Sep 16, 2019
Faced with a fierce re-election campaign in 2020, President Trump had gone to great lengths to make the claim that he was ending the U.S. war in Afghanistan and pulling out all U.S. troops. Trump even planned on bringing the warring Taliban and Afghan government together at Camp David to sign a peace deal a few days before September 11. He then planned on using spectacular ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks as a backdrop for him to take all the credit for ending the war. Trump couldn’t wait to show that he could do what his predecessors, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, had failed to do – bring the troops home from the longest war in U.S. history.
But a few days before the summit, Trump’s deal fell apart. There was no Camp David summit. All Trump had on his hands was another fiasco, just like his grandiose peace deal with North Korea that had fizzled away, or his claim that Mexico would pay for his wall.
So the war that has not stopped for 18 years – the longest U.S. war – goes on. The U.S. has been launching more air-based missiles and dropping more bombs than ever, almost twice as many as during the U.S. surge in 2011 under President Obama. And it was continuing to wage the war on the ground with 14,000 troops, as well as countless CIA agents linked to Afghan militias, death squads and gangs, not to speak of tens of thousands of private military contractors.
No, this year has been filled with the same barbaric destruction and death as the rest of the 18 horrible years of war, in which the Afghan population has been caught in the middle. No one knows how many people have been killed or wounded, because no one with various Afghan governments has even bothered to count. The U.S. certainly didn’t. But it has to be in the hundreds of thousands, if not the millions, with a big part of the population displaced by the war, refugees either inside or outside the country.
The reason the U.S. government originally gave for invading Afghanistan 18 long years ago – to punish the ruling Taliban for aiding the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. – was a bold-faced lie. The Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11 – and the U.S. CIA knew it, later even said it. But the U.S. government chose to invade Afghanistan anyway because it was a convenient target, a very small, extremely impoverished country that had already been bled by decades of war. U.S. officials figured that in response to 9/11, they could carry out a quick, easy war that would allow the U.S. military to flex its muscles in a show of force for all the world to see.
Instead, the U.S. created its own quagmire for all the world to see. Each response by the U.S. military only created bigger problems, plunging it deeper into a worsening disaster and more impossible to get out.
At the beginning of this war, the U.S. military did chase the ruling Taliban from power without much of a fight. But to replace the Taliban, the U.S. government installed its old allies from previous wars, a bunch of warlords, smugglers, gangsters and drug traffickers, who under the guise of religious fundamentalist fanaticism, had imposed themselves on the Afghan population.
So, the U.S. occupation set off both resistance from parts of the Afghan population, as well as a civil war between different factions of warlords, Taliban and other groupings. In the following years, everything the U.S. military and CIA did to strengthen their own position, through military might, only spread the civil war and resistance, and further destroyed the country.
Trump has made it clear that he still wants to announce some kind of new peace deal for his own political purposes in the near future. But there is no reason to believe that anything he announces will either end the bloody civil war, nor end the U.S. presence in the country.
The war that U.S. imperialism began for its own vicious reasons will only continue, an unending war that spells an ongoing catastrophe for the population of Afghanistan and the entire region. Not to mention that it is also a disaster for working people in this country.