Victory in Afghanistan is Impossible

The latest attacks on German soldiers just serve to prove that the West is fighting a losing battle in Afghanistan. They finally need to admit it.

After the two attacks by suspected Taliban forces on the German army, in which one soldier was killed and nine wounded, the government in Berlin hastened to assure everyone that it would not give up the struggle. Afghanistan could never again be a haven for “worldwide terrorism,” according to Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeiner, who was visiting the country at the time the attacks took place. Minister of Defense Franz Josef Jung made a similar statement in Berlin.

Basically, such assurances show only the helplessness of the entire western world. It has been militarily engaged in the nation since 2001, but rather than resulting in a reduction of attacks by extremist religious zealots, the attacks have actually increased.

It is, therefore, time to abandon our illusions. We have neither the power nor the strength to transform Afghanistan into a democratic state. It has taken us seven, long years to realize that fact. When President Barack Obama announced his new Afghanistan strategy several weeks ago, he defined success in the fight as follows: “To disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.” Democracy? Human rights? Constitutional government? Not a mention.

Obama’s new concept was widely applauded. No one complained about abandoning the nobler goals formulated seven years ago. In view of the West’s usual pompous reasons for its continued presence in Afghanistan, that is astounding. The silence is embarrassing but readily visible; the idea that the West has reached its limit is beginning to come through.

The term “defeat” remains taboo. Why?

Because, so the answer goes, Islamists worldwide would celebrate a victory. From Kabul to Tehran, from Lisbon to Gaza, one great victory cheer would go up: “We’ve defeated the West!” And then the Islamists would set to work planning new defeats for the western world. That is the horrifying picture being painted for everyone.

That is pure propaganda. It distorts reality. It reduces the Afghans to mere chess pieces in a supposed worldwide conflict. And that is destructive – above all for the West.

To talk of defeat means to see the situation clearly, not through the distorting lenses of propaganda. It’s not a matter of talking about how we would like things to be; it is a matter of accepting the current and future reality, even if it’s painful to us.

This is what will happen: Over the next few years, after the planned United States troop surge has taken place, the West will begin a gradual withdrawal. At the same time, it will pump up the Afghan security services so they can keep the opposition militias and Taliban in check. There won’t be a total withdrawal, however. NATO will retain the large military compounds at Kandahar and Bagram.

If NATO deems it necessary, they will fly missions against enemy forces. Special forces will be dispatched in surgical strikes to take out the commanders. Then they’ll retreat behind the protective walls of their garrisons, watching their allies stay more or less in control. NATO won’t continue to pursue a strategy of total victory.

That is how defeat will look: The West will swallow it, even if losing global credibility. For the Afghans, on the other hand, the defeat will be bitter, savage and deadly.

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  1. Today, the NATO forces shot and killed a 12-year old girl in Afghanistan. Her crime? She and her family were on the way to a wedding. Her father said the NATO soldiers shot off her face. Looks like the Taliban just got some new recruits.

  2. you are fools for following americans into these wars for profits.

    how little the germans know about our industrial military complex that must have these wars for profits to keep their profits intact.

    americans are dumber than dumb to allow this to happen to their country.

    sometimes winning a world war can be more destrucitve then losing a world war. ie self righteousness.

    we americans are arrogant and greedy and blame the world for our problems.

    take a trip through our southern states and our midwest there you will find the real america.

    they love these wars for profits and call their children heros for fighting in them.

    germany should understand that the very best after what happened during world war two.

    I see old film of germans lining the streets to cheer hitler on after he invaded poland.

    now we cheer our soldiers on after we invaded iraq and afghan.

    afghan will be obama’s vietnam as he is making the same mistakes as LBJ. and listening to his generals.

  3. “I see old film of germans lining the streets to cheer hitler on after he invaded we cheer our soldiers on after we invaded iraq and afghan.”
    The big difference being Hitler staged a phony attack by polish forces (complete with crying German families and a “scuffle” for control of a radio station in front of a live mic) as justification for his attack, whereas, the US had 3000 very real, very dead people and a smoking pile of ruins in downtown Manhattan as justification for the attack on Afghanistan. Afghanistan being culpable by virtue of being a failed state.

  4. well like most americans you still dont get it.

    afghan cannot be beaten.

    they will bleed us dry slowly in treasure and blood.

    they have become stronger since we invaded now they are even moving closer to nukes in pakinstan.

    we have lost over 4000 soldiers more than killed in twin towers and we are no closer to winning the war on terrorism. in fact worst off.

    you have drank the neo con kool aid and your patroitism and nationalism has over whelmed your rational mind.

    afghan will be obama’s vietnam as he is making the same mistakes as LBJ did. ie listening to his generals who will want more and more troops.

    wars are their business. the bigger the war the bigger the business.

    the surge worked in iraq because we paid the iraqis not to kill one another. when the money stops the blood will flow.

    check out where we have their so called gov locked up at. ie puppet goverment.

    we are an imperialist country and few americans can see their imperialism in the mirror.

    do we invade every failed state???????

    the terrorists could have been dealt with with out a full blown invasion.

    the afghans will kick our butts like the vietnamese did.

    the iraqis are whimps compared to the taliban with the mountains to protect them and decades of fighting invaders.

    plus afghan is much larger country to control and very very corrupt.

    we will learn our lessons on imperialism but not until the middle class is reduced in size in america to 10% of what it was.

    ie the price of imperialism.

  5. to researcher..
    If you had listened to Bush and Obama the goal of having forces in Afghanistan are NOT the same as the goal in Iraq. Now I’ll concur with you that both have been (and will be) an incredible waste of time/money/blood but let’s be factual.

    Side Note: There’s an OLD saying that Afghanistan is where other nations go to die.

    If we would enforce our immigration laws/protect our borders/and stop voting in politicans that ignore these simple rules then MAYBE we can get back on track with living.

  6. thanks for the side note.

    it appears to be so

    the russians learned this lesson well

    like we did in nam they went home in defeat.

    they will bleed us dry in blood and treasure.

    we dont have much treasure.

    now we are trying to convince americans the taliban are terrorists to continue our imperialism.

    most americans did not know who the viet cong were during that other illegal war in nam.

    americans are a dumbed down country when it comes to worldly affairs.

    we will pay a heavey price for our ignorance.

    and you believe our politicans?

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