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US failed in its nation-building goal in Afghanistan: Hunter

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Twenty years have passed since September 11, 2001 event, and the ambiguities of this incident and its behind-the-scenes scenario remain as a question for public opinion. Since then, numerous security reports, articles and writings have been published about the ambiguities and involvement of some politicians in these incidents.

In general, what some American theorists intended to do was to create a new order to secure American interests in various parts of the world. Therefore, based on this scenario, Afghanistan was selected as the first destination of this project. In the first step, they blamed al-Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks and, as a result, attacked Afghanistan.

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Now the question is why, 20 years after these suspicious events and spending $ 1 trillion, the US left Afghanistan so hastily.

US failed in its nation-building goal in Afghanistan: Hunter

To know more about the issue, we reached out to Shireen Tahmaasb Hunter, Professor of Political Science at Georgetown University in the US.

The United States has been in Afghanistan for 20 years with goals such as fighting terrorism and nation-building and imposing Western values, but as most experts have acknowledged, the United States has failed to meet its goals in that country. What do you think were the reasons for the US’ failure?

The US failed regarding its broader goals of nation-building and democracy-establishing The United States succeeded in some of its objectives. For example, in the last twenty years, there has not been any terrorist attack in the US originating from Afghanistan. Modern education was also expanded and women made some advances. However, regarding the broader goals of nation-building and democracy- establishing the US failed.

There are many reasons for this:1) The US inherited a country devastated by long years of Soviet-Afghan war and the Afghan civil war 2) the many divisions within the Afghan society along ethnic, tribal, and sectarian lines 3) divisions among Afghan leaders 4) widespread corruption in the Kabul government 5) sabotage by US allies such as Pakistan, which continued to support the Taliban even after 20001.

Many also believe that the fall of Kabul was a result of a behind the scene deal between the US and Taliban. Do you agree with them?

There was a deal between the US and the Taliban. But it was not behind the scenes. It was openly negotiated by Zalmay Khalilzad, the special envoy for Afghanistan.

US hasty and irresponsible withdrawal from Afghanistan caused many criticisms among its allies and partners.  What do you think of this? Isn’t it a shame for a superpower?

The United States’ allies, especially the Europeans have for too long depended on the US for their security, while at the same time being highly critical of the US. Thus their criticism reflects their anxiety that the US would no longer be willing to shoulder their security burdens. Clearly, the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan is a blow to the US international standing. However, the US has other priorities, both domestically and internationally, and remaining in Afghanistan was no longer a viable option.

US failed in its nation-building goal in Afghanistan: Hunter

After the US withdrew from Afghanistan, they left a lot of weapons to the Taliban. What do you think will be the consequences for the region?

If Taliban decide to export its ideology and adopt a hostile attitude towards neighbors, then the risk of conflict could increaseIt would depend on what policies the Taliban adopt towards Afghanistan’s neighbors. If they decide on a conciliatory approach, the consequences would not be too damaging. But if they decide to export their ideology and adopt a hostile attitude towards their neighbors, then the risk of conflict could increase. Potentially, Iran could suffer from a Taliban-dominated government in Kabul.

The US military policy in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan has caused destruction in these countries. Isn’t it time for the United States to reconsider its militaristic policies?

For some time now, there has been growing opposition to military interventions, unless they are absolutely necessary for the security of the US, in America. The withdrawal from Afghanistan is partly because of this growing opposition in the US to military engagements abroad.

However, it is important to remember that, without 9/11, the US would not have invaded Afghanistan, and Saddam Hussein policies in the region also contributed to the US decision to invade Iraq.

Interview by Zahra Mirzafarjouyan

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