By: Contribution for Syrializm
The issue of Afghanistan and the quest for peace and stability in this country remain elusive, as the United States continues its well-known policy of creating problems, allowing problems to escalate, and then withdrawing itself from the scene, leaving others to deal with the consequences.
However, in the case of Afghanistan, neither did the United States solve the problem nor did leave others to solve it.
Afghanistan has endured extremely challenging conditions marked by wars, destruction, and occupation over the past few decades.
Despite the Taliban’s control of the government, the political situation in the country has somewhat stabilized, but the economic situation remains far from stable.
The dream of peace in this war-torn country continues to be a victim of the challenges and calculations of other nations.
The reality is that the Afghan problem remains a complex issue for the international community, especially given the ongoing events in the country that make achieving stability and peace increasingly difficult.
Afghanistan has experienced nearly half a century of continuous instability, beginning with the overthrow of the monarchy in 1973, followed by the rise of a socialist regime.
During this time, internal conflicts and power struggles forced the Soviet Union to intervene militarily in support of a government Moscow deemed friendly.
When discussing the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, it’s essential to address a point that many either overlook out of ignorance or deliberately ignore because it doesn’t align with the policies and interests of certain major powers.
The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was a completely misguided decision, as the Soviet leadership at the time faced a range of domestic challenges and was part of the Eastern Bloc, which was engaged in the Cold War.
The Soviet Union’s role in Afghanistan was seen as a response to external instigation and support for anti-communist movements around the world.
Several Eastern Bloc countries experienced uprisings during that period, prompting the Soviet Union to militarily intervene to suppress these movements, and in regard to Afghanistan, the situation was no different.
For instance, Czechoslovakia in 1968 saw a Soviet intervention due to similar justifications, which can be compared to the US interventions in Korea and Vietnam, among other examples.
The idea is that the United States when confronting the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, employed a strategy marked by cunning and deception, consistent with its approach to proxy wars—a strategy it has used in various cases and continues to employ today.
This strategy involves supporting non-US forces by providing weapons, training, financial support, media coverage, and intelligence, so these forces can carry out actions that serve US interests.
All of this is done without US casualties in wars that may drag on for years without a decisive end.
The US government is aware that the American public wouldn’t accept the return of their sons’ bodies from wars fought far from home, especially when the US administration fails to convince its public of the justifiability of these wars, often through the fabrication of narratives and propaganda, as seen in the case of Iraq, for example.
In the case of Afghanistan and confronting the Soviet Union, the United States turned to the Arab and Islamic world, portraying the Soviet Union as an atheist regime with a history of persecuting religious minorities, especially Muslims.
Thus, the US government understood the naivety of Arab and Islamic populations and how easily they could be deceived by exploiting religious and humanitarian justifications that would inflame the passions of the naive people, and governments that obey orders come from Washington.
They were incited to wage “Jihad” against the godless Soviets who were killing Muslims in Afghanistan, even though these same people didn’t rise up with the same fervor when it came to issues like Palestine!
As the United States began its efforts, Gulf Arab states and some other countries rushed to send volunteers and jihadists to fight in Afghanistan.
Gulf countries provided financial support, collected donations, and promoted the cause of jihad in Afghanistan as a noble endeavor and a divine duty, all with the blessing of “Uncle Sam”.
Even Egypt, which had recently joined the American camp, joined in supporting the mujahideen.
During that period, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat didn’t miss an opportunity to reaffirm his loyalty to Washington.
Interestingly, his name in his country’s media during that time was often associated with the phrase “the faithful president,” which was part of his political maneuvering during that period, allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to engage in political activities in the country to counter the socialist and communist influence while turning a blind eye to Egyptians who wanted to go to Afghanistan for jihad.
In this way, the picture became quite clear, and it was here that the United States laid the foundation for the birth of al Qaeda.
The nature of the American-Soviet conflict in the world, and later the American-Russian conflict, was based on preventing each side from gaining new territory or influence in a new region at the expense of the other.
Thus, the concept of competition became a part of this principle in all areas.
Naturally, the Soviet Union’s presence in Afghanistan and the establishment of a favorable regime there were seen as red lines by Washington.
In particular, A Soviet presence in Afghanistan will bring Moscow one step closer to the strategic Gulf region for the United States, a prospect that the United States exploited by inciting Gulf states to participate in the jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
Today, with another emerging global power, China, the United States faces a new version of the Cold War, which now resembles an open-ended Cold War with a multitude of possibilities, especially in the US-China confrontation.
