Afghanistan is back under Taliban after 20 years back. 11 days is all that Taliban took to take over the reign of the country. The state forces gave up without any worthwhile resistance. History has it that no foreign power has ever been able to capture and sustain in Afghanistan. US of America after pumped in nearly 2.26 trillion dollars in sustaining the military action in Afghanistan for 20 years. But finally had to withdraw without achieving much.
A lot have been written and spoken about the situation in Afghanistan. Though I am not a strategist thinker, I could not resist from adding my two bits. I have read and heard a lot about Afghanistan over last few years but more than anything else I have depended on my common sense to draw my conclusions.
Reasons leading to Afghan crisis.…
The rough mountainous terrain, mindset of populace of rural Afghanistan from all other countries US Army had ever set its foot on. The not so friendly neighbourhood accentuated the problems further. US forces totally failed to understand and win over the Afghan mind.
US failed to establish a good governance system in the country in 20 years. All government establishments suffered from high level of corruption. As per reports the criteria for selection for a government post depended more on (subverted) loyalty than on professional abilities.
There were hardly any efforts made to unite the country under one umbrella. The government of Afghanistan nor the US forces had the required presence at the grass root level in the rural areas. The Taliban and the warlords hardly ever allowed the writ of the elected government to run in their respective areas of dominance.
US and to an extent India did assist in building infrastructure like Dams, Solar power stations and roads in Afghanistan. However, the US apparently failed to carry the population along. Modernisation has to be gradually introduced in a country like Afghanistan. The pace at which US and before them USSR tried to push modernisation agenda in the cities probably did not go too well with the rural population. This maybe resulted gave rise to a strong feeling of rebellion.
As per reports US spent nearly 87 billion dollars over 20 years on equipping and training the Afghan Army. The main reasons for the national army giving up so easily is the prevalent corruption and the state of moral. There are reports that soldiers and policemen had not been paid for months. The defence posts in remote areas were short of rations and ammunition both.
Every army develops its own way of warfighting based on the terrain and the enemy it has to face. It is said that an Army marches on its stomach; the logistics should be of the highest order. The Afghan Army seemingly had no clear-cut strategies or plans due to over dependence on US air power in all their previous engagements with Taliban. Money can ensure supply of weapons and ammunition but cannot create leaders has been established beyond doubt. Soldiers do not give their life for money but for a ‘just cause’. Maybe the Afghan soldiers lacked this cause.
In their 20 years of stay it is surprising that the US failed to execute a workable plan to cut off the supply chain and financial backing of Taliban. The hostile neighbourhood must have certainly made it difficult, but some headway could have been made. The way Taliban terrorists advanced after withdrawal of US forces clearly establishes that they had not just survived but thrived.
It is difficult to believe that all powerful intelligence agency of USA, the CIA was not aware of the power and the intent of Taliban. What deal did the US negotiate with Taliban? Is it just a total failure of the US intelligence grid or is there something more which the eye cannot see?
Way forward ….
A peaceful and stable Afghanistan is a must for sustaining peace and security in the region. The crisis must be dealt on multiple fronts by the world community. The issue of fast emerging humanitarian crisis, reports of human rights abuse and the increasing level of violence resulting in casualties should be dealt on priority.
The reality must be accepted. US forces have moved out of Afghanistan and the Taliban are in control. The mere criticism of Taliban and their ways wont help much in making the life of Afghan nationals better. A more rational approach would be to engage Taliban in talks. The Taliban also require finances and other assistance to run the country. The financial and other needs should be leveraged by the world community to make the Taliban leadership see sense. But to achieve this, countries like China, Pakistan, Russia, and some in middle east will have to be taken on board.
The decision taken by the world community should be based on what the people of Afghanistan want not what we think they want. The people of Afghanistan must rise to the occasion and find a solution for the sake of their country and culture. They have a ‘just cause’ to save their country for the future generations. It will require sustained efforts by the citizens supported by world powers to make the Taliban agree to a reasonable solution.
My salute to all the journalists who are operating in Afghanistan against all odds and have put everything on stake to present the reality of Afghanistan to the world.