Thursday, November 30, 2023

The narrative behind the United States’ ambition for Afghanistan


Afghanistan is a complex bloodstained political puzzle that various foreign forces failed to defend after occupying. The war-torn country is bleeding every day due to its poverty, hunger, extremist oppression under the new Taliban rule.

Assaults on the United States on September 11, 2001, by the al-Qaeda-affiliated militant Islamist terrorist organization known as “9/11” were a sequence of four coordinated terrorist strikes. Twenty-nine al-Qaeda terrorists took control of four commercial jets as they flew from the northeastern United States to California that morning. It was determined that three gangs of five hijackers each and a fourth were responsible for the hijacking. As a result of their training, each set of hijackers seized control of their planes. A major American landmark was the stated purpose of each attack, resulting in massive deaths and the partial or total devastation of the targeted structures.

Two planes smashed into the World Trade Center’s twin towers on September 11, 2001. Over 3,000 people were killed in that attack. More than 6,000 people were also hurt. Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were swiftly identified as the perpetrators of the attacks by the administration of George W. Bush. Within a month, retaliation had begun.

 The conflict in Afghanistan was a shock to the system. The conflict between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, followed by the civil war and finally the control of the Taliban, created favourable conditions for the spread of extremism. Terrorism has grown in popularity over the past two decades due to civil unrest and foreign intervention. However, the Afghan people were not involved in international terrorism.

Even though September 11 conspiracy was supervised from Afghanistan, it was not an Afghan pilot. The policies of Saudi Arabia’s government and the presence of the United States in the Arabian Peninsula inspired Al-Qaeda’s international terrorism. Osama Bin Laden, an Arab, led the mission. He plays a critical role. Despite the advice of his advisors, he was determined to invade the United States. It is rare for a single person to start a war.

Examining early American decisions in Afghanistan is hampered by the ghost of bin Laden. Osama bin Laden hoped that September 11 would bring America into a long battle in Afghanistan, the way the Soviet Union was defeated. As soon as the Americans started bombing, he urged the return of old mujahideen and religious intellectuals for the second round of jihad. In the end, Bin Laden’s wish would come true, and he would meet his maker. However, the United States would be entangled in a conflict that would last for decades.

 The strike caught the United States entirely off guard. There had been an attack on the government and economy at their core. Since Pearl Harbor’s first time, most casualties were civilians, not military. “Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, and our very freedom were attacked and terrible terrorist acts,” President Bush said in remarks to the country that evening. Evil and vile acts of terror claimed the lives of thousands of people in a matter of minutes. Pictures of planes crashing into buildings, fires raging, and massive structures coming down have left us speechless and angered.” Bush vowed to “fight the war against terrorism” despite the threat of further strikes.

There was no doubt that terrorism was a much more severe threat than had previously been realized, and it had to be dealt with the utmost seriousness. Everything is hazardous if a flight full of commuters can be converted into a war rocket. As a result, Afghanistan became America’s top national security priority.

Within hours of 9/11’s attacks, President Bush and his National Security Council agreed that al-Oa’eda — the most likely perpetrators of the attack — and Afghanistan would almost certainly be attacked by the United States. They had a hunch that the Taliban government would have to fall as a result. As soon as the incident occurred, we all knew that it would lead to a declaration of war against the Taliban and an invasion of Afghanistan.

Despite this, Bush was not yet prepared for a regime shift. Despite his doubts, he decided to issue an Ulti Tatum to give the Taliban one last chance to back down. Disgusting, especially given his moral high ground, was the thought of a surprise attack.

 Talking to Pakistan was one of the first moves taken by the new administration. Pakistan would be a crucial partner because of its geography and ties to the Taliban. President Parvez Musharraf was urged by Secretary of State Colin Powell and his deputy Richard Armitage right away to adjust Pakistan’s policy toward the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

As early as September 12 and 13, Armitage and Powell presented a list of demands to General Mahmud, Pakistan’s director of ISI (military intelligence), as well as President Musharraf: go after al-Qaeda, close Pakistan’s border with the terrorist group, reduce funding to al-Qaeda, allow the United States to base and fly over Pakistani airspace and land in Pakistan, share intelligence, condemn and curtail Pakistani support for September 11 attacks.

