A war is won if the desired objective, either to ignite a war or enter into one, is achieved. Completely defeating the opponent is not one of the main goals, although defeat may be a means or way of achieving a war’s objectives, rather than a condition for victory.
What were America’s objectives in the Afghanistan war? (1) That Afghanistan would not be hostile to America; (2) that Afghanistan would not become home to groups like the Islamic State or al-Qaida, which would use the country to launch hostile attacks against America or American interests or allies; (3) that Afghanistan would not be an area of influence for America’s opponents such as Russia, Iran, China or other similar countries, and (4) that there might be agreements, deals, or other pacts if America achieved its objectives.
America has won the war, and yet the Taliban have not lost. Foreign forces have left Afghanistan and the Taliban have taken power. This is how things look now, though it cannot be ruled out that America might have played a facilitating role in how quickly the Taliban overran vast areas of the country recently. Some people say the Americans ran away, leaving their weapons behind. Fleeing and abandoning weapons to enemies — a disgrace beyond all disgraces in military tradition. Is this what happened?
First, there was no flight, but rather an organized, scheduled and deliberate withdrawal.
Second, during the honeymoon period after the agreement, no one expected the Taliban would use these weapons against America, although they could be used against those who opposed the agreement, which is in America’s interest.
Third, after a period of time, new weapons that do not yet exist will be designed and developed. The weapons left behind by the Americans will lose their advantage, and the Taliban will need to buy spare parts from the Americans for exorbitant prices and under strict conditions. Needless to say, these weapons will be a burden to whomever is left with them, just as it was with weapons left behind in Vietnam.
In light of this, America did not lose the war in Afghanistan, but rather won it. Or is Saddam Hussein’s saying that he “won” the war with Iran inaccurate, unless he wanted to remain in this position forever? Saddam did not achieve his principal goal, which was to recover Shatt al-Arab, by starting the war to become the first Arab to regain what he had lost. Anwar Sadat did not regain Sinai, but instead traded it in exchange for Israel’s relinguishing of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.