mandag 16. august 2021

Simon Jenkins: It has taken 20 years to prove the invasion of Afghanistan was totally unnecessar

The fall of Kabul was inevitable. It marks the end of a post-imperial western fantasy. Yet the west’s reaction beggars belief. Call it a catastrophe, a humiliation, a calamitous mistake, if it sounds good. All retreats from empire are messy. This one took 20 years, but the end was at least swift.

The US had no need to invade Afghanistan. The country was never a “terrorist state” like Libya or Iran. It was not at war with the US; indeed the US had aided its rise to power against the Russians in 1996. The Taliban had hosted Osama bin Laden in his mountain lair through his friendship with the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. At an immediate post-9/11 “loya jirga” in the southern city of Kandahar, younger leaders pressed the mullah to expel Bin Laden. Pakistan would probably have forced his surrender sooner or later. After the 2001 invasion the US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld demanded that George Bush “punish and get out”.