THERE were big cheers across the globe as the Taliban, Afghanistan’s resistance fighters known as Mujahedeen, took control of their country after two decades of relentless agony wrought by the US-sponsored aggression.
However, those cheers rang louder in Zimbabwe, yet another country that has suffered the misfortune of Uncle Sam’s bullying.
The similarities between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe are striking, both in make and shape.
When the US invaded Afghanistan on October 7 2001, soon after the September 11 2001 attacks in the US, the lie from Uncle Sam was that it was targeting those responsible for the attacks on US soil.
The then US President George W. Bush, the same man who slapped Zimbabwe with illegal economic sanctions on December 21 2001, gave the invasion ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ a high sounding name which in reality reeked of malicious intent on the part of Uncle Sam and his British partners in the brutal Afghanistan attacks.
The invasion, which targeted al Qaeda and Taliban members in Afghanistan, has since become the longest war in the US’ history.
“The war was never about nation building,” US President Joe Biden told a bemused world in a speech read from the East Room of the White House on Monday.
“I stand squarely behind my decision.
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 risks.
We planned for every contingency.
But I always promised the American people I would be straight with you.
The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”
Typical of Americans, President Biden refused to take credit for his country’s mess in Afghanistan.
“We talked about how Afghanistan should prepare to fight their civil wars after the US military departed, to clean up the corruption in Government, so the Government could function for the Afghan people,” he said.
“We talked extensively about the need for Afghan leaders to unite politically.
They failed to do any of that.
I also urged them to engage in diplomacy, to seek a political settlement with the Taliban.
This advice was flatly refused.
Mr Ghani (former Afghan President) insisted that the Afghan forces would fight.
And obviously he was wrong.”
Which brings us to the question that we have consistently asked about the US’ continued interference in other sovereign states’ internal affairs: Why interfere in the affairs of countries that have a right to self-determination?
Zimbabwe should draw many lessons from this embarrassing episode, especially on the part of the US which has, time and again, sold the world the ruse that they are ‘champions of democracy’ when targeting their ‘enemies’ — real or perceived.
The inescapable reality is that the US destroyed Afghanistan, the same way they have destroyed Zimbabwe through their illegal economic sanctions.
Make no mistake about it, they (the US) leave Afghanistan with their tails tucked between their legs.
They have been defeated and, like Vietnam, this will linger long and hard in the collective psyche of its arrogant citizens.
The sight of President Ashraf Ghani, the US’ ousted puppet leader, fleeing to Tajikistan will, too, linger in the memories of those who had watched in horror as Uncle Sam shamelessly ran the show in Afghanistan.
No amount of propaganda can douse the inferno that is emanating from that humiliating misadventure.
The list of the humiliations and the trail of destruction they have been leaving in their wretched wake keeps piling.
From Vietnam, Syria, Libya to Afghanistan, the inexorable truth is that the US can no longer continue to fool the world about its military prowess.
Neither can they continue clinging to the now tired lie that they can deliver democracy to anyone in the world.
Ghan’s Government and military were well-funded as was the opposition MDC in Zimbabwe.
The US spent over US$1 trillion in Afghanistan, while reports in Harare say Uncle Sam spent more than US$5 billion in pursuit of its illegal regime change project.
“America’s longest war is nearing its end, with a loss to the enemy it defeated in Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago, shock that the Government and military it supported collapsed so quickly and chaotic eleventh-hour evacuation operations,” reads part of a report published by Reuters titled ‘America’s longest war: 20 years of missteps in Afghanistan’.
The report goes on:
“Interviews with nearly a dozen current and former US officials and experts highlighted the failures that crippled US efforts to stabilise Afghanistan that saw Washington spend more than
US$1 trillion and more than 2 400 American service members and tens of thousands of Afghans die, many of them civilians.”
Brown University’s Costs of War Project analysis paints a painful picture of the carnage that the US left in Afghanistan.
“But that involvement stretched from months into years. Since then, more than 2 400 US service members, some 3 800 American contractors, more than 1 100 other allied service members, and an estimated 66 000 Afghan national military and police have lost their lives due to the conflict, along with more than
47 000 civilians,” findings from the institution reveal.
Zimbabwe continues to count its losses from the US’ illegal economic sanctions as it has lost a staggering US$42 billion in potential revenue as at 2019.
“It is believed that Zimbabwe lost bilateral donor support estimated at US$4,5 billion annually since 2001,” according to a report that was presented to Cabinet on September 10 2019.
“A total of US$12 billion in loans from the IMF, the World Bank and Africa Development Bank as well as commercial loans worth US$18 billion were also lost on account of the sanctions.
The sanctions also brought an estimated GDP reduction to the tune of US$21 billion.”
The aftermath of the Afghanistan disaster should provide Zimbabweans, like the US’ blue-eyed boy Tendai Biti and his ‘president’ in the MDC, to never rely on the US’ so-called benevolence.
History is the best teacher in that regard.