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Václav Klaus Institute on the Situation in Afghanistan: The West Has No Right to Impose Its Vision of Social Order on Anyone

English Pages, 16. 8. 2021

The shocking and, for many, surprising developments in Afghanistan – the rapid debacle of the Afghan government sustained by Western intervention (led by the USA) and the triumphant victory of the Islamist Taliban movement – confirm the long-standing position of the Václav Klaus Institute (IVK) on this conflict and our involvement in it.

We are firm opponents of aggressive human rights interventionism and of efforts to export Western universalist ideas about the organization of society to countries that are culturally, socially and religiously unsuited to such an endeavour. The Afghan war quickly demonstrated this unsuitability, and this was the source of a certain restraint that President Václav Klaus took towards it during his mandate.

Afghanistan's crushing defeat of Western expansionism is just another example in a long line: Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine. These are the countries where the West tried to interfere in their internal problems without any scruples, only to betray them, abandon them, fail to meet the expectations on the basis of which it intervened in these countries and supported that part of society which seemed to be sympathetic to the West.

The surprising end of the Afghan war and the handover of power to the Taliban, regardless of the fate of previous friends and allies, is a memento and a warning to all those who place themselves in the hands of the powerful, rely on them and forget to take care of their own security. Today's debacle has confirmed that great powers have no friends, only interests. Of course, this is not only true for Afghanistan.

The Taliban victory is not the surprise that today's commentators pretend it is, because it has been years in the making. The fact that NATO and the US have downplayed this fact is a further proof of their misunderstanding of Afghan society. It is a proof of the hypocrisy of those who have profited massively from the two-decade war and have had a vested interest in prolonging it, regardless of its actual results.

Equally one-sided – and, as it turned out, false – was the claim that “Afghanistan and its people overwhelmingly reject the Taliban”. If that was the case, the Taliban would never have achieved the position where they are now in full control of the whole country again and are advancing through Kabul without any resistance.

The speed of the collapse of the puppet pro-Western Afghan government and its fully equipped and Western armed army shows that its support in the country was nil. The high morale of the Taliban fighters, on the other hand, confirmed the authentic strength of the resistance against the occupiers and the Taliban's firm roots in the country and its traditions. This is not surprising. Afghanistan is returning to a regime that is more in keeping with the character of local society than experiments with liberal democracy exports. Let us therefore not allow hysterical attempts to exploit the Afghan situation to unleash a new wave of mass migration to Europe.

Even in the light of this experience, let us acknowledge that the West today has no right to impose its vision of social order on anyone in the world. Let us also recall the high degree of ostracism to which anyone who has been critical of NATO's involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or the escalation of tensions in Ukraine has been subjected.  

Václav Klaus and IVK colleagues, 16 August 2021


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