History is repeating itself. Because the USA invaded Afghanistan. Will this country, known as the Graveyard of the Empires, fulfill its mission again?
The destruction of an empire by this ruined and poor country is actually beyond imagination. However, what happening in the USA suggests that this is true.
The US launched an operation against al-Qaeda and its local partner, the Taliban, in 2001. The US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan with nearly 200 thousand soldiers. Before discussing the consequences of this occupation, let’s briefly look at a few examples how Afghanistan made its reputation.
Starting with the oldest, Alexander the Great invaded Afghanistan in 323 BC. He conquered after fierce resistance. However, he died young and his empire was shared among his generals. The Greco-Bactarian Kingdom (256 BC – 125 BC) and then conquered other empires shared the similar fate.
Arabs arrived in the region at the dawn of the 8th century, it took almost 200 years for Afghanistan to be Islamicized from west to east. Mongols arrived in Afghanistan in 1221.
Ẓahīr-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Babur, conquered Kabul in 1504, the first Mughal emperor, managed to get himself a kingdom in Kabul for two decades before conquering India. Most of the Hindu Kush region would remain under loosely Mughal control until 1738 when it was conquered by Nader Shah and inherited a decade later by Ahmad Shah Durrani, who founded modern Afghanistan after Nader Shah’s death.
Britain’s three major wars in the 19th century and early of 20th century, likewise resulted in long wars and eventually Britain had to withdraw from the country by setting up a negotiating table.
The last loser was the Soviet Union. USSR intervened in the civil war in Afghanistan that officially started in 1979 by sending troops and attempted to occupy the country. Although the USSR acted together with the central government, it had to withdraw from the country in 1989 with a certain defeat. Then in 1990 USSR entered into the process of disintegration.
They all have learned, that while it is possible to conquer territory in Afghanistan temporarily, and defeat Afghans militarily in open battle, it is virtually impossible to hold the region down for long, when it is filled with guerrillas, tribes, and castles that can constantly weigh down a foreign power. The people of Afghanistan have nowhere to go, and can fight their whole lives, a luxury that outsiders do not have. As it said, a war is not won until the people accept the Victor as their new ruler.
Now it seems that US has joined the queue. General Rashid Dostum, the head of the Afghanistan General Staff and the leader of the Northern Alliance, who wages the land war against the Taliban, said that “with all its air power, technology and money, the US and its alliances have been defeated by motorcycle fighters”. The United States, which declared the Taliban a terrorist organization and embarked on this endless war, is currently negotiating peace with the Taliban in Qatar.
History repeats itself. The collapsing process began in the US. A president calls his own people to the streets for protests. Saying that “I’ll come back somehow,” Former President Trump announced opening of his “former President Office”. This gives a clue about what he is planning to do.
Street mobilization can erupt at any moment in the country, divided by sharp lines. Demonstrations in this country where the all people are armed have the potential to turn into an internal conflict. Internal conflicts will pave the way of declaration of martial law and a confrontation between the Army and the people will turn into interstate conflict. Any excuse, such as a COVID-19 lockdown, Trump’s second impeachment trial, will trigger this process. We’ll probably see in coming months.
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