The Taliban are getting their way in Afghanistan. Political scientist Carlo Masala explains why the efforts of the Western powers were not in vain.
Munich – The Taliban control almost all of Afghanistan *. Political scientist Carlo Masala from the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich says: The country is lost to the radical Islamists. In an interview, he explains why the West can no longer do anything about it – and why the missions were still not in vain.
Mr Masala, Afghanistan is reverting to the Taliban. Has it been in vain for the past 20 years?
No. It just took place with far too high expectations: the transformation of the political system in Afghanistan. One must not forget, however, that important military goals have been achieved. For example, the break-up of al-Qaeda. This group was weakened after Nine-Eleven and after their invasion of Afghanistan. So from a military point of view, the mission was successful. But if you look at the political side, it failed like a hell of a lot.
In recent years, however, it has mainly been about the political side.
Yes, in the past ten years the dominant question has been whether Afghanistan can be built into a stable, functional and multi-ethnic state.
Has the West failed? Or is Afghanistan simply uncontrollable?
It’s not about failure or uncontrollability. The point is that state building through external intervention powers has rarely been successful. It’s also difficult if you don’t invest enough. We never had enough troops in Afghanistan to stabilize the country. And we were never ready to provide enough financial resources. In addition, it is a very tedious process. 20 years are not enough to build a functioning, democratic society.
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Why did almost all cities surrender to the militarily weaker Taliban without a fight?
Diplomatic solutions with the radical Islamists: pure wishful thinking?
With what goal? There are no more peaceful agreements. It only amounts to a surrender by the Afghan government. The Taliban control all borders and provincial capitals. This country is already under the control of the Taliban. We can no longer even intervene militarily – air strikes would kill thousands of civilians. Kabul is just the symbolic last step.
Afghanistan – “There will be a refugee problem”
Do you expect peaceful evacuations?
How will the radical Islamist regime affect the West?
Not very dramatic. There will be a refugee problem. But the West will try to limit that to the region. I also don’t anticipate terrorist threats. The Taliban themselves have an interest in avoiding terrorist activities on their soil. Otherwise – as in 2001 – they could expect massive bombing of the USA.
Interview: K. Braun * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.