Musharraf acceded to the requests because he feared a vengeful America attacking his regime. “The U.S. will react like a wounded beast and it will strike Afghanistan,” he purportedly informed his key generals at the army’s general headquarters on September 12 before meeting with Armitage and Powell. At the very least, he told his generals, Pakistan must turn away from the Taliban in the near future.

To maintain Pakistan’s sway in Afghanistan, Musharraf provided both the Taliban and the U.S. with the military access they needed to reach a peace agreement with one other. The Pakistani military’s backing for the Taliban was reduced in the following weeks. Neither the Taliban nor General Mahmud was particularly unfavourable toward the I.S.

With Mahmud’s help, the Taliban could defeat the Northern Alliance in their civil war. “We… know that an attack on Afghanistan from the United States. is more and more plausible,” he said to Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef. Please know that we are here to support you as you wage war against the United States. We are here for you. Soon after, Musharraf replaced Mahmud and the ISI’s top commanders with Taliban representatives.

The ISI would remain divided for the remainder of 2001. A few officers lent a hand during military activities supporting the United States. Others provided the Taliban with weapons, ammunition, recruits, and advisors, among other items.

Approximately 10,000 Taliban fighters were concentrated in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. In charge was Mullah Fazl Mohammed, a Uruzgan-based mujahid who is known to have committed atrocities with his fists. The Taliban feared him, and he was the Taliban’s field commander in the north and the military’s acting chief of staff. Nooriullah Noori, the governor of Mazar-e-Sharif, backed him. It was a “brigade” of al-Qaeda and foreign militants (particularly from Pakistani militant groups) that Mullah Omar had enlisted to enhance the security. Hundreds of Pakistani ISI advisors and trainers also aided the Taliban in their fight against the Northern Alliance, which they were aiming to end.

Between Mohammed Atta, Mohammed Mohaqeaq, and Abdur Rashid Dostum, the Northern Alliance had about 7,000 northern fighters, split between the Tajik, Mohaqeaq, and Dostum. It was the booze-addicted Dostum who served as the primary figurehead. He was stationed in the Uzbek region of Afghanistan, west of Mazar-e-Sharif. The battle for Mazar-e-Sharif had been going on for months, and his 3,000 soldiers had been unable to gain much headway.

Having completed his ground onslaught on October 19, Franks was ready to use the Northern Alliance’s air power to aid them in their fight. Dostum and Atta were now in the hands of the CIA and special forces agents. Close air support was requested by the CIA and special operations military personnel.

A majority of the Uzbek forces under Dostum were mounted. “We had greater agility on horseback in that terrain than the Taliban or al-Qaeda,” said one CIA operative and his special forces squad, who rode alongside them with their equipment attached on donkeys. Armoured vehicles and pickup trucks are their modes of transport.

In the rugged terrain of the central river valley toward Mazar-e-Sharif, they cut down Taliban sangar after sangar and dugout after dugout.

In a narrow valley about 20 kilometres south of Mazar-e-Sharif, the Tangi gap, Dostum’s forces encountered substantial Taliban fortifications on November 8. Hundreds of the Taliban’s militants had been stationed there. Two days of airstrikes were launched against the Taliban strongholds and the surrounding area by the C.A. and special forces teams in the region. Dostum made a breakthrough on November 9. Unable to defend Mazar-e- Sharif’s approaches, the Taliban fled in disarray.

Historically, the Taliban’s northern resistance crumbled due to air and ground attacks. Soon after Mullah Omar heard of the breakthrough south of Mazar-e-Sharif, he realized that his forces were in jeopardy. He ordered Fazl and Noori, the two commanders, to order the Taliban to leave the area around Mazar-e-Sharif. The following day, Atta and Dostum made their way into Mazar-e-Sharif, where they engaged in only sporadic fighting.

