Afghanistan behind the scene

This article explains the reasons for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the weakness of internal and international reactions.

Reading the newspapers or television reports on the chaos that is unleashing in these hours in Afghanistan, we find only surprise and dismay at what seems to be an inexplicable twist – some even call it betrayal – of the US towards the fate of the poor Afghan people.

Commentators seem to have completely forgotten about the Doha Agreement: a negotiation – but with the substance of a real international treaty – between the United States of America and the Talibans whose official name is “Agreements to bring peace to Afghanistan between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (which is not recognized as a state by the US and also known as the Talibans) and the USA” signed in Doha on 29th of February 2020.

The process began in 2018 and, for the occasion, the Talibans reopened their political office in the capital of Qatar, Doha, which hosted the meetings. The “official” Afghan government was not admitted to the table, and the “inter-Afghan” negotiations began only later, in September 2020, with the intent to regulate relations between the Islamic Emirate and the official government of Afghanistan, which however did not go through. This was already indicative of the fact that the US has – in fact – accepted the premises of the Islamic Emirate of non-recognition of the official secular Afghan government, thus legitimizing and strengthening their position on the territory and in fact condemning subsequent inter-Afghan negotiations to failure.

This type of diplomacy that excludes interested parties from the table seems typical of the last period of the USA: even the now infamous Abraham Accords Peace Agreement for peace between Israel and Palestine, were negotiated and signed only by the USA and Israel in August 2020, without any involvement of the Palestinians and it is an expression of the politics of domination that imbues Yankee imperialism. It is not a question of mediating between antagonists in the interest of peace among peoples, but simply ensuring protection of US interests by making any regime fit as long as it is able to ensure the stability necessary for their ends; and “stability” here does not mean neither democracy, nor state law, nor the protection of human rights: it means organizing a context in which there can be economic exchanges for the benefit of the USA.

The content of the Doha agreement provides that, in essence, in the face of the total disengagement of the US from the Afghan territory, the Islamic Emirate undertakes not to endanger the security of the United States in any way and to guarantee its peaceful return. It also says that the Talibans must engage in the fight against terrorism and therefore undertake not to have relations with, or offer direct or indirect assistance to, Islamic terrorist organizations such as IS. They also agree for the US to intervene in the reconstruction of the territory, once everything is calm.

Only at the end, and certainly not set as a condition, there is a general invitation to the Islamic Emirate to find an agreement with the official government. The US also undertakes to cancel the Taliban leaders from the internal list of terrorists as well as to remove the sanctions and to promote the same instance in the international arena. In short, the only real commitment required of the Talibans is not to endanger the interests or security of the United States, no mention of human rights, no mention of democracy, much less no mention of the condition of women.

It is true that it was an agreement negotiated and signed by Trump, but Biden did nothing to disavow it (as he did not disavow the Abrahamic Agreements), proof of the firm continuity in the line of US foreign policy which does not express any difference, despite the government alternating Democrats, Republicans or Trump. Proof of this is the fact that the US delegation head of the negotiations was Zamay Khalilzan, a trusted man by the US government on the Afghan question since the 1970s, who has survived in office several presidents of all colors. Biden’s silence on the matter, net of some awkward statements, is quite significant.

In short: it was not a surprise and indeed, it was already decided that it would go like this. The US, and everyone else, knew very well what it would mean for women, for democracy and for all those values ​​in the name of which they started and carried on this war, which cost trillions of public dollars and human lives, to practical demonstration of the fact that – in reality – arguments are irrelevant to the decisions that are made: the only important things are the economic interests and security of the USA.

Among the benefits not explicitly mentioned in the agreement, I would also add the army and related means and armaments (whose 308,000 men armed and trained by Western democracies have not even pretended to oppose the advance and are now in fact at the service of the Emirate), through which the Talibans will be able to take a step forward in consolidating their geopolitical position. Soon the alarm will cease and we will see the propaganda at work to normalize the new situation, just long enough to get us the appropriate tissues with the stars and stripes.
Meanwhile, those who destroyed are already working to rebuild.
Business is business.

The author, Michela Arricale, is a lawyer, international jurist and researcher at CRED – Center for Research and Development for Democracy.
The original article is on, an indipendent, alternative newspaper directed by Fabrizio Casari, expert in international politics.

Cover image adapted: photo by Charles Roffey – released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

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