Afghanistan is not America’s new Vietnam

US President Trump during his Afghanistan visit/ Image: Fox News

Just after 72 hours of the truce between the Trump Administration and Taliban, the deal is at stake when the latter decided to carry out attacks against the Kabul based Ghani government backed by the UN and the rest of the world but not recognized by the Taliban. It is well known that the ‘Agreement’ sealed in Doha is just paperwork and it contradicts its shareholders. The modus operandi of the Taliban is not hidden to anyone but the move of the POTUS which seems not rational but electoral has been criticized heavily from across the world. Like in Syria with the Kurds, the Pentagon is ready to leave the fate of Afghans on their own. President Ghani already turned down one of the clauses of the agreement by rejecting the release of Talibani terrorists from prison and dismissing the locus standi of Taliban in Afghan politics and hence the recent onslaughts by the Taliban. It obviously paved the way for another round of civil war in Afghanistan since the fall of King Zahir Shah in 1973. In the same year, the Vietnam Peace Treaty was signed in Paris but the distinction was, in Hanoi, there was a clash of ideologies and no religious bigotry. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, the next steps of the relevant players await.

Mistakes of America

In 1969, President Nixon put forward a new term ‘Vietnamization’ to justify the so-called prestigious withdrawal of troops from Saigon due to the immense public pressure. Dumped its ally South Vietnam to its foes and it was nothing short of a defeat for them (Nixon and Kissinger) when the North completely captured the South and finally, Saigon surrendered in 1975. President Trump has been a critic of US’s invasions both in Vietnam and Iraq but as far as Afghanistan is concerned the dynamics and the situation are completely different. Both the top leaders as well as the West sympathizers, President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah had just their rival election campaigns last year and Kabul is purely divided between them.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghan reconciliation with President Ashraf Ghani/ Reuters

Khalilzad should have brought them together first before initiating a major deal or else there should have been an intra-Afghan dialogue at the first stage persuading all the parties for a better pact. The Taliban and Pakistan, on the other hand, are rejoicing, giving credit to their ability to fight asymmetrical warfare, but they should keep one thing in mind that the complete withdrawal of the troops will not be completed till 2021, so no one can predict Trump and his further actions. Secondly, if Americans would take the Taliban as an ally to take on other terrorist groups then they should abandon their own ‘Axis of Evil’ theory of junior Bush in 2002. The bitter truth is Americans today have completely lost their morale in front of their allies, be it Kurds in Syria or Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.

India’s position

There is a famous saying that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires, be it Britishers, Soviets and Americans. There is only one country so far that did not interfere in the internal matters of Afghanistan and keep helping the country in its reconstruction since 2001 is India. From the construction of its parliament to different roads, dams etc, India is contributing the lion share of its re-development. But the radical groups like Taliban and Haqqanis, which has been backed by ISI, has antagonized the relations of Afghans with India. Therefore India should not waste its money and time anymore (after the Doha Deal) fighting with rogue elements in an alien country. India cannot and will not recognize the Taliban or its regime in Afghanistan for a few past instances (Hijacking of IC814).

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo/ Image: The Hindu

Now India should not also expect any assurance from Afghanistan if the Taliban comes back to power again because unlike before there is no Ahmad Shah Massoud and his Northern Alliance, which seemed very much pro India. As far as the geographical location is concerned, definitely the country enjoys the strategic importance but Afghanistan is deeply divided when it comes to the ethnic groups. Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras all favour irredentism and it creates the turmoil within. Hardly people can recognize the Durand Line that separates the country from Pakistan (Afghan Pashtuns don’t even recognize the border). Overall, India is silently observing everything that undergoes in Afghanistan.

Lastly, the undeniable fact remains that Pakistan is the reason for the complete instability in Afghanistan since the Cold War era. It fueled the radicalism and terrorism to dismantle its Communist rule first and then push the country into darkness. General Zia Ul Haq and his Generals who made money and weapons out of the Afghan war did not even apologies for the fiasco they committed to the people of Afghanistan.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Uddipta Singha Lahkar

Uddipta Singha Lahkar holds a Master degree in Social work. He's an enthusiast of World Politics & Diplomacy. Uddipta can be reached at uddiptalahkar41@gmail.com || Twitter @LahkarSingha

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