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COMMENT | Lessons of Afghanistan for Malaysia

COMMENT | Blowback. The unintended bad results of political actions. That’s something being discussed a lot for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Is it relevant for Malaysia too?

When America launched its "War on Terror" against Afghanistan in 2001, could it have imagined how it would all end in a chaotic and humiliating withdrawal? Maybe it should have studied its own 9/11 history.

After all, the CIA had supported brutal Muslim warriors called the mujahideen in Afghanistan during the 1980s. A senior official boasted that the plan was to get the Soviet Union bogged down in its own “Vietnam”.

One of the mujahideen was - Osama bin Laden himself, who later turned against the United States in a spectacular example of blowback.

Did the United States go to war to liberate Afghan women? Old photos of 1960s Kabul show that women were already wearing skirts and going to university then. Then came the communist government, who was bad at making money but usually much better at empowering women - just ask the loud, outspoken ladies of China.

But the conservative, rural mujahideen that the US supported didn’t like these liberal urban women. (See old photos here.)

Sadly, the US repeated its old mistake of teaming up with ruthless folks. In 2001, it chose violent Afghan warlords from the Northern Alliance...

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