Nevertheless, the front spanning 12 northern provinces fell apart after delivering the command. On November 12, Ismael Khan defeated Herat. Only in Kunduz, where most of the population is Pashtun, did the Taliban hold sway. Fazl and Noori and tens of thousands of their comrades from the neighbouring regions sought refuge there. As soon as they had the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the Franks moved on to Kabul. Before an agreement on the future of the Afghan government could be reached, Bush and his staff hoped to destroy the Taliban while keeping Northern Alliance forces from entering Kabul. U.S. planes began bombing Taliban positions north of Kabul on November 11.

Thousands of people were killed in Kabul’s collapse. Taliban spirits sank to new lows once the news made its way south. Outside the city, in the eastern and southern districts, Taliban members began laying down their weapons, integrating into their villages, bending toward Pakistan, or fleeing to the mountains. Village elders and Taliban leaders in some areas determined that it was better to avoid bombing, a Northern Alliance invasion, and the associated horrors than to stand and fight in those areas. The religious state’s power began to wane. Other than Kandahar, the Taliban relinquished control of southern Afghanistan to tribal chiefs.

Mullah Omar ordered the Taliban to prepare to defend Kandahar and the adjoining Helmand, Uruzgan, and Zabul provinces, seeing the writing on the wall. Other provinces’ capitals were allowed to be surrendered by their commanders. Because of the ease with which U.S. bombs might strike emirate offices and buildings, he informed them that defence was nigh-impossible. On November 13, Mohammed Fahim and Massouds Tajik forces entered Kabul, ignoring U.S. pleas to wait for a more significant political settlement.

Ex-President Bumahuddin Rabbani, a member of Jamiat Islam, was appointed as the new president of Afghanistan. Fahim and other Tajik leaders acknowledged that they would have to give up power soon to avoid a new civil war, the international community and other Afghans dismissed his allegation. Taliban soldiers in Kunduz were all that remained after Kabul was overrun. 5000 Taliban and Pakistani detainees, adjudicators, and all ISI operatives were encircled:* President Musharraf of Pakistan phoned Dostum and requested him to allow the Taliban to surrender, to which Dostum agreed to do.

Taliban afghanistan

Bin Laden escapes

Since September 11, 2001, the CIA has been looking for leads leading to Osama bin Laden. Around November 10, various reports indicated that he entered Jalalabad in a convoy of 200 pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) accompanied by hundreds of his Arab and other foreign warriors. They were on their way to the Spin Ghar mountain range, which runs along the southern border of Nangarhar province with Pakistan. Although it is unknown whether these claims were absolute, by late November, bin Laden had established his training camp near Tora Bora mountain, which was well-defended by a complex of caverns and the natural cover provided by the mountains.

The Spin Ghar climb to 15,000-foot peaks. The summits are surrounded by forested mountainsides, valleys, canyons, and hundreds of gullies and ravines leading into Afghanistan and Pakistan. Bin Laden chose the Tora Bora site because it offered an excellent defensive stance. Despite the warnings of other Arabs who feared the isolated area would be a trap, he insisted on locating most of his fighters and their families there. He believed he could defeat the Americans in the highlands like the Soviets. His lighters had excavated trenches and cave complexes and stashed supplies throughout the years.

When the battle began, bin Laden was adamant about fighting at Tora Bora. His senior lieutenants and local Taliban leaders opposed, noting the difficulty of resupply in the highlands and the strength of U.S. airstrikes. They chose guerrilla techniques that would make it harder for the Americans to locate him or his lighters. He was oblivious to their advice. According to legend, he told his lieutenant that he openly exploited radio communications at Tora Bora to inform the Americans of their whereabouts.

Since the war, the U.S. had been aware of the Tora Bora camp and suspected al Qaeda elements were hiding there. On confiscated al-Qaeda radios, Osama’s voice could be heard cheering his soldiers, referring to his presence. Special operations personnel arrived to bolster the CIA unit as the conflict raged on. Special forces teams requested AC-130s, B-52, B-1 bombers, and other aircraft types for Tora Bora operations.

