Two Worlds; Two Outcomes: Comparing Russia and America In Afghanistan

Two Worlds; Two Outcomes: Comparing Russia and America In Afghanistan

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For the trillion dollars that the United States allegedly invested in Afghanistan, it could become one of the leading industrial countries in the region. But, judging by the results of the 20-year American occupation, that money remained in America – it just migrated from the state budget to personal pockets. But the USSR invested real money and did real good.

US Withdrawal from Afghanistan Marked the end of unipolarity © The Radical Outlook

By Alexander Tsygnov

© Translated and Published by RO

Empires, even after losing a war, leave in different ways. Some with unfolded flags, leaving behind a friendly regime. Others are pitiful and fussy, dropping people from planes.

But this is not to say that one option is better than the other. It goes without saying. This is to ensure that the mistress of history will leave after you in the memory of mankind.

Gave the debt – free

After the Russian troops left Afghanistan in 1989, it took a long time to digest the Soviet legacy. Including even such a trifle as a water tap twisted in a former dormitory of Soviet specialists, which a merchant tried to push me at a small market near the town of Charikar.

Against the background of what numerous Dukan workers were selling – rice-raisins-raisins, knives-hoes, hand-made fabrics – this crane looked almost high-tech. Still, there are all the products of the natural economy around, and that trader went beyond him: everything else is produced in each village, and he has a product of a high degree of processing.

The golden days of trade, said this Charikar Dukan, are gone along with the Soviet troops:

There, further down the mountains, their town was. The soldiers bought equipment, jeans, and people brought it from Kabul and Pakistan. And then the Soviets left, and ours did not want to buy it all.

Maybe they want to, but they cannot. People for whom galoshes – ours, by the way, Russians – serve as winter shoes, and blankets on their shoulders as winter clothes, are hardly able to be enchanted by the sound quality of modern radio equipment, let alone pay for it.

Afghanistan’s main problem is that it has nothing to trade and nothing to pay with. The only chance for their economies is to cling to a strong and not very profit-minded donor like the Soviet Union once was. Roads, gas pipelines, power plants. Tunnel under Salang. The weaving factory in Puli-Khumri, however, has already been destroyed. Everything was built practically free of charge. More precisely, for political gain, for the right to list Afghanistan in its sphere of influence.

What has Russia left behind in Afghanistan, besides the graves – her own and those of others? There are many items to list. More than 150 objects – moreover, real ones, which could be viewed even ten years after the withdrawal of troops. And these are not the temporary roads – although, admittedly, high-quality ones – which the Americans are leaving for Afghanistan today. And certainly not the prisons that they built first.

And, in fact, Afghanistan agreed with this. And the Afghans for the most part considered the “Rus”, if not friends, then, say, senior comrades. But then someone decided to hurry up and whip up the nag of history. We had the best intentions – to help the “democratic revolution”, to distribute land and water to the peasants, to give people education, to build industry. How much of a cold strategic calculation there was, how much of the senile marasmus of the last romantics of the world revolution is unknown. There are two facts.

  1. At first, the Russians really believed that they were fulfilling their international duty and were helping the Afghans begin to live a little better.
  2. Afghans really greeted the Russians with flowers at first.

But very soon they both got rid of their illusions. Blood took the place of illusion …

Today those days seem long gone. Several authorities, regimes and governments have changed in Afghanistan. The Soviet army was replaced by the American one, but now it is gone too. And let’s be honest: the fact that we left with banners unfurled, without losing the war, and the Americans flee pitifully, losing one weapon in a hundred billion, this does not mean anything for Mother History. We left, they left, and the reasons – political, of course – she, darling, is not interested. Have you fulfilled your international duty? Everybody’s Free…

What remains of empires

And two more facts, two things that can be considered undoubtedly remaining in history.

  1. The United States left to its enemies mountains of weapons with which they will destroy their opponents.
  2. The USSR left to its friends mountains of weapons, with the help of which the regime friendly to Moscow held out for another three years after the withdrawal of the Russian troops.

And if it were not for the frenzied US assistance to Najib’s enemies – including in Moscow – the pro-Soviet, pro-Russian government of Najib would have had every chance of resisting and stabilizing its power. Moreover, as a result, the enemies of the pro-Soviet regime also came out against the Taliban *. Only, unfortunately, not with him, but instead of him. That is why they were defeated.

Even if we take not the idyllic times of the 1960s and other pre-war years, when very smart professionals firmly knew how to hold the East in their hands (in soft palms, but with steel fingers), but the war years, then even then we will see dozens of built Soviet people objects.

But it is difficult to summarize the finer matters. And first of all, this concerns the aforementioned “donation”.

