The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has recently published its new report assessing the collapse of the Afghan government, listing six reasons for the Taliban takeover of the country. The main perpetrators of this catastrophic collapse were the Afghan government, the United States and the Taliban, according to SIGAR.
In a 59-page report, SIGAR identified the Afghan government headed by Ashraf Ghani as the main culprit for the collapse of the former republic regime, stating that the Afghan government was more corrupt than the Taliban and stressing that it did not have a strong reason to fight like this group. While the Taliban believed that they were fighting against the occupation and for the promotion of religion. The SIGAR report considered the excessive centralization of power and the inability of Ghani and his administration to understand the reality of the US withdrawal as factors of the collapse. According to SIGAR, former President Ghani was isolated from voices and opinions beyond his ‘handpicked inner circle of confidants.’ Eventually, this circumstance contributed to the unraveling of Afghanistan’s loosely knit government. A significant part of the report is dedicated to the behavior and policies of Ashraf Ghani and he is depicted as a person who is “separate from Afghan reality” and busy day-dreaming. In the report, Michael McKinley, the former US ambassador in Kabul, was quoted as saying that Ashraf Ghani was living in a fantasyland. One should ask how that fantasyland was created and what role did the US play in its creation?
Since 2014, the US has not sent a clear message about the withdrawal of troops and the future of its cooperation with the Afghan government, and has behaved in a multifaceted and contradictory manner. On the one hand, it signed a strategic agreement with the Afghan government, assuring that the enemies of the two countries are common, developing its military capacities and giving mid-term and long-term commitments in support of Afghanistan’s development plans, and on the other hand, it held secret and open bilateral meetings with the Taliban, warning that the Afghan parties should negotiate on power sharing. The US even formulated the Doha Agreement in a suspicious and contradictory tone, and it was said that behind that compact agreement, detailed obligations were also signed between the parties, which became known as hidden annexes. In April 2021, when the fall of the districts under the control of the Afghan government began and gradually accelerated, the United States announced that it would not allow the Taliban to take over the administration of the country without intra-Afghan agreement and by force. On the basis of the same two-sided policy, until today, a group of Taliban opponents live in the illusion of an all-inclusive government to be formed by the Taliban and are listening closely to the situation in Washington so that the talks may be resumed and their names are included in the list of negotiators and then enjoy as shareholders of the partnership government. Ashraf Ghani is not the only one living in a fantasyland, but most of the non-Taliban politicians and statesmen were dreaming in the shadow of America’s behavior and ambiguous positions.
SIGAR’s report called corruption and centralization effective in the formation of the fantasyland of Ashraf Ghani and his inner-circle of confidents. But critics of the United States say that until the end of its military presence in Afghanistan, that country refused to recognize the management of the plan and implementation of the projects and the allocation of funds that had been provided to Afghanistan. Each of the embassies and NGOs, like parallel governments, built projects alongside the Afghan government, received aid, consumed, and reported to authorities other than national authorities. The centralized system of governance, which in the SIGAR report was called the cause of the distance between the capital and the provinces, and the cities and villages, and as a result the isolation of the government, was also formed under the aegis of American support in the Bonn Conference and subsequent jirgas.
Today, the Taliban, proud of the support and alignment of the United States and regional countries, is building an fantasy administration that is in clear contradiction with the needs and wishes of the country’s residents. Is the main fault for the terrible dreams that the Taliban leaders have for the country on the shoulders of Mullah Hibatullah or those who provided the conditions for him and other day-dreamer Mullahs with their agreements, weapons and funds?