"Of course, since the beginning of the Afghan Peace Process, the Biden administration was playing a double game with the government of Ashraf Ghani."  Esmatullah Abdali

"Of course, since the beginning of the Afghan Peace Process, the Biden administration was playing a double game with the government of Ashraf Ghani." Esmatullah Abdali

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Shahzada Rahim of the Radical Outlook Interviewed the renowned Afghan Scholar and Political expert Mr. Esmatullah Abdali

Special Edition Volume 1

The Ongoing Afghan Quagmire Image © The Radical Outlook

Since the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban on August 15, 2021, Afghanistsn is facing a tuff choice between the lesser evil and greater evil. It has been two months since the power grab but still, the Taliban leadership has so far failed to establish a multi-ethnic and inclusive government in Kabul. Unfortunately, it is an undeniable fact that Afghanistan is an ethnographic cum tribal state, which is not easy to rule with a centralized power setup. Therefore, it is the time; Taliban leadership must understand this crude fact that ethnic minorities such as Tajiks and Uzbeks deserve political participation. So far, the Tajik resistance in the Panjsher valley is just a calm before the storm for the Taliban rule in Kabul and hence, the Taliban must understand this fact that the peace and chaos in Afghanistan depend on the decisions they make in the months to come.

In an effort to understand the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, Shahzada Rahim of The Radical Outlook interviewed Esmatullah Abdali an Afghan scholar and political expert based in Moscow, Russia. Esmatullah Abdali is a famous Afghan journalist, public figure, activist and expert on international affairs; who participated in many events and won many awards. He fled Afghanistan in 2017.


  1. Shahzada Rahim (SR): Thank You Mr. Esmatullah for joining me at the Radical Outlook for the interview. I am honored to have you.

The Sudden takeover of Kabul by Taliban forces on August 21 was indeed a surprise not just for Afghans but for the world too. How did this quick takeover occur? Were the American and other regional countries involved in the takeover of Kabul?

Esmatullah Abdali (EA): First of all, thank you for having me on the Radical Outlook!

Concerning your first question, it is difficult to argue this way, but, I want to say that the Taliban did not capture Kabul, but they were given power who passed it on to us all we know that NATO and the Americans and Pakistan assisted them to take over Kabul. Perhaps, to cross-check my argument you can search this on the internet because there is a lot of evidence available regarding this. Moreover, it is not just me rather all the Afghans; who understand this fact that the Taliban did not capture Kabul because Power was handed over to them by their supporters.

There are many reasons, why the Biden administration played the double game. First, President Ashraf Ghani questioned some points of the American devised peace proposal i:e the release of the Taliban prisoners before the deal. Second, President Ashraf Ghani and his close advisers were satisfied with the backup plan for the Afghan armed forces.

2. Shahzada Rahim (SR): Since the NATO Combat mission ended in 2014, the Afghan National Forces began their training for the frontline battle. But the sudden collapse of Afghan National Forces in the wake of the Taliban Offensive was shocking. What was the key reason behind the collapse of the National Armed Forces despite having much better training and ammunition?

Esmatullah Abdali (EA): It is absolutely not important to indulge in this debate that whether the Afghan Army was strong or the Taliban were. The reality is that NATO and the Americans were not serious about the ongoing Afghan peace process and perhaps, this is why they decided to leave Afghanistan in the Middle of nowhere. If the NATO/ISAF or the Americans were serious about the peace and stability in Afghanistan then it was impossible for the Taliban even to capture a single city. The bottom line is that NATO and the Americans betrayed the former government of Afghanistan and the Afghan National Army.

First, the Taliban regime does not have enough support of people, especially in the educated urban areas. Second, soon or later the Taliban regime is going to face fierce resistance from the Tajiks, Uzbeks, and other ethnic minorities, who have been the victims of the brutal Taliban rule in the 1990s.

3. Shahzada Rahim (SR): Do you think that the Biden Administration played a double game with Ashraf Ghani’s Government? For instance, on July 6, 2021, the American troops silently withdrew from the Bagram Airbase, without informing ANSF or Ghani’s government. In your opinion, what could be the possible reasons?

Esmatullah Abdali (EA): Of course since the beginning of the Afghan Peace Process, the Biden administration was playing a double game with the government of Ashraf Ghani. For example, on July 6, 2021, American troops silently left Bagram airbase without informing ANSF or the Ghani government. This certainly proves the bigotry and treachery of the Americans. To be more precise, the Americans gave Afghanistan on the platter to the Taliban.

There are many reasons, why the Biden administration played the double game. First, President Ashraf Ghani questioned some points of the American devised peace proposal i:e the release of the Taliban prisoners before the deal. Second, President Ashraf Ghani and his close advisers were not satisfied with the backup plan for the Afghan armed forces. In my opinion, the latter were the major reasons why Biden Administration played the double game with Ashraf Ghani’s government.



4. Shahzada Rahim (SR): Since the power grab in Kabul, the Taliban are trapped in the middle of a new political quagmire as they face resistance in Panjsher and other Tajik strongholds districts. How do you see the future of Afghanistan if the current situation continues?

