What were the global implications of the Taliban being back in control?
Biden and Johnson came under scrutiny for Afghanistan
by: Theodore Williamson
On the 15th of August 2021, the Taliban captured the Afghan capital Kabul declaring the Afghanistan war that spanned over two decades over. Since then, there have been thousands of not only international diplomats but also Afghan citizens risking their lives to board flights at the main international airport in Kabul to get out of the country.
Many of them fear for their safety and rights under Taliban rule, for some it is because they have worked alongside NATO and their allies over the past 20 years, either as translators or soldiers, for others, their gender is enough. Thousands of women who have been given access to education are now trying to leave Afghanistan as they believe that the Taliban are going to rescind these rights and punish the women who have benefited from them.
Picture of Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of Mohammad Rahmani via Unsplash.
In need of development aid
Despite the overwhelming fear exhibited by citizens, the Taliban have gone on record to say that women’s rights will be respected ‘within the limits of Islam’ as reported by the Guardian and that they will have access to education. The hardline Islamic group has also stated in a press conference on the 15th that they will seek no ‘revenge’ on opponents or those who helped them and that all will be ‘forgiven.’
A major reason for the group’s desire to seem less extreme is not just the fact that they want to be a part of the international stage, but also that they probably do not want to lose the international funding they receive from Europe and other parts of the west. Nevertheless, Germany has announced that it has halted its development aid towards Afghanistan which is a crucial source of funding for the country.
A hypocritical Biden?
Both NATO and US President Biden have openly stated they blame the lack of leadership shown by the Afghan leaders for the rapid fall and takeover by the Taliban. The Guardian reported that the US was still firm in its stance to pull out of Afghanistan when it had done and that it is the unwillingness of the Afghanistan troops to fight the Taliban. Biden was also blaming his Predecessor Donald Trump for the strict deadline of May 1st (which then was extended to August 31st).
“After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces. That’s why we’re still there. We were clear-eyed about the risk” – Mr Biden said.
Biden was also quoted to have said: “We planned for every contingency, but I always promised the American people that I would be straight with you. The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. So, what’s happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed sometimes without trying to fight.”
Considering Biden also saying that “our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building” his statement can be regarded as somewhat hypocritical. According to Biden, the mission was always focused on preventing a terror attack on America, however, in 2003, around the start of the war then-senator Biden had said that “the alternative to nation-building is chaos, a chaos that churns out blood-thirsty warlords, drug traffickers and terrorists”.
Joe Biden visits Kabul Army Base as the Vice President. "VP Biden tours Kabul Military Training Center [Image 4 of 4]" by DVIDSHUB is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Boris Johnson also under criticism
When it comes to the British response to the fall of the government in Afghanistan and the power cease of the Taliban, there is clear criticism too. Even though being a NATO member and actively involved in the Afghan war since the beginning, the UK government has come under scrutiny for not acting fast enough, especially when it came to identifying and extracting citizens and collaborating with Afghan nationals.
It was reported by several UK news sources that the Prime Minister and the foreign secretary Dominic Raab departed for a holiday the day before the Taliban took control of Kabul despite receiving warnings of the immense likelihood that Kabul was going to fall. Although Johnston had held a COBRA meeting before the fall of Kabul about the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, he has been heavily criticised by several former military officers, including Major Gen Charlie Herbert, who undertook three rounds of duty in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2018. The Major General said that “it is almost impossible to believe that the prime minister departed on holiday on Saturday; he should hang his head in shame. It is dereliction of duty on an extraordinary scale”.
The UK also announced that it would take up to 20,000 Afghan refugees over the next five years as part of a resettlement plan, so that as many people who wish to be evacuated, can be. Despite the deadline of the withdrawal of American and ally troops being the 31st, the UK governments last plane full of refugees left Afghanistan on Friday the 27th even though there were still thousands of people waiting to be evacuated from their home, which they no longer find safe.
Is the war really at end?
In response to all the drastic and global implications that the Taliban control of Afghanistan has brought to the world in a little over two weeks, the only thing for certain is that the panic will continue as those who once called Afghanistan their home no longer feel safe and risk their lives trying to flee. Now, with the US promising action on ISIS-K is the Afghanistan war really at an end? Or will the fighting continue for another 20 years but this time with NATO working alongside the Taliban instead of at gunpoint?