The three tribal militias—a total of over 1,000 men— advanced slowly as al-Qaeda retreated further inside their camp. They avoided storming al-Qaeda sites, pursuing retreating al-Qaeda members, rooting out caves, or fighting at night. They retired each evening to break the fast, some returning to their family off the mountain, as it was Ramadan.

While the commanders were open to combating al-Qaeda, few fighters were conflicted. Numerous individuals had backed the Taliban. Others regarded al-Qa’eda as a Muslim brotherhood. The majority of people were oblivious of the events unfolding in New York City. Religious authorities, notably the renowned mujahideen commander Maulawi Mohammed Yunis Khalis, for whom many militia members had previously battled, advised them to let bin Laden flee. There is also evidence that one of the three militia commanders offered al-Qaeda the option of retreating before invading and then negotiating with them. For all of these reasons, militias were unlikely to fight actively. Some likely purposely passed up opportunities to prevent bin Laden’s escape.

On December 1, Bentsen proposed that Franks send in a battalion of 800 Rangers, the U.S. special operations forces’ elite light infantry squad, to directly assault al-Qaeda and compensate for the Afghan tribal militias’ shortcomings. Special forces teams were insufficient in number to engage in conventional combat. Franks never approved the request, which was made frequently by Bentsen and Crumpton.

Tora Bora’s combat lasted 18 days until December 17. Day after day, the CIA and special operations teams targeted al-Qaeda sites with air attacks. As many as 100 per day battered al-Qaeda militants as they retreated slowly toward Pakistan. IN DECEMBER, the U.S. dropped almost 1.600 bombs and precision-guided weapons in all, including another BLU-82 fuel-air explosive. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda fighters were on the verge of starvation. On December 15, the remaining al-Qaeda men formed two soups and descended the Spin Char’s southern slopes toward Pakistan.

They bribed the local tribes and evaded Pakistani blocking forces until they were no longer a threat. In the battle of Tora Bora, at least 220 al Qaeda members were killed and 52 captured. Approximately 100 fighters are believed to have evaded capture.

The mainstream American opinion was that he directed and participated in December 15 withdrawal down the Spin Ghar’s southern slopes into Pakistan. Mustafa Hamid, a bin Laden associate from the Arab world, asserts that bin Laden went considerably earlier via Jalalabad during the first week of December.

Tora Bora was the best chance the U.S. had in 2001 to apprehend bin, Laden. Indeed, if it had arrested bin Laden, it might have slowed America’s war on terror. The U.S.’s primary adversary would have vanished. Never were the odds favourable. The terrain would have put even the most skilled Rangers or marines to the test.

Furthermore, the season was winter. Following September 11, 2001, the U.S. conducted thousands of operations against exact targets in towns, cities, and farmland literally. Special operations personnel frequently missed their targets in these more conducive places. Even an entire division of the U.S. military’s elite troops, backed up by 24-hour drone observation, would have struggled to close off the mountain range. The reality is that bin Laden very certainly always had a decent chance of evading capture.

The fight of Shah—Kot in Paktiya in March 2002, dubbed Operation Anaconda, serves as a supplement to Tora Bora. Two U.S. Army battalions and special operations teams launched an attack against Taliban and al-Qaeda members in the area. Another battle in the rocky highlands lasted ten days and was confusing. Before seizing the area and driving out al-Qaeda, U.S. soldiers sustained 80 casualties. For four years, it was Afghanistan’s final significant fight.

Taliban Afghanistan

An interim government with stable operation

Afghanistan had suffered two decades of conflict by 2001. The Taliban rule had been the most stable. After their assassination, Bush and his staff recognized that forming a new administration would be difficult. The potential of reverting to civil war was high, keeping Fahim and Rabbani out of Kabul. Additionally, they recognized that Pashtuns needed to be actively involved in the process, or else they would continue to support the Taliban. As a result, Karzai’s efforts in the south have garnered support. Bush asked Powell in late September to develop a plan for establishing a political settlement and transitioning the country to democracy.