This confrontation is primarily economic, except for issues like Taiwan, which could escalate the confrontation into a very hot war.
Returning to Afghanistan, after the country went through a civil war that ended in the mid-1990s with the rise of the Taliban to power, the country didn’t fall entirely under the control of the Taliban during the four years following their takeover.
There were other factions on the ground, and this is what helped the United States in its war in Afghanistan after the events of September 11, 2001, the United States cooperated with other Afghan forces in the country, which played a role in overthrowing the Taliban in 2001.
After the fall of the Taliban, it can be said that the United States became the dominant power in the country, and therefore, it assumed the responsibility for establishing stability and assisting in the country’s reconstruction and development, at least according to American propaganda.
However, the reality on the ground was quite different, as the country remained in a state of chaos, with no political, social, or economic stability, despite attempts by Western media to portray a positive image of some aspects of life returning to the country.
But with a corrupt group in power, which the United States was supporting in one way or another, and in light of the inability of the Afghan government, whether during the era of Hamid Karzai or after him Ashraf Ghani, the country remained at the hands of a demon, as they say.
The United States spent more than a trillion and a half billion dollars during its presence in Afghanistan.
All of that money evaporated due to the corrupt people within the US army and intelligence, and of course, the corrupt authority that the United States placed in Kabul, something that happened in Iraq as well, and the truth here must be told.
The truth must be told here, as after the United States’ shameful withdrawal from the country in 2021, reminiscent of the images of Americans leaving Saigon in Vietnam, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan within days, and even hours, as the Afghan government collapsed, and its leaders fled.
The United States had spent over a trillion and a half dollars during its presence in Afghanistan, and all that money evaporated due to corruption, whether Afghan or American.
Afghanistan, after 20 years of American presence, wasn’t better off; in fact, it was worse off.
For example, the United States claimed to be fighting opium cultivation and drug trafficking in the country, only for us to discover later that opium production in Afghanistan actually increased during the US presence, as shown in the chart below.
Since 2001, when the United States entered this country under the pretext of the war on terrorism, with the goal of eliminating al Qaeda and toppling the Taliban rule, problems began.
Because the United States, when it made the decision to intervene militarily, didn’t have a clear strategy or plan for what needed to be done, especially in the medium and long term.
Consequently, the basis for the intervention was arbitrary, just as it has often been in all of the United States’ adventures around the world, US forces entered, using their immense firepower, and turned these countries into ruins, with thousands of people killed.
In some cases, as a result of American actions, what remains either becomes a corrupt group seeking power, loyal to Washington out of greed, or another group becomes rebels and resistant.
After the humiliating US withdrawal, the Taliban returned to power; Here, the international community faced the problem of dealing with an extremist movement, however, there should have been at least a dialogue and rapprochement with the Taliban on humanitarian grounds, but this didn’t happen, despite the terrorism hypothesis—the same seed that the United States planted in Afghanistan during the Soviet era’s “Jihad”, which it later had to confront.
Promoting the idea of presence in a country is never achieved through hypotheses that have been proven false over time.
If the United States were serious and sincere about its humanitarian mission to eliminate terrorism, assist in the country’s stability, and achieve peace, it couldn’t be done without considering the historical, geographical, social, and ethnic realities of the country.
These factors become the fundamental tools that can either transform a country into a committee or into hell and here, we leave it to intentions, which, as it’s clear, weren’t good.
When discussing the issue of achieving peace in Afghanistan, it’s impossible to ignore the role of neighboring countries and the countries in the region.
In addition to the ethnic, cultural, economic, and even livelihood overlaps between Afghanistan and these countries, ignoring their role in stabilizing this country is impossible and illogical, as confirmed by historical and geographical facts.
The international community’s problem with Afghanistan, especially at the present time, is based on the fact that the ruling authority in the country is the Taliban movement.
We should mention, without defending the Taliban’s orientations or their way of governing the country, that this movement is the result of the historical accumulation of Afghanistan.
Naturally, the members of the movement aren’t imported from abroad; they are the sons of society and the environment.
Therefore, there should be an opportunity for dialogue with them on humanitarian and ethical grounds, away from a bias towards religious extremism, at least in terms of how to help the country recover.
The international community must respect the majority’s opinion, as long as the Taliban movement has been able to stay in power and establish control over the entire country without disputes; It can be said that the movement enjoys some level of popular support, even if that support doesn’t exceed 51%.
