U.S. leaving Afghans over a barrel of extremists: Pakistani professor

U.S. leaving Afghans over a barrel of extremists: Pakistani professor – Tehran%20Times

TEHRAN – Assistant Professor at School of Politics and International Relations in Quaid-i-Azam University says that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will have severe consequences both for Afghanistan as well as the region.

“American baseless claims to establish harmony and democracy in Afghan society are badly exposed and once again the U.S. has left oppressed Afghan people over a barrel of extremists and warlords,” Syed Qandil Abbas tells the Tehran%20Times.

U.S. President Joe Biden is withdrawing all American troops from Afghanistan, completing the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that drew the United States into its longest war.

Political pundits say Biden can’t speak the obvious truths about his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan so rapidly. Like the Vietnam War, the U.S. war on Afghanistan will continue to haunt Americans. It lost much more than it gained in the 20-year war. 

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban regime for hosting al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden considered responsible for the 9/11 attacks. However, the Taliban have emerged stronger, forcing Washington to sit and negotiate with it.

At least 27 children have been killed in Afghanistan in three days amid fierce fighting between the Taliban and government forces, the UN said on Monday.

The UN children’s agency UNICEF said it was shocked by the “rapid escalation of grave violations against children”.

The Taliban have taken six regional capitals since Friday.

This is the text of the interview:

Q: What are the repercussions of U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan?

A: U.S. miscalculations, while interfering in different regions have resulted in intense crises for regional and international peace. Repercussions of U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will have severe consequences both for Afghanistan as well as the region. American baseless claims to establish harmony and democracy in Afghan society are badly exposed and once again the U.S. has left oppressed Afghan people over a barrel of extremists and warlords. Similarly, U.S.’s bad planned withdrawal will create serious complications and a challenge, particularly for Afghanistan’s neighboring countries.   

   
Q: Pakistan’s prime minister has said his country won’t host American bases. What are the main reasons for such a shift while Pakistan collaborated with the Bush administration to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda in 2001?

A: Pakistan played an important role in Afghanistan during the last two decades in collaboration with the U.S.-led war on Afghanistan, pursuing a Western claimed peace mission. Pakistan’s main priority was to safeguard its already volatile borders with Afghanistan and in this way, more than 70,000 Pakistanis lost their lives and it faced billions of dollars in financial loss. 

But Pakistan’s role has never been acknowledged by the U.S.-led Western alliance. Rather Islamabad has remained under pressure under the “Do More” mantra. Pakistan has learnt from its mistakes and now there is a consensus about refusing U.S. demand for bases on Pakistan’s soil. PM Imran Khan has adopted a logical narrative that “we will be a partner in peace but not in conflict.”        

“Taliban’s basic ideology is still the same but they have changed their strategy.”

Q: Many are concerned about the violence and brutality in Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal. Do you think that the Taliban have changed after 20 years of war?

A: Taliban’s basic ideology is still the same but they have changed their strategy to achieve their goals. Particularly their new generation is well aware of the domestic and international implications of violent and brutal acts but at the same time dominance of the Taliban’s traditional leadership can’t be ignored. The ongoing military campaign of the Taliban is showing that the Taliban have not changed after 20 years of war but they have changed their strategy and approach. They are well calculated to counter international pressures and defeating U.S.-trained Afghan forces. Till now Taliban forces are avoiding ruthless acts against their religious, ethnic and even political rivals.  

Q: What are the main opportunities of collaboration between Tehran and Islamabad to restore peace in Afghanistan?

A: This time Islamabad and Tehran are in a better position to help in restoring peace in Afghanistan. Iran’s main reservation has been U.S. military presence in Afghanistan which is almost over now.  Pakistan is also having certain grievances about U.S.’s non-coordinating approach and giving a soft milieu to India in Afghanistan. I believe that the role of extra-regional powers has been destructive in Afghanistan, but neighbors can play a constructive role in restoring peace in this country. Iran and Pakistan can bring different Afghan groups closer to each other and can play a key role in the reconstruction of this country. 

Q: Do you think superpowers like China may put themselves at risk to be involved in the Afghanistan conflict?

A: For the time being China’s involvement in Afghanistan is purely economic and have never been opposed by any considerable Afghan group rather almost all the Afghan groups including the Taliban are having a welcoming response towards China. Moreover Afghanistan’s neighbors are also not having any reservations about Chain’s role in Afghanistan. China’s heavy investment in Pakistan (CPEC) and Iran can pave the way for constructive regional connectivity and cooperation which ultimately will have positive impacts on the situation in Afghanistan.  



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