The War in Afghanistan was America’s longest war in its history. Despite spending two decades in the region, the US and NATO forces were unable to attain their goals and left in a rush at the end of 2021, leaving behind helicopters, weapons and tanks. Pakistan played two roles in this war. In the beginning the US declared Pakistan to be the most important “non-NATO ally”. As the war prolonged, the US’s attitude towards Pakistan also changed. Pakistan went from being a central player in the US war, to being the scapegoat for the latter’s failure in Afghanistan. Time and again, the American leadership accused Pakistan of providing safe haven to terrorists in its region, making it hard for the US to achieve their goals in the country.
Things have not changed. The US still claims Pakistan provided hideouts to the Taliban and this is why they could not win this war.
On Friday night, former top general Frank McKenzie told NBC News that: “Pakistanis never believed that we would stay, always thought that we would leave,” adding “You know that? They were right, we left.”
He claimed that the Taliban always had a haven in Pakistan and the US was never able to resolve that in the two decades of the conflict or come to an agreement with Pakistan on the issue.
I don’t know that Afghanistan is governable or sustainable with a Western model. I know that Afghanistan is governable and sustainable from an Afghan model. But we paid too little attention to Afghan realities on the ground,” he said.
McKenzie said that overlooking the Afghan reality was costly and “hubris on our part, and on the international community.”
He went on to say that he was “proud of” American men and women on the ground on the day of the controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan, when Afghans died trying to hold on to the plane. He said that the fact it was a highly politicized event was “regrettable”.
The US declared the completion of the Afghanistan pullout Aug, 30, 2021, ending the 20-year war.
by Amna Sheikh