Afghanistan: The intervention is not a panacea
American political science concepts often seem much more sensible than their practice. At least, this is the case of international relations. Since Vietnam, the U.S. has been repeating the same mistake, while completely relying on military force in resolving the problems of foreign policy and security. Military intervention was a response of George Bush, Jr. to the terrorist attacks of 9 / 11. These attacks were conducted by Al Qaeda. But it was the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq who was also held responsible for them. The regime was indeed a nasty one, but it had neither any relation to the attacks, nor to al Qaeda…
Earlier, in Afghanistan, the U.S. struck the Taliban, who gave shelter to al Qaeda. Shortly after the strikes followed a U.S. land military operation that continues to this day. In addition to the United States it involves NATO. There, for the past 8 years the U.S.-led Western coalition has been fighting the Taliban militants … What are the goals of the war in Afghanistan? How does this war relate to the fight against Al Qaeda? Are the Taliban and Al Qaeda linked? What is the exit strategy from the Afghan war?
President Obama is about to get responses to these questions from his advisors in the near future. By the end of October he should decide whether and how many additional troops are to be sent to Afghanistan, as suggested by commander for the international troops in Afghanistan, U.S. General Stanley McChrystal. The Pentagon argues that to achieve a military victory over the Taliban, it lacks “only” 40 thousand soldiers.
The problem, however, in my view, is too complicated to be confined to the shortage of troops, and cannot be solved in the absence of a coherent strategy. A strategy, which would be aiming at the roots of the problem of militant Islamic extremism and would encompass the entire region, including U.S. allies – Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The emphasis on these countries is critical, as for a long time, according, for example, to experts from the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, Islamabad and Riyadh – under neglect if not with the assistance of Washington – were the major sources of fueling Afghan mujahadeen with arms and money.