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Editorial: A legacy of failure

Clock is ticking on America’s pullout from Afghanistan, as a handful of NATO allies Germany, Czech Republic and Georgia have already withdrawn the last contingents of their troops from the war-ravaged country after two decades of fighting an insurgency that has just gained momentum by their departure – a war that still perpetuates and a nation that reels. A global military mission had begun in 2001 to restore stability and bring democracy to Afghanistan and more than 100,000 foreign soldiers flocked into Afghanistan after a US-led operation ousted the Taliban and vanquished their radical and hardliner regime. And now, they are leaving this country without having accomplished their mission – a stable country.

Indeed, there have been many achievements in the last 20 years, and also there are many things that went wrong that now the Afghans are bearing its consequences. For instance, the war on terror did not carry out in its true sense. The real sanctuaries of the militant outfits were on other sides of the Durand Line and were not targeted. Basically, it was just a mainstream campaign against terrorist groups, while their main sources and hideouts were ignored and that’s why the U.S. failed in Afghanistan. At the same time, Taliban remained a destructive force that not only intensified offensives across the country, but also turned to rubble those areas they took a provisional control of. They burned the buildings, the houses and the shops of those districts they have captured recently. The intensification of violence is due to failure of peace talks in Qatar that were significantly unsuccessful to bear any fruits to at least lower the level of violence. It is already a failure. It would be the biggest fault of the Taliban if the U.S. administration revises its decision and at the end of the day lapse its withdrawal announcement rather than decide to stay in Afghanistan for some more years due to unprecedented violence or at the ploy that Afghanistan might once again plug into civil war. News is doing rounds in the western media that the U.S. paced the withdrawal process after it was more than 50 percent complete earlier in June. The disclosure of the brisk pace is because the Taliban insurgency ramps up its offensive nationwide and the Pentagon now estimates the Taliban control 81 out of 419 district centers. Moreover, General Scott Miller, the top US commander in Afghanistan did not rule out conducting airstrikes against the Taliban. The most annoying statement he made was the warning of civil war which seems as a possibility if the ongoing security situation did not change. The Taliban must not be happy over their impressive gains. No doubt, they are taking some districts, but the fact is that those districts would be retaken from them, but the irrefutable mistake the Taliban is committing is that they are providing room for the presence of foreign troops in the country by launching attacks. The U.S. troops already carried out some airstrikes, and tomorrow they might stop their full withdrawal due ongoing but deadly violence. The Afghan and Taliban peace negotiators should engage in meaningful talks, and overcome differences on the table before it would be too late. War and the suffering of the Afghan people will continue for another four decades to come if the historic opportunity for a political compromise slips away.

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