America's continued war in Afghanistan

This blog is a rebuttal to the article titled, “No Right to have Rights”, recently published on The Express Tribune Blogs page.

While it is certainly condemnable what the Taliban government is doing to the women of their country, the attitude of the global community is still far from decent. It's unreasonable for the nascent and fledgling Taliban government, who are still struggling to provide food and other basic amenities to their masses amid a severe economic crisis for which the US is rightly to be blamed. In my opinion, the world has been absolutely unfair to Afghanistan in not recognising their legitimate government, which came into being after a legitimate peaceful negotiation process.

Isn't it a mockery of justice and ethics to speak up only when they see women in distress in Afghanistan and stay absolutely silent when the lives of millions of people, including women and children, are in jeopardy? Afghanistan, a country battling so many crises in addition to the civil war, was left to survive on its own as all international support was simply cut off the day the Taliban assumed control of the country. The Taliban cooperated with the international community as per their commitments, quite evident from the safe exit of all the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces and many other civilians from different countries, including the US, the European Union and India. The Taliban have been very open and fair in their external relations with different countries. Many times, they categorically stated peaceful bilateral relations with every country, including the US and India.

The troubled relationship with Pakistan has nothing to do with the Taliban only; instead, it's the centuries-old issue of the Durand Line, which pops up, again and again, resulting in border issues and other disputes. Earlier, Ashraf Ghani's government, the previous government, was kept outside of the talks, when the Americans knew very well that Ghani's government was not a true representative of the Afghan people. Ghani was in power only because of American support; otherwise Ghani couldn't even have a reliable security detail comprised of his own fellow citizens only.

Before the Taliban took over, 75 per cent of the Afghanistan budget was financed by international aid and everything was cut off the day Americans left the country. Let's look at the events post-America's exodus from Afghanistan. The logical conclusion is that the US, having failed to defeat them militarily in two decades, are now using other dirty means to bring the Taliban government to its knees and present them as a failed state or a den of barbarians before the international community. Americans and other western partners are now expressing grave concerns for women's rights in Afghanistan.

To be very honest, it is a problem created by the Americans. In hindsight, if we deliberate seriously on all the events in the last three to four years, it's not difficult to conclude that Americans never wanted Afghanistan to be a stable and prosperous country. First, they devastated the country with a war imposed on them for no fault of the Afghans, and then they tried their best to keep this country in an absolute economic mess.

While depriving Afghanistan of its economic resources and then cutting off all aid, it's ridiculous to talk about the plight of women in Afghanistan. As I said earlier that it's unfortunate what Afghan women are going through, and this can't be condoned in any way. Still, the root cause of all this is poor planning or, to be exact, a nefarious planning of the Americans to keep Afghanistan in this same economic and social mess. I think Americans are very good at thriving on the problems of others. They are very good at creating problems for others and coming up with solutions that ultimately benefit only Americans. The Ukraine issue is also a problem created by America, and now the Biden administration is trying to reap benefits in economic and strategic terms. But for now, I'll focus on Afghanistan only, emphasising on women's issues.

Pulling the American armed forces out of Afghanistan was perhaps the best decision of the US in the last several decades. Still, the departure of the foreign forces from Afghanistan should have been followed by some other strategic measures to give the Taliban a chance to establish a stable government capable of keeping peace and providing a healthy and decent life to citizens. Instead, the Americans seem to be hell-bent on destabilising the Taliban in one way or the other. In the first place, why the international community is reluctant to accept the Taliban as a legitimate government, considering they are the same people with whom Americans had that peace talks in Doha?

The right strategy would have been to recognise them as true representatives of Afghanistan and establish formal diplomatic relations. In that case, the international community would have been in a much stronger position to persuade or force the Taliban on any issue, including women's education and other basic rights. Under the current circumstances, frankly speaking, the Taliban have nothing to lose, and that's why they are quite adamant in their demeanour. Recognising the Taliban government and setting up an embassy and/or consulates won't cost much to the US. The Americans were generous enough to spend more than $2 trillion in killing Afghans, but they can't spare a few billions to help them rebuild a society which gives equal opportunities to everyone. Also, the most heinous and disgusting fact is the Americans' rather blatant denial to return the $9 billion which belongs to Afghanistan.

Everyone knows that the Taliban are quite rigid in their religious beliefs and are against the coeducation system. Why can't the international community help them in this regard and provide them with financial resources to set up educational facilities, both elementary and higher education, in a segregated manner? If the Taliban took such discriminatory measures against girls or women after aid, the international community would definitely be justified in raising their concerns. But under the current circumstances, it's obvious that Americans and their western partners are least bothered about the social and economic uplifting of this war-torn country; in reality, they are still battling the Taliban but now with a different set of weaponry.

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