With the return of the Taliban to power, Afghanistan is turning the page. This new defeat of the United States is an event of global significance.

In the 1980s, the United States organized with its Pakistani and Saudi allies a vast weapons program for the mujahedin, with the aim of further bogging down the USSR, then protector of the Afghan regime. It succeeded, forcing the disgraceful withdrawal of the Soviet army and later the collapse of the Afghan government.

A few years later, the Taliban seized power and established an ultra-suppressive regime. The United States did not want to get involved, until Afghanistan became a haven for radical Islamists, which became evident on September 11, 2001.

With the American occupation in 2001, the Taliban were driven from power and withdrew in the mountainous regions of the south and the provinces bordering with Pakistan. In the meantime, the United States, along with its subordinate European and Canadian allies, attempted an intensive “reengineering” giving them full power over the country. However, this “substitution” strategy turned out to be a great failure. Regions dissented with populations opposed to the violence of the occupation and the corruption of pro-American elites.

Later, the Taliban consolidated their hold by installing a parallel administration, while diversifying their actions with spectacular attacks in the cities. Afghanistan, according to President Obama, was a side issue that we should get rid of.

With the withdrawal under Biden, the United States abandoned the Afghan regime completely unable to hold out for more than a week. This had the advantage of avoiding a bloodbath. The Taliban say they are not considering a major purge. Become more “realpolitiks”, they are dominated by a professionalized and bureaucratized elite which prefers to govern rather than to continue the war. This is why they promise in various negotiations with the United States, China and Russia to prevent the return of radicalized factions like al-Qaeda and Daesh.

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On the ground, however, it will be a difficult task to restore order in a devastated and shattered country, especially as these hundreds of thousands of Afghans will try to leave the country.

Endless war

In the medium term, Taliban rule could be weakened, in part because of opposition from minority groups fearful of the Taliban. And there is also the regional context. The victory of the Taliban is largely the victory of Pakistan, which is becoming a strategic ally of China, via the Chinese megaprojects worth more than 62 billion dollars.

According to several sources, the restoration of security in Afghanistan is a condition sine qua non for the success of these pharaonic ambitions. However, the new American strategy is to contain Chinese advances by combining military and economic actions. Washington’s efforts to integrate into an anti-China alliance include India, Pakistan’s staunch enemy. It is possible that Afghanistan will find itself again engulfed in a vast geopolitical conflict.

Canada is no longer a major player in this crisis, but that does not mean that it is completely absent. Canada’s alignment behind the offensive against China possibly opens a new stage. Caught between China, with its imperial ambitions and questionable human rights practices, and the United States, which seems unable to deal with the erosion of its status as the sole superpower, Canada finds itself in bad posture. Would it not be possible to work for the reconstruction of a multipolar world order where the responsibilities of tackling the crisis of crises would be shared?

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Reference-feedproxy.google.com

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