AFGHANISTAN: ITS PAST, PRESENT, AND POSSIBLE FUTURE – Issue 4 of 9
The human cost of the Afghan conflict has received little attention from US politicians. President Biden did, however, use numbers from the Cost of War Report, published by Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, in his speech. According to the report, the war cost the US $2.313 trillion in total and resulted in the deaths of 176,000 people (rounded to the nearest 1,000). Disease-related mortality, loss of water and infrastructure, and other war-related indirect effects are not included in these estimates.
Moreover, in 2001, when President Bush declared War on Terror, it resulted in 20 years of what the Cost of War report calls “The 9/11 Wars.” It states that over 929,000 people have died in the post 9/11 wars due to direct violence, and other reverberating effects of war. A total number of 387,000 civilians have been killed as a result of fighting in the post 9/11 wars. At least 38 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the US since 9/11, according to the Costs of War report. With the exception of World War II, this figure exceeds those displaced by other situations of armed conflict since the early 1900s. The US federal tag for the post 9/11 wars is 8 trillion. The report states further that the US government is conducting counterterror activities in 85 countries. Plus, these wars have been accompanied by violations of human rights and civil liberties in the US and abroad. As the world watches the end of the longest war in US history, will the US government and its allies go through a period of reflection and revise its foreign policies that still have tenets of imperialism and domination?
Concerning the US’s future involvement in Afghanistan, there are many concerns and questions to be answered based on truth. In reference to future US engagement with Afghanistan, are the concerns terrorism, geopolitics, control over Afghanistan’s natural resources, and the oil pipeline, plus national and global interest?
Afghanistan is now free of foreign occupation, as the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities recently reminded Americans and the rest of the world. What will the future of a land rich in natural riches and human assets look like under Taliban rule? Although the future cannot be foreseen, there is optimism and potential for a better Afghanistan due to a variety of circumstances. Previously, the Taliban controlled about 90% of Afghanistan in 1998. They gained early popularity by eliminating corruption, curtailing anarchy, and making the highways and places under their jurisdiction safe for trade and business. Despite this, their stringent Sharia Law was considered cruel and oppressive. There was also an international outcry in 2001 when the Taliban proceeded with the destruction of the famed Bamiyan Buddha monuments in Central Afghanistan. Malafa Yousafzai, a teenager from Mingora, was shot on her way home in October 2012, in the most high-profile and internationally criticized of all Pakistani Taliban attacks. Even after the US-Taliban peace agreement in February 2020, the Taliban appeared to change tactics under President Trump’s administration, launching a wave of targeted assassinations that terrorized Afghan citizens.
The Development Team
Principal Investigator: Theresa Delsoin (USA)
Content Writer: Theresa Delsoin
Sub-editor: Lunga Dweba (RSA)
Project Coordinator: Nobuhle Thobela (ZWE)
The GI ADVISORY is a research-based security firm, whose primary purpose is to contribute to world order and stability.