What US pullout leaves behind in Afghanistan

By Waheed Gul

After spending 2 decades in Afghanistan under the garb of countering terrorism and ensuring peace and security, US government has abruptly pulled its troops from Afghanistan. However it has completed its withdrawal without completing any of the tasks they had fixed at the start of this 20-year long occupation. They instead left behind a total political and social chaos, security turmoil and left the country in a complete devastation and in extremely disorganized state. The only organized thing they have left behind is the highly organized drugs production infrastructure. It remains a fact that when the US and ISAF/NATO troops invaded Afghanistan some 20 years back, there were merely 2 heroine production units in Afghanistan but when they left, they left behind 27 state of the art heroin production factories behind, producing the deadly drug of worth than more than three trillion US dollar every year.
Apart from leaving behind the tremendous drugs production infrastructure, the US has left a state of anarchy and chaos in Afghanistan which is not very badly impacting the people of Afghanistan but has also become a source of trouble for the entire region and once again bringing in tremendous security concerns.
During the past few years, when US started to plan its pullout from Afghanistan, it started asking Pakistan to help organize its dialogue with leaders from Afghan Taliban. However whenever Pakistan managed to convince Taliban leadership to hold a peace dialogue, the US opted to kill one or the other prominent Taliban leader through drone attacks, thus disrupting the entire peace dialogue process and bringing the situation to square one. However, suddenly US became serious in holding direct talks with Taliban leaders and held different round of such talks with Taliban at Doha, Qatar. It held these talks with Taliban only on point agenda and that was to seek a safe passage from Taliban to pullout its troops and nothing regarding the future political dynamics and governance of Afghanistan. The Americans did not engage Pakistan while dealing with Afghani Taliban and thus left Pakistan with no maximum room to make any negotiations with Taliban leadership regarding the future and the roadmap of Afghanistan. This withdrawal in retreat by the US proves that US was having no interest in ensuring a peaceful and politically governable Afghanistan after its exit. They never organized any dialogue between the Ghani government and the Taliban leadership for future course of action regarding governance of Pakistan and neither made any attempt to have the views of all Taliban factions about their future strategies. They also made no effort to ensure the formation of an interim government that could have ensured the smooth transfer of power by a proper political process. It seems that the US was only bothered about making a quick and sudden exit and what they did even without notifying the Afghan government and Afghan security Forces.
The US President is now announcing provision of more weapons and avionics to Afghan government, without realizing that they miserably failed in creating a resilient and professional army of Afghanistan. In the 20 years what they created was just a bunch of India-trained recruits who are now in the run when made to face the Taliban soldiers on the even playing field. Taliban soldiers are conquering district after district and Afghan National Army soldiers are either surrendering or are running to different adjoining States.
This situation has left with the fears of a huge civil war across Afghanistan and the bordering States fear not only and exodus but also extraordinary security challenges while the illicit drug trafficking to be cherry on the top. Furthermore, India’s dirty role in Afghanistan will continue to add to the challenges that the Afghan people as well as their neighbors will have to face or an unspecified period of time.
It is expected that Taliban, if form a government at Kabul, would move with lot of maturity while dealing with the international community but will have to face major challenges internally due to immense Indian interference and collapsed economy and crippled infrastructure that they will inherit.
–The Author is a freelance journalist and write articles on current affairs and issues pertaining to security and defense affairs and can be reached at @MrWaheedgul on Twitter