By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Only successes are not Hard-Earned but defeats are also.
The United States and its allies had their hard-earned defeat on August 15, 2021—-a defeat that was hard-earned with sheer hard work of 20 long years. Instead of discussing US Policy or US war strategy, one should have a view of how the so-called democratic system was installed in Afghanistan?
From Bonn Summit in 2001 to Rome Summit in 2021, the United States and its allies continued to shift goal poles and had been blaming Pakistan for all failures that were results of faulty foundations of the system they tried to work with.
Bonn Summit was placed on the foundations of a corrupt warlord system that had previously been rejected by the people of Afghanistan and gave a passage to the Taliban to root out the Rabbani government.
The majority of signatories or one can call stakeholders invited in Bonn for designing the reconstruction of Afghanistan were either known for their corruption or had no roots among the masses. Sayed Hussein Anwari, Hedayat Amin Arsalan, Sayed Hamed Gailani, Rahmatullah Mousa Ghazi, Engineer Abdul Hakim, Houmayoun Jareer, Abbas Karimi, Sayed Mustafa Kazemi, Dr. Azizullah Ludin, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Hafizullah Asif Mohseni, Prof. Mohammad Ishaq Nadiri, Mohammad Natiqi, Aref Noorzay, Yunus Qanuni, Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Mirwais Sadiq, Dr. Mohammad Jalil Shams, Professor Abdul Satar Sirat, Humayun Tandar, General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Azizullah Wasifi, Pacha Khan Zadran, and Lakhdar Brahimi were called to Bonn as saviors and architects of new Afghanistan. The list is self-explanatory that what kind of so-called prominent Afghans sat together to decide a plan for governing the country.
A so-called “Big tent strategy” was evolved by involving warlords capable enough to disrupt the state-building process into a state-building process.
An Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) of 30 members, headed by a chairman was announced on December 22, 2001, with a six-month mandate to be followed by a two-year Transitional Authority (TA), after which elections were to be held.
In simple words, the Bonn Agreement laid the foundation for U.S. and NATO-backed state-building efforts in Afghanistan. The agreement sought to establish a new constitution, an independent judiciary, free and fair elections, a centralized security sector, and the protection of rights of women and also minorities, such as religious and ethnic groups.
According to pro-western experts, the model for the reconstruction of Afghanistan was based on a “maximalist model” of post-conflict reconstruction used by the western world in the Balkans, sub-Saharan Africa, and East Timor during 90s conflicts. One can understand that the Bonn process forgot the sensitivities of Afghan culture, history, and norms and borrowed a model that had nothing to do even with the sensitivities of the region.
The Bonn Agreement also brought the idea of the establishment of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), putting the entire world against the Taliban without thinking if ever Taliban defeat enemies, they would actually defeat the entire western world and would get exceptional confidence in their expertise.
Bonn Summit ensured a democratic process and several elections were held in Afghanistan but two men remained in power—-Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani. Let’s have a historical perspective of these US-NATO-sponsored elections and so-called Democracy introduced by the United States:
A transitional government led by Interim or transitional President Hamid Karzai was supposed to hold the first elections in 2004 but elections were held on September 18, 2005, and transitional president Karzai won the election with 55.4% although other candidates alleged large scale result engineering. Warlords reached the lower house and the provincial council which elected the members of the upper house. Horse trading and buying of council members were raised by losers.
The next election was held on August 20, 2009, and showed extremely low voter turnout, and widespread ballot stuffing, intimidation, and other electoral fraud. Over 2,800 complaints were received by the Election Complaints Commission but no action was taken against anybody.
The next Presidential election was held on 5 April 2014. Since incumbent president Hamid Karzai completed two terms so he was not qualified to contest elections again and Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani faced each other. Ashraf Ghani became President and Abdullah Abdullah did not accept election results for several months.
The 2019 Presidential elections were very interesting. Elections were held on 28 September 2019 and the results of the elections were announced on 18 February 2020. Ashraf Ghani was announced the winner and Abdullah Abdullah refused to accept his defeat and there was a day when Afghanistan had two Presidents— Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani took oath on the same day. However, United States resolved the issue, and the power-sharing formula was accepted by Abdullah Abdullah.
Afghan elections and related issues can give a pulse that what kind of so-called western democracy Afghanistan had till the time Ashraf Ghani ran away from the country on August 15, 2021.
Corruption, incompetency, nepotism, and lack of nationalism among leaders had been major allegations all US-sponsored politicians faced in Afghanistan, having no roots and no respect among masses.
History testifies that engineered political parties could not survive for long and leaders installed by foreign powers always run away when nations are in trouble and in testing times.
During all 20 years, the Kabul government survived due to the presence of US-allied forces and collapsed within a month when this artificial lifeline was withdrawn.