Excerpted from Strategic withdrawal: an Afghan tragedy by Professor Nursin Atesoglu Guney on the Anadolu Agency website today.

Afghanistan in the new Cold War

The geopolitical rivalry between Russia, China, and the United States had begun in the Eastern Mediterranean, and a second front had been established in the Black Sea and the Caucasus. It would not be surprising to see the formation of a third front along the Central Asia-Afghanistan-South Asia axis following the withdrawal of the US. The Western world is already limping into this struggle due to the wounds suffered during the withdrawal. In addition, Europe continues to regard Afghanistan as a source of refugees and terrorism. The US and the EU will be unable to develop a policy that will bring stability to the region as long as they continue to base their calculations on the costs of terrorism, immigration, and failed nation-building efforts while ignoring the costs of failed Western strategies in Afghanistan.

It is highly likely that other rival powers, particularly the United States, will leave the fate of the Afghan people, who have been duped by the US, in the hands of the Taliban in the hope of reaping strategic benefits from this scheme today and in the future. In Afghanistan, even if the actors in the proxy – original power relationship change in this second Taliban era, which has already begun and will take place in the geopolitical struggle that will soon accelerate, the Afghan people will be the ones who suffer as a result of this rivalry. Ultimately, regardless of who wins the geopolitical battle, this is a story in which the loser has already been determined. Unfortunately, once the elephants do start to fight in Afghanistan, there will be no hope left for the already trampled grass.

The moral of the story is that all actors, both state and non-state, who are already acting as proxies for the US in other parts of the world should learn from the recent tragedy in Afghanistan.