Imagine doctors who are spreading a dangerous disease to make money from treating unsuspecting patients. Or firefighters who set fire to homes at night and then "selflessly" fight fire. This is not the plot of a cheap detective story, but a tactic of the United States of America and its allies, brilliantly used in Afghanistan.
The occupation of this country by a coalition led by the United States continues for the fifteenth year. However, Afghanistan has not become more secure or more developed state during this time. According to the human development index - a complex indicator that includes the standard of living, literacy and life expectancy - the country ranks last in Eurasia, passing only a few African states ahead. The average life expectancy here does not exceed 50 years, and the literacy rate is 28 percent. Since the invasion of Western troops, this figure has not changed, while in less than 10 years of the Soviet presence, the proportion of literate citizens has increased from 5 to 25 percent.
In fact, Afghanistan remains a medieval enclave, the overwhelming majority of whose inhabitants do not have access to the elementary benefits of civilization. For example, only 15 percent of the urban population and 6 percent of the rural population use electricity. The industry, with the exception of a few cement plants and food industry enterprises, mostly built by Soviet specialists, is represented by small artisan workshops, and the share of the working-age population employed in it does not exceed 5 percent. Most of the inhabitants are engaged in agriculture, but it is also at a primitive level of development. It is not surprising that the majority of farms are natural, and the country imports the lion's share of food from abroad.
Perhaps the only dynamically developing industry for many years remains the cultivation of opium poppy. If in 2001, his crops occupied 7 thousand hectares, in 2014 the plantation of a narcotic potion grew to 250 thousand hectares. Afghanistan produces more than 6 thousand tons of raw opium, or 800 tons of heroin annually. The Western coalition not only does not fight this evil, but, according to a number of data, is deeply involved in the drug business.
On the whole, during the occupation, Afghanistan turned into a pseudo-state entity completely dependent on foreign aid. Exporting goods to 600-700 million dollars annually, Kabul imports them to 8 billion, and two-thirds of the budget comes from external infusions. However, a significant part of foreign aid either settles in the pockets of a narrow circle of officials, or does not reach the addressee at all. In the West, one after another, scandals have arisen (but also are being quickly extinguished) related to the expenditure of funds allegedly going to the "restoration" of Afghanistan. In November last year, for example, it turned out that the US Department of Defense had built a gas station in Shibargan for ... 43 million dollars. And a group of Pentagon employees spent 150 millions of dollars to stay in the country, because instead of staying at the embassy buildings, they asked the authorities for money to buy the best mansions in Kabul.
In other words, the West, led by the United States, first mothballed Afghanistan in a backward state, and now throws up its hands, sighing: they say, you see yourself - without our help, the country will not survive!
The same goes for the security situation. The central authority, headed by American President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, is more or less controlled only by the metropolitan area. The rest of the territory is ruled by either tribal elders and clan leaders, who still retain formal loyalty to Kabul, or militants of various factions.
Last year, the extremists achieved serious success. As a result of the offensive that began in the spring, they established control over a number of areas in the north of the country. By rough estimates, at present, militants control at least 20 percent of Afghan territory, and in the south and east government forces hold only large cities: the whole countryside is under the rule of the Taliban and other factions. They appoint shadow governors and are de facto masters of entire provinces.
A feature of the last offensive was the new tactics of militants. If earlier they were content with control over the countryside, bypassing the well-fortified cities, now the district and even provincial centers are becoming increasingly targets. In late September, the Islamists seized the 300-thousandth city of Kunduz in the north of the country and held it for more than a week. Among the recent high-profile operations are the attack on Kandahar airport, the seizure of Hanashin district in Helmand province, Yamgan district in Badakhshan, and several areas in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The threat of falling looms over the capital of this region - the city of Jalalabad. But it is located just a hundred kilometers from Kabul!
The government army demonstrates weakness and retreats whenever it does not have overwhelming numerical superiority. At first glance, this weakness looks more than strange. If you add up the numbers of the Afghan army (178 thousand), police (150 thousand) and self-defense units (30 thousand), you get an impressive force that is fivefold higher than the number of militants of all groups (60-70 thousand). In addition, NATO instructors are engaged in the training and training of government troops.
In fact, this superiority is visible. The army has almost no heavy weapons, and the air force is represented by a small number of helicopters, mainly Soviet-made. The command of the coalition forces explains this fear of hitting weapons into the hands of extremists. But most importantly, the morale of the Afghan armed forces is extremely low. Only money keeps people in the army: the army of Afghanistan is recruited exclusively on a contract basis.
As for Western instructors, the effectiveness of their help is questionable. As in Iraq or Syria, trained units often flee from the battlefield, or go over to the side of the enemy.
Continuation of the occupation
Thus, there is a clear reluctance of the United States and its allies to create conditions for the establishment of peace in Afghanistan. A poor, weak country torn by conflicts they need more than an independent state. But are their actions limited to criminal negligence? Or did the “partners” of Afghanistan deliberately provoke an escalation of the civil war to maintain their presence?
