Speaking of Asia: Beware the Afghan traps

Did America really close the doors with its troop departure? Whoever seeks to fill its vacuum needs to consider that and the make-up of the Taleban leadership.

Taleban members at a checkpoint in Kabul on Aug 17, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

Reading the hand-wringing commentary emerging from US President Joe Biden's decision to pull out the last of his troops from Afghanistan, thus ending America's "forever war" a few weeks short of its 20th anniversary, you'd think the Americans had just invaded a nation, not departed from it.

Facile comparisons are made with America's withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973 and the rooftop helicopter airlift in Saigon that remains etched in the global public mind as emblematic of a superpower's defeat at the hands of a doughty band of Asian minnows.

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