by Robert Carbery
It is becoming clear now that the U.S. will maintain a military outpost in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.
With Secretary of Defense James Mattis set to announce the deployment of an additional 5,000 American troops to Afghanistan in the coming weeks after Trump handed over authority on Tuesday to Mattis to set troop levels, hope for leaving the graveyard of empires any time soon appears doomed.
The Washington-installed regime in Kabul is now facing an expanding insurgency led by the Taliban despite the U.S. military presence in the country since October 2001. Some estimates peg Taliban control at 40% of Afghanistan as the group launches new offensive operations as it tends to do most summers while the Afghan government suffers from having no real power or control outside of the capital.
Three American soldiers died last weekend when a Taliban sympathiser in the army opened fire on them during a training exercise. These horrific events continue while casualty rates remain high in the hapless American-trained Afghan military. After all this time, the Taliban is as strong and influential as ever. In April, the group launched its bloodiest attack since the start of the war, killing 200 Afghan troops at an army base.
The additional American troops being sent in are supposedly going to be there in an “advisory” capacity. But this means nothing. They will be in combat situations and will be in harm’s way no matter their official designation. U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria are “advising” but are also fighting ISIS while they’re at it.
We will remain in this far off nation under the pretext of the never ending and ever expanding “war on terror.” Now, a permanent U.S. military outpost is becoming an entrenched reality in this strategic Central Asian country. From here, we can keep an eye on nuclear-armed Pakistan to the east as well as the energy-rich former Soviet states to the north. All while keeping strike forces closeby to Iran and other Middle Eastern nations teeming with terrorist cells.
Neoconservatives cannot be trusted because they want us involved in countries like Afghanistan throughout the world regardless of our capacity to do so.
We will be fighting here for decades it seems. And for what? The U.S. has already spent 16 years fighting the longest war in its history at a cost of over $800 billion and thousands of American lives. And what have we accomplished with that? What are our objectives and how can we achieve them? What are we still doing there?
There is still no peace. The Taliban is surging and the situation is deteriorating. Is it up to us to prop up this country’s government despite the fact that when we leave the Taliban will take over? Why can’t we just come out and say we are there to establish a sizable and strategic military presence in the country for the decades to come?
Today, ISIS is establishing a foothold in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda is still not fully decimated. Trump dropped a big bomb on one of ISIS’ bases not too long ago in a show of force in stark opposition to the tactics of the previous administration.
We should stop trying in Afghanistan. We should cut our losses and get out of there. No amount of additional troops or change in strategy can save that sorry nation. It is not our responsibility. It is not worth American lives or treasure. Let’s get out while we can, Mr. President. Don’t let the generals convince you we need to be there.
I’ll leave you with Bonnie Kristian’s words from her recent opinion piece in the Washington Examiner:
“There is no reason to believe this escalation will make any security gains for the U.S. or even for the Afghan people. (It is telling no one bothers to argue a surge will make the U.S. safer, because the American public long ago realized occupying Afghanistan does not protect us.)
There is no definition of success, let alone a chance it will lead to victory, and it will not end the chaotic status quo.
The difficult but plain truth is that no amount of U.S. military intervention can impose an exterior stability on Afghanistan, however much Washington denies this fact. It is futile and dangerous to continue to try.”
by Robert Carbery