Disinformation or Curtailment: The Fleeing US in Afghanistan

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In the age of internet and social media access with the push of a button, disinformation has become an essential aspect of every developing international security scenario. The focus has shifted to the creation of information now rather than its propagation, and one of history’s most significant events, the Fall of Kabul is no exception either. As the world witnesses the last of United States forces fleeing the Afghan soil, there remain prolific controversies which are open for debate given the mode of propagation – social media. There is no doubt that US and the allied forces have fled from Afghanistan in a rather embarrassing episode, which unfolded quickly unveiling the truth of world’s largest army. However, the fleeing forces left behind a huge gap in the security and stability of the war-torn Afghanistan that was filled by the rapidly moving Taliban, who took over Kabul a mere ten-day period. What followed was the manipulation of developments regarding Afghanistan’s security situation through western controlled media and social media platforms. A thorough and sought-after campaign in Afghanistan, and the thwarted forces returning home after twenty years of fighting a war began the question of the campaign’s nature, whether it is disinformation or curtailment of the damaged international image.

The US, their allied NATO forces and the green card holders, were evacuated from Kabul urgently as the city fell to Taliban forces. Moreover, as the citizens rejoiced at their victory against foreign forces, the world witnessed horrific scenes of Kabul Airport, where large masses were desperately seeking a way out of Afghanistan. The social media and the news media erupted with atrocious pictures and videos of masses storming the Kabul airport runway. The western media had widely anticipated and established that the Afghans were fleeing the terror and wrath of Taliban. However, the same pictures and videos that were earlier insinuating the capture of Kabul by ferocious Taliban warriors ultimately turned against the western forces and specially the United States. In their desperation to make it out of their homeland, the Afghans who were denied boarding on C-17, US evacuation planes hung by the wings and wheels as their last resort only to fall to their deaths. The airport runway still saw increases in masses transforming into an impatient mob. The US forces at the airport fired upon civilians to keep them from boarding the planes. The harrowing scenes watched by millions around the globe only increased resentment against evacuating US forces and administration.

Soon after the incident, the social media platforms were flooded with the images of US armed forces personnel caring and aiding the Afghans, providing medical attention and food rations to the stranded Afghans on the airport. What seemed to be a gesture of humanitarian aid on the behalf of deterred army was only a desperate attempt of the US for face saving before completely abandoning the war-torn country. Given that the US not only lost its longest fought battle to Taliban but also lost its stature as their criminal behavior falls out before the international community, the US administration deemed fit that the world be shown another image of US forces so the previous damage can be curtailed. However, the “heart-warming” photos released by the US Department of Defence, where the US marines were opening food packages for children at Hamid Karzai Airport, were insufficient to save the tarnished international image. The despairing attempts by the United States were all in vain, as some Afghans revealed that the US soldiers distributed pork to civilians that is strictly prohibited for Muslims. The social media labeled the “caring” gesture towards the people of war-torn country as US hypocrisy in a severe backlash following the release of these photos and statements.

The United States vehemently wanted its way out of the longest running war in Afghanistan. In the past twenty years, in the name of war on terror, the United States spent billions of dollars and lost thousands of its people in foreign land. The hasty exit made by United States created a room for catastrophic events that were unperceived by the global security analysts. Post its exit from the Bagram Base, the intelligence reports anticipated Taliban takeover of Kabul in ninety days, where the city fell to Taliban fighters in only nine days. The misinformation sent across the global community to ease up the exit of allied forces from Afghanistan was also an attempt ensure safe exit of its own citizens. In an attempt to flee from Afghanistan, the United States resorted to misinformation and disinformation to curtail the damage it caused in the twenty years of war. It is inevitable for United States to escape the disaster that it leaves behind and hide under the shelter of humanitarian support to the deprived people of Afghanistan. The United States Department of Defence attempted to formulate a sought after campaign to curtail the deteriorated reputation of the fleeing forces as the flag bearer of Human Rights, which was eventually unsuccessful.

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