America's Afghan Muddle

On 16 March 2012, this article was first published on and viewed by 416787 till my ties with siliconindia got snapped on 29 September 2014. Reproduced below without any change.

After a gap eight years does it have any relevance today?

I’m not a military strategist, nor a political analyst. For the heck of being idle, I get an itch to meddle in America's Afghan muddle. What was the objective for the American to wage a war there: To nip terrorism in the bud; to prevent Talibanisation of the country; to install western-type democracy; to restore modern values of humanity; to eradicate evil from the world and so on. America doesn’t want another attack to be launched against America from Afghan soil. It is believed the Al Qaida under the guidance of Osama Bin Laden attacked the World Trade Centre from Afghanistan. It’s an irony of history that the US supported the same terrorists they are fighting against now. The Russians failed thereafter fighting so many years of war.

The difference between the two:

Russia wanted their puppet to rule and the US wants its brand of the regime to be installed. For the American, it is the 12th year running. And what is the achievement so far? Impartially viewed: nothing. The situation is now as it were a decade ago -- rather worse. Only the devastation caused to the country is more and the suffering of the inhabitants went on unabated. Trillions of dollars of American tax payer’s money went down the drain and thousands of American and NATO soldiers lost their lives. How many wounded and became crippled for life is unknown.

One thing is very clear is that the Taliban and Al-Qaida are fighting with religious convictions. It is basically faith-driven. It derives its strength from the interpretation of scriptures. The strength of invincible belief in scriptures is far more formidable than any other deadly weapon. In this respect, they have an edge over any other type of weapon. This aspect of Taliban superiority is always overlooked by everybody. They are bent upon implementing Sharia law – curtail women’s freedom, ban music, death by stoning, etc. etc. They don’t want man-made law. They are not mercenaries. It is an ideological war for them. It differs from the ideology of communism or socialism. The afterlife of faith-driven ideology is undying. The missile, drone attacks and killing of leaders won’t help. Like Phoenix, new leaders will rise again from the ashes to take the position with renewed vigor. No sacrifice is great for them. It cannot be compared with wiping out of poliovirus from the world. The germ of their hatred or reprisal is not found anywhere in the outer world – it’s residing in the deep psychical domain of the believers. It cannot be eradicated with brute force, because, its foundation lies in the scriptures. And the scriptures cannot be destroyed. This harsh truth must sink in the American psyche.

The recent incidents of Koran burning and killing of 16 innocent rural people in their homes exacerbated the predicament. It may worsen ahead. America has already sown so many seeds of revenge to spawn many more terrorists in the future. It extends beyond Afghan borders.

It is high time the Pentagon pulls out of the Afghan muddle. Trusting Pakistan as an ally is another blunder. Pakistan will continue to support the Taliban and al-Qaida, as the majority of Pakistanis are emotionally and religiously sympathetic towards them. Pakistan will continue to milk the US by playing the double game indefinitely. Even with Pakistani support, the war can hardly be won. Progress made, so far, after incurring a staggering loss of American dollars, NATO soldiers, and an untold number of civilian lives over a decade in wiping out the Taliban insurgency is indicative enough to take a pragmatic decision. Plainly speaking, it was a gross miscalculation on the part of the US to enter there. Now, it is difficult to come out despite poll promises made by Obama during the presidential election. The reason, the ground realities remained almost unchanged over the decade. It’s unlikely this scenario will change by prolonging the war. Pulling out is the only sound option, under whatever face-saving pretext it may be.

The perceived danger of the fallout of Taliban ascendancy in Afghanistan is possibly overestimated. No doubt, the suffering of the Afghan people will be unavoidable – they have to comply with Taliban diktat. However, the biggest loser may be Pakistan itself. It will be swamped by the Taliban onslaught, in due course. The eventual damage may be preferable compared to huge losses suffered so far. Is there any other way out to escape this starkest reality?


More by :  Nalinaksha Mutsuddi

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