Furkan Evren Arslan
A Repeat of History: Afghanistan
In my opinion, the fact that the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, fell into the hands of the Taliban movement on August 15, is nothing but a repeat of history. On September 26, 1996, the Taliban organization, founded by a mullah who led the madrasah students in the southeast of Afghanistan, took a large part of the country under its control in a short time of two years and entered Kabul and declared the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. What turns this event, which was perceived as a tragedy at the time, into a comedy today is the fact that a 20-year war led by the superpower America and the billions of dollars spent on rebuilding the country has not been an obstacle to the repeated victory of the Taliban.
With the end of the Soviet occupation, although an agreement was reached between the Mujahideen groups in 1992 and the Islamic State of Afghanistan was established on April 26, this new formation will never have a real state function.
In 1994, disagreements arose between Ahmet Shah Mesut and Gulbeddin Hikmetyar, who had fought together before. Unable to agree on the distribution of forces within the new order, the 'former allies' started to fight each other this time. While Hekmatyar's troops shelled Kabul, the rest of the country was left to the arbitrary rule of the local militia. In this environment of chaos, in which the Afghan state was destroyed, a new political formation began to emerge in the southeast of the country.
Photo by Farid Ershad on Unsplash
While other militia groups, unable to organize and act properly, clashed among themselves and displayed an unsuccessful and unstable attitude, the group consisting of Mullah Omar and his students, who struggled against a local militia leader in 1994, would later become an army and captured the capital of the country two years later. will pass.
In 2001, when the Taliban had captured the last focus of resistance led by Shah Massoud, and Mullah Omar's final victory was approaching, an attack to take place on the morning of September 11, 10,000 kilometers from Kabul, will upset all plans. When the button is pressed for the September 11 attacks in the Tora Bora mountains, Mullah Omar will have neither encouragement nor news. The Taliban movement has always pursued an inward-oriented policy, as it did in 1994 when it was formed. It has not attempted to attack abroad and has generally avoided attracting the attention of the international public.
On October 7, 2001, a US-led coalition, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the UN Security Council intervenes militarily in Afghanistan. The Taliban government, preferring to retreat rather than show resistance, bury its weapons and shifted most of its troops to Waziristan, which is on the Pakistani border, along with the refugee flows.
At the end of 2001, when Bush announced his goal of establishing a democratic constitutional state in Afghanistan based on the Western model, the country returned to the conditions of the early 80s. Again, foreign forces invaded the country, the destruction caused by the war shook the social dynamics and the migration of jihadists from various parts of the world began. The only thing that has changed is that the new invaders are a coalition of Western states, this time led by old ally America, and the defending forces are the Taliban.
It is now accepted by the USA that the Taliban, which has made partial alliances with government forces and carried out operations against ISIS groups, cannot be defeated militarily as of 2016. It is during this process that the futility of the war in Afghanistan for many Western countries, especially the United States, becomes apparent and the way for peace talks is indirectly opened.
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash
On February 29, 2020, the US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, and the head of the Taliban's political office in Doha, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, signed the Doha Agreement, which stipulates the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country by 2021. For the Kabul government, which was not involved in the talks, this agreement constitutes the first indication that the guarantees previously given to the Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani by the West will not be fulfilled and a de facto death warrant for the Kabul government.
And that day comes... US President Joe Biden, in a speech on April 14, 2021, made the following statement: "I am the fourth US president in charge of the American military presence in Afghanistan. I can not delegate this responsibility to a fifth president." These words of Biden are nothing but an admission of the West's defeat in Afghanistan. Like the Russians who left the country before, it is now the turn of the Americans.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Sadly, all of these are events that took place as a result of the power struggle of the bipolar world of the period. Perhaps the coldest reflections of the Soviet-American struggle can be seen in this Afghan geography. The fact that the West, struggling for human rights, failed at this point, leaving people alone when they needed it the most, and considering it as "profitless" while justifying this, has damaged the belief in today's International System and its pioneers.
The Taliban was born from the greed of foreigners, and greed ultimately harms the person. In a pissing contest with the West, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan for more resources. The West, which could not ignore this, first assumed the role of a savior and helped the insurgents, and drove the Soviets out.
But later on, the Westerners took the role of invader from heroic, demanded the resources themselves, and finished the picture of the 'greed' that the Soviets had begun to paint. The thousands of civilian/military casualties that followed are the results of greed.
As the Kabul government collapsed, former actors who have fought against the Taliban before came to the fore and point to a new civil war. The new resistance, gathered in the Panshir valley as it did 20 years ago, will this time face a Taliban organization with modern American weapons. In general, history has repeated itself once again in Afghanistan. After a 40-year war, the only reality left is poverty, destruction, and bloody war that will begin again.