“It’s not a Vietnam”. Thus Joe Biden announced the definitive withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, which will take place by 31 August. Yet, the situation inside the Asian country has “deteriorated”, as the Pentagon itself admits. Exactly 20 years later, the stars and stripes mission in and around Kabul will end, and never mind if in the meantime the Taliban are conquering the whole country.
Afghanistan, 85% of the territory in the hands of the Taliban
The Taliban claim to already have control of 85% of the territory of Afghanistan with the offensive conducted by the militiamen in the midst of the withdrawal of the US military. This was declared by the Taliban negotiator Shahabuddin Delawar directly in a press conference from Moscow, not surprisingly the capital that counts a lot in the Afghan powder keg after the American departure.
The Taliban conquer outposts on the borders with Iran, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan
In particular, the Taliban forces have taken possession of some of the country’s main hubs, especially the commercial border points, which are important strategic outposts. Starting with Islam Qala and Torghundi, on the border with Iran and Turkmenistan respectively. Both locations are located in the Herat province in western Afghanistan. Islam Qala, one of the largest customs in the country, guarantees an induced amount of around twenty million dollars. After that, an important border point with Tajikistan was also captured. And in Afghanistan, whoever controls these hubs controls the country.
The Taliban’s message to Russia: “We are not a threat to you”
The Taliban sent a message to Russia, making it clear that the official goal is to fight ISIS and that their action does not pose a threat to Moscow or its allies in Central Asia. The Kremlin has made it known that it is necessary to establish dialogue with the Taliban representatives, implicitly criticizing the United States which is leaving at such a delicate moment.
“No Taliban Promises to Americans”
The Taliban, in fact, resumed military actions just in conjunction with the American farewell. ” The Taliban are free to attack the Afghan districts ” as ” they did not make any promises to the United States when they left the country ”, said the representative of the political office in Doha during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov.
Biden dismisses the responsibility for bankruptcy
Biden does not seem to have broken down and claims that the main objectives in Afghanistan have been achieved, namely “to send Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell” and “to neutralize Al Qaeda”. Yet it almost seems that the Taliban are doing it on purpose to set fire to the country in conjunction with the democratic retreat. Many fear that Kabul will fall as Saigon did in Vietnam immediately after the US withdrawal. But Biden dismisses the responsibilities from himself: “We did not go to Afghanistan to build the country. It is the right and responsibility of the Afghan people to decide their future and how they want to be governed”.
Biden’s pragmatism: “I will not send another generation to die”
Just as the past empires failed to unify Afghanistan and as Soviet Russia did not, so the USA did not succeed, in fact they will not experience withdrawal in a climate of victory. But Biden showed pragmatism. “After twenty years, a trillion dollars spent training and equipping hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces, 2,448 Americans killed, 20,722 wounded, I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan,” said the American president.
Pentagon admits: “Situation deteriorated in Afghanistan”
Biden himself admitted the possibility of the Taliban regaining power, but he also added that he trusted the military capabilities of the Afghan regular army. Regular Afghan army which, however, is losing on the ground, as demonstrated by the Taliban advance and the Pentagon’s own statements. Defense Department spokesman John Kirby acknowledged that a “deterioration in the security situation” is taking place in Afghanistan.
But Biden has decided he is leaving. The main interest of the US now is in Asia Pacific and the main geostrategic rival China. What happens in Afghanistan will no longer be their business. The export of democracy has failed.