A War to Lose

Lack of Clear Goals Mars
Best Efforts in Afghanistan

The resignation of Afghanistan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar and General Director for National Security Amrullah Saleh offers yet another troubling glimpse of how President Hamid Karzai has managed to remain in power, despite being one the main factors of why the U.S., his only Western ally, is accomplishing none of the goals it’s set for a successful campaign in what it’s now consider its longest armed conflict.
While Atmar and Saleh, two regarded reformists, were displaying a rare sense of accountability related to a Taliban attack on a government conference held in Kabul last week, elsewhere Matiullah Khan, head of a private army that earns millions of dollars guarding NATO supply convoys and fights Taliban insurgents alongside U.S. Special Forces, is reportedly growing rich and more powerful by the day.
That conference, by the way, ended with a plea to the same Taliban to break up with Al Qaeda and join Afghanistan’s peace efforts. As noble as the support from the U.N. to such efforts may be, it remains to be seen whether Saudi Arabia and Turkey, among other nations with invested interests in the region, will be proactively involved and that the conference itself will take a forward-looking approach to the strong showing of women leaderships in its proceedings.
Back to the the contradictions of the U.S.’s own efforts in Afghanistan. Such is the nature of the beast we’re sending our young men to fight, kill and be killed. And it’s all to the expense of our global stand as self-appointed “do-gooders” and, domestically, to the bitter reality of ever-growing unemployment and an ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that may do away with an unknown number of wildlife species and the livelihood of countless families.
Add to that the strongly suspected ties to the opium trade of president’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, and it’s easy to understand why some are already claiming a failure of this so-called “geopolitics of the lesser evil” that’s dominating our strategy for the region.
Ultimately, it’s impossible to win this war, let alone the hearts and minds of the Afghani people, if we’re to insist in throwing money and American lives into this bonfire of misery. That is, if we’re to blindly pursue this adventure the same way some of the most powerful armies in history have tried and failed to subdue this ancient land.
But the most paradoxical fact about the war in Afghanistan, no matter how many lives it already claimed and how much money has being bankrolled to finance it, is that we’re not supposed to be at war WITH Afghanistan. So what on earth, are we doing there?

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