By Col Abhi Athavale (veteran)
The name “Afghanistan” comes from “Upa-Gana-stan” which means in Sanskrit “the place inhabited by allied tribes”.
A LITTLE TIME TRAVEL MORE THAN A MILLENNIUM IN THE PAST,
What was the history of Afghanistan before the arrival of Muslim invaders, like Ghazni to India?
The year 980 C.E. marks the beginning of the foreign invasion into India proper when Sabuktagin attacked Raja Jaya Pal in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is today a country separated from India by another country Pakistan. But in 980 C.E. Afghanistan was also a place where the people were Hindus and Buddhists.
The name “Afghanistan” comes from “Upa-Gana-stan” which means in Sanskrit “the place inhabited by allied tribes”. This was the place from where Gandhari of the Mahabharat came from, Gandhar whose king was Shakuni. Today the city of Gandhar is known as Kandahar. The Pakthoons are descendants of the Paktha tribe mentioned in Vedic literature. Till the year 980 C.E., this area was a Hindu majority area, till Sabuktagin from Ghazni invaded it and displaced the ruling Hindu king – Jaya Pal Shahi. Shiva worship was widespread in Afghanistan. There was a time when the entire region was replete with hundreds of Shiva temples celebrating Shiva – Parvati worship and abuzz with Shiv chants, prayers, legends and worship.
Kendal a province of Afghanistan, was ruled by a king that had a Hindu prime minister. This is mentioned in history books. Albirruni’s travel account contains details of ancient Hindu Afghanistan, He mentions a Hindu king, Khingla whose coins bore the imprint of Shiva. The first ruler of that dynasty was Viahitagni. History mentions a Shiva temple in Garden township, which was plundered by Arab invaders.
Up to the 10nth century, CE Afganistan was ruled by Hindushahi dynasties and was the majority Hindu nation.
But Islam was spreading rapidly and Iran, Central Asia had converted to Islam.
AFGHANISTAN IN THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES.
Kabul in the 1960s and early 1970s was not Westernised beyond a relatively small upper-middle and bureaucratic class in a handful of neighbourhoods. 99% of the country was rural, poor, and traditional.In the ’60s some women in Kabul wore mini-skirts and fishnet stockings.
Hard to believe based on what we hear about Afghanistan! The turn came as a result of the Soviet invasion and the war against them.
Rise of the Taliban
Taliban were created by CIA and ISI in the 80s as a seperate miltia to fight against USSR in Afghanistan. They were mostly students of islamic schools at that time so were called Taliban as Taliban means “students”. Don’t interpret students as minor childs. They were all adults or most of them were.
When cold war ended, USA left this area with no future plans for Afghanistan and its poople. That decision left the thousands of so called JIHADIES with no further goals.
But everything changed after the Afghan war.
Soviet troops invaded Kabul on December 25th 1979, on orders from Moscow to replace the radical Hafizullah Amin with the Soviet-endorsed Babrak Karmal as head of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
The Soviet decision to invade Afghanistan was foremost driven by the security concerns of the rapidly weakening Afghanistan, vulnerable to Islamic extremism and Western encroachment, posed to the Soviet Union’s southern borders.
The US entered Afghanistan as part of its War on Terror following 9/11, to defeat Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. But what was intended to be a quick and decisive show of force turned into a long and deadly war. From 2001 till 2021 successive presidents from George Bush to Trump.
The Obama administration
The early Barack Obama years were marked by an increased US presence in Afghanistan. After overseeing the killing of Osama bin Laden, Obama set out a plan to leave Afghanistan in his second term.
2009-2010 : Obama made a renewed commitment to Afghanistan. This included sending a surge of 17,000 troops to the country in Feb. 2009, and shifting strategy to focus on fighting Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan as well.
2011: US Navy SEALS carried out a successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
2013: NATO forces (led by the US) officially handed over security responsibility to Afghan military forces. The US military stayed on mostly in a training capacity and for specific counterterrorism efforts.
2014: President Obama announced a timeline for the withdrawal of US troops, but the Taliban were once again active in various parts of the country, and the Americans stayed longer.
Its public aims were to dismantle al-Qaeda and deny it a safe base of operations in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban from power. … The US and its allies rapidly drove the Taliban from power by December 17, 2001, and built military bases near major cities across the country.
One of the reasons why Americans stayed in Afghanistan was, Afghanistan has 1.8 billion barrels of oil between Balkh and Jawzjan Province in the north of the country, discovered in 2010. … Most of the undiscovered crude oil occurs in the Afghan-Tajik Basin and most of the undiscovered natural gas is located in the Amu Darya Basin.
Casualties in Afghanistan come from two official military operations: Operation Enduring Freedom, a globe-spanning conflict that lasted from late 2001 until 2014 and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, which continued operations in Afghanistan until the present.
Between the two, the U.S. Department of Defense recorded 2,443 military deaths. About 95% of those deaths, 2,311, happened from incidents in Afghanistan.
Fighting in Afghanistan reached its peak between 2009 and 2012. These three years accounted for 1,500 U.S. deaths.
