Every political party cooperating with the US in our region must study what happened in Afghanistan. What happened in Afghanistan is an example of US policies, its management of its alliances, and its behaviour towards its allies. It is also an example of how Washington sets its priorities and deals with powerful parties.
In 2001, after the bombing of the World Trade Centre towers in New York, Washington developed a plan to occupy Afghanistan, and claimed that it was attacking an uncivilised society. The American political and media tools and their allies worked to distort the image of Afghan society, and subsequently the Taliban movement and then Islam.
The US occupied Afghanistan and claimed that it would build a civilised and democratic society there.
Washington started what it said was building Afghan society: building state administrations, training the army and security forces, holding elections, paying development funds, etc.
Western political and media tools have portrayed Afghanistan as an oasis of civility and liberalism. Successive US administrations have spent over 20 years and $2 trillion.
Washington's move was universally welcomed and praised by international institutions, but the US administration surprised the world with its decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.
Suddenly Afghanistan was removed from the American strategy and was no longer a part of its project to rehabilitate societies. Washington also abandoned its declared goals towards Kabul.
Washington talked to the Taliban about the mechanism of withdrawal from Afghanistan and tried to reassure its allies about Afghanistan's future. It praised the capabilities of the Afghan state and the army in dealing with developments.
However, within a few weeks, everything Washington had established in Afghanistan collapsed: the Afghan provinces fell, the lines of defence collapsed, the authority of the state was absent, the government was unable to deal with the Taliban, the army made up of 300,000 soldiers that Washington trained and equipped, failed, as did the security services.
Washington found itself in a dilemma, as it was not able to protect what it had established in Afghanistan and its institutions and centres, nor could it withdraw its agents in time. It destroyed secret contents in its embassy in Kabul.
The entire American project in Afghanistan has fallen. This is a history lesson for all those who ally with Washington.
Washington raised its allies in Afghanistan to the highest level, praised them and spent money on them, then suddenly abandoned them and left them to face their fate.
The most important thing in the case is that Afghan society opened up to the Taliban movement and agreed to its vision to get rid of the occupier. They welcomed its arrival and facilitated its control over the states, handing power over to them. Therefore, the Taliban advanced very quickly, and all American temptations fell in the face of the society's logic and interests.
The American-Western project in Kabul was defeated, the arrogance of European armies was destroyed, NATO was defeated, the Western theory that insulted Islam and the veil was defeated, and the image of the US was distorted. Moreover, the concept of the people's freedom triumphed, the principle of self-determination, independence and national sovereignty was victorious, and the concept of resistance prevailed. The Islamic forces in the region gained big and obvious wins.
There are many lessons that the Palestinians can learn from the Afghan situation, the most important of which are:
- Not everything that comes from Washington is sound, correct or consistent. Washington changes its plans and changes its strategy according to its own interests. It withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran, demanded an end to the war in Yemen, and is talking about withdrawing from Syria and Iraq.
- An alliance with Washington is an alliance subject to retreat or cancellation, according to Washington's interest.
- Washington is not bound by agreements or pacts, as it manoeuvres according to its needs.
- The fate of any local political force in our country is linked to its ability to absorb, represent and express its society and its goals without external interference.
- Washington does not care about the fate of its allies or their future. Washington has historically abandoned many of its allies.
Perhaps these and other lessons will be subject to review in our Palestinian arena.
What is required today in our Palestinian arena, after the American-Afghan experience, is to strengthen the concept of national unity, adopt the people's interests, unify the vision towards the Israeli occupation, trust more in the resistance project, reduce some people's reliance on the US and learn from the defeat of the Kabul army, and the collapse of the institutions and devices established by Washington. We must really let the image of Washington's allies escaping sink in.
It is true that the US view of the conflict in the region and the relationship with Israel is different from any other issue in the world, but it is also true that the values of freedom, resistance, national unity, and independence always triumph.
This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 24 August 2021
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.