First overthrow foreign rule, then the real struggle for Afghanistan begins

First overthrow foreign rule, then the real struggle for Afghanistan begins. By Scott Kelly.

Afghanistan is made up of over a dozen distinct ethic and tribal groups spread over some of the most rugged and isolating geography on earth. Creating and maintaining unity among them has always been challenging, and the government America put in place in 2001 to replace the Taliban has been stabilised more by the threat of withholding aid dollars than a credible domestic political process. …

In the 2019 election only five percent of the population participated and both Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah declared victory after massive irregularities were discovered. …

To overthrow such a divided government the Taliban did not need to win any battles. They needed to convince each isolated city, tribal faction and strongman that chaos would ensue as soon as foreign troops left, and that they were the only ones with the internal cohesion and competence to provide stability. They successfully shaped the narrative surrounding the withdrawal of foreign troops to create the belief that the Ghani administration could not survive on its own due to its internal divisions and perceived incompetence. They then promulgated this belief over social media and engaged in a series of short, violent offences designed not to seize and hold terrain but to generate exorbitant casualties among the Afghan National Army and destroy its morale and cohesion as a fighting force. …

It may seem incomprehensible that so many Afghans decided to accept a likely return to theocratic tyranny without a fight, but to many that prospect was better than anarchy, especially to those far from the capital who may be hedging on being able to maintain some level of autonomy from Kabul.

Afghans have been working through their own tribal conflicts since time immemorial, and are notoriously brilliant in their own form of negotiation, reconciliation and survival, which often defies comprehensive understanding by outsiders.

The power of the banking system to manufacture money is coming up against its limits. It failed to buy off Afghanistan indefinitely. So it begins.