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End(?) of the war in Afghanistan

Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Today's EstadĂŁo replicates an article in the New York Times according to which President Joe Biden declared yesterday, 14/04, the end of the presence of US troops in Afghanistan, ending the twenty-year engagement of the United States in the struggle for peace in the country and dismantling the Taliban militancy, that has already cost them more than US $ 800 billions and the life of 2.218 military. According to the announcement, the latter 2,5 thousand American soldiers will leave Afghanistan until the day 11 of September, symbolic date, by the way, when the 20th anniversary of the invasion ordered by George W is celebrated. Bush. Biden said that “I am the fourth president to lead the presence of troops in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. two democrats…I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth. It's time to end America's longest war. It's time for the troops to return home".

The member countries of the “North Atlantic Treaty Organization” decided to follow the American initiative. According to a statement from the organization, “NATO allies decided this Wednesday (14/04) begin withdrawing forces from “Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan” by May 1, with the plan to complete the task within a few months". The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, stated that "the withdrawal will be done in an orderly manner, coordinated and weighted". And added “we went into Afghanistan together, we have adjusted our posture together, and we are united in leaving together”.

The question that does not want to be silent is if after so many - and traumatic – years of presence on Afghan soil, this will be the best time for this initiative, in fact defended by D.T.? Remember that last year, Heeding the opinion of “Afghaniphobic” radicals who felt that the Kabul authorities were not in control of the country., the then-president of the US pledged to meet with the Taliban leadership. this meeting, as we remember, took place in february, in Doha. In this ocasion, the american negotiators, led by special envoy, Zalmai Khalilzad, and the Taliban by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, signed an agreement whereby the US would reduce the number of its troops to 8.600 soldiers and there would be an exchange between the five thousand Taliban militants imprisoned in American prisons and the thousand Westerners held by the Taliban. On the occasion D.T enthusiastically praised the initiative, remembering that it was your campaign promise. Biden went a step further: declared the end of the war and formalized the withdrawal of troops. Only a minimum contingent will remain, to maintain the security of official US agencies in the country..

Let's review this story a bit…

First the Doha agreement, signed in the presence of Pakistani leaders, Qatar, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, was achieved without participation - actually by default – of the Kabul authorities. the afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, who did not participate in the process, publicly disagreed with establishing an accelerated timetable for the departure of troops. he claimed, also, that the release of any prisoner should be a decision of his government and that he was not ready to authorize it until internal discussions with his Prime Minister and main opponent on the political scene were unblocked., To contact Abdullah, about sharing power in the country. Ghani has in his favor the evidence that, encouraged since the agreement with the D.T government. – that required power sharing in Kabul -, the Taliban intensified their campaign of assassinations and terrorist attacks.

As it turns out, the "hole is deeper". the crux of the matter – fundamental - lies in how the various ethnic groups that make up the population network will be composed, in light of recent – ​​and troubled – from the country. After all, what is it to be afghan? And what would be the idea of ​​"Nation" underlying that of "State", facing the legacy of colonialism? Where would the Taliban fit into this fragile “the status quo”?

Afghanistan is a tangle of ethnicities and tribes with their own civilizational characteristics, proud of their roots and their history. There are four major ethnic groups in the territory: Tajiks, hazaras, Uzbeks and the biggest one, os pashtuns, that interact, in its turn, with the smaller tribes/ethnicities: aimaqs, Turkmen, beluchis, pashais, nuristanis, gujars, arab, pamiris, Kyrgyz and Sadats, etc., equally jealous of their lineage. Conclusion: pacification only happens when the "Jirga" - the assembly of tribal leaders - meets and reaches a consensus that serves everyone.

This is, at the bottom, the reason why the afghan political universe cannot coexist with the western model of governance, whether presidential or even formal parliamentarism. Without consensus, any agreement is practically unfeasible. It is for this reason that the “imposition” by Westerners of the presidential regime in the country was frustrated: the chosen, of President Hamid Karzai, never actually presided, and neither dominated the political scene, even though a member of the dominant Pashtun ethnicity.

And that is why the leadership dispute between the current President remains., Ashraf Ghani, pashtun, and Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah, tajik. the Taliban, From you, refuse to get involved in this issue, nor do they abide by the Ghani presidency, who consider “a puppet of the Westerners”. In this scenario, government weakness and internal divisions would give advantage, according to the experts, to the Taliban in any power-sharing agreement, especially after US and allied forces depart. Therein lies the challenge: it is very doubtful that the Taliban, be in power, or as a partner in power, be able to control other armed opposition groups, above all the conspicuous remnants of the Islamic State.

To better situate the question, We must recognize that the political chaos reigning in Afghanistan is umbilically linked to the insidious legacy of foreign colonial manipulation and so-called “proxy wars”, that nurtured particular forms of the country's ethnic divide., before, during and after the Soviet invasion, in 1971. It was this chaos and the interethnic disputes that made room for the Taliban.

Finally, the last question he doesn't want to be silent is whether the United States, that in the post 9/11 misunderstood and miscalculated the invasion of Afghanistan and its endless consequences, will act in the same way as they did in the cases of Vietnam and Iraq: "they set fire to the magazine and then fled"… what would be the solution, if there can even be one that is not traumatic?… appeal, once again, a Rudyard Kipling: “Asia is not going to be civilized after the methods of the West. There is too much Asia and she is too old”.

To be continued…

I recommend reading the article Global Terror and the Taliban’s Return, publicado pelo Project Syndicate em 6/4/2021.

Leia também O fim (?) da Guerra do Afeganistão II

Fausto Godoy
Doutor em Direito Internacional PĂșblico em Paris. Ingressou na carreira diplomĂĄtica em 1976, serviu nas embaixadas de Bruxelas, Buenos Aires, Nova DĂ©li, Washington, Pequim, TĂłquio, Islamabade (onde foi Embaixador do Brasil, em 2004). TambĂ©m cumpriu missĂ”es transitĂłrias no VietnĂŁ e Taiwan. Viveu 15 anos na Ásia, para onde orientou sua carreira por considerar que o continente seria o mais importante do sĂ©culo 21 – previsĂŁo que, agora, vĂȘ cada vez mais perto da realidade.

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