Today Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. Its survival is at stake and its achievements are in danger of being wasted in vain. It is incumbent upon Afghan political leaders to unify and put forward a nationally inclusive fight against the Taliban. Afghanistan needs to fight the Taliban with all it has got. The Afghan people know that this fight is not just for the survival of Afghanistan. It is for preserving their freedom, achievements, dignity, and honor. It is for protecting their women, wives, sisters, and daughters from the clutches of a godless, vicious, murderous, savage terrorist group intent on killing anyone who does not abide by their fourth-century mentality of barbarism, terrorism, and savagery. Ultimately, the Taliban must be convinced that they cannot achieve a military takeover of the country and that a political settlement is the only way forward to achieving peace.
The United States and NATO must continue supporting the ANDSF and the Afghan government. Otherwise, the consequences will be disastrous. In the immediate term, the spillover effects of a government collapse and sustained militancy and terrorism in Afghanistan would threaten the security of the region, including Central Asian republics, the Russian Federation, Pakistan, Iran, and India. In Pakistan, emboldened jihadists would turn the country into a no man’s land. In the long-term, sustained Taliban violence, which would provide fertile ground for terrorism in the region, would threaten the security of European capitals as well as U.S. interests across Asia, Africa, Europe, and possibly even in America. As I argued in an article earlier this year, Afghanistan is the global front against terrorism. You lose that front, you lose everywhere.
Rafi Khetab is a national security analyst and Vice President of Operations at CAPITALIZE LLC, a DC-based government consulting firm. He previously worked for the U.S. government in Afghanistan for several years. He holds two advanced degrees in international relations from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and the American University’s School of International Service.
This article first appeared earlier this week and is being republished due to reader interest.