As the war in Afghanistan ends, controversy continues over policies for war-torn countries

News analysis

As U.S.’s 20-year military deployment in Afghanistan nears its end this month with the August 31 deadline to complete its withdrawal, continued airstrikes and budget increases support Afghanistan in its best policy. There is a controversy over what should be. government.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush has expressed concern about the “indescribable harm” that Afghan women suffer without U.S. protection, and former CIA Director David Petraeus has Biden in the hands of Tullivan. Said that.

At a press conference on July 8 on this issue, reporters badged President Joe Biden with questions that reflected Bush Petraeus’ concerns.

“Is that a serious question?” When the reporter asked if he “trusted” the Taliban, incredible Biden replied. “That’s a silly question. No, I don’t trust the Taliban, but I do trust the capabilities of the Afghan army.”

The Taliban has about 75,000 members and is one of the strongest growing points in history, but Biden is confident that about 300,000 Afghan soldiers can hold themselves. Said.

But in the end, the United States must accept the reality of Afghanistan, the president reiterated.

“No country has unified Afghanistan. No country,” he said. “The empire went there and didn’t do it.”

Afghanistan is a region where Biden has both political will and some expertise. Biden’s involvement in Afghanistan is documented by Pulitzer Prize-winning Steve Coll in the history of the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In one example, in a fierce debate with then-President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, “Biden slammed his hand on the table, causing all the plates to jump and rattle,” Kol wrote in his book. It is written as. In Afghanistan and Pakistan. “

“”[Former Senator John Kerry] Said [Karzai] He had to understand that Biden had a son who was trying to deploy in Afghanistan, which was personal to him. “

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Afghan militia gathered on July 9, 2021 at the home of Ismail Khan, an Afghan warlord and former Mujahideen leader in Herat, Afghanistan, with weapons to support Afghan security forces against the Taliban. increase.

Air strike

Former Marine Corps Dan McKnight. A member and veteran of the Afghan war, he said Biden certainly wanted to stick to his gun and implement the US Taliban peace agreement mediated by the Trump administration. The war must have ended long ago, McKnight told The Epoch Times.

“We believe we have achieved [the initial mission of driving the terrorists out of Afghanistan] By February 2002, we should have gone home. But due to mission creep and bad advice from a misguided general, we stayed there for 20 years, “said McKnight, who currently runs the organization. Take our army home..

However, despite Biden’s end to his “military mission” in Afghanistan, there is immense pressure from other stakeholders to stay there. US airstrikes on Taliban targets have skyrocketed in recent weeks as the boots have left the ground, and authorities have shown no sign that they will stop.

“The United States has increased airstrikes to support Afghan troops over the past few days, and if the Taliban continue to attack, it is ready to continue this enhanced level of support for the next few weeks,” the U.S. Sea said. General Kenneth Mackenzie of the Marine Corps said in July. 25 press conferences in Kabul.

Another sign that the United States will continue to support the Afghan government is Biden’s $ 3.3 billion budget request for Operation Afghanistan in 2022, an increase of 9.2% from 2021 to support the United States provide to Israel. We are approaching the level.

Scott Houghton, author of the 2017 book Fool’s Business: When to End the War in Afghanistan, said that this ongoing US support had to evacuate US personnel. The rooftop of the embassy when Vietnam collapsed into communism around them, saying it could be a temporary measure to prevent the moment of the fall of Saigon. But without boots on the ground, long-term support for the Afghan government would be very logistically difficult, Houghton said.

“Where do you start the airstrikes? Pakistanis don’t want to give us a base. You have to twist your arms to Russians in Uzbekistan, Kurdistan, etc. and start the airstrikes from there. We launched some from the airlines, but in reality they had a very limited base, “said Houghton, editorial director of

“And I was able to fly all the way from Qatar and Diego Garcia, drop bombs on the two Talibs, look back and go back thousands of miles,” he added. “But it doesn’t make much sense to do that. I think they really say they’ve stopped it.”

