Amid the Taliban’s biggest offensive in years, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for the first time blamed US allies for the security crisis threatening his government.
“The reason for our current situation is the sudden decision taken,” Ghani said at a parliamentary session in Kabul.
The decision, in this case, was the withdrawal of US troops from the country, taken in April by President Joe Biden. The allies of the United States have followed suit, and the Islamic fundamentalist group that was ousted from power in 2001 by the Western invasion has caught up.
Biden wants to see all troops, except those protecting the embassy in Kabul, exit Afghanistan on the 31st. Most of them have already left, including the end of operations at the strategic air base at Bagram. , near the capital.
Since the announcement, the Taliban have advanced and conquered large areas of the country. Russia estimates that around half of the Afghan population is already under the control of former rulers.
Over the weekend, however, a coordinated mega-offensive against previously fenced-off urban centers was launched, suggesting a pincer movement to strangle the heart of power, Kabul, and the areas connecting the city to the Pakistani border.
The fighting on Monday (2) was more intense in Lashkar Gah, capital of the symbolic province of Helmand, the scene of some of the bloodiest clashes that Americans and Britons have had with the Taliban in 20 years of the longest war ever led by Washington.
Helmand is also the center of the country’s poppy production, the raw material for the production of opium and heroin that sustains the finances of the fundamentalists – an irony given that when they ruled from 1996 to 2001, the plantation was been eradicated for religious reasons.
A spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry told reporters in Kabul that the situation is “a national emergency”. For Ajmal Omar Shinwari, however, the Taliban have already taken cities, but have struggled to keep them.
Ghani also pointed to the Taliban’s failures in the past and said he had a security plan to stabilize the country in six months, which he did not detail.
The group also surrounds Kandahar, the city that has been their spiritual base for years, and Herat, an important center near the Iranian border, and the Taliban control border posts across the country.
In one, Spin Boldak, along with Pakistan, the city’s takeover was followed by what the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission called a massacre. At least 40 people accused of collaborating with Westerners were reportedly killed, many beheaded.
The incident was denounced Monday by the American and British embassies in Kabul, which classified it as a war crimes.
Ghani, in his speech, also referred to the ferocity of the fighters. “The Taliban are no longer the Taliban of 24 years ago [quando tomaram o poder]. They attack us more violently and are more bloodthirsty. They have strengthened their links with national and international terrorists, ”he said.
It is also a way of disqualifying the Taliban who, by winning the civil war in 1996, brought relative internal stability – before being a terrorist group, they were also considered as legitimate representatives of the largest ethnic group in the country. , the Pashtuns (40% of the 38 million Afghans).
In power, however, they created an aberration in the form of government, which suppressed the rights of women and minorities, and brutally applied a purist reading of Islam.
They had Western complacency for an end to the civil war and the active support of the country which had favored the group, Pakistan, for yet another ally against rival India.
The citation of foreign infiltration reflects concern from Moscow and Islamabad, whose governments have singled out the arrival of Islamic State militants from Syria and Iraq in Afghanistan.
There is a history of external action in the country. During the Soviet occupation (1979-89), the “mujahedin” (holy warriors) came from different parts of the Muslim world to oppose the Communists.
They were, for geopolitical reasons, supported by the United States. One of the most famous was Osama bin Laden, a Saudi who would return to the country in the mid-1990s to launch attacks on his al-Qaeda network from there.
The rest is history: in 2001, he carried out the September 11 attacks on the United States, the Taliban were punished with an invasion for harboring bin Laden, who fled and was killed by American commandos in a house next to Pakistan’s largest military academy ten years later.
The US-promoted “war on terror” shaped the start of the 21st century, with the even more disastrous invasion of Iraq, which had no valid reason as the initial operation in Afghanistan claimed.
According to a study by Brown University in the United States, in all conflicts resulting from September 11, 800,000 people have died, at a cost of US $ 6.4 trillion to American coffers. The absurdity of prolonging the war was what motivated Biden.
ISIS, now a remnant of Al Qaeda, and other groups have always operated in Afghanistan during the years of war. Pakistan, seen as sympathetic to its former offspring, has already suggested that the Taliban or the Afghan government would be responsible if the country becomes an international terrorist base again.
The problem for the American is now obvious.
Biden complied with a peace negotiation agreed to with the Taliban by his predecessor, Donald Trump, which included negotiations on power sharing between the Taliban and the current government and various moderation pledges by fundamentalists – severing ties with terrorists, respect for women, etc. .
In practice, however, what we see so far is the repetition of the pattern of tribal conflict that marks the history of the country, with the absorption of local loyalties down to the strongest.
While the United States missed its original May withdrawal deadline, the Taliban always found an excuse to say they would solve the problem their way: namely, by increasing military pressure on Kabul.
On the 11th, there will be an emergency meeting of countries with interests in the crisis in Doha, the city that hosted the peace negotiations. Representatives from the United States, China, Russia and Pakistan will be in attendance.
So far, it is not known whether the Taliban and the Afghan government will be invited, which limits the effective scope of any decision, especially because each power has its own agenda.
The Chinese, who received a Taliban delegation last week, support the return of the Taliban to power, seeking stability in their Muslim areas and absorbing the country economically, as they have done with Pakistan.
The Russians, in turn, are in military maneuvers with their Afghan neighbors Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in an attempt to assert stability on their flank in Central Asia. Iranians and Turks, with an economic presence and cultural ties in Afghanistan, are also following developments closely.