Updated on: Thursday, September 09, 2021, 12:12 AM IST

US, NATO allies back to square one in Afghanistan after 20 years war on terrorism

The US and its NATO allies raided Afghanistan in October 2001 to overthrow the Taliban

Kabul: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is back to square one in Afghanistan. They ended their journey in a war-torn nation from where they began 20-years ago.

The US and its NATO allies raided Afghanistan in October 2001 to overthrow the Taliban, considered as "war on terror", spent billions but the end resulted in the formation of the Taliban's "Islamic Emirate" in Afghanistan.

As per International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS), said that this unending conflict in what is termed as the 'Graveyard of Empires' has left the Taliban relentless and unscathed thanks to persistent Pakistan support for more than 20 years.

It is important to understand that Pakistan, which harboured terrorist groups like the Haqqani Network, Quetta Shura, and the Al Qaeda leadership, was never fully accepted by the US and its allies.

On its part, NATO also played being oblivious to many details while allying with Pakistan given the decades of dealing with radicalism which bred a lot of negativity, says IFFRAS.

For the states involved, it is an existential question to determine whether this exercise worth billions of dollars was actually worth it.

Building terror bases within Afghanistan again will be an easy task with the Taliban in control as camps of groups like the LeT, JeM is reportedly in the process of being shifted to Afghanistan from Pakistan to avoid the FATF Blacklist, reported IFFRAS.

Moreover, the NATO-backed Government and all other institutions built over the last 20 years have been completely routed and the Taliban have categorically announced women's rights to be within the sphere of the Sharia.

Though many grand statements are being issued by the Taliban, the situation on the ground with regard to human rights particularly for minorities and women is worsening with every passing day.

Moreover, the cost of the war for the US and its NATO allies were in billions. According to US Government figures when the country had more than 100,000 soldiers in Afghanistan between 2010 to 2012, the price of the war increased to nearly USD 100 billion a year, IFFRAS reported.

The UK and Germany had sent the largest numbers of troops to Afghanistan after the US and also expended USD 30 billion and USD 19 billion respectively over the long progression of the crisis.

There is an acknowledgment that a significant amount of the capital invested in the country, vanished in the form of corruption, deception, and mishandling of accounts for years, said IFFRAS.

In a report to the US Congress in October 2020, the watchdog responsible for the oversight of reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan estimated that about USD 19 billion was lost this way between May 2009 and December 31, 2019.

Today, Americans, NATO allies and Afghans are shattered at the price this combat has cost them. America and other NATO countries have lost thousands of lives, and many more Afghans are dead even as evacuations continue.

Further, trillions of US dollars continue as a liability that generations of Americans would have to bear. However, in the end, Afghanistan is back to where it was, under the Taliban rule, just as the world found it, almost 20 years ago, said IFFRAS.

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Published on: Thursday, September 09, 2021, 12:12 AM IST