10 September 2010

We are in Afghanistan why?

The highly respected International Institute for Strategic Studies recently released its 2010 Annual Review of World Affairs. On the subject of Afghanistan it states, "Many worry that the large presence of foreign troops is what sustains and fuels the Taliban fighters." That sending thousands of troops to occupy a country might "fuel and sustain" a militant opposition is just common sense; nonetheless, it is refreshing to hear it from an institution like The Institute for Strategic Studies.

And the occupation goes well beyond provoking retaliatory violence in Afghanistan. It provokes violence from Muslim extremists everywhere, including home-grown terrorists in Canada. According to the RCMP, the latest group arrested was fueled and sustained by opposition to our military mission in Afghanistan, just as the infamous Toronto-18 gang was.

As for our stated objective of making Afghanistan a terrorist-free state, the Institute has this to say, "It is not clear why it should be axiomatically obvious that an Afghanistan freed of an international combat presence in the south would be an automatic magnet for al-Qaeda’s concentrated reconstruction. Al-Qaeda leadership, such as it is, may be quite content to stay where it is, while Taliban leaders who remained in Afghanistan might think twice of the advantages to them of inviting al-Qaeda back given the experience of the last decade." In other words, there is no good reason to think al-Qaeda would return to Afghanistan if the Taliban formed the government, but good reason to believe the Taliban wouldn't want them back.

It was always nonsensical to think we would defeat Islamic terrorism by invading Islamic countries. Simple logic tells you it's more likely to do the opposite. And it seems it has. 

1 comment:

  1. Bill, there's a panel called the "Afghanistan Study Group" (along the lines of the old Iraq Study Group) that has just released a report urging the West to leave Afghanistan as soon as they can.


    Even more interesting was a report today in Asia Times online that the Taliban, liasing through the Pakistanis, and the Americans, liasing through the Saudis, are negotiating. They're suggesting that the Americans might tolerate a Taliban return to the Pashtun south in exchange for concessions in the north. The U.S., Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Taliban? Who is missing? Why that would be Karzai and the Kabul government.

    Meanwhile Karzai has renewed his call for direct talks with the Talibs.

    It seems America has painted itself (and its allies) into a very nasty corner. The lesson may be that all the King's horses and all the King's men can't always win all the King's wars.