The fact that the US has played an important role in the Afghan War from the past 18 years is widely recognized by citizens of both the countries. But has US’ involvement really led to any progress in Afghanistan?
The invasion of Afghanistan to drive out the Taliban from power, denying al-Qaeda a safe base of operations in the country, was the US’ initial objective. To fulfil that aim almost all of the NATO members formed a security mission, most of which involved the US and Afghan troops battling with Taliban insurgents up till today.
Since, Afghan War has become the longest war in the US history, various questions regarding why the measures taken have not been successful in mitigating the crisis are now arising.
The recently disclosed documents, including private interviews conducted during former presidents Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, have shown that the US officials have misled the public on various aspects by portraying a falsified progress in the Afghan War.
Despite acknowledging a lack of understanding, strategy and progress in the war, the officials described it as on the cusp of success to the public, maintaining a deliberate disinformation campaign to spin the discouraging statistics of the Afghan war.
In a private interview, the Army colonel and senior counterinsurgency adviser to the US military commanders, Bob Crowley, who served during 2013 and 2014, disclosed that the data was altered to the present and the surveys representing the situations in Afghanistan were unreliable.
Ret. Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, who served as a top advisor on the war during the Bush and Obama administration, in his interview in 2015, stated that his team was devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan, as he lamented the deaths of the US troops, blaming it all on the entanglements between the State Department, the Pentagon and Congress.
The published ones were some of the interviews conducted amongst the Americans, NATO allies and Afghanistan officials, by the head of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John Sopko for his 2014 initiative called “Lessons Learned”. The aim was to avoid the mistakes of the Afghan War for future US military campaigns.
A large number of US troops have been a part of the Afghan War. Most of the troop members are focused on training Afghan forces to fight against the Talibani terrors, while a smaller number of special forces conduct counterterrorism operations against groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Seeing continued Talibani attacks that have killed innumerable forces as well as natives, President Trump ordered for troops withdrawal in exchange of assurances from the insurgents that they would not allow Afghanistan to be a safe haven for terrorists to plan attacks on the US.
However, Kabul attack led to the crumbling of the deal, bringing in wide differences in the existing US-Taliban peace negotiations and ideologies of dealing with the crisis in hand.
Recalling the importance of the US-Taliban deal amid the Afghan War, the talks have once again resumed with US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad’s arrival in Kabul on December 4. His next stop would be to meet the Talibani negotiators in Qatar that could even lead to a permanent settlement since a “premature” withdrawal from the deal is widely criticized by the US military, provided the little confidence they have in the ability of Afghans to defend themselves.