UI – Part 659 – Exit Afghanistan
It is long past time to leave Afghanistan. Remember when. October 7, 2001 troops arrived. It has been over 19 years. Osama Ben Laden is dead. Triggered by 9/11, the fall of the towers, it was an effort to locate those responsible. Ben Laden was the target. Are we now to be an occupying force. Is there a hidden agenda that requires our government to remain? President Trump (45) wants out. He did raise the troop count (9000 when he took office) as the Taliban’s efforts to fight the current Afghan government intensified. Efforts to reach peace with the Taliban and withdraw troops have had there ups and downs. But are we the ones that are responsible for doing what Afghanistan cannot do itself?
America has had its troubles and concerns for Afghanistan. It has been a historically troubled nation. Dominated by tribes, clans and warlords, Afghanistan has been in conflict internally and externally for centuries. Many trade routes flow over the land from China and the ‘stans’ (Tajiki, Turkmeni, and Uzbeki) into Iran, Pakistan, other parts of Russia and Turkey, elsewhere too and have been objects of affection by those seeking control. The Russians, during President Carter’s (39) term, invaded in late 1979. The United States did not engage. However, there were factors leading to Afghan as a refuge for terrorists.
The Russian occupation of Afghanistan was frustrating for the Russians. It has been said it ended the Cold War and the little power Russia had in the world. This delighted Ronald Reagan (40), but there was a cost. The Russians did not realize the nature of the make-up and diverse control of areas, tribal zones, inside the Country. Islam was a dominant ideology prior to their arrival, an ideology, as in other Muslim, or Islamic, areas, useful in controlling, imposing the will of autocrats, on its minions, using Allah (their god), the Almighty, that makes the leaders do what they do, and requires the followers, brainwashed, to remain steadfast or die (Apostasy Laws). Russia made the effort to cleanse Islam from the landscape. The mujahideen moved out of the area seeking safety in the zone between Afghanistan and Pakistan where they could continue to practice their religion. The mujahideen are classic jihadists, focused on preserving Islam in its 7th century form, more a socialist form of governance but with a sword on the ready to steady the ship should it veer off the intended course of a world all for Allah.
Referred to as Pastunistan, the area, disputed, between Afghanistan and Pakistan became a haven for the Islamists, as well as training grounds for Islamic militants, to include the Taliban, Mujahideen, and Al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia provided funds to establish mosques and madrassas to educate in the strident Wahhabist curriculum of Islam. At the same time military-style training areas were established teaching the students to fight, to commit terrorist acts, and to resist the Russian invasion.
Funding came from China, Saudi Arabia, America and Pakistan (25%), as well as religious charities from the Muslim world, and private donors (75%).
By the early to mid-1980’s the mujahideen became a fighting force, along with the Taliban (Talib meaning students) and created havoc for the Russians. The cost of this war decimated the Russian treasury and by 1988 they withdrew. The Soviet Union crumbled. The mujahideen returned to their tribal lands, becoming aides to the warlord and warlords themselves, while the Taliban became a political fighting force and took effective control of the whole of Afghanistan. What was once an open and modern country (modernizing anyway) where women attended school, and couples could walk hand in hand, and much was permitted, the hijab or burka not required, changed in dramatic fashion. Poppy production became vigorous and the money from the sale of heroine provided support for the Taliban and its ambitions. Al Qaeda was more interested in world domination for Islam and correcting the errors of those countries, to include Muslim countries, even Saud Arabia, that were not sufficiently Islamic and dedicated to the tenets of this ideology.
After 9/11 American troops entered a quagmire of militant, armed, religious factions and an autocratic element (The Taliban) in control, by force, of Afghanistan. The attempt was to find Osama, but the confrontation was with all the insurgent elements that occupied the land where our troops first amassed. The Afghanistan War began, a war as none other, with borders in question, leaders unidentifiable or poorly chosen, Pakistan as a friend and enemy simultaneously, and no direct targets, just terrorists and guerrillas to hunt in a territory inhabitable only by the cave dwellers that hid during the say and attacked during the night. It has not been a good experience for US troops. And the conditions such as weather and temperatures, the heat, was intolerable. So with Osama dead why are we still there?
Did we not learn from the Russians? They were confronted by a fragmented governance with strength in Islamic pockets that where as thorns always present and sticking their knives into the sides of the occupying force. From a body of students came an army of Islamists intent on taking back their Afghanistan. The Taliban was the stronger, more organized and widespread force. They succeeded.
With Americans present and Osama gone, what remains is a fractured Country. Is it now our job to unify Afghanistan and return it to what it was before the Russian invasion? If so, then we lost our focus and original intent. Is it not the responsibility of the Afghan people to save their own Nation? Yes, they may be too weak to resist the militant forces of the Taliban. But that is their cross to bear, not ours. I know many disagree, but with a force of 2,000-5,000 what can we really do. We are only targets for the Taliban. And does the Taliban really want peace and a Democracy for Afghanistan. No, they do not, They want to take control again and profit from the oppression they create, the enslavement of the people, and their use to provide profit for the dictators with the swords of Islam at the ready. It is time the locals, the mujahideen, and others, to fight for their Country, to resist the Taliban, and to make Afghanistan theirs. Or not!
Other posts on Afghanistan here.
Grace and Peace
Thomas W. Balderston, author and blogger.
The Gift at Christmas (new book by TWB), now available at Amazon (Kindle) – Goto: https://www.amazon.com/Gift-At-Christmas-Thomas-Balderston-ebook/dp/B08NWB15ZT/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Thomas+Balderston&qid=1605996569&sr=8-1