After two decades war of invasion, occupation, exploitation, and subjugation codenamed “War on Terror” with two separate operations, “Operation Enduring Freedom” fighting to defeat the Taliban, and “Operation Freedom’s Sentinel” launched in 2014 to train the new Afghan national army, the ‘mighty’ US army on July 4, 2021, America’s 245th Independence anniversary unceremoniously abandoned its main Bagram military base outside Kabul, in defeat and humiliation.
The US has been quickly followed by its poodle, the UK, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syrian wars where the two empires have faced embarrassment and isolation because they disregarded international laws, diplomatic norms and UN falsely believing that their military power and past history of destruction mattered most. And as they abandoned posts, they were shy even to invite their own propaganda media to cover them.
It’s an acknowledgment that the Afghan war cannot be won on allied terms because in spite of surges in troop numbers over the years, US, UK, and NATO haven’t succeeded in bringing insurgents to their knees which forced Donald Trump in February 2020 to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban that set a deadline for total US withdrawal. And with US crushing, its allies have admitted they cannot stand the heat on their own. The Brits are reported to have now quietly lowered their flag at Kabuli international airport and said that their embassy would be guarded by private security contractors and not its army.
The Taliban that was toppled in 2001 in response to the September 11, 2001 attack on the US have been making rapid military gains on the ground foreshadowing the possibility that the Afghan government will survive without a major concession. It is most probable that the private security contractors will recruit from Africa including Uganda where there is desperation for employment abroad however risky.
This is the fourth war the US army is losing after Korea (1955), Cuba (Bay of Pigs 1960), Vietnam (1954-75), Somalia (1993), and another defeat is currently underway in Syria where Uncle Sam and his allies are quietly retreating in shame. In Syria as in Afghanistan of the 1970s and 80ss it was primarily the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, while still on the same side that recruited, trained, armed, provided transport, communication and other logistics, funded, offered diplomatic cover and media propaganda to build the Mujahedeen to fight its proxy war with the USSR. After USSR loss and disintegration in 1989, the Mujahedeen mutated into Taliban, Al-Qaida, Islamic State (ISIS), and the array of extremist Islamist fighting groups around the world today. It’s estimated that between 523,000 and 2,000,000 Afghans died, and having lost the war, the USSR signed the Geneva Accords 1988, and beat its final retreat in February 1989 with US cheering behind.
The US humiliating retreat from Afghanistan is being shielded from strict scrutiny by the Covid19 pandemic that has wrecked havoc and occupied public space over the last year and half, and continues, including in the US where over 600,000 people have died.
At its highest in August 2010, the US had over 100,000 soldiers of various description serving in Afghanistan and the Pentagon puts the cost of US military operation there at 824.9bn dollars over the last twenty years, 2,312 men dead in combat, 20,066 wounded, and 1,720 civilian contractors fatalities. The highest fatality of US soldiers in one single incidence was on August, 6, 2011 in which a CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter was shot down by the Taliban leaving 30 dead. The highest ranking US military officer killed in combat has been Maj. Gen. Harold J Green on August 5, 2014. Estimates put Afghan civilian death between 35,000 and 43,000.
In Iraq where the US officially withdrew in 2011 after it entered in 2003, out of 4,825 coalition forces killed, America has the majority at 4,407 dead, and 32,292 out of 32,776 coalition troops injured. In Vietnam the US lost 58,000 soldiers of its 500,000 strong army due to enemy action and lost the war as well as South Vietnam territory even after its campaign named “Rolling Thunder” against the Viet Cong ordered by President Lyndon B Johnson in 1965 dropped more bomb tonnage than on Italy, Japan and Germany in World War 2, and on Korea 1949-53. To-date 1,601 US soldiers who served in Korea remain un-accounted for which is an embarrassment, thanks to the Viet Cong.
And like in Vietnam in 1973 where President Richard Nixon was forced to withdraw because of both domestic and external pressure on the battle front, today the US has been forced out even when the Afghan government and its military it propped cannot contain the Taliban, as indeed South Vietnam army didn’t hold against the Viet Cong. It appears the US military didn’t learn much from Vietnam and has repeated similar mistakes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. And yes like in Vietnam March, 29, 1973, the US is quitting Afghanistan on terms being dictated by those they invaded. America has lost the war to control Afghanistan.
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