Afghanistan (NEO) – October 2001 made it into history as clear evidence of the reckless plans of Washington ‘strategists’ for gaining worldwide domination. It is the period when the aggressive invasion of US troops in Afghanistan under the false pretext of revenge for the sad events of 911 began. However, neither then, nor now was there any evidence that it was Afghanistan and the Taliban that were involved in the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. Besides, it is reliably known that most of the actual players (but not the masterminds) were Saudi nationals. However, Washington and Riyadh were friends back then, and instead of Saudi Arabia, it was Afghanistan (who was guilty of nothing) that was thrown under the steamroller of the most powerful army.
Since that time, 15 years of occupation of Afghanistan by the United States and its European accomplices have passed so it is possible to sum up the results already: or rather record the collapse of the state government, the destruction of industry, agriculture, basic social structure. Instead, under the supervision and control of the US Generals the bright crimson poppy fields have really blossomed and drug production has increased more than tenfold. With the help of the CIA, this poisonous stream flows extensively into Russia, Europe and America. However, this is of little interest to Washington, which is using the drug sales to fund its occupation forces in Afghanistan.
If the US was promoting that its goal was the removal of the Taliban from power, the fight against terrorism, the destruction of Al-Qaeda, then it should be noted that the Taliban currently controls over ten percent of the population, and a third of the 31 million population lives in areas of military conflict. These are the disappointing results of the 15 years of war in which about 140 thousand US troops and 36,000 troops from other countries fought against the Taliban.
Moreover, there is a certain trend that the Islamic State that has arrived in Afghanistan has in fact opened a ‘second front’ of the global Islamist resistance, in addition to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Afghanistan could become, and is already turning into the scene of the collision, and sometimes even the alliance of the Taliban with ISIL (banned in Russia). However, it is very different in the northern and southern provinces of the country. Whereas in the south, in Helmand and Kandahar, these two forces actively combat each other in the struggle for the plantations and production of drugs; then as it has recently come to light, in northern Afghanistan they are co-operating quite peacefully and citizens often move from one group to another.
In 2015, the NATO operation (ISAF – International Security Assistance Force) changed its name and is now called ‘Resolute Support’. It was to become the last phase of the operation initiated by George W. Bush and turned out to be one that Barack Obama had to hastily abandon. However, the US has not succeeded in doing so up until now: they have been stuck there, as if they have once again fallen into a trap.
The situation in Afghanistan continues to be catastrophic: 15 years after the USA launched ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ the country is unable to feed itself. The President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, spoke at the International Donor Conference in Brussels and revealed that every third Afghan man gets less than one and a half USD a day and almost starves, and children have got no physical access to schooling. Without international assistance the government would not long survive in Kabul. Everyone understands that and therefore they continue to give money to the corrupted Afghan authorities. As the EU leadership stated, “now is not the time to cut aid to the Afghan people.”
In today’s Afghanistan, 42% of the population lives below the poverty line, and this problem has deep socio-demographic roots. A significant number of youth do not have access to quality education, and about 7 million young people cannot find a job in their homeland. The problem of unemployment among young people is the most crucial and continues to be the major ‘despair factor’, which is skilfully used by the enemies of Afghanistan to incite the situation and mobilize the young to join terrorist organizations. In addition, the extremely inefficient fight against drugs, given the fact that there was an ‘opium revolution’ in Afghanistan while NATO troops were there, has led to the situation where a number of rural residents cannot live without money made from ‘narcotics’.
Following the withdrawal of the main part of foreign troops, the situation in Afghanistan became dramatically worse. Government forces control merely the two-thirds of the country and in fact even a lot less. The radical Taliban movement has completely recovered since the launch of the US military operations in 2001. The situation reached the point when the Taliban held the strategically important city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, located in the immediate vicinity of the Tajik border, for a few days. This is the second seizure of Kunduz in little over a year.
The difficult political and military situation in Afghanistan, quite naturally, poses a threat and danger to the southern borders of the CSTO member-states and represents a threat to regional security and stability of a number of countries in the region. The leadership of the region is well aware of that. For example, in the statement made at the BRICS summit in the state of Goa, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “President Putin and I noted the similarity of our views on the situation in Afghanistan and turmoil in West Asia. We deeply appreciate Russia’s understanding and support of our actions to fight cross-border terrorism that threatens our entire region.” Therefore, it may be recalled that in his interview Vladimir Putin stressed that Russian and Indian parties are committed to multilateral cooperation in order to help Afghanistan to address the domestic security situation, strengthening the counter-narcotics capabilities, ensuring socio-economic development, and enhancing connectivity.”
There is no doubt, and many experts on the Middle East also confirm, that Afghanistan’s future significantly depends on the resolution of global conflicts between NATO, China and Russia. In addition, the regional conflicts between India and Pakistan, Iran, the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and Turkey have a significant impact as well. The complex political and economic situation in the country over several decades has sparked supposedly forgotten historical conflicts, for example between the Pashtun Durrani, now leaning more toward the former President Hamid Karzai, and the Pashtun Ghilji from the eastern regions of the country. All this has a negative impact on the number of unresolved problems inside the country and even further delays the peaceful resolution of the problems in Afghanistan.
This report prepared byfor New Eastern Outlook.