By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog
The recent air strikes on the Taliban positions in Afghanistan is an open breach of the Peace Treaty signed between the Taliban and Trump administration in February 2020. Pentagon officials said earlier this month that the commander of U.S. forces in the region, Central Command’s General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, would retain the authority to call for airstrikes in support of Afghan forces until the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was complete, which is completely contrary to the Peace deal. It is illogical. It might lead to more confrontation and spoil the regional efforts for seeking a political and sustainable solution to the Afghan issue. After fighting for two decades, a humiliating defeat was the destiny for America. After withdrawal, such strikes will be more counterproductive.
According to the Peace deal, the U.S. troops would have withdrawn by May 2021. President Joe Biden.s decision to delay withdrawal till September 2021 was against the agreement reached between the two sides. Another part of the deal was that the U.S. forces would not target or attack the Taliban, and the Taliban will also not attack the American troops reciprocally. However, the Taliban are committed to the peace deal with true spirit and have not violated any part of the deal. In contrast, Americans are breaking the agreed-upon contract, which is condemnable.
Although, the U.S. has a history of breaching international deals, especially during the last few decades when the U.S. enjoyed the status of a single superpower in the unipolar world. The U.S. was acting unilaterally, either the withdrawal of a Nuclear deal with Iran or imposing sanctions on adversaries, war on Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, etc., or Ukrain issue, etc.
But with the rise of China and the revival of Russia, the geopolitics has already changed; the U.S. must understand the changing dynamics and respect the international norms.
The U.S. airstrikes were highly condemned, and the regional powers have shown deep concerns. The whole region is struggling to achieve Peace in Afghanistan and trying its best to bring stability in Afghanistan. American actions such as airstrikes may derail the peace process. The strength and development of the whole region depend on the stability and developments in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is situated at a traditional and ancient Silk Route, connecting Central Asia, Esat Asia, South Asia, Eurasia, China, and Russia further through Gwadar- Pakistan, to onward destinations in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Afghanistan is a junction of important trade routes. Peace, stability, and development in Afghanistan is the first step for regional Peace, stability, and development – Afghan Peace is a Prerequisite.
There is complete harmony and consensus among all the neighbors of Afghanistan and regional countries that Peace and stability are required in Afghanistan urgently. China and Russia are also contributing toward Afghan Peace and tranquility.
However, few countries are known as “spoilers” that are harming Peace in Afghanistan, including the US, India, and Israel. To some extent, the Afghan Government is also trying to create unrest and instability to prolong their rule further.
It is well understood that the Government of Ashraf Ghani or Hamid Karzai were not representatives of the Afghan people, not loyal to Afghanistan. Both of the two were puppet governments installed by America and were devoted to American and foreign forces occupying Afghanistan. They have no roots in Afghanistan and have never protected Afghan interests. They were installed in Afghanistan by Americans and were safeguarding American interests. They were killing the Taliban on dictations from Americans and serving American agendas. The Americans gave them this job, and they were loyal to Americans only. They could not balance between the American interests and Afghan interests. Their role was just like the roles of President Noor Muhammad Turkey, President Hafizullah Amin, President Babrak Karmel, and President Dr. Najeeb under the former USSR occupation of Afghanistan during 1980s.
As both President Ashraf Ghani and Hamid Karzai were following the footprints of Afghan Presidents under ex-USSR occupation, so it is conceived that their end will be similar or not much different from them. The two presidents enjoyed the American support and ruled the country for two decades, that should be enough, and their greed should be reached to an end. They must not think of any share in future political setup in Afghanistan. Even, It is believed that they may not be allowed to live in Afghanistan or face war crimes against their own people.
Currently, Taliban controls over 90% of Afghanistan and almost all important cities. They are very close to Kabul and are capable of capturing Kabul at any moment conveniently. There is very little resistance from Government troops, and most of them are surrendering and joining Taliban. Taliban also captured modern weapons and war machinery from Bagram Air base, which the American troops have left in the darkness of night in a very hap-hazard manner. They could not hand over the control to the incoming commander.
Taliban are brilliant and just waiting for an appropriate timing to enter Kabul and declare the rule. From military point of view they can capture Kabul very conveniently, but politically, they are waiting until they got international recognition. They had learned a bitter lesson in the past when in the 1990s, they established their Government, only a few countries recognized their legitimacy, and they failed to convince the rest of the world. This time, they might play smartly and wait till their legitimacy is recognized internationally, and they may not face the similar fate in future. If Russia and China recognize their rule, many other countries under their influence will recognize them too. Americans signed the peace deal with them and have recognized them as legal and legitimate hairs of Afghanistan. If Americans refuse to recognize their rule, it will be moral corruption merely.
Taliban are highly qualified and intelligent people; some have been educated in the USA and Europe; they understand Economics, Science, Technology, Engineering, politics, all modern sciences, etc., and religious education. They can establish a sustainable government and bring their country out of the crisis, and getting prosperity to the ordinary person is their plan. The Western media has been projecting a distorted image of the Taliban and tossing them as wild, cruel, and ignorant, and conservatives, which is wrong and just part of the hybrid war against Afghanistan. Taliban rule in the 1990s was one of the best eras in the recent history of Afghanistan, where the law and order situation was excellent, eliminated drugs, the crime rate was minimum, justice delivery was instant, and the public can relax and sleep fearlessly.
Taliban is in close interaction with neighboring states and the international community and will take over Kabul with the consent of the international community in a legitimate formal manner.
Taliban believes in a political settlement and is avoiding bloodshed. Taliban are struggling to form a broad-based political government involving all religious and ethnic factions. Afghanistan is a highly diverse country with a robust tribal system. There are many ethnic groups and religious schools of thought. Taliban are in dialogue with all factions and trying their best to build consensus. However, The current Government of Ashraf Ghani or Hamid Karzai is not included in these negotiations, as they are defeated and must leave the right to rule the country. During the last two decades, their performance was against the interest of Afghanistan and against the people of Afghanistan. They were acting on the directions received from their masters and serving their agenda only. They must quit and leave the country for Afghans only.
On the other hand, the U.S. must undersatnd that when they have 150,000 troops, 46-nations strong military, state of the art weapons, modern technology, and the best available military tactics, and long enough time of twenty years, they could not defeat the Taliban, how it is possible that a few bombers take off from Middle-east and carry out airstrikes in Afghanistan and expect any achivements. Such attempts may derail the peace process only but could not make American a victor. They can only commit war crimes and destabilize the country. If American wishes to keep unrest and instability in Afghanistan forever, it must be their blunder. The whole region is committed to bringing Peace and stability to Afghanistan. Americans must understand the changing geopolitics before committing more crimes against humanity.
However, The U.S. understands the potential of the Taliban and recognizes them as fundamental pillars of power in Afghanistan. They could not defeat them in a two-decades-long war. That is why they negotiated with the Taliban directly, without involving the Afghan Government of Asharaf Ghani. The Peace deal was reached and signed between the Taliban and the U.S. Administration. President Ashraf Ghani’s Government was not part of negotiations nor part of the deal. It is conceived that the impotent Government of Ashraf Ghani is no more relevant in Afghan politics and future setups. It is understood that the Taliban will make their Government in Afghanistan.
China and Russia are the major powers in the region and have their stakes in Afghanistan. Russia on Friday accused elements in the U.S.-backed Government in Kabul of blocking power-sharing negotiations and praised the Taliban as “reasonable people.” India is also planning to send its troops to Afghanistan. Israel is involved secretly in sabotaging the peace process.
However, it is believed that the time has reached to end the suffering of the Afghan people and let Afghans decide their own future. An Afghan-owned and Afghan-Led solution may prove sustainable and long-lasting. People of Afghanistan are not the people of lesser God. After four decades of war, it is hoped that turmoil reached to an end. Taliban will defeat all spoilers and foreign forces against Afghanistan.
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: email@example.com).