Contrary to the narrative of U.S. politicians and journalists, the August withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan did not mark the end of the United States’ so-called “forever war” but rather a shift in U.S. policy—from direct military intervention and occupation to one based on economic sanctions and indirect political subversion, writes Zachary Scott.
Securing women’s rights was used to justify the U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan. However, the Biden administration’s irresponsible pull-out in tandem with the swift, untroubled Taliban return speaks volumes about Washington’s lack of interest to secure respect for human rights and improve women’s lives.
Afghanistan is teetering on the brink of universal poverty. As much as 97 percent of the population is at risk of sinking below the poverty line unless a comprehensive response to the country’s multiple crises is launched.
Now that the United States and its NATO allies are leaving Afghanistan, unable to justify or even explain why their supposed humanitarian mission led to such an embarrassing defeat, the Afghan people are left with the challenge of weaving their own national narrative, one that must transcend the Taliban and their enemies to include all Afghans, regardless of their politics or ideology.
The lifting of sanctions, crucial for the Taliban if they hope to avoid famines and take the first step towards official diplomatic recognition, looks as though it will happen slowly at the whim of U.S. President Joe Biden. Indeed, the future of Afghanistan looks like it will be made on the United States’ terms.
The West had 20 years to advance the cause of social development in Afghanistan. Its failure opened the door for the return of the Taliban.