Withdrawal of Us forces from Afghanistan
The Chairman of the powerful US Senate Committee on Armed services and influential Senator John McCain told a press conference at the Nato Headquarters in Kabul last week that US will be committing a serious mistake by withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. Many will dislike what the senator suggests but in the background of the situation prevailing in Afghanistan and the region one finds enough justification for the Senator to propose keeping US forces for longer period in Afghanistan. Had US maintained its interest and presence in Afghan affairs after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989, a lot of destruction in Afghanistan could have been avoided? The jihadi leaders fought against the Soviet occupation not for the sake of an ideology but they fought for money and as mercenaries against their own mother land and no one knew this factor better than the US that they i.e. Jihadis were not qualified to manage the affairs of their country.
The Soviet union before withdrawing had proposed to erect an interim set up in Afghanistan in order to save the country from confusion which the empty space was likely to create but the US and her allies were not interested in that proposal and the result was a civil war between the Jihadi leaders until Mullah Umar as head of the Taliban emerged as the ruler of Afghanistan in 1996.
After terrorist attack on world Trade Center, America in revenge attacked Afghanistan in 2001. The reason for the attack was obvious: Osama bin Laden the master mind of the attacks on US was in Afghanistan as guest of Mullah Umar. And the guest had gone out of bound to attack WTC from the soil of Afghanistan and in a sense the Taliban government in Kabul was a party in the attack. A visionary leadership in Afghanistan would have obliged not only the US but the entire world by handing over Osama bin Laden to the US for punishing him for his terrorist act. Although the Taliban government said that OBL was their guest and Afghans could not betray their guest but in fact Taliban had no power to catch him and hand him over to the US as OBL was supported by a sizeable number of supporters from Arab, African and central Asian Mujahids.
In order to eliminate Taliban government in Afghanistan, America resorted to carpet bombing and destroyed entire Afghanistan. As the saying goes that mountain was dug to find out mice. It took long time and many resources to locate OSBL who was hiding so close to the Pak army installation in Abbottabad, one can say he was sheltered in the army armpit. Osama was definitely kept safe in order to let him free somewhere close to Jalalabad or Kandahar after the US Withdrawal from Afghanistan and this would have been the most opportune to reach to that end. His sudden and dramatic appearance on Afghan stage would have been designated miracle of the era.
In my opinion OBL was intended to be Afghan King in the future and such an odd development would have paved way for converting Afghanistan into an Arab state with Arabic as its national language. No doubt Afghans would have accepted him as a saint King because he came from the sacred land of Mecca.
It will not be out of place here to refer to Khushal Khan who had said three centuries ago that the entire world is full of stupid people but Afghan’s stupidity is of singular nature. He said that anyone who can recite few Quranic Ayats, he is deemed by them as scholar of Islam. The US achieved a lot for Afghans by eliminating OBL as he was in fact an anti-peace Jihadi who was brave and courageous at the cost of Afghans.
This indeed requires a very detailed discussion that who is responsible for the wholesale destruction of Afghans and Afghanistan and for what purpose. History reveals and explains facts after some time but we are certain that Jihadi leaders damaged Afghanistan more than any other country though the real players who played leading role in destroying Afghanistan are also well known.
The US , besides eliminating the Taliban government and OBL contributed a lot in putting Afghanistan on its way to development. Afghanistan had lost the shape and status of a state but the US and its allies efforts reshaped it as a state by giving it a democracy. It is now Afghan’s responsibility to make this system a success as its failure will result in another civil war and a weak state like Afghanistan will find it difficult to keep its freedom and sovereignty intact.Another civil war and the disintegration of Afghan state will be difficult to stop.
Few days back general Hamid Gul, former ISI Chief of Pakistan had said that in his view Mullah Umar was the real head of Afghanistan not Ashraf Ghani. The general is pro-Taliban and since long is playing a devil’s role as for as Afghanistan is concerned. Evidently it is not his personal view but there are other forces too who think that burning Kabul is in their interest and Afghanistan should be a province of Pakistan and this task could be achieved through their own man i.e. Mullah Umar. This thinking is too dangerous for peace in the region. Unfortunately the conducive environment for trust and confidence between the countries i.e. Afghanistan and Pakistan is vanishing with high speed. Trust once lost cannot be restored so soon as the next day Afghan president Ashraf Ghani in his speech to a function had said that Pakistan is in undeclared war against Afghanistan and Afghanistan will fight for five thousand years to defend itself. It only reflects that Afghanistan and Pakistan are not yet in mood to embrace each other as friends.
Afghanistan is a weak country in Asia although trouble in Afghanistan affects the whole region but this cannot be designated as a merit. Afghanistan is surrounded by much stronger neighbors and all of them are atomic countries and therefore Afghanistan could be in danger from all sides but Afghanistan is danger for no country of the region as she is licking her own wounds for the last four decades. Afghanistan needs stability and Taliban are intent on keeping their own country in liquid form and they are being supported in their negative efforts by the countries of the region.
In this background, the Senator Mac Caine’s suggestion that American forces must stay for longer period in Afghanistan finds justification. The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan will be like reversing all its efforts which she has consumed in reshaping Afghanistan as a state. Afghanistan needs strong armed forces and this can be assured by the US by giving training and modern arms and defense equipment to Afghanistan. And as the Senator has proposed the US must not commit the serious mistake of withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Writer : Ghani Khan Khattak
Islamabad , Pakistan