The Afghan Melting Mountain: US sows, China reaps

Sep 26, 2022

China may have something to reap from the rough terrains where the US has sown hugely over 20 years. However, a marriage of China with the Taliban will remind it of the horrors it has unleashed on the Uyghurs. No matter, China will enjoy the Afghani mineral wealth of over five trillion dollars worth before the honeymoon is over. That is the price the US has lost in the dens of the unrelenting Taliban.  

The United States of America (USA) is a prodigy but not prudent enough to win a war. It can bomb failed-States to dust. Still, it loses every battle it fights. It could win the cold war with the Soviet Union not because of its smartness but for the system failure of the Soviets. After the downfall of Warsaw, the US became unquestionable world police despite all its strategic missteps.

China is playing more smartly than the US, though most countries in the world, except the rogue states like Pakistan, do not trust the Asian giant. By playing the de facto role of the world police, the US flags out a licence to interfere in world issues. On the other side, China continues to play its old game of laundering money from poorer countries and slow-colonising that geography. China, with its dirty game, may never spend money to lose.

The twenty-year Afghan misadventure of the US finally created a space for China, Russia and Pakistan. These countries were waiting for the US to move out. The Afghan ground is open for terror rules, who could only be a puppet of China. The terrorists will repay the cost to China with the Afghan natural resources, including precious minerals, worth over five trillion dollars. The Taliban will give it to China to make its 1.4 trillion-dollar belt and road project a reality. India has enough reason to worry, as China consolidates its position in one more geography.

In social media, I could see an amusing troll that read: “If you feel any time useless, just remember it took the USA 4 presidents, thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and 20 years to replace Taliban with Taliban.” Trollers are usually brilliant. They have said it so brilliantly. That is nothing but undeniable truth.

A few days ago, Biden mentioned it is not the US responsibility to save the life of people in other countries. The comment raises many questions. Why did you enter another country and spend trillions of dollars? Did you need such a long period as 20 years to realise the truth? Did you finally achieve what you said? All its efforts are in smoke. The troller summed up the 20 year US misadventure in one sentence.

Biden moved a step ahead to hide his blunder. He accused Donald Trump of signing the decision, forgetting his execution of the Trump decision. There are plenty of questions that Biden cannot answer. If Biden wanted to follow the decision of Trump, why did the Americans replace Trump with Biden?

The US is known for its smart failure in every deal, be it global or domestic. In Vietnam, the US had a miserable experience. It has made a terrific calculation about Iraq, finally making it a hellhole of the world. Now the Afghans are back to barbarism. The world police with a de facto right to deal with anyone for a solution finally ends up making hell wherever it has gone. Still, it couldn’t learn with no chance of relearning anything from its history.

America has lost its face before the Americans, who hate terrorism. The rest of the world also has lost faith in the US. Moreover, it has acquired a badge of untrustworthiness. Hasn’t it made a message to India? Before blindly following the US, we need to rethink our relationship with the US.

It is interesting to revisit US diplomacy. For decades, the US appeased the oil-rich Arab nations. It befriended Pakistan against India to build a south Asian base. For the US, these Asian marriages were important at one point in time. When it learned to control the global fuel price, it divorced the oil producers. Simultaneously, it created rogues and terrorists. All of them turned against the US before its honeymoon with the new partners was over. It played instrumentally in the execution of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. It had to spend billions to hunt its derelict child named Osama Bin Laden. It had to drop several megatonnes of bombs to kill Mullah Omar, the first Taliban ruler. It had supplied weapons to the Taliban and Al Qaeda to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. All of them finally became devils from the nightmare of the US.

One can find only a narrow difference between America and the Taliban, except for their size and clout. While one has global clouts, the other has local clouts. When the US fails in Afghanistan, the Taliban wins in place. The other one refuses to give up its plan. The US reaps what it has sown. The Taliban takes home a bigger harvest after its long wait. Now it has new partners in its neighbourhood to feel safer.

Even after spending 20 years in Afghanistan, the US couldn’t learn the nature of Afghans. Worse, it couldn’t read the Taliban against whom it fought at its den. It also failed to understand Pakistan’s covert involvement in feeding the terrorists. Of course, the US had challenges like understanding the local language. It had a similar experience in Vietnam and later in Iraq. From these Asian geographies, the US had to bid an unpleasant farewell carrying with its notoriety. But the US wanted to show up as if it is a graceful retreat to clean its skin of dirt.

The US should have abstained from interfering in Afghan’s internal matters. Instead, it should have opened some ways for the country to enable its people to choose their destiny. But in 20 years the Taliban remained as armed as they were in the late 1990s. They got enough time to prove their resilience.

As I mentioned in one of my blogs, the US White House needs a person for the sake of occupying the chair. No matter, it is Obama, Trump or Biden on the chair. It is the same game each one has to play.

Afghanis never expected the US to commit so big a blunder of abrupt withdrawal. The withdrawal of the US, whom the Afghanis thought would be their saviours, opens the doors of hell. Neither the US nor the Afghanis expected Kabul to fall so abruptly. The Taliban override enabled them to access government records, weapons like helicopters, arms and ammunition before the destruction.

They have access to sensitive electronic and biometric data. Taliban have no skill in handling the sophisticated system. Pakistan ISI, the Taliban’s logistic partner, may have skill in using and ascertaining the data. That is enough to identify who stood with the US. The Taliban criminals in prisons are out to their homes. Afghan streets may witness revenge killing and punishment by kangaroo courts.

The Taliban finally got into the place they sought. The Islamic militia can be happy for having received virtual recognition from Russia and China. Before that, the US, in principle, recognised the militia by letting it achieve what it sought through its appeal for a truce with the US. The Taliban wanted the US to remove the Ghani from the post of Afghan President. Finally, the Taliban achieved the goal. Now Russia and China recognise anyone who stands against the US, which loses every war. Though the Taliban’s approach towards the US relationship is yet unclear, the world can read the inner heart of the Taliban and the double-standard of the US. In any manner, the Taliban could acquire the recognition of the big international community through Russia, China and the US. Terrorism is acceptable to these superpowers of the world. That way, every terrorist group, including ISIS, can come under the umbrella of one or the other international bloc. The history of the cold war begins another cycle. In all wars, terrorists survive because of their ability to change the goal post of reconciliation – this time with China and Russia.

Afghanistan is returning to be the bedrock of terrorists and a safe hideout for all criminals who support the Taliban. It is a humiliation for the US, shame for the entire world and a setback for India. If China dares to harbour the Taliban that defies all human rights, it cannot simply overlook its burden of carrying the Taliban on its shoulder. However, the new spouse will not give it a good sleep until it heals the unhealable wound of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region. China knows the Islamic menace better than the US does.