"The Afghan War is coming to an end," said Barack Obama on May 23, but it is not ending well. NBC News reported Tuesday that “U.S. and Taliban representatives will meet soon for the first time to begin what are expected to be long and complex negotiations for a peaceful settlement to the war in Afghanistan.” The U.S. entered Afghanistan to topple the Taliban from power and end their influence in the country. In light of that, these talks in themselves constitute an admission of failure. But these talks are far from the first of those.
In an incident emblematic of American policy failure in Afghanistan, American and Afghan officials in Afghanistan’s Farah province were holding an inauguration ceremony last August for new recruits to a village police force. As part of the ceremony, the new policemen were given weapons that they would use for training. As soon as one of the recruits, Mohammad Ismail, received his, he turned it on the American soldiers who were present, murdering two.
Such attacks epitomize just how foolish and wrongheaded our national adventure in Afghanistan has been. In that instance, Farah’s provincial police chief, Agha Noor Kemtoz, explained: “As soon as they gave the weapon to Ismail to begin training, suddenly he took the gun and opened fire toward the U.S. soldiers.” Ismail had just joined the Afghan Local Police force the Sunday before his attack. Nonetheless, according to the Associated Press, “the NATO-led coalition has said such attacks are anomalies stemming from personal disputes.”
In the intervening months, NATO has not grown more honest or forthright about the genuine cause of these green-on-blue attacks, which have continued. They have gone even farther in other attempts at face-saving, claiming that the attackers are not part of the Afghan jihad against NATO forces. According to ABC News, “officials have said most of the attacks are motivated not by support for the Taliban, but for ‘private reasons’ including grievances against local Afghan commanders, ethnic feuds, and depression. Senior U.S. officials have insisted the attacks don’t indicate a high level of Taliban infiltration into the army.”
On the other hand, said the AP, “the supreme leader of the Taliban boasted on Thursday night that the insurgents are infiltrating the quickly expanding Afghan forces.”
It is hard to imagine anything that could be easier than that infiltration. These murders keep happening because there is no reliable way to distinguish an Afghan Muslim who supports American troops from one who wants to murder them, and political correctness prevents authorities from making any attempt to do so anyway, because it would suggest that Islam is not a Religion of Peace. And so ever more U.S. troops are still being sacrificed to this madness.
Meanwhile, the coming talks with the Taliban manifest the same unreality, and they do not represent the first overtures Obama has made to this group that the U.S. entered Afghanistan in order to fight. Obama has urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai to come to a settlement with the Taliban; he secretly dropped charges in the case of a Florida man accused of funding the Pakistani Taliban; and even considered sending Taliban detainees back to Afghanistan as a gesture of goodwill.
And now the “peace talks.” All this is obvious denial and self-delusion. What are we fighting for at this point, anyway? The Taliban, the erstwhile enemy, is coming to the negotiating table not as a vanquished foe, but as a partner for peace. Joe Biden some time ago declared that they were not the enemy, anyway. American forces have supervised the implementation of an Afghan constitution that enshrined Islamic law as the highest law of the land. Yet Islamic law is nothing like the democratic principles that we went into Afghanistan to defend (over here) and establish (over there). Sharia institutionalizes the oppression of women and non-Muslims, extinguishes the freedom of speech, and denies the freedom of conscience.
Was that what we were fighting for?
Nonetheless, America continued to pour out her blood and treasure for this repressive state, with no clear objective or mission in view other than a never-defined “victory.” No one ever clearly defined what victory would look like in Afghanistan. What could it possibly have looked like? Has the Karzai regime ever allowed women to throw off their burqas and take their place in Afghan society as human beings equal in dignity to men? Does the Karzai government, or any Afghan government that would follow it, ever intend to guarantee basic human rights to the tiny and ever-dwindling number of non-Muslims unfortunate enough to live within its borders? Of course not.
And no matter how long American troops might stay in Afghanistan, no Afghan regime is ever going to do such things.
In July 2012, the U.S. designated Afghanistan a “major non-Nato ally.” According to the BBC, this gives the Afghans “preferential access to U.S. arms exports and defence co-operation.” Thus unless Afghanistan is stripped of this status, we could be funding the Taliban with billions annually for years to come. And so the next time an Afghan soldier murders a group of American troops, and despite these negotiations in Qatar there will certainly be a next time, remember: you paid for his weapon.
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