Since the start of Russian invasion of Ukraine in the Last week of February, comparisons are being drawn between two major events of contemporary history that is greatly impacting the global geopolitics.
Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said Ukraine and its resistance have captured the Western imagination in a way Afghanistan never did as Western politicians know they gain more from being seen with Zelenskyy than vice versa.
Unlike Afghan former-President Ashraf Ghani who fled the country and left the people of Afghhanistan to their fate, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is putting up a tough fight against the Russian "military operation".
"European leaders and Congressional delegations head to Kyiv to have their photographs taken with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy with an urgency few did with former Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani," Rubin wrote in an article for The National Interest magazine.
Notably, the Biden administration had initially advised Zelenskyy to surrender. However, the comedian turned wartime leader rose to the occasion and showed his leadership.
According to Rubin, the ramifications for the liberal order would be disastrous had Zelenskyy chosen differently.
The American scholar went on to argue that "Ghani was no Zelenskyy." For years, several US administrations counseled him to compromise but the then Afghan president who is now in UAE, resisted at first but fled his palace in the middle of the night, handing Kabul to the Taliban.
"While Biden may wish to put Afghanistan behind him, deflect blame, and tarnish all Afghans with the actions of their former president, the reality is many Afghans never gave up the fight," he further said.
Rubin believes that even if Biden does not believe his withdrawal was an error, its timing surely was. Biden ordered the US evacuation of Afghanistan, after 20 years of military presence, at the height of fighting season when the Taliban was most mobile.
"Had the US waited until winter, it might have given Afghans a chance to entrench and prepare to battle the Pakistan-backed group," he added.