Reflections of Developments in Afghanistan

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After the United States (USA)/North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) withdrew from Afghanistan, the Taliban, whom they claimed to have been fighting for 20 years, took control of Afghanistan in general within a few days, keeping Turkey and the world’s agenda. In this sense, how the future of Afghanistan will be shaped, whether the Taliban is moderate; or whether to act harshly, which states will recognize the Taliban, how Hamid Karzai Airport will be operated, and the fate of Afghan immigrants are among the most discussed issues. However, there are important issues that should not be overlooked during these discussions.

The first issue to be discussed is the airport issue. Because before the Taliban seized the cities, the United States demanded that Turkey secure the airport and Turkish officials have stated that this request is planned to be fulfilled if an agreement is reached on various issues, especially logistical support. At this point, it is essential to raise the following questions. Athough Washington administration to know/predict or perhabs even support it, why did they even want to leave the security of the airport in question to Turkey? Did he try to drag Turkey into a swamp? Or have they only seen the capacity to eliminate various threats in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK)? Has this been discussed between the U.S.-Turkey-Taliban?

Another topic to be discussed is the issue of leadership in NATO and the effectiveness of NATO without the United States. In this period, the discussions were mainly shaped around the role of other states in the decision-making mechanism and whether the Washington administration would fulfill its commitments to Europe in a real crisis/war period.

Hatta bağımsız AB Ordusu bile kurulmuş; ancak siyasi yâda askeri olarak kendisinden beklenen etkiyi gösterememiştir. Fakat örgütün ABD’nin etkisinden ve liderliğinden kurtulmuş siyasi ve askeri karar alma kapasitesi tesis etme noktasındaki hedefine yönelik çalışmaları devam etmektedir. The alliance, whose existence began to be questioned in the post-Cold War period, ended the discussion by finding new missions for itself. However, the European Union (EU), which has increased its economic and political effectiveness, has tried to develop a decision mechanism independent of the USA and to create a military power.

The United States also led the operation in nato’s longest mission to Afghanistan. The decision of the USA, which has been in dialouges with the Taliban for a long time, to withdraw without consulting its allies as a result of the negotiations that started under the Democratic leader Barack Obama and concluded under the Republican leader Donald Trump, was criticized by many states, especially the UK. However, without the United States, no issue has been raised to continue the organization’s mission to Afghanistan. The alliance, which transferred the operation against the Taliban to the Afghan security forces and performed more consultancy and training tasks, did not dare to continue this task independently from the Washington administration. As a matter of fact, with the hasty withdrawal of the United States, all states began to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. Thus, it became clear once again that the United States is the driving force in NATO. So perhaps the EU failed to seize a historic opportunity for the goal it had been pursuing for a long time.

The last issue that should not be overlooked is that the effectiveness of the missions undertaken by NATO should be questioned after the developments in Afghanistan and that the training mission is a paper tiger. Yet, the organization changed the march of events with its late interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo in the post-Cold War period. However, the goals and achieved results of the missions it has carried out since then have not been brought to the agenda.

As it is known, Tbilisi and Kiev challenged Moscow with the courage given by the NATO/USA/EU but it did not receive any support to prevent Russian interventions or to reverse the results. In addition, when the military operation in Libya was not supported with other necessary elements, the country in question was dragged into a great chaos. In addition to this process, the failure of the Afghanistan mission, which is defined as the longest and most successful military operation of the alliance, will bring NATO’s effectiveness back into discussion.

Moreover, after the developments in Afghanistan, the Iraqi military training mission, which already has a very narrow scope, will no longer be credible. The alliance, which accelerated its work towards the collective defense mission after the Ukraine Crisis, returned to the deterrence mission from which it had been away for a while, was restructured militarily, and supported this purpose with major military exercises, could not show the same success in concrete events. In short, the Afghanistan Crisis will open the alliance, if not its existence, to debate its effectiveness, goals, abilities and aims.

Doç. Dr. Şafak OĞUZ
2019 yılında Doçentlik unvanını alan Şafak OĞUZ, Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri’ndeki (TSK) 23 yıllık hizmetinden sonra 2021 yılında emekli olmuştur. Görevi esnasında Birleşmiş Milletler (BM) ve Kuzey Atlantik Antlaşması Örgütü (NATO) bünyesinde de çalışan OĞUZ, Kitle İmha Silahları, Terörizm, Uluslararası Güvenlik, Uluslararası Örgütler ve Barış ve Çatışma Çalışmaları konularında çalışmalar yapmaktadır. OĞUZ, halen Kapadokya Üniversitesi İktisadi, İdari ve Sosyal Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde öğretim üyeliği görevini sürdürmektedir. İyi derece İngilizce ve Almanca bilmektedir.