By Shazia Anwer Cheema
The Fall of Kabul is reality. Reasons were whatsoever, this is the defeat of all US-allied forces who stayed in Afghanistan for 20 years. Military men blame the defeat as a result of launching a war without a clear strategy and goals. Former Chief of ISI Gen Asad Durrani is of the view the United States entered Afghanistan as an angry and wounded elephant and “Shifting goalpost” blurred the situation with every passing year.
Several former diplomats with whom I talked, are of the view that once the US entered Afghanistan, it decided to stay at any cost because it got an opportunity to stay in an important region where it could have an eye on adversaries like Iran and China. Former Ambassador and retired General Khalid Jafri believes Americans lost the war the day they entered into war in Afghanistan because this was a war that had no clear strategic objectives. Everybody has their own viewpoint about the historic defeat of the United States in Kabul because the US-made Afghan National Army (ANA) collapsed like a house of cards. A long list of reasons for the Fall of Kabul would soon emerge but I just want to tell you what I think about the lost Afghan war?
I believe that the 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. 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. 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.”
The US took chances in Afghanistan to defeat the former Soviet Union and went for taking the chance of creating Mujahedeen in early 1979 and chance was based on the “Probability” of harming the former Soviet Union. Leaving Afghanistan and Pakistan to face the results of civil war after the withdrawal of the former USSR was also taking another chance to let Afghans and Pakistanis clean the garbage of war. Indirectly supporting the advent of the Taliban was taken as a chance for the cleansing of Mujahedeen but here “game of chance” went out of control when according to the United States, its soil was attacked by the Taliban in September 9, 2001. Operation of Enduring Freedom was launch as another probability of cleansing of Taliban and reverting the concept of Jihad that was promoted to defeat the former USSR.
The expected outcome of launching Operation Enduring Freedom was saving humanity, protecting women’s rights, cleansing al Qaeda, and so on and so forth. The core objective of destroying Al Qaeda was achieved by December 2001 as said by former President Bush. A senior journalist who covered the Afghan war from 1996 to 2006 Agha Iqrar Haroon is of the view that the US started talking about “nation-building” after getting announced goals and the Bonn Summit provided a corrupt warlord system that had previously been rejected by the people of Afghanistan. He says the quest for nation-building continued till US Chinook transferred its staff to Kabul Airport because nation-building had no clear goals that what kind of new nation the US wanted to build out of the Afghan nation?
To sum up, whatever reasons are for US defeat, the victory is for those who do not believe in Western values of Democracy and do not consider the West as the decision-maker of other nations. Post-Second World War Order looks under threat and Kabul Fall is likely to have regional and global ramifications. Old narratives are likely to be challenged and historians may write Fall of Kabul as the greatest defeat of the US-allied forces and birth of a new order of the world.
Note: The writer Shazia Cheema is an analyst writing for national and international media outlets. She heads the DND Thought Center. She did her MA in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University Denmark and is currently registered as a Ph.D. Scholar of Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University Prague. She can be reached at her: Twitter @ShaziaAnwerCh Email: firstname.lastname@example.org