Ashraf Ghani (file photo). Photograph:( AFP )
Ghani's article from 1989 could very well be describing Afghanistan today. History repeats itself, they say. When Afghanistan's now-ousted president Ashraf Ghani wrote more than three decades ago about the then imminent fall of a "puppet regime", he may not have imagined he would be in a similar predicament. The article written by the then academic in Los Angeles Times on February 15, 1989, has been dug up by social media sleuths and is doing the rounds online this week
History repeats itself, they say.
When Afghanistan's now-ousted president Ashraf Ghani wrote more than three decades ago about the then imminent fall of a "puppet regime", he may not have imagined he would be in a similar predicament later in life.
The article written by the then academic in Los Angeles Times on February 15, 1989, has been dug up by social media sleuths and is doing the rounds online this week.
Written after the former Soviet Union's exit from Afghanistan on being defeated at the hands of the US and Pakistan-backed Mujahideen, Ghani's article started with the line: "The Soviets have left Afghanistan, making the collapse of the besieged puppet regime in Kabul just a matter of time."
Fast forward to circa 2021, and it's the Americans who are making the hasty retreat after two decades of war. The Taliban, which essentially is an offshoot of the Mujahideen backed by Pakistan, are in control of capital Kabul. And on Sunday, Ghani's regime collapsed. He himself fled the country as Taliban occupied his presidential palace. He reportedly first went to Tajikistan, and is going to leave for US.
"The [George] Bush Administration could insist that the Afghan people be given the right to self-determination and take the initiative by channeling future economic assistance only to a government so freely chosen," Ghani had written in 1989, basically arguing in his article that US should demand a referendum for self-determination for the Afghans.
"By doing so, it could help thwart blatant Pakistani and Iranian attempts at determining the future of Afghanistan and at fanning the flames of civil war," wrote Ghani, who at the time was an assistant professor of anthropology at Johns Hopkins University.
The article was thoroughly critical of the Pakistan military and how the US regime at the time was colluding with Islamabad in supporting the Mujahideen and warlords fighting Soviet Union, at a time when Afghanistan was a theatre of the US-USSR Cold War.
"The Afghan people have no desire that the United States micromanage their politics. Rather, they wish that the United States would stop colluding with the Pakistani generals in choosing the cast of political actors and writing the script for the future of their country," he wrote.
"Over the years Washington has been entrusting Pakistani military intelligence with the distribution of more than $2 billion in military and financial aid and with the allocation of Stinger missiles to the Afghan resistance."
It is haunting to see how Ghani's words from that article might just be describing the chaos today.
"In the absence of an interim government truly representative of the Afghan people, there is no incentive for the peaceful surrender of Kabul and other cities still in the hands of the Soviet-backed regime. Nearly 3 million civilians, locked in besieged Kabul and already on the brink of starvation, are sure to suffer tremendous losses should the encircling resistance groups attack the capital," he wrote at the time.