Afghanistan has suddenly become a hot topic for the international community as it has once again established its historical reputation of being the graveyard of empires. What’s surprising, however, is the haste with which the superpower retreated from Afghanistan; proving that the Afghan land was most inhospitable for the foreign invaders. The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre had unleashed the charade of “War on Terrorism,” which was to impact the Muslim world for years to come. Wasting no time, the US had blamed Afghanistan for nurturing terrorists responsible for the attack. Along with its NATO partners, it had invaded the impoverished land. On the contrary, a large majority in the world believes that the attacks on the twin towers were an inside job in which neither the Taliban nor Osama bin Laden had been involved. It was too complicated an operation for them to scheme and execute. And that the invasion of Afghanistan had been planned much before 9/11. Those who question the 9/11 Commission Report on the destruction of the twin towers are considered “conspiracy theorists.” It’s worth mentioning in readers’ interest how certain incontrovertible evidence regarding the destruction of the twin towers was swept under the carpet. For instance, consider the Vertical, Symmetrical Collapse theory of the towers. According to Mark Loizeaux, the president of the Controlled Demolition Inc (Maryland), huge concrete structures of the twin-towers type required days of planning and use of meticulously calculated quantities of demolition charges to bring them down within their perimeters to prevent damage to nearby buildings. That’s precisely how the towers pancaked. A large majority in the world believes that the attacks on the twin towers were an inside job in which neither the Taliban nor Osama bin Laden had been involved. Similarly, a structure engineer Joseph Burns, a partner in a Chicago firm dealing in the controlled demolition of buildings, said he was “in absolute shock over the whole thing,” and exclaimed: “It (twin towers) just came straight down. I’ve seen buildings collapse like this, but they’re buildings set for demolition.” Then the debris of the towers, especially molten steel, was swiftly carted away to Asian countries. Removal of any material from the site of occurrence of the crime is strictly prohibited by law before a thorough investigation has been conducted. A forensic analysis of the residual steel bars could have determined whether the towers were brought down by the passenger jets commandeered by the so-called terrorists or by the demolition procedure. However, let’s look at the longest war in Afghanistan from a different perspective. It’s the US compulsion to wage wars since the superpower’s economy is essentially war-based. The powerful lobbies of weapon manufacturers play a leading role in electing senators and congressmen by providing the candidates’ funds for their election campaigns. When elected, these politicians use their influence to promote wars to pay back their benefactors. Who profited by the two-decade war in Afghanistan wherein the US drained $2.26 trillion of public money, according to the Brown University report and lost thousands of troops, if not the manufacturers of military equipment? Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Boeing and Northrop Grumman surface on top of the list of the war profiteers. In third world democracies, corruption and unethical practices in politics are unsophisticated; in the first world democracies, these take a convoluted route to enrich the beneficiaries. Nevertheless, following Taliban control in Afghanistan, a narrative of ‘inclusive government’ is being bandied about by various powers to form a new government in the country, meaning a coalition government. But why the Taliban and its supporting fighting groups should share power with, let’s say, the Massoud clan who had no role in throwing the foreign invaders out of the country. Under the prevailing situation in Afghanistan, it’s the most opportune time for China to step in. Taliban should form a close alliance with China and commit not to encourage any Islamic movement in bordering areas of the Xinjiang province. In return, China would be too willing to build Afghanistan’s economy and route its massive trading activities through Afghanistan to Iran’s port of Chabahar. It would generate a tremendous volume of business and prove to be a win-win situation for both countries. The Taliban must make the best use of the geographical location of its country. Interestingly, as the Taliban and its supporting forces control Afghanistan, former president Ashraf Ghani sits smugly in the UAE. There are reports that he fled loaded with greenbacks. In my July 1 article “Of freedom fighters and the Afghan debacle” in this paper, I had anticipated where Ghani would likely seek refuge. I had ended my piece with the sentence: “How does Dubai sound?” Lo! Within six weeks, he was ensconced in the UAE; claiming that he wasn’t afraid of honourable death. The Gulf Sheikhdoms have become the ultimate haven for runaway rulers and former dictators as long as their bank accounts swell with hundreds of millions. The writer is a Lahore-based columnist.