The situation in Afghanistan today gives rise to many questions, what is it about Afghanistan that is known all over the world as the ‘Graveyard of Empires’? After all, why all the big powers of the world including America to Britain, Soviet Union try to win it and fail.
This is a question whose answer is recorded in the history of Afghanistan.
In the 19th century, Britain, the most powerful empire in the world, tried to conquer it with all its might, but in 1919 Britain finally had to leave Afghanistan
After this the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, but it took them ten years to understand that they would not win this war.
In the year 2001, there were attacks under the American leadership, in which millions of people lost their lives. Twenty years after this attack, US President Joe Biden has decided to withdraw his army from Afghanistan.
This was a controversial decision which is being condemned all over the world. Because of this one decision, the Taliban captured Afghanistan’s capital Kabul so fast.
Biden defended his decision, saying that American citizens “should not die in a war that the Afghans themselves are not willing to fight.” Achieving a united and secure Afghanistan is not possible.”
Is it impossible to conquer Afghanistan?
It is often said that conquering Afghanistan is impossible. This is a false statement the Iranians, the Mongols and Alexander have conquered Afghanistan. But a price has to be paid for it. And the last three kingdoms that attacked Kabul before that have failed miserably in their attempt.
British Empire and the Three Invasions
For much of the 19th century, Afghanistan was an important part of the control of Central Asia between the British and Russian empires, with several decades of diplomatic and political conflict between Russia and Britain, ultimately leading to Britain’s victory. But Britain had to pay a heavy price for this.
Britain attacked Afghanistan three times between 1839 and 1919 and it can be said that Britain failed all three times.
In the First Anglo-Afghan War, Britain captured Kabul in 1839. Because Britain felt that if it did not take this step, then before that Russia would occupy Kabul.
Due to this, Britain had to face a historic defeat. Some tribes destroyed the army of the world’s most powerful country with very simple weapons.
After three years of invasion, Afghanistan finally forced the invading army to flee.
After four decades, Britain tried once again. This time it got some success.
In the Second Anglo-Afghan War between 1878 and 1880, Afghanistan became a British protectorate. But Britain had to abandon its policy of having a resident minister in Kabul.
Instead, the British Empire withdrew its armies from the country by electing a new Afghan Emir.
But in the year 1919, when this new emir declared himself independent from Britain, then the Third Anglo-Afghan War began. After four months of war, Britain finally declared Afghanistan independent.
Civil War in Afghanistan and the invasion of the Soviet Union
During the year 1920, Amir Amanullah Khan tried to reform the country. These included ending the practice of women wearing the burqa. These reformist efforts angered some tribes and religious leaders, leading to a civil war.
Because of this conflict, the situation in Afghanistan remained tense for several decades. And in 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to keep a badly disorganized communist government in power.
Many Mujahideen organizations opposed the Soviet Union and waged war against them. In this war, the Mujahideen took money and weapons from America, Pakistan, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
There was a lot of bloodshed in this attack. About 1.5 million people died in this war and five million people became refugees.
The Soviet Union’s military tried to end extremism in many ways, but guerrilla soldiers often escaped such attacks.
It was at this time that the then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev realized that the Russians could not continue the war while trying to transform the economy and decided to withdraw their troops in 1988.
But the image of the Soviet Union never recovered from this withdrawal. It was a very expensive and shameful war
US Campaign and Taliban Terror
Following unsuccessful attempts by Britain and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the US invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks to support democracy and end al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Like the two empires before, the US was successful in conquering Kabul and forcing the Taliban to surrender.
The Afghan government came into existence three years later, but Taliban attacks continued. Former President Barack Obama increased the number of troops in 2009, pushing the Taliban back. But this did not happen for long.
The year 2014 saw the most bloodshed since the start of the war in 2001. NATO forces completed their mission and handed over the responsibility to the Afghan army.
Because of this, the Taliban captured more areas. The following year, successive suicide bombings were recorded. These include explosions near Kabul’s parliament and airport.
It was the most expensive war for America
Although the war in the Soviet Union resulted in more bloodshed, the American offensive proved more expensive.
While the Soviet Union spent about US$2 billion per year in Afghanistan, between 2010 and 2012, the cost of the war for the US was approximately US$100 billion per year.
Taliban occupation after the withdrawal of US troops has led to a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
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— The Facts Hub (@thefactshb) September 1, 2021