Fall of Kabul reminds defeat of US adventure in Saigon

TEHRAN, Aug. 16 (MNA) –In an interview with MNA, political scientist Prof. Entessar talked of the worst and best scenarios of Talinan's rule over Afghanistan and the possible domestic and regional opportunities and consequences of it.

The Taliban rapidly advanced in Afghanistan and took control of the capital city Kabul. Knowing the real essence and nature of the Taliban, domestic and regional consequences of its rule over Afghanistan and the US approach towards the group and the recent developments of the country are of the great importance.  

There are two different attitudes towards the Taliban nowadays. Some optimistically believe that today’s Taliban is different from the group that existed two decades ago and the others pessimistically believe that the existing changes to the Taliban’s behavior are just a tactic to gain power in the country and today’s Taliban is not different from the previous one.

To know more about the issue, we reached out to Nader Entessar, professor emeritus of political science from the University of South Alabama.

Here is the full text of the interview with him:

Fall of Kabul reminds defeat of US adventure in Saigon

What do you think of the above mentioned two different attitudes towards the Taliban?

Of course, it is too early to know how the Taliban will operate once they are in complete control of Afghanistan's government.  So far, they have said all the right things, but I remain skeptical.  The Taliban may have learned some lessons from their previous rule in Afghanistan, but I have seen no concrete evidence that they are a different group from what they were two decades ago.  At this time, I remain pessimistic about the long-term domestic and regional impact of the Taliban rule.

To what extent the US policy and its interventions are responsible for the current instability and violence in the country and the sufferings of the country’s people?

When the US invaded and occupied Afghanistan, the country was already in shambles as its sociopolitical and economic structures had been destroyed by years of civil war and the Taliban's misrule.  The US promised to establish a stable, prosperous, and democratic Afghanistan.  But after two decades of occupation and engaging in its longest war in history, the US failed in its stated mission and was forced to accept a hasty retreat.  The fall of Kabul in 2021 reminded me of the fall of Saigon in 1975 which occurred after another misadventure by Washington, albeit at a different time and under different circumstances, but both were the results of arrogant imperial "nation-building" undertakings. 

In the optimistic best scenario what can be the challenges and opportunities of the Taliban’s domination for the people of Afghanistan?

Under the optimistic scenario, the Taliban will bring some stability inside Afghanistan and a modicum of understanding with the country's neighbors.


In the pessimistic worst scenario what can be the challenges and opportunities of the Taliban’s domination for the people of Afghanistan?

In the worst-case scenario, the Taliban will try to impose a draconian system in Afghanistan, leading to further deterioration of life in the country and threatening the security of Afghanistan's neighbors and broader Central Asia in the long run. 

Fall of Kabul reminds defeat of US adventure in Saigon

In the optimistic scenario what can be the challenges and opportunities of the Taliban’s domination for the other countries of the region?

In the best-case scenario, the Taliban will be able to implement what they have said they intend to do, namely normal relations with Afghanistan's neighbors and not allowing the country to be used as a springboard by groups that threaten the security of the region.

In the pessimistic scenario what can be the challenges and opportunities of the Taliban’s domination for the other countries of the region?

The Taliban's misrule can provide major challenges to Afghanistan's neighbors and regional sociopolitical and economic stability.  For example, India may withdraw or significantly scale back from the Chabahar project as it may not be economical or even feasible to rely on Afghanistan as a transit route to Central Asia.  If this happens, Iran will obviously be affected by the downfall of its Chabahar port project.  The reinvigorated extremism will obviously threaten the security of many regional countries and Central Asia.  As was the case more than two decades ago, the Taliban's misrule will also result in another major refugee crisis that will negatively impact Afghanistan's neighbors, especially Iran that is still grappling with the consequences of the previous massive Afghan refugee influx. 

Interview by Payman Yazdani

News Code 177396

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