Narrative on Afghanistan -The Nation

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Since 9/11, western armies occupied Afghanistan for about two decades without any clear aims and objectives, amplified by the sudden and immediate pullout of western forces—leaving behind nothing but huge piles of weaponry as a parting gift to the people of Afghanistan.

Presently, the west is analysing only its military failure and tomes will be written on lessons learned from the Afghan military debacle, a déjà vu of Vietnam invasion, and the new strategies developed would again be put to use in a new foreign military invasion or occupation. The memory of imperialism is thoroughly manifested again in recent invasions such as Libya, Syria, and Iraq, which left nothing but destruction and destitution in once-prosperous countries.

The vacuum left by the pullout of Western forces has been filled by their opponents in the war—the Taliban. However, instead of being thankful that a strong force existed which could fill the vacuum and hold a fractious country together, the Taliban are being demonised through a well-orchestrated narrative to hide the failures of the departed occupational forces. During about two decades of Afghan occupation, billions of dollars were sunk in defence industries of the west but how much was spent on building road networks, hospitals, educational hospitals and other amenities to win the hearts and minds of the local populace is a question not much asked.

Now, the Taliban are trying to build a civilian infrastructure to run the country and should be credited with coming up with a governmental framework. Ministers have been appointed and efforts are being made to make various ministries functional again to serve the people. Similarly, the Taliban government is active on the diplomatic front and even engaged with naysayers to allay any fears created by vested powers and interests.

Further, the Taliban are engaged in establishing the writ of the state which was never achieved during the two decades of foreign occupation. The Taliban were successful in establishing the writ of the state after the Soviet exit and hopefully would do so again without suppressing any ethnic or political group. The Afghan people, after more than four decades of war and violence, need peace and stability, and non-interference from external powers.

To help the Taliban government perform its functions and serve the people, it needs monetary resources. The Afghan government needs its rightful money to feed its famine-stricken population, to pay its public-sector employees, to run hospitals, banks, and other public services, but as in other developing countries, it is being weaned on humanitarian aid to avoid an impending humanitarian disaster. Thus, the Afghans are being dictated by the former occupational forces to fulfil their desired conditions, again a manifestation of western colonialism and hubris.

If the west is so worried about Afghanistan, then during its two decades of occupation, it should have had given it a credible government, functioning institutions, and a strong defence which but all crumpled when western support was removed. Puppet governments were installed through questionable elections and never represented the interests of the people. Political leaders and various pressure groups lined their pockets and fled at the first sign of opposition because they knew they never commanded the hearts and minds of their people.

Thus, even after the exit, a narrative to help felicitate continued interference with the political and economic stability of Afghanistan is being propagated, which instead should be provided with its rightful resources, and for once, the Afghan people should decide their future without any interference.