When there was no money to buy a copy-pen, the plan to pray to God came to a child’s mind. He wrote a letter in the name of God asking for 10 rupees. The king ordered his finance minister to withdraw the money, the minister kept the 5 rupees with him and sent the remaining 5 rupees, the staff who went to the boy’s house carrying 5 rupees ate the remaining 3 rupees. In the end, the boy got only 2 rupees.
The boy, annoyed with the scammers, wrote another letter: God, thank you, but may the money you send for me never be good for the king and his staff. ‘ However, the power of the unpopular king was so strong that he was not going to do anything about it.
Let’s link the issue to Afghanistan, where the government was so intrusive. That’s why the US troop withdrawal collapsed before it could be completed.
It was widely known that the US government would sooner or later overthrow the government, but the Taliban insurgents who seized power did not expect Afghan troops to be helpless.
The United States has spent about 2.3 trillion on Afghanistan. Other foreign bodies had also poured large sums of money here. Of this, development assistance to Afghanistan was 1.3 billion in 2002, increasing to 7.9 billion in 2018.
However, the living standards of the people were deteriorating day by day. Most of the assistance in the name of the people was spent on commissions of international agencies, NGOs and contractors. The rest of the money was spent by corrupt employees (corruption), criminal gangs and mafia. According to international media, the CIA also distributed money to warlords, governors, parliamentarians and religious leaders in the name of gathering information.
Exiled President Ashraf Ghani told the BBC in a 2007 interview: “If we build a school using Afghans, it will cost 50,000. But when we do the same thing with an international partner, it can cost up to 250,000. ‘
Withdrawal of troops is the right decision The United States became angry with the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York.
The United States has demanded that bin Laden be handed over unconditionally, with US President George W. Bush announcing a “war on terror” following the Taliban’s ouster, and within two months of his arrival in Kabul, US forces overthrew the Taliban.
The next year, the United States had a good chance to get out of here, as the clouds of insurgency had cleared and the skies over Kabul had cleared, and the Taliban had been morally and diplomatically isolated. The United States should have said to the political power there: We have accomplished our mission, now you make your country. We can provide assistance from outside.
However, US and NATO troops camped there, saying they would be involved in rebuilding Afghanistan. The then President George W. Bush put forward a multi-billion dollar project. During Barack Obama’s presidency, bin Laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan’s Abbottabad in 2011, at least after the US troops had to return. Despite the delay, the confession was made by US President Joe Biden.
“We entered Afghanistan 20 years ago with the clear goal of finding the 9/11 hijackers and preventing al Qaeda from invading Afghanistan again, and we achieved that a decade ago,” he wrote on Twitter.
No matter how many years of war were fought in Afghanistan, nothing would be achieved. This is what the history of resistance of the previous superpowers (Greek-Macedonia, Mughal, British and Soviet Union) and the resistance of the Afghan people shows. “It’s easy to get into Afghanistan, it’s hard to get back,” said Alexander the Great.
The path chosen by Donald Trump and Biden to pave the way peacefully, rather than be confused by the sacrifices of millions (including the US military, insurgents and Afghan civilians combined) and billions of dollars, must be appreciated. Of course, only liberals and leftists who were sympathetic to Biden yesterday are now opposed to his decision. However, the fact that an agreement has been reached to withdraw all troops by May 31 while Donald Trump is president cannot be ignored.
Biden has also pushed this time until September 11. However, when it became clear that keeping the army was only an excuse to prolong the war, he withdrew most of the troops on the announced date. The rest of the troops will leave soon.
The scourge of corruption Insecurity, unemployment and corruption are the three main problems facing the Afghan people. Although the government formed in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2001 was called democratic, it was different in practice. The local leadership consisted of tribal chiefs and warlords.
A report published by Freedom House in 2021 showed that the country was “not independent”, with only 27 out of 100 given to Afghanistan. Poverty is on the rise here. In 2007, 34 percent of the population was below the poverty line, but in 2017, the proportion rose to 59 percent. There has been some improvement in the average per capita income in recent times, but this is due to the fact that the rich are very rich. The poverty gap is constantly widening.
