Internet pundits have expressed great amusement after discovering a 30-year-old article in which just-deposed Ashraf Ghani was anticipating the rapid downfall of the Afghan government following the Soviet military’s exit in 1989.
The former Afghan president, who relinquished power to the Taliban in Kabul on Sunday, reportedly escaped the city with enormous quantities of money and other loot, provoking accusations of grift and betrayal.
But the surprisingly swift downfall of his US-backed government – which occurred even before the US military was able to fully withdraw from the country – was particularly momentous for history buffs. Within hours of Ghani’s unceremonious departure, internet sleuths dug up an old classic that the now-ousted president had penned for the Los Angeles Times, which rejoiced at the Soviet military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989.
Amazing. From Feb 15, 1989. pic.twitter.com/2AIm2Xr41Z
— Sam Husseini — subscribe via husseini.org (@samhusseini) August 16, 2021
“The Soviets have left Afghanistan, making the collapse of the besieged puppet regime in Kabul just a matter of time,” Ghani predicted in the opening line of the piece dating back more than three decades.
Read more: Have Americans learned nothing from Soviets?
Ghani, who at the time was an assistant professor of anthropology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, was slightly premature with his forecasting: Afghanistan’s socialist government in 1989 would remain in power for another three years. In fact, almost immediately after the Soviet pullout, Afghan government forces scored an important victory against the mujahideen at the Battle of Jalalabad. For some historical context, Jalalabad fell to the Taliban without a fight on Sunday.
That particular 'puppet regime' lasted for 3 more years after the USSR withdrawal and then the civil war simply continued just with a role reversal.
— hɥmn (@plastichymn) August 16, 2021
Unsurprisingly, social media pundits were enthusiastic about sharing their analysis on the rise and fall of Ghani’s US-backed regime.
incredible how long and fruitful that grift was for him
— large N.I.K (@ONKC2023) August 16, 2021
“His puppet regime survived for, what was it, less than a week?” asked one Twitter observer.
Others made references to Ghani’s critically-acclaimed book, ‘Fixing Failed States.’
See also this entire book. pic.twitter.com/5vB3BS5xJn
— Alan MacLeod (@AlanRMacLeod) August 16, 2021
Ghani became president of Afghanistan in September 2014. Despite the vast sums of Pentagon funds poured into training Afghanistan’s military, the US-backed Kabul government was not able to withstand a Taliban offensive launched as western nations began to withdraw from the country in May.
On Sunday the Taliban surrounded the capital following the collapse of the Afghan National Army. On the same day, Ghani fled the country, reportedly accompanied by “four cars stuffed with money.” However, he wasn’t able to fit it all in his helicopter and had to leave some booty lying on the airport tarmac, according to a spokesperson for the Russian Embassy in Kabul.
At least Ghani in this article admits that his regime was never a sovereign one and that he didn't he have the power to steer where the country went. And will not until the withdrawal.
Which is in line with what the Taliban have been claiming all along. Which is "stooge regime". pic.twitter.com/DVVgKHQaGu
— Asfandyar (@AsfandBhittani) May 4, 2021
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk