World Humanitarian Day: U.S. fears midnight knocking post-Afghanistan
Bobby Naderi
Children scavenge for scrap metals in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 26, 2022. /CFP

Children scavenge for scrap metals in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 26, 2022. /CFP

Editor's note: This is the third piece of the series "One Year: Taliban in, U.S. out." Bobby Naderi is a London-based journalist, guest contributor in print, radio and television, and documentary filmmaker. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

This World Humanitarian Day, on August 19, shines a perfect light on how the United States and its occupation forces failed to provide life-saving assistance, such as urgent health care, shelter, food, water and much more, to millions of desperate people in Afghanistan. The evidence is overwhelming that America is still playing a very harmful role, an unacceptable role in the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

After two decades of being in the wrong, the U.S. is not ready to change course. If U.S. politicians are in favor of adhering to International Humanitarian Law, why are they supporting their government's sanctions and economic warfare against Afghanistan? Perhaps, helping the war-torn country is not a top priority for the political class on the hill, or ending the economic warfare is not very or extremely important at all.

This comes despite the fact that the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned millions of Afghans face malnutrition and urged the world not to forget the plight of women and girls in the country.

The U.S. would have learned from its mistakes if it wasn't so busy denying or explaining them away. But it's still everywhere and in full operational mode, sanctioning Afghanistan, seeking a new cold war with China and Russia, and demanding a return to the region. This is more than enough to realize why the ongoing economic warfare against Afghanistan is not a slip-up. It is a deliberate attempt to destabilize the region and warrant permanent influence.

It hardly matters where you start. The U.S. is always seeking to increase its regional influence and is waiting for such opportunities to rule under any circumstances — even if at the expense of starvation or displacement of local populations. Whatever the pretext, this has to stop. It is a flagrant violation of international norms and an infringement of Afghanistan's national sovereignty.

The failure to respond to the ongoing crisis risks further instability, triggering further refugee flows. This is not a crisis of numbers; it is a crisis of politics. Putting in place policies to discourage refugees is not the answer. The Afghan crisis has been a tragedy, and if Europe and the U.S. are willing to learn from it, it can be an opportunity for change.

An airplane carrying around 300 Afghans arrives at Torrejon de Ardoz military air base, Eastern Madrid, Spain, August 10, 2022. /CFP

An airplane carrying around 300 Afghans arrives at Torrejon de Ardoz military air base, Eastern Madrid, Spain, August 10, 2022. /CFP

In this context, it's obvious that China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan will continue to help Afghanistan. They are more concerned about what their conscience whispers than about what the U.S. shouts. Lining up behind sanctions and a blockade of assistance to the Taliban government is wrong. It will have immeasurable consequences. Washington is dead wrong to assume that the strategy of helping the Taliban government is unconstructive. Afghanistan's neighbors are not doing this without filtering through the conscience. It is so clear that it is impossible to mistake it.

Absent from Washington's tragic misperception and calculation is this: By helping the Afghan government, China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan are also saving Europe from its ongoing refugee nightmare. They don't have to play by American rules as many European governments are also warming to the idea. The conscientious campaign to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan will not fail, as it is about cooperation, kindness, and humanity, and not an act of politics or competition. Humanity can't fail.

Afghanistan's neighbors are making better decisions because they are predisposed to peace, with no cynical or self-serving reasons. Their default position is that of conscientious objector to war, violence and sanctions. And in the case of Afghanistan, they have already decided. Beyond words, there has been action on many fronts.

In the fantasyland that is Washington's perception of Afghanistan, the war capital has learned nothing from President George W. Bush's failed "Mission Accomplished" strategy. Afghanistan could descend into anarchy with the continuation of U.S. sanctions and economic war. The real-life experience is that the collapse of the Taliban government would make matters worse, with even more extreme forces filling the void.

A new world order is now under construction and it will not include those who are against it. It will not include those who look for the next war of choice, or order the launch of cruise missiles on civilians. Surely, it will not include those who provide fertile ground for the rise of interlinked conflicts, cross-border humanitarian impacts, and violent extremism.

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