Updated: Oct 31, 2022
Image credits: the Real Deal
Last week President Biden announced that the United States of America’s Military will be leaving Afghanistan after 20 years. The complete withdrawal will happen by September 11. This date has its own significance. America got into Afghanistan to crush the Taliban and Al Qaeda after the Twin Towers attack, infamously known as 9/11. Exactly 20 years after the American and NATO forces leave Afghanistan. The war on terror in Afghanistan has been America’s longest and most expensive military adventure. The reason was basic and powerful to protect American Citizens from an enemy far away from the borders. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the Americans have both failed and lost the Afghan mission. This whole mission of eradicating terror was first based on removing the Taliban and the terror face of it that is Osama Bin Laden and then establishing the American Order or the Democratic Rules-Based Order in Afghanistan.
Turns out that no one can control the Afghani Pashtuns. Henry Kissinger once said that “the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win”. This very line sums up American Condition in Afghanistan. The conventional US Army didn’t win completely over the Afghani Guerrillas. Likewise, the Afghani Guerrillas didn’t completely lose or win but still remain victors as the Taliban still controls sizeable territory in Afghanistan and is powerful even after the Americans using all their might to defeat it. Afghanistan has proved to be fatal for American interests. But now when they leave Afghanistan, there are many new things that are coming up in the region with it. That is what we will take up in today's piece.
Americans are leaving Afghanistan not because it is a conflict that is going for too long but because it’s a conflict which is not solvable and no more in changing global American interest to be there. Although there may be many backers saying that the US shouldn’t withdraw as this would give room to the Chinese, Russians, Terror regimes and the Iranians but that doesn’t matter to the American interests in the terms of economy and countering China in fields like the Indo-Pacific, Latin America and Africa. Afghanistan has proved to be fatal to any nation that plays with it.
Be it the Soviets or the Americans. World's Two most powerful nations with all their technological and military might were not able to crush the Afghani tribal force. This very nation is not economically fruitful for the Chinese. China already has a port in Gwadar for its energy supply chain from the Middle East and to trade with the Central Asian nations it has the Khorgos pass with the Kazaks. On the other hand, the Russians are more involved in the Middle East through Syria and keeping the Assad regime intact.
It is the terror outfits that are going to benefit the most out of AMEXIT. But that too if they don’t play with the fire of provoking the Americans and staying in the place where they are. American Military-Industrial Complex and the Western Alliance may continue to provide the Afghan Military with Drone and weapons support but in the end, it comes to the Afghans to resolve and control the situation in their nation. All in all the Americans have much bigger problems and geopolitical issues to deal with than Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has been a total disaster when it comes to the management and rebuilding done by the Americans. From Drug control to the Ring Road. Americans were not able to rebuild and keep Afghanistan in the way they wanted it to be after removing the Taliban regime. Pashtuns didn’t let the Americans build a road covering the major part of Afghanistan. The American economic prowess was also not able to establish a stable market force in Afghanistan.
Drug control in Afghanistan was a success in the early times but later it again got out of hand. Afghanistan's opium poppy harvest produces more than 90% of illicit heroin globally and more than 95% of the European supply. More land is used for opium in Afghanistan than is used for coca cultivation in Latin America. This shows how the Americans failed in Afghanistan. Economic cost has been much greater, the US has spent more than 822 billion dollars and more than 143 billion dollars on infrastructure in Afghanistan. The human cost of conflict is more than 2000 US army troops and 111,000 Afghan civilians died or injured. Official numbers of which we may never know. The Afghan Peace Deal expected to bring some rest to the situation doesn’t also go well on the ground where we have seen that the Taliban is gaining ground and not following the treaty particulars. From this American Disaster, the Taliban is going to be the biggest gainer. What America leaves behind is what the Taliban gains and takes over.
Image credits: NBC
TOUGH TIME FOR INDIA
Americans leaving Afghanistan is good news for some and a bad one for many. AMEXIT is not going to go well for the Indians who have been bracing themselves for the impact of Americans leaving Afghanistan for years now. In 2019, politically and militarily, Indians carried reforms in the Kashmir region like abrogation of Article 370 to get more hold of the Kashmiri region so as to maintain it in future and integrate it more with the Indian union. The Military reforms have been of modernizing and beefing up preparedness in Kashmir against the Terror outfits. These very terror outfits will all-around gain moral, equipment, training and the Talibani expertise in fighting the Indian Army.
We may also see a rise in terror activities and infiltration once the American leave Afghanistan. This has happened in the past when the Soviets left Afghanistan defeated by the Mujahideen in 1989, terrorism increased rapidly in the Kashmir valley in the 1990s leading to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. In 2001- Americans entered Afghanistan and we saw a fall in terror activities.
Now when terrorism is somewhat in control in Kashmir. Afghan Peace Deal and American Withdrawal came as a tricky take for the Indians. We have seen terrorists taking training from Pakistan and Afghanistan. This new atmosphere where the wolf’s lair is let free, we may see a rise in activities and for which India should brace for impact and prepare for answers strategically.
AMEXIT is not going to go well for the Indians who have been bracing themselves for the impact of Americans leaving Afghanistan for years now.
DECISION TO TAKE
This Decision of American Military withdrawal doesn’t really come as a surprise as America is changing and so is the World. There are new geopolitical arenas to fight on and new enemies to contain. Also, this new, Biden regime is not going to go global where it is not profitable and not needed. This also matches with America’s current political atmosphere of decoupling. India also has to take tough decisions and have separate pacts both with the Afghans and the Taliban to keep the Kashmir region safe and stable.
In the international arena, nations are with you for their own interests. So in the end a nation has to look out for itself. Biden's decision comes after 3 US presidents apart from him being involved. This decision is economically and militarily apt and right to take for American interests and position in the region. America even after leaving Afghanistan along with the Western Allies will keep on providing material support, Drone Strikes and know-how to the Afghan regime for its stability as that remains in their interest and the regions too. What many are not talking about is the private security contractors working for the US in Afghanistan. Who may not leave Afghanistan anytime soon.
This shows that the Decision taken has been executed in the form of keeping the World and the American people both in agreement but at the same time having some form of American presence in Afghanistan.
Image credits: Vice
BY HARSH SURI
CO-FOUNDER THE GEOSTRATA