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The F-14A Tomcat fighter (L) and F / A-18 Hornet Strike fighter (R) are preparing to launch at sea on the USS John C. Stennis on February 25, 2002. Stennis and Career Air Wing Nine (CVW -9) Performed combat missions over Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom. (Jame Pastrick / US Navy / Getty Images)

Taliban brutal lessons

However, Houghton warned that the civil war and turmoil would surely follow the withdrawal. With the US B-2 bombers around, the Taliban could begin to invade the provincial capital one by one. This in turn will increase pressure for the United States to become involved again, Houghton said.

But the prospect of the Taliban conquering Afghanistan was not the reason the United States stayed there, he argued. He said the United States should cease to be involved as long as the Taliban stick to the deal the group has signed with Trump to crush the signs of terrorism.

Critics of Biden’s withdrawal say the Taliban cannot be trusted to comply with the deal. At their point, it was the Taliban that allowed Afghanistan to become a hotbed of terrorism in the 1990s.

But Houghton said the Taliban should have learned the lesson.

“The Taliban make bad decisions, but it’s absolutely unreasonable for them to allow. [terrorists] Return to Afghanistan when it’s just like carpet bombing them, “he said.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author Kol’s work supports Houghton’s claim. In “Directorate S,” Kol describes the Taliban as shockingly ignorant of diplomacy.

Even after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Taliban leaders seemed to know little about the serious mistakes they made by giving bin Laden a shelter in his country. According to Kol, Pakistani intelligence officials visited the Taliban shortly after 9/11 and persuaded bin Laden to be killed or expelled from the country.

“Why don’t you see this giant anaconda approaching Afghanistan? As the 25 million Afghan chiefs, is the pledge of hospitality to Osama more sacred than the protection of the people?” Pakistani officials have reportedly appealed to Taliban leader Muller Mohammed Omar.

In response, a rally of Taliban leaders issued a statement to the effect that bin Laden was “free to leave Afghanistan.”

This mistake caused nearly 20 years of conflict, and the Taliban were almost wiped out of the map surface before they could hide.

“It really doesn’t make sense for them to keep al-Qaeda there again after all the trouble Osama bin Laden involved them in the end,” Houghton reiterated to the Epoch Times.

Another sign that the Taliban have learned their brutal lessons in diplomacy is the fact that they recently collaborated with the US military to fight jihad.Washington post report In October last year, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) officials served as the “Taliban Air Force” in a recent campaign against a terrorist group known as “ISIS K” (a small group of Pakistani rebels who fled their country). I joked that I was. During the Obama drone war around 2010.

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(From left to right) After signing a peace agreement at a ceremony in Doha, Qatar’s capital, on February 29, 2020, Zalmay Khalilzad and US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, co-founder of the Taliban, will shake hands. (Karim Jaafar / AFP via Getty Images)

Declaration of war

But even if the Taliban betrayed the United States and allowed terrorists a safe haven again, Houghton was skeptical of the idea that Afghanistan poses a national security threat to Americans. 9/11 terrorist attacks came from a large scale US intelligence failureHoughton argued, not because of the lack of US presence in Afghanistan.

“The reason the hijackers on September 11 were able to hijack us was because they were Egyptians and Saudis, essentially middle-class guys, especially studying engineering in Hamburg, Germany. A pilot hijacker who had a student visa to the United States, “said Houghton.

“Therefore, there was no magic portal from White Mountain in Nangarhar to Boston Logan Airport. It was the Americans who let them enter the country when they were able to lock them out very easily. “He said.

If US politicians chose to relocate their troops to Afghanistan, former Marine Corps McKnight required them to do so constitutionally. Instead of endless nation-building efforts, Congress must declare war with certain security goals in mind, and leave when its mission is achieved, he said.

“If you leave your family or business at home and spend up to 18 months in a landlocked country in South Asia, you don’t want to be there to build roads or schools. Our mission in the army is combat,” he said. Told.

“If we need to return to Afghanistan for our own national security interests, we should declare war,” added a combat veteran. “The parliament, which represents the people, should stand in front of us and line up their names before we put one boot on the ground.”

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US soldiers stand with a bouquet in the headstones of those killed during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan at Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on the anniversary of May 31, 2021. .. (Samuel Corum / Getty Images)
Ken Silva

Ken Silva covers the national security issues of The Epoch Times. His reporting career also includes cybersecurity, crime and offshore finance. This includes a three-year reporter in the British Virgin Islands and a two-year reporter in the Cayman Islands. Contact him at [email protected]