FlippED is an ED Original style wherein two bloggers come together to share their opposing or orthogonal perspectives on an interesting subject.
It’s no news that Russia and Afghanistan had parts to play in the current situation of Afghanistan. But I don’t think it would be fair to completely shift the blame on these two countries and absolve the real people of responsibility.
“THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY BEHIND THE MESS IN AFGHANISTAN BELONGS TO THE TALIBAN, AND THERE IS NO EASIER WAY OF SAYING THIS”
– BLOGGER NANDINI’S OPINION
The Afghan Angle
The Taliban had severely failed to keep up their end of the bargain as had been laid down in the US-Taliban agreement in February 2020.
The Taliban were supposed to cut their ties off with all terrorist groups and maintain peace among all intra-Afghanistan organisations but the violence rate didn’t see much of a downward graph.
More than 3,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2020, according to a report that had been published by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
The report also gave a count of 5,800 others who were injured in the same year. This proves how the Taliban have always been extremist and brutal in their inherent nature. The mess in Afghanistan right now is the result of the same as the Taliban had launched a horrifying military offensive to re-establish themselves as the ultimate power.
Moreover, while it’s easy to pin the blame on the US and wonder why they left the land, we have to remember the huge monetary and military costs incurred to keep the peace here all these years.
The Foreign Angle
The number of American service members who lost their lives in Afghanistan just from April stands at 2448. 20,666 have been wounded since 2001.
The US has also suffered massive financial dents. $2.26 trillion has been spent in an array of expenses, according to a report by the Costs of War project. Hence, to say the US is responsible and hold them accountable for leaving Afghanistan soil might be easy but not fair, when you take into account the sacrifice it has made to give the citizens of another country a better living condition.
As for Russia, the Taliban still exists in their list of terrorist organisations of 2003. And while it is true that despite their name being on the list, the group has maintained a stable relationship with the Soviets, there exists no solid proof that they have actively helped the Taliban in raging war and invading Afghanistan.
“THE MESS IN AFGHANISTAN IS A PRODUCT OF SOVIET UNION’S INVOLVEMENT AND THE STATES’ ATTEMPT TO COVER-UP”
– BLOGGER SHOUVONIK’S OPINION
According to the US-Taliban Agreement of 2020, the US was supposed to withdraw all troops by May 2021 and transfer responsibilities to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
While President Donald Trump stood true to the agreement, President Joe Biden released a statement stating that the US would withdraw troops on the 11th of September, 2021, marking the 20th anniversary of one of the worst terrorist attacks on US soil.
In effect, this breached one of the fundamental clauses of the US-Taliban Agreement, which stated the withdrawal of all troops by May 2021. Since the US did not keep the pact, the Taliban, in turn, did not keep their end of the bargain as well and had a military crackdown over Afghanistan by August 15th, with minimal resistance from sparse US troops and the Afghan Republic Army.
Therefore, this fiasco can be traced back to the refusal of the US to withdraw within the stipulated time frame as per the agreement.
As Biden’s turn as President, he presided over solemn commemorations of the September 11 terror attacks on their 20th anniversary, and he also pushed his Administration to depart from the national security policies that defined the post 9/11 era, and that is exactly where the Afghanistan Republic lost.
Russia’s involvement goes back to the days of it being the Soviet Union in 1979. They invaded Afghanistan during the Cold War era, and every US involvement starting from then has been to counter the Soviet Union.
Although the entire situation could have been resolved in 1985, when the exhausted Soviets were ready to quit Afghanistan, President Reagan’s administration had “bleeders” like the Assistant Secretary of Defence, Richard Perle, who saw Afghanistan as a place to teach the Russians a lesson.
They became the most influential people in Washington and the apocryphal story of Afghanistan as Russia’s tar baby made its rounds.
Whatever the US has done from there has been covering for one mishap after the other, from the creation of the Mujahideen to the defection of Osama Bin Laden, the War on Terror, the abandonment of Afghanistan in a haste and leaving it to the Taliban for the win can be all traced back to one action that redefined the political scenario of the region—the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan in 1979.
Afghanistan has been THE place to fight proxy wars during the Soviet era, and post that, a playground for the Taliban.
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