Diplomats from Powel worked with the United Nations. The United Nations called the Bonn conference in Germany to bring opposing organizations to Better. On November 27, 2001, the meeting began. Representatives of the Northern Alliance, the former Afghan monarchy, and smaller Pashtun organizations and delegations from the United States, Pakistan, India, Russia, and Iran. The degree of international cooperation was noteworthy.

Without one, a convention, or a political body, Nobody seemed to have been taken aback by the major parties. The highly respected diplomat Lakhdar Ibrahimi served as the United Nations envoy to Afghanistan and the Bonn conference’s moderator. Although Bush desired the establishment of democracy in Afghanistan, Ambassador Dobbins was granted extensive authority to build any representative government.

Khalilzad, an Afghan-American of Pashtun ancestry, was the chief White House staffer for the Middle East and a well-connected figure within the U.S. administration, connections to Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. He was born in Kabul before the Soviet invasion. He possessed a deeper understanding of Afghanistan than any other American officer. The Afghans agreed on the political process at the conference, which became known as the Bonn agreement. They consulted the United Nations and other delegations, but the outcome was Afghan. The agreement laid forth a mechanism for achieving democracy.

To begin, a six-month interim government was to be appointed during the meeting. Following that, a Loya jirga convenes and elects a transitional government’s members. That interim administration was to last 18 months. It was charged with drafting a new constitution and overseeing national elections. Elections were held to determine the government’s permanent composition. The most contentious topic was the interim government’s leadership.

This was a critical issue for Afghans and their neighbours, particularly Pakistan, which was adamantly opposed to any non-Pashtun leadership. The Northern Alliance was divided on the Aghan side. Dr Abdullah, Yanis Qanooni, and Mohammed Fahim, Ahmed Massoud’s Talk followers, desired Afghanistan’s future leader to be a Pashtun from outside the Northern Alliance. Massoud thought the Tajiks would need to share authority with the Pashtuns for Afghanistan to avoid civil war. This notion rubbed off on his subordinates Abdullah, Qinooni, and Fahim, who expressed reservations about a Tajikbeing accepted as the rule by the majority of Afghans. They were not interested in King Zahir Shah, the elderly king residing in Italy since his 1973 deposition.

Military and diplomatic personnel who arrived in Afghanistan in January 2002 were shocked by the devastation nearly two and a half decades of war had left behind. Another factor contributing to the country’s destruction was the mismanagement and authoritarian rule of the Taliban for five years. Only 30 per cent of the population was literate, and 80 per cent of the country’s schools were destroyed. In contrast to their male counterparts, the Taliban severely restricted female education.

At the age of 5, 25 per cent of Afghan children died. Health care was available to only 9% of the population in this country. As a result, both the professional and blue-collar workforces had virtually disappeared. The relationship between the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and the commander of USCENTCOM in Afghanistan became more complicated when ISAF and NATO into the country.

Meanwhile, the former was responsible for overseeing NATO’s Joint Forces Command in Brunsuum, the Netherlands, which provided strategic guidance to NATO forces. In addition, after 2007, the ISAF commander was an American general who had to answer to his NATO superiors and USCENTCOM. As a further complication, ISAF and NATO had to take over the training of the Afghan army and police from the United States for years. Pakistan was not included in NATO-sphere ISAF’s of influence either, which amplified the all-too-common tendency to separate the issues of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Compared to the Balkan countries in the 1990s, Afghanistan received a fair amount of aid from the international community. Nearly two-thirds of the $4.4 billion in U.S. security and economic assistance from 2002 to 2004 went to financial support, while only slightly more than one-third went to security assistance. Afghan nation-building efforts pale in comparison to those of other countries. Experts at the RAND Corporation have noted that the international community provided $1,400 per capita for Bosnia and over $800 for Kosovo in the first two years following a conflict. Still, less than $100 for Afghanistan.

