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COMMENT: US leaves Afghanistan in security black hole

COMMENT | XINHUA | Though the White House touts its commitment to a lasting peace in Afghanistan, the grim reality on the ground shows that by invading the country first and then trying to run away in haste, Washington is irresponsibly creating a security black hole in Afghanistan.

As Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is visiting Washington on Friday, his country has been overshadowed by a new wave of uncertainties. The intra-Afghan negotiations are experiencing setbacks, the security situation is deteriorating, and the economic and humanitarian situation is getting increasingly precarious.

In a hollow statement issued before Ghani’s visit, the White House claimed that it is “committed to supporting the Afghan people by providing diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian assistance.”

Washington’s decision of a complete troop exit before Sept. 11 may have contributed to a possible security vacuum in the war-torn country. However, it was Washington’s overbearing and destructive obsession with intervention that has sowed the seeds of turmoil and instability in Afghanistan and created a quagmire of war in the country.

Washington sent its troops to Afghanistan 20 years ago and started its longest war overseas in the name of counterterrorism. However, the U.S. military intervention has since then caused high civilian casualties and turned Afghanistan a breeding ground for terrorism.

The local indignation over U.S. bombings of civilian targets remains high and the world is appalled at Washington’s slack regulations on ensuring civilian safety amid the war.

The 20-year-long U.S. war in Afghanistan abounds with heartrending tragedies of ordinary Afghan families. One of them was a deadly U.S. airstrike on an Afghan hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in 2015. Though around 40 civilians were killed in what the MSF called “a war crime,” the Pentagon downplayed the severity of its mistake by claiming that the deadly attack was “caused primarily by human error.”

On March 5, 2020, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that its prosecutor could open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Afghan war since May 2003, including those committed by members of the U.S. armed forces and the CIA, such as alleged attacks against hospitals and other non-military targets, civilian casualties by drones, abuse of prisoners and torture.

In a move typical of U.S. hegemony and bullying, Washington then blocked the financial assets of certain ICC staff and imposed visa restrictions on them and their immediate family members as retaliation.

To justify Washington’s economic and legal offensive, then U.S. Attorney General William Barr claimed that the measures “are an important first step in holding the ICC accountable for exceeding its mandate and violating the sovereignty of the United States.”

What an irony! The United States, a country that least respects the sovereignty of other states, wanted to use sovereignty as a pretext to block an independent investigation by the ICC into its war crimes.

Washington may have claimed that its war in Afghanistan was to fight terrorism. But as former Afghan President Hamid Karzai told U.S. media on Sunday, the United States has failed in fighting extremism and bringing stability to the war-battered country, and “extremism is at the highest point today.”

Washington has chosen to leave Afghanistan in total disgrace. Unfortunately, for the Afghan people, they have to bear the disaster inflicted by Washington.



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