AYESHA ABDULLAH/ Strategic Analyst
The ongoing tragedy in Afghanistan having tremendous impact on the whole region is going to alter the geopolitical balance in Asia and in the whole world, even if Afghanistan is a small, poor and rugged country. The players behind the whole drama which is now engulfing the entire world with pain and sorrow are known but remains hidden behind the veil. The lies which are being fed as a natural catastrophe unanticipated before the troop withdrawal are well calculated game that is being played with a vision to serve their own interests at the cost of poor Afghan lives. For them, death and destruction are just a cycle which must earn them profit.
The horrific events currently unfolding in Afghanistan during the US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan may have drawn global attention through the events at Kabul airport but in the interior regions of Afghanistan there are more signs of troublesome future than the events in urban areas.
The abandonment of Afghanistan and its people will have long term consequence for the US and western bloc who have now badly lost their credibility. Already, nations in Asia, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere are questioning the so called term ‘commitment’.
While some argue that the US and its allies ditched Afghan people who could not stand on their own despite 2 trillion Dollar support for over 20 years, it is these poor Afghans who saved many western lives in the battlefield and fought alongside their counterparts after having earned many medals. Their heroics are being traded for profit now.
The US tax payers’ money which was spent in the name of Afghan democracy and war against terrorism has already benefitted American bureaucracy, Afghan elites, Pakistani military, Pentagon officials and their contractors who in return shared some amount of it with select Afghans. It has nothing to do with ordinary Afghan people.
The treacherous role of US special envoy on Afghanistan, the energy lobby and arms contractors which are now emerging more powerful among the strategic ayatollahs at Washington DC had to connive with Pakistani military establishment for their so-called exit strategy.
Every tragedy has its own destiny. There were two parallel strategy playing out at the same time for the US exit strategy. One was the peace process which was being negotiated by the US, on the other hand there was another strategy which was being orchestrated by the collaborators to undermine the smooth passage for the US and NATO troops.
The Taliban, Pakistan military, Russia and China had already started their preparations to teach the US a lesson in the entire drawdown process as they did not want a safe passage to the Americans from the land of empire graveyard – as Afghanistan is known. This could be the beginning of Cold War 2.0.
The thousands of Russian troops who were raped by the Taliban 1.0 when they were captured during their last days of withdrawal in Afghanistan in the 90s had to undergo a great trauma for years or decades. This treatment was supposed to be meted out this time to their bitter rival which is retreating after 20 years.
From this position, the Taliban was directed to advance its campaign in a manner that will neutralize any comfort for the retreating US and NATO forces. The original plan was Taliban will not enter Kabul before 31 August and it will intensify or end the war by September 30.
But it was changed in mid-course to suit interests of collaborators. Yet, there was no surprise for anybody. Both Russians and the US are already in touch with each other. While one is in total control of Taliban, the other is in control of Pakistan. The Chinese are briefed about the development on a regular basis and Beijing generously contributes money to teach US a lesson.
The most benefits have gone to the Chinese who are the key fund provider for Taliban at the moment. China has spent on Taliban almost a billion USD by now and it wanted Ashraf Ghani Government must go which had arrested dozens of MSS agents in Afghanistan months ago while they were secretly meeting with Afghan security officials inside Afghanistan.
In fact, former Afghan Army Chief General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai who was replaced by Hibatullah Alizai, the commander of the Special Operations Corps, just days before the Taliban victory, had already handed over the game to the Taliban. He had stopped coming to war room in Kabul and often remained unreachable to his field commanders throughout June and July. It is pretty sensational but all was unnoticed, perhaps for a reason.
The US special envoy may have his personal ambition on Afghanistan but he was conniving with Pakistanis, Russians, Afghan opposition as well as Ghani friends and his commanders for months in the name of peace process.
Now, the peace process has created more turmoil than the atrocities of entire civil war in Afghanistan’s history. While some are arguing that troop withdrawal was well discussed with Afghan leadership for years and months, the suddenness has brought many questions.
To withdraw from Afghanistan, it seems a price was quoted by the collaborators which was perceived as too high. But by simply abandoning these war machines the collaborators can collect at their own cost and be satisfied. Or else, to take it back to American bases it would have cost almost 14 billion USD for some equipment, not all.
Thus, hasty withdrawal has benefitted to their collaborators and facilitators and it has brought Taliban to power after forcing Ashraf Ghani out of country who was unwilling to share power with Taliban and had earlier forged elections with the help of similar lobby in US which was supporting Ghani all along.
Since Ghani has outlived his utility, it is time to bid farewell to him but unceremoniously as the collaborators had demanded. The US special envoy got ambitious and found the key levers for his exit strategy which he has been negotiating for years.
It was success for everybody and everywhere or a win-win situation for all parties. Then the argument was placed to support between good Taliban and bad Taliban, also the cheer leaders had started painting that Taliban 2.0 is a new avatar the world must experiment without prejudice.
It is the poor Afghans who are now paying the price. On the other hand, energy dealings, stalled for 20 years, are now being revived. While oil and gas pipelines are going to connect Central Asia and South Asia, the Taliban, Chinese and Pakistani establishment are busy in finalizing their business plans.
The Russians are now aggressively pushing for their gas to flow in two different directions. The Chinese are already ready with their blueprint to take out minerals from Afghanistan. The Pakistanis want to enhance their influence and political links with Central Asia to benefit first.
Yet, there will be a price to pay for all the actors involved. For, those who have benefitted from the entire high drama now and who will make profit in future. The law of physics says every action has equal and opposite reaction. The global outrage, fate of Afghan people and public anger will decimate the present gains sooner. But no one will ever taste greatness after causing so much tragedy and mayhem.