With America rushing to withdraw its troops before September 11, after twenty years of war, Taliban started seizing provincial capitals in lightning speed, threatening to take over the capital Kabul while the government is heading towards inevitable collapse.
The Taliban see themselves as a government-in-waiting. They refer to themselves as the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” the name they used when in power from 1996 .until being overthrown in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Now, they have a sophisticated “shadow” structure, with officials in charge of overseeing everyday services in the areas they control.
Alexander the Great ( (336–323 BCE) once said that” Afghanistan is easy to march into but hard to march out of”. However neither the former Soviet Union nor the sole super power United States learnt any lesson from Alexander’s warning or Afghan history.
Soviet invasion invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and virtually destroyed the delicate and unique Afghan political system, its infrastructure, economy and caused untold misery to its poverty stricken people, while millions ended up in refugee camps, virtually empty handed, in neighbouring Pakistan. In Moscow’s brutal military offensive, thousands of innocent Afghan men, women, children and the aged, were massacred and maimed, destroying the entire fabric of this deeply religious society.
Demonstrating this spirit of traditional bravery around mid-1980, Afghan Mujahidin leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar told me in Dubai that “ we will make sure that Afghanistan becomes the graveyard for Soviet Union “. True to his prediction ill equipped and ill trained Afghans got Soviet Empire to bleed and collapse in 1989 and the US which invaded Afghanistan under false pretext in 2001 is running away
Refusing to learn any lesson from the Soviet’s disastrous experience, the US together with its NATO Allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, falsely accusing American created Al Qaeda of involvement in the 9/11 tragedy in New York and Taliban government, yet another creation of America, of sheltering Al Qaeda. It was later proved that neither Al Qaeda nor any Muslim was involved in the 9/11 tragedy.
Washington’s real objective was clearly defined in 2007 by US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher who said : to “stabilize Afghanistan so it can become a conduit and hub between South and Central Asia – so energy can flow south.”
The US led invasion turned what was already a battered land into a country of complete devastation. In addition to human casualties, roads, homes, TV and radio stations, schools and hospitals and other infrastructures were destroyed. Carpet-bombing, missile attacks and cluster bombs were responsible for killing thousands of civilians. In addition thousands more died from starvation or exposure, including children, who make up more than half of the population of Afghanistan.
The US ally and Afghan war lord Abdul Rashid Dostum’s unleashed medieval style barbarity when they committed massacres following US-NATO troops entered Afghanistan
In the aftermath of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Al Qaeda was established by Osama bin Laden who hails from a wealthy Saudi family and gave up all his wealth and comforts to liberate Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden funneled money, arms and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war.
The US, hell bent on defeating its super rival Soviet Union in Afghanistan spent billions and supplied mujahedeen with money, training and arms. Thus in this war against Moscow, bin Laden became a reliable American partner. He was elevated to heroic state by millions in the Islamic world due to his magnificent efforts and sacrifices while the US media gave him all the kudos as a multi-millionaire abandoning his millions and living in the caves of Afghanistan to fight the Russian occupiers.
The Afghans got Soviet Union to bleed before withdrawing in humiliation from Afghanistan within ten years in 1989.
Then too Taliban gained control over several Afghan cities in lightning speed and shocked the world when they successfully captured Kabul in September 1996. Disillusioned with warring factions and several years of conflict, Afghans welcomed the Taliban who restored some measure of peace and stability to their troubled nation.
Though demonized and ostracized by the US and Europe now, Taliban made significant positive contributions. They brought law and order and stability to that lawless country, wiped out some rapacious war lords and gangsters, ended civil wars, stamped out corruption, paved the way for trade and commerce to flourish by making roads safer for people to travel from one corner to another without the fear of being waylaid or attacked, destroyed poppy cultivations and eliminated drug barons to cite a few.
Taliban were also known for their honesty, integrity and moral principles. So much so British woman journalist Yvonne Ridley, arrested by Taliban while in Afghanistan, converted to Islam following her release due to the dignified treatment she received from her Taliban captors. This was quite contrast to the American and NATO soldiers known for their gang raping of Afghan, Iraqi, Libyan and other women in these countries.
In the midst came the September 11 events in New York and Washington which were swiftly exploited by President George Bush and his neo-conservative cabal to invade Afghanistan and impose their hegemony there, and thus, Central Asia, to serve US oil companies, arms industries and other corporate establishment
The US blitz turned what was already a battered and blemished land into a region of nearly complete devastation. In addition to human casualties, roads, homes, TV and radio stations and hospitals were destroyed. Carpet-bombing, missile attack, and cluster bombs were responsible for killing thousands of civilians. In addition thousands more died from starvation or exposure, including children, who make up more than half of the population of Afghanistan.
The Taliban would have been the darlings of Washington if only they had agreed to be party to the proposals of the US oil cartels to exploit the resources of Central Asia. Their failure to do so and more significantly their refusal to extradite Osama bin Laden put them on a crash course with Washington.
The US rushed to sign agreements with Central Asian countries for oil exploration in an endeavor to keep both China and Japan out of the scene. Twenty years later today Americans had to withdraw with humiliation in the same way Soviet Union ran away from Afghanistan.
Disclaimer: American troop withdrawal and Taliban seizing towns Proves what Alexander the Great said about Afghanistan By Latheef Farook - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view