Will the war in Afghanistan ever end?


Groper of Sand
Jan 24, 2002
Albany, Australia
Interesting article from Janes .

Sinking into the Afghan swamp

By A Gizabi

The war in Afghanistan, once a success story for US-led coalition forces, appears to be becoming increasingly untenable. Hardly a day goes by without some skirmishes with the Taliban, their Al-Qaeda supporters and their Hezb-e-Islami allies. There has been a steady increase in the level of violence involving Afghan, as well as Pakistani, extremists. On 27 January, US and Afghan forces encountered one of the biggest concentrations of enemy forces since Operation Anaconda in eastern Afghanistan. Eighteen of around 80 militants were killed by air power.

Originally, the active opposition to US forces consisted of the Taliban and members of Al-Qaeda. Now, a third party has joined in: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who was the favourite protégé of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) for many years until he failed to gain power in Kabul. For much of his active life, he was in opposition to other Afghan parties, even during the war with the Soviet Union. He was behind the bombing of Kabul, much of which he destroyed almost singlehandedly by firing rockets from his base in the southern outskirts of Kabul.

The Taliban drove him from out of the country in 1996. Being out of favour with Pakistan, he moved to Iran. Last year, he returned with zest to fight the Americans. He has some support in Pakistan among religio-political parties and Islamic militants. During the 1980s and early 1990s, he ran one of the best-organised, heavily equipped and most brutal organisations in the Afghan resistance. A lot of the brutalities, kidnappings and assassinations are attributed to him. Hekmatyar brings a lot of finesse and sophistication to crude Taliban tactics and he is a very effective propagandist. Since his appearance on the scene, 'night letters' - taped messages and posters - have increased tremendously, calling for the war against the USA. There is now a clandestine radio as well, broadcasting to the faithful.

Given the experience, the tactics and the brutality of Hekmatyar; the blind faith, deadly conviction and zealotry of the Taliban; and finance and reach of Al-Qaeda, they certainly make a dangerous and deadly trio.

US forces have used tactics that are offensive to Afghans. They treated every Afghan with suspicion as if he was a member of Al-Qaeda; they entered houses without permission; they body-searched women - a taboo in the Muslim world, especially in Afghanistan; and they bombed innocent civilians and arrested and mistreated people, all because of mistaken identity or misinformation. They did not show sensitivity to Afghan culture.

Perhaps the most serious tactical error was the restoration of warlords in Afghanistan. The common people were disaffected by the protégés and stooges of foreign occupiers who had carved Afghanistan into fiefdoms. Most or all of them were driven out by the Taliban and Pakistan and the remainder were on the verge of collapse or on the run. One of the last was commander Masoud, who had lost most of his territory and was forced to retreat to the banks of Oxus river. One of the main reasons for the Taliban's ascendence to power was their rejection of the warlords. However, US forces brought the warlords back, arming, financing and guiding them back to their lost thrones. Worse yet, they even created some new ones, the so-called 'American warlords'.

This isn't the full article, if you want to subscribe, go ahead.
Well please accept my most profuse and humble apologies.

This article trigerred my query.

I'm sure the thread can be deleted.
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