Category Archives: Opinion

Will Afghanistan’s powerful neighbours engage the Taliban?

Source: Al Jazeera

The withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan is inevitably leaving a political vacuum in South and Central Asia. The question that many are asking is who will step in to fill it. Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours – Pakistan, Iran and China – all have special interests in the country that they are likely to pursue with renewed vigour.

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What connects the Holocaust and the Taliban?

Source: Haaretz

Over the past few months, as we’ve watched our country collapse again and taken over by the Taliban, I, and many other Afghans have been experiencing trauma.

We’ve felt under attack from all sides. From the false narrative that Afghans didn’t fight for their country, or the narrative that the Taliban have changed; above all, we’ve been witnessing the desperation of fellow Afghans as everything they have built over the past 20 years has come under threat. 

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Where did the $5tn spent on Afghanistan and Iraq go? Here’s where

Source: Guardian

While Washington bickers about what, if anything, has been achieved after 20 years and nearly $5tn spent on “forever wars”, there is one clear winner: the US defense industry.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the American military relied to an unprecedented degree on private contractors for support in virtually all areas of war operations. Contractors supplied trucks, planes, fuel, helicopters, ships, drones, weapons and munitions as well as support services from catering and construction to IT and logistics. The number of contractors on the ground outnumbered US troops most years of the conflicts. By the summer of 2020, the US had 22,562 contractor personnel in Afghanistan – roughly twice the number of American troops.

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US war on terror is still omnipresent

Source: Deutsche Welle

“Last night in Kabul, the United States ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan. The longest war in American history.” These were the words of President Joe Biden on August 31, one day after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan was concluded.  

Notably, however, Biden asserted in the same speech that “we will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries. We just don’t need to fight a ground war to do it. We have what’s called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground, very few if needed.” 

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Biden Deserves Credit, not Blame for Afghanistan

David Rothkopf, a political scientist, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that “President Biden deserves credit, not blame” for the “political courage to fully end America’s involvement”

In 2018, Rothkopf became a registered foreign agent and media consultant for the United Arab Emirates (The Intercept), but his piece in the Atlantic is still worth a read.

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