societies and state institutions, inflame ethnic tensions, divide nations and lead to civil war and basically The key is the failure of democratic principles. With the end of lies, corruption, violence, dirty tricks and liberties.

We already knew about Guantanamo (where about 40 people are still being held without trial) and about places of foreign violence: Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks lifted a corner – and now He is in jail, he is considered a terrorist. Tea The Washington Post. More on 2,000 pages of interviews with US and other policymakers collected by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on December 9, 2019, when it published the Afghanistan Papers. Done He revealed that presidents, ministers and military personnel deliberately lied to their compatriots and the wider world.

‘Facts lie superstitions’

On April 17, 2002, six months after the start of the Afghan campaign, Bush Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote in a secret memo called Snowflakes: ‘We will never withdraw US troops from Afghanistan unless There’s something going on that will give us the stability we need to go. Help! ‘A few months later (September 8, 2003), he wrote:’ I have no clue who the bad guys are. ‘ Yet he published an article on the Pentagon’s website that spoke of “a lot of good news,” and said that “while in some quarters it has become fashionable to call Afghanistan a forgotten war,” he said. Even though America has lost its focus, the facts refute the superstitions.

Sources in the Afghanistan Papers – Soldiers, members of the intelligence services, NGO staff were asked to report only positive signals. In 2015, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn expressed his frustration: ‘From ambassadors down to the lowest level [they all say] Are we really doing a great job? So if we’re doing a great job, why do we seem to be losing? The people at the top were not deceived, but they all insisted, like poker players, that they would win first, and that the next battle would be the last.

International law was overturned from the outset: the United States initially decided to unilaterally bomb Afghanistan, and later called for the support of the UN Security Council, which unanimously adopted resolutions between September 12 and December 20. Approved a series of approvals. 2001. Yet it was not a matter of using military force against the invader – a fundamental principle of international relations – but a “war on terror” that would allow any country suspected of harboring jihadists. The attack was possible. Allowing this “precautionary war” made it possible for Iraq, Libya and France to intervene in Mali, although it did not stop terrorist attacks.

As a result of this democratic bankruptcy, from the Patriot Act in the United States to the emergency measures in France, the laws that reduce freedom have multiplied, which have become permanent legislation, with arbitrary arrests. , And demonstrations have been banned. .

The chaos is greatest because Afghanistan is the theater of the Asian Great Game. The players are Pakistan, an ally of the United States, but some protect the Taliban. India, which has supported some anti-Pakistan Mujahideen groups in Balochistan. China, which fears the Turkestan Islamic Party (formerly the East Turkestan Islamic Movement), could destabilize Xinjiang (officially the Uighur Autonomous Region), and, like India, oversees Afghanistan’s mineral wealth. Russia, which is unexpectedly gaining new interest. And Iran, which has saved many Shia Hazaras from persecution (see). Inter-Afghan dialogue is the best way to stabilize in this case).

Afghanistan combines all the failures of the West: military, because the United States has not won an armed conflict in decades, because the ‘war on terror’ has proved to be worse than terrorism itself. Moral, because the governments in Kabul and Baghdad are corrupt and the electoral process is notorious. Democratic, because the decisions to embark on such campaigns are made by a single individual. And politically, because the respective states have been destroyed and the forces that were to be eliminated have been assured to finally come to the forefront.

Withdrawal from Afghanistan, for which there is now a consensus in the United States, marks the end of the era of direct intervention and ‘wars forever’. But does this usher in a new era in which Americans no longer see themselves as a chosen people destined to lead the world? The answer lies in Biden’s foreign policy title: ‘Leading the Democratic World’. (6.). America’s desire for supremacy escaped defeat in Vietnam. It will not evaporate after the bitter lesson of Afghanistan.

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