At the same time, acknowledging the conflicting factors within Afghanistan, such as internal ethnic and linguistic differences, and border disputes, as in the case of the border dispute between Afghanistan and Iran, it’s clear that helping to resolve these problems or at least assisting in finding specific understanding formulas that can lead the country as a whole to a better stage, becomes the best solution through the cooperation of regional countries.
Such cooperation can support the interests of these countries and achieve beneficial roles in social, economic, and even security aspects with neighboring countries.
Issues like development, resource investment, agriculture, irrigation projects, combating opium cultivation, drug trade, and counter terrorism cannot progress without mutual cooperation and coordination between Afghanistan, represented by the Taliban government, and its neighboring and regional countries.
Speaking of neighboring and regional countries, there is a rich list of nations capable of making a difference in this regard.
All of these factors have motivated Russia to take the initiative to play a role in achieving peace, and stability, and assisting Afghanistan in its recovery.
While the United States negotiated with the Taliban to arrange a safe exit from the country, what followed was chaotic as Americans hastily left, leaving Afghans who had collaborated with them behind, scrambling from planes as they took off.
This happened while the Taliban gradually gained control of Afghanistan during the American presence, and the Kabul government collapsed within hours, along with the Afghan army that the United States claimed to have trained and spent billions of dollars on.
After all of this, the United States doesn’t recognize the Taliban and continues to impose sanctions on Afghanistan, obstructing any efforts to support peace and hindering the efforts of other countries to achieve peace and stability in the country, including Russia’s efforts.
Russia took the initiative to host a dialogue summit to bring together the international community to assist in achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Russia found itself the appropriate candidate for this endeavor, considering its historical, geographical, and cultural closeness with neighboring countries, including countries from the former Soviet Union republics, additionally, religious factors play a role since there is a significant Muslim population in Russia.
Russia also possesses economic capabilities and abundant resources that can contribute significantly to stability and peace in Afghanistan, and speaking of this point, we note that the city of Kazan, the capital of the (Muslim majority) Republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation, is hosting, this month, the fifth Afghanistan peace summit, which is an effort initiated by Russia to try to play the role of helping to achieve peace in Afghanistan, and of course Russian efforts in this regard didn’t have a positive impact in Washington, as the United States continues to obstruct efforts to reach peace, perhaps because it doesn’t want others to accomplish what it failed to do.
Here, pressure continues on a number of countries, sometimes urging them and threatening them at other times, to abstain from participating in the conference’s work.
Since its announcement, the conference has been subjected to violent, incomprehensible Western media campaigns, to the point that it has become as if it were part of the declaration of a state of war imposed on Russia by the West in Ukraine.
We find that part of it’s being used in other issues, as the Afghanistan peace summit is facing today.
The size of Russia and its presence in the heart of the Eurasian region puts it in front of responsibilities equal to its size and area on the surface of this planet, and therefore, combining this with a large number of economic and geopolitical data, it can be said that Russia also has the right to have the honor of trying to achieve peace and stability in a country which is located in the same Eurasian region as Russia.
The Russian endeavors, through the conference, were to bring together a number of influential countries to discuss ways that could contribute to helping Afghanistan advance and stabilize, by helping to achieve peace, helping the Afghan people live, providing them with a number of their needs, and mediating in resolving the outstanding controversial issues, whether they were local disputes, border conflicts, in addition to hosting representatives of the community and the Afghan government, to listen to what they are facing, understand their requests, and discuss how to help.
Aside from arousing emotions, it must be remembered that any role that will be undertaken cannot be isolated from examining investment opportunities, which can benefit all.
In the end, one must ask: Why is the United States trying to obstruct efforts to achieve stability and peace in Afghanistan?
All that is required of the United States and the West, at a minimum, is either cooperation in achieving stability and peace—a goal they have failed to accomplish individually for a quarter of a century—or, at the very least, not hindering those who are trying to achieve it.
The Afghan people and the world have given them a genuine chance for twenty years to achieve peace, however, it become clear that they have failed to do so.
With the withdrawal of US-NATO troops in this manner, they have lost this war and failed to achieve what they claimed for years was their goal, that was their goal, to begin with!
It’s time for them to show courage, admit failure, and allow others to play serious roles in achieving the objectives they have been claiming for years, as we can no longer remain silent about the suffering of the Afghan people and leave a land rich in resources and opportunities as prey to greed, war, destruction, and the absence of peace.