If the goal of the war is to pacify Afghanistan, it is a war that will never end. Afghanistan has always been a violent and turbulent area which has led it to become a failed state.
Counter-terrorism relies on bombing and strategically killing all terrorists in Afghanistan. This is another impossible task. The Taliban and Al Qaeda blend in with the population. Targets are not easily identified and as a result, “surgically” taking out these two groups is not feasible. However, the US acts as though it can do so through the use of drones and bombs. Attacks by drones or bombs usually result in sizable civilian casualties, which fuels hatred towards the US. This then leads to a surge in recruitment for the Taliban and Al Qaeda as some Afghanis see the US as their new enemy. A counter-terrorism strategy does the exact opposite of what it is trying to accomplish: it leads to an increase in terrorists.
The counter-insurgency strategy would also be foolish to pursue. The Pashtuns are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. It is this group which constitutes the Taliban and relies on them as a de facto government. Therefore, it doesn’t make much sense to think that the US could defeat them and usher in a democracy. It is also impossible to try and force a “democratic” state on the people. Afghanistan is a tribe-based country in which the central government has hardly any power and credibility. All of the power lies in the many clans and tribes that make up rural Afghanistan. It would be akin to France trying to force their type of government on the US. America just wouldn’t have it.
The war in Afghanistan is a lost cause. No strategy will win this war. The US is trying to radically change Afghanistan and they won’t have it.
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