Afghanistan: From Bad to Worse

From the time that Afghanistan was separated from the Iranian territory of “Greater Khorasan” up until today, the country has faced disaster after disaster and only gone from bad to worse.

After 20 years of American military occupation in Afghanistan, U.S. military forces are finally leaving Afghan territory. Recently, Joe Biden’s secretary of state said in an interview that though the U.S. is pulling out its remaining military forces, it is not leaving Afghanistan on its own! The Biden administration intends to pursue a policy of cooperation with, and political support for, the Afghan government, as well as continued economic and cultural aid. The search for a stable peace through negotiations between Afghanistan and the Taliban, as well as their attempts to sign a comprehensive agreement, will also continue.

The White House has also announced that it will station 18 fighter jets in the country to protect the remaining troops and oversee the withdrawal of coalition forces.

The withdrawal of U.S. and coalition forces from Afghanistan has been heavily covered by media and news outlets across the world, which mostly focus on two points:

First, after 20 years of military occupation, the U.S. has no notable accomplishments to show for itself, or for the people of Afghanistan. Although elections were established to form a government and stable institutions, Afghanistan is still a nation defined by ethnic and tribal divisions, and conflict abounds. The U.S.’ stated goals during the invasion of Afghanistan centered around two main points: 1. Establishing stability and security throughout the country, and 2. Guiding Afghanistan from a backward nation into a growing country with a modern society and a manufacturing economy. Neither of these goals has come to fruition; all statistics, even those published by the U.S. government, point to the failure of the U.S.’ promises for Afghanistan. Even the White House is willing to admit that the biggest crisis facing Afghanistan today is the lack of security and economic disarray, which is approaching the level of a total financial collapse, potentially leading to widespread poverty in the country.

Second, instead of providing Afghans with hope for the future, 20 years of military occupation has brought about such a level of despair that they prefer to emigrate to other countries. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan has resulted in a constant fear of death or assassination for Afghans, not hope for a future of prosperity and happiness! The Americans have created an institutionalized culture of “power grows out of the barrel of a gun” in Afghanistan.

This outlook on events in Afghanistan and the results of the U.S. military operation are acknowledged worldwide. Statistical surveys show that drug addiction in Afghanistan, specifically to opium, heroin, etc., is 50 times higher than it was 20 years ago. On the same level, statistics on emigration among Afghans, particularly to the Muslim countries of the region and to Afghanistan’s neighbors such as Iran and Pakistan, is up to 70 times higher than it was 20 years ago. Another legacy of the U.S. invasion is the spread of terrorism and its deadly effects, such as social, religious and economic inequality, as well as the confrontations between “tradition” and “modernity.” Sociologists in Afghanistan and in most countries say that the country is plagued by various conflicting “anomies.”

To illustrate the vicious circle of crises that Afghanistan faces, we must also note the role that the U.S., Israel and other governments of the region have played in creating and extending terrorism and murder, so that the history of 20 years of U.S. occupation began and continued with “hard power.”

Just yesterday, an explosion caused by a bomb or missile at the Sayed Ul-Shuhada High School for girls in Kabul killed more than 50 of the girls and children at the school’s kindergarten and injured more than 100, according to the most recent reports. In a statement, the Taliban not only condemned the attack, but even blamed the Islamic State for the explosion. The question of how the Islamic State group was able to make such a blatant statement of its presence on the eve of the U.S. withdrawal, and moreover where they draw their support from, is a question that most news networks, even in the West, are now asking!

At this point most political experts on Afghanistan do not see a bright future for the country after the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers. At the same time, negotiations between the Taliban and the government of President Ashraf Ghani are still shrouded in ambiguity. The Taliban continue to push their goal of “all or nothing,” expressing a desire for total control over Afghanistan. And yet they are negotiating. Across the provinces of Afghanistan, wherever possible the Taliban are making inroads and taking over land. The Taliban are showing off their military power to prove that they are the superior power in Afghanistan. Yet Ghani keeps repeating that “the Afghan government now has a strong military and is capable of defeating any rebel force on the battlefield”!

On the ground, the reality of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of U.S. forces will be, simply put, “from bad to worse,” and no one yet knows what that worse will look like or what exactly it will entail. Afghanistan is a country with a history of oppression from both America and Russia, and both superpowers have played their part in continuing the endless cycle of crises in which the country is trapped.

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