SHAFAQNA – While US officials have been keen over the years to proclaim their “victory” over the demon which is radicalism in Afghanistan, whether in the form of the dreaded Taliban, or the ignominious al-Qaeda, truth remains somewhat different.
“Al Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated,” President Obama roundly declared at his foreign policy debate with then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. The US Department of State even claimed al-Qaeda was “severely degraded” in its 2016 country report on terrorism.
Fast forward a few months and the Taliban went from “defeated” to cancer-like breeding.
For all the framing and staging Washington has mastered over the decade Afghanistan is no closer from liberation than some 15 years ago. If anything, one may argue that this perpetual state of war, violence, and instability Afghanistan has learnt to endure under has become a new dangerous institutional matter of being.
How do you teach a people freedom when several generations have known only political and socio-religious oppression? Then again we might want to consider that America’s interventionism in Central Asia had more to do with ethno-political engineering than defeating terror.
If we look objectively to this conflict, and if we in fact agree that little to no efforts were ever spent in reconstruction – at least not where it matters and how it matters: ie: social empowerment, industry developing, education, health, tactical military cooperation, then Afghanistan very much looks like a land under brutal military occupation.
At least through this lens the Afghan debacle makes sense. Rather than assume America’s failure in Central Asia, are we not in fact looking at a very successful occupation framed as a liberation played to the tune of engineered Islamic radicalism – this new asymmetrical weapon of war Washington has loved to toy with over the decade?
“The US government and the military has downplayed al Qaeda’s presence for more than six years, despite evidence that al Qaeda has remained entrenched in Afghanistan some 15 years after the 9/11 attacks,” The Long War Journal noted this October.
Commander of all US forces in Afghanistan Army Gen. John Nicholson admitted that al-Qaeda is increasingly taking advantage of the security vacuum in Afghanistan in remote parts of the country, confirming that the radical group had secured “unprecedented gains” against the US-backed Afghan Security Forces since 2014 – when Washington “officially” withdrew its military.
But what does that even mean?
For one it means that the US utterly and very publicly failed at its self-declared task of stabilisation and terror containment. Let’s not discuss democracy-building because truly we would venture too far out on the delusional scale.
Afghanistan today is no safer than it was back in 2001. If anything it stands weakened, and drained, a shell of its former, a land imprinted by Western imperialism, a land enslaved by the military interventionism complex.
A far cry from the vibrant nation it once was, when it still towered sovereign over Central Asia, Afghanistan has been turned in a dark and miserable Western military outpost, sold to the demons of Wahhabism so that the media could have a narrative to spin.
In recent comments to the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Prince Ali Seraj of Afghanistan raised very crucial points. He said: “Our once proud and united nation, is now tearing at the seams. Our educated young are fleeing in great numbers to countries far beyond our borders. The decade long enemies of our nation, the Taliban, supported by neighbouring countries, are taking control of major areas of different Provinces.”
And: “In short, brothers and sisters, this Great Land, which we call home and one which is our inheritance from our Forefathers, who fought for its Independence and one which was bestowed upon us as a Gift by Allah All Might (SWT), is in grave danger.”
What is this grave danger Afghanistan’s royal prince is referring to exactly? One would think that danger has long been a reality of the war-torn nation – a birth-right almost.
There are still many grave dangers which lurk in the shadows we have failed to fully grasp, let alone face up to.
America is turning the Taliban into a tolerable asset against an even more unpalatable enemy: Daesh. Welcome to mainstream radicalism and the white-washing of Terror!
“Taliban are supporting the local residents and local forces against the IS aggression in Pachiragam,” Taliban expert Wahid Muzhda told Voice of America from Kabul on October 21, where he is monitoring news of the conflict. “They are not assisting the government forces but standing for the locals,” he added.
That’s an interesting twist – one which echoes the very narrative Western capitals have served the world in regards to Syria; that compromises ought to be made with certain radical elements in view of the greater good …
But such strategy only serves to legitimise extremism, and reframe the very ideology which the US has vowed to destroy whatever the cost, and wherever it may hide in the name of Freedom and Liberty.
Once the demons are the story, the Taliban is being reformed into a controllable tool Washington will wield to forward its “righteous” agenda against the terrible threat Daesh presents to humanity.
No one of course is making mention of those powerful patrons standing behind Daesh and Co. That part of the story none is allowed to tell!
Afghanistan has failed by design. Afghanistan was made into a wasteland of a nation so that America would suffer no contention to its military out-posting activities, while hugging selfless righteousness as a narrative of choice.
Who said Rome was dead?
By Catherine Shakdam – Director of Programs for the Shafaqna of Middle Eastern Studies