The Taliban have won a victory over the foreign forces which have been in Afghanistan since 2001. With this announcement, the Taliban marked the 11th anniversary of the US military invasion.
According to local observers, the US was unable to achieve its stated goals during its long years in Afghanistan. If the situation in the country doesn’t return to normal after the withdrawal of these foreign troops by 2014, then it will become seriously complicated.
For the past few years, the opposition’s combat operations spread to the northern and eastern provinces from the southern and western regions of the country. Based on the fact that the situation in Afghanistan has not seen a drastic change in the course of 11 years, analysts are also maintaining their position that a civil war can again break out, or rather continue, after 2014, which could lead to the Taliban ending up in power. This is the prediction given in a report by the International Crisis Group.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) cites data showing that the insurgents’ military activity dropped 2% in August compared to the same time last year. Since the beginning of 2012, total military activity has dropped by 9% in comparison to 2011. According to data from ISAF command, today, the Afghan Army controls 75% of the country’s territory. The Taliban does not agree with this and states that these forces can only control Kabul.
Still, most international and Russian experts are skeptically assessing the results of the USA’s 11-year presence in Afghanistan.
Afghan political commentator Wahid Muzhda stated in an interview with the TV station “Tolo”:
— The international community, particularly the US, had the wrong policy in Afghanistan. They did not define the border between the insurgency and terrorism which has caused insurgency only to increase in the country.
Khudai Nazar Saramchar, an Afghan political analyst, noted:
— Despite the many achievements of the past 11 years of international community’s presence in Afghanistan, the expectations of the Afghan people were not met… [Lack of ] security and insufficient training and equipping of Afghan security forces will have negative impacts after 2014.
Afghan military expert Gen. Atiqullah Amarkhel agrees with his colleagues:
— The aim of the US was to eradicate Al Qaeda. When the international community failed to reach the expectations of the Afghan people, the US was already involved in a war that has failed to reach its goals.
Perhaps understanding their failure, the USA and Afghan powers stated their desire to conduct peace talks with the Taliban movement. It seems the initiators of this process will need to revise their proposal as it no longer makes sense.
Gen. Leonid Ivashov (rtd), a prominent Russian military expert and director of the Academy on Geopolitical Affairs in Moscow, assessed what is happening in Afghanistan:
— The Taliban is right. The coalition force led by the USA has indeed been defeated. All of the goals, those which were both announced and implicitly heard—bringing order, democratization, and establishing a sovereign government in Afghanistan—they all failed.
The Americans have partially accomplished the following goals: they prevented Afghanistan’s move to reestablish contacts with post-Soviet Central Asia. Essentially, the USA did not let Afghanistan fall under China’s influence via Pakistan. Of course, the US also carved Afghanistan’s communication space into their goals. In particular, the TAMI pipeline (Turkmenistein, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India), or Trans-Afghanistan pipeline, was built under the aegis of the USA and will be controlled by private US military corps. The USA was unable to accomplish its remaining goals.
More so, due to the presence of American troops in Afghanistan, relations with Pakistan have worsened, attacks on Pakistan territory were constantly conducted, federal borders were violated, and relations with India have not gotten any better. We see that Iran is also taking the American presence in its own geopolitical space unfavorably.
The Taliban is right about the Americans failing to achieve victory here and that they are leaving in disgrace, not to mention how demoralizing it is for their troops. The fact that US losses were higher due to suicide than to the Taliban says that the Army has done a poor job. These are the results that the Americans are leaving with.
What will happen after their departure today cannot be said for sure. It’s no coincidence that Afghanistan is trying to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We believe the SCO will be conditionally reformatted as the Eurasian Union. Led by Russia, this Eurasian Union will be joined by China, India, Iran, Pakistan, and of course Afghanistan and Mongolia. In this space, if members of the future union or members of the present SCO take on the problem in Afghanistan, in time, order may be brought to the government and this war can come to a halt. Thus, there will not be a civil war.
With the Americans withdrawing, the political and military spaces are being reformatted. I think there will either be elections or the Taliban will simply seize power. In the best case scenario, an agreement will be reached between the Taliban and the current leadership. That is to say, the Pashtuns will of course decide, but they will need assistance.
Source in Russian: Odnako
Translated by ORIENTAL REVIEW