Afghanistan: “Triumph or failure?” Comment in The Daily Journalist

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I was asked by The Daily Journalist about the latest developments in Afghanistan and “what`s next” after the official end of the US intervention in Afghanistan. Here are my short answers, you can read full article with comments by David Isenberg, Jamil Maidan Flores, David Kearn. Jr., Anna Corsaro, Jon Kofas, Hossein Amiri, John Bruni, Claude Nougat, Steven Hansen, Sayed Mousavipour, David Swanson, Todd Steinmetz, Bonjukian Patten, Tom Ogwe and Tony Greenstein in The Daily Journalist website – here.

In your view: Did the United States win the war in Afghanistan?

We can not talk that there is winners by the war in Afghanistan. At least we can not talk that the US is victorious. On the one hand – this war is very expensive for the US, not only financially, but also politically. On the other hand – the war in Afghanistan is not over and we can not talk about this war in the past time. There are many security problems in the country and I think that the US will not withdraw its presence for very long time. The recent events in Pakistan confirming these fears.

The US made a very big mistake – they sponsored the mountain clans. It must support a central government in Kabul, to avoid de-fragmentation, which could lead to further destabilization.

What is the view worldwide of the US intervention in Afghanistan after a decade of war? Positive or negative in your view?

The war in Afghanistan has always brought more negative comments and emotions among the public – not only in Afghanistan but also in the US and the Western world. This pessimism and negativity stems from the first moments of the war – this war can not be defended (if any war can be defended). Bush made a mistake – a big mistake. The Taliban regime perhaps could be removed with other methods and factions. Instead, the US attack without evidence that the Taliban was involved in the 9/11 attacks. The society is not convinced of the truthfulness of the actions. Another point is that the war has led to an escalation of tensions, enhancing drug traffic etc… These elements are negative for all except men in power.

Did you ever support the intervention in Afghanistan?

Never.

With less US troops on the ground and will Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-E-Taiba and the Taliban in Pakistan who are openly reinforcing the Taliban in Afghanistan, will it become even worse?

This is a complex issue. Unfortunately, the tension and the strengthening of radical groups are a consequence of the invasion of Afghanistan – like in Iraq. At the same time, the reduction of US and allied forces in Afghanistan will lead to the strengthening of the Taliban and other groups. This issue needs to be very careful discussed and must be coordinated with local authorities and the government in Kabul.

What does the future hold for Afghanistan?

Unfortunately we can not prophesy. But we can try to say what might happen in the coming months depending on the facts. Afghanistan’s future is not clear. More pessimism than optimism. It is very important that the authorities in Kabul to be supported. It is important to avoid populism. It is important to prevent a new war. The consequences of the war of 2001 are strong – they has shaken the entire Afghan society. NGOs are also important for the development of society – they must have a chance to have a voice in making government decisions. In the near future, Afghanistan has to deal with the Taliban. Taliban must be repelled from regions where they are still strong – the government presence should be established in mountainous areas. Maybe there will be an escalation of clashes and in this case Americans should participate only as a supporting element.

We must look at the history of Afghanistan – there are many answers in the old books.