Was The Afghan War Worth It?


End of 2001. With wounded pride after the 11/9 attacks, the US started the “Enduring Freedom” strategy in Afghanistan to try to depose the talibans and judge the leader of the terrorist group Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden. 13 years later, Obama does not find the way to fulfil his promise for the complete withdrawal of US troops.

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Afghan National Army soldiers conduct a patrol in Kandahar province in January 2015, shortly after the NATO-led coalition officially transferred all responsibility to Afghan forces. (Stripes)

As Obama announced recently, his attempt to retire progressively from Afghanistan represents a failure. After one decade of the beginning of the invasion, both Europeans and Northamericans would leave behind in the next years a country dominated by armed conflicts, corruption, fragmentation of the territory and huge plantations of opium. We could say, then, that Afghanistan – rather than an armed intervention – needs a rescue plan. 

One of the reasons for this withdraw is the death of Osama Bin Laden, risponsable for the 11/9 attacks. According to Obama’s administration, it is nonsense to extend their presence in the country. Taking into account that the leader of Al Qaeda died few years ago, what was the reason for the US to remain present in Afghanistan?

According to a report provided by Foreign Policy, “achieving a meaningful victory in Afghanistan — defined as defeating the Taliban and creating an effective, Western-style government in Kabul — would have required sending far more troops”. The question is: is there a necessity to mantain a war of “low intensity” without results (or at least, considerable results)?

Another objective of the “Enduring Freedom” was to eliminate the threat that the talibans represent for the Afghan Government. Was it worth it? Have they eventually eliminate them? The answer is evident; it remains to be a problem unresolved.

I invite you to reflex on the following issue: for what purpose have more than 2.500 soldiers died, millions of dollars invested in “pacify, democratize and develop” one of the most backward and feudal countries in the world?

The West has failed to provide an alternative and lacked from military strategy. Jeremy Kotkin, from the US Army, could have not explained it better: “We didn’t understand ourselves. But it all starts with us; our image of ourselves, our role in the world, the yes-men and sycophants to power in our military who refuse to acknowledge critical thought, and how our liberal, 21st-century Western minds see the messy world of geopolitics. With these problem factors in tow there was no way we could “win” Afghanistan”.

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