FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Afghan Morass

Photo Source DVIDSHUB | CC BY 2.0

On learning that he was from Afghanistan, I asked my Afghan taxi driver in New York his opinion about the situation in his country. “Americans don’t get it,” he said. “They are not going to succeed in Afghanistan. My father was a warlord who fought the Russians, and I grew up in Afghanistan, so I know the situation there. I have a lot of respect for the Russian soldiers, who fought us fiercely. But I don’t have the same respect for the coalition soldiers who always overprotect themselves. They don’t seem to understand that we have fought for centuries against foreign occupation in my country, and we have always succeeded.”

The taxi driver’s assessment confirmed the strength of the Afghan soldier, able to fight with the most primitive weapons against the greatest empires on earth. When these soldiers feel their land usurped by foreign forces, their strength is multiplied. And this is just one of the obstacles confronting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Matthew Hoh, a former Foreign Service officer and former Marine Corps captain who became the first U.S. official to resign in protest over the Afghan war, had declared, “Upon arriving in Afghanistan and serving in both the East and South (and particularly speaking with local Afghans) I found that the majority of those who were fighting us and the Afghan central government were fighting us because they felt occupied.”

More than 2,200 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, and the U.S. has spent more than $840 billion fighting the Taliban and paying for relief and reconstruction. The amount of money the U.S. has so far spent in Afghanistan is higher than what it spent, in current dollars, on the Marshall Plan, which help rebuild Europe after World War II.

Despite all these financial resources spent in Afghanistan, and even though the American military says that the Afghan government “controls or influences” 56 percent of the country, this control is limited to district and military quarters while the Taliban controls the rest.

According to Afghan official statistics, the Afghan security forces outnumber the Taliban by 10 to 1. However, as recently as the second week in September, dozens of police officers, soldiers and civilians were killed by Taliban insurgents in four well-coordinated attacks which even included one in Kabul.

In the deadliest attack, the insurgents killed over 30 members of the government security forces in Baghlan Province, located in the north of the country. The casualties among the Afghan security forces have been significant. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, a U.S. government agency, 6,785 Afghan police and soldiers have died in the first 10 months of 2016.

As there are increasing calls for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the real dilemma for the U.S. is if it is worth to persist in what increasingly seems like an unwinnable war on this natural resources-plentiful country. The Taliban have indicated that they are ready for a second round of talks with the U.S.

It is now time for both parties in this cruel war to put and end to what has been like a hemorrhage in the body of the Afghan people. Those who have failed in the past should be a sobering reminder to the troops now fighting in that country. Afghanistan has been called the graveyard of empires. It should more properly be called the end of an illusion.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 24, 2019
Jim Kavanagh
Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back
Nino Pagliccia
Sorting Out Reality From Fiction About Venezuela
Jeff Sher
Pickin’ and Choosin’ the Winners and Losers of Climate Change
Howard Lisnoff
“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”
Robert Fisk
The West’s Disgraceful Silence on the Death of Morsi
Dean Baker
The Old Japan Disaster Horror Story
David Mattson
The Gallatin Forest Partnership and the Tyranny of Ego
George Wuerthner
How Mountain Bikes Threaten Wilderness
Christopher Ketcham
The Journalist as Hemorrhoid
Manuel E. Yepe
Yankee Worship of Bombings and Endless Wars
Mel Gurtov
Iran—Who and Where is The Threat?
Wim Laven
Revisiting Morality in the Age of Dishonesty
Thomas Knapp
Facebook’s Libra Isn’t a “Cryptocurrency”
Weekend Edition
June 21, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Brett Wilkins
A Brief History of US Concentration Camps
Rob Urie
Race, Identity and the Political Economy of Hate
Rev. William Alberts
America’s Respectable War Criminals
Paul Street
“So Happy”: The Trump “Boom,” the Nation’s Despair, and the Decline of Joe Biden
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ask Your Local Death Squad
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Fake Food, Fake Meat: Big Food’s Desperate Attempt to Further the Industrialisation of Food
Eric Draitser
The Art of Trade War: Is Trump Winning His Trade War against China?
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s Russian Problem
Jonathan Cook
Forget Trump’s Deal of the Century: Israel Was Always on Course to Annexation
Andrew Levine
The Biden Question
Stanley L. Cohen
From Tel Aviv to Tallahassee
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early
Kenn Orphan
Normalizing Atrocity
Ajamu Baraka
No Dare Call It Austerity
Ron Jacobs
The Redemptive Essence of History
David Rosen
Is Socialism Possible in America?
Dave Lindorff
The US as Rogue Nation Number 1
Joseph Natoli
The Mad King in His Time
David Thorstad
Why I’m Skipping Stonewall 50
Michael Welton
Native People: Changing Our Ways of Seeing
Peter Bolton
The US-UK “Special Relationship” is a Farce
Ramzy Baroud
‘World Refugee Day’: Palestinians Keep Their Right of Return Alive Through Hope, Resistance
Louis Proyect
The Douma Gas Attack: What’s the Evidence It was a False Flag?
Binoy Kampmark
Nigel Farage’s Grand Tour of Sabotage
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Sanctions are Sadistic and Spiteful
Norman Solomon
Clueless and Shameless: Joe Biden, Staggering Frontrunner
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong is Far From China’s Biggest Problem
Lawrence Davidson
On the Alleged “Preciousness of Life”
Mel Gurtov
Impeach Trump
Rajan Menon
America’s Suicide Epidemic: It’s Hitting Trump’s Base Hard
Dan Bacher
Oregon Governor Kate Brown Signs Five-Year Fracking Ban Bill
Ralph Nader
Congressional Interns and Congress Redirections—A Meeting
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail