Afghanistan: A Tale Of Two Wrongs
As the world watched in surprise as the Taliban seamlessly reoccupied Afghanistan, the US president Joe Biden firmly proclaimed that it was now time for the people of Afghanistan to stand up and fight for their own country.
In response, many of those who disagreed with the sudden US withdrawal feigned concern over what would now happen to those who had turned their backs on the Taliban and their strict interpretation of Sharia law. Since the ousting of the Taliban in 2001, many women obtained employment, attended school and had a large degree of personal freedom not seen since the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Men had shaved their beards, enjoyed music and indulged in the various niches within ‘western’ culture.
Many women and men had found employment in the government which had been established in the wake of the US invasion. The government, army and police had employed hundreds of thousands of Afghans who would now fall under the suspicion of the Taliban. Military interpreters had occupied a vital and direct role, which will draw a greater desire for retribution from the Taliban.
As Joe Biden asserted the sovereign duty of the Afghan people to take up arms against the Taliban, his real intention was to absolve his government from a failed and never-ending mire of war. The sudden overnight departure of US forces was in itself iconic, as they sought to flee the scene of the crime under the cover of darkness.
However, this is not just indicative of the USA’s recent involvement in Afghanistan, but its present interference in Syria, Ukraine, Korea, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba and other countries around the world. In fact Biden alluded to using US ‘resources’ in other area’s which are of interest to the USA.
The very existence of the Taliban and its oppressive fundamentalism owes itself to the steadfast support it obtained from the US during the Taleban’s war against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1970’s had seen a popular Marxist movement take power. The government had made huge changes such as the outlawing of child marriage, the unprecedented championing of women’s rights and major land reforms.
Of course these changes sent ripples across the conservative Afghan society and caused uproar amongst religious fundamentalists, ultra conservatives and a myriad of other groupings. Feeling a reluctant obligation to support the revolutionary Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, the USSR came to the governments aid. It was within this conflict that Osama Bin laden had found himself, fighting alongside the Taliban which was one of the factions which constituted the ‘Mujahedeen’.
With major US backing in the form of funding, intelligence, weapons and even moral support, the Taliban and other factions waged a guerrilla war against both the Soviet and Afghan troops. There was one salient difference, the Soviets were there to protect a government which had been solely established by the people and enjoyed a degree of popular support. The Soviets did not ‘invade’, rather they were there to protect a legitimate government against jihadist and foreign sponsored groupings.
Due to a number of factors such as internal instability and effective US support for the Taliban, the USSR withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 while the Afghan government survived until 1993. In comparison to the US backed government which struggled to last over a number of days, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan had lasted over three years.
In the wake of the governments collapse in 1993, Afghanistan fell into further civil war between the Taliban and other more moderate Afghanistan factions. Up until the 2001 US invasion, parts of Afghanistan’s north were controlled by the ‘Northern Alliance’. Now, after twenty years of US intervention, the Taliban remains even stronger with the absence of the Northern Alliance.
The American government claimed it had invaded Afghanistan to eliminate Osama Bin laden and his co-conspirators in the wake of tthe9/11 attacks. Yet what the world witnessed was a war which benefited the private military industry complex, private contractors and an array of private companies. Despite recent US claims that their mission was never about ‘nation building’, the US government were facilitating elections as early as 2004 and tried to establish a US backed Afghan government and military capable of securing US interests.
These attempts consistently spiralled into a free for all of corruption and instability. The US military oversaw Afghan forces who sold their uniforms, weapons, ammunition and fuel in local markets where it was easily obtained by the Taliban. Theft, physical and sexual abuse, corruption, drug abuse and desertion were the norm in many areas for the Afghan military and police. The government failed to become anything more than a US installed puppet regime.
The rotten reality behind the US created government and army in Afghanistan can be seen by the almost effortless takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and the very nature of the USA’s sudden retreat. The truth is that the US created the Taliban through their support of the Mujahedeen in the 1970’s & 1980’s and backing of men like Osama Bin laden. Furthermore, instead of ‘nation building’, the US destroyed Afghanistan through two decades of occupation and propped up the rotten corpse of a government before fleeing and claiming Afghans had to defend themselves.
Such hypocrisy is a bad portent for the future when considering the different countries Joe Biden feels the USA’s resources are better used. It seems the lesson is lost on Joe Biden and many in the media as well as sections of the public.