On Sunday, 15th of August, a new chapter of history “The Fall of Kabul” was concluded. The final conquest of the Taliban was followed by complete mayhem within and across the Afghan borders. World governments tried to grasp the gravity of the situation. And then came the pointing fingers. US, UK, NATO, the Afghan government, Pakistan, it all depended on who was asked.
What is interesting and cunning is the way the west, particularly the US, is representing the Afghan crisis. The Taliban success is the proof of what a magnificent failure the American war and policy in Afghanistan has been. But despite that, the western media is persevering the neo-colonial narrative of the oppressed, savage, and irrecoverable colonized.
The western media is overflowing with pictures of cloaked Afghan women, Afghans climbing on aeroplanes desperate to flee, Afghans scraping off in refugee camps and finally the formidable armed Taliban fighters.
All these pictures shift the focus to the miserable situation of the Afghans, whereas it should be on how America has failed.
The truth is that it wasn’t the Afghans who initiated the civil war or the humanitarian crisis. It was triggered by the enlightened west, an invasion by the Soviet Union during the cold war which paved a battleground for other regional powers. Even after the 9/11 Afghanistan was nothing more than a transit for Al-Qaeda and terrorist organizations. There headquarters lied somewhere else. Hence this 20-year war the Afghans were subjected to was, unnecessary and completely useless.
20 years ago, the legitimation for the Afghanistan mission, along with the fight against terror, was exactly this: The West wanted to liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban in order to save Afghan women. Now, these very women are once again being abandoned to their fate. Only those who make it onto a plane bound for the West have the slightest chance of living according to the Western ideal of how a woman should live.
And yet an entire generation of Afghans couldn’t get an education. One third of children are still out of school. 90% of the Afghans have been living at $1 per day. The debate of oppressive history of Hijab becomes irrelevant minor. When the men, women and children are struggling to attain the basic necessities of life, because of an unnecessary war you have waged.
In the last two decades, the US helped reinforce the same oppressive measures it complained about. It helped create a corrupt, greedy government in Afghanistan. It reassigned territories to warlords. It helped the politicians to victimise the Pashtuns. All the while lying to the world about creating hospitals, schools and training an army.
“The US designed the Afghan state to meet Washington’s counterterrorism interests, not the interests of Afghans, and what we see today is the result.” stated Anand Gupta a reporter from Afghanistan. Afterall, what does it say about the American and Afghan government, when the Afghan forces surrendered without putting up a fight? Maybe the last two decades of suffering made the Taliban seem like a better option.
It is not to deny that the Taliban will probably design a shackled society. But is a reminder that prior to the Taliban, the Afghans were the victims of the “saviour” west. And for once one should try to focus on those who wronged the country.