A predictable finish to the longest warfare




Design: Mohsin Alam

August 22, 2021


Nearly twenty years after the primary shot was fired in Afghanistan, the warfare has resulted in an embarrassing fiasco for the United States with the gorgeous take over of the nation by the Taliban, its former rulers.

In a just lately launched evaluation of the US mission in Afghanistan, a Congress-created watchdog, has painted a bleak image of Washington’s efforts within the nation over the previous twenty years. While the meltdown was a slow-motion catastrophe, the scathing report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) highlights innumerable essential faults in Washington’s approach and coverage within the nation – lots of them resulting from “a wilful disregard for information that may have been available.”

Instead of creating any new suggestions, in its remaining analysis, the SIGAR poses a number of inquiries to US coverage makers. Reflecting on Washington’s lengthy engagement in Afghanistan, which historians generally discuss with because the ‘graveyard of empires’, the watchdog blames the US for ignoring the drumbeat of warnings from consultants.

Despite telltale indicators in regards to the US-backed authorities’s fragility and its incapacity to outlive, the US authorities continued to help it – each militarily and monetarily.

Released a day after the Washington-backed Ashraf Ghani administration capitulated, the doc which relies on greater than a decade of oversight work, 760 interviews with consultants equivalent to policymakers and navy officers states that there have been apparent indicators over the previous decade – notably throughout the drawdown that the federal government in Kabul wouldn’t be capable of survive on its on nor will it be capable of present for its personal safety, which alone price the US taxpayers a whopping $83 billion.

The sudden but predictable demise of the federal government in Kabul comes as no shock to consultants who’ve been monitoring the scenario in Afghanistan. Washington’s failure to put in a secure and useful administration within the war-torn nation’s capital, consultants imagine, has been a gradual practice wreck coming.

“The Afghan government had no popular legitimacy. The people in Afghanistan saw it not as their representative but as a regime propped by the US,” mentioned Dr. Ashok Swain, a professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University. Known for his vocal criticism of a number of governments within the area, the Sweden-based tutorial was fast to explain the Afghan authorities as ‘corrupt and faction-ridden’.

Out of the a number of key areas of failure within the US response in Afghanistan, the SIGAR additionally raised critical questions on Washington’s skill to execute its formidable reconstruction plan – for which the US taxpayers dished out $145 billion.

“If the goal was to rebuild and leave behind a country that can sustain itself and pose little threat to the US national security interests, the overall picture is bleak,” the watchdog wrote within the report, titled “What We Need to Learn: Lessons from Twenty Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction.”

Responding to a query in regards to the US reconstruction efforts and its general report card after twenty years in Afghanistan, Dr. Swain bluntly mentioned the advantages fall in need of the fee “The US government’s nation-building project in Afghanistan failed miserably.”

“It did not take more than two weeks to collapse what the US was boasting to build for 20 years,” Dr. Swain mentioned by electronic mail from Uppsala.

When requested to touch upon the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, Michael Kugelman, who serves because the Deputy Director for the South Asia Program on the Wilson Center mentioned: “The dysfunction and corruption within the Afghan state were too great for US policymakers to resolve–no matter how much money was spent on trying to fix them.”

The Washington-based knowledgeable, who has authored a number of articles on Afghanistan mentioned: “The US was well aware of just how serious and deep-seated Afghan state weaknesses were.”

Washington, Kugelman mentioned, should have recognized that these weaknesses have been too entrenched and sophisticated to be solved just by throwing cash at them and dealing with individuals in Afghanistan it thought may very well be useful.

Critics within the US, together with former president Donald Trump, who at one level hoped to signal a cope with the Taliban, to make sure the exit from Afghanistan happened on his watch, are blaming President Joe Biden for the embarrassing exit and the chaos that adopted.

Biden, who’s the fourth occupant of the Oval Office since George W Bush, in a coverage speech, a day after the horrific scenes started to unfold in Afghanistan, defended the move by saying he ended America’s longest warfare as a result of he didn’t need to move it all the way down to a fifth president.

