From ‘Soldiers of God’ to ‘Terrorists’: Story of Washington’s Broken Promise to Afghan Mujahideen

The Taliban*, also known as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), is continuing to make gains on the ground. According to some estimates, the IEA has taken from 50 to 90 districts since May 2021, with some of them being seized without a single shot fired. What’s behind the Taliban’s recent offensive?

UN officials and American policy-makers are expressing concerns over the possibility of the Taliban taking over the country once American troops complete their withdrawal by 11 September 2021. US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who met with an Afghan delegation led by Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah earlier this week, expressed hope that the White House postpones the pull-out. 

“The Taliban, emboldened by our retreat, is rolling back years of progress, especially for the rights of Afghan women, on its way to taking Kabul”, said McConnell.

On 24 June, the Associated Press quoted US officials as saying that roughly 650 US troops will remain in Afghanistan after the withdrawal.

US & Afghan Mujahideen

While Washington is raising the alarm over the potential Taliban takeover, the US willingly exploited Afghan Islamist fighters and ideology of Jihad bil Saif (“warfare”) in the past to reach its geostrategic objectives in Central Asia, says Sabtain Ahmed Dar, a Pakistani political analyst, academic, and author. In the 1970s and 1980s the US provided lethal military aid to Afghan Mujahideen (“those who wage jihad”) as part of its Operation Cyclone against Soviet…

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