Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:
The US removed the Taliban movement from power in 2001 only to withdraw from Afghanistan twenty years later in a handover to the Taliban the day the last American soldier left Afghanistan- just after midnight local time on the 31st of August. The Taliban Special Forces, “Badri 313,” took control of the military section of Kabul Airport following the departure of the US forces- who destroyed or demilitarised the planes that they could not take with them. Afghanistan is shaking off the debris of the bloody wars that have torn it to pieces for decades. However, Western military withdrawal from Central Asia does not mean the end of Afghanistan’s problems. The Taliban expelled Western forces and discovered a collapsed state eroded by corruption, poverty and lack of infrastructure in most of the 33 provinces. The Taliban is preparing to form its new government following marathon meetings in Kandahar without Panjshir province that offered “unacceptable conditions”, hence expected to face military confrontations according to Taliban sources. The new government is also expected to confront the challenge of linking Afghanistan with neighbouring countries and the rest of the world, including relationships to establish with its previous occupier, the United States of America.
When the Taliban were in control of Kabul in the 1990s, Mullah Muhammad Omar did not need bodyguards to protect him. Indeed, he enjoyed widespread support in many parts of the country, including the capital Kabul. The Taliban Emir refused to hand over Osama bin Laden (despite knowing that this refusal would cost them dearly) because he was a guest, which constitutes a privileged position in this part of the world for many tribal leaders. However, Mullah Omar repeatedly warned Al-Qaeda, which did not comply, after it attacked the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the US destroyer Cole in Aden. After years of US costly occupation, the Taliban movement has learned the boundaries and agreed with Al-Qaeda to prohibit military action against any bordering country, nearby (with a common border) or far from Afghan territory.
Until 2001, the world recognised that the Taliban had managed to put an end to opium cultivation. However, the US occupation turned Afghanistan into a failed state politically, economically, and socially, where corruption and drug cultivation spread and even doubled.
The US planned to occupy Afghanistan for two reasons: eliminate al-Qaeda and establish democracy. Both objectives failed following years of bloody wars, leaving the country in a state of economic devastation. However, the withdrawal of the US doesn’t mean the end of its influence in Afghanistan. America is quite prepared to put pressure on the Taliban government using the pretext of “humanitarian and medical aids” – which Afghanistan desperately needs and that the Taliban would find it hard to refuse. The Taliban called a meeting in Kandahar that included top leaders. Those present were the national reconciliation chief Abdullah Abdullah, representatives of former President Hamid Karzai, of Hazaras in Mazar-i-Sharif, officials of the province of Panjshir (with whom negotiation between Ahmad Masood and the Taliban seems to be reaching a dead end), and other tribal leaders and influential officials who had different roles in previous governments. For the first time, the leader and emir of the Taliban, Mullah Haibatulah Akhundzada, and
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Proofread by: Maurice Brasher