U.S. is scorching the earth in Afghanistan: Turkish attorney

U.S. is scorching the earth in Afghanistan: Turkish attorney – Tehran%20Times

TEHRAN – Washington is scorching the earth over the fallback lines while retreating, a Turkish lawyer says, noting that the U.S. is deepening the gap in Afghanistan. 

“As the United States is withdrawing from the region, it is deepening the gaping hole it had left behind, which could lead to unprecedented political and military instability, as much as can,” Onur Sinan Guzaltan tells the Tehran%20Times.
    U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by 11 September is seen as a move designed to leave a power vacuum in a country that brings together Asian powers like China, Iran and Russia.

Renewed destabilization in Afghanistan can harm neighbors greatly.

“The U.S. army is scorching the earth over the fallback lines while retreating, similar to the withdrawal of the Nazi armies during World War II,” Sinan Guzaltan remarks.
“The ways to scorch the earth today are fueling ethnic and sectarian tensions in the region.”

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: How do you see America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan? Why is the U.S. talking about negotiations with the Taliban after 20 years of war?

A: It is now a fact accepted by the entire world that the American empire is in a political, economic and military collapse.

The United States is already struggling to overcome its own economic and social problems in domestic policies, while also being far from holding onto its unipolar world order in its foreign policies. At this point, the United States lacks the ability and the capacity to fight a war with many fronts.

The American political elite is already aware of the multipolar world reality and is currently trying to develop policies accordingly.

The U.S. decision to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan should be evaluated through this framework.

Iran and China as neighbors to Afghanistan have been taking a stance against the United States for many years.

And the recent developments show that Pakistan has also shifted away from its Atlantic allies, and is moving towards a policy of balance between the United States and China. The Pakistani officials have repeatedly announced that they do not want another U.S. base on their territories.

On the other hand, we also know that Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are diplomatically distant from the United States and closer to Russia.

The European members of the Atlantic Alliance are also turning towards policies that are not as closely engaged with the United States as they used to be in the past.

In short, the Americans whose political and military logistics lines have been cut off, have chosen to leave Afghanistan before they suffer a crushing defeat.

This situation, of course, does not mean that the U.S. interests in Afghanistan, which we can call the heart of Central Asia, have perished.

As the United States is withdrawing from the region, it is deepening the gaping hole it had left behind, which could lead to unprecedented political and military instability.
I resemble this U.S. strategy to a “vacuum” analogy.

The U.S. army is scorching the earth over the fallback lines while retreating, similar to the withdrawal of the Nazi armies during World War II.

The ways to scorch the earth today are; fueling ethnic and sectarian tensions in the region. In an area that is vacuumed out this way, a political, military, economic and social vacuum is being created, that sucks everything into its void and creating constant instability.

That is the U.S. plan for Afghanistan. They are thinking “Yes, we had to withdraw, but let us create such civil unrest that would also not allow our rivals to have smooth relationships with Afghanistan either… On the other hand, this instability we have created in Afghanistan would also spread over the region…” That is their mentality.

As for the U.S. meeting with the Taliban, this is not a new thing. We still remember photos of former American National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski with Taliban militants who were hosted at the White House in the midst of their fight against the USSR.

And today, whether you like it or not, the Taliban has become a political actor in the region and are negotiating not only with the Americans but also with the Chinses, the Iranians and other forces in the region.

Q: Why has Turkey decided to remain in Afghanistan?  Don’t you think that Ankara may be caught in a futile war?

A: Turkey has some deep-rooted relations with Afghanistan. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk supported former Afghan leader Amanullah Khan in making reforms.

And in recent history, the Turkish military has maintained its military presence in Afghanistan at a reasonable distance from both parties. And as far as I remember, not a single attack has ever taken place in Afghanistan against the Turkish Army. The Turkish Army has undertaken a rather humanitarian mission to help the Afghan people.

After the NATO withdrawal was announced, Turkish officials have said they are willing to stay in Afghanistan and take the mission of securing the Kabul International Airport.

But there is not enough information on the terms of this mission yet. Staying in cooperation with the Americans in Afghanistan will surely not bring anything positive for Turkey.

And the right decision would be for the Turkish Army to maintain its presence in the country with the approval of the Afghan people and in cooperation with the neighboring countries.

Q: Do you think Afghanistan’s neighbors can implement an initiative like the Astana process to restore security in the country?

A: Yes. The reality of our time is the multipolarity and new international mechanisms as a natural consequence of this multipolarity.

Who could have predicted 10 years ago, that Turkey, Russia and Iran would cooperate under a single mechanism in Syria?

Today, the same principles also apply in rebuilding Afghanistan. China, Iran, neighboring Central Asian Republics, Russia and Turkey can clear the rubbles in Afghanistan left behind by the West, and help the independent Afghan people to build a new country.

Afghanistan and Syria are the test sites of the newly emerging world order; if the Asian and the Eurasian countries do not act in greed as the Westerners did, and if they can act on the principles of win-win and respect for their internal affairs, the new cooperation lines that have arisen, will bring stability and prosperity to the region.

Otherwise, the destruction and the fire that will devastate the entire region, will continue.

Q: Don’t you predict a renewed civil war in Afghanistan? How can Afghan people advance an intra-Afghan dialogue?

A: Afghanistan has been plagued by wars for many decades. Foreign occupations and civil unrest have unfortunately come without giving rest and have left behind a country that was left in ruins.

Today, the fate of Afghanistan rests in the hands of the Afghan people. However, it is also necessary for the countries in the region, to strive for Afghanistan’s prosperity.

As I mentioned above, if countries in the region develop policies through ethnic and sectarian tensions in Afghanistan, similar to what the West has done, it will not only be Afghanistan that will lose but the region in its entirety.

We need to develop some constructive policies. For this, we need dialogue and new approaches. And the way to develop such new approaches is through open channels of dialogue that are free of prejudgments.

Afghanistan’s remedy is through a structure similar to a government of national accord, which respects the choices of the Afghan people. The approaches of the countries of the region are also important in these types of initiatives.

Q: What is the impression of Turkish media about recent developments in Afghanistan?

A: Turkish media are deeply confused by President Erdogan’s “politics of balance” between the East and the West.

President Erdogan can one day criticize the Americans in the harshest way, and then he can declare that he will cooperate with the United States in Afghanistan, on the next day.

Likewise, we also have very close ties with Russia and Iran.

The state officials in Turkey call this a “politics of balance”. The current stance on Afghanistan should also be evaluated within this framework.

However, as the lines between the West and the East becoming clearer and the field of movement between those axes is getting narrower, the “politics of balance” pursued by the AKP government seem far from sustainable in the future.

Whoever will come to power in Turkey, it will be a time for them to make a firm and clear choice between the East and the West; it does not matter if it is Erdogan or anyone else in the future.

Will it be the collapsing Atlantic alliance? Or will it be rising Asia and the multipolar world order?

Today, this question is in front of the Turkish political elite.


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