They have not yet won the war but are nibbling more ground every day, while the pace of their progress on the paths of reconquest has accelerated in recent weeks. The advance of the Taliban on Kabul, almost twenty years after the attacks of September 11 and the flight of Mullah Omar’s fighters in the face of the assault of the American army and its Afghan allies, seems to prefigure the return to power of those whom they used to be called “students of religion”.
Would their victory no longer be in doubt? The government of President Ashraf Ghani – whose political legitimacy acquired by the ballot box is at the very least vacillating – will it suffer the fate of the communist autocrat Najibullah, defeated by the mujahideen of the anti-Soviet resistance in 1992? In Afghanistan, perhaps even more than elsewhere, history stutters in the most startling of repetitions.
The parallel between the announced defeat of the Afghan government, the last avatar of the “democratic” system set up in the aftermath of the American intervention in 2001, and the fall of the communist regime in Kabul, given birth by the Soviet invasion of 1979, is tempting. : “Najib”, as the last “red” satrap was called at the time, managed to resist for three years the departure of the soldiers of the USSR army, who returned to their homes in February 1989.
In the current context, how long will President Ghani’s army be able to hold out when American troops have, for the most part, already evacuated Afghanistan after almost twenty years of presence and bloody conflicts? ? Cost of the operation: 2,000 billion dollars, around fifty thousand Afghan civilians dead, victims of “collateral damage”, 70,000 soldiers of the regular army and nearly 2,500 American soldiers killed in action.
“There is a big difference between the two eras, analysis Gilles Dorronsoro, specialist in Afghanistan and professor of political science at the University Panthéon-Sorbonne. In 1992, President Najibullah was a true leader and his army faced a coalition of disunited Mujahedin whose commanders vied for power. President Ghani’s soldiers are fighting a veritable insurrectionary army. The Taliban no longer recruit teenagers from Pakistani madrasas as they did during the major offensives of the past, today they are professionals, well-equipped, capable both of leading a guerrilla war, but also of more complex operations, such as the shows the concentration of their troops on the outskirts of towns. “
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