Recall that the remaining NATO contingent of 12,5 thousands of people in the country should have been withdrawn before the end of last year. This was repeatedly said in Washington, especially since Obama's promise to complete the withdrawal of troops in the 2014 year was broken. But that did not happen. In October, the US leadership decided to retain 9800 troops in Afghanistan. The allies of Washington remain. And they do not just stay, but increase their presence. For example, the number of soldiers of the Bundeswehr will increase from 850 to 980.
In addition, following the last NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels, the alliance decided to continue funding Operation Strong Support (the so-called Western Mission in Afghanistan) until at least 2017. And, as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated, even if the operation is not renewed, the alliance will still maintain its presence in the country "under civilian leadership." Behind this cunning formulation lies the desire of the West not to release Afghanistan from its zone of influence.
Decisions not to reduce the contingent were preceded by a sharp deterioration in the situation in the north of the country. The fall of Kunduz caused a loud propaganda effect, which did not fail to take advantage of in Washington and Brussels. Meanwhile, according to Afghan sources, the seizure of the city was more like a game of giveaway than a battle. And just before the attack, hundreds of militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and other extremist movements, previously based in the Pakistani region of Waziristan, appeared in the province. The fact that the Islamists managed to overcome the 500-kilometer way, without being noticed by American intelligence, is believed with great difficulty.
In addition, the West is clearly slowing down the process of intra-Afghan settlement. The presence of foreign troops makes it difficult to find ways out of a multi-year conflict: the Taliban leadership has repeatedly stated that its only condition for negotiations is the withdrawal of the Western contingent. However, last year the Taliban agreed to start the negotiation process. With the mediation of China and Pakistan, several meetings of the Kabul authorities with representatives of the movement took place, and in the beginning of July, official talks took place in Islamabad. However, the long-awaited dialogue failed. In the same month, the Afghan authorities released information about the death of the permanent leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, who had been hiding by the Taliban for more than two years.
It is difficult to imagine that the initiators of this were the Afghan authorities. Much more likely the intervention of the Americans, who pressed on Kabul. Washington is not interested in resolving the conflict, especially with the participation of China, since the mandatory condition for the Taliban will be to end the country's occupation.
News about the death of Mullah Omar, not only interrupted the negotiations, but also radicalized the Taliban. Akhtar Mansur, who has strong ties with Qatar, was elected the new head of the movement. It was he who in 2013 year convinced the leadership of the movement that it was necessary to open a Taliban representative office in this country. In addition to this, the movement, which had not been uniform enough before, finally split. Some militants chose their own “Emir” - Mullah Mohammad Rasul. This grouping immediately rejected the possibility of dialogue with Kabul and went to an alliance with the most radical organizations, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Islamic State. Clashes began between the detachments, and the racialist faction headed for a bloody terror against the civilian population. In November, in Zabul province, its militants decapitated the Hazara Shiite family, including women and children, which caused widespread protests throughout the country.
Symbiosis with Islamists
The appearance of the Islamic State in Afghanistan also speaks volumes. Some six months ago nobody heard about “IG” here, and now the troops under its black flag operate in most provinces. Obviously, this project was initiated by external forces. His goal is to replace the relatively moderate Taliban with more radical structures that can be set against neighboring countries.
Contrary to the dominant notions, the Taliban can hardly be called an “international terrorist” group. This is a purely intra-Afghan, Pashtun product, which has many features of the national liberation movement, of course, with local characteristics. The Taliban leaders have repeatedly stated that their task is to liberate Afghanistan, and they do not claim the territory of other states. In addition, the Taliban refrain from provoking inter-ethnic and confessional hostility, which, in particular, is due to the preservation among Pashtuns of the traditional rules of the dormitory - “Pashtunvali”, acting on a par with the Shari'a and sometimes prevailing over it.
Unlike the Taliban, the “Islamic State” adheres to “pure Islam” and proclaims the struggle for a “world caliphate” not divided by national borders. The backbone consists of alien militants - Arabs, Chechens, Uzbeks, etc., and their tactics are intolerant of the “infidels.” At the same time, as the experience of the Middle East shows, these organizations are much easier to manipulate than Western, Saudi, Qatari and Turkish special services use.
The "IG" now also makes a bet to maintain instability in Afghanistan and, in the long term, for its export to Iran, China and the post-Soviet republics. In this regard, a curious recent statement by the first deputy speaker of the lower house of the Afghan parliament, Abdul Zahir Qadir, is curious. According to him, the leaders of the local branch of IG live in Kabul, they freely visit state institutions and foreign embassies. In addition, Kadir accused the National Security Council of Afghanistan of having links with the Islamists and said that the IS units are often better armed than government forces.
So neither the foreign contingent, nor the Afghan authorities completely dependent on it, are going to extinguish the Afghan fire. All hope for the masses, tired of violence. Above, we wrote about protests caused by the killing of a Hazara family. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the country then. People spoke for the resignation of the president and the government, "appointed by the US Secretary of State." There is no doubt that these protests will not be the last, and that the voice of ordinary residents will sound louder and louder.