This week marks two years since the United States and NATO abandoned Afghanistan in ruins. The country is wracked with poverty and devastating war impact. The same fate awaits Ukraine, except on a far greater scale.
A key likely difference is that the political and military consequences for the U.S.-led bloc will be unavoidably calamitous for Washington’s presumptions of imperial power.
Two years ago on August 15, 2021, Taliban insurgents swept into the Afghan capital, Kabul, ousting the U.S.-backed president, Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country. By the end of that month, all American and allied NATO forces withdrew in a chaotic, hurried retreat from Afghanistan that saw desperate people clinging to the undercarriages of aircraft as they took off from runways. It was a debacle on U.S. President Joe Biden’s watch.
The forced abandonment of Afghanistan marked the end of 20 years of U.S. military occupation in the Central Asian nation. The Americans had invaded in November 2001 out of dubious revenge for the alleged 9/11 terror attacks which occurred two months prior in New York and Pennsylvania and on the Pentagon headquarters in Virginia state. The official narrative beggars belief.
In any case, the military quagmire Washington subsequently created in Afghanistan became futile and unsustainable. Biden eventually got his nation out of the mess, but he hardly deserves praise for ending an “endless war”.
Biden tried to make a virtue out of a disgrace and a colossal criminal episode. Tellingly, no sooner had the U.S. brought its troops home, and Washington’s militarism was at it again, stoking the conflict in Ukraine and intensifying hostility towards both Russia and China.
The Taliban fought the Americans and their NATO partners-in-crime to a standstill despite overwhelming odds against them. The Islamist movement is in power for the second time having previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when the Americans invaded under the cynical banner of “Operation Enduring Freedom”. You have to give it to the Americans and their Western media servants for having total audacity in Orwellian deception and self-delusion.
Abandoning Afghanistan should be a matter of acute shame for the Americans, as well as grounds for war crimes tribunals for prosecuting Biden, his predecessors and other Western leaders. The Americans and their NATO lapdogs went there purportedly to “build democracy” and defeat the Taliban whom they accused of complicity in the 9/11 atrocity. Those accusations were always flimsy, if not preposterous. The U.S.-led war on Afghanistan like the contemporaneous one waged on Iraq (2003-2012), which was equally disastrous, was always about Washington asserting imperial power and pursuing notions of “full-spectrum dominance” over geopolitical rivals, Russia and China.
Remarkably, but not surprisingly, there was little coverage this week in the Western media about the second anniversary of the Afghanistan debacle. The shameful retreat of the U.S. forces is on par with their rag-tag withdrawal from Saigon in former South Vietnam in 1975 at the hands of Vietnamese insurgents.
What little Western media coverage there was tended to perversely lay the blame for poverty and the ruinous aftermath of war on the Taliban government. Some 15.5 million Afghans or nearly 40 percent of the population are in dire food insecurity, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. A major factor causing the deprivation is the seizure of $7 billion in Afghanistan’s central bank assets by Washington in response to the Taliban takeover. Washington continues to refuse any handover because of “human rights concerns”.
The glaring fact – absurdly ignored by Western media – is that Afghanistan’s struggle for recovery is a result of the 20-year destruction that the U.S. and NATO inflicted on that country.
The same horrendous legacy of war and military machinations can be seen in several other nations where Washington and its Western accomplices have inserted themselves under the guise of “building democracy”: Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, among others.
Currently, in the West African state of Niger, the Americans and their European neocolonialist allies are preparing a military invasion to reverse a popular coup carried out against a Western-backed puppet president last month.
The NATO war machine in service to its American master never pauses from its ruinous trundling over nations deemed to be targeted for U.S. imperialist interests. How much more proof is needed to demonstrate NATO as an imperialist terror organization?
Ukraine is facing a similar tragic fate. The 18-month-old conflict is a proxy war against Russia instigated by Washington and its Western lackeys in NATO. The slaughter in that country continues unabated because Western powers relentlessly pursue their anti-Russia agenda, paid for with the blood of Ukrainians and subsidized by the Western public. The latter has been hoodwinked by an unremitting barrage of lies and deceitful war propaganda by the servile Western media, which bends over backwards to cover up the vile Nazi nature of the Kiev regime and suppress all historical context leading up to the conflict.
In the same way that Afghanistan and countless other nations were finally jettisoned by Washington when it tires of its machinations through failure, Ukraine will also be cast aside like a soiled rag. Ukrainians will endure for decades to come the horror and hardship of war as a failed state created by U.S. imperialism.
The Kiev regime under puppet president Vladimir Zelensky has gorged itself on rampant corruption in the same way that the U.S.-backed Kabul regime did before the Taliban kicked it out.
Ukraine has no chance of winning against superior Russian forces. The despicable Kiev regime infested with Nazis will one day collapse under its own weight of corruption, and Washington and its European vassals will slink away to leave Ukraine like a fuming cesspit, albeit extracting its natural wealth forever through debt repayments and foreign capital ownership. Unless, of course, Ukrainians take a radically different political path, perhaps reuniting with Russia as Crimea and the Donbass regions have done.
For the moment, Washington and its imperial partners continue the charade of boasting about their support to Ukraine for “as long as it takes”. But they and their propagandist media know that the game is up as Russia succeeds in taking on the might of the 31-member NATO military bloc.
NATO has fatally embroiled itself in a proxy war in Ukraine in a way that will rebound much more consequentially than its previous criminal escapades in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The financial repercussions for Europe in particular are already manifesting with a vengeance of state fiscal duress, economic malaise, bankruptcies, and public collapse. The problems of mass immigration from NATO wars will also compound unbearably.
But more fatally, perhaps, is the huge political impact of the abject failure that is awaiting Washington and NATO once the reality of defeat in Ukraine becomes unavoidable. Western media are already coyly admitting the debacle. That debacle will amplify in time. There will be much gnashing of teeth and recriminations over the U.S.-led fiasco in Ukraine. The fallout among NATO members over Afghanistan was palpable; over Ukraine, it will be explosive for the bloc’s brittle sense of unity and purpose.
If Afghanistan can be perceived as a disaster for Western pretensions and reckless deception, Ukraine will rebound with even more shattering repercussions.
A day of reckoning is due for the decades-long criminal U.S.-led warmongering via its NATO war machine. That day may be sooner than realized.
The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.