U.S. failure in Afghanistan “long time coming,” “failure of political will” – expert

News Ghana, Latest Updates and Breaking News of Ghana, xinhua, https://ift.tt/2UsKOBU

The U.S. failure in Afghanistan was “a long time coming” and “essentially a failure of political will,” said a renowned U.S. expert.

“The events of Aug. 15 in Kabul were a long time coming,” Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Institute for China-America Studies, told Xinhua on Monday, referring to the Taliban’s retaking Kabul on Sunday, as well as U.S. troops’ recent chaotic evacuation from the Afghan capital.

“At the end of the day, the U.S. failure was essentially a failure of political will,” said Gupta, adding it was first of all a failure of will to “politically build Afghanistan from the ground up after defeating the Taliban militarily in 2001.”

Second, it was a failure of will, “once victory in nation-building had become an impossible option, to frame a credible successor political dispensation in Kabul that would also feature the Taliban, and thereafter honorably implement a negotiated drawdown of troops,” he said.

Gupta said the war in Afghanistan had “essentially degenerated into a draw by 2008 itself. And after 2011 when (Osama) Bin Laden was killed, there was no good reason for the U.S. military to hang on indefinitely in Afghanistan.”

What the United states lacked was “the political courage to force the government in Kabul and the Taliban into a power-sharing deal,” because former President Barack Obama’s administration did not want such a political grouping, he said.

So it pretended to continue the fight, with the support of America’s generals who were only too happy to pretend that they would bring the Taliban to heel if they were given an additional six-month authorization to continue fighting, he said.

This was the same case with former President Donald Trump’s administration, until it bit the bullet in mid-2019 and decided to opt for a negotiated drawdown with the Taliban, said Gupta.

However, it could not summon the political will to make this case domestically or force the Afghan government to come on board the drawdown, Gupta noted, adding the Afghan government chose to dither and hoping that President Joe Biden’s administration would opt for a different strategy.

“In the end, Biden stuck with Trump’s strategy, but failed like the Trump team to carry through on its negotiated commitments with the Taliban, and just exited the theater altogether,” he said.

“As its power gradually faded, the West and its Afghan representatives could neither muster the political courage nor the intelligence to frame a durable successor arrangement,” Gupta said, adding this is an indictment of the U.S. and the West’s dim understanding of international relations.

“The post-Vietnam-era generation that governs in power in Washington and in other Western capitals has never quite ever understood the nexus of power and norms or law in international relations, since for them international affairs are primarily an extension of domestic politics, and we are tasting the policy implications of this feeble cocktail of power and norms supersized today in Afghanistan,” he said. Enditem

News Ghana, Latest Updates and Breaking News of Ghana, xinhua, https://ift.tt/2UsKOBU

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