The Afghans are largely glad to see the back of the U.S. occupation, to be one more Saigon in a long sequence. But this is not a victory for humanity. It will not be easy for Afghanistan to emerge out of these nightmare decades, but the desire to do so can still be heard.
Editor's Note: The Taliban victory over the weekend and the evacuation of U.S. nationals cries out for context. That is why Toward Freedom is publishing this article that was submitted prior to the weekend's events. "Women are more mobilized, but they are not a powerful social movement. Afghanistan’s more liberal and left social forces are active underground and are not an organized force. These forces include the educated sections, who do not want extremist groups to drag the country into another proxy war. That proxy war would be between the Taliban, the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, and other militant groups that are no less dangerous than the Taliban or the U.S. government."
The lesson of the United States' experience in Afghanistan should be a new “Afghanistan syndrome,” a public aversion to war that prevents future U.S. military attacks and invasions, rejects attempts to socially engineer the governments of other nations, and leads to a new and active U.S. commitment to peace, diplomacy, and disarmament.
Peace is not on the horizon for Afghanistan. The country remains caught in the ambitions of regional and global powers, wedged in the new “great game” that involves a contest between India and Pakistan, as well as the United States versus China, Russia, and Iran.
On July 2, fleeing questions from reporters about U.S. plans in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden sought refuge behind the July 4 Independence Day holiday. Yet, he obliquely acknowledged that the United States will use some level of “over the horizon” air attacks to prevent the Taliban from taking power, attacks that will include drones and manned aircraft, possibly even B-52s.
Dialogue between Afghanistan, China and Pakistan may be crucial to stopping terrorism in central and southern Asia.