OPINION / ASIAN REVIEW
Afghanistan paid highest price for America’s failed war on terror
Published: Apr 18, 2021 03:28 PM
Photo taken on Feb. 22, 2020 shows disabled children in Surkh Rod district of Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has documented more than 10,000 civilian casualties in 2019, of these more than 3,400 had been killed, said a report of the body released. (Photo by Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua)

Photo taken on Feb. 22, 2020 shows disabled children in Surkh Rod district of Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has documented more than 10,000 civilian casualties in 2019, of these more than 3,400 had been killed, said a report of the body released. (Photo by Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua)



US President Joe Biden came with an astonishing statement on Wednesday. He announced the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by September 11 - the 20th anniversary of the Al-Qaeda terror attack on the US that led to the US invasion of Afghanistan. NATO also announced it would follow the same timetable for withdrawing more than 7,000 allied forces.

Biden is the fourth US president who has promised to end the war in Afghanistan, during which more than 2,300 have been killed and 20,000 wounded, and 100,000 Afghan civilians have died. Former president George W. Bush, after the 9/11 attacks, decided to go to war in Afghanistan, but it was very much uncertain about how the conflict would unfold and how long it might last.

Since the US blamed the Al-Qaeda terrorist network for the attack, former US president Bush said the battle front will last as long as it takes to bring Al-Qaeda to justice. But it was his successor Barack Obama who covertly launched an operation on May 2, 2011, carried out by the US Navy SEALs. The special operations force pounced on Osama Bin Laden's compound in the military garrison town of Abbottabad of Pakistan, killing the Al-Qaida chief along with several of his operatives.

After Obama, Donald Trump initiated dialogues with the Taliban, which was a wise move to bring a diplomatic end to the Afghan war. However, the current President Biden says that 10 years have passed since bin Laden's death, and it is time to end America's war, but also warned that if, "the Taliban attacks us as we draw down, we will defend ourselves and our partners with all the tools at our disposal."

The most irritating part of Biden's speech is that he never mentioned civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Some should ask why he ignored all the Afghan lives lost in the last 20 years of war. And how it took 10 years for the US to withdraw since 2011 when bin Laden was killed as what Biden prescribes as the goal of the US war here and what this gave us in terms of US interest in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. Thousands of Afghans were killed and maimed but Biden wasn't bothered to talk about them. By official figures, more than 100,000 Afghans have been killed in the war, no doubt a vast underestimation. But Biden did not talk about the condition for which American imperialism bears the most responsibility.

Instead of making irresponsible remarks, it's better for the US president to declare defeat as its campaign of war on terror was nothing but a big flop. Though, the Afghans are thankful to the US support in the last 20 years, but we never beg for their stay, rather it is a great opportunity for the Afghan elites to show unity and lead their country out of this crisis. The Afghan leaders must come forward with a strong united position and stand up for their national interests and rise above petty personal and factional interests.

The important thing right now is that all Afghans, including the Taliban, should listen to each other and find a solution to the current conflict.

On the other hand, the 9/11 response by the US to declare an open-ended war on terror which began with an invasion of Afghanistan, the poorest country, where its nationals had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack, was the first and big failure of US strategy. Then immediately Iraq, a country that enjoyed peace and sovereignty that again had nothing to do with 9/11, was attacked and turned to ashes. None of these attacks made today's world safer.

To avenge the 3,000 innocent people who lost their lives on 9/11, the US invaded and bombed multiple countries where hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed, and many more received injuries that had nothing to do with 9/11. It's worth mentioning that the war on terror only gave us more war and more terror; where only in Afghanistan there are dozens of terrorist groups operating. The Islamic State (IS) also known as the Daesh extremist group has emerged under the very nose of the US military presence in Afghanistan. It is a serious concern and still active. In the past it had carried out multiple attacks even in Western countries.

With this, it's clear that the US global war on terror is slipping away and it was a big failure. Imagine if the US had not declared war on terror, and the response to the 9/11 was rooted in police work, international law, intelligence sharing methods and winning hearts and minds and engage in talks instead of wagging deadly war - surely we would have been all these years in peace and today we would have inherited a much more peaceful world.

The author is Editor-in-Chief of Afghanistan Times Daily, and could be reached via: mansoorfaizy01@gmail.com. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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