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US Afghan Strategy under fire as Kabul falls to Taliban and President Ashraf Ghani leaves Afghanistan

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DND Thought Centre Special Report

According to the latest reports coming out of the Presidential Palace in Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani has decided to resign after a negotiation held in his office with Taliban leadership and he left Kabul for Tajikistan, a senior interior ministry official tells Reuters news agency.

There are reports that Ashraf Ghani will announce “Government in Exile” sitting abroad.

Taliban are trying for bloodless transfer of power in Kabul. However, no news has come out of Ghani’s meeting with Taliban leadership.

The latest statement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is as follows:

The Islamic Emirate issued a statement in the morning stating that our forces are out of Kabul and we do not want to enter Kabul militarily.

But now there are reports that constituencies in Kabul have been evacuated, police have left their job of providing security, ministries have been evacuated, and Kabul administration security personnel have fled.

So that God forbid the common thieves and robbers in Kabul do not mix, the abusers do not harm the people, the Islamic Emirate ordered its forces to enter the areas of Kabul from which the enemy went and areas There is a risk of theft and robbery.

Therefore, the citizens of Kabul should not feel any fear from the Mujahideen, our forces will enter Kabul city very easily, they will not work with anyone, government military and civilian users should make sure that no one uses them, no Mujahideen You are not allowed to enter anyone’s home, or harass anyone, or cause any harm.

After the news of the resignation of President Ghani came out of Presidential Palace, the First Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh released his statement in which he said that he would never ever and under no circumstances bow to the Taliban.


In Washington, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will brief House members on the situation in Afghanistan in an unclassified virtual conference on Sunday morning, reports The Associated Press.

Nato has also released a statement telling that it is helping to maintain operations at Kabul airport to keep Afghanistan connected with the world. It says that it would also maintain its diplomatic presence in Kabul. “the security of our personnel is paramount, and we continue to adjust as necessary.

As now Afghan National Army (ANA) has already fallen as “House of Cards” and the Taliban have entered Parliament House in Kabul, Presidential Palace is under siege while the Taliban are negotiating with President Ghani for surrender, the US strategy of war is under extreme criticism and war strategists and experts of Foreign Affairs are sharing their opinions, Dispatch News Desk (DND) News Agency talked to international and regional experts for their comments and all of them are of the view that reemergence of Taliban indicates that US War Strategy of Afghanistan was not based on reality rather was inspired by taking chances and shifting goal poles.

Former Director-General of Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan and writer of several books, Let Gen (retd) Asad Durrani is of the view that the United States entered into Afghanistan without a clear strategy and goals and it entered as an angry elephant. 9/11 game US opportunity for entering to Kabul with the full support of international forums but “Shifting goal post” and having no clear strategy bogged down not only the United States rather all western countries.

He said once the US entered Afghanistan, it decided to stay at any cost because time provided it an opportunity to stay in a very sensitive and important region from where it could have an eye on everybody from Iran, China, Pakistan to Central Asian countries.

“It could meddle with everybody while staying in Afghanistan. But former President Hamid Karzai smelled the situation in 2009 and was of the view to review the situation however Military might and Military laid establishment took time to add strength before talking with the Taliban and this Military laid establishment strategy was a great failure. Sometimes military establishments understand that they are going to wrong way but what to do is a question it takes time to understand and answer and this very issue happed in Afghanistan. The US sold its ill strategy to the western world that sitting in Afghanistan it is blocking Iran and Chinese influence over the region but everything went wrong and now China and Iran have already in good relationship with the Taliban,” Gen Durrani.

While Maj Gen (retd) Khalid Jafri who headed a Think Tank and his international expert of strategy and warfare says that the collapse of the Afghan government within weeks and the support of the Taliban they got from the population testified that the United States has lost its faulty war.

Gen (retd) Khalid Jafri is of the view:

I have always said that Americans have lost the war the day they entered into war in Afghanistan because this was a war looking for strategic objectives. The advance of the Taliban has taken everybody by surprise and it is the fastest then German invasion of France in May 1940.

