A family of males having their poppy crop cut down by counter narcotics police in Helmand Province 2004
The US have announced that they will be out of Afghanistan before 11th September this year.
They also announced that AQ is no longer a threat to the USA. I’m not so sure!
Although I’ve been banging on for years about getting out of Afghanistan, and I think that it’s the right move…giving the lack of an AQ threat as a reason could really come back to bite them though. We’ll just have to wait and see on that one.
So, what of Afghanistan?
Well, given that when the Americans (and their Allies) went in there almost 20 years ago now, the Afghans were already into almost 3 decades of civil war. A war that at times was extremely brutal and often bloody. After the Russians left, there was a fearsome civil war run by the warlords. It was the Taliban that put the lid back on…even so, it was done in such a bloody and backward way too. The rest until now you all know about…or do you?
Did you know that America went in militarily taking once side of the ongoing simmering but often bloody civil war? Yes, they took the side of the northern tribes and warlords.
Once the Americans and their allies established themselves in the Eastern and Southern Provinces, that upset those living there who were on the other side of the civil war…namely the southern and eastern tribes of the Pashtun people.
To further the catastrophe that would be American military planning, British troops were then sent down to Helmand in 2006 to win the hearts and minds of the people who were on that other side explained! A no brainer…yet senior officers were happy to get on with it. In my view if it had been any other coalition country other than the British, they would not have lasted as long…but that doesn’t make it any better when I think of the shambolic scenario that they were left to get on with.
They say that wars begin where politicians and diplomats fail. Then the military gets deployed.
Yes, maybe so under “normal circumstances.” However the wars of the last 20 years or so have been anything but “normal.” They have been corporate wars in my opinion…wars led by corporates and politicians and not military and politicians. the military top brass wearing their political hats as opposed to their military ones, thereby constantly letting down their men and women under their command.
The Russians knew that Afghanistan’s natural resources have never been exploited. However due to the security scenario they failed to get to them. Now neither have the Americans…despite 20 years of trying. Copper to rare earth materials and everything else in between is lying under the ground in the various provinces.
Ironically the biggest contract winners to date have been the Chinese, the biggest…a multi billion dollar copper deposit to the south of Kabul. They haven’t fired a shot in anger as I’ve mentioned several times before…yet they’ve made a killing so to speak.
I remember a Chinese business man at the Chinese embassy in Kabul telling me that the problem with me (a Westerner) is that we all look in 4 year increments, or to the next election…whereas the Chinese can look decades ahead. He certainly has something there.
So, the US pulls out…a vacuum occurs, then all hell breaks loose.
If central government and the president (known by many as the mayor of Kabul, because he holds little power outside of the capital) cannot hold onto power or seek a power sharing agreement with the Taliban, then it’s back into all out civil war, from what has now been a total of almost 50 years of a simmering civil war explained earlier.
What a horrendous legacy for the Americans and their partners to leave behind. We Brits have now had 4 Afghan wars counting this one…and we’ve lost 4-0!
After today’s announcement from the US President the war lords will already be plotting and planning their moves, even those in government. Who do they join? Well that depends on just who they are and which part of the country they come from. Will the Taliban get stronger or will they get weaker? Again, will they split…go separate ways joining other warlords…or worse…joining forces with ISIS or AQ?
The one thing I do know is that Afghans are famed for their survival. Self, family and tribe, that’s how they live their lives. And in order to survive, they have no problems jumping multiple times to the winning side if it’s a way of staying alive and putting food on the family table…no matter who that winning side may be.