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What has the US done in Afghanistan after 20 years?

By Dr. Moosavi Said

While the US invaded Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, under Operation Enduring Freedom, they have come to set up a democracy, terror eradication, and nation-building for Afghan people.

The Afghan nation has suffered from insecurity, poverty, unemployment, Ignoring human rights issues, gender discrimination, injustice for women and minorities, bad economy and so many cases – we can say!

People of Afghanistan expected to get a more normal situation than the past, especially the Taliban regime but after 20 years Afghanistan not only hasn’t changed, but also has become worse than the past!

After 2 decades of military presence and spending billions of dollars on anti-terror and nation-building, we can say the US presence has been for NOTHING!!

After 2 decades More than 2,400 U.S. military personnel have lost their lives there; more than 20,000 others have been wounded. At least half a million ANDSF, Taliban fighters, and civilians – have been killed or wounded. The US has spent close to $1 trillion on the war. Although the Al Qaida leader “Bin Laden” is dead and no major attack on the U.S. homeland has been carried out by a terrorist group based in Afghanistan since 9/11, the US has been unable to end the violence or hand off the war to the Afghan authorities, and the Afghan authorities cannot survive without US military supporting.

Now we can see the US military’s gradual to receding from Afghanistan until the end of 2020!

The U.S. and the Taliban have struck a deal on 29 Feb 2020 that paves the way for eventual peace in Afghanistan. They have negotiated and agreed with each other for military withdraw!

The US-Taliban agreement had four key bases: Guarantees and enforcement mechanisms that will prevent the use of the soil of Afghanistan by any group or individual against the security of the United States and its allies. The complete withdrawal of the US-led forces, an intra-Afghan dialogue and a ceasefire.

However, the majority of US political experts are believing the US agreement with the Taliban is under “face-saving” for the US army.

According to the former CIA deputy director Michael Morell “the ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban are a “charade” designed simply to provide the U.S. a “face-saving way out of Afghanistan.”

Has the United States really failed in Afghanistan?

In this section, we address two important US defeats in Afghanistan!

Defeat on the Terror combat

When the US invaded Afghanistan for a regime change, at first one of the US targets was to combat with terror groups such as Al-Qaida and Taliban!

Former president of the US “G.W.Bush” said that the operation involved “strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” and the “carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime.”

In fact, they succeeded in terror combat until 2003 but while the US administrators changed their approaches from Afghanistan to Iraq and divided the level capacity of the army into both countries, the Taliban and Al-Qaida with Pakistan assistance could reintegrate themselves in Afghanistan!

Considering the fact that the Afghan war is the United States’ longest war in its history, the conflict has become both intense and complicated as time has passed. In comparison with the past, the attacks have resulted more and more casualties and happen much more frequently. Both the Taliban and Afghan government are trying to look superior in conflict.

As reported by the NY Times, the $1.5 trillion spent in war remains cloudy! The Taliban control and power much of the country. More than 2,400 US soldiers and more than 40,000 Afghan civilians have died.

According to the above, it is concluded that the security of Afghanistan is worse than the past and the Taliban is steadily getting stronger. They kill ANDSF— sometimes hundreds in a week — and defeat government’s forces in almost every major attack.

However, the US will leave without any achievements from Afghanistan and Taliban see it as victory over the superpower.

Now, we can claim the US combat terror strategies have failed in Afghanistan.

US defeat in counternarcotic

Opium has become a major issue in the conflict in Afghanistan, which is now the longest war in American history.

The profits gained from heroin production provide Taliban, as well as terrorist groups like the so-called Islamic State and Al-Qaida with their fund and needs.

Heroin is the source of corruption that is destroying the civil society in Afghanistan. It is impossible to ignore that the US has failed to stop opium production and smuggling in Afghanistan.

When the US and British forces invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 poppies were grown on around 74,000 hectares – 285 square miles.

The new figures showed production had increased dramatically in 19 years: now opium was being grown on 240,800 hectares – 1,266 square miles.

It was when Afghan and western officials were estimating that almost half of Afghan opium was being processed either into morphine or heroin.

According to SIAGR report: “2018 data indicates Afghan opiate production accounted for 84% of global morphine and heroin seized, although only about 1% of opiates seized in North America can be traced to Southwest Asian opiate production.”

The military’s strategy became the most pricy failure to slow endemic poppy cultivation and drug trafficking in Afghanistan. The U.S. has spent $8.9 billion in U.S. counter-narcotics efforts since 2001, but the war-torn country has still continuously produced about 85% of the world’s opium supply.

The US failed in the counternarcotic has caused the Taliban to use this opportunity and strengthen themselves financially!

As reported by Radio Free Europe, the Taliban could make by opium production as much as $1.5 billion a year. This makes the Taliban not just militarily, but also financially, more powerful than Kabul.

According to John Sopko the chief director of SIGAR, poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was at its peak in 2017 and the US counter-narcotics efforts in the country have failed.

He claimed that the United States has spent more than 8.5 billion dollars to fight narcotics in Afghanistan, but that country is still the main producer of opium in the world.

The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan recognition of Washington’s failure of Counter-Narcotics Policies in Afghanistan, is a significant sign of the desperate and alarming situation of poppy cultivation and production of various narcotics in Afghanistan, which has forced the US officials to admit it, due to its huge dimensions.

However, acknowledging the failure of US policies in Afghanistan by SIGAR is not just limited to the White House’s failure to combat narcotics, and this organization has repeatedly admitted the waste of international funding for Afghanistan reconstruction in recent years.

Sopko’s confessions about the US defeat in combatting against narcotics in Afghanistan indicate that it is no longer possible to conceal Washington’s black record in this country.

We are concluding, if we compare and check the map of opium cultivation in Afghanistan, cultivation level was zero in the past but while the US army invaded Afghanistan, opium cultivation level has increased and this country has changed to the TOP country in opium cultivation! 

Again, in this part, we can claim and state that the US counternarcotic strategies have failed in Afghanistan!

At the End

The facts show that the US strategy in Afghanistan has reached a dead end. The costs of the US war in Afghanistan has become really staggering.  The US might not have reached the bankruptcy stage at the cost of war, but ultimately it will end the same way as another imperialist had experienced before America.

The Soviet Union did not fail militarily in Afghanistan. What slowed down the Soviet efforts was military budget erosions. This misery weakened the Soviet Union to such an extent that it did not forget its goals, but abandoned them with regret and made any possible effort to survive and fend itself and go back to its house with dignity, but no flee is considered dignified.

Now the US is also frightened of the same fate, however, no occupier thinks that he will end up like previous occupiers. Just as no dictator in the Middle East thought his destiny would be like that of dictators in neighboring countries.

Gaddafi never even imagined that he would end up like Saddam. This should be a warning for the United States after the exorbitant costs it has incurred in Afghanistan!

It is time for American forces to withdraw not only from Afghanistan but also from the Middle East as soon as possible and leave the future of the countries to their own people.

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