PakTribune, Pakistan
Washington too 'Selfless' to Succeed in Afghanistan

June 13, 2006
Pakistan's Pak Tribune - Original Article (English)    



U.S. soldier on patrol in Kabul last month. (above).

—BBC VIDEO NEWS: Corruption Violence and the Taliban
surge in Afghanistan, June 7, 00:13:18RealVideo

RealVideo[NEWS PHOTOS: Afghanistan].

Pakistani troops near the Afghan Border on June 10. Have
Pakistan's forces been unduly restrained by Washington? (below)


 
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Washington: Unlike America's seemingly endless war in Iraq, the campaign in Afghanistan has been widely considered a "war on terror" success. Pakistan's policy makers tell us that we have nothing more to fear from Afghanistan, because the war accomplished its two main goals: al-Qaeda and its sponsoring regime, the Taliban, are long gone, and the country has a new, pro-Western government. But in reality the war has been a dramatic failure, as the daily news from Afghanistan shows.

Legions of undefeated Taliban and al-Qaeda soldiers have renewed their jihad. Flush with money, amassing recruits, and armed with guns, rockets and explosives, they are fighting to regain power. In recent months they have mounted a string of suicide bombings and rocket attacks against American and NATO forces; more U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan in the last 18 months than during the peak of the war.

Taliban forces have effectively besieged several provinces in southern Afghanistan. Local officials estimate that in some provinces the, "number of Taliban is several times greater than the police and Afghan National Army."

Taliban fighters are said to amble fearlessly through villages, brandishing their Kalashnikovs, and collecting zakat (an Islamic donation) from peasants. With astounding boldness, they assassinate clerics and judges deemed too friendly to the new government, and fired rockets at schools for using "un-Islamic" books.

How is it that four years after the war began - and in the face of America's unsurpassed military strength - Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters once again threaten American interests?

Victory in Afghanistan demanded two things. We had to destroy the Taliban and ensure that a non-threatening, non-Islamic-warrior-breeding regime took its place. But we never thought we had the moral right to do either.

Our [Pakistan's] military was ordered to pursue Taliban fighters only if our soldiers simultaneously showed "compassion" to the Afghans. The U.S. military dropped bombs on Afghanistan - but instead of ruthlessly pounding key targets, it was ordered to gingerly avoid hitting holy sites and mosques (known Taliban hideouts) and shower the country with food packages.

The U.S. deployed ground forces - but instead of focusing exclusively on capturing or killing the enemy, they were also diverted to a host of "reconstruction" projects. The result is that the enemy was not destroyed and crushed in spirit, but merely scattered and left with the moral fortitude to regroup and launch a brazen comeback.

Even with its hands tied, however, the U.S. military succeeded in toppling the Taliban regime - but Washington subverted that achievement, too.

Any Afghan government based on a secular constitution that respects individual rights would be a non-threat to America's interests. The Bush Administration, however, declared that we had "no right to impose our beliefs" - and instead endorsed the Afghan desire for another regime founded on Islamic law.



A U.S. soldier in the Afghan countryside:
One hand tied behind his back?


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This avowedly Islamic regime has already jailed an Afghan magazine editor for "blasphemy"; and Abdul Rahman, an Afghan convert to Christianity, faced a death sentence for apostasy. The new Afghan regime simply cannot be counted on to oppose the resurgence of Islamic totalitarianism. Ideologically, it has nothing to say in opposition to the doctrines of the Taliban (two members of the Taliban leadership are part of the new government). It is only a matter of time before Afghanistan is once again a haven for anti-American warriors.

The failure in Afghanistan is a result of Washington's foreign policy. Despite lip-service paid to the goal of protecting America's safety, the "war on terror" has been waged in compliance with the prevailing moral premise that self-interest is evil and self-sacrifice a virtue. Instead of trouncing the enemy for the sake of protecting American lives, U.S. leaders have sacrificed our self-defense for the sake of serving the whims of Afghans.

The half-hearted war in Afghanistan failed to smash the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It failed to render their ideology - Islamic totalitarianism - a lost cause. Instead, at best it demonstrated Washington's reluctance to fight ruthlessly to defend Americans. How better to stoke the enthusiasm of jihadists?

America cannot win this or any war by embracing selflessness as a virtue. Ultimately, it cannot survive unless Washington abandons its self-sacrificial foreign policy in favor of one that proudly places America's interests as its exclusive moral concern.


VIDEO FROM AFGHANISTAN: TALIBAN LEARNING FROM IRAQI INSURGENTS

WindowsVideoAL-JAZZERA TV, QATAR: Excerpts from an interview with Taliban military commander Mullah Dadallah, May 31, 2006, 00:09:16 MEMRI

"The bombings we carry out - we learned it from them. We learn other types of operations from them as well."


Mullah Dadallah, Taliban Military Commander