Afghanistan amid uncertainties

The US's military invasion of Afghanistan seems to be finally ending on September 11 this year – marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington DC.

US President Joe Biden stated on April 13, “It’s time to end America’s longest war....It’s time for American troops to come home”. A day later at the Nato HQ in Brussels, the US secretaries of state and defense – Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin III – along with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the plan for the withdrawal of the remaining 9,600 US and Nato troops currently deployed in Afghanistan as part of the Resolute Support Mission (RSM).

America’s longest war has cost them over $2 trillion and the lives of 2,448 servicemen. It would have been a much larger war-bill for the US Treasury and a greater death toll if Barack Obama had not significantly reduced the number of US troops. Security experts and media commentators are asking several questions about the withdrawal – the timing, the process, and any future security arrangements to ensure Afghanistan’s stability and security. Ironically, neither the US and its military allies nor President Ashraf Ghani have any clue about this.

However, the Taliban with their 100,000 fighters know exactly what to do after Afghanistan has been cleared of foreign invaders. They learnt the art of war from their ancestors who defeated British colonial troops. Employing the same war tactics and using the same weapons, they clobbered the Soviet invasion forces, and now they have emerged victorious against the troops of the 30 Western powers that waged the 20-year war on them. The American military commanders in Afghanistan pursued the notion: ‘God created war so that Americans would learn world geography’. The Taliban’s response was simpler: 'You must not fight too often with the same enemy; you will teach him your art of war’.