Afghanistan: Future tense

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Thousands of Afghan citizens have been flocking the airports and the borders in a desperate attempt to flee the country. The moment the Taliban stormed into the Presidential Palace; Afghanistan was lost! The highways jammed and runways were run over by men, women and children alike as the Taliban forces snatched the seat of power to itself. Taliban forces took to the streets, ransacked government establishments, in jubilation over their triumph. Meanwhile, the erstwhile Afghanistan President fled the country as Kabul got run over by Taliban forces. The United States of America who had claimed that the Afghanistan national army was capable enough of handling the Taliban now, was left red-faced when the Taliban forced through the Afghan cities claiming power over the country. The country’s fragile, US-made democracy crumbled like a sandcastle, once the US troops were gone.

The desperation in evacuating to US personnel, citizens, and allies from Kabul as the Taliban took the capital is being compared to the chaotic US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975, which saw the US and South Vietnamese officials scramble into helicopters on the US embassy roof as the Vietcong pummelled Saigon. That was another conflict where the US military, after eleven years of open warfare was forced to withdraw against an opponent whom it vastly outmatched, militarily. Some observers say that Afghanistan is way worse in many ways, as the Taliban are neither as large or well-equipped as the Vietcong were, nor are backed by a superpower. Having said this, how can one forget about the USA’s ill-fated adventure in Iraq. Launched shortly after Afghanistan, contrary to the drunken optimism of the Bush administration and its media toadies, the war wasn’t quick, easy, or successful. The US had to learn the painful way that simply removing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power wouldn’t automatically lead to democracy, peace, or stability. To some, the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan even looks familiar to when the Iraqi forces collapsed like a house of cards against ISIS in 2014.

Many today argue how far US policymakers actually buy into the ‘indispensable nation’ notion they sell to the world. But what’s not debatable is that it’s something they want other people to believe. Otherwise, why would they repeat the same thing over and over again proving that in fact the mighty US is not that mighty after all. But what the world forgets to see or hear are the tears and cries of a common Afghan. An Afghan today has lost or should we say robbed of his identity as tries to hold on to that plane’s wheels but, alas! in vain. Many others who could not muster the courage to flee, are now left to be dictated by the Taliban. A mother who made it out of the country on a US plane with her child recalls, “It was unreal, like a cinema. Where the bad guys are after you and all you can do is run!” A few others died trying! It is high time that we humans, as a species, must introspect or the future maybe even darker.

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