This time, the Taliban strategy has been different and they cut out the north first so isolating Afghanistan from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and then advancing all over the country.

President Ashraf Ghani should understand the reality of the day and should go for a solution where bloodshed can be avoided in Kabul by leaving his seat and by initiating consultations with all stakeholders. Meanwhile, I am of the view that after taking over Kabul, the Taliban must be very careful and must behave with sanity for avoiding any chance to foreign media to do propaganda against them regarding human rights and women’s rights violations. Foreign media is already showing old videos for defaming the Taliban. This time Taliban are more diplomatic they know what is international diplomacy. Former Governor Ismail Khan has joined the Taliban or at least withdrew himself to them and this is a good development for Afghanistan. I keeping my finger cross because the pace of development is very fast. Let me add here that the United States wants to open a bordering fence between Pakistan and Afghanistan and this demand was not justifiable and Pakistan has taken a firm position and refused this demand. The US actually wanted to send a message to the world that large-scale migration from Afghanistan is a symbol of rejection to the forthcoming Taliban government by the majority of the population of Afghanistan.

When asked about the role of India, Khalid Jafri was of the view that India invested billions of dollars in Afghanistan to get a platform for using against Pakistan and for harming law and order in Pakistan.

“What does business has Afghanistan? Why did the western world give a role to India in Afghanistan?. If India could be a stakeholder in Afghanistan, then why not we (Pakistan) can be stakeholders in Nepal and the rest of Indian neighbors?” asked Maj (retd) Gen Jafri.

He said that over 103 billion dollars were spent on Afghan National Army (ANA) by the United States but this army collapsed like a house of cards because Army cannot be created in a period of five or ten years and the US never learned this from history.

When asked about the role of Pakistan in the current scenario, Gen Jafri was of the view that Pakistan should send food and support once the Taliban takes over Afghanistan, and China and Pakistan should immediately play their role for humanitarian support of Afghanistan.

Ambassador (retd) Hassan Javed who is a writer of several international books on foreign affairs and public diplomacy and is the most famous expert on China issues, is of the view that history is taking a turn once again. Such events happen once in a century.

“The British-Afghan War of 1919, was a signal of the decline of the British Empire. Similarly, the collapse of the Soviet Union came in 1991 after its defeat in Afghanistan.

American Japanese Historian Francis Fujiyama thought that history ended in 2000 AD with victory to the so-called Western values of Democracy, Capitalism, etc. Actually, history is ending now with the collapse of Western Powers’ drawn Post Second World War Order. The current era is a transition era to a new Order. It will take a decade or two to settle down. The time for Western Powers’ domination or supremacy of the world is over Quad or no Quad. !!! These events are likely to have regional and global ramifications, as had been throughout history. Old narratives are neither likely to help nor stop the rot or sinking of Western societies,’ believes Ambassador Hassan.

One should read the book of Ambassador Hassan “China, West and The Islamic World” for further understanding of the region, and the book is available with Paramount Books and Amazon Books.

Maj Gen (retd) Zahid Mubashir when asked to comment on the Afghanistan issue, said that the Taliban have learned a lot in the last 20 years and they have testified themselves as the most successful and powerful diplomats while sitting at the negotiation table and the dreadful and unbeatable when they are in battlegrounds. They have written their own history and the world is silent about what to say about them.

He says that President Ghani wasted time and did not fulfill the commitments of Doha Talks like the release of Taliban prisoners and gathering all stakeholders for a national government kind of arrangements. Ghani was looking towards his masters who failed to understand the situation and now everything had gone out of the hands of Ghani whose government is just inside the Presidential Palace. Gen Mubashir appreciated the strategy of the government of Pakistan which according to him the first time in history refused to take dictation from Washington.

