When did the war in Afghanistan turn from
(1) hunting down Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda and killing them
(2) hunting down and killing the Taliban
Serioiusly. When did that happen?
We went into Afghanistan back in 2001 because Al Queda and Osama bin Laden specifically were behind the attacks on 9/11, and Al Queda and Osama bin Laden were using Afghanistan as a safe haven.
So we went into Afghanistan and chased Al Queda through the hills and let Osama Bin Laden slip through our fingers at Tora Bora. But we kept going after them.
The current assessment is that there is no significant Al Queda presence in Afghanistan. They went over to Pakistan. Osama bin Laden might be dead, for all we know, but we’re hunting for him in Pakistan now, not Afghanistan.
So, doesn’t that mean we won the war in Afghanistan? Can’t we pull out the troops?
How did the war against Osama bin Laden and Al Queda turn into a war against the Taliban?
The Taliban grew out of a local militia or warlord in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. While the Soviets were in Afghanistan, the warlords pretty much left each other alone and fought the Soviets. After the Soviets left, all the warlords started to fight each other in a civil war. The Taliban won control of the south, and a number of other warlords organized a “Northern Alliance” in (surprise) the north.
The Taliban is a fundamentalist Islamic group. They gave Osama and Al Queda a place to hide and train in Afghanistan. But they never launched an attack against the US. They’re currently fighting American troops in Afghanistan. They’re pretty much all we’re fighting in Afghanistan right now, because Al Queda has left the building, and moved on to Pakistan.
But the short of it is this: Why the hell are we still fighting a war in Afghanistan if the Al Queda who attacked us on 9/11 have boogied out? Why are we now fighting the Taliban?
Certainly it seems that given how we used Afghanistan to fight a proxy war with the Soviets, since we helped devastate Afghanistan with 8 years of Soviet occupation, (Carter funded the Afghanis to revolt against their Soviet puppets in 1979, leading to a full military occupation by the Soviets through the 1980′s), since we did all that, it only seems right that we help rebuild the country. You break it, you buy it.
But who says we need to “rebuild” Afghanistan by wiping out the Taliban militarily?
The only reason teh Taliban is a threat is because they have the support of some of the people in Afghanistan. They have hearts and minds. We want those hearts and minds. But who in the hell decided the best way to win those hearts and minds was to kill the Taliban?
Think about it. Some poor pashtun, literally poor, a dollar a day poor, decides he likes the Taliban. Maybe its for religious reasons. Maybe its because the Taliban decided to hire him for security work at the outrageous price of $8 dollars a day. Whatever the reason, the Taliban has won the heart of this particular Pashtun. This Pashtun likes the Taliban.
What do you think will happen if you kill the Taliban that this particular Pashtun likes? Do you think he’ll say “Oh, I guess I’ll give my heart and mind to the Americans now?”
More likely he’ll be pissed at America and the centralized government of Afghanistan and be that much harder to win over.
Seriously. What the hell are we thinking over there?
You want to render the Taliban ineffective? Get rid of all the goddamn corruption in the central government. Get rid of all the bribes and graft and ineffectiveness going on in the central government. Elections last month are being called rigged. Get rid of the corruption, get rid of the corrupt individuals, and hold real honest elections. Make the central government something that is BETTER than the Taliban. Something that has more to offer that Pashtun guy than the Taliban can offer him.
Otherwise, you might as well put on the shirt that says “The beatings will continue until morale improves”.