The coalition, bolstered by the United Nations and other international financial institutions, performed admirably in reconstruction and development and significantly improved Afghanistan’s situation. Nearly $40 billion in U.S. aid to Afghanistan was pledged or delivered by the end of the fiscal year 2009. Through the fiscal year 2008, at least $14 billion in economic assistance was provided by other countries or international financial institutions. Despite the lack of reliable figures for its allies’ expenditures, the United States spent more than half of its total aid on security assistance.

Progress was made in education, health care, transportation, and agricultural areas. Research by the RAND Corporation found that NATO countries’ military and development wings had built or repaired a significant number of kilometres. While it is fair to say that aid was allocated disproportionately to areas under the most intense Taliban pressure, there have been notable successes. The number of people returning to school has increased sixfold since the Taliban regime ended, with 35% of the student body being female. Over 1,000 schools were burned or bombed by the Taliban between 2007 and 2009. Through the end of 2008, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) spent over $7 billion to assist the Afghan people.

Finally, between 2001 and 2005, the coalition performed well, but not enough. When made significant progress in economics, poverty remained widespread. The insurgents did everything they could to impede and disrupt the progress of aid workers. Government and anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan have not reached a significant level of improvement. There was little coalition or Afghan government presence in some areas, especially in southern Afghanistan.

Due to lack of coordination, poppy and other illegal drug production increased. Even after President Karzai’s co-option of warlords, they remained powerful and often dangerous players in the Afghan political landscape. ‘ The level of international aid was not enough to stem the tide of an insurgency designed in part to make such assistance ineffective. From their hideouts in Pakistan, the Taliban quietly rebuilt their infrastructure in many aspects, particularly in the south and east, with no interference from its absent or ineffective government structure.

Taliban afghanistan

Resurgent bloodbath

There is an uptick in violence across the nation during the summer months, with the most violent fighting in the south in July. More than five times as many suicide bombings occurred in 2006 as in 2005, while the number of bombs detonated from a distance more than doubled to 1,677. Despite recent electoral victories, some analysts believe that a weak central authority is to blame for the rise in violence. A breakdown in administration is a prerequisite for every insurgency, according to Afghanistan specialist Seth G. Jones. Jones and other analysts point out that many Afghans lack basic amenities, the government’s difficulty in establishing its police force, and the absence of foreign troops to help with security.

U.S. gunship fire in the Shindand District in western Herat Province killed at least 30 Afghan civilians, and President Hamid Karzai condemned the incident, which only bolstered Taliban accusations that coalition troops are incapable of protecting. U.S. military sources said disputedly that 140 people were killed in another event, which took place in Farah Province. When Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal took command of the American forces in Afghanistan at the end of the year, he ordered an overhaul of U.S. air attack protocols. “If we win tactically but lose strategically because we cause civilian fatalities or severe damage and thereby alienate the people,” the general wrote.

New President Obama proposes to deploy an additional 17,000 soldiers to the conflict zone. President Obama’s campaign promises indicate that Afghanistan is the most critical U.S. battleground against terrorists. President Obama promises to keep his word on the planned withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by year’s end. Thirty-seven thousand U.S. and NATO forces were deployed to Afghanistan by the Pentagon as of January 2009. In the south, reinforcements aim to stop the flow of foreign fighters over the Afghan-Pakistan border. Robert Gates advocates for narrower objectives, including preventing and reducing terrorist safe-havens, in his remarks on the increase in the number of troops stationed there.

As part of his new strategy for the war effort, President Obama has linked success in Afghanistan to the stability of neighbouring Pakistan. The plan’s main objective is to “disrupt, demolish, and defeat al Qaeda and its safe havens in Pakistan and prevent its return to Pakistan or Afghanistan,” stated in an interagency white paper. Urges more help to Pakistan and strict standards for monitoring success in the battle against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan. There are also plans for deploying an extra 4,000 troops to train Afghan security forces and the military. He said the policy would help Afghanistan and the international community succeed, Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

 In the wake of a contentious presidential election on August 20, President Hamid Karzai has been re-elected for a second term after more than two months of uncertainty. Karzai’s victory on August 20 against Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, two of the election’s most prominent challengers, was overshadowed by charges of electoral fraud. According to the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission, Karzai received just 49.67 per cent of the vote, falling short of the required 50 per cent plus one to avoid a rerun election.

