Afghans have been living with invasion and war since 1979. After 20 years, the United States and NATO withdraw their forces and the Taliban regain control. How could that happen?
- Why did the United States and NATO invade Afghanistan?
- What happened to the Taliban after the invasion?
- Why did the United States and NATO decide to withdraw their forces?
- The Taliban captured Kabul: what now?
Many were surprised when the Taliban in the summer of 2021 erupted, storming city after city and Afghan security forces surrendered. When the capital Kabul fell on August 15 and President Ashraf Ghani fled the presidential palace, it was done: Afghanistan’s US-backed government collapsed, and the Taliban were left in power.
The picture from the airport in the capital showed the panic that prevailed. Many Afghans who had worked for the international forces left the country because they feared living under a Taliban regime, as they did from 1996 to 2001.
The vast majority of Afghanistan’s 36 million inhabitants do not have such a choice. They are left in a country marked by protracted conflict, drought and fear that girls and women will lose the right to education and work.
2: The background
The war in Afghanistan started when the Soviet Union invaded the country in 1979 and met great resistance from a resistance mob called Muhjahedin , who was supported by the West. When the Soviet Union withdrew in 1988, even groups within the Muhjahedin in a civil war that from 1992 divided the country and left the capital Kabul in ruins.
One of the groups calling itself the Taliban (religious students), gradually took power from 1994 and took control of Kabul in 1996. Their strict enforcement of an Islamic regime reduced the level of violence in the country, but at the same time reduced girls’ right to education and women’s rights. for public work.
3: Why the United States and NATO Invaded Afghanistan
The international terrorist organization al-Qaeda established itself in Afghanistan during the occupation of the Soviet Union . Islamic fighters from many countries came to Pakistan and Afghanistan to support Muhjahedin’s fight against the Soviet Union. Some were that after the war ended, including one of the leaders: the Saudi Osama Bin Laden.
From Afghanistan, al-Qaeda planned and carried out international terrorist attacks under the protection of the Taliban.
After several attacks in Africa, four American passenger planes were hijacked by al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001. Two of the planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York, one crashed into the Department of Defense’s main building, the Pentagon. The latter, which was on its way to a target in Washington DC, failed and crashed on a field in Pennsylvania.
The terrorist attack was the deadliest and most spectacular the world had ever seen. It was perceived that the whole West was under attack.
The United States is a member of the NATO defense alliance, and the attack therefore triggered Article five of the NATO treaty. Article five states that all Member States are obliged to support each other when attacked.
When US President George W. Bush launched the ” war on terror ” , he said: “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. »
When the Taliban, then in power in Afghanistan, refused to extradite al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden, the United States and NATO invaded Afghanistan in October 2001.
4: The plan of the invasion
The invasion initially had two goals: to defeat al-Qaida and the Taliban and ensure that they could no longer plan or carry out terrorist attacks from Afghanistan.
But after a quarter of an hour, the goal was expanded to establish an Afghan government and introduce democracy , build an Afghan army and police force and contribute to the development and strengthening of human rights.
The world community met with Afghan representatives in Bonn, Germany in December 2001. The Taliban were completely out of control. Here they created a transitional government, appointed Hamid Karzai as interim president and proposed the creation of a NATO-led military force. This was approved by the UN Security Council and Norway also sent troops to an security force in Afghanistan (ISAF).
5: Taliban after the invasion
According to printerhall, the Taliban tried to reach an agreement on surrender, but it was rejected by both the United States and later Afghan President Karzai. Many of the Taliban and al-Qaeda’s forces were killed in the extensive bombings carried out by the United States, others were captured and transferred without trial or sentence to a US prison camp on the island of Guantanamo. There were many tortured. The rest abandoned their weapons and returned to their hometowns, or fled to Pakistan.
It was not until 2003 that the Taliban gradually re-established itself in southern Afghanistan. They took advantage of opposition to what many Afghans saw as a new international occupation, this time from the West. In many areas, international troops and the Afghan army were advancing hard, and many civilians were abused or killed. In addition, there was widespread corruption in the Afghan administration and in the judiciary.
This made it easier for the Taliban to emphasize that they were fighting to liberate Afghanistan from an international invasion and an incompetent government in Kabul. From 2006, they distinguished themselves in the northwestern province of Faryab, where Norway had soldiers and aid projects .