There is no gain saying the fact that America’s campaign in Afghanistan is poised on the brink of total failure. The Afghan war has now become the longest war fought by US troops in the history of the American republic. Ten years ago, the United States overthrew the Taliban government in Kabul on morally unjustified grounds.
As the killing and destruction in Afghanistan have mounted, the war in Afghanistan remains a controversial conflict. President Obama is seeing all hopes of graceful exit dashed. But the tragedy in Afghanistan is no nearer ending than it was five or ten years ago. The renewed push for peace talks with the Taliban has failed to make any significant progress.
Actually, the Taliban have interests which do not align with those of the US. The US wants the Taliban to break from Al Qaeda, abide by the Afghan constitution and abandon violence. The Taliban have grown stronger and are negotiating from a position of strength and will never give up those very principles and interests they have been fighting for too long. In the last ten years the NATO forces have completely failed to persuade the Afghan population to side with their cause against the militants.
They have only used the talks as a decoy to gain credibility and stall for time, while continuing the fight to regain territory. The Taliban group has already announced that holding talks with the US will not mean acceptance of the constitution and have vowed to carry on fighting until all foreign troops have left the country. So the talks failed before their very start.
No doubt, the Taliban have no popular support in Afghanistan but the presence of foreign troops there continues to provide them the best recruiting ground in their own country. The Taliban cannot be expected to surrender soon and their leadership remains out of the reach of NATO forces.
The parties involved in conflict will continue to pursue their respective interests in any way they can and peace talks will be nothing more than a cover for prolonged struggle. US half-baked policies in the war-weary country will only help violence and corruption to soar. History bears witness to the fact that even seemingly successful peace negotiations in Vietnam and Cambodia became an extension of war by other means. In the decade of 1980s, Afghan mujahedeen were involved in peace process but still overthrew the Najibullah regime in 1992.
The US military is almost broken. According to a recent news report in the Army Times, at Fort Hood military base "about every fourth soldier here, where 48,000 troops and their families are based, has been in counseling during the past year, according to the service’s medical statistics. And the number of soldiers seeking help for combat stress, substance abuse, broken marriages or other emotional problems keeps increasing. Counselors are booked. The 12-bed inpatient psychiatric ward is full more often than not. Overflow patient-soldiers are sent to private local clinics that stay open for 10 hours a day, six days a week to meet the demand."
The current fighting in the south, the Pashtun heartland will continue until the Western countries pull out. The NATO military presence must be removed for there to be any chance of peace in Afghanistan. After 10 years of occupation, killings, torture, incarcerations, renditions and destruction, it’s time to admit that the military invasion of Afghanistan was horrible wrong. The US has not a clear timetable and a feasible strategy to end the war.
A recent survey in 120 districts with high levels of insurgency has revealed that the big majority hates the foreign occupiers and wants to get them out of their country. Over a third of their inhabitants have backed the insurgents. And with every Afghan civilian killed by US troops, the hatred is growing more intense.