President Joe Biden resolved an American debate that lasted for nearly two decades, announcing the complete withdrawal from Afghanistan, because the justifications for staying there were no longer sufficient or feasible. Amid the question whether his decision was the result of “victory” or “defeat”, without a clear answer, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken used to tell his counterparts in NATO countries: that the objectives of the military invasion “have been achieved”, and there is no consensus among the allies on this assessment. Because the political goals have gone from failure to failure. What is certain is that striking the infrastructure of “Al Qaeda” and undermining its capabilities, as a direct military objective of the war, has been achieved, and the terrorist threat to the United States has been weakened to an extent that no longer necessitates staying in Afghanistan. In addition, the coalition countries have trained and armed a large Afghan army and will continue to support it even after the withdrawal, and it is assumed that this army, along with the security services that have been rebuilt and rehabilitated, will provide protection to ensure the preservation of the state.
However, the military and security performance did not appear effective on the ground, and years went by without improvement and establishing its strength on the ground. Rather, the Taliban movement that collapsed in 2001 was able to regroup its ranks to control large areas in western Afghanistan, in addition to its dangerous infiltrations in other regions, especially The capital, Kabul, showed the fragility of loyalty to the state and its armed forces, bearing in mind that the Taliban’s experience in power (1996-2001) was not unfortunate, neither in building a state nor on any of the economic, social, educational and health levels.
Several American attempts were made to weaken the “Taliban” militarily and to attract them to a partnership in a “political process,” but they did not succeed, and the movement’s constant demand for the “exit of foreign forces” remained without conditions. When the Donald Trump administration interviewed her on the basis of “withdrawing its forces,” she was unable to extract any political concessions from her in return, such as participating in early elections or agreeing to a ceasefire and not attacking the withdrawing American forces. After sterile rounds of negotiations, the “Taliban” used a degree of flexibility, committed to preventing terrorist activities by groups such as “Al Qaeda” and “ISIS”, and agreed to a dialogue with the Kabul government about arrangements for the post-withdrawal phase of foreign forces. The Americans bet on this dialogue, but it remained without results.
Washington has been presenting its experience in Afghanistan as a project to “establish a modern, democratic and stable state.” However, the Afghan political team that took on this task did not show high efficiency, but was ravaged by divisions and rivalries and rampant corruption, and there was no improvement with the change of people after the recent elections. Many differences diverged between the ruling parties regarding the next stage. At the same time, the “Taliban” refuse to participate in a transitional government that will replace the current government. Therefore, Washington is now betting on a conference to be held in Istanbul with the aim of compelling the various Afghan forces to cooperate on a peaceful transition to the post-foreign military presence. However, the intelligence reports are unanimous on a set of expectations: the return of the “Taliban” to power, the renewal of the civil war, an increasing terrorist threat, and a refugee crisis that has just begun to worry European countries … and of course there are neighboring countries preparing for the new situation; Between the failure of the successive Kabul governments and the hardening of the Taliban, there is no room for internal consensus, but rather many areas for regional exploitation.
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