The sights of April 1975, when American helicopters evacuated crew members and recent Marines from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon – and closer and more relevant is the takeover by the Iranian masses in November 1979 of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the captivity of dozens of staff – What seems inevitable – the evacuation of the embassy from Kabul in light of reports of the Taliban entering the Afghan capital.
Events in the country, known as the Cemetery of the Powers, are of great importance beyond what is happening within it. It heralds expected frictions with its neighbors in Central Asia, and especially reinforces radical Islam throughout the Middle East whose Taliban is one of its stubborn streams.
The current situation in Afghanistan is a result of, among other things, a change of government in the United States – although former President Trump was the one who began during the withdrawal of American forces from the country. And the Taliban were also pushed back, the central government leaning on these forces.
In recent years, some Western countries have begun to withdraw their forces, and at the same time the Taliban has raised its head and launched a never.ending series of attacks in which thousands have been killed. Former President Trump announced his intention to evacuate American forces but only after taking care of peace – indeed, on his own initiative, peace talks were opened between the Taliban and the government of President Ashraf Ghani about a year ago. But after the change of government in the United States, the Taliban resumed the attacks, and with the departure of a significant portion of American forces from some of the important bases, began a comprehensive offensive.
Taliban fighters in Ghazani city, near the Afghan capital Kabul / Photo: Associated Press, Gulabuddin Amiri
The Afghan army, which was based on American aid forces, found itself inferior to the Taliban, mainly in the south and west of the country, and began to retreat. On Thursday, Kandahar, a particularly important city, fell to the Taliban after two months of fighting. The Americans continued to assist in aerial bombardment but to no avail. Nearly half of the country’s 34 provincial capitals are now in the hands of the Taliban. All Western countries are expelling their citizens from the country and the Americans have decided to return to the country 3,000 soldiers who left there recently, to secure the evacuation of the US Embassy.
About 1,400 American diplomats were stationed in Kabul, and many of them had already left by air train in recent days. Washington State Department spokesman Ned Price said the embassy would continue to operate for the time being, despite announcing that the scope of diplomatic staff would be reduced. However, U.S. intelligence agencies, which estimated two weeks ago that it would take the Taliban up to three months to take over the country, now estimate that the entire country will fall within three days.
During the night gunfire began in the suburbs of the capital Kabul, authorities announced that the Taliban are still far away and the military will protect the city, but this does not prevent experienced residents towards the airport, as well as thousands flocking to foreign embassies still functioning to try to obtain visas. The Taliban announced this morning that it does not intend to enter the capital at this time, apparently after agreements with the Americans to allow all foreign nationals to be expelled from it. There are still several thousand American troops in the city, some of whom have arrived in the last day to secure their exit from the country.
Passengers leaving Afghanistan at Hamid Karzai International Airport in the capital Kabul / Photo: Associated Press, Rahmat Gul
A pre.known script
Strangely and almost ridiculously, the American envoy for talks with the Taliban, Zalmai Khalilzad, who is staying in Doha, the capital of Qatar, continues his contacts with Taliban representatives. The Americans are trying to prevent the attack on the embassy but it seems that even if an agreement is reached, it will be difficult to trust it and the embassy will be evacuated. The Taliban is using its brutal territories in the brutal methods used by ISIS, with public executions of civilians as soldiers, including women and the elderly. However, the Taliban spokesman said earlier this morning that U.S”.
Saigon’s image was cited, among other things, by Senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell, who said: “The hasty deployment of military personnel looks like a preparation for Kabul’s fall. President Biden seems to be bringing us to an even worse sequel to the humiliating retreat from Saigon in 1975.“
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is still trying to broadcast that he can prevent the fall of the capital Kabul and on Friday said he is reorganizing military forces to defend the provinces that Turm has occupied.
A man selling Taliban flags in Herat province, west of Kabul / Photo: Associated Press, Hamed Sarfarazi
But the script seems to be known in advance and it bodes ill for the region and the whole world. First, the Taliban has provoked Islamist opposition in neighboring Asian countries throughout its years of existence – and in Russia, too, it raises many concerns. The heads of the organization were in Moscow two months ago in talks designed to prevent them from resuming activity in the north. In recent days, the armies of Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have been conducting a large.scale joint military exercise in Tajikistan itself, not far from the Afghan border, involving aircraft, helicopters, thousands of troops and artillery. A week earlier a similar large joint exercise had also taken place in Uzbekistan, another republic bordering Afghanistan.
The common message here is clear and is of course intended for Taliban leaders, but also for the country that assists and supports the organization – Pakistan. Central Asian countries are Russia’s backyard, and it maintains very close ties with them. Any dramatic change in the security status quo in Central Asia would harm Russia’s security interest – and the Taliban made it clear during a visit to Moscow that such attempts would be met with an aggressive Russian response. But Russian memory includes the bitter defeat against Taliban forces in the 1980s, which cost at least 15,000 Red Army victims – the Taliban were armed and trained by the American CIA – and as happened more than once, weapons and knowledge were turned against the Americans afterwards.
An encouraging message to terrorist organizations
But the message from the events in Afghanistan is not only regional – the conscious message that an extremist Islamist organization manages to push and discourage the world’s great power with more forces and take over a country, is an encouraging and uplifting message to all similar organizations, and worse to Iran. It is also troubled by the success of the Taliban, and therefore tries to talk to it and prevent it from becoming its rival, but at the same time is encouraged by the American withdrawal from its eastern border, and by the fact that Washington comes out with a tail between its legs. The message is important for the (new) administration in Tehran to show its people that America, the one that has imposed heavy sanctions on it, is not omnipotent, thus mobilizing support for the rigid line of incoming President Raisi.
Taliban soldier guards surrendered Afghan security forces in Ghazni, near Kabul / Photo: Associated Press, Gulabuddin Amiri
And another direct impact will also be on Iraq. The one that has failed to stabilize itself since the fall of Saddam Hussein to the United States is now shuffling even further in the face of Islamic organizations, most of which are supported by Iran. Here the United States has invested far more than Afghanistan, and does not seem to intend to withdraw all its forces, but the danger is now much greater.
For the Biden administration, the events in Afghanistan are a political discrimination, and when the picture of the fall of the embassy in Kabul arrives – and it will arrive – it will also burn in the consciousness as a particularly severe military discrimination against the billions of US dollars poured in there. Equally important, many countries in the Middle East – and around the world – that rely on the Americans are probably now less reliant on Washington.
Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public and State Affairs, told “Globes” that the speed of the collapse of the Afghan government and the army set up by the Americans, with 300,000 troops and advanced equipment, in the face of Taliban forces, is cause for concern. It teaches how culturally and politically rooted the American attempt was to instill in liberals a liberal worldview and how wrong this approach was in the first place; “It is further evidence of the difficulty the West has in general, and American intelligence in particular, in understanding the Islamic world.“
Cooperwasser adds: “The withdrawal will be enacted as another expression of American weakness, stemming from the unwillingness to pay the price of human life and money involved in the ongoing struggle against radical Islam and may therefore strengthen extremist Islamic elements such as Iran, Al Qaeda and ISIS and encourage them to challenge the US and its allies. Israel, on the other hand, radical Islamic elements are now in serious distress, and it is Israel, which is establishing the Abrahamic agreements that stood the test, that may be seen as a more stable backbone than the United States.