America’s mistakes in the ‘forever war’ (The Hindu, International Relations, GS-2)

America’s mistakes in the ‘forever war’ (The Hindu, International Relations, GS-2)


  • USA President Joe Biden has set the September 11 deadline for all American troops to withdraw from Afghanistan. This withdrawal will end 20 years of the invasion by the United States. There were peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban that started in Doha last year.

A History about this conflict:-

  • A terrorist attack in America on 11 September 2001, This attack killed  nearly 3,000 people in America. Osama Bin Laden was identified as the man responsible for this attack.  He was the head of Islamist terror group al-Qaeda
  • The Taliban protected Bin Laden and refused to hand him over. A month after the 9/11 attack the US launched airstrikes against Afghanistan.
  • The US was joined by an international coalition and NATO forces. This ousted the Taliban from power. 
  • Now the Taliban turned into an insurgent force and continued deadly attacks.
  • These attacks were destabilising subsequent Afghan governments.
  • Since then, the US has been fighting a war against the Taliban.
  • Every other president whoever is,from Obama to Biden there is a pressure on the government to quit from afghanistan because it takes too much human resources and financial resources
  • The negotiations began in September 2018 with the appointment of Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to initiate direct talks with the Taliban. After nine rounds of US-Taliban talks in Qatar, the two sides seemed close to an agreement.

Why Afghanistan is at the forefront since ancient in terms of war:-

  • Afghanistan is the gateway to central asia.
  • Afghanistan is a connecting link between the West and the most prosperous country India in the medieval times.
  • The British empire sent troops to the country in 1839 on the pretext of a Russian invasion to India via Afghanistan, In this British empire  ousted its ruler Dost Muhammad.
  • Afghanistan has access to the central asia resources.
  • In 1979, the Soviet Union sent troops to Afghanistan to save the country’s communist regime from the USA.
  • The current issue takes the birth in the rivalry of two Giants i.e. USA and USSR.
  • The USSR faced a bloody Mujahideen resistance and had to pull back in 1989.

Issues currently:-

  • Since May 1 the Taliban have seized eight districts in four different regions in afghanistan.
  • 22% of Afghanistan’s 398 districts are in the Taliban’s control.
  • 24% of these distt are with the government.
  • Terrorist networks are now scattered across Asia and Africa. These are the networks which the U.S. vowed to destroy when it launched its global war on terror in Afghanistan.

What are the three mistakes done by the USA in context of Afghanistan issue:-

  •  The U.S went into Afghanistan to wage a war, without learning anything from the country’s history. This is a perfect example of U.S. obsession with the unipolar world. U.S. is retreating and its inconclusive war practically leaving Afghanistan to the mercy of the Taliban.
  • The U.S. launched the Iraq invasion to topple Saddam Hussein and export democracy there at the same time Taliban got the oxygen to resurface again with the help of Pakistan.  By the time the U.S. shifted its focus back to Afghanistan, there were growing calls at home to end the “endless wars. Though the USA has defeated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
  • Now amid growing concern of war in Afghanistan, US could have withdrawn the forces quite smoothly rather suddenly. This has given more legitimacy to Taliban and a moral boost to Taliban to continue with the war against Afghanistan forces.

Why is this issue important to India:-

  • There is much investment by India in Afghanistan e.g. SALMA dam, Construction of Parliament, Capacity building in terms of human resources and physical infrastructure.
  • Afghanistan shares the boundary with India’s only one U.T, i.e. J&K.
  • Taliban resurgence to power will certainly hit the cultural ties and it will again push Afghanistan’s society into the medieval ages.
  • Sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan may help in spreading the radicalization of Youth in J&k.
  • Afghanistan provides access to central Asia which will help India to have energy and mineral security.
  • Afghanistan is rich in mineral resources such as Copper and Iron (Hajigak mines of copper in Afghanistan).

Extra titbits:-

History of India-Taliban Relations

A commercial airplane named IC-814 hijacked in 1999:- 

  • The plane was hijacked and taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan at that time Kandhar was under the control of the Taliban. This has resulted in negotiations and India had to release terrorists — including Maulana Masood Azhar. These terrorists carried out terror attacks on Parliament (2001), in Pathankot (2016) and in Pulwama (2019).
  • Taliban perceived India as a hostile country because India had supported the anti-Taliban force after the 9/11 attacks.
  • India never gave diplomatic and official recognition to the Taliban when it was in power during 1996-2001.

Download Daily current Affairs of 16th june 2021

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