Who is responsible for the death and destruction in Afghanistan?

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Associate Editor, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Conflict, counter-conflict, war has been going on in Afghanistan for almost fifty years. Soviet forces came first. The Mujahideen groups removed them. They were removed by the Taliban. Northern Alliance removes Taliban. Then came the US-backed Hamid Karzai government. Then the government of Ashraf Ghani took the chrage. And finally the Taliban came again. It is unknown at this time how long they will stay. Afghanistan is still in the throes of instability.

These past or present shifts have not been peaceful. The whole country is on the path of blood, death and destruction. Afghans have become the world's second and Asia's top refugees. I don't know how many women, children and people have died. Who is responsible for this long period of conflict, death, destruction and loss?

Ordinary people in Afghanistan can ask the answer to this question. They can make demands like that famous dialogue of Kolkata's famous film 'Sobar Upory' acted by Uttam Kumar and Chabi Biswas. In the film, the son defends his father and wins to free his father Chabi Biswas, who was convicted in a false case. ‘Give me back those twelve years'. Not only the dialogue but also the expression of a helpless proletariat as portrayed in the picture, the fate of the entire Afghan nation seems to be in such a miserable, helpless situation. Who will give them back so many years, so much blood, so much death, so much destruction?

The United States is assessing the pros and cons of the Afghan question. There is intense debate over the highly sensitive Afghanistan issue. Ignoring those arguments at all, President Joe Biden called his decision "correct." Biden's retreat from Afghanistan in the US national interest appears to be "far-sighted" in the "cost of war" project described by two well-known American universities. However, the question remains in the face of divided American public opinion as to whether Bush, Obama, Trump, who sent troops to Afghanistan, were right or whether Biden made the right decision by withdrawing troops. All this is now circulating in American think tanks and scholars.

On the other hand, the Kennedy School at Harvard University and the Watson Institute at Brown University have calculated the enormous casualties of the Afghan war which justified Biden's withdrawal. This is because it is clear from a review of how many lives the United States has paid and taken in Afghanistan in years of incessant war at unlimited cost.

According to Cost of War, 6,307 Americans have died in Afghanistan in the last 20 years. 2,461 of them are American soldiers and 3,846 American contractors. On the other hand, the number of Taliban killed in 20 years is 51,191.

In addition to the United States, the multinational NATO forces came down to overthrow the Taliban. In addition to the United States, which is a member of NATO, there are about 30 countries, including Britain. In 20 years, 1,141 American soldiers have died in those countries. In addition, 66000 Afghan soldiers and police who fought for the United States have died. Even among the volunteer organizations that stood by the army by extending a helping hand in emergencies, 444 of them were killed in the army-Taliban clashes.

Many journalists have been killed in different stages of the 20-year long war. The last name in the list is Pulitzer Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui. Another 71 people like him have lost their lives trying to cover the situation in Afghanistan. They were all on the battlefield.

But the worst news is that 47,245 non-Afghan civilians were killed on the battlefield those who are living in Afghanistan at a price. Even before leaving, 10 members of the same Afghan family were killed in a US drone strike in response to a rocket attack at the airport. Seven of them are children and minors.

According to the Watson Institute at Brown University, the United States has spent a total of 2.313 trillion since its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The issue of spending has only happened inside Afghanistan. Apart from this, there is a huge amount of rehabilitation, compensation, medical and insurance expenses for the disabled. The lion's share of America's post-9/11 war spending has been spent on Afghanistan. And during this period, about three lakh people on both sides have been injured, killed or displaced; the picture of the humanitarian catastrophe is also tragic.

As a result, Biden's departure from the hugely costly, unprofitable and fruitless 'Afghan project' in view of America's financial decline, unemployment and other crises, which have hit the Corona hard, has eroded America's 'image' or 'supremacy'. This money will now be able to be spent on urgent public health and other socio-humanitarian sectors.

However, the US military left Afghanistan a minute before the 31st of August touched the calendar. The whole world was stunned to see the last American soldier walking with his head bowed in the dark of night. Many at the time thought the regret of an almost paralyzed American soldier was, ‘Did we lose so much to see this day!’ Yet Biden stands on the ground of reality, far removed from emotion. Veteran Biden has calculated the real gains and losses of the American national interest without looking at the insanity of the Taliban or the anger of the opposition. In his address to the nation shortly after the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden reiterated his commitment to Afghan policy. He said the decision to withdraw troops was "absolutely correct". He claimed that this was the only way to end the longest war in the history of the country. It has also put an end to failed attempts to rebuild other countries with the help of the army.

But Biden assured that 98 percent of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan had been rescued. He made a "promise" to repatriate the remaining 200-300 Americans safely. "I am responsible for the decision," he said. 'Someone might say it should have been done earlier. I do not agree with that. If the army had withdrawn sooner, civil war would have started in that country, 'he said.

When Biden was vice president, he opposed Afghan policy and troop deployments. Despite being elected president, he emphasized the need to withdraw troops. Repeatedly he said, 'I believe it is a very accurate and prudent decision. I promised my countrymen that I would end the war. We were not ready to continue this war forever. '

Biden, however, vowed that the United States would continue to fight terrorism even if it withdraws troops. According to analysts, Biden's war will not be aggressive, it will be tactical as he has done firmly on the Afghan issue. While former President Donald Trump has strongly condemned Biden's Afghan policy, Biden has stuck to his decision.

As a result, in the near future, the mountain-like 'Cost of War' and the real responsibility for the humanitarian catastrophe will be determined in Afghanistan. The answer to the question of whether Bush, Obama and Trump were right in sending troops to Afghanistan or whether Biden made the right decision by withdrawing troops will be known one day. History must evaluate the activities of the Soviet, American, Mujahideen, Taliban, etc. forces. If not today, but in the near future, the Afghan generation will surely raise these questions. One day it will be recorded, who or what has forced the country called Afghanistan to cross the path of so many lives and destruction?