Wining War in Afghanistan at what price?

Editorial/ March 10, 2021

US foreign policy toward Afghanistan since 2001 and the defeat of the religious extremist regime known as the Islamic Emirate, which was heavily affiliated with international terrorist networks, including al-Qaeda, was much turbulent.

The White House has taken different stances at various times and has left a picture which indicates the only superpower in the world is pursuing a policy of “trial and error” at exorbitant financial and human costs.

Creating such an image of the foreign policy of a country claiming to be a political giant has repeatedly raised speculations about its defeat in Afghanistan, and it has been said that the Afghanistan case may be archived next to Iraq and Vietnam documents, but it seems that Washington does not intend to fail the game and is trying to seize the final point of the Afghan war.

Peace Plan of Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation and negotiator with Taliban, has been appointed for the purpose of establishing a Joint or Interim Government based on winning the game and will continue emphasizing its implementation.

With the inauguration of the new US administration under President Joe Biden, it was expected that this approach would be adopted and the US State Department might support the current Afghanistan system than the Taliban; But Mr. Khalilzad’s recent visit to Kabul and Secretary of State Blinken’s threatening letter showed that the plan has not been removed from US foreign policy lines and is even more insistent on its implementation than in the past..

Assessing Washington’s new position while the Doha peace talks have failed shows that US may still make a strategic mistake or fail to maintain the necessary balance between the parties involved in Afghanistan, just as failing to strike regional balance between India and Pakistan.

The position of the Afghan government is on the other side of this issue; a position that has been accompanied by extremism in the past and now, and perhaps emotional points of view can lead national destiny toward facing crisis.

The rejection of Bilateral Security Agreement by former President Hamid Karzai and the unconditional and even fruitless acceptance of it by the current president, Ashraf Ghani, all indicate a reckless approach to a powerful and strategic partner. This means that we have either been “absolute surrenders” or “total rebels.”

However, neither of these two approaches can lead Afghanistan to salvation in the current turbulent political situation and guide the people to enlightenment.

Although the Presidential Palace and the Vice President Amrullah Saleh’s respond to Blinken’s scathing letter – we do not accept authoritarian peace at any cost— gives them a slightly positive image in public opinion, but the Kabul-Washington confrontation will not be in the public interest by no means.

On the other hand, it seems the White House will eventually have to take the middle ground and avoid surpassing the red line of the democratic values and principles of the Afghanistan political system; Because moving from the current legitimate government towards a participatory or transitional government is neither a good experience nor compatible with Afghanistan’s applicable laws.

Therefore, it would be better for Washington not to destroy the values ​​it has insisted on for more than a decade and paid heavy financial and human costs, just as the presidential palace has agreed to talk about early elections and compromise within the framework of the constitution; Because if this country wants to re-establish a full-fledged extremist government with all its demands in Kabul, it will leave a failed image of itself in the international community and international opinion.