UN Peacekeepers Could Have Helped Maintain Stability In Afghanistan After US Withdrawal, Former Minister Says
One way to have a safer American withdrawal from Afghanistan would have been to set up a UN peacekeeping mission in advance, rather than withdrawing troops and leaving civilians scrambling to evacuate as a Taliban lightning offensive recaptured the country, according to a former Afghan official who was forced to flee his homeland.
Nargis Nehan, the former Afghan Minister of Mines and Petroleum, had to leave behind her sick father and sister when she fled Taliban-occupied Kabul this week with help from Norway, the United States and the United States. others.
“None of us thought that everything would fall apart so suddenly, fall apart,” she told Fox News on Saturday.
They also had not anticipated such a poorly planned US withdrawal, she said, in which the military would withdraw from Bagram Air Base before evacuating US citizens and their Afghan allies.
“The withdrawal and the evacuation itself were very irresponsible,” she said. “In a country like Afghanistan, where the risk of conflict was so high, we expected that if we at least pulled out, they would deploy a UN peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan so that we would have were able to prevent the disaster happening in Afghanistan. the country right now. “
In fact, women’s rights groups, religious leaders and aid workers called in UN peacekeepers in July, the Associated Press reported at the time.
The job of UN peacekeepers is to help “countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace”. Peacekeepers are currently operating in 12 regions, but Afghanistan is not one of them.
And that means uncertainty for 38 million Afghan civilians – the majority of whom do not support the Taliban, Nehan said.
More than 80% of these people are young people, she said, and about half of them are women. She therefore called on young people and women’s rights groups around the world to join the cause.
“Please hold your politicians to account,” she said. “Please pressure them to deploy a UN peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, and please help us prevent the humanitarian catastrophe and crisis that we are see ahead of us. “
Nehan told Fox News on Saturday that decades of conflict in his homeland were in part due to foreign powers vying for influence through decades of proxy wars.
“A lot of people thought that if you make a peace deal with the Taliban, at least the violence in Afghanistan would stop,” she said. “But what we do know is that over the last 40 years people are saying that we have to make peace with this group, with this group, and the fighting will be over – but we see that the fighting is not over. not finished. “
Before Nehan left the country, she said she met former President Hamid Karzai and peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah, who remain involved in talks with the Taliban.
But other than blaming exiled President Ashraf Ghani for creating a power vacuum when he fled the country, she said they had provided few details on the way forward for Afghanistan.
“They say these are the promises we have from them, but only time will tell,” she said. “We have to wait for the Taliban to form their government and see how inclusive this is going to be.”
The last time the Taliban was in power, from the mid-1990s until the US invasion in 2001, women like Nehan could not participate in public life, let alone hold office. Women couldn’t go to school, work outside their homes, or even go out in public without a male chaperone.
But she said some Afghans are hoping for a different situation this time around.
“A step forward that we are seeing, not only in the case of the Taliban, but I think from all sides, is that everyone has concluded that violence is not the solution for Afghanistan,” he said. she declared. “At least unlike the 90s, where without speaking, they continued to fight. At that time, they try the talks.”
If those talks fail, however, she said fierce fighting could erupt again.
The chaotic withdrawal has led to panic outside the US-held airport for the past two weeks.
Afghans desperate to flee have been photographed hanging outside a departing military plane – and some have died.
Afghans eligible for special immigration visas, US citizens and other refugees have reported that Taliban patrols are going door-to-door looking for former Afghan soldiers, American officials or interpreters, so that they were hiding and praying for a chance to escape.
And on Thursday morning, the terrorist group ISIS-K unleashed a suicide bombing outside the Abbey Gate of the airport, killing 11 US Marines, an Army soldier and a Navy medic – as well as dozens of Afghan civilians.
Many evacuees described the chaos outside the airport – Taliban checkpoints and huge crowds that made it difficult to access the US perimeter for security reasons.
Nehan said it took him several tries to get by.
On the one hand, she arrived inside the airport, but her father passed out and had to be rushed to hospital, she said. She went with him, she said, reluctant to leave him behind. But later, Norwegian authorities offered her another chance to evacuate along with several other family members. In the end, she agreed – but that meant leaving her sister and father behind.
When she arrived in Oslo on Thursday, she tweeted that the ordeal had shaken her.
“Finally, I landed in Norway with my family, leaving my father and sister behind. I cannot stop my tears for my people and my country,” she wrote. “I am no longer a proud, resilient and hopeful Afghan. I am again a desperate and helpless refugee whose search for identity, home and peace is endless.”