One of the stated objectives of coalition forces led by the US to invade Afghanistan in 2001 was to overthrow the Taliban from power and help Afghans form a democratic and relatively stable government. The main objective of getting rid of the extremist group – the Taliban, was to defeat terrorism spearheaded by Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network, blamed for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Al-Qaeda was purported to have bases in Afghanistan.
Since the main focus of the coalition forces was eliminating terrorism, it is worthwhile to analyze this objective after this 17-year campaign and find out what progress has been made in achieving this goal. I will talk about civilian causalities – the aim of this article – and its impact on Afghans and the American strategies of winning hearts of minds and defeating terrorism. The importance of talking about civilian casualties is relevant because the campaign to fight terrorism continues to produce significant civilian casualties. Recently the Taliban attacked Kabul’s downtown killing 105 people.
Reuters reported the US military authorities are opening an investigation about a widely circulated video in which an American soldier is firing into a civilian truck in Afghanistan. Afghan civilians are being targeted by its sworn enemy the Taliban. And ironically by its partner, the US, who should be helping their government to protect them and defeat the Taliban. It is truly a cath-22 situation for the Afghan people.
The Afghan war is now America’s longest in history. It just entered its 17th year. With President Trump’s announcement that he will increase the number of American forces in Afghanistan, the war will be protracted for years to come. There seems no end in sight. To help us understand the progress made by the American forces in defeating terror in Afghanistan, the Watson Institute in Brown University has done an exhaustive study of the campaign and produced a detailed report.
According to study, the so-called war on terror has not yielded the desired result of eliminating terrorist threats. When former US President George W Bush launched the ‘War on Terror’ to much fanfare and cheers, the target country was only Afghanistan. Now, after 17 years of war in Afghanistan, the conflict has expanded. In fact, it has spread to 76 more countries touching 39 percent of this planet.
In Afghanistan, the so-called war on terror has wreaked havoc. It has turned the entire country into a battle field where killings, explosions, and bombardments have become the norm. Air strikes are ramping up without any end, causing painful collateral damage in the process.
Despite America’s 17-year campaign, the Taliban has gained more territory in Afghanistan. Now, about 43 percent of the country’s districts are either under Taliban control or being contested by the group. Overall, the Taliban threaten 70 percent of Afghanistan. Very sadly, ISIS – while defeated in Syria and Iraq, is spreading fast in the eastern part of Afghanistan. This brutal terror group is a serious danger to the safety of religious minorities in Afghanistan.
The article has been excerpted from ‘Afghan Civilians Keep Paying the Price for the So-Called War On Terror.’