Afghanistan: How US Turned ‘Good War’ Into ‘Dumb War’
It should come as no surprise that the US military intervention in Afghanistan has not yielded a political resolution to a decades-long conflict or that it has failed to retain the support of the American public according to a policy expert.
Wesley Jefferies, writing in The National Interest said that by withdrawing from Afghanistan, the United States is letting go of a false hope for a lost cause doomed by a polite fiction.
When President Joe Biden declared the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan after twenty years of fighting, he declared that the original objectives for the invasion had been achieved. “We were attacked, we went to war with clear goals,” he gravely intoned. “We achieved those objectives. Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan, and it’s time to end this forever war.”
Curiously, he omitted where exactly the founder of Al Qaeda had met his end, wrote Jefferies.
While there are other more local and nuanced factors that contributed to the US failure to bring order and stability to Afghanistan, including supporting a system of government that has never amounted to much more than warlord rule beyond Kabul, it is Pakistan that looms as the largest.
As complex and confusing as the situation in Afghanistan is for foreign observers and visitors, the most fundamental lacuna in the analysis and strategy behind US objectives in the country is a manifest failure to clearly acknowledge and accept the situation on the ground in Afghanistan for what it is: the United States has been waging and losing a proxy war against an alleged ally (Pakistan).
It becomes indefensibly absurd when also claiming to do so in partnership with a country that bears the most responsibility for the continuing chaos and carnage in Afghanistan.
It has long been an open secret that Pakistan has actively and consistently thwarted US operations against the Taliban and Al Qaeda since the attacks of September 11, 2001, reported The National Interest.
As a state sponsor of terrorism, Pakistan has matched or exceeded the actions and patterns of sanctioned regimes in Iran and North Korea, says Jefferies.
Among all the moral compromises made by Washington in its diplomatic relationships during the ‘War on Terror’, the US relationship with Islamabad was the most destructive and counterproductive.
After the United States invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan gave shelter to elements of both Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Osama Bin Laden himself was found in Pakistan’s military academy in Abbottabad.
After Bin Laden was finally found and killed, Pakistani authorities retaliated against local informants cooperating with US intelligence.
In spite of the evidence, there would be no major changes to the US relationship with Pakistan, says Jefferies.
After Donald Trump became US president, there was only a temporary change to relations with Islamabad after military aid was put on hold.
After Trump met with Imran Khan, the military-backed prime minister who has praised Osama bin Laden, the aid program was resumed. Despite a promised withdrawal, US troops remained in Afghanistan and US aid to Pakistan continued.
After the Pentagon pressured the White House to escalate the war, increasing numbers of US troops and civilian officials were sent into harm’s way and tasked with implementing near impossible projects of social transformation.
At the same time, the United States sent aid to the country that directed efforts to arm and train the Taliban insurgency. The absurd implications of US policy and strategy are such that it would be as if America had waged the Vietnam War while also sending aid to Hanoi.
If Washington is unprepared to hold Islamabad to account for being the malign actor in the international system it has become, there is no strategic justification to remain in Afghanistan, says Jefferies.
There is a looming tragedy, to be sure, in the near future of Afghanistan when the US withdraws. Estimates by the US intelligence community suggest Kabul could fall to the Taliban in only six months after the last US troops leave Afghan soil. (ANI)