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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/20/21

Misplaced Optimism in Biden's 9/11 Plan for Afghanistan

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Modern Kabul - panoramio.
Modern Kabul - panoramio.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: Masoud Akbari)
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Like his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, Democrat President Joe Biden does not want American troops to fight "other's" wars. Like the foray into Vietnam in the seventies, the Af-Pak expedition has cost America very dearly - 3000 American (soldiers) lives and upwards of $3 trillion in war expenses.

But Biden's September 11, 2021 timeline for recall of American troops from war ravaged Afghanistan appears rather odd, more so since 9/11 has gone down in history as the date that showcased the Al Qaeda blitzkrieg against the sole super power. The new 9/11 may take Afghanistan tantalizingly close to the Taliban version of Caliphate. A Talibanised nation may love to be the host for big terror operations against the Americans and their worldwide interests.

The Taliban already control most of the countryside, and their takeover of Kabul will heighten threat to the entire region, India including. Because, when the superior western Armies are gone, nothing will be able to stop the mediaeval forces, which the Taliban is.

This prognosis is based on the reality check. The combined strength of US and NATO forces were only able checkmate Taliban's march to capture Kabul but could not destroy the Islamists' fire power. The Afghan armed forces, though well-armed, are incapable of tacking on the might of the Taliban.

Both before and after 9/11, Pakistan adopted a duplicitous approach towards terrorism. It resolutely followed a policy of securing strategic depth in Afghanistan. That is why its double speak - no influence over Taliban and the claim of credit for bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table is neither here nor there.

Pakistan did not invest in Afghanistan's reconstruction like India did with an investment of $10 billion. Instead, it nurtured and shielded the Haqqani network of terrorists as a valuable Afghan asset. This group has come to be known as a 'veritable arm' of the Pakistan Army's Inter-services Intelligence, ISI.

The new post-9/11 dispensation with the Taliban in driver's seat will magnify ethnic divisions and conflicts within the country; this may lead to a civil war like situation in a Talibanised nation. This scenario will present an opportunity to Pakistan's iron friend, China, to emerge from shadows and become a direct player. It will broad base its campaign to mop up Afghan natural resources and in the process hook Afghanistan to its debt trap. In recent months, Russia has stepped up its campaign to demonstrate its relevance to Afghanistan to the glee of Pakistan and China. Clearly, this Russian comeback glosses over the bitter memories of Red Army in Kabul in the 1980s. All this advantage Pakistan, undoubtedly.

Of late, President Biden and his Russian counterpart, Putin, are organising peace meets on Afghanistan. Unlike Moscow, Washington has invited New Delhi to share the table on Afghan roadmap. It acknowledges Indian stakes in Afghanistan; it does not appear to be an effort at appeasing India, as some sections aver in New Delhi. In fact, this is part of a calibrated American plan to enlist India in its much larger campaign against China in the Indo-Pacific.

Taliban and foreign terrorists launch attacks on Afghanistan from safe havens in the tribal belt of Pakistan close to the Durand line that divides the two countries. Neither the US or any other country - China and Russia including, has tried to put pressure on Pakistan to ensure good behavior by its Afghan terror proxies. The US was (and is) perfectly suited to this role but it opted not to anger Pakistan, which is no more than a 'middleman' with the Taliban.

There is a flip-side to the unfolding Afghan scene. Even when efforts for Afghan peace process began in Qatar a year ago, the Taliban have shown no letup in their bloody campaign inside Afghanistan. These brutal attacks apparently a warning against delay or postponement of withdrawal of American troops. What the Taliban will do next depend very much on how the Americans put their act, and demonstrate the lessons they had learnt between the two 9/11s.

 

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Rama Rao Malladi is New Delhi based senior journalist and distinguished commentator on South Asian and Central Asian issues. He is a regular contributor to several publications in and outside India. His articles are featured in News Blaze.Rama (more...)
 

