Weighing Alternatives

A diplomatic process remains the only key to resolving the conflict between the Afghan state and the Taliban, as well as providing the United States with assurances Afghanistan will not revert to a terrorist safe haven.

By Dr. Qasim Sodhar | April 2021


Though Afghanistan has always remained one of the most important countries on the globe due to its strategic location, it only came in focus when Soviet troops entered the country in 1979. This was famously called the “Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan”. The former Soviet Union media always denied this and claimed that it was not an invasion and that the Soviet troops interfered on the request of the then Afghan government. However, this was a period when two world powers were busy fighting with each other. On the one hand, there was the Soviet Union, which represented the communist forces and, on the other, it was the United States that represented the capitalist block during the Cold War.

It is an open secret now that the religious forces, Mujahedeen, were created and supported by the US in collaboration with Pakistan to fight against the “infidel” Soviet Union, because, according to US propaganda, the Soviet Union was trying to convert the world into a communist society which could follow ‘ungodly’ practices. In this regard, it was very interesting that the religious forces of Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the state apparatus of both the countries, supported America against the Soviet Union in the name of ‘religious battle’, It claimed that at least the Christians followed the Bible and the Soviets were atheists. However, both Afghanistan and Pakistan were exploited by the US and ultimately 9/11 happened which shifted the US policy from supporting the Mujahedeen to crushing them.

babariftikharThough the US left the Afghan people at the mercy of the Taliban after the downfall of the Soviet Union, but again, when the US realized that the same Mujahedeen, who were their creation, stood against the US, it set about capturing Afghanistan with the help of Pakistan. During this period, more than 100,000 US troops were deployed in the country.

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The writer has a PhD in World History from the College of Liberal Arts, Shanghai University, and teaches at the National Institute of Pakistan Studies (NIPS), Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He can be reached at

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