It’s the end of a bloody year in more ways than one, with the human race forced to change itself from being a social animal to a house-bound one, and depression and anxiety the norm rather than the exception.

Think yourself lucky. In Afghanistan, no one has the time for the coronavirus. They’re more engaged in trying to survive the Taliban. For the so-called ‘international community,’ which in this case, translates into the United States and its allies, it was a year of shame, for having abandoned an entire people to a fully known and comprehended danger.

As Afghanistan slides into an abyss of misery and danger through no fault of its own, it is vital that some constants about the most recent phase of war are recognised, so that policy in major capitals is less revoltingly gauche and predictable.

The Taliban Whitewashed

First, everyone with a grain of sense knew that the Taliban had ‘won’, once President Trump signed the Agreement with the Taliban in early 2020. Once the US had set a date for withdrawal, President Ghani’s days were numbered, even if he had been a model of good governance ( which he was not) or how much talk there was about an ‘intra-afghan’ dialogue.

As Zalmay Khalilzad negotiated in Pakistan, the self-deception was complete, with teams of experts even inserted to instruct the Afghans how to go about the entire process of power-sharing, based on a whole academic field of ‘ending/ managing/ post-conflict’ analysis behind it.

If there ever was a plan entirely unrooted in reality, this was it. The lesson?

The last two should have been forever demolished by the image of DG ISI Faiz Hameed sipping his tea in Kabul, while his Prime Minister whooped it up by declaring that Afghanistan had ‘broken the shackles of slavery’. So Pakistan duped the international community and all its ‘special envoys’ completely. That much should have been clear as a factor for the future too. Sadly it’s not.