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    9/11 gave US a chance to achieve goals in region

    KABUL (PAN): Some political analysts say the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan was aimed at protecting and promoting its interests in the region, not defeating Al Qaeda and Taliban.

    Nearly 3,000 people were killed and many others wounded when four hijacked passenger planes were crashed into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

    Adviser to the Finance Ministry, Najeeb Manli, said the US had come to Afghanistan in its own interest. He said if the US was able to achieve its goals, it would abandon Afghanistan without caring for its people and international concerns.

    "The US has no plan to eliminate Al Qaeda and Taliban, liberate Afghanistan or establish a democracy here," he said. Afghanistan's crucial geographical location makes it strategically important to the US. Manli said it was the time for Afghans to take advantage of the situation.

    The observer thought the proposed strategic cooperation deal with the US was in the interest of both countries. He said if Afghanistan wanted to safeguard its sovereignty, it needed a strong partner. He called training and equipping Afghan forces by the US a historic opportunity the country had never availed in the past.

    The ongoing conflict was a legacy of mismanagement and a non-serious approach on the part of the US, he added. In order to reduce casualties among US troops, the country in initials days of the war hired warlords, causing the situation to slip out of control.

    Another political analyst, Ahmad Saeedi, described Sept. 11 a terrible incident that jolted the US out of its slumber and conveyed the message that terrorism knew no borders.

    Saeedi said the US plan was not only to crush its opponents and bring peace to Afghanistan, but to use Afghan soil for achieving its goals in the region. The attacks provided a chance to the US to give practical shape to its strategic designs.

    According to him, the US initially thought it would be able to easily achieve its targets by ousting the Taliban regime. But it confronted many challenges, including interference from Pakistan and Iran, he said. Insufficient knowledge of the Afghan culture added to American woes, he pointed out.

    "The US is still in control of the war. The country wants to fight the war in an organised way to achieve its long-term objectives," he said.

    Though peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of the US, yet the war is necessary to continue, he said. "The war is not a big issue for the US, which eyes future economic control over the entire region."

    The US objectives in the region include "access to untapped natural resources in Afghanistan and Central Asian countries and control over other regional countries. He saw the US as an occupying force attacking any country it considers a threat to peace.
    Human rights activist Kabir Ranjbar said the US invaded Afghanistan to seek revenge on Al Qaeda. "There is no visible shift in the US aims, but it has been unable to achieve anything worthwhile, except killing Osama bin Laden. In my view, Al Qaeda is still functional and even more strengthened."

    He said Afghanistan would not be able to develop until "criminals" were in rule at central, provincial, district and village levels

    Muhammad Ameen Wakman, professor of political science at Kabul University, said the US had planned to come to the region before 9/11. It sought to monitor Central Asian states and contain the Chinese and Iranian influence.

    He opined the US would not leave Afghanistan even after 2014, when the security transition process from foreign troops to local forces is scheduled to be complete.

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