They don't want an Islamic group to achieve any victory, let alone a victory over the most powerful country in the world. Hence, the conspiracy theorists, most of whom are Arab "liberals", came out of the woodwork when the Taliban triumphed over the US. Such "liberals" cannot tolerate Islam and are hostile towards all Islamic movements. In their sick minds, they turned this victory into a pre-arranged agreement between the two sides over the withdrawal of troops and claim that the US was not defeated.
They did not bother to ask themselves why a global superpower would negotiate with a religious movement if it was really confident that it had won a 20-year war that cost the US treasury more than $1.5 trillion. Would any of the global powers put their reputation on the line in this way, especially against a movement which they had set out to destroy in the quest for revenge post-9/11?
Islamophobia has clearly clouded the Arab liberal judgment. And perhaps created a sense of their own defeat, too, so that they cannot comprehend any victory for Islam. That's why they need to create alternative narratives that suit their perverted worldview. To make matters worse, they claim that the US wanted to besiege China and Iran and reduce Russia's influence in Central Asia, and now they accuse a popular resistance movement of collusion.
The truth of the matter is that the Taliban movement did not stop its struggle for the past 20 years; it sacrificed itself and its resources and was patient until it achieved a clear victory. It faced America's puppet government in Kabul and a US-trained army of 300,000 troops equipped with advanced weaponry. This training cost US taxpayers more than $90 billion, while logistical assistance and other aid from NATO are estimated to have been worth $100 million.
The US found itself in a long war of attrition. That's why it called for negotiations with a group that it had branded as a terrorist movement.
The American invasion and occupation didn't make Afghanistan secure. US foreign policy planners have realised that there are no viable alternatives and no paths leading to victory when you try to bomb a people into submission. They found that it was impossible for them to achieve any victory, even fleetingly, and it was impossible to eliminate the Taliban, which is rooted in the Afghan soil. They had no choice but to accept the poisoned chalice and withdraw.
This withdrawal was in line with the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance published by the White House at the beginning of March. "[The US] should not, and will not, engage in 'forever wars' that have cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. We will work responsibly to end America's longest war in Afghanistan while ensuring that Afghanistan does not again become a safe haven for terrorist attacks against the United States."
It is clear as day that the Taliban has won and that its victory was the result of over 20 years of resistance and struggle; it was not an overnight sensation. However, those who cling to American coat-tails and embrace conspiracy theories cannot admit that, yes, the US has had another Vietnam in Afghanistan, and its victories in other occupied places were only temporary.
In fact, this was not just a defeat for the US, but also for the other Western countries which joined America in invading Afghanistan, including NATO members. US President Joe Biden himself admitted defeat, although the conspiracy theorists did not believe him. They are sick and Islamophobic. Is there any hope for them? I doubt it.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.