American military personnel from every single U.S. state and territory were killed in the 20 years of military operations in Afghanistan.
In the 20 years since September 11, 2001, the United States has spent more than $2 trillion on the war in Afghanistan. That’s 300 million dollars per day, every day, for two decades.
At just short of 20 years, the conflict in Afghanistan was America’s longest war. More than 2,000 U.S. service members were killed there. The U.S. spent billions over the years to sustain its troops in Afghanistan and hired military contractors to feed and house them.
Those contractors profited the most from the war, And they were the first to flee Afghanistan.
During the last 20 years the US-supplied Afghanistan with sophisticated weapons and helicopters.
How $83 Billion Spent on the Afghan Army Ended Up Benefiting the Taliban and went down the drain.
Built and trained at a two-decade cost of $83 billion, Afghan security forces collapsed so quickly and completely — in some cases without a shot fired — that the ultimate beneficiary of the American investment turned out to be the Taliban. They grabbed not only political power but also U.S.-supplied firepower — guns, ammunition, helicopters and more.
Bigger gains followed, including combat aircraft, when the Taliban rolled up provincial capitals and military bases with stunning speed, topped by capturing the biggest prize, Kabul, over the weekend.
The U.S. failure to produce a sustainable Afghan army and police force and the reasons for their collapse has to be investigated thoroughly.
Some elements of the Afghan army did fight hard, including commandos whose heroic efforts are yet to be fully documented.
But little attention was given to the question of whether Afghans were willing to die for their nation.
The Afghan army with all the sophisticated armaments didn’t have the will to fight against the Taliban and simply surrendered or deserted the army
The Afghan force-building exercise was so completely dependent on American largesse that the Pentagon even paid the Afghan troops’ salaries. Too often that money, and untold amounts of fuel, were siphoned off by corrupt officers and government overseers who cooked the books, creating “ghost soldiers” to keep the misspent dollars coming.
It is said that the Afghan army was 300 thousand strong armies. But in reality, they were ghost soldiers only on paper. And the salaries of these ghost soldiers were siphoned off by the commanders and the government. Corruption was rampant in Afghanistan.
Now have the insight as to why and how the Afghan forces who were projected supposed to be 300 thousand strongly army just crumbled against the mear 30 thousand unorganised and fragmented Taliban factions.
Taliban Overran the Afghan Army, Built by the U.S. Over 20 Years
Afghanistan’s military was moulded to match American operations and collapsed without U.S. air support and intelligence.
KABUL—The Afghan government outpost in Imam Sahib, a district of northern Kunduz province, held out for two months after being surrounded by the Taliban. At first, elite US commando units would come once a week on a resupply run. Then, these runs became more scarce, as did the supplies.
“In the last days, there was no food, no water and no weapons,” According to one of the Afghan soldiers Fleeing in one armoured personnel carrier and one Ford Ranger, the remaining men finally made a run to the relative safety of the provincial capital.
Weapon seizures is a massive boon for the Taliban as cities fall. As Afghan defence forces have shown little appetite for that fight and, in their tens of thousands, have been laying down their arms — only for the Taliban to immediately pick them up.
Today the Taliban is full of the most modern weapons which are laid down by the Afghan forces and the US.
It was the US that was responsible for creating Osama Bin Laden. It was the US who taught the Mujhideens modern-day warfare and millions of dollars to fight against the Soviets.
During the anti-Soviet war, Bin Laden and his fighters received American and Saudi funding. Some analysts believe Bin Laden himself had security training from the CIA. … Throughout the ’80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage war against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.”
The US fled two days before the Taliban entered Kabul with their tails between the legs. It was a well-planned escape.
Joe Biden on the Afghanistan withdrawal — Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy. What a shameless statement..!!!
If that was the case, why did the US stay there for 20 years?
This was the last nail on the coffin of betrayal of the people of Afghanistan who now are in the midst of a doomsday situation, helpless and very frightened about their future.
Women will be forced to wear Burqa, will not be allowed to go to school,already they have been demanding a list of women in age group between 18 – 45 years of age who will be forced to marry taliban terrorists or would be sold out as sex slaves. Sharia law will be enforced, and the people of Afghanistan will be thrown back to the stone age.
The US has never won a war on its own. WW II was fought with the allies and that too because of Pearl Harbour.
Be it Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan the US every time is left with a bloody nose.
The US has endangered the world by giving a free run to the TALIBAN.
With financial support from China and logistic and military support from Pakistan, it is going to be a war of nerves.
And finally the USA is a typical example of how “A friend in need should not be a friend indeed”
Welcome back to the era of enhanced terrorism and more attacks across the continents.
Taliban is an idiology nourished by ISI and CIA. Now this idiology haunts them the most. Pakistan wants to get rid of this ideology but can’t due to India factor so pakistan is reluctantly supporting Taliban again.
India is in Afghanistan due to pakistan enmity and circling the pakistan from both sides.
USA favouring india as India is helping USA to reduce the shame of loosing the war.
Pakistan and USA love affair has long gone now.
Or in short, taliban are not going anywhere in coming future neither will USA, INDIA and PAKISTAN.
By Col Abhi Athavale (veteran)