Someone has written or said these days in the American press that Afghanistan has given us a new definition of useless: to invade a country on the other side of the world, occupy it for 20 years and spend two billion dollars to exchange the Taliban for the Taliban. With such a context, perhaps it was convenient to hold back a bit when it came to puffing out your chest and trying to behave with a little more humility.
That NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says his mission was to protect the United States and not Afghanistan, summarizes almost everything there is to know to understand the causes of the strategic, moral and political disaster that Afghans suffer, while the same countries that invaded them point the finger at them as if they were all corrupt or Taliban. We have to thank good old Jens, a native of Sweden, for so much sincerity. one of the countries that went buzzing out two weeks before all the others withdraw, without saying a word to the local staff who worked with them. The same arrogance, shyness and lack of empathy that the secretary shows when talking about the supposed mission in Afghanistan, we see and hear these days from those who try to turn into a patriotic and Western success an ethical and political failure for all humanity.
A little humility and a little less cynicism would come in handy when it comes to accusing the Afghans and even Joe Biden, who was already opposed to this invasion, while many of those who today point fingers at him enthusiastically applauded the first military deployment and the withdrawal agreement afterwards. It is surprising how many strategists, analysts and governments already knew that this was going to happen and the American strategy was a disaster waiting to happen, but they neither said a word while the warlords were bathed in dollars nor lifted a finger to try to change objectives or policies.
A little humility and a lot of prudence would go a long way in producing images of success in the midst of a withdrawal as chaotic as it is cruel for the thousands of Afghans who believed in good faith that they would be protected, no matter what happened. if they collaborated with us. Photographs always come back, even the most colorful ones. Once published, they have a life of their own. Over time they lose their shine and splendor and they wear out or appear other very similar, but not so beautiful to see.
When the flashes and cameras leave, there are thousands who are here and who must be given a perspective of the future and the thousands who could not reach, who are neither going to save nor protect the heartfelt appeals to a soul of Europe that it is very easy to sublet to neighboring and unreliable regimes. When a servant was a kid, there in A Mariña de Lugo, a group of exiled Pakistani students were welcomed, even the civil governor came to install them in a small house in O alto do Cruceiro. Some were studying medicine and one at least was almost a doctor. They all ended up cutting wood in the mountains and charging as best they could until, one after another, they disappeared without ever being heard from again.
It is convenient for the mission to be complete before considering it completed, lest the same thing happen to you as George Bush, or Barack Obama, or Donald Trump or Joe Biden; that they were also very smart and very martial in their photos of great leaders.