Fantasy for US elites to drag in China and Russia on Afghan refugee issue
Published: Aug 31, 2021 09:48 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

With its last remaining troops leaving Afghanistan, the US had brought to an end its 20-year war in the country. The war not only leaves a big mess to war-torn Afghanistan, but also deals a heavy blow to the reputation of the US. Still, some US elites try to glorify what the US has done while at the same time discredit US adversaries, namely China and Russia. 

In a Twitter post, US political scientist Ian Bremmer touted that "Almost 100 govts have pledged support in facilitating the free travel of Afghans that have worked with them or that are considered to be at risk (not participating: China, Russia)."

What he referred to was a statement signed on August 29 by the US and 97 other countries which pledged to ensure Afghans to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan and issue travel documents to designated Afghans.  

Compared to the chaos and misery the US has brought to Afghanistan and its people, facilitating the free travel of Afghans is the least the US should do, rather than something that is worth touting about. While the US ensures Afghans to travel freely to other countries, the number of Afghan refugees the US has received is only a drop in the ocean. 

According to US media reports, the US plans to accept about 50,000 Afghan refugees. Nonetheless, prior to the current crisis, at least 3.5 million Afghans remained uprooted within Afghanistan because of violence, political unrest, and lack of economic opportunity - a result of the long-term war waged by the US. The countries that accepted the most number of Afghan refugees are Afghanistan's neighbors - Pakistan and Iran. 

According to a UNHCR chart in 2020, 85 percent of a total of 2.6 million Afghan refugees abroad can be found in Iran and Pakistan, while the US held only 2,000. The number of Afghan refugees the US accepted was only about one-thousandth that Pakistan received.

The US has all the reasons to accept the most Afghan refugees, as it is the culprit of the Afghan war. But even if the US accepts Afghan refugees, it cannot make up for the suffering of the Afghan people, let alone what the US is actually willing to do is very limited. For some US politicians, Afghan refugees are just a burden. Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, recently tweeted the US "should rescue Afghans who've assisted the US military, but they should go to a neutral & safe third country." Republican Matt Rosendale of Montana said the chaos in Afghanistan should not be "an excuse to flood" the US with refugees. 

Asking China and Russia to clean the mess created by the US in Afghanistan is beyond ridiculous. How could US elites have the nerve the raise it up? Russia said it will render civil aviation services for the evacuation of Afghan nationals seeking asylum elsewhere. China has also called on all sides to guide the Taliban actively and try to engage in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Aren't these responsible responses? 

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan has become the laughing stock of the world. But it seems that the US and its elites think it had done something noble. US elites tend to assume all countries should follow the US lead or even make up for US mistakes, but they ignore the fact that there are countries which have made contributions in their own way. Years of wars the US waged in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have generated huge numbers of refugees, but the way China engages with other countries - by promoting win-win principles and through infrastructure building for the welfare of local people - will never create refugees.

Song Luzheng, a research fellow at the China Institute of Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times that there are three reasons why US elites are dragging China and Russia into the mud. 

"First, they want the two countries to bear the consequence of the failed US policy in Afghanistan. Second, they want to exploit the refugee issue as a hook to trap China and Russia into the 'graveyard of empires.' Third, they could place the two in a moral predicament and take the opportunity to attack them as irresponsible major powers," said Song.

"Even now, the US and its elites are calculating their own gains on the Afghan issue," Song noted.