Afghanistan Future Ambiguous after 18 Years of War


The start of fall of every year reminds Afghanistan people of a new war in their country’s history, a war imposed on them by the US after the 9/11 attacks.

When the Afghans are asked about their conditions after the US invasion and collapse of the Taliban rule, many of them comment with skepticism about their circumstances after nearly 20 years of the US military presence and they hardly look at their situation contently. The reality of today’s Afghanistan should be looked at with skepticism and uncertainty. The war that started in 2001 by the US has not finished yet and there is no sign Afghanistan moves to stability and security.

9/11: Incident or plot? 

What happened on September 11, 2001, in Manhattan downtown as the US economic hub marked the start of a US invasion of Afghanistan. Under the cover of countering terrorism and the fear the 9/11 attacks caused among the American citizens, the administration of George W. Bush waged its war at midnight of October 7 with airstrikes targeting key cities of Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat.

However, since the beginning, it was a matter of doubt how the World Trade Center’s twin towers collapsed by two planes crashing into them. The doubts related to the 9/11 incident were not limited to the way the WTC’s towers collapsed. The disappearance of the planes’ black boxes, finding the passports of the hijackers, and the hole in the Pentagon’s western façade invited to questions about the veracity of the official American narrative of the attack. Kurt Sonnenfeld, the official cameraman of the administration at the time of the attack, talked about a suspicious issue he faced, saying that when the North Tower collapsed, the Six World Trade Center, the building of the US customs, was blown and reduced to rubbles, adding that there is still huge ambiguously surrounding the link between the two simultaneous collapses.

Furthermore, Dr Stephen Jones, a professor at the University of Birmingham, spent a long time researching about the attacks, concluding, based on samples found, that an extremely strong explosive named nano-thermite was certainly used to demolish the twin towers. This meant that before the attacks, bombs were stashed in the towers. Jones along with a team of investigators argue that the thermal power caused burning of the plane’s fuel could never demolish the twin towers. “Engineered explosion” was the only cause of the huge buildings collapse, they asserted.

Regardless of what caused the buildings to fall, after the 9/11 attacks, the US foreign policy shifted to an aggressive phase.

After the attacks, the West Asia region underwent waves of violence and wars by the US. Washington recognized Al-Qaeda as the main attacker and invaded Afghanistan, the bastion of the terrorist organization. The next victim was Iraq that within 20 days was occupied by the American troops who came as a follow-up to the heavy-handed air campaign.

The wars and developments, coming to serve the US lust for strengthened global hegemony, added to suspicion around the 9/11 attacks and drove to the notion that the attacks were faked and preplanned scenarios.

While Afghanistan is approaching its third presidential elections after the collapse of the Taliban, the clashes between the government forces and militias continue, showing no signs of calm and end of the war after 18 years.

Many analysts suggest that the continuation of such conditions in Afghanistan stems from two major factors:

Peace negotiations impasse 

Less than a month ago, there was strong optimism about the advances in the talks with the Taliban and a finalized deal between the US-Taliban representatives. The two sides held nearly 10 sessions of talks in the Qatari capital Doha. The talks created a storing expectation of a peace deal ending the war in the Central Asian nation. While the world’s eyes were on an outcome of Doha dialogue, the US President Donald Trump turned everything on its head announcing on Twitter that he canceled an imminent peace deal with the militant organization. His pretext was the death of an American soldier killed in Afghanistan as the talks unfolded. Many analysts go beyond the pretext arguing that the Taliban talks were simply an election game for the president.

Before the cancellation announcement, many neoconservatives in the US had called on Trump to halt talks with the Taliban. He responded affirmatively just hours before the final round of talks was scheduled to begin, hoping to save the support of the politicians who see peace with the Taliban and exit from Afghanistan a new loss for Washington.

Announcing the talks with Taliban “dead” unleashed rejuvenated waves of violence to Afghanistan cities, killing the optimism about the finalization of a deal to allow the country to see calm after decades.

Terrorism progression 

Under the shadow of war, terrorism also grew in Afghanistan, particularly over the past few years. Since the ISIS terrorist group was announced defeated in Syria and Afghanistan as its main rise locations, many predicted that it will move to Central Asia and mainly to Afghanistan where insecurity and government’s weakness to tighten control over the whole country allowed it to rebuild its power. The prediction turned to be largely correct.

ISIS is majorly present in the east of Afghanistan. Achin District of Nangarhar province is the stronghold of the terrorist group. Despite its being a huge risk, so far the US-led and government forces declined to take effective action to cleanse it. This is perhaps because counterterrorism war is overlooked now giving place to war with the Taliban.

The continued civil war in Afghanistan and the daily clashes with the Taliban take the fight against the ISIS off the priority of the central government. This ignorance allows for ISIS serious moves in the country. In fact, over the past two years, Afghanistan turned into a place of convenience for the ISIS due to ongoing war and as long as the war continues, terrorism will continue to expand. Thus, the most evident outcome of the 18-year US Afghanistan war is the expansion of terrorism.