What has Russia left behind in Afghanistan, besides the graves – her own and those of others? There are many items to list. More than 150 objects – moreover, real ones, which could be viewed even ten years after the withdrawal of troops. And these are not the temporary roads – although, admittedly, high-quality ones – which the Americans are leaving for Afghanistan today. And certainly not the prisons that they built first.

Take the same Puli-Khumri, the center of Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan. Five objects – from a hydroelectric power station to a service station for trucks. The large center of Mazar-i-Sharif – 13 objects, including a gas pipeline, an oil depot, city electrical networks, a technical school, and even an artificial insemination station. The capital – 22 objects, from the international airfield, from where the Americans are fleeing today, throwing people off the wings of airplanes, to the university. A house-building plant, an asphalt concrete plant, a kindergarten and a mother and child center.

Similarly – throughout the country: Jalalabad, Balkh, Shebergan, Shindand, the Shirkhan river port, Salang pass, Jabal-us-Siraj, Herat, and so on. And, which is typical, everything is infrastructural: electrical networks, irrigation canals, dams, power plants, factories, laboratories.

We will not cover Americans with one black color. Yes, the first thing they did was to build a prison for, especially dangerous criminals at the Bagram airbase. Three floors! But still, they built power plants and gas stations. True, for your loved ones: for example, a diesel power plant in Kabul provided electricity to the “green zone” where the US diplomatic mission was based and foreigners lived.

Even if we take not the idyllic times of the 1960s and other pre-war years, when very smart professionals firmly knew how to hold the East in their hands (in soft palms, but with steel fingers), but the war years, then even then we will see dozens of built Soviet people objects. And also – infrastructural: additional sections on the main gas pipeline, power transmission lines, oil depots, motor transport enterprises, car service stations, field development, a multi-channel communication line, a house-building plant, and so on. Plus vocational schools, boarding schools, clinics. Something that is for sure for people.

What did the Americans give?

We will not cover Americans with one black color. Yes, the first thing they did was to build a prison for, especially dangerous criminals at the Bagram airbase. Three floors! But still, they built power plants and gas stations. True, for your loved ones: for example, a diesel power plant in Kabul provided electricity to the “green zone” where the US diplomatic mission was based and foreigners lived. But it cannot be denied that the Americans also built schools, repaired power plants – in particular, our Naglu hydroelectric power station, making it one of the largest in Afghanistan – opened universities and hospitals. According to them, the number of school students in the country has reached 6.5 million, and more than five dozen universities have been built, the number of students in which amounted to 300 thousand people.

But the Americans, as you know, will lie – they will take it inexpensively, and it is not possible to reliably verify their data. It is known that up to 60-70% of the funds were stolen on this, and the money allocated for the reconstruction of Afghanistan did not even leave the United States, remaining in the pockets of “literate people”. But, let’s face it, a third of a trillion dollars is quite a powerful amount. All the more so for a country like Afghanistan.

So what?

Russia is vitally interested in the future of Afghanistan. We will assume that the past between us and the Taliban * is in the past. The Taliban hanged our Najib, we arranged a “Northern Alliance” for them:

We did not fight against the Russians! We fought against the anti-popular regime of the PDPA created by Soviet manipulations. Your blind communist leaders did not see reality behind their ideas. They just bet on the wrong ones! If they had supported not the PDPA, but its opponents, then today, perhaps, they would have remained in Afghanistan as advisers, builders, and resource developers. But they no longer exist, there is no more that state that has come to conquer us. In its place a new country arose – Russia. And we have never had bad relations with Russia – neither before its revolution, nor after ours. So the union is quite possible.

– said in 1997 the recent Minister of Defense of Afghanistan Ahmad Shah Massoud to the author of these lines.

You have to understand that no regime in Afghanistan will jump over its head – no one will ever be able to disarm all these clouds of proud warriors, for whom weapons are a more familiar attribute than pants. Nevertheless, the Taliban are with us, and we still have to negotiate with them, and it would be better if this happened with mutual interest.

This means that this interest should include the point of building infrastructure facilities. Why shouldn’t Russia return to the practice of the sixties, when the construction trowel controlled this complex Afghanistan much more reliably than a soldier’s machine gun? Investments in peaceful allied relations, in the creation of a partner security belt (Turkey – Iran – Afghanistan – China and, possibly, the DPRK) from the Mediterranean to the Sea of ​​Japan will pay off handsomely.

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect our Editorial Policy


Author

ALEXANDER TSYGANOV is a Russian political analyst and Columnist of the TV Channel “Tsargrad”.


Republishing is allowed with the copyright credit to © The Radical Outlook

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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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