In Afghanistan, American exceptionalism, USA

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

The US military left Bagram Airfield – its key base in Afghanistan – at 3 am on July 2 without notifying the Afghans, according to the BBC News. The Afghan military only found out hours later.

By Lin Lan

Published on Global Times, July 8, 2021

The US military left Bagram Airfield – its key base in Afghanistan – at 3 am on July 2 without notifying the Afghans, according to the BBC News on Wednesday. The Afghan military found out hours later. This quiet withdrawal has irritated Afghanistan, and an anonymous senior official said, “People are saying: ‘The Americans didn’t ask Afghans about coming here, and they didn’t consult Afghans about leaving.'” On social media platforms, there have been comparisons between Afghanistan’s current situation and that in South Vietnam in 1975: the US withdrew in a hurry from both countries.

In January 1973, the US hastily withdrew its combat forces from Vietnam, ending direct US military involvement in the Vietnam War. Without the US military’s direct support, the last few Americans still in South Vietnam were hastily airlifted out of the country in 1975. Although the time and the country are different, the US’ withdrawals from Afghanistan and Vietnam have left the same strong impression to people – the US is defeated and leaving a mess.

On the quiet withdrawal from Bagram, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on Tuesday claimed that “We have to consider that this drawdown could be contested by the Taliban” and “it would have been irresponsible” to telegraph the exact time the US was leaving for operational security reasons. However, this is obviously a lame excuse.

“Whenever the US finds the withdrawal beyond its ability, it will never consider other countries’ actual situation or the needs of the people. Instead, the US always adopts an extremely utilitarian approach and acts in full accordance with its own interests. This is an old habit of the US,” Li Zixin, an assistant research fellow with the department for developing countries studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday.

From Afghanistan to Syria and Iraq, the US has left countless messes to the world and committed a series of “crimes against humanity” in the name of the “war on terrorism.” The security, economic and political situation of the entire Middle Eastern region has been affected by the US invasion, not to mention the internal situation of these specific countries.

Afghanistan has long been called the “graveyard of empires.” The US’ withdrawal is a must, but it has chosen such a hasty and irresponsible way. This will only lead to the further deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan. With the withdrawal of the US and NATO forces, the conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban has intensified, resulting in a large number of civilian casualties.

The Taliban has taken more than 50 of the 370 districts in the country, according to a Reuters report on July 1. The US, a self-proclaimed “beacon of democracy,” has become an important source of turmoil, chaos and terrorist activities in many countries around the world.

Such irresponsible acts of the US will seriously undermine its moral influence in the international community. “The US has no ability to carry out the so-called war against terrorism at all. Nor does it have the intention to serve as a moral benchmark worldwide. The US has almost given up on maintaining its national image,” Li said. “In the long run, this will have a huge impact on its soft power.”

The US’ so-called global counter-terrorism efforts have completely failed. Under the banner of counter-terrorism, the US has not only failed to end terrorism in these countries, but even made terrorist attacks more rampant. The “beacon of democracy” has collapsed, with scattered debris hitting Afghanistan and other countries. It would take a long period for these countries to heal the wounds, but the US does not intend to take any responsibility.



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