Karzai decided to hold a second round of voting on November 7 in response to international pressure. However, Abdullah, Karzai’s primary competitor, withdraws a week before the runoff, and Karzai is proclaimed the victor. A growing number of foreign partners, including the United States, have expressed concerns about Karzai’s legitimacy and called for better governance. According to Secretary of State Clinton, future civilian help from the United States will be conditional on the Karzai government stepping up its fight against corruption.

Late in September, tensions between Pakistan and the United States were heightened after the deaths and injuries of numerous Pakistan Frontier Corps personnel. A US-piloted aircraft opened fire on two Pakistani border checkpoints while chasing Taliban insurgents near the Afghan-Pakistani border. Pakistan shut down the Torkham ground border crossing for NATO supply convoys as retribution for the attack. This occurrence occurred following the broadcast of a film purportedly depicting Pakistani forces killing unarmed citizens. Several NATO drivers were killed, and over 100 tankers were destroyed by the Pakistani Taliban when the Torkham border was closed.

On November 26, ISAF troops engaged Pakistani forces in combat, resulting in the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers. Both teams claimed the opening shot. At Shamsi Airfield, Pakistan ordered the Americans to withdraw after preventing NATO supply lines from passing through. Operation Neptune Spear, carried out by U.S. Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. After the raid, Pakistan was placed under considerable international scrutiny. According to the Pakistani government, the CIA and other intelligence services were given information on the property in 2009, which disputed that it had provided sanctuary to Osama bin Laden.

 President Obama announced a massive increase of the U.S. operation in Afghanistan nine months after reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the military effort. An extra 32,000 troops will join the already existing 68,000 in a nationally broadcast address by the president. In Obama’s words: ‘These troops will boost our capacity to train competent Afghan Security Forces, and to collaborate with them so that more Afghans may come into the battle. So the circumstances for a handover of responsibility to Afghans will be set in motion,” he said.

It is a first for this eight-year war effort, with Obama announcing in July 2011 that he intends to begin withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan. However, the president did not specify how long the drawdown would take.

Obama claims that the success of the Afghan war effort is directly tied to American national interests, and he thinks that this brief surge will drive Afghan political and military institutions to accept responsibility for their affairs. U.S. soldiers killed Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda commander responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, on May 1, 2011. Reviving or abandoning a war that began ten years ago is an open question after a key American target was killed in a drone strike.

Congressional members are increasingly calling for a rushed pullout of American soldiers as President Obama prepares to announce the withdrawal of some or all of the 32,000 surge troops in July. However, other experts advocate for a long-term military presence in the conflict region. Afghanistan’s government has long blamed the country’s turmoil on terrorist havens in Pakistan, and that discourse is now spreading throughout the country. He reiterated that foreign troops should concentrate their military operations on the Pakistani side of the border.”

For years, we have stated that the war against terrorism is not in Afghan villages and households,” he argues. President Obama plans to remove 33,000 soldiers—the surge troops dispatched in December 2009—including ten thousand by the end of the year. As the number of Americans who oppose the war rises, so does Obama’s pressure to cut the number of American troops stationed in Afghanistan drastically. At least seventy thousand American soldiers are expected to remain in Afghanistan when the surge troops depart. President Obama has confirmed preliminary peace discussions between the United States and the Taliban.

U.N. Security Council divides sanctions list between al-Qaeda and Taliban to facilitate additions and deletions, days sooner, to foster peace. U.N. Security Council With around 100,000 American forces serving in a counterinsurgency role, mainly in Afghanistan’s southern and eastern provinces, the U.S. war there approaches its 10th anniversary. However, there are severe concerns about the Afghan government’s ability to safeguard the nation even after President Obama pledges to remove all combat forces by 2014. In the face of a tenacious insurgency, American objectives in Afghanistan remain unclear, and terrorist safe havens in Pakistan continue to undercut American efforts.

