August 13, 2021

Why Washington Lost Afghanistan

"It will be like Vietnam in the sense that it is unwinnable. I suppose we could put in a government in Kabul, but as the guerrilla warfare continues and we have no national interest, we'll drift away



"It is not a war. Bin Laden is like a mafia operation. In a war on terrorism, what is an act of terrorism? Writing for the Daily Mail could be an act of terrorism." - Gore Vidal, from an article published in December 2001 by The Guardian titled, "We don't know where we're going."

If the U.S. goal in Afghanistan was to drive the Taliban out of power and force them to the negotiation table then it won the war in December 2001. It was never a contest.

But as Gore Vidal said, it was not a war. 

The phrase "forever war" entered the popular lexicon after 9/11, but, as it turned out, forever is only twenty years. And that's nothing.

The Romans and Parthians fought for hundreds of years. The conquests of Islam took many generations, spanning across centuries. Charlemagne's wars lasted more than thirty years.

Wars are not fought and concluded in a four year span. The Cold War was more of a war than World War 1 and 2. Those world wars were not wars, they were mass murder campaigns initiated by totalitarian states. Trench warfare was collective suicide. 

The war against terror has proven to be anything but a war. Rights have been stripped, and money has been made by a few. But is the world safer now than it was in the summer of 2001? Of course not. Afghanistan least of all.

The U.S.-led multinational effort to bring peace and democracy to Afghanistan has failed spectacularly. The coalition overlooked the fact that Afghanistan does not exist on an island. They ignored Pakistan to the detriment of their military and political objectives.

An excerpt from, "The Afghan war: A failure made in the USA" by Ahsan I Butt: 

In taking Washington’s dollars but supporting its opponents, Pakistan certainly played a double-game, one whose effects were especially felt in the mid-2000s, when the Taliban was on the defensive. Pakistani aid and sanctuary ensured that the Taliban would have the space to regroup physically, politically, militarily, and organisationally.

Washington insiders, while correct in their descriptions of Pakistan’s policies as duplicitous, are prone to exaggerating their implications as the most important factor in the war. Even if Islamabad had done exactly what Washington wanted, US forces would still have strained to pacify a rural-based insurgency with as few troops as the Bush administration had in Afghanistan.

The easy answer as to why Washington lost Afghanistan is Pakistan. But easy answers never tell the whole story. 

Too much credit has been given to Pakistan. The arrogant and racist generals who rule that land are not smart enough to outfox anyone. Giving a bunch of bearded apes handguns and bombs is not a national security strategy, it's a recipe for disaster.

It is hard to predict Afghanistan's fate. Every hour a new city falls to the Jihadi imbeciles. What is clear is American leaders could care less after spending two decades modernizing and democratizing the country in a half-assed manner.

Washington didn't lose Afghanistan, it dropped it on the side of the road.