NATO and US strategic mistakes in Afghanistan
NATO’s command in Afghanistan has been heavily influenced under America’s shadow. Apart from adhering to the US’s command for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, NATO did not carry a significant role during its presence in Afghanistan.
NATO and US strategic mistakes in Afghanistan – NATO’s command in Afghanistan has been heavily influenced under America’s shadow. Apart from adhering to the US’s command for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, NATO did not carry a significant role during its presence in Afghanistan.
Disagreements amongst NATO members in regards to the responsibility for the war in Afghanistan augmented the pile of adversity in the country. Albeit, tension and conflict surged up more often in the southern parts of Afghanistan, where the American and Britain forces were located, since 2012 the Talibans have developed their way towards the northern parts of the country with more NATO presence.
Regardless of the hidden agendas at play behind the veil; the root of the discrepancies has led to the spread of war from the south to the deployment sites of German, French and other NATO forces in the north and west.
The uneven spread of coverage, dedicating all attention to solely one or two provinces, can be accounted for another slip on NATO’s part pushing Afghanistan even more towards a state of insecurity. Although they all fall under the NATO umbrella, each member practically played out an independent act and followed a different path. In lieu of suppression, persecution operations have been the main plan of action against the Taliban in the past 20 years, which consequently gave the Taliban the green light for taking advantage of NATO’s uncoordinated approach and consolidating their forces.
Insufficient knowledge about the ethnical and social backgrounds of Afghanistan added to the strategic mistakes made by the United States and NATO members, giving further room for the Taliban to recover and restore their forces. Having only defended the provinces under their administration, granted NATO member states a void sense of superiority that the scope of war did not extend to the areas under their influence. Seeing this as a window of opportunity, the Taliban successfully exploited this incoherence and developed their influence in different areas.
It should not go without notice that the interactions and transactions between NATO members and the Taliban, with the aim to prevent the spread of the conflict to the regions supported by these countries, not only failed to impose more pressure on the extremist group, but rather granted them public recognition. Abandoning a number of districts for the Taliban to conquer, stands exemplary to this mismanagement.
The Factors of Strength of Today’s Taliban
The lack of a unified leadership together with NATO’s member states discontent with their presence in Afghanistan under an American influence, rendered their forces weak and symbolic. All and all gave the Taliban a more reliable stance.
Although NATO was absent in the political negotiations between the US and the Taliban, they recognized and approved the agreement with the Taliban. Additionally, NATO’s sudden decision to withdraw their forces without any prior coordination with the Afghan government, stained their reputation even more compared to the Americans. It was amid this departure when the German troops transported the 40 ton memorial stone of the Afghan war in Mazar-e-Sharif by a military flight. strategic mistakes in Afghanistan
The training and equipment of Afghanistan’s military and police forces were weak, corrupt, void, and fraught with shortcomings. NATO, and especially Germany, have failed in training and preparing Afghan police forces, and the Afghan army was out of choice but to play the role of police in most areas.
The United States and NATO’s attempt to restructure Afghanistan’s former military was in stark contrast to the previous one. Although the Afghan security forces demonstrated bravery and courage, the established structure lacks the ability to lead, coordinate and conduct operations. Moreover, the disarmament of jihadist forces, the Mujahideen and the people, has also helped the Taliban gain power.
Contrary to Taliban’s military capabilities, the weakness and inefficiency of the military equipment provided to Afghanistan by NATO and the United States, granted Taliban a comparably superior stance in this fight.
With the European and American interventions in the judicial structure of Afghanistan, it should be said that during the time of presence of these forces in Afghanistan, hindered criminals from being punished. As a result, considering the preexisting corruption in this country, criminals were liberated only to return to the battlefields.
The role of the United States and NATO in jeopardizing stability and security in Afghanistan and the region
By giving political legitimacy to the Taliban, the United States has complicated Afghanistan’s internal situation and endangered regional stability and security. Oblivious to the requirements of the Afghan government, the United States commenced negotiations with the Taliban and concurred with their demands. More specifically, the United States has raised Taliban’s profile on a par equal to theirs, granting them political legitimacy. Despite realizing these US missteps, NATO did not object to these actions. NATO’s stand-by observation and acceptance of the Americans’ actions, only added fuel to the fire.
Consequently, with the legitimacy handed out to Taliban, contrary to their promises they perpetuated further tension and impositions against both the United States and the Afghan government. Although the Taliban had promised not to attack big cities, we are witnessing their widespread attacks, demonstrating Americans’ failure in seizing control and restoring peace.
Sayed Abbas Hosseini, Afghanistan expert
(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect BalkanTimes editorial stance.)