Points to ponder for G7 meeting on Afghanistan
Stephen Ndegwa
A view in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2021. /Xinhua

A view in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2021. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Stephen Ndegwa is a Nairobi-based communication expert, lecturer-scholar at the United States International University-Africa, author and international affairs columnist. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

When the Group of Seven (G7) sits on August 24 to discuss Afghanistan, with the exception of Japan, it will be a meeting of Western and the wealthiest nations—the UK, which is also the current chair of the bloc, the United States, Canada, Germany, France and Italy. According to media reports, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson lobbied for the meeting, which will be at the behest of those with vested interests in Afghanistan. 

So will it be an attempt to cover up the mess of the United States, its key member, which occupied Afghanistan for the last 20 years? It would be good to know what the G7 has done for Afghans in these two decades.

There is little, if anything positive, to show for the U.S. occupation. $2 trillion have gone down the drain in the name of fighting terrorists allegedly holed up in the mountainous country. Well, it is a narrative the U.S. has used as an excuse for vengeance in several countries around the world.

It is obvious that the Western nations have been pushing for a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, even as the Taliban show no signs of belligerence and have promised to give safe passage to foreigners, including Afghans who wish to relocate. Much of the supposed emergency fleeing from Afghanistan is a stage managed ploy aimed at creating echoes of the deadly U.S. exit from Saigon in Vietnam back in April 1975.

The G7 must put geopolitical games aside and genuinely address the plight of Afghans, whose current socio-economic and political misery can be blamed on the hegemonic policies of some of the wealthiest nations. The damage done by U.S. occupation for 20 years cannot be wished away by blaming the victim.

The best the G7 can do now is to facilitate a peaceful transition and build the capacity of the new administration once it's put in place to offer essential services. Afghanistan is also in dire need of infrastructure.

The G7 must let Afghans decide their future without meddling or trying to have an undue influence on the country's political decisions. It must not be used by the U.S. to rubber-stamp decisions that are inimical to the genuine interests of Afghans. The group cannot try to do what the U.S. failed to in 20 years.

U.S. Army 101st Airborne patrols through rivers and fields to avoid bombs in Zhari district, west of Kandahar, Afghanistan, October 16, 2010. /Getty

U.S. Army 101st Airborne patrols through rivers and fields to avoid bombs in Zhari district, west of Kandahar, Afghanistan, October 16, 2010. /Getty

In their first press conference held in Kabul on August 17, Taliban leaders promised to re-invent themselves and shed their religious rigidity particularly in relation to women and girls' rights, education and freedom of the press.

On August 21, the Taliban leadership stated on Twitter that it was open for both diplomatic and trade ties with all countries globally, including its nemesis, the U.S. Consequently, it places the onus of rapprochement on the superpower.

This should form the basis of the G7's conversation about its role in Afghanistan going forward. It should let bygones be bygones and seek an inclusive process that incorporates the various groups angling for power in Afghanistan.

By keeping its word so far, the Taliban has actually thrown down the gauntlet to the G7. The narrative that Afghanistan cannot be ruled by its own citizens like other civilized nations can no longer hold as the truth is now out for all to see.

It will be interesting to know how much money the alliance is willing to offer for Afghanistan's development. But the money should not have conditions based on the G7's priorities as precedence has shown that much of Western aid is a yoke aimed at creating a cycle of dependency for recipients.

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