By Emmanuel Alegba
History doesn’t always repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Afghanistan, known to be a notorious and difficult country to govern is associated with the phrase “the graveyard of empires”. From Alexander the Great, the British empire, to the Soviet Union, all have been humbled in their attempts to conquer and control this fierce country. But this did not deter the west led by the United States of America from attempting once more.
Over the last weeks, information keeps pouring in about the Taliban advances, the fall of major cities and provincial capitals, with thousands of Afghan troops and police fleeing to neighbouring Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan for safety. There’s also been reports of execution of captured soldiers and interpreters who stayed behind after the fall of their cities.
Just yesterday, AP news reported the US embassy warned Americans in Kabul to Take Shelter, as the US ambassador to Afghanistan has been evacuated from Kabul, but where do they want them to take shelter, with the head of the US embassy gone? Under the table? After 20yrs of war in Afghanistan, is this the Democracy promised by George W. Bush and delivered by Joe Biden?
The key factor to consider from the US invasion of Afghanistan is that the Taliban, which is a product of the Mujahideen, propped up by the US and Pakistan as a proxy against the Soviet Union, have sought to mend their fences with the Russians and their neighbours. Over the years, the Taliban has been engaged in several diplomatic missions with their neighbours, China and Russia, even going as far as giving concessions in order to gain some form of legitimacy in the eyes of world leaders. They have also promised to guarantee the safety of diplomatic missions of these countries and the Girl Child’s safety in Afghanistan. Only time will tell if they will honour these commitments.
While the western appetite for foreign intervention is waning, the current situation in the middle east has shown the US and the entire western world did not learn any lessons from the fall of Saigon, Vietnam in 1975 and several other military campaigns in the middle east. Rather they’ve continued with their hubris in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, with Iran on the crosshairs. Like the Iraqi war which ended up being a total disaster, Afghanistan is the latest of the dominos that have fallen, with Iraq and Syria most likely to follow.
*Emmanuel Alegba works in the private sector as a CAD Designer/ Project Assurance Administrator