This is one of the main reasons why the Taliban, which has almost disappeared, is gaining support again. The Afghan people were told that the US troops would return one day and that the Taliban would remain in the country, so they did not retaliate. This is another reason for the spread of Taliban influence.
According to the Pentagon, the total US military spending in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2019 was 778 billion, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany at 30 billion and 19 billion, respectively. However, not a single shot was fired from an Afghan army gun at the critical time.
This is not to say that the bullet should have been fired, but that the peaceful exit should be considered positive. This issue is only to prove that corruption is the main reason for the environment in which 75,000 combatants, trained by powerful armies in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, have to surrender.
On paper, the number of troops was more than 300,000, but the number of soldiers deployed in the field was barely 200,000. It is said that the Afghan authorities used to bring in a lot of aid in the name of salaries and allowances if they showed an increase in the number of troops. However, the soldiers on the frontline had not been paid for the past two months.
Some of the pilots trained by the US military were also in the Afghan Air Force. However, the responsibility of repairing and operating the military aircraft was given to a foreign contractor. The contractors also traveled with the U.S. military, which prevented the military from operating the aircraft.
Interestingly, the United States and NATO member states have pledged 4 billion a year in aid to Afghan troops by 2024, even after the withdrawal of their troops. According to a 2009 assessment by the British Aid Mission, only 20 out of every 100 donated by donors reached the Afghan people. While 80 percent of Afghanistan’s total budget was foreign aid.
Helpless president, powerful Taliban Before returning to Afghanistan in 2002, Ashraf Ghani was a professor of anthropology at a prestigious institution, including Johns Hopkins University in the United States. He also had experience working at the World Bank. He was finance minister in Hamid Karzai’s government from 2002 to 2004. His plans to rebuild Afghanistan were widely praised.
In 2013, he was ranked 50th on a list of the world’s 100 best intellectuals, according to an online poll by Foreign Policy Magazine. He won the 2014 election and was elected president. After that, his constant slogan was ‘Minimizing Corruption’. However, the behavior looked different. Therefore, even the soldiers themselves did not move forward to maintain his unpopular power.
Ahmed Wali Massoud, a former British ambassador to the United States, recently commented on the US media on Wall Street. ‘Corrupt leaders and soldiers have no energy to fight for the government.
Why do they fight for Ghani?
Instead, they are happy with the Taliban and are changing sides, “Masood said. Guinea fled the country after the Taliban laid siege to Kabul.
The foreign policy of the United States, which entered Afghanistan 20 years ago and is now out of Afghanistan, has changed. The same should be true of the Taliban’s behavior. In the past, the Taliban was notorious for enforcing a number of extremist laws, including eliminating dissent, banning women from education, banning sports and entertainment, and forcing men to grow beards. After 20 years, he has vowed not to repeat those mistakes.
The message is to follow through on your commitment through the following steps. She has declared that women’s freedom will not be violated, will not attack foreign missions, will grant amnesty to her opponents and will engage in state building. These decisions are promising.
However, the Taliban, which in the past seems to have improved by forging close ties with Islamic extremist groups and invading local and foreign lands, seems to have improved for the time being, but it is doubtful that it will return to conservatism once it regains full control of the country.
With the key to power in their hands, the Taliban must renounce violence and pursue peace. He has no choice but to move forward in collaboration with all responsible parties in the country. All stakeholders must be vigilant to ensure that Afghanistan, which has been exhausted by repeated foreign intervention, does not miss the opportunity to move forward on its own.
What can Nepal learn?
Certainly not foreign aid, as the saying goes. Such assistance and grants not only strengthen the country, but also threaten to distort it. This is the issue that Nepal’s leaders need to pay the most attention to. If used for the benefit of the country, foreign assistance may be beneficial, but it requires a correspondingly efficient administrative mechanism and responsible leadership towards the people.
In countries where corruption is rampant, such assistance is more likely to be misused. In this, Nepal should learn a lesson from Afghanistan that corruption is more dangerous than the Taliban.