The West’s war against the Afghan people never was winnable. Over the last few centuries there have been many a great power including the British Empire and the Soviet Union that has tried, but failed. The current mob of invaders, armed with the most sophisticated weapons in the world, who came to conquer a land defended only by a rag-tag group of fighters armed with little more than basic hand weapons and a will to win, look like they are about to join the list of failed great powers that have attempted to conquer Afghanistan.
Prior to the US presidential elections there was talk of running down the troop numbers in Iraq and shifting them to Afghanistan for a surge against the Taliban but the new President has made no moves at all to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan. Indeed, now the word is, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, that there simply is ‘no military solution to that problem’. As a result, some of America’s allies are also now reassessing their role in Afghanistan.
Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has said Australia staunchly supports the efforts in Afghanistan but in his discussion with Obama has not pushed for more troops to go there and is unlikely to send more unless asked to. Australia’s Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, who has twice visited Afghanistan, has expressed frustration about the situation there because on both visits he was unable to venture outside of the compound where the Australian troops are based, an indication of the extent of allied failures – and therefore Taliban successes – after more than seven years of fighting.
On top of the military failures, there is also the problem of maintaining an increasingly incompetent Hamid Karzai, the US puppet president installed after the initial success of ousting the Taliban government. Under his rule what little semblance of ‘democracy’ did exist has all but disappeared to be replaced by corruption, drug-lords, war-lords and nepotism all of which has played into the hands of the resurgent and increasingly successful Taliban.
Then, of course, there is the still unresolved reason for having gone into Afghanistan in the first place; to chase down Osama bin Laden and destroy ‘al Qaeda’. There is still no sign of Osama bin Laden (and nor is there ever likely to be unless someone who knows where he is buried some day decides to tell the world) and, if we are expected to believe the neocon press and the western media, ‘al Qaeda’ is bigger and better than ever it was before and now has offices in just about every country that has large Muslim population.
All things considered, the Afghanistan adventure, after more than seven years of fighting, has been a complete and utter disaster.
As with Obama’s policy now of talking to Iran, so too he should consider talking to the Taliban because a negotiated settlement with them is the only way out for the West.
The West can never win in Afghanistan. Which means, ultimately, they can only lose.