The Kabul has fallen. The fall of Kabul is not surprising after the development of last one week. The only surprising thing is the manner in which Taliban took power. All the fears about a bloody and long drawn civil war proved wrong as the Afghan state melted down like ice in a hot summer day. Taliban faced resistance only in few places but didn’t last long.
It is not only a humiliating defeat for Afghan government but also for western powers led by US. Billions of dollars were spent on military operations in Afghanistan in last twenty years.
Billions of dollars were spent to raise and trained the Afghan forces. But Afghan government collapsed like a house of cards.
Many people watched in disbelief as helicopters landed in the U.S. Embassy compound to take diplomats to a new outpost at the airport. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected comparisons to the U.S. pullout from Vietnam.
In a stunning rout, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the U.S. and NATO over nearly 20 years to build up Afghan security forces. Just days earlier, an American military assessment estimated that the capital would not come under insurgent pressure for a month.
The Afghan people had high hopes when American troops arrived in Afghanistan. There were hopes of development, employment, stability, peace, democracy and better life. Some progress was made in education, women rights and democracy. But overall the high hopes were not fulfilled. The elected presidents, parliamentarians and bureaucrats enriched themselves at the expense of Afghan people.
Massive corruption took place and most of the money meant for reconstruction was embezzled by government officials both on national and local levels. Americans never took the reconstruction of war torn country seriously. There focus was on military objectives. Ashraf Ghani was not a popular figure. He was handpicked by Americans to lead Afghanistan through shame elections. The results of last elections were never made public.
Afghan people want to live in peace, stability and prosperity. They want education, better life and employment. They want an end to continuous war and instability. The question is whether Taliban rule will provide them all or failed them again?
The fall of Kabul marks the final chapter of America’s longest war, which began after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. A U.S.-led invasion dislodged the Taliban and beat them back, but America lost focus on the conflict in the chaos of the Iraq war.
For years, the U.S. sought an exit from Afghanistan. Then-President Donald Trump signed a deal with the Taliban in February 2020 that limited direct military action against the insurgents. That allowed the fighters to gather strength and move quickly to seize key areas when President Joe Biden announced his plans to withdraw all American forces by the end of this month.
It remained unclear when that transfer would take place and who among the Taliban was negotiating. The negotiators on the government side included former President Hamid Karzai, leader of Hizb-e-Islami political and paramilitary group Gulbudin Hekmatyar, and former Chief Executive Dr Abdullah, who has been a vocal critic of Ghani.
Taliban didn’t face any resistance from the Afghan security forces as they had vacated their positions and the capital city presented a deserted look when they entered it in the afternoon. After taking over a number of all eastern provinces, including Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan, and the Wardag and Maidan Shahr, the Taliban started their journey towards the capital city.
By Sunday morning, the Taliban had reached the gates of Kabul and besieged the city from different directions. Taliban has taken control of Kabul on Sunday without much resistance. Taliban are back in power after 20 long years.
Taliban has once again taken power through military means. Afghanistan has long history of taking power by force. The history once again repeated itself.
In 1992, The Communist government of President Najeeb was ousted by Afghan militias. The Taliban took power after ousting the interim government through military means. Taliban government was removed by the NATO and American forces in 2001 and installed an interim government.
There was a short period of controlled democracy and constitutional rule for nearly two decades. This short period of democracy came to an end on Sunday August 15. The government President Ashraf Ghani was ousted by Taliban once again through the military means.
President Ashraf Ghani fled to neighbouring Tajikistan after Afghan government collapsed. It is not yet clear that whether he resigned from presidency before leaving the country or not.
President Ashraf Ghani’s resignation is just a technical issue, the matter of fact is that his government simply melted down as Afghan national army and police refused to defend his government.
He was left with no other option then to resign or fled the country. He opted for second option. Now he is saying that he left the country to avoid bloodshed in Kabul.
The whole of Afghanistan apart from Panjshir Valley is now under complete Taliban control. The Taliban are negotiating with local Northern Alliance commanders in Panjshir Valley to accept Taliban rule and let them in. Panjshir Valley is the only place still not under direct Taliban control. Panjshir Valley is the home of famous Afghan war lord and Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah Masood who was killed in a suicide attack by Al-Qaeda.
According to a statement issued by Taliban “now we are in control of entire Afghanistan except for Panjshir. We are in negotiation with the local leadership of Panjshir and our delegation would go there on Monday for peaceful takeover of the province,”
Although, Taliban has announced general amnesty for all Afghans many Afghans belonging to Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara communities are watching the developments with cautious and fear. They are worried that Taliban rule will take back most of the gains like women education, jobs and some rights.
Taliban are tried to dispel the impression that they will impose reactionary policies using repressive and brutal measures as they did during their last rule.
The Doha based Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen laid out the policies of the Taliban they intend to implement, “we want an inclusive Islamic government… that means all Afghans will be part of that government.” He also said foreign embassies and workers would not be targeted by the group’s fighters and they should remain in the country.
There will be no risk to diplomats, NGOs, to anyone. All should continue their work as they were continuing in the past. They won´t harm them, they should remain.”
The Associated Press (AP) has reported that more than 60 nations released the joint statement distributed by the U.S. State Department late Sunday night Washington time. The statement says that those in power and authority across Afghanistan “bear responsibility — and accountability — for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order.”
The nations’ statement also says that roads, airports and border crossings must remain open, and that calm must be maintained.
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