The Taliban, now they are or appear to be, in control of the Afghan capital have declared, "War is Over". The war is over, however, it will be on the Taliban's terms. The US, UK, and other nations have rushed out troops to Kabul. Not to confront the Taliban, but to bring home their citizens. Also, those Afghans, that worked alongside the Allies. Kabul airport will be a chaotic place as Allied troops, secure the airport and provide safe passage for Allied personnel, including Afghans, (who worked with the Allies), out of the country. There are fears that those Afghans, who worked with the Allied occupation in Afghanistan, will be seen as collaborators. And we all know, what happens to native people who have worked with occupiers, in their country. When those foreign forces pull out, the resistance forces who oppose their country being occupied by foreign forces, (as they see it), take revenge on their fellow citizens, who they see as traitors. This was true in Europe, as German forces retreated as European countries were liberated during WWII. And it is true, today, as Taliban forces have seized key areas, in their march to capture, Kabul.
The Afghan government under Ashraf Ghani has collapsed. Allied forces, spent vasts amounts of money and time, in training government forces, for the time when they would be alone in facing the Taliban. It seems, as long as Allied forces, particularly, the US had the back of government forces, this stiffened their resolve to confront the Taliban. Now with the US, UK, etc, pulling out, it seems the government forces have lost the will to fight and have fled, the battlefield. Ashraf Ghani, the beleaguered Afghan leader, fled the Presidential Palace and went abroad. His excuse was, his departure came, to prevent bloodshed. Could he, either, without or with, Allied support, instigate an anti-Taliban resistance?
Meanwhile, the administrations of Boris and Biden, have come in for fierce criticism. Joe Biden has been accused, of washing his hands of Afghanistan. One Donald J Trump has said the US withdrawal from the country, is humiliating and will go down in history, as one of the US's, greatest defeats. However, Trump is the man to blame, largely, for the US withdrawal. His administration made a deal with the Taliban, that they would unconditionally remove their forces, from Afghan soil. A Taliban key demand for peace was that the Americans, British, etc, should leave the country in return for peace. The government of Afghanistan was not even consulted or asked to the talks. The Americans acquiesced to the Taliban's demand and what are you seeing now in Afghanistan, is just that. All that Biden is doing, is continuing with Trump's agreement with the Taliban, to bring back US forces and attached US/Afghan personnel.
Meanwhile the British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab has been accused of going 'AWOL' or 'Absent Without Out Leave'. It just seems, convenient to many, against the backdrop of what is happening in Afghanistan, that he should take a week's holiday. However, the Foreign Office has said the Foreign Secretary, is overseeing UK withdrawal operations. Boris for his part said that the world should not recognize the new Taliban government, but nevertheless, the Taliban government in Kabul will be the new rulers.
Of course, the Afghan people will be angered and upset, that the Allies have abandoned them, for better or worse, under the new Taliban regime. The Taliban have given assurances, that women will be allowed to continue to work and study, but must wear, Hijab. They will, also, be allowed to leave home unaccompanied by a male chaperone. How much, you can trust, what the Taliban say, remains open to question. Have the Taliban changed and become less fundamental in their beliefs? Time will tell, but one can see why, many including Afghans, would question statements coming from the leadership, of the Islamic group.
Obviously, the Americans, British, and others could not stay forever, in Afghanistan. The plan was that having trained and equipped the Afghan armed forces, they would hold back the torrent of Taliban aggression. Well, this strategy, clearly hasn't worked and what we are seeing now, on the ground, is the result. One would have thought though, as with Iraq, the US and its NATO Allies, would have left some presence in the country, even if it were, a scaled military presence. For example, in post-war Japan and Germany, the US and its Allies had and have military bases in those countries. In Iraq, the US still has a military presence, though that country, is now an independent nation. It was the US military and its Allies, that turned back and destroyed ISIS, as Iraqi forces fell back. So, why cannot the US, UK, etc, still have a military presence in Afghanistan? Why is the US and its Allies, so quick to withdraw from Afghanistan and allow a fanatical, dangerous group like the Taliban, to just take over the country again? Why is Iraq, so important, to the US that it maintains a military presence there and aids the Iraqi military and government, still in Iraq and not Afghanistan? Both countries are strategic parts of the world, where the US and its Allies, overthrew vile regimes, (in Iraq it was Saddam, and in Afghanistan, the Taliban). The US and its Allies have lost personnel, spent money on propping up the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, trained their military, so they could fight insurgents. And yet, despite all of this, Afghanistan is the country we are pulling out of, and in Iraq, we are still there? What makes Iraq, more important and strategic to US foreign policy, than Afghanistan?
Perhaps the answer also lies in the fact that the US and its Allies, no longer consider Afghanistan, as important. The Biden administration, for example, looks at Russia and China as greater threats, and maybe, this is part of their reasoning. The upside of this will be that many families in the US, and other NATO Allies will be glad, to see their relatives, come home.
The comparisons to Vietnam, however, are being touted in the media. The Americans, in 1975, abandoned Vietnam to the Viet Kong and their North Vietnamese Communist Allies. The US, back then, made a scrambled, chaotic mess, as they left Saigon, before it fell, to the Communists. Many Vietnamese went with the Americans, as they left, others were left behind to face the wrath of the all-conquering Communist forces. Same as what is happening now, in Kabul, history it seems, always repeats itself. A different war, a different country, different enemy, but the same scenario of the US pulling out and abandoning a place, to its fate.
Veterans from Vietnam felt like, they were the forgotten generation, who had given their all and lost comrades, and for what? So it is now, all troops who have fought in the war, against the Taliban, are feeling like the Vietnam vets, before them. The US has lost over 2,000 personnel in the war and the Brits, nearly 500. Places like Bagram Airbase and Helmand Province, once occupied by Allied forces, are now in the hands of the Taliban.
The Americans, have even admitted, that with the scenario of a Taliban takeover, that Al-Qaeda could once more be given, safe haven. And that would increase, the terrorist's threat to the world again, especially, to the US homeland. Has the US and its Allies, lost the war? Well, technically yes, when the US signed along that dotted line for peace, with the Taliban, it was like the US, signed an armistice. Not unlike the Germans in WW1, when they agreed to all the demands of their enemies. As we know, Germany under Hitler rose again, because of dissatisfaction and the humiliation Germany felt, because the peace agreement robbed Germany of its dignity. So, in one sense, in the US, agreeing to the demands of the Taliban, they are like Germany in WW1, with all that that, entails. Will a President, sometime in the future, arise in the US, (just like Hitler, in Germany), who will want to go back into Afghanistan and avenge America's humiliation? Knowing how volatile American politics is, again like Germany, after WW1, that could be a very definite possibility.
At the end of the day, how this Afghan war and the events connected to it, will be looked back on by future historians, remains to be seen, by future generations.