fredag 10. september 2021

As China and Russia align their positions in Afghanistan, the West looks on suspiciously

The U.S. campaign in Afghanistan “was a failed enterprise from the start even though Russia supported it during the first stages,” said former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, commenting on the U.S. withdrawal after a 20-year war. Even American leading political scientists described the U.S. mission as “fatally flawed from the outset” because of impossibility of transforming Afghanistan into a unitary state.

Gorbachev has a unique perspective: In 1989 he oversaw the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, called by some the “graveyard of empires” due to failures to conquer it throughout the 19th and 20th centuries when Russia and England played the “Great Game” seeking control of the territory. The Soviet Union, in an attempt to maintain the loyalty of Afghanistan’s political leadership, initiated a military operation in 1979 that lasted 10 years, with around 15,000 Soviet troops killed. Now the United States has contributed to the list of failed missions, adding the lives of almost 2,500 servicemembers to Afghanistan’s sorrowful track record.