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Quadruple failures in Afghanistan

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By Heo Mane

The Doha Peace Agreement struck between the U.S. and the Taliban once was hailed as "historic" in Washington at the time of its signing. But now President Joe Biden has been forced to withdraw American soldiers in a chaotic manner. The chaotic military withdrawal has helped the Taliban to take a tight grip on power.

First, as for diplomatic failure, the Doha Peace Agreement was made not based on trust or a fair deal between the Trump administration and the Taliban. The Trump administration one-sidedly was intent on ending an "endless war" with the Taliban. The Taliban vowed in its agreement not to threaten U.S. national security, nor that of its allies.

In return, the U.S. pledged to reduce its number of troops in Afghanistan from 12,000 to 8,600 within 135 days, the swap of 1,000 Afghan security force prisoners and 5,000 Taliban prisoners. Among them was Taliban co-founder and political chief Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar.

However, having seized the country, the Taliban continues to carry out suicide bombings and massacres against Afghan security forces and civilians. On the other hand, the Taliban refrained from attacking U.S. soldiers. The terrorist group did not carry out its obligations to uphold the importance of women's rights to work and to receive an education.

Such practices continue to be applied since its seizure of Kabul. Terrorists began to kill women who do not wear burkas, and even a girl listening to K-pop in her house was executed. The Taliban still maintain their brutal and oppressive behavior.

Such things happening in Afghanistan now tell us that from the beginning, the U.S. failed to enforce real and trustful diplomacy with the its counterpart, while it gained only partial diplomatic success in the course of the nine months-long negotiations. This success is now a springboard to hold a strong grip on this country.

Second, anti-terrorist warfare was launched by the former President G.W. Bush on Sept. 20, 2001. The free world was attacked by al-Qaida on Sept.11, 2001. Bush declared, "Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated." This means that all acts to harbor terrorists will be severely punished.

The free people around the world wanted to deliver to Afghanistan freedom and hope. From this perspective, free people from the Western world began to ensure freedom and hope for the Afghan people. At the time of the first stage of the war on terror, the U.S. forces as well as allied forces drove the Taliban from the stage of power to the corner of bondage in a matter of weeks.

The allied forces helped the Afghan opposition group avert the winter humanitarian disaster through the provision of 2.4 million humanitarian daily rations. Under the Taliban, girls could not go to schools and women could not work. So, the new government had been laying the groundwork for peace and prosperity for the Afghan people over the past 20 years.

Third, corruption was huge at the government level. The U.S. and its allies failed to monitor financial aid provided by them to build a free nation. Afghan security forces lost their will to fight the Taliban terrorists' long, resilient attacks, mainly because of the long-delayed payments to soldiers. The financial aid was poorly managed and divided only among highest ranking officials, including former President Ashraf Ghani.

Fourth and finally, the initial diplomatic deal with the Taliban had a mortal weak point in acknowledging gradually the Taliban as an emirate Afghan state. Another mortal weak point is to have left all important weapons for the Taliban.


The writer (mane398@naver.com) is professor emeritus and also an adviser of the Korea-EU Forum.





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