Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said terrorists would not last a month if they did not have a sanctuary in Pakistan. Ghani’s remarks were made at the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar. Ghani went to state that even a key Taliban leader had acknowledged receiving sanctuary in Pakistan. Fourteen years after the US invasion, Afghanistan continues to stand on one knee. Regarding most economical and other human development indicators, the war-torn nation languishes at the bottom of the heap. The US-backed regime propped up in Kabul has been unable to establish its authority with the Taliban still running wild. The situation has turned so dire that US President Barack Obama had to abandon his longstanding goal of ending the war in Afghanistan by the end of his term.
The 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan had sought to capture or kill the al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks, who were backed by the Taliban regime. Quite naturally, the aim was extended to bring about a regime change and topple the Taliban leadership. When the Taliban were overthrown, the invading forces sought to rebuild a nation ravaged by the war. Similar to the situation in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, pre-2001 Afghanistan had seen a Taliban regime that exerted total control over warring tribal factions.
After the invasion neither did the Western forces build key state institutions nor did the US-propped Kabul government exercise any real control over warring tribes. Distracted by the Iraq invasion, Afghanistan was neglected, and by 2006, the Taliban had made their way back as a formidable force. The Afghan army and police today, despite extensive logistical and military support from Western powers, are not up to the task of defending the nation’s security. What's worse, the Americans have been unable to exert their influence on the Pakistani establishment, which has sought to fulfil their foreign policy initiatives in the war-torn country at the cost of peace.