He was of the view that Afghanistan is the greatest defeat of the US and its all allied forces in Afghanistan and would write a new order of the world.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed who is a journalist, geo-strategist, politician, and an avid writer believes that the roots of the collapse of America’s Afghanistan Project lie in 3 causes: a) instead of strengthening/stabilising Afghanistan, US ‘Imperial Hubris’ launched an unwarranted war in Iraq in 2003 as part of Neocon’s ideological Middle East regime change agenda; b) US war in Afghanistan lacked strategic clarity with no clear mission, in fact, as ‘The Afghanistan Papers’ showed the war was based on ‘misleading/deceiving public opinion, other than periodic surges, they had nothing to offer; c)the corrupt self-serving Kabul Regime, propped up by the US, thrived on international dole-outs and whenever things went wrong, they would start scapegoating Pakistan! Afghan Army had no cause to fight for. More importantly, it puts Biden Administration in a very bad light, with flawed assumptions & wrong judgment. ‘Who Lost Afghanistan’ May well prove decisive in 2024, paving the way, sadly, for a Republican right-wing backlash.

International Foreign expert and former Ambassador Abdul Basit while commenting latest situation said that Pakistan should stop saying in public that we want a national coalition government in Kabul.

“Rather we should now be stepping up behind the scenes efforts in consultation with the Taliban to secure quick international recognition to the Taliban government. The Taliban have won militarily. We should be part of any exercise that is seen by the Taliban as creating a diplomatic stalemate,” commented Ambassador Basit.

Prague-based international expert of Foreign Affairs Shazia Anwer Cheema believes that the US from the very first day became a victim of slow and fast thinking, metaphorically they put the risk analysis on the back burner and start deciding in hurry to gain more. Apparently like gambling if chance would have favored them, they could have achieved what they expected to but as the very name gambling represents, without putting your decisions under probability scrutiny, the likelihood of odd against the desired outcome tends to be higher instead of being in favor.

She says that the decision-making having a high ratio of probabilities with a higher likelihood toward odds must not be taken by depending on mare chances. Chances of odds in favor or against have no logical framework they are based on predictions driven from previous experiences. And the nominal data is in percentage, which is based on speculation, on other hand, probable factors can be much more conclusive in risk analysis.

“The probability of winning the Afghan War was based on chances, build on predictions of Odds that may be in favor at exact time and space. Though the War itself was a misperceived factor and clearly relying on uninformed variables. The proper noun for the supreme vector was chosen as “War against Terror” in 2001.” she added.

Bureau Chief of Al-Jazeera media network Ahmad Barakat who covered the Afghan war from the first day the United States allied forces entered Afghanistan is of the view that anyone’s guesses about Afghanistan’s present and future are wrong.

“The latest strategy of the Taliban to move from North to West then South and East is the best example. All we’re expecting is that they will move as they did before from Qandahar south. Their strategy to secure the lives and property of those surrendered worked well and now they are in a strong position which means that they may not negotiate. Taliban trying to show now that they are not Pushtun movement rather it represents all other ethnicities. Don’t forget that the government and allies are divided which benefits the Taliban,” commented Barakat.

Agha Iqrar Haroon who is covering Afghanistan as a Reporter since 1996 and is in the field since 1988 when asked to comment on Afghanistan current situation, said:

I remember all those days when US contractors in their SUVs used to pick up people from anywhere in Pakistan tagging them terrorists.

I remember that evening when sitting Ambassador of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Mullah Zaheef was taken from his official residence and then he reappeared in Guantanamo Concentration Camp. I remember how journalists had been harassed to wanted to know the fate of abducted persons, mostly Arabs, Turkish, and Afghans. Who is responsible for the killings of thousands of people in the 20-year war if the Taliban were not terrorists? And if they were terrorists why how could they sit at the negotiation table with the United States for a political solution of Afghanistan? Can United Nations look into all this game of chances the US played with the entire world?”.

In December 2001, while addressing US Parliamentarians the then President Bush said:
“Thanks to our military and our allies and the brave fighters of Afghanistan, the Taliban regime is coming to an end.”  Today, the Taliban has entered Afghan Capital Kabul as US diplomats evacuate by chopper, reports Reuters

 

The Editor (Print & Digital) of the Express Tribune Naveed Hussain who has been covering the Afghan war and Afghan issues extensively believes that when President Bush authorised Afghanistan’s invasion, he had clear objectives: to destroy al Qaeda, decimate the Taliban regime and prevent a repeat of the 9/11 attacks. To simply put, his approach was to overthrow the Taliban, pass on the baton to local allies, and get out. This core objective was achieved by December 2001, perhaps sooner than anyone could have expected. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld wanted to steer clear of the drudgery of “nation-building”, which he believed would only create a culture of dependence. But curiously, Bush decided to pursue what Rumsfeld was averse to. And here lay the rub.

