Tell Me Why We Invaded Afghanistan Again?

3 comments November 28th, 2008at 07:13am Posted by Eli

We didn’t capture or kill bin Laden.  We didn’t destroy al Qaeda.  Oh, but at least we liberated the country from the Taliban, established democracy, and ended the oppression of women!  Eh, not so much…

The collapse of Afghanistan is closer than the world believes. Kandahar is in Taliban hands – all but a square mile at the centre of the city – and the first Taliban checkpoints are scarcely 15 miles from Kabul. Hamid Karzai’s deeply corrupted government is almost as powerless as the Iraqi cabinet in Baghdad’s “Green Zone”; lorry drivers in the country now carry business permits issued by the Taliban which operate their own courts in remote areas of the country.

The Red Cross has already warned that humanitarian operations are being drastically curtailed in ever larger areas of Afghanistan; more than 4,000 people, at least a third of them civilians, have been killed in the past 11 months, along with scores of Nato troops and about 30 aid workers. Both the Taliban and Mr Karzai’s government are executing their prisoners in ever greater numbers. The Afghan authorities hanged five men this month for murder, kidnap or rape – one prisoner, a distant relative of Mr Karzai, predictably had his sentence commuted – and more than 100 others are now on Kabul’s death row.

This is not the democratic, peaceful, resurgent, “gender-sensitive” Afghanistan that the world promised to create after the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. Outside the capital and the far north of the country, almost every woman wears the all-enshrouding burkha, while fighters are now joining the Taliban’s ranks from Kashmir, Uzbekistan, Chechnya and even Turkey….


Is it really the overriding ambition of Afghans to have “democracy”? Is a strong federal state possible in Afghanistan? Is the international community ready to take on the warlords and drug barons who are within Mr Karzai’s own government? And – most important of all – is development really about “securing the country”? The tired old American adage that “where the Tarmac ends, the Taliban begins” is untrue. The Taliban are mounting checkpoints on those very same newly-built roads.


“We” are not winning in Afghanistan. Talk of crushing the Taliban seems as bleakly unrealistic as it has ever been. Indeed, when the President of Afghanistan tries to talk to Mullah Omar – one of America’s principal targets in this wretched war – you know the writing is on the wall. And even Mullah Omar didn’t want to talk to Mr Karzai.

So… after our supposed victory, Karzai was effectively nothing more than the mayor of Kabul.  Now, 7 years later… Karzai is effectively nothing more than the mayor of Kabul.  I think the biggest change that we’ve effected in Afghanistan is to make its people hate us.  Bravo.

(h/t Elliott)

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,War


  • 1. woody  |  November 28th, 2008 at 9:22 am

    “Tell Me Why We Invaded Afghanistan Again?”

    Pipeline security, mainly, at least for now. The one that runs from the Caspian, down through afghanistan and pakistan to the Arabian Sea, at karachi…

    Later, it’s to situate american tactical fighter aircraft in close proximity to said Caaspian Sea, and the huge oil pool under it and nearby ‘republics,’ in the old, Soviet “Stans.”

    Why do yo ask? Isn’t it enough that your leaders THINK we should be there?

  • 2. Eli  |  November 28th, 2008 at 9:32 am

    I actually don’t think it’s even that, especially considering how little of the country we control. I think it was primarily so that Dubya could show what a tough guy he is by hitting back at the people who hit us and the people who were harboring them.

    Which is not so bad, but only if you actually *hit* them. All Dubya did was temporarily displace them, didn’t lay a finger on anyone of import, and then invaded a country that had nothing to do with anything, allowing the Taliban and al Qaeda to regroup and regain their power.

    In other words, invading Afghanistan was not an inherently bad idea, but it had to be done effectively in order to be anything but a waste of time and resources. Swinging is not the same as hitting, and that’s all Dubya should get credit for. He took a swing at al Qaeda and the Taliban, but he didn’t actually hit them.

    But hey, he *did* get to kill and torture a bunch of people, so it wasn’t a total loss for him.

  • 3. Interrobang  |  November 28th, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Leave us not forget that about ten years or so ago, the Taliban was the US’ bestest friend in the region, getting all kinds of props in the MSM for “bringing stability” to the country and virtually eliminating the poppy crop. There’s a Republican representative in California (Dana Rohrabacher) who had a bunch of gap-year photo album pictures taken with Taliban fighters back in the day, even. Funny how the misogynist totalitarianism angle didn’t even figure as long as they were sufficiently anti-drug for the US government.

    I knew this was going to happen starting in September of 2001. All along, I’ve been saying bin Laden is in Monte Carlo with his beard cropped close, drinking (very Qu’ranically incorrect) scotch and sodas, playing craps on the family money, and laughing his skinny ass off.

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