Analysis, Europe, Side Feature, South Asia

The Failure of the German Policy in Afghanistan

After the Taliban’s capture of the presidential palace on 15/8/2021, without any resistance, the German government had no choice but to publicly admit the failure of its policy regarding Afghanistan. The total collapse of the puppet government in Kabul, which accompanied the change of power, proves beyond any doubt that German foreign and security policy must be redrawn from the start, and that it should pull out from the current unbalanced alliance structure. The only way for Germany to avoid another defeat and to build a positive geopolitical relations with Muslim countries is by adopting a new strategic direction.

Although the current public talks are dominated by the issue of evacuating German nationals and cooperating local elements, yet a fundamental debate about the future direction of German foreign and security policy is beginning to take shape in the political corridors of Berlin. The representatives of the government could not help but acknowledge the disappointing outcome of the longest military mission in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated on 16/8/2021: “The developments of the last days are all very bitter, and they will have far-reaching consequences for the region and for us as well. There is no way to improve the image from any side, all of us – the Federal Government, the intelligence services and the international community – have misjudged the situation… and we have to ask many questions in the future – including basic questions – and answer them.”

A few hours after this statement, German Chancellor Merkel openly questioned the general framework of the alliance structure of the Western military missions, and also questioned its intended goals, saying: “It should be known that the NATO mission in Afghanistan would not have allowed a unilateral role for Germany or other European powers.” In answer to the question of whether the idea of ​​”nation-building” will remain part of the general vision of German policy, Chancellor Merkel said: “I must say clearly: we must ask ourselves these questions. While we were able to neutralize Afghanistan as a base (for terrorism), all matters that followed were not achieved and did not work out in the way Germany had intended. We stayed in Afghanistan for about 20 years, during that time, what we hoped for did not materialise, so it must be said that they were not successful efforts and lessons should be drawn from them…, Yes! The goals should be reduced in such missions.”

On 21/8/2021, for his part, Foreign Minister Maas openly questioned the policy of ‘nation building and organization’ accompanying military missions, saying: “NATO’s mission was primarily to ensure that no (terrorist) operations were launched from Afghan soil. Then suddenly the issue changed to be about the future of Afghanistan… Is our mission to achieve peace and preserve human rights? Does this also include exporting our political system? This has certainly failed in Afghanistan!” Maas also criticized the current structure of NATO and the accompanying distribution of roles, he said: “While actual decisions are issued by Washington, there is no room for Brussels to participate in them, rather it only carry out the task of implementing them!”

This growing skepticism of the current direction of German foreign and security policy is not limited to government representatives. For example, Markus Keim, an expert at the Institute for Science and Policy, commenting on the Foreign Minister’s threat to stop all forms of financial aid in the event of establishing the Khilafah (Caliphate), said: “This does not serve German foreign policy, and leads its to a confusing situation… It does not seem to me that this method is an effective tool for influencing the Taliban in order to change their behaviour.” According to Keim, the current slogan, which is: No recognition, no negotiations, no money, does not represent any strategy in dealing with the Taliban. Due to the failure of the German policy in Afghanistan, voices criticizing the German army’s mission in Mali have increased as well, and also criticized is the absence of a German strategy towards the expected change in the balance of power in Central Asia.

The most obvious criticism came from former Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel, who said: “The value-oriented foreign policy and the idealistic ‘nation-building’ project have failed miserably in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two decades and billions of financial aid have not succeeded, even principly, in building a solid foundation for such a project. As long as the political will is absent among the owners of the land and the elite, the democratic structure cannot be imposed from the outside on the country – not even by extensive military and financial means. Instead of continuing to adhere to the “nation building” project, we should focus more On realpolitik, this, when in doubt, is better and less cruel. ”

In light of the German policy’s failure in Afghanistan, and the strategic debate in the corridors of politics, Hizb ut Tahrir calls on the German government once again to reorient its foreign and security policy according to the geopolitical development taking place, and to benefit from its remaining share in its relations, and to develop a positive relationship with Islamic countries. For this, Germany must break free from the current attachment to the Atlantic institutions and stop all policies aimed at economic, political, cultural or military hegemony, not only in Afghanistan but also in Mali, South Sudan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq. If this does not happen, then the German colonial policy in the Islamic countries will be stopped by the establishment of the Khilafah, at the least, and it will turn into a total defeat, and humiliation which far exceeds all the photos and videos we receive from Afghanistan.

[وَاللَّهُ غَالِبٌ عَلَى أَمْرِهِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ]

“And Allah is predominant over His affair, but most of the people do not know” [Yususf: 21]

Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in the German-Speaking Countries

Press Release
17 Muharram 1443 – Wednesday, 25th August 2021
No: AH / 01 1443