The United States has time and again failed as an international policeman, the role the country continues to arrogate to itself, the end of the post-WWII Cold War notwithstanding. Afghanistan is only the latest example of a trail of misadventures that had earlier seen Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi replacing Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and, on the social front, women of Afghanistan and Iraq — once among the most progressive in the Islamic world — left to the mercy of radical followers of the 7th-century cult. Vietnam survived the US intervention of 30 years because it never really let Americans rule their country by the proxy of a puppet government or, as Uncle Sam attempted in Tunisia, let rabble-rousers of streets turn into a government. Agreed, the US had to get the monkey off its back in Afghanistan and, hence, the decision to pull back its troops met with a Democrat-Republican consensus. But if the Taliban capturing the rocky country and turning it into a human rights nightmare and a haven for terrorists is no longer a problem, has the purpose for invading the country in the first place following 9/11 been served? Till he was alive, Osama bin Laden could never be traced in Afghanistan. Hunting down the once most dreaded terrorist in Pakistan’s Abbottabad but sparing the Taliban makes it appear as though Americans believe there could be such a thing as a ‘good terrorist’. What is the problem with Iran, then? Why is there no unequivocal condemnation of Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel?
Whereas Afghan envoy to the United Nations Ghulam M Isaczai has exposed the Pakistani game in his country, a known fact that was just awaiting documented evidence, in a special meeting of the UNSC convened under India’s presidency, today’s stand by the Joe Biden administration, which has clearly asked the officially recognised government of the war-ravaged country to fend for itself, has introduced to the story a new villain: the US. As such, even a resolution damning the Pakistani ISI was impossible at the UN body, thanks to China that would certainly exercise its veto power. The callous Biden government has turned the state of affairs hopeless, as Russia, with the Soviet support to Mohammad Najibullah far behind in history, is no longer unambiguously anti-terror either. The British carry, in any case, a pro-Pakistan legacy. The French political society does not support NATO’s stay in Afghanistan either. A critical spot in the geography of the region is, therefore, now a de facto extended military-terrorist base of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
At the UNSC, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, has rightly pointed to the “dangerous turning point,” in the nation. “Ahead lies”, she said, “either a genuine peace negotiation or a tragically intertwined set of crises: An increasingly brutal conflict combined with an acute humanitarian situation and multiplying human rights abuses.” But it’s time the entire West — Lyons is Canadian — revised its policy in the contemporary times that allows it to be herded by the US, only to realise subsequently, one mission after another, that several of its pre-invasion presumptions were misplaced. Isaczai telling the UNSC that more than 10,000 foreign terrorists are in Afghanistan, including those from several UN-designated terror organisations, collaborating with the Taliban in its offensive, translates to the UN’s truism into another disappointment like the post-WWI League of Nations.
In the maelstrom stands India as a lone philanthropist beleaguered by the strategic depth that a hostile but narrow patch of land called Pakistan has extracted from the bargain. The suicidal US that had been as apathetic about the plight of the ordinary Afghans until the spectacular attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center, meanwhile, has been overwhelmed by a burgeoning population of the woke that is still celebrating the electoral victory of the Democrats. They will not see anything wrong with their outlook unless another inevitable Frankenstein’s monster hits them. As of now, India is fighting a lost cause of building infrastructure in Afghanistan. The scenario might change only if, once again like he did in his first term in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seizes the reins of external affairs and drives better sense into the collective thickhead that the West is.