Esmatullah Abdali (EA): Indeed the Taliban regime in Afghanistan is not going to last long because of three major reasons. First, the Taliban regime does not have enough support of people, especially in the educated urban areas. Second, soon or later the Taliban regime is going to face fierce resistance from the Tajiks, Uzbeks, and other ethnic minorities, who have been the victims of the brutal Taliban rule in the 1990s. Third, the emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan will pose both political, security, and economic challenge for the Taliban government. To be honest, under the current regime, Afghanistan has no future except bomb blasts and humiliation.

It is an obvious fact that after the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, Pakistan declared Afghanistan as its “strategic depth”. And it was the Pakistan intelligence ISI, which trained the Mujahideens (now Taliban) with the support of the Americans to fight the Soviets.

5. Shahzada Rahim (SR): The ISIS-Khorasan has pledged to fight the Afghan Taliban and condemned the Taliban regime as an apostate. Since, the Taliban takeover, the ISIS-Khorasan has carried out four major attacks on Taliban forces including the recent attack on Shia mosque in Kunduz province. How do you see the emergence of ISIS-Khorasan as a new brute force in Afghanistan?

Esmatullah Abdali (EA): To Some extent, I believe that the ISIS-Khorasan chapter will emerge as the biggest challenge for the Taliban regime. But we should not ignore the fact that compared to the Taliban the ISIS Khorasan is weak both ideologically and logistically. However, from a political and economic standpoint, ISIS-Khorasan might pose a huge challenge to the Taliban regime in the years to come.

6. Shahzada Rahim (SR): According to various intelligence reports, the Pakistan Military and intelligence have supported the Taliban in the takeover of Kabul and even some reports also claim that Pakistani Special Forces devised the war strategy for the Taliban to capture Panjsher Valley. How do you comment on these reports? Do you think that Pakistan helped the Taliban to take over Kabul?

Esmatullah Abdali (EA): Of course, it is an obvious fact that after the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, Pakistan declared Afghanistan as its “strategic depth”. And it was the Pakistan intelligence ISI, which trained the Mujahideens (now Taliban) with the support of the Americans to fight the Soviets.

Today, the top leadership of the current Taliban regime is the best friend of Pakistani intelligence. Perhaps, the stories of their friendship and loyalty are well-documented in the history books. Regarding Panjsher valley, indeed various reports have validated the fact that Pakistan Military devised the strategy for the Taliban to capture the Panjsher valley.

If we analyze their current policy framework, nothing seems inclusive and dynamic because the only thing they understand is to rule by force or suppression.

7. Shahzada Rahim (SR): The sudden departure of Ashraf Ghani surprised the whole Afghan Nation? Was this departure a mistake? In your opinion why did Ashraf Ghani leave the country so quickly despite the fact that the Afghan Military was resisting the Taliban offensive?

Esmatullah Abdali (EA): I agree that the sudden departure of Ashraf Ghani was a huge mistake. But as an expert, I believe that there were certain reasons why President Ghani decided to leave the country. One of the major reasons was the betrayal by the Americans.

As an Afghan diaspora, I would say that the sudden US withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan clearly depicts the declining imperial status of the United States at the World Stage. It is better they left because soon or later it was obviously going to happen.

8. Shahzada Rahim (SR): Till now, the Taliban leadership has failed to establish an inclusive government in Afghanistan. Even various reports suggest that they are even intending to establish an inclusive government. Please briefly tell us how do you see the future of Afghanistan under Taliban Rule?

Esmatullah Abdali (EA): I don’t see any possibility of lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. Because they don’t understand the ethnographic and geostrategic dynamics of the country. Perhaps, if we analyze their current policy framework, nothing seems inclusive and dynamic because the only thing they understand is to rule by force or suppression.

9. Shahzada Rahim (SR): Last Question!

As an Afghan citizen, how do you describe the sudden US withdrawal from Afghanistan after the 20 years long occupation? Was it American defeat or a new American strategy to destabilize Afghanistan and the region as a whole?

Esmatullah Abdali (EA): As an Afghan, I can gladly say that majority of the people in Afghanistan do not support the Taliban at all. Hence, as an Afghan diaspora, I would say that the sudden US withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan clearly depicts the declining imperial status of the United States at the World Stage. It is better they left because soon or later it was obviously going to happen.

Thank You Mr. Esmatullah Abdali for your time.


About the Author

Esmatullah Abdali is a famous Afghan journalist, public figure, activist and expert on international affairs; who participated in many events and won many awards. He fled Afghanistan in 2017.

About the Interviewer

Shahazada Rahim is a postgraduate scholar and geopolitical analyst. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of the news website “The Eurasian Post” and “The Radical Outlook”. He is a frequent contributor to oriental Review, Geopolitica.Ru, 4PT, and other international newspapers such as Jerusalem Post and Eurasia Review.


Republishing is allowed with the copyright tag of the Radical Outlook

About Post Author

The Radical Outlook

The Radical Outlook is an online news web Portal designed for in-depth news analysis from the Eurasian region and beyond. It is Founded by a geopolitical analyst Shahzada Rahim.
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