“Afghanistan after America”
As America is hastily moving towards exit, what the future holds for Afghanistan is a million dollars question. If everything goes as per the plan, US will be out of the quagmire by coming September. Such is the hurry of exit that, the process of packing and wrapping is half finished.
History stands testimony to the fact that, the Afghanistan has always remained unpredictable full of surprises. The Taliban and other non-state led insurgency is simmering and swelling. The contemporary us president has remained a staunch critic of US involvement in Afghanistan. To him, early the withdrawal; lesser the casualties.
The once mighty and proud airbase of Kandahar, which was home to US and NATO choppers and aircraft , stands deserted. While the infamous Bagram airbase is next in the line. Soon one by one all to be handed over to afghan security forces. Not only US but other NATO forced are also racing Americans to exit.
The say history rarely repeats itself. But not for Afghanistan. A place where history repeats itself but more robustly and ruthlessly. So is the contemporary times.
Glimpse from past;
In 1989, when the soviet troops departed they left behind a puppet government. Najibullah was The principle man and head of the state. Soon, the islamist guerrillas alias Mujahedeen launched a gruesome assault. The Mujahedeen were backed by several regionals as well as distant powers i.e USA, Pakistan, and Saudi kingdom. It was thought the government will collapse in matter of days.
However, strangely, the fragile government sustained itself and stood by its feet against the cruel waves. It was later only when the Russians stopped paying the bills, the government fell and Anarchy emerged.
Various prophesies :
What the future Will hold for Afghanistan this time is a matter of debate. Some analysts believe, the future is dark, sad, and gloomy. They back their argument on the evidences and experience of past. They argue, whatever the Russians left behind decades ago was stronger than what the US and its allies are going to left. Russians left behind a strong army and fleet. A war veteran and head of Hizb-i-islami gulbadin hikmatyar, has also subscribed to This school of thought.
Another group of think tankers are hopeful and reject the pessimistic view. They back their claim on several grounds. Firstly, ashraf ghani is in a better position then his 1989 counterpart. Secondly, the Taliban stands divide unlike old days united Mujahedeen so their military position is precarious . Thirdly, the Mujahedeen were better equipped such as anti-aircraft missiles and lavish cold war support which lacks in Taliban. To them Ghani is definitely in a better position.
Taliban reaction ;
Worryingly, the hasty US withdrawal, negotiations, and Deals have added much to Taliban confidence. They consider it their undisputed victory and legitimacy. According to a recent united nation’s report, Taliban holds between 50 to 70% of the countryside. Apprehension being that, the Taliban will do anything to extend their hegemony. No matter what the cost, maybe.
Afghan police standing;
The Afghanistan Civil authorities stands weak and fragile before the storm. Not only are the under-equipped but also inexperienced and hence no match to the mighty opposition. The Taliban has further added to their worries by mastering guerilla skills and homemade mines installation. As a result afghan is totally dependent on its security forces and commandos, who have world side by side with NATO.
Repeating past blunders?
The world in general and region in particular is pleading US not to repeat past Russian blunders. Although, bigwigs and top US hierarchy have promised not to withdrew assistance and support. Yet, it’s ambiguous as to how? And to what extent? The pentagon has so far assured financial assistance only.
Ghani versus Najibullah;
After the soviet withdrawal, the Najibullah sustainability and longevity was partly due to his flexibility and partly owing to Russian assistance and his army. Such is the tyranny of history, ghani must do everything whatever, his counterpart did decades ago.
Ashraf ghani has to do everything to remain united and cut a deal with the Taliban. The sole focus of ghani should be to keep Afghanistan whole, and prevent it from fracturing into competing fiefs.
Let’s see what the future holds for the hopeless, helpless, and hapless state this time. Let’s hope.
The writer is a lawyer and can be reached at Hamzazakirkhan@yahoo.com