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War on Terror

Nevertheless, we decided to try once more. The long war has exacted a terrible cost from everyone. We thought it unwise to dismiss any potential opportunity for peace no matter how meagre the prospects of its success....

 

The negotiators haven’t revised the basic transaction they set out last August — an American commitment to withdraw troops from Afghanistan for a Taliban promise not to allow the country to be used by transnational terrorists. Rather, they have added sweeteners to the bargain.....

 

Outside the headquarters of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum stands a monument to the unit, the one most frequently deployed in the years since the attacks of 9/11. Two wiry soldiers, frozen in bronze, help each other ascend a crag with the help of a rope....

 

The blithe President then vouched to start a hostile military spell against the Afghan Taliban to get hold of a future political settlement with them and charted his idea to integrate diplomatic, economic and military instruments for a prolific outcome. He also imputed Pakistan for often providing “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror”....

 

It’s a strange fact of our moment that President Trump has claimed to have “plans” (or “a method”) for annihilating millions of innocent people, possibly most of the population of Afghanistan. ..

 

Until the 1970s, Afghan women, dressed in miniskirts, breathing in the air of liberty, upholding their personal individualism, walked the streets of Kabul, into offices, schools and universities. Kabul was the most cosmopolitan city. Delhi was a village of orthodoxy, irrational ideas and obscurantism.....

 

The recent revelation that U.S. officials knew that the war in Afghanistan was going poorly and manipulated metrics to overstate successes is hardly a bombshell. We have a history of such shenanigans....

 

After 18 years of war, the US today is trying very hard for a political settlement by negotiating peace with the Taliban which could have been the way forward right at the beginning....

Nevertheless, because of his deference to the Pentagon, Trump’s Afghanistan policy has looked in substance much the same. ‘My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts...

 

Taliban were not ‘terrorists.’ They were lightly armed tribal warriors fighting bandits and the US-backed Afghan intelligence services run by the Communist Party. Taliban’s fathers, the mujahidin, were hailed as ‘freedom fighters’ by Ronald Reagan....

In general, the Beltway does not like to talk much about the Iraq war when it comes to its failures in Afghanistan because it was an entirely unforced error that cannot be laid at the feet of conniving Pakistani generals, corrupt Afghan elites, thuggish warlords, Islamist extremists, backstabbing soldiers, or buffoonish police....

 

Currently, US forces are protected in various military bases, only venturing out by Black Hawk helicopter and acting as advisers to Afghan military...

 

Last week, the Washington Post published US government papers covering the period of the Bush and Obama administration, under the title ‘The Afghanistan Papers’. ...

 

According to statistics put out by several reports, the protracted war has taken huge toll on human lives, both military personnel and civilians, while continuing to dry up the American Treasury....

Of those, over 2,000 died there, while more than 20,000 were wounded in action. The report shows a complete bureaucratic breakdown in Congress, Pentagon and the State Department, resulting in military failure....

Chomsky’s book from 1973 was a warning. He wrote judiciously that the US war on Vietnam and the lies used to justify the war were not a “mad aberration.” That warning was not taken seriously. It is not being taken seriously now....

 

At times, some American officials wanted the focus on installing democracy in the tribal culture; others wanted women’s rights to be firmly ensconced before the United States stepped back. And some officials saw the American role in Afghanistan as an opportunity to reshape a larger strategy for regional security....

 

As my colleagues reported, U.S. officials also acknowledged they routinely issued “rosy pronouncements” about their progress in Afghanistan, even when they knew such statements were “false,” and they “hid unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”….

 

It is indeed tragic that whereas all the three parties to the Afghan conflict — the Afghan government, the United States and the Taliban — seek peace, it has eluded the country for over 18 years...

 

The predicate for any acceptable peace agreement with the Taliban ought to be the organisation’s total, unequivocal break with international terrorism. It was, after all, two decades ago, when the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan, that its sheltering of Al Qaida made possible the 9/11 terrorist attacks...

 

Most Americans have had little reason to think their country is even at war. And lucky them because war is hell. But this disconnect helps explain why the country’s civil-military relations are as distant as they are....

 

Negotiations to end wars can have the perverse effect of escalating them: sometimes, combatants strive to gain leverage at the table by showing strength on the ground. As the Doha talks proceeded, the conflict in Afghanistan became the deadliest in the world. ...

 

 “Pakistan, by joining the US after 9/11, committed one of the biggest blunders. 70,000 Pakistanis died in this. Some economists say we lost $150 billion, some say $200 billion. On top of it, we were blamed by the US for not winning in Afghanistan.” ...

 

“Of course, our future is tied to it—any deal that would have been signed or agreed to would have altered our future. So we naturally wanted to know all the details.”...

 

Scholars have called landmines and other explosive remnants of war “imperial debris” – the detritus, in particular, of imperial America and its expansive global military footprint, including its forever wars around this planet...

 


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