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Rama Rao Malladi

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It is difficult to find fault with President Biden's plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. The US has achieved precious little in its Afghan expedition. But the question is about the timing of the pull out. Because the Taliban has not changed much.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 2:48:38 PM

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Certainly the American-led expedition in Afghanistan seems to have been unable to achieve the establishment of a durable non-Taliban government. It's likely impossible for any military operation to do such a thing, and it seems that the Taliban have simply waited out the American operation. That Washington gave so little attention to Pakistan's role is shameful and greatly reduced the possible benefits of the expedition.

However, according to what I've read, the American presence has enabled some non-Taliban life and allowed, for example, the education of many girls and young women. Even if that progress is rolled back, there has been at least a temporary reprieve from the harsh, backward policies typical of the previous Taliban reign. The question is whether that is sufficient to justify the expedition.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 9:50:53 PM

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Mohammad Ala

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You continue to be an ignorant person.

Human rights? When in fact several million Afghan people have been killed or lost a limb. Human rights have turned into human abuses.

U.S./NATO and their allies have killed several million people, destroyed Afghanistan without being punished.

The wars have been profitable for Western countries because they have helped them to loot various countries.

Stealing oil: QuickLink: Stealing Syrian oil. | OpEdNews

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 12:32:11 AM

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David Wieland

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And you continue to be a hostile know-it-all apparently unable to engage in a civil discussion.

By the way, I didn't mention human rights, although it's long been clear that it's not a concept cherished by the Taliban.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 1:55:49 AM

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Mohammad Ala

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From your comments, it seems similar to most Western people, you do not understand the facts.

Women's rights is not human rights?

Which country trained, armed and support Taliban? They have been using Western made arms to terrorize their own people.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 12:18:06 PM

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Maxwell

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"But the question is about the timing of the pull out."

"Timing" is one of Biden's major points: waiting for the right time to pull out is a recipe for staying forever. 9/11/2021 is sufficient notice.

Of course, the choice of the date is deliberate, and an unfortunate irony. I don't claim to know exactly what transpired on 9/11/2001 but I do know the story that OBL launched a suicide attack out of Afghanistan, which caught the US government completely by surprised and caused three steel and concrete buildings to crumble to the ground in seconds due to fires and structural damage--for the first and only time ever--as well as successfully attacking the seat of the most powerful military in the world, is fraught with problems. I am certain on 9/11/2021 the US will be "celebrating" the 20 year anniversary of that event, and re-telling the story once again.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 23, 2021 at 12:55:20 PM

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Western countries and Russia have killed millions of innocent people, among them children and elderly without being punished.

Western countries have instigated sectarian violence to divide and conquer so that they can easier loot natural resources.

You have been a member of OEN (this site) for many years. There have many several hundred articles on why 9/11 was a false flag operation.

Who armed and trained the Taliban? The fight or U.S. involvement was NEVER about the right of Afghan people who have become the largest refugees in the past 100 years. Several millions of them escaped to Iran and placed a huge burden on Iran's limited resources. As usual, why not to blame Iran?

UNHCR - The UN Refugee Agency was banned through illegal sanctions to help Iran.

Read about Seth G. Jones who on April 15, 2021 mentioned it was a mistake to withdrawal U.S. forces and to leave the country to extremist groups, namely, Taliban.

Very little has been written the negative role of Saudi Arabia in creation of Taliban.

The list of companies that have profited from Afghan war is long, at least 30 companies including several companies that lobby groups supported.

Human rights? When in fact several million Afghan people have been killed or lost a limb. Human rights have turned into human abuses.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 12:39:09 AM

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This article is as abhorrent as would be an article written by a Nazi supporter in 1944 advocating the continuation of the Holocaust.

The nominal reason for the US re-escalation of the Afghan war was proven to be a sham within weeks, as the military effort was largely directed at civilians, and the effort against al-Quaida was clearly just a show. Millions dead are not enough for some people, I guess.

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 4:04:02 PM

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