The U.S. exits Afghanistan — Eerie similarities to the inglorious exit from Vietnam

The U.S. exits Afghanistan - Eerie similarities to the inglorious exit from Vietnam

The U.S. is exiting Afghanistan, having lost another war, and experts see eerie similarities to the inglorious exit of Uncle Sam from Vietnam. The U.S. military is working round the clock to evacuate remaining Americans from the war-torn nation as the Taliban enforces its rule in Kabul. Where the sole remaining superpower went wrong? Why the U.S. forgot its lessons learned in Vietnam? These are questions that will haunt the U.S. administration in the years to come.

The Wall Street Journal reports, the scenes at the Kabul Hamid Karzai International airport are no different from the scenes witnessed in 1975 in Saigon as helicopters airlifted the last Americans from the U.S embassy and the Vietcong guerrillas’ right at the gates of the embassy.

The biggest and the most powerful army in the world were helpless before a small group of Afghan mujahedeen who were equipped with A.K.47 and RPG. The U.S., just like in Vietnam, had forgotten to take into account the motivation of its opponents. The Afghan people never relished the U.S, who they saw as invaders and culturally alien. The U.S tried to enforce its version of Democracy which was alien to the Pashtu population, broken into different tribes with local allegiance. However, these tribes were united in their fight against the invaders, and if the Americans revisit the history of Afghanistan, they would have learned a lot about where they went wrong.

The U.S. poured billions of dollars into Afghanistan and set up an army of more than 3.5 million. However, Afghanistan never had any army in its turbulent history. The ethnic fault lines run very deep, and the Uzbek, Tajik, Hazara, Pashtun, and other tribes led by their warlords had their own armies, which locally looked after their interests.

The world’s influences always insulated Afghans, and events around the globe had minimal bearing on their affairs. Had they not been the pawn of the big powers, they would have lived happily in their cocooned existence. However, Afghanistan was regarded as the entrance to Central Asia by first the British, then the Russians, and now America. Every power had its own interest uppermost, and no one cared a damn about the interest of the Afghan people. Even India’s interests are more to use it as a gateway to central Asia and a chance to exploit its natural resources.

The coming days will decide the future of the landlocked nation. If the Taliban shunned its medieval mindset and aligned itself with modern times, it has a great future. Otherwise, it will begin once again a period of uncertainty and bloodshed.

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