(Manish Tewari is a lawyer and a former Union minister. This column first appeared in Deccan Chronicle on September 26, 2021)
- September 11, 2021, marked the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. This ominous hour struck 26 days after the ignominious exit of the US from Kabul on August 15. Why did the United States after investing humungous amounts of blood and treasure in Afghanistan cut and run in this manner? Before answering that question it may be worth cataloguing the cost of the alleged “war on terror” that ultimately ended up in putting back in the saddle the same Taliban that the US and its allies set out to destroy in 2001. The total cost of war over the span of 20 years has been 2.3 trillion US dollars. A substantive part of the money spent in Afghanistan was on counter-insurgency operations, servicing the requirements of armed forces personnel, be it nutrition, apparel, curative care and other extraordinary perquisites. Over 50 per cent of the monies — $131.3 billion — was expended on raising the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).