Never leave Afghanistan to its own devices without a proper US exit strategy

By: Faheem Nazimi

12th June 20

I call on the US and the International Community that under the circumstances Afghanistan should never be left to its own devices; total withdrawal would mean turning a back on Afghanistan a grim reminder of the 1990s creating a vacuum of power unless a proper follow-up plan is in place and the integration of various rival groups are controlled preventing yet another clash of ideologies or ethnic or political affiliation in the country… Any irresponsible and hasty US troop’s withdrawal without ensuring a peaceful transformation of power and a reconciliation process under the firm control and observation of the US and the UN will be madness and irreparable folly plunging Afghanistan into chaos and abyss posing a threat to the world security.

I call upon the US and the international community to firmly support the US peace plan and roadmap for Afghanistan with their full participation and positive contribution. Afghanistan is emerging from decades of war and bloodshed into an era of self-reliance. The present Afghan government will not sustain in the face of proxy war waged by Pakistan without US aids. The present leaders of different factions and the peace brokers are not mature politically to compromise for the sake of the nation’s interest and peace and stability. Total US withdrawal is totally compatible with Afghan Psychology and mindset, however, the Afghan leaders are insane, greedy, naive, and abysmally corrupt, therefore will not be able to handle any peaceful political transformation and integration through reconciliation and peaceful negotiation and power-sharing without the US dictation. The ousting of the Taliban from power 2001 had raised popular expectations among the people of Afghanistan to finally embrace peace, security, justice, and freedom.

To their utmost dismay, however, all their hopes were dashed? Instead of empowering the common people politically and economically, predatory warlords who were able to brutalize and traumatize their own people by committing human rights abuses were brought to power. It is not surprising that relying on these rapacious warlords in the war on terror or transition to democracy, freedom, security, peace, and justice in Afghanistan has been a major blunder committed by the US and its allies.

The by-product of which19 years down the path has emerged in the form of a government that largely survives with support of the United States. Its power is contested by warlords and external proxies unleashed by Pakistan and Iran on Afghanistan and its legitimacy questioned by the surviving of pockets of Taliban fighters. The tenacity of the Taliban resistance seems to be invincible and the logic of the US foreign policy is now that it throws the responsibility of this weak state on to the afghan leadership and contemplating even the zero option policy regarding the total withdrawal from Afghanistan. The majority of the people of Afghanistan, being very independent people, will certainly welcome such a move and would love to see the back of the US troops, but that is not rational. However, provided the international community sincerely abide by the pledges made to provide Afghanistan 8 billion US dollars of international aid for its survival in the years beyond 2014.

This will help sustain the present Afghan political institutions and will be able to fight if need be more independently and more heroically for their survival more than ever before. The Afghans do not like the presence of foreign troops on their soil. They consider it as an occupation. The post-withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan will provide grounds for the diffusion of tension to a greater degree in the region as many believe that the presence of US troops means the continuation of conflict in Afghanistan and in the region at large. Afghanistan does not need US military presence in the country. What Afghanistan really needs is US military and political partnership and moral presence in the form of infrastructural and super-structural assistance for Afghanistan. 19 years of intense fighting and bloodshed and destruction have taken a toll on all the warring factions in the country.

The people of Afghanistan believe that it is high time the conflict be resolved by the Afghans themselves through peaceful negotiation. It is high hopes that in the absence of foreign troops peace efforts will ultimately work and peace be restored in Afghanistan. America is also failing to create self-sustaining state institutions such as the Army, the Police, and NDS that can survive the withdrawal of outside intervention, i.e. the US, ensuring that outside powers namely Pakistan and Iran are ever to make a graceful exit from interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. Therefore, a proper exit strategy is needed of burden-shifting in a manner that protects the vital US and Afghan national interests while preventing US adversaries from unduly benefitting from a withdrawal. Military leaders and policymakers over nearly two decades and through multiple administrations have failed to address or even identify the true nature of the war in Afghanistan. From that omission arises all the misinterpretations of the present situation and the mistaken prescriptions for the future—most notably, the recommendation for the Taliban’s possible take over. The time is long overdue for a reality check. First, the conflict in Afghanistan is not an insurgency.

It is a proxy war being waged by Pakistan against Afghanistan and the United States. It is similar to Pakistan’s use of terrorist proxies against India in Kashmir. Pakistan has always viewed Afghanistan as a client state and a security buffer against what it considered potential Indian encirclement and as a springboard to extend its own influence into the resource-rich areas of Central Asia. The Taliban has maintained an extensive recruiting, training, and financial support infrastructure inside Pakistan, all of which has been immune to attack. Second, Pakistan has never been an ally of the United States, but a duplicitous partner, pursuing its own interests in coordination with its true ally, China, while being generously funded by us. While Chinese ambitions been more clearly and publicly articulated than ever before.

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