Now it is clear. The Americans and their NATO partners want to leave Afghanistan by 11 September 2021. Many observers in the US and Europe seem to be saddened or outraged by this. But serious alternatives have hardly been heard from her side. In addition, it is pushed into the background, how this illegal war started in the first place.
A few days ago, US President Joe Biden made it clear that he wanted to withdraw his 3,500 remaining troops from Afghanistan. Biden thus continues the path of his predecessor Donald Trump. The" longest war " is to be ended, at least from the American point of view. After two decades, large parts of US society don’t want to know anything more about the Afghanistan war. However, the Americans are not alone in their withdrawal. The allied NATO states, including Germany, are also to leave Afghanistan by the deadline mentioned. According to reports the Bundeswehr is to withdraw by mid-August on the orders of Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
For many transatlantic observers of the conflict, this seems to be a problem. Instead of soberly analysing the realities of the Hindu Kush, there is another attempt to spread the fairy tale of well-building, women’s rights and democracy. Afghanistan was never about these things, but about hard-nosed interests and a massive war machine that developed globally in the context of the “War on Terror”. In addition, the remaining soldiers on the battlefield have not played a role for a long time and in most cases have already barricaded themselves behind the walls of their bases. The war has long been “Afghanized”, in other words, most battles take place between the Afghan army and the Taliban. In addition, there are other actors whose whereabouts and future remain unclear, such as Afghan CIA militias.
By the way, the Innerafghan war is also the real “longest war”, because it has been going on for over forty years now and will continue in these days. But why did it even have to come to this? Twenty more years have passed, but peace in the Hindu Kush is not visible. The Americans are leaving in the context of the US-Taliban deal they signed with the extremists about a year ago. Intra-Afghan peace talks are making little progress – and they seem to have fallen away as a condition for withdrawal. You probably just want to get out instead of fixing the damage that was done after 2001. De Facto an intra-Afghan peace could already have been established at that time. The Taliban were weak after their fall, but instead of bringing them to the table at Petersberg in Bonn, they were banished. There is no question that the US and its allies have a massive share of responsibility here.
All the more important is a look into the past. Although Afghanistan now dominates the headlines again, one hardly hears or reads anything critical about the reasons for the invasion at that time. The fact that from the beginning it was an illegal war of aggression by NATO is consistently suppressed.
To this day, the intervention and the proclamation of the NATO alliance case are considered appropriate or even self-evident in view of the attacks of September 11. But from the point of view of large parts of the Afghan population, this is by no means the case. Military intervention in Afghanistan was just as illegal as that in Iraq. Instead, it is still based on various sham justifications, which are regarded as legally acceptable thanks to the unilateral actions of various institutions, such as the UN, and which have now become established in new political terms. On September 11, however, the United States was not attacked by another state, but by several individuals associated with the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. None of these individuals were Afghan. However, the Afghan population was collectively punished. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the country of origin of most perpetrators and a close ally of the United States, was spared in every way.
The attack on Afghanistan was also by no means an act of defense, as some politicians want to present it to this day. It was simply another war of aggression by NATO. Even the Taliban, whose brutal regime cannot be played down, had nothing to do with the attacks of September 11. Instead, the opposite was the case. After Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had previously called for war against the United States from Afghanistan – an act that at the time was also directed against the interests of the Taliban – he had virtually forfeited his right to hospitality.
The Taliban were looking for the next best way to get rid of bin Laden. After the attacks in New York, they thought that this moment had come. Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar only asked the US for evidence of Bin Laden’s culpability in order to extradite him. However, these were not supplied by the US administration. Instead, the bombs of the US fighter jets rained down, while American elite soldiers had already allied themselves with various local warlords – all of them certainly not human rights friends – on the ground.
Afghanistan has been accused of training terrorists and providing them with protection. Therefore, it was pointed out to all, military intervention was necessary. According to this logic, however, other states should have been allowed to attack the USA. For example, it would have been the right of the Iranians to attack the United States after they granted protection to the dictatorial king Reza Pahlavi in 1979. The same applies to many South American states, where right-wing military putschists came to power during the Cold War thanks to the CIA and its allies and had previously perfected their methods of torture in American military schools.
However, one does not come to such thoughts. They are still considered absurd per se. The doctrine is as follows: the United States is unique in every respect – and everyone must treat it in the same way. Therefore, they also determine who is to be called a" terrorist " and who is not.
The result of this uniqueness, this “American exceptionalism”, can be examined in destroyed states such as Afghanistan, and sometimes even in an absurd way in the cinemas or on Netflix and Co.The Afghanistan war has now been treated many times by Hollywood. An example of this is the film “12 Strong”, in which US soldiers ally themselves with the infamous warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and heroically chase away Taliban fighters with what is probably the last cavalry ride in modern war history. The fact that Dostum is a brutal war criminal, who should actually be sitting on a dock in The Hague, remains unmentioned.
Since the first days of operation, the burly Dostum, whose fighters already committed numerous war crimes in the 1990s, has been one of the closest allies in the “fight against terror”. The list of Dostum’s atrocities is long. However, he was never prosecuted for his crimes. Instead, he was appointed vice president in 2014 and promoted to Marshal of the Afghan army last year.
Since Dostum’s militias are mainly present in northern Afghanistan, the Bundeswehr also worked with them again and again. This is where private security companies come into play, which were founded in the first years of operation by numerous warlords and militia chiefs and with which NATO has cooperated in almost all regions of the country. It is obvious that they will come to the fore again after the western withdrawal.
In addition to all these military conflicts are NATO operations, which mostly took place in the shadow of the public. For although in recent years it has been repeatedly stated that it has only taken an “advisory role” and that it wants to avoid battles, reality has always painted a different picture. Drone attacks and night raids by Afghan CIA militias and American elite units have long been part of the everyday life of the rural population, which over the years has been declared unofficial and, in Orwell’s sense, “unpeople”. People who are not worth reporting. People who are considered “terrorists” or “barbarians” per se. To this day, these people do not associate with the Western liberators any Democrats, feminists or progressive saviors, but in the first sense foreign occupiers who have attacked, tortured and murdered them.