An interesting event transpired on the British Broadcasting Service (BBC) on Sunday. A noted academic was cut off by the anchor of the channel when she elaborated on the assistance Pakistan provided to the Taliban in their war against the USA and the west-backed Government in Afghanistan.
Christina Fair was shut down because it would somehow violate the channel’s “impartiality” doctrine as there was no Pakistani diplomat on the show to provide a response. But it is an open secret that the Taliban has been receiving help from the Pakistani Government.
The Taliban acknowledges the support and calls Pakistan their second home. Pakistani Ministers, too, have been celebrating their victory in Afghanistan. It is unclear how elaborating the same would violate policy in any manner.
But the incident perfectly highlights something that we have always known: The West is not the hero in Afghanistan. It beggars belief that the United States and western countries continued to rely on Pakistan as their trusted ally even as the latter undermined the US-backed government in Afghanistan.
On one hand, the West claimed that it was waging war against a medieval army that seeks to impose Shariah law in the country and oppress women and minorities in Afghanistan. On the other hand, they treated as their ally the very country which was helping this band of merry Jihadists. How does that work?
Needless to say, one of the primary reasons why the western media is not too keen on highlighting the role of Pakistan is because it will expose the duplicity of their own governments. And it is quite clear that western countries have still not learnt anything from their mistakes in Afghanistan.
Only a couple of days after the Kabul airport attack, United States Senator Lindsey Graham was openly batting for Pakistan. “Any sustainable solution in Afghanistan must include Pakistan,” the Senator said only two days after a terrorist attack caused the death of nearly 200 people, including American service members.
To be fair, the conduct of US forces in Afghanistan has been far from exemplary. Corruption was so rampant under the US-backed government that widows of Afghan soldiers had to offer sexual favours to secure the pensions that were promised to their husbands.
The CIA was going around distributing Viagra to aging tribal warlords in order to secure their support. As US President Joe Biden would say, “here’s the deal”, if you have to rely on helping tribal warlords copulate with their four wives better and have as an ally a country that is supporting your arch enemy, then perhaps the war is not going so well.
Apart from all of this, there was the serious matter of the killing of Afghan civilians. From George Bush to Joe Biden, all the four American presidents who have presided over the Afghanistan are guilty of killing innocent Afghan children. It might be a bit difficult to win popular support as a foreign invading force when you are busy bombing hospitals, weddings and killing children in residential areas.
Even after all of this, there are expectations from certain quarters that the USA could still help the people of Afghanistan. It is something that US officials have been promising too, that they will use diplomatic efforts to build pressure on the Taliban to address the human rights concerns in the country.
Such efforts are doomed to fail, especially because the USA appears desperate to form a partnership with the Taliban. The excuse is that the ISKP is a threat to Afghanistan and the world and therefore, the USA might be inclined to support them.
A partnership between the two is not unthinkable, especially since the USA collaborated with the Taliban during the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and even handed out a list of Americans and Afghan collaborators to the Jihadist outfit.
It is perfectly consistent with the USA’s larger policy towards Jihadist outfits it has described as terrorists at some point. For instance, the USA funded Jihadists against Basshar al-Assad in Syria and armed Al Nusra as well. Indeed, there are very few terrorist groups in the world the USA has not collaborated with.
The BBC anchor’s current stance against an academic highlighting the role of Pakistan in the Afghan war is in great consonance with western policy. It is understandable that western media does not wish for their citizens to know the fact that their government has been actively allying with a state that sponsors terrorism. Under such circumstances, censorship of opinion is the only credible option.
It is also for the same reason that while the western media and its academia-NGO nexus lectures others on human rights, they ignore the fact that the USA has been killing Afghan children at an alarming rate for two decades. Despite the war crimes western forces have committed in Afghanistan, their media continued to portray them as heroes and the prince in shining armour out to save Afghan women and children.
None of this is intended to absolve the Taliban of its numerous sins. It is only to lay emphasis on the fact that in the Afghan war, there were no heroes, only monsters of varying shades. As Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said in 2011 about the actual objectives of the Afghan War, “The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war.”