Quds force chief: Tehran won’t allow developments in Afghanistan to harm Iran

September 7, 2021 - 19:48

TEHRAN — Quds Force Commander Esmaeil Qaani has said Iran will not allow the developments in Afghanistan to “harm the security of the country,” a member of the Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee told the Mehr news agency in an interview published on Tuesday.

 The remarks by Ebrahim Rezaei comes as the Iranian parliament held a closed-door session on Afghanistan on Monday during which IRGC Quds Force commander briefed the MPs about the developments in the country. 

“In this session, the commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC insisted that the Islamic Republic of Iran proved the ‘most prudent’ country and adopted good position” due to the “deep view” that the Leader of the Islamic Revolution has toward regional and international developments,” the MP added.   

Rezaei said in the parliamentary session, General Qaani elaborated on the damages that the U.S. inflicted on Afghanistan during 20 years of its occupation of the country. 

The U.S. spent $2 trillion dollars in Afghanistan and lost hundreds of soldiers, however, after 20 years it was forced to leave Afghanistan in disgrace and in a chaotic way.  

Citing the Quds Force chief, the MP said the cost of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan was $300 million per day. 

“The U.S. death toll in Afghanistan was more than 10,000, but the Americans did not get any results,” Qaani said, according to the MP.

General Qaani says Iran proved the ‘most prudent’ country toward developments in Afghanistan The commander also said that the U.S. deployed 80,000 troops in Afghanistan.
Rezaei added, “The Quds Force chief emphasized that the United States entered Afghanistan to dominate Iran, Russia, China, and India, but suffered defeats and eventually fled the country.”

MP Rezaei underscored that according to Qaani the United States also brought ISIS to Afghanistan to use them to achieve its goals.

Quoting the Quds Force commander, Rezaei also said, the Doha talks on Afghanistan proved “fruitless” due to intervention by the United States.

The U.S. military failure in Afghanistan is being compared to its humiliation in Vietnam in 1970.

Former Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on September 1 that humiliation of the U.S. in Afghanistan proved that it is “high time” for Washington to abdicate the fallacy of “all options on the table”.

Zarif, an academician, and career diplomat said it is a “rule and not exception” that the United States and other invaders have been humiliated in the world.

Zarif cited the ill-fated invasion of Vietnam by the U.S. in the 1970s, Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in 1980s, Iran and Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1980s and 1990 as some examples. The former chief diplomat went on to say that use of force is “suicidal”.

Speaking about the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and the hasty pullout, Jack Midgley, who once served in Afghanistan as an advisor to the commander of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), and Gary Morsh, another U.S. veteran with 21-year service history in Vietnam, Kosovo, and Iraq, have said the U.S. failure in Afghanistan was "foreseeable," according to the China Media Group (CMG). 

Dominic Tierney, chair of the political science department at Swarthmore, a former contributor at The Atlantic and currently at The Signal, says, “There’s no other way to characterize the overall 20-year war as anything other than a failure.”

He says the Taliban has now returned to power and “this has to go down in history as a major American failure.”

The political scientist notes, “A lot of people are pointing out that the defeat in Afghanistan is not just about 2021, that is a bigger story going back 20 years. And I think that that’s an important point.

But actually, Afghanistan itself, the 20-year war, is part of an even bigger story in American military history that goes back to World War II. Before World War II, the United States won nearly all the major wars that it fought. And since World War II, the United States has barely won any major wars. The (Persian) Gulf War in 1991 was arguably a success, although far from the clean and decisive triumph that some people remember it as.

Korea was a really tough stalemate. And since Korea, we have had Vietnam—America’s most infamous defeat—and Iraq, another major failure. And you can even add other conflicts like Libya, like Somalia.”

On why have the U.S. has not figured out how to navigate the shift in nature of wars, the political expert says, “There are a few things going on. The U.S. military—and maybe arguably American society—much prefers planning for these classics, conventional wars, like World War II. In some fundamental way, World War II is what Americans think war ought to look like: with a fairly clear enemy, we make progress on the battlefield and it ends with a surrender ceremony. It’s become really a museum piece of war. It is not really relevant to what war looks like. So even today we spend money on F-35 planes and fancy new ships and high-tech hardware, most of that is designed for wars that just don’t really happen anymore.

Another piece of the story is just overconfidence and hubris. When these wars begin, the United States typically has positive illusions about how the war is going to go—that it’ll be a cakewalk in Iraq or in Afghanistan. Then, of course, what happens is the wars evolve in ways that were not predicted, particularly because they often happen on the far side of the world in countries about which Americans know almost nothing. The U.S. military can destroy anything that it can see, but what if it can’t see the enemy? Then it starts having problems.

As time goes on in these conflicts, the U.S. faces a fundamental problem: the enemy is more committed to the struggle than America, because for the United States, each conflict is just one of many different challenges around the world. But for the enemy, like the Taliban, it’s the only thing that matters. There is this saying in Afghanistan that America has the watches, but the Taliban has the time. That really gets this idea that America has the capabilities, but the Taliban has greater commitment.”

Tierney adds, “One of the great tragedies of the Afghanistan war is that the United States could have got a much better result back in 2002 by negotiating a deal with the Taliban. In 2002, the Taliban reached out to the United States and basically said, ‘Look, we’ve lost. If you offer us some kind of place in the new Afghanistan, we’re willing to evolve into a political party.’ The Bush Administration did not even consider it because at the time al-Qaeda and the Taliban were sort of lumped together in this bucket of Bad Guys, Evildoers, Nazis almost. And so we weren’t willing to kind of make a deal. If we had just had a little less righteousness in 2002 and a little more pragmatism and savviness about how the war was going to go and how there was not going to be an easy victory, then maybe we could have cut a deal, and at far lower costs for America and for Afghanistan. We could have reached not a perfect settlement, nothing like Western democracy, but something that the Afghan people could have built on.”

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