Graveyard of Superpowers


Naeem Kandwal
The history of Afghanistan is a complex one, fraught with conflict and war. History testifies that the World Powers that invaded Afghanistan have always suffered painful defeat. The biggest example of this is the recent defeat of the US in Afghanistan. After a long war of 20 years, the United States has suffered defeat in Afghanistan. Before discussing the recent US defeat, It is important to understand Afghanistan’s past war history. Afghanistan is particularly hard to conquer primarily due to some factors. The most important factor is the tribal trend. It is dominated by some of the highest and more jagged mountains in the world. These include the Hindu Kush, which dominates the country and run through the center and south of the country, as well as the Pamir mountains in the east. The Pamir Knot — where the Hindu Kush, Pamir, Tian Shan, Kunlun, and Himalayas all meet is situated in Badakhshan in northeast Afghanistan. Everybody knows that it is impossible to conquer territory in Afghanistan. Even Superpowers have understood it is impossible defeat Afghans militarily in open battle. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on December 24 1979. Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty was signed in 1978 and the two countries agreed to provide economic and military assistance. The Soviet Union attacked under the pretext of upholding the Treaty. A 1978 communist revolution in Afghanistan and its subsequent one-party state, was extremely unpopular with the Afghan people. The Soviets attempted to bolster it with the treaty. It was running by head of the communist party Nur Mohammed Taraki. Suddenly something happened that pushed Afghanistan into a bloody war. In September 1979 Taraki was overthrown and killed by members of the Afghan Communist Party who were unhappy with him. In December, Russia entered Afghanistan to re-establish a government closer to its desires. The subsequent 10 year war has been described as ‘Russia’s Vietnam’. At the beginning stage, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sent an estimated 280 transport aircraft and three divisions of almost 8,500 men each. The Soviet Union sent thousands of troops. They spent millions of dollars and ultimately retreated. In 1980, US President Carter initiates a programme to arm the Mujahideen against Soviet. in 1987, The US introduces shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, called Stingers. These weapons shot down Soviet planes and helicopters. This turned the war. Soviet Soldiers start withdrawing, as Gorbachev admits no victory is in sight. In 1988, elections were held and a coalition government was formed with incumbent leader Mohammad Najibullah at the head. Some 15,000 Soviet soldiers were killed. On 9 November 1989, The Berlin wall falls and thus begins the end of the Soviet Union. On 25 December 1991, The Soviet Union officially collapses. Thus, Afghanistan proved a graveyard of a superpower. US identified al-Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden, as responsible for 9/11 attacks ( 2001). 18, 2001, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 420-1 and the Senate 98-0 to authorize the United States to go to war. Taliban Government refused to hand over Osama bin Laden. Weeks after attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, President George W. Bush announced that American forces had launched attacks against Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban leadership quickly lost control of the country and relocated to southern Afghanistan. When the U.S.-led coalition formally ended its combat mission in 2014, the ANDSF was put in charge of Afghanistan’s security. The Taliban fought bravely. They continued to contest territory, including provincial capitals, across the country. In February 2020, after more than a year of direct negotiations, the U.S. government and the Taliban signed a peace agreement that set a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Under the agreement, the United States pledged to draw down U.S. troops to approximately 8,500 within 135 days and complete a full withdrawal within fourteen months. The United Nations documented a then–record high of 10,993 civilian casualties in 2018. In 2019, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said more than 45,000 members of his country’s security forces have been killed since he became leader in 2014. Research by Brown University estimates losses in the Afghan security forces at 69,000. More than 3,500 coalition soldiers have died. More than 20,000 US soldiers have been injured. UN declared Afghanistan as the third-largest displaced population in the world. More than five million people have fled and not been able to return home. America’s longest war, which began in 2001, is ending in complete humiliation. The last two decades have been disastrous for the US. On Aug. 30, 2021, the U.S. completed a pullout of troops from Afghanistan. United States has spent $2.26 trillion in Afghanistan. Research by Brown University estimates losses in the Afghan security forces at 69,000. More than 3,500 coalition soldiers have died, about two-thirds of them Americans. More than 20,000 US soldiers have been injured. UN declared Afghanistan as the third-largest displaced population in the world. Afghanistan has proved itself a graveyard of Superpowers again.