Thousands of lives lost. More than a trillion dollars down the drain. Millions of refugees. Millions more internally displaced. Twenty years of pain and misery, ending with humiliation for the only Superpower in this sham world order. This is Afghanistan.
There is a wide array of questions emanating from Afghanistan. These are the same questions that arose from the debris of Iraq and Libya.
We generate beautiful rhetoric, we apply distraction tactics, we engineer perceptions, all in the hope that the ugly questions will go away. Sadly, the questions are growing in size by the day and they will keep haunting us until we address them properly.
Let’s look at some of the umpteen questions.
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The Taliban and the Afghan National Army were composed from the same human material, drawn from the society.
More than US $ 85 billion were spent on the formation, training and equipping of the Afghan army. On the other hand, hardly a cent was spent on the recruitment and training of the Taliban.
The strength of the Afghan armed forces was about 350000. The strength of the Taliban, by the assessment of the American authorities, was about 70000. — For every single Taliban fighter, there were 5 Afghan soldiers, best trained and equipped in the entire region.
The Afghan army had attractive salary packages compared to most of the armies in the region. The Taliban had no regular pay package.
Why did the Taliban prevail? Why did the Afghan army collapse without even a token fight?
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When the Taliban were in control of more than 90% of the territory of Afghanistan some 20 years ago, the annual budget of Afghanistan was just about US $ 85 million.
The national budget of Afghanistan this year was US $ 5.5 billion.
Comparing the financial situation of the previous Taliban era with that of the Ghani administration, where the Taliban had one dollar, the Ghani administration had nearly 65 dollars.
Dollar for dollar, the Ghani administration should have performed 65 times better than the Taliban but they didn’t.
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When a country snatches veil from the face of a woman on the street, we consider it a perfectly acceptable practice.
When a country advises a woman to dress decorously, we consider it the violation of basic rights.
When a woman covers more of her body when going swimming on the beach, we prohibit her.
When a woman covers less of her body, we cheer her.
Is civilization directly proportional to the acreage of skin on display?
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Are all human lives equally valuable?
Is there some equivalency quotient when calculating the losses? How many Afghan casualties are equal to one American casualty?
Just the more recent example: 13 (or 14, or 15) American soldiers die in bomb blast at Kabul airport, the headlines across the world screamed.
It was only in the seventh paragraph that the story admitted rather reluctantly that 170 Afghans also perished in the same bomb blast.
The bodies of the Afghans were there for all to see. Where were the bodies, coffins or funerals of the American soldiers?
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Al-Qaeda was enemy in Afghanistan but partner in Libya.
Taliban were enemy yesterday but kind of partners today when the specter of ISIS has raised its ugly head in Afghanistan.
Come to think of it, there is credible evidence that the ISIS in Afghanistan is the sidearm of the American war machine.
Tell us again, what is the definition of hypocrisy?
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Actually, there is no dearth of repulsive questions but let’s move to the umpteenth question which is actually a truckload of questions.
Why do people hate invaders and occupying forces?
Why do people hate those from their own society who collaborate with the invaders?
How do we define who is a terrorist and who is a freedom fighter?
Why do we judge people on the basis of their appearance?
Why can’t there be multiple choices? Why must there be only one choice – The West or the Soviet Union, Capitalism or Communism, America or China, America or Russia, With us or Against us. /// nCa, 3 September 2021