From blowing up Afghan land to snatching its assets – US still trapped in 'Kabul moment' one year after withdrawal
Published: Aug 15, 2022 10:52 PM Updated: Aug 15, 2022 10:59 PM
Afghans receive humanitarian aid after a powerful earthquake hit eastern Afghanistan before dawn on June 22 in Paktika, Afghanistan on June 24. A local official said that the search for survivors has been completed, with 1,150 deaths and at least 1,600 injured.

Afghans receive humanitarian aid after a powerful earthquake hit eastern Afghanistan before dawn on June 22 in Paktika, Afghanistan on June 24. Photo: VCG

One year after the US' irresponsible and hasty withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, with countless Afghans who remain fearful and pessimistic about the chaos the US left behind, the international community has maintained its criticism of the continued irresponsibility of the US on the Afghanistan issue. Observers and analysts reached by the Global Times pointed out that after orchestrating endless trauma in Afghanistan but remaining unwilling to help it rebuild, the US has fully exposed its extreme selfishness without ever reflecting on it.

"One year ago, the US troops ended its 20-year-long invasion of Afghanistan by hastily pulling out of the country. The 'Kabul moment' became a byword for the US' debacle in Afghanistan," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Monday.

Wang said that the "Kabul moment" marks not only the failure of the "democratic transformation" imposed by the US for 20 years, but also the failure of the US' strategy of hegemony. 

On August 15, 2021, the Taliban entered Kabul and took power in the country. In the same month, the US completed the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, leaving behind a country that has been ravaged by the wars it waged for 20 years.

"There was a complete lack and failure to plan," Mike McCaul, the US Republican in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, condemned the hasty operation, saying there were "many sins" that happened during the evacuation, CBS News reported, noting that McCaul also said their committee's report on the Afghanistan exit will be released this week, which he described it as a "fairly objective report about the failures that were made" by the Biden administration in the run-up to the withdrawal.

Zia, an Afghan journalist grappling with unemployment, is one of the millions of Afghans who are living under difficult circumstances following the sudden withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan.

"Ordinary Afghans believe that the US betrayed Afghanistan and did not care about democracy or human rights, otherwise, the US would have engaged in peace talks in a productive way to facilitate its responsible withdrawal," he told the Global Times.

While a serious humanitarian crisis looms over Afghanistan, the US still continues to withhold $7 billion in Afghan foreign exchange reserves despite calls from the UN to unfreeze said assets in order to save people in Afghanistan from a serious economic crisis. Instead, on February 11, 2022, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order to divert part of the $7 billion in frozen Afghan assets for the alleged compensation of victims of the 9/11 attacks.

In an interview with the Global Times, Hamid Karzai, former Afghan president, said that "the seizure of $7 billion of Afghan reserves is wrong and not acceptable to the Afghan people. This is Afghan money - owned and belonging to the Afghan people. We don't want this money to be split into two halves as the US is saying now."

"How ironic to see the US taking money from Afghanistan while the Afghan people are in a humanitarian emergency. It's not only rubbing salt in the bleeding wounds of Afghanistan, but also exposing the true image of the US," Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at Lanzhou University, told the Global Times.

Karzai noted that the Afghan people offered huge support to the US' and the allied presence in Afghanistan, but the Afghans have since expressed overwhelming disappointment and anger at the way things were conducted when the US forces were here and  the way they withdrew from Afghanistan. 

Zhu noted that after the Taliban took over the country, Afghanistan's security situation has improved, but there is widespread unemployment, worsening education and large numbers of refugees. In the long term, the vulnerable population will be prone to the influence of extremism, and the consequences will be far-reaching.

Statistics from the World Food Program (WFP) estimate that 22.8 million Afghans now face acute food insecurity and 8.7 million Afghans face emergency-level food insecurity. 

Apparently, the US hasn't learned from history, and is setting up obstacles for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, Wang noted.

Afghanistan's situation is far from unique, as regions around the country are also contending with widespread insecurity. The world can now clearly see how the US has been the cause of extensive damage to Afghanistan and has been a global source of conflict, experts said.

After the radical change in Afghanistan, neighboring countries, including China, have been exploring cooperation that includes a path to peaceful reconciliation and national reconstruction, in stark contrast to the US, which only left a mess behind in the ravaged country. Its words and deeds clearly demonstrate the fact that Afghanistan is merely a chess piece used by the US for geopolitical purposes, Zhu noted.

"The US goes against the trend of history, which will only lead to more 'Kabul moments,'" Wang noted.