The amazement that's been expressed by everyone in the media at the success of the Taliban in recapturing their homeland is indicative of the warped societies we have created for ourselves in the West. Make no mistake, many smaller groups within Afghanistan are terrified at the sudden and decisive shift of power, and they have good reasons to be concerned.
Over the last few days, one thing has become glaringly obvious. Has it not occurred to the world at large that the reason the Taliban have literally walked back into power has less to do with the guns they bear and more to do with the popular support they enjoy among local Afghani’s.
No Arab, Middle Eastern, or Central Asian country likes America, let's get that out the way first. Their peoples generally tend to mistrust anyone with western credentials and with very good historic reasons. Their countries have been used, manipulated, commercially raped, and militarized by the West for generations, never for the benefit of the local populations. Afghanistan has arguably suffered more than most.
Now, a group (the Taliban) that enjoys what could arguably be seen as the majority of support among the local population has reclaimed their country from the fleeing infidels. Arabs that are focused on restoring their culture and value systems in a country the West has sought to repeatedly colonize and westernize.
Afghanistan is a textbook case of modern-day imperialism at its worst and any extremism that has stemmed from the region can arguably be traced back to most of the above. Actions have consequences, sadly very rarely exacted on the deserving.
While we may not agree with the various versions of Islamic law extolled by groups within Arab populations, that in no way entitles the West to interfere or to try and fundamentally change the culture of an occupied country for their western version of “better”. Imagine, if you will, the reverse occurring.
Muslim nations occupying the West and enforcing both their religion and culture on the westerner. I’d wager a few dollars, that would encourage a pale-skinned local to arm himself and seek to expel the invader. There is, therefore, nothing surprising about the long-overdue return to ‘Muslim normalcy’ in Afghanistan.
The speed with which the Taliban has orchestrated the complete obliteration of the American installed puppet regime has been staggering, but not the unexpected event everyone describes.
The Afghani have been waiting for decades to reclaim their country and they have acted swiftly, possibly concerned that the power vacuum created by the American withdrawal would tempt other countries to once again attempt to interfere in the region.
The lost generation and the war widows
America has, in its infinite wisdom, created a lost generation of people in Afghanistan, most of who will no doubt be abandoned to their own lot. Women, in particular, were teased and promised a Western lifestyle and freedoms previously unimaginable under a restrictive Islamic government.
These are the real victims in Afghanistan, a product of the years of occupation and attempts by American foreign policy to lure away people from a restrictive way of life by offering them a glimpse of the dreams and aspirations of their western counterparts.
Some women have already braved the new power shift, coming out onto the streets to demand their new rights be protected and that they are recognized as equal citizens by the Taliban.
The U.S. military is the other victim in this sad tale, American lives sacrificed with no clear end goal. It was always going to end the way it’s ended, better then to be brought home now, rather than later, possibly in a body bag. Over the course of the American occupation of Afghanistan, over 2300 U.S. soldiers have paid the ultimate price.
Now as America tries desperately to airlift many of the Afghanis who sided with them during the occupation, thousands more line the fences around the Kabul airport, desperate to escape the wrath of the Taliban. President Biden has said US forces would remain until the evacuation of Americans was finished, even if that meant staying past the August 31 US deadline for complete withdrawal.
What comes next?
It’s a really interesting question. How the Taliban will enforce their ideology on the country is still uncertain. The nature of the takeover has prompted many to hope that retribution will be minimal. For the Taliban, consolidating their power base and grip on the country will be at the top of their priorities,
Many fear a return to the austere interpretation of Islamic law imposed during the previous Taliban rule that ended 20 years ago.
The Taliban may however continue to surprise the world at large as the weeks pass. Their considerable efforts at gaining broad global political recognition over the last few months would be undone by violent reprisals and also serve to drive a wedge between their party and a reasonably large sector of their countrymen.
America is again meddling in the future of Afghanistan, orchestrating a block on a 450 million dollar loan from the IMF to prevent the Taliban access to the funds. Assets invested outside of Afghanistan will also be placed beyond the reach of the Taliban.
The IMF’s announcement came amid pressure from the U.S. Treasury, which holds a controlling share in the Fund, to ensure that Afghanistan’s share of a Special Drawing Rights reserves allocation scheduled for Monday does not fall into Taliban hands.
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