The fantasy of the 300,000-strong army that would supposedly fight the Taliban
Former U.S. President Donald Trump had signed a deal with the Taliban in Qatari capital Doha to end America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan. As a funny twist of fate would have it, it fell not to the Trump administration but to Biden’s to witness the withdrawal of American troops from the country. With no love lost between them, U.S. President Joe Biden fulfilled Trump’s deal with the Taliban. Biden’s plan was to withdraw U.S. troops by August’s end. Then, the Afghan government would decide what to do with the Taliban. According to Biden, the 300,000-strong U.S.-trained and -equipped Afghan army had the ability to do away with the Taliban.
Biden also pointed out the U.S.’s pullout decision was related to America’s desire to focus on its strategic rivalry with China. The Biden administration intends to use the money and energy it funneled into Afghanistan to challenge China. As the U.S. makes military and economic strides, it doesn’t want to waste any more energy on the “endless war” in Afghanistan
In a press conference held to talk about the withdrawal of U.S. forces at the White House on July 8, Biden had claimed that it wasn’t a done deal that the Taliban would capture Kabul following the American pullout. Furthermore, he stated that the possibility that “there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” However, according to information leaked to the media by the U.S. Intelligence Community, the Afghan government could collapse within six months of the U.S. withdrawal.
Current developments have contradicted both Biden and the U.S. Intelligence Community. While troops were withdrawing, the Taliban captured pivotal cities, primarily Ghazni, Herat, and Kandahar, with a domino effect. Turns out that the 300,000-strong professional Afghan army was a mere fantasy. Soldiers of the Kabul administration either chose to surrender to the Taliban or lay down their arms and made a run for it instead of fighting.
The U.S.-Taliban deal is being compared to the agreement struck between the U.S. and Northern Vietnam in 1973. When the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam, North Vietnamese forces captured the capital Saigon within two years. The pro-American Southern government quickly collapsed. After the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1988, the Kabul government remained in office for another three years. However, the Taliban entered the capital on Sunday while U.S. forces were still withdrawing and captured the presidential complex as President Ashraf Ghani made a run for it. It was a cold hard fact that Kabul will eventually fall, but no one expected it to happen at lightning speed. Turns out the U.S.-backed Kabul regime was more rotten and frailer than it seemed. The U.S. media compares the chaos in Kabul, from helicopters taking off from the U.S. Embassy to the dramatic scenes that followed, to the fall of the Vietnamese capital, Saigon, in 1975.
Kabul came under the control of the Taliban faster than the Pentagon and U.S. Afghan experts could have imagined. On the other hand, U.S. President George W. Bush’s project to “build a nation in Afghanistan” went down the drain. The American Empire was also laid down in the “Afghan Imperials Cemetery.” Meanwhile, with the collapse of the Kabul administration, it was once again confirmed that the United States is not a “constructive sovereign” but a “destructive power.” After a bloody 20-year hiatus, the Taliban ascended to power in Afghanistan for the second time.
The whole world seems to have accepted the victory of the Taliban. China and Russia, on the other hand, are meeting with Taliban leaders to ensure that the “Taliban influence” remains within the borders of Afghanistan. An interesting development within this context is that the northern regions that were strongly resistant against the Taliban fell so easily. This development gives the impression that the Taliban taking complete control of the country was actually desired. Russia and China do not want the “new Taliban regime” to become a sore in their soles. The Taliban also seem to want to avoid alarming China and Russia.
As things stand, we can currently say that the civil war in Afghanistan has, indeed, come to an end; however, the issues emanating from the country’s ethnic and social structure have not budged an inch. We should remember that a significant part of the problems was fed by the artificial maps drawn by the British colonial administration in India at the end of the 19th century. The Great Game of the British led to bloodshed all over the region.