American withdrawal is a face saving exercise from its defeat in Afghanistan. They are running away from Afghanistan after 20 years. It is leaving Afghanistan after destroying it to the core. Well, if one has to be honest, it has lost the war in Afghanistan and its saving its face while running away. The American withdrawal speaks of the situation in the volatile region. It is leaving the country at a point of uncertainty where no one knows what will be the future. The central government of Afghanistan is incapable of handling the militants, extremists and other radical groups. On the other hand, a number of radical groups are seeing it as an opportunity to regroup and take control of the areas and region that they can.
Afghan War on Terror
The Taliban were controlling Afghanistan with strong support and backing from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and several GCC countries. Moreover, a number of other Islamic nations were giving partial support to the regime. Yet, Taliban’s choice of supporting and protecting Al-Qaeda became a non-negotiable issue for the Western regimes. Thus, a full-fledge war on terror was initiated.
The Afghan War on Terror started on October 07, 2001. At that time, the American administration considered it an easiest international adventure. There were several reasons for it. Yet, a few of the key reasons included the inability of Taliban regime to procure high end defense related material. They were totally dependent on friendly countries to support their defense needs. They didn’t have any aerial fighting capabilities. Moreover, they were also dependent on Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for their major import needs. Being a landlocked country, no regime could fight for a long time without support, particularly from Pakistan.
The Bush administration was able to influence Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other major supporters of Taliban to back off. However, the Americans could not win this war, even with a clear and direct support from over 100 countries across the globe.
Initial Years of War on Terror
While the Americans were able to take over the country from Taliban in a matter of few days. They were only left to the bounds of Kabul initially. Although, the Afghan capital wasn’t safe in those days. Yet, it was safer relatively in terms of other parts of Afghanistan.
This followed political engagement of other groups in Afghanistan. The Loya jirga helped in creating a transitional administration in the country. Fast forward, an indigenous national government is in place in Kabul with Hamid Karzai as the President of Afghanistan.
The next decade was followed by several attacks on US and NATO forces. It also included severe casualties for local Afghans across the country. The country was facing continuous backlash from the Taliban and their affiliated groups. There were several casualties of the US soldiers, members of Afghan National Forces and the key political leaders. Yet, there was no way out and the US was finding itself into a quagmire.
Talk of the American Withdrawal
The talk of American withdrawal had started as early as 2011 when Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan. It was assumed that this milestone will result in an exit of international forces from the region. However, the Obama administration was unable to accept the local pressure. Instead, his administration chose to stay in Afghanistan.
Actually, the killing of Osama bin Laden was a better opportunity for Americans to withdraw from Afghanistan. Yet, the wrong political choices led to further disasters for the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Defeat in Afghanistan
Right from the beginning, the US was only able to control a specific area in Afghanistan. Moreover, they were unable to completely erase the Taliban or their presence in many parts of the country. Instead, Taliban were able to enter the Afghan Army as well as its National Intelligence Agency. Thus, they were only taking time to build pressure on the United States to get out of their country. They were looking for the opportunity to take over the government whenever it would be possible for them.
Thus, the American defeat in Afghanistan was imminent within the first few years. The Taliban stick to their approach. On the other hand, the American forces focused on supporting the Afghan government and enhancing their capacity to fight the radicals in its own territory. Yet, it failed on both these ends.
One can perceive that Americans were facing the defeat in Afghanistan right from the beginning. It were the Taliban who were strategizing things, rather the Americans or contemporary Afghan governments.
Face Saving from the Defeat
Thus, the current withdrawal is only a face saving exercise which means to find an exit without any justification. The face saving process involves a sudden announcement of exit from Afghanistan. The US administration is unable to mention any gains or successes. Rather, it’s leaving the Afghan nation in a much destabilized condition that it was in 2001, before the American invasion of Afghanistan.
Moreover, the Afghans are being left to the mercy of Taliban and other disgruntled groups as the 20 year rule ends. The Afghans will see another stream of poverty, fighting, bloodshed, instability and resurgences in their country. Thus, this may save the face of United States, however, the Afghan nation will have to pay the price of American adventure for next few years. Clearly, American withdrawal is a face saving exercise from its defeat in Afghanistan.