“Bush turned into a haphazard nation-building affair the Afghan mission he baptized “Operation Enduring Freedom”. This is how the US changed tack and veered off in directions that had little to do with al Qaeda. This was a fatal mistake, a mistake that would set off a bloody insurgency and cost the US its initial swift victory against the Taliban. Over the next 20 years, successive US administrations would draw up and try fatally flawed strategies against an undefined enemy in pursuit of elusive objectives. And all these years, senior US officials would lie to the Americans – and to the world – making “rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hid unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”
In the meantime, the flush of US dollars with little or no oversight set off a gold rush for Afghan politicians. This gusher of dollars fueled a culture of ‘rampant corruption, which resulted in the emergence of kleptocracy. The rampant corruption eroded whatever little credibility or legitimacy the central government could muster. And the main beneficiary of this endemic culture of corruption was the Taliban, which cashed in on the pent-up grievances of the Afghan people and their growing distrust in the government to project itself as a saviour.
Today, we see the so-called gains of two decades unraveling with bewildering speed. The lightening march of the Taliban must be surprising for them too. But more surprising is the melting of Afghan security forces which the US and its allies spent millions of dollars to raise, train, and equip.
Now when the Taliban are at the gates of Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani has given a call for “popular local uprising”, a neologism coined by him to deemphasize the negativity around irregular ethnic militias who, in the past, defended the “personal fiefs” of their notorious warlords and committed worst atrocities in the process. Ghani should know that this move would only push Afghanistan into civil war – but this time it would be more deadly – and perhaps pose an existential threat to Afghanistan itself.
This great unraveling should have triggered some soul-searching both in Kabul and in Washington. But sadly there is in-sync clamor on social media by the Afghan establishment and their supporters who seek to scapegoat Pakistan. This smear campaign appears to have blessings of those who are unwilling to admit that their long and bloody campaign in Afghanistan was inherently flawed in the absence of a clear strategy, a clear objective, and a clearly defined enemy,” commented Naveed Hussain.

 

Meanwhile, the UK Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, has called for the recall of Parliament so MPs can discuss the worsening crisis in Afghanistan, PA reports.

The Labour leader said in a statement:

The situation in Afghanistan is deeply shocking and seems to be worsening by the hour. The immediate priority now must be to get all British personnel and support staff safely out of Kabul. The Government has been silent while Afghanistan collapses, which let’s be clear will have ramifications for us here in the UK.

Pope Francis has called for a dialogue in Afghanistan so that the country’s “martyred population” can live in peace and security, reports Guardian.

CNN’s National Security Correspondent, Kylie Atwood, reports that the US will be pulling all of its embassy and security personnel over the next 72 hours.

The Editor of daily the Nation Islamabad and international journalist Salman Masood who is also Pakistan Correspondent of the “The New York Times”, when asked to comment said:

“Ashraf Ghani latched on to power despite losing the real mandate and lacked credibility, corruption was rife and rendered his regime ineffectual. Without American support, thinking to challenge or confront the Taliban was a pipedream”.

Foreign Office of Pakistan released the following statement:

“Pakistan is closely following the unfolding situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan will continue to support the efforts for a political settlement. We hope all Afghan sides will work together to resolve this internal political crisis.

The Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul is extending necessary assistance to Pakistanis, Afghan nationals, and the diplomatic and international community for consular work and coordination of PIA flights.

A special inter-ministerial cell has been established in the Ministry of Interior to facilitate visa/arrival matters for diplomatic personnel, UN agencies, international organizations, media, and others.”

 

AFP reports that Russia says an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan is planned.

Meanwhile, Bagram Prison has been taken over by the Taliban, and now all Taliban prisoners are freed from there.

Central Desk
Central News Desk.

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