Afghanistan: Engage with the New Government and Implement Economic Projects
While hysteria continues to be spread in the West over the “chaotic” withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover of the country, a rational discussion of what needs to be done was organized on Aug. 21 by the Schiller Institute under the title “Afghanistan, An Opportunity for a New Epoch for Mankind”. Three main themes were struck repeatedly during the dialogue among the speakers: put an end to the “endless wars” paradigm completely; talk to the new Afghan government-in-the-making rather than demonizing it; launch economic reconstruction projects as quickly as possible.
What has happened in Afghanistan, Helga Zepp-LaRouche stated in her opening remarks, is a resounding defeat for the policy of never-ending wars and geopolitical games (cf. more below). Indeed, the freak-outs of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other British representatives underscore just how much the withdrawal of U.S. forces after 20 years of war and destruction affords the opportunity to do away with the British Empire’s “master tool” of geopolitics (cf. below).
Joining Zepp-LaRouche on the round table were Lt. Col. Ulrich Scholz (ret.), a German military and philosophy expert; Pino Arlacchi the former head of the UN Office for Drug Control (1997-2002) and now professor at Sassari University in Italy; Hassan Daud from Pakistan, the CEO of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Board of Investment; Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and co-founder of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), and Nipa Banerjee, Professor at the University of Ottawa. This event followed the highly successful SI webinar of July 31, before the withdrawal, during which a development overview for Afghanistan and the entire region was presented (cf. SAS 31/21).
What we don’t need now, stressed Pino Arlacchi, is “Talibanology”, i.e., speculating on the Taliban’s intentions and hypotheticals. Many others agreed, making the point the U.S. and Europe need to work together with other major powers of Russia, China, and India as well as immediate neighbors of Afghanistan – Iran, Pakistan, Central Asian nations – on humanitarian aid and economic initiatives.
On the question of holding the Taliban new government accountable, Ray McGovern raised the need for a truthful monitoring process on the ground, which could be provided, for example, by the United Nations. He raised the specific example of how the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, set up by Congress some years back, actually kept truthful accounts on what the U.S. and NATO were doing in
Afghanistan, which documented that U.S. officials were lying about progress there all along. Prof. Banerjee strongly agreed on this point. These Inspector General documents were published in 2019 by the Washington Post, which was the “the one useful thing done by the Washington Post in the last 20 years,” McGovern said.
The features of economic development for the region were summarized by Hassan Daud, who noted that “when the Afghanistan government is strong and stable, it can reach out to China,” and work with the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in which it already has observer status.