US Afghan roop withdrawal is Victory for Taliban
25 June 2011
To paraphrase George Orwell, the shortest route to ending a war is to lose it. US President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will withdraw 33,000 US troops from Afghanistan in one year’s timeis a frank admission of defeat and a desperate attempt to minimize losses.
President Obama considered accomplishment of the mission in Afghanistan his administration’s top priority and set out three objectives for this mission in his speech in which he announced the increase in the number of American troops there by 30,000.
The first objective was to build the Afghan nation and state, install a competent president at its head, strengthen it with elected institutions, and train its security forces on modern bases. The second was to fight the al-Qa’ida organization. The third was to stop Taleban’s military advance on the ground.
Most of these objectives have not been achieved. The Afghan state exists only in a quarter of the capital Kabul. The security forces, whose training cost coalition countries’ taxpayers almost $6bn dollars, cannot even guarantee the safety of the country’s President – this task is entrusted instead to the American Marines. A large percentage of the indigenous security forces are, we are told, drug addicts.
The Taliban, meawhile, continues to advance and expand its sphere of influence; it is presently in control of more than two thirds of Afghan territories.
The war on al-Qa’ida was being waged in entirely the wrong place in recent years even though this was given as a major reason for continued military involvement. Its presence in Afghanistan was limited in recent years and most of its fighters had moved to other strongholds in Yemen, Somalia, the Islamic Maghreb, and Iraq. This dispersal occurred because the Taliban no longer relied on their services and because American forces’ drones in the border areas of Waziristan were killing so many civilians, most of them children, that their presence was counter-productive.
President Obama made the decision for the quick withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan for domestic reasons and not because he has accomplished his mission there. In addition to the other one in Iraq, this war has so far cost the US more than one trillion dollars, at the rate of 7bn dollars a month in Afghanistan alone. American public opinion has started to oppose it and it could turn into a pivotal issue in the presidential election when campaigning starts officially this coming fall.
The assassination of Osama bin Laden two months ago in his Pakistani hideout in Abbottabad, and the mystery surrounding it were used as the excuse by the Obama Administration for announcing the pullout despite frequently repeated reports that bin Laden was actually assassinated several years ago or was arrested alive and is still being interrogated. Few believe the American version of his assassination and dumping him in the sea. A British photographer who visited Bin Laden’s house said he did not see any signs that there was shooting or battles inside the house, speculating that the version was fabricated; otherwise why have we not read or heard another neutral or independent version.
President Obama’s administration has acknowledged that it is involved in negotiations with the Taliban movement for the purpose of its ‘participation’ in power during the post-withdrawal stage. British Foreign Secretary William Hague revealed similar British contacts were made within this context. But the real aim is not Taliban’s participation in power but to secure the safe withdrawal of NATO’s forces and then handing power over to it.
The war in Afghanistan, which has lasted 10 years and whose main aim seems to be to shave the beards of Afghan men, liberate the women, and establish a modern democratic state, will end with the country being handed over again to the Taleban, the movement for whose overthrow and removal of its rule the American forces had come. What has exactly happened to make the US Administration change its view and raise the white flag in surrender in this humiliating and ignominious way?
It is the resistance, rejection of compromise, and insistence on victory regardless of the sacrifices. The Taleban regrouped its ranks, massed the largest possible number of Afghans in its war to expel Western imperialism from its territories, and rallied behind a modest leadership that does not appear on television screens, stays away completely from the spotlights, and survives on dry bread, tea, some rice, and local vegetables cooked in tomato sauce.
The NATO forces’ agents in Afghanistan who believed the American stories about democracy, prosperity, and turning Kabul into a San Francisco have started to look for a future for themselves as exiles in the West. As to the drugged police and army forces, some of them have decided to rush and join the Taliban forces and fight in its ranks against their Western ‘uncles’ who trained and armed them.
We do not know what will the fate of Hamid Karzai will be, though we speculate that he will return to the US, his second homeland whose citizenship he has, to enjoy a comfortable retirement backed by considerable financial wealth. His days in Afghanistan are numbered in addition to being fraught with danger.
This Taliban-Afghan victory is a lesson to the Arabs. It is a lesson for NATO’s Arabs some of whom are wagering on NATO’s intervention to save their spring and back their legitimate democratic aspirations (we support the revolution and opposed seeking the help of foreign intervention; the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions remain our ideal). It is also a lesson for the Palestinian leadership and all those who oppose armed struggle and even civil disobedience for the sake of securing continued salaries and keeping theit “VIP” cards.
The Taleban movement (and we are not an admirer of its ideology or religious extremism) fought the US-led NATO forces in which more than 30 countries are participating for 10 years tirelessly and its leader Mullah Omar did not say he was resisting the greatest power in history and therefore defeating and triumphing over it were difficult and peaceful solutions must be sought; he said he would fight until the last foreign soldier had left his lands.
- On Afghanistan by Gareth Porter (ikners.com)
- Drawdown still leaves 70,000 there for several more years. All a numbers game of smoke and mirrors (ikners.com)
- The Dollar cost of Death (ikners.com)
- The Imperialist goals remain the same (ikners.com)
- Minor withdrawal (ikners.com)
- Afghanistan: Brutal Beheadings, Islamic Barbarism Advances ahead of President Obama’s Withdrawal Plan (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- The Afghan Autopsy (thewesternexperience.com)
- Dexter Filkins: Endgame (newyorker.com)
- Will The U.S. Military Concede East Afghanistan to The Taliban? (wired.com)
- President Obama on the Way Forward in Afghanistan (ynative77.wordpress.com)