Can we win the war in Afghanistan?


The United States military is currently deploying the strategies that it used during the war in Iraq to make sure that the war in Afghanistan turns out a success. The success of the War on Iraq was attained after learning from the counterinsurgency warfare (Abbasi para. 4). The strategy adopted aimed at ensuring that there was division among the Sunni opposition, which was achieved by paying previous Saddamists so that they could fight the Al-Qaeda. The outcome of this approach to warfare in the short-term served to dampen the increasing violence in Iraq. In the context of Afghanistan, the warfare is mainly between the unruly Taliban and the United States military and allied forces of the NATO (Abbasi para. 9). Can the strategy adopted during the war on Iraq prove fruitful when deployed in the war against Afghanistan? In order to effectively deploy counterinsurgency, the United States just needs to pay off a faction of the Taliban. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai issued this proposal that attained some support from the United States. In order to assess the effectiveness of counterinsurgency, it is important to have a comprehensive historical case analysis of counterinsurgency. Counterinsurgency is likely to fail for the case whereby the counterinsurgents are more powerful when compared to the insurgents, whereby they are mostly the foreign occupiers. This paints a glooming picture for the case of the United States winning the war in Afghanistan. Conventionally, people are usually annoyed in cases whereby foreigners attack their own country; this is the case of British armed forces during the time of American Revolution. Foreigners are still considered foreigners despite their involvement in benevolent activities, which creates a potential of nationalist backlash. It is an unfortunate scenario for the case of United States war in Afghanistan, whereby the US has been branded as a foreign occupier. The Taliban, which is antagonistic in this warfare, is characterized by brutality although its level of brutality is reducing significantly due to its realization of the significance of public support. Its popularity can be matched both to the occupation of the United States in the warfare and the client government headed by President Hamid Karzai. Prior to evaluating whether the United States still has a chance of winning the war in Afghanistan, it is important to evaluate both sides. The main purpose of this paper is to conduct a critical evaluation of both the position of the Taliban and the occupation of the United States in relation to the client Afghanistan government under President Hamid in order to determine whether the United States can win the war in Afghanistan (Abbasi Para. 8).

Reports from Afghanistan reveal that the counterinsurgency strategies adopted by the United States in the south and east of Afghanistan, which are mostly filled by the Talibans does not reflect a success of the war. In addition, the spring’s operation undertaken in Marja that was initially considered a success raised questions during the last minute after the client Afghanistan government failed to avail itself. It arguably evident that this plays an integral role in hindering the success of war in Afghanistan. Following the positive visitation by the Afghanistan president in Washington, Hamid has since shown somewhat an erratic attitude including a compelled resignation of one of his powerful ministers (New York Times par. 4). The Afghanistan surge implemented by the United States president Obama is considered a failure even after the reinforcement of approximately 30,000 militants in Afghanistan. From this perspective, it can be considered that the war in Afghanistan is a failure. However, this view does not take into consideration the fact that counterinsurgency is a gradual process. In addition, overwhelming the insurgents needs patience in order to facilitate an effective counter-insurgency strategy. This additionally requires the deployment of relatively large numbers of militants that are well trained in foreign missions. Achieving success poses the need for the locals to control their turf in such a manner that the insurgents cannot come back to interfere with the process of establishing a better life for individuals residing in recently cleared. There are no shortcuts when implementing counterinsurgency, making it a gradual process (Geneva Conventions, Para. 12).

General David Patraues, who developed the counterinsurgency plan deployed in Afghanistan, noted the difficulties in implementing counterinsurgency during the war in Iraq. This difficulty does not translate to failures in the war rather the need to be patient when using counterinsurgency during warfare. In this light, success of the war in Afghanistan is mainly characterized by ensuring that Afghanistan is not breeding ground for terrorism and that there is stability in the country in such a manner that it can function with minimal external aid; this is an essential national interest in the case of the US (Marsden 12).

Winning the war in Afghanistan will exceed beyond the defeat of the Al Qaeda and other terrorist movements, rather it will be hard blow to the United States enemies. Losing on the other hand will serve to strengthen the enemies of the United States, which is likely to result to further loss of innocent lives due to terrorism across the globe. It is important to note that despite the fact the discussion regarding the Afghanistan policy in Washington reveal a gloomy picture for winning the war in Afghanistan, there is still a percentage that the war can be won provided the right decisions are undertaken by the Afghanistan and Pakistan (Carpenter, Para. 14).

There are three core reasons that underpin the success of the war in Afghanistan. Firstly, the availability of the needed resources and the deployment of the appropriate strategy will play a significant role in ensuring that the war in Afghanistan is a success. Other factors that are likely to contribute towards the success of the war in Afghanistan include the strengthening of the government and the capability of its security forces; and the fact that the Talibans are constantly losing their sanctuaries that are situated in Pakistan. It is worth noting that the identified trends cannot be reversed and that they do not serve to demonstrate victory for the case of the war in Afghanistan, rather, they indicate that the war in Afghanistan can be a success when the United States displays the required determination that is needed to defeat insurgents (Carpenter, Para. 9).

The first reason increases the possibility of winning the success of the war in Afghanistan is that the counterinsurgency strategy adopted by the United States is beginning to bear fruits in Afghanistan. This is the same strategy that was adopted during the war in Iraq in 2007 that turned out successful. This strategy focuses more on the commitment of the militant troops and the civilian experts. In addition, the counterinsurgency strategy also aims in fostering political security in order to ensure socioeconomic progress. It is important to note that counterinsurgency operations are not deemed successful through killing of terrorists and the insurgent. It serves the core purpose of capturing or killing the highly committed terrorists, while most of the foot soldiers and leaders can be gradually convinced to renounce their stance relating the violence so that they can become part of a better and efficient political process in order to guarantee success rather than continuing fighting (Geneva Conventions, para. 8). The insurgency operations have been strongly deployed in the south and east of Afghanistan, this in combination with drone strikes and Pakistan commitment towards counterinsurgency helps in exerting more pressure on the Taliban group, which presents the Afghanistan government with an opportunity to be stronger compared to its enemies (Fox News, para. 6).

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