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NST Leader: Afghanistan, where empires go to die

America cannot bear very much reality. The reason is simple: 245 years of hubris.

Unsurprisingly, the New York Times (NYT) calls the reconquest of Afghanistan by the Taliban forces "The Tragedy of Afghanistan". No, it is "The Tragedy of America".

The United States had no business being in Kabul. The ostensible goal was to put an end to the nebulous al-Qaeda. After US$85 billion and 2,448 American lives, al-Qaeda remains as elusive as ever. A pretext it has turned out to be.

The real reason, as highlighted by the Editorial Board of the NYT, for the presence of the US forces was part of "the American dream of being the indispensable nation in shaping a world where the values of civil rights, women's empowerment and religious tolerance" exist.

Need we point out that all three are absent in the US and in all the places its forces have invaded.

A more fertile soil for the American dream would be Europe where human rights and religious tolerance are close to being absent. Let Kabul be the last lesson of shame for the US. America would have had one less tragedy if it had learnt the lessons of Saigon. Again, hubris stood in the way.

It must be said that America's tragedy in Afghanistan is not President Joe Biden's alone to shoulder. Former president George W. Bush, who started the 20-year war, and former president Barack Obama, must be made to answer for the 60,000 Afghan lives lost in the forever war.

The world knows Bush to be a war criminal. Only the US and Europe think him innocent. Unlike Bush, Obama is treated like a man of peace. Perhaps it is his rhetoric. One such, as reported by the Los Angeles Times (LAT), was: "Wars must end. History advises it. Democracy demands it." No less than the Nobel Foundation was fooled into giving him the Peace Prize very early in Obama's presidency. The irony is Obama's eight years of presidency were littered with airstrikes or military raids: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. Peace was the remotest thing in the mind of this commander-in-chief.

The LAT is certain that the Nobel Prize was announced at a time when Obama was planning to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan to try to "stabilise" the country. This isn't the first time the Nobel Foundation has been ignoble.

If the LAT is right, the brutal killing of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and the messy aftermath the US left behind there made Obama realise that America cannot shape the internal politics of another country or the building of another society. Sadly, Obama didn't pass on this lesson of history to Biden, his deputy then, or his successor, former president Donald Trump.

The American tragedy could easily turn into an Afghan tragedy if the Taliban forces do not build a nation for all of Afghanistan. A functioning government must be quickly put in place to ensure Afghans live their lives to the fullest.

Britain, Russia and the US have together retarded Afghanistan in more ways than one for the longest time. This blame they will not shoulder. Neither will they pay for the destruction they have caused. History is a witness to this.

Undictated by the West, Afghans must determine their own future. And build a better Afghanistan for themselves. Yes, only Afghans can remake Afghanistan.

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