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Acknowledging the Bitter Truth: The US Defeat in Afghanistan

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By Dr. EVANGELOS VENETIS


Expert on Islam and the Middle East

The ongoing withdrawal of the remaining US and NATO military forces from Afghanistan after 20 years of US occupation confirms the US strategic defeat and the failure of the US “Axis of Evil” doctrine. It is a change of strategy of 180 degrees of Washington, which, unable to defeat the Taliban in the mountains, decided to withdraw from the lowlands, in other words from the whole country. At the same time, Washington has been taking the unthinkable step for years by cooperating with the enemy, considering that the American public opinion has forgotten the story of the Twin Towers…

Washington conceded defeat in that war. After two decades of occupation, the war-like part of the US political spectrum has realized that the westernization and democratization of Afghanistan is a utopia for a country that is divided in pro-Iranian and pro-Pakistani tribes as well as Muslim dogmas.

US influence has been limited to some urban centers without ever convincing. In the mountains, the austere and ascetic Muslim warrior, lightly armed with Kalashnikovs and anti-tank missiles fought in his own environment and proved to be superior to the fully armored Americans who relied only on air support to fight in the unknown and rugged mountainous terrain.

The evacuation of Bagram air base, Afghanistan’s most important military location, and the consequent occupation of 1/3 of the lowlands by the Taliban at the expense of Afghan government forces is part of Washington’s cynical agreement with the “evil” Taliban to share power with the pro-US government in Kabul.

Washington accepted its destiny, the destiny of every military power that has historically tried to conquer Afghanistan unsuccessfully: from Alexander the Great to the British, the Soviets and the United States, none of them could prevail in Afghanistan. They remained an occupying power for a decade or two and then decided to divide the Afghans by provoking civil war. It is the civil war that has plagued Afghanistan since the mid-19th century. It is the same civilian who will continue to plague the country from now on, after the withdrawal of the US and NATO.

The Taliban and the Kabul government will try to fill the power gap left by Washington. But it is a gap that will be difficult to fill and will force Afghanistan to fall further into the vortex of civil war, sooner or later gaining a regional dimension within the Islamic world and beyond.

For the United States, the defeat in Afghanistan is the swan song of the post-Soviet monopoly superpower. Just as the withdrawal of the Soviets from Afghanistan after ten years of occupation marked the end of the Soviet Union, the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan marks in the most symbolic way the beginning of a tripartite world system between the United States, Russia and China for the control of both Eurasia and the world at large.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.