No battle so easily won and no battle so easily lost: the US-Taliban war

In the context of the war between the United States and the Taliban, it can be said: no battle so easily won and no battle so easily lost in history. When the United States began operations against the Taliban in 2001, its senior leaders simply fled Afghanistan and sought refuge in the neighboring country. It surprised everyone, even though the Taliban-Al-Qaeda elements continued to fight. The United States was able to hold an election and the national government of Afghanistan was put in place. This year, the United States hastily withdrew, which resembled the surrender of the Axis Powers during World War II. It was just as surprising given the great technological advantage the United States had.

Jeo Biden blamed former US President Trump for the 2020 deal that “did not include any requirement that the Taliban work out a cooperation deal with the Afghan government, but he authorized the release of 5,000 prisoners last year , including some of the Taliban. the main war commanders, among those who have just taken control of Afghanistan. What he did not mention but that he perhaps wanted to make it understood that Trump gave no authority to his successor to review the agreement in view of the new circumstances.

Biden also argues that the terrorist threat has metastasized across the world, far beyond Afghanistan. In this context, he mentions that threats from al-Shabaab in Somalia; Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria and the Arabian Peninsula; and ISIS attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and establishing branches across Africa and Asia. But the point is that the threat from Afghanistan, which was there in 2001, is still present and there is a good chance that Afghanistan will emerge as an epicenter (of terror) stronger than ever.

However, to be fair to Biden, it must be said that he has said he continues to fight IS-K. He said: “We will continue the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries… We only demonstrated this capability last week. We struck ISIS-K from a distance, days after they murdered 13 of our military and dozens of innocent Afghans. And at ISIS-K: we’re not done with you yet. “

But unless the mother of all terrorism in the region is crushed, terrorism cannot disappear from the region. This must be clearly recognized for adequate action by the international community. The American war in Afghanistan over the past 20 years itself points to the real culprit. When Pakistan was threatened, the Taliban fled. Musharraf then said that if he had not accepted Pakistan could have lost everything. In his memoir, he remembers the Americans telling him that “if we choose the terrorists, then we should be prepared to be bombed to the Stone Age.” When Pakistan obtained ally status in GWOT, it engaged in a deceptive approach and created the Quetta Shura gradually not only allowed the Taliban to regroup, but also received weapons and weapons, in more than a safe shelter.

Not only the main Taliban leaders, but also the leader of Al Qaeda as well as other prominent terrorists with a bounty on their heads were receiving hospitality from the Pak / ISI army. This was known to analysts and senior American officials who very frequently brought it to the attention of the American administration. In April of this year, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed, told the Senate that “a crucial factor contributing enormously to the success of the Taliban” has been the failure of the United States to ” eliminate the sanctuary that the Taliban obtained in Pakistan. ”. He further correctly commented that “the failure of the United States to undermine this safe haven could be the biggest mistake of Washington’s war.”

Imran Khan’s statement praising the Taliban reveals the Pak-Taliban link. Welcoming the reimposition of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, he noted that the Afghan people have broken the “chains of slavery”. What else does it take to bind the Taliban and their associates to the Pak establishment. Former vice president Amrullah Saleh and head of the Afghan intelligence agency made it clear that all of Pakistan was behind the Taliban.

The Pak Army-ISI duo have always been close to Al-Qaeda. In September 2020, Imran Khan admitted that the Pakistani military / ISI trained Al Qaeda and other groups in Afghanistan at an event in New York. While he tried to protect the leaders of the Pak Army and the ISI, stating that only the lower staff knew about it, this is far from the truth. Osama bin Laden could not have stayed for years in Pakistan as well as in Abbottabad without the express permission of senior Pakistani officials.

IS-K’s links with ISI are also palpable. Pak Army and ISI have specialized in creating new fronts to achieve Pak objectives. There are reports suggesting that initially ISI prompted some people in the TTP to form IS-K in order not only to weaken the TTP but also to have an additional outfit to use against American and Indian interests. In 2014, a Pakistani national, Hafiz Saeed Khan, was chosen to lead IS-K province as the first emir. Khan, a veteran TTP commander, took with him other prominent TTP members, including the group’s spokesperson, Sheikh Maqbool and numerous district leaders, when he pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi in October 2014 Abdul Rauf Khadim, a former Taliban commander was chosen as Khan’s deputy. In 2017, it was reported that some members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jammat-ud-Dawa, the Haqqani Network and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan had also joined the IS-K. This further increases suspicion about the role of the ISI in strengthening the IS-K.

Basically, the IS-K’s objectives are not limited to controlling the ancient land of Khorasan or Iraq and Syria. It claims the Pamir Mountains which include Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Province, the Tian Shan Mountains covering Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and China as well as China’s Kongur Tagh in Xingjiang. IS-K seeks to establish a caliphate beginning in South and Central Asia, governed by Sharia law, which will expand as Muslims from across the region and the world join it. His global aspirations include hoisting the banner of al-Uqab over Jerusalem and the White House. He attacked the Chinese engineers with TTP.

It is difficult to determine to what extent the ISI controls this organization, but it has substantial control over the Haqqani network, which in turn has a close relationship with the IS-K. So the ISI can certainly push them against Indian and American interests. IS-K also plans to support IMU and ETIM.

From the above, it is clear that unless the perpetrator of terrorism in Pakistan is rendered incapable of sponsoring terrorism, the region would continue to be the epicenter of terrorism. This lesson learned by the United States in Afghanistan should be internalized by the international community to take the right measures. The UNSC, under the Indian presidency, has taken the right step to address the immediate challenges of preventing terrorist groups in Afghanistan and urged them to assist in the safe evacuation of all Afghan nationals wishing to leave the country. The resolution also stresses that Afghan territory must not be used to threaten or attack any country or to harbor and train terrorists and plan or finance terrorist attacks. It specifically mentions the people designated by UNSCR 1267, ”which includes Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). There are elements among the Taliban and their associates who would break promises as long as they got support from Pakistan. Al-Qaida’s recent message is a grim reminder of this fact. Therefore, the larger goal should be to cripple the source of terrorism, which should be pursued by all with their parochial interests aside.



The opinions expressed above are those of the author.


About Joaquin Robertson

Joaquin Robertson

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