More than 1,800 Americans have been killed, and $444 billion has been spent in the war’s first decade. With a worldwide economic slump, a 9.1% unemployment rate, and a $1.3 trillion yearly budget deficit, the expenses have undermined popular support in the United States. Though there have been military successes, negotiations with the Taliban to bring the war to an end have met with several obstacles thus far. Following the September 20 killing of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the government’s main negotiator, which Afghan authorities blame on the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, President Karzai, has halted the negotiations.



America’s 2001 battle in Afghanistan was a military triumph on a grand scale. The United States deposed the Taliban with the assistance of 110 CIA officers, 350 special operations personnel, and perhaps 5,000 marines and Rangers, all supported by overwhelming airpower. Up to 15,000 Taliban had been killed or captured!” assassinated Only twelve Americans until March. Widespread opposition had been little. The tactical alliance of special operations forces with indigenous and precision air attacks would serve as a blueprint for future campaigns. It laid the groundwork for how the U.S. fought wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria beginning in 2004.

The mission was notable for resolving a political dispute between long-feuding Afghan leaders. Whatever his subsequent shortcomings, Hamid Karzai was a wise choice in 2001. He was courageous personally and possessed political legitimacy unequalled by the other competitors except for the angry king himself. The triumph altered Afghanistan’s history. Overturned Taliban’s religious tenets. Under traditional state governance, Afghanistan reverted to a more secular orientation. However, the brilliance of victory might obscure the roots of protracted conflict.

Al-Qaeda suffered significant losses, but bin Laden’s objective of luring the U.S. into Afghanistan came realized. Bush and his crew were under intense pressure to protect the U.S. from further terrorist assaults. They failed to see how their immediate course of action could trap them in the long run. They missed opportunities to avert a protracted war. Two options stick out in particular. The first was the opportunity to persuade the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden before the hostilities commencement.

The possibility to incorporate the Taliban in the new political solution was the second. In all instances, the difficulty of the situation trumped diplomacy. Omar was inflexible in his ideas about what he needed to do to lead his faith. His weakness matched his strength in establishing a movement in negotiating for peace. Bush was also thinking from the heart—or, as he was fond of putting it, the gut. He believed that America required protection.

The delicate diplomacy necessary to reach out to an adversary in an atmosphere of fear and retribution was not his strong suit, despite his compassion. His strength in inducing conflict was his inability to see alternatives. Omar and Bush were on a collision path due to time constraints and a veil of erroneous information. One of the tragedies of 2001 is that Bush and his team were unable to find a way to extend the time for compassion.

Attempts to reconstruct Afghanistan’s economy, civil society, security forces and civilian government institutions have cost the United States government $145 billion in the last 20 years and are still ongoing. At least 2,443 American servicemen have been killed, and 1,144 coalition forces have been injured while the Department of Defense has spent $837 billion on military operations. Meanwhile, Afghans have taken a much larger toll. At least 66,000 Afghan soldiers have been killed in combat. There have been over 48,000 Afghan civilian deaths and 75,000 injuries since 2001, both of which are likely underestimates.

As the scope of the project increased, so did the cost. We wanted to kill al-Qaeda, devastate the Taliban movement that harboured it, deny all terrorist groups a haven, strengthen Afghan security forces so they could deny terrorists a safe refuge in the future, and help build a civilian government that Afghans could trust. After each objective’s completion, the U.S. government would be one step closer to being able to leave.

Improvements in various fields—including maternal and child healthcare and schooling—have been made, but it’s unclear whether or not these gains will last. The enormity of reconstructing a country that had already seen two decades of Soviet occupation, a civil war, and Taliban cruelty when the United States invaded has frequently overwhelmed the federal government.

Also Read: Ethnocentric politics in Afghanistan: A comprehensive study

(Heela Hakimi specialises in international relations majoring in Peace and Diplomacy. She worked in the Parliament of Afghanistan and the consulate department of the Chinese embassy in Kabul.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)


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