Ending war not hypocrisy

Pakistan has lost more lives than the Afghan military and police lives combined 'over the past decade'

Imran Jan February 07, 2019
The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at [email protected] Twitter @Imran_Jan

Peace, they say, is basically a period after war for the preparation of next war. Let us not imagine the next American wars. For now, a war-weary America is ready to come home.

The Taliban and America may be close to a deal to end the war in Afghanistan. While many are pointing to the victory by the Taliban in bringing the mightiest army in the history of mankind to its knees, nobody has pointed to how the Taliban were sold on the deal.

The unchanged condition of the Taliban for the occupation forces to leave has been approved. Let us not forget that that has been the American desire and aim for quite a while now.

Yet, it was traded to appease the Taliban. Reminds me of the movie Sleepers where Brad Pitt advertently loses a case to his opponent attorney who is defending Pitt’s childhood friends. Sometimes, losing is victory.

The former American ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker criticised the American withdrawal as a rush for exits saying, “I can’t see this as anything more than an effort to put lipstick on what will be a US withdrawal.” Crocker said it reminded him of the Paris peace talks on Vietnam.

It is interesting that Crocker is critical of the manner of ending America’s longest war, and not critical of why America started this war.

Likewise, he is critical of the method of exit from Vietnam rather than how and why it was wrong to invade and destroy South Vietnam, which started the mission creep. For one, it was his boss who started the Afghan war, at the height of which Crocker was an ambassador in Pakistan.

A New York Times story titled “US and Taliban Edge Toward Deal to End America’s Longest War” speaks volumes about the mindset in Washington.

It counts American, Allied forces, and Afghan lives as the human cost of this war. In another world where truth and common sense were the dominant features of journalistic life, deaths resulting from the Afghan war would be called genocide, atrocities, and terrorism perpetrated by American and Allied forces.

Interestingly, in 'human cost' no Pakistani lives are taken into consideration. Pakistan has lost more lives than the Afghan military and police lives combined 'over the past decade'. The article then points to the cost of the war. Again, it is Uncle Sam’s wallet.

A whopping $932 billion since 2001 in Afghanistan; its allies and international agencies, many billions more. On reconstruction aid alone, America spent more on Afghanistan than on the entire Marshall Plan to rebuild post-World War II Europe, in today’s dollars.”

Interestingly, whenever there’s a story about Afghanistan in the American press, there’s more mention of Pakistan than Afghanistan. But when it comes to the toll on finance and human lives, not one word for Pakistan.

Washington and the American journalism talk about exiting Afghanistan as a great idea because it is in line with the opinion of most Americans. As if Afghans have no right over what should happen to their country. And as mentioned above, it is sold to the Taliban as a bargain. Moreover, and quite laughably, it is said that the West and the Afghan government would only accept a deal which guarantees Afghan civil rights, especially the rights of women.

I wonder if these Afghan women were ever asked if they would accept that their country be invaded. What about the rights of Afghan women to live in a country free of any foreign military occupation let alone occupation by the most lethal military machine in the history of mankind?

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2019.

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