While Biden will not be liable for every thing that has gone improper in Afghanistan, the SIGAR report mentioned the US authorities “continuously struggled to develop and implement a coherent strategy for what it hoped to achieve and it did not have an understanding of the Afghan social, economic and political systems at the local level and therefore failed to tailor its efforts accordingly.”

On Washington’s skill to know the dynamics in Afghanistan, Dr. Swain mentioned: “The US never understood the country; rather, the US never wanted to understand it.” Shortly after defeating the Taliban, the Sweden-based knowledgeable mentioned the coverage makers in Washington ought to have deliberate an exit from Afghanistan.

“The next best thing the US could have done after defeating the Taliban in 2002 would have left Afghans to run their country, and it should not have engaged in its so-called nation-building project, which was destined to fail,” defined Dr. Swain.

While historians and consultants debate the ultimate inscription on the tombstone, the report by SIGAR presents a dim view of Washington’s efficiency in Afghanistan. The watchdog, in its report, linked the Afghan authorities’s downfall with the corruption that straight enabled the Taliban resurgence. But other than the corruption, it mentioned every of the 4 US presidents who had some function to play within the battle failed miserably in making a coverage that was match for Afghanistan. Experts, too, imagine that George W. Bush’s nation-building, Barack Obama’s surge, Donald Trump’s deal, and Biden’s end-of-the-month withdrawal plan – all failed.

Contradicting the rosy progress reviews that steadily surfaced throughout the previous twenty years to glorify US efforts, the SIGAR mentioned that any positive aspects that have been made throughout Washington’s prolonged occupation of Afghanistan weren’t sustainable – and that turned actuality after its abrupt and unplanned departure on August 15.

In its lengthy cost sheet, the SIGAR which has spent almost twenty years inspecting the progress in Afghanistan, additionally highlighted unrealistic timelines and expectations that prioritized spending rapidly. According to the report, such practices have been liable for a system of presidency that was weak and suffering from ineffectiveness.

On the defence entrance, the report criticised Washington for creating and supporting a military that was unable to guard itself with out the fixed help of the US.

When questioned in regards to the defence spending in Afghanistan, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan acknowledged that regardless of investing billions the Afghan military was unable to stop the Taliban from taking on.

According to Dr. Swain, the collapse of the Afghan forces was inevitable. “The Afghan military had modern arms and ammunition, US air support, and four times more troops than Taliban ragtag fighters. Still, it failed to stop the insurgents from taking the country in less than two weeks,” he mentioned.

“That shows the Afghanistan government and security forces had no plan or willingness to stop Taliban advances. They accepted the defeat and engaged in deal-making for which they are (in)famous for,” quipped Dr. Swain.

The Sweden-based knowledgeable just isn’t the one one who hammered the US efforts to coach Afghan forces. A day after the collapse of the federal government in Kabul, the pinnacle of SIGAR mentioned: “The speed with which the Taliban overtook might be a bit surprising. But the fact that Afghan Security Forces could not defend themselves should not surprise anyone.”

During the interview with the National Public Radio on August 16, John Sopko, who heads the Congress created watchdog that has maintained an unbiased oversight on the billions of {dollars} Washington appropriated for Afghanistan’s reconstruction since 2002 was extraordinarily essential of the US approach in Afghanistan.

All mentioned and finished, the US efforts in Afghanistan will all the time be outlined by the chaos of the second. Images of Taliban fighters posing earlier than deserted US navy gear haven’t solely allowed the group to additional humiliate the previous Afghan and American governments, but additionally expose the weaknesses within the system that was created to maintain them out of energy.

Wilson Centre’s Kugelman was of the opinion that Washington had many proficient and educated officers managing coverage on Afghanistan since 2001. “However, it’s clear that there wasn’t enough of an understanding of what could realistically be done, and what could not.”

US coverage gurus, the Washington-based knowledgeable mentioned, steadily search the recommendation and inputs of outdoor students and analysts. “But one can argue that had such expert views been sought more frequently, things wouldn’t have turned out as bad,” he defined.

“And of course, this includes above all seeking the inputs of Afghans–and not just those in government or in the political class,” Kugelman added.

All in all, the scenario in Afghanistan, consultants imagine, wouldn’t have been so humiliating for Washington, if the warnings from the troubled nation had not been ignored throughout the previous 20 years.

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