It is painful to see Afghanistan go through a long period of systemic instability and insecurity due to bloody conflict. Poor management of covid-19, poverty, and betrayal by foreign players at the same time has added to the pain. The population is very poor, and there is little hope of recovery in the future.
This is not the Afghanistan it once was. Which at one time was calm and safe. Even without development, the policy of fairness was highly respected in world politics. Anyone could roam the city freely, the only obstacle for cyclists was the big mountain surrounding the city. Tourists used to take a long bus tour of Europe from Kathmandu via this country. After nearly four decades of instability, a cloud of unrest fell over the capital, Kabul, in the early 1970s, and its shadow spread across the country.
Despite the Islamic majority, Afghanistan was diverse. The pace of modernization was slow, but the natural beauty and the way people behaved attracted tourists. Women’s independence, the modern system of primary, secondary and higher education for both male and female students, art-culture, and drama and media were the standard of progress.
The country, the founder of the Non-Aligned Movement, was known to the world community as a model of fairness. Its ambassador, Abdul Rahman Pazwak, was elected President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1966. And, in 1969, Kabul was put forward as a possible venue for Vietnam peace talks. Many young Afghans hoped for a better future for their country. But, such a future never came.
On July 17, 1973, hopes for a golden future were shattered, a day that poured cold water on Afghanistan’s fortunes and future. It was on this day in Kabul that the 40-year reign of King Zahir Shah came to an end and the republican era began. During the reign of these kings in modern history, Afghanistan was the longest peaceful and stable country.
However, his brother (cousin’s son) Mohammad Dawood did not like it. He was shocked and outraged by the slow pace of modernity, and angry that the king had excluded himself from constitutional responsibility.
Through almost bloodless ‘Ku’, David took power. With close ties to the Soviet Union, he declared Afghanistan a republic by force of arms. He also enlisted the help of communists, who had been trained and armed by the Soviet Union since the mid-1950s.
During his time as Prime Minister of Afghanistan from 1953 to 1964, Daoud forged a friendship with the Soviet Union. His relations with Pakistan were strained during the Cold War. Tensions with Pakistan over the Durand Line have been high since 1947.
After taking power and becoming the head of the Republic of Afghanistan, Dawood returned a bit. He began to reduce his dependence on the local communists and the Soviet Union. Instead, he improved relations with Pakistan. He had close ties with Soviet opponents, King Mohammad Reza Shah Pallavi of Iran and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt.
He also sought the help of the United States, which has so far been shocked to see its main regional ally, the Shah of Iran, playing into Afghanistan’s uncertainty. Seeing David’s political ups and downs, distrust grew in Moscow and its Afghan allies. And, at the same time, Pakistan rejected Dawood’s claim in the border dispute.
The 2 billion promised by the Iranian Shah failed to materialize. Egypt’s Sadat also failed to provide political support and encouragement. David’s plan was abandoned.
In order to lay the groundwork for political stability, the monarchy’s balanced relationship with the Islamic religious establishment and the local power center, or Bahubali, was shattered by David’s erratic policy. Taking advantage of this division, the Soviets launched a bloody coup d’tat in April 1978.
They killed David and most of his family. Many of David’s loyal servants were also killed in the incident. Afghanistan was declared a democratic republic with brotherly relations with the Soviets.
Due to this immature revolution, the Afghans became very dependent on Moscow’s support, which led to the intervention of the Soviet Union 20 years later.
After this incident, resistance started in Afghanistan. The Mujahideen made up of several Islamic groups, exposed the nature of a socially divided Afghan society. The intervention also provided a great opportunity for the United States: it was a good opportunity to force Moscow to pay the price for the Soviet defeat in North Vietnam, as the United States had lost a decade earlier.
The United States supported the Mujahideen through its unreliable Pakistani allies, and with the help of radical Islamic and nationalist leaders in the Afghan resistance campaign, such as Ahmed Masood Shah, the United States was able to win the Cold War. These commanders first fought violently with the Soviets. He then fought with the Pakistan-backed Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies.
The defeat of the Soviets meant that their mission was accomplished, and the United States felt that its involvement in post-Soviet transitional Afghanistan was no longer necessary.
The Mujahideen then aimed their guns at each other, with Pakistan being the main player behind the scenes. Massoud was assassinated by al Qaeda agents just two days before September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, which sent troops into Afghanistan. The clear goal of the United States was to destroy al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The United States and its Afghan allies have failed to take Afghanistan on a course of transformational development by achieving this goal.
Peace in pre-conflict Afghanistan has been lost. The Americans and their allies have returned defeated. Just like they left Vietnam. And, the neo-radical Taliban is taking over major cities.
Fighters’ rivals, especially women, fear for their lives. People have fled their homes. The number of refugees in foreign lands is also increasing.
No one expected this fight to end soon. Now the Taliban is in control. But, despite the inability of Afghanistan’s leaders, the general public has a history of always resisting the separatists in difficult situations. This time, they must defend themselves against conservative extremists.