Foreign and Defense Policy, AfPak

It’s official: America has lost Afghanistan

Image Credit: The US Army (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

Image Credit: The US Army (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

The news today that the United States will begin negotiating with the Taliban will certainly be celebrated in the future Afghanistan as “Taliban Victory Day.” There is a long history of negotiation with the Taliban; in absolutely every case, the Taliban has embraced talks insincerely. Think the Taliban are only interested in Pushtun areas of Afghanistan? Back in 1995, they had agreed in talks not to enter Herat, and yet into that non-Pushtun city they marched. Then, in 1996, they agreed to take part in negotiations about a broad coalition government in Afghanistan. The talks were still ongoing when they seized Kabul and imposed their reign of terror.

The United States also has a long history of negotiation with the Taliban. Between 1995 and 2000, Clinton administration officials—up to and including cabinet-level UN Ambassador Bill Richardson—met with the Taliban on perhaps 30 different occasions. The same individuals with whom President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry now seek negotiations had promised the Clinton team a range of Taliban concessions: giving up Bin Laden, closing terror training camps, and improving women’s rights. The terror attacks of 9/11 should reinforce how sincere the Taliban was in its promises.

The current talks are even more ham-fisted than they were under President Clinton, and under secretaries of state Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright. From France24’s report:

The officials said the US and Taliban representatives will hold bilateral meetings, then it is expected that Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s High Peace Council will follow up with its own talks a few days later.

After billions of dollars and hundreds of lives lost to promote the idea that the Afghan government was in charge and Hamid Karzai was legitimate, with one fell swoop the Obama team is cutting Karzai out of the equation. On the one hand, no one should be sorry to see Karzai go, but on the other hand, the US strategy appears to be to delegitimize Karzai, promote the Taliban, and provide no alternative.

Let no one say that Afghanistan has become Vietnam. In terms of results—and diplomatically-inflicted wounds—the forthcoming Taliban talks will make Afghanistan far worse than the aftermath of our war in Southeast Asia almost four decades ago.

36 thoughts on “It’s official: America has lost Afghanistan

  1. The war in Afghanistan was an unGodly, unConstitutional, appallingly stupid war we should never have waged.

    John Lofton, Recovering Republican
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    • Why would any rational person think that the Afghan conflict could be won? After all, if the Russians and English, who had little trouble with genocidal activities now and then, failed to stay there why would anyone expect the US military to do much better? As someone wrote, Afghanistan is where empires go to die. Frankly, what has happened was perfectly predictable the day the US decided to stay there.

      • It is interesting to see that traitorous paleocon John Lofton emerge from his historical obscurity to celebrate defeatism and appeasement. Can we move a bill to deport Lofton to Afghanistan ?

        • “Traitorous?” The REAL patriot is not the neocon warmonger but rather the person who wants to keep his country out of unGodly, unConstitutional wars. But, yes, we did lose the Afghanistan war just as we’ve lost all our recent unGodly, unConstitutional, undeclared wars. There’s probably a lesson there I do believe….

          John Lofton, Recovering Republican
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          • Lofton, for people like you, foreign policy will always be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Problem is, when your postmillenial/preterist fantasy ride is over, and things degrade into the real Tribulation, it will be too late. America will be gone, and you’ll be left behind to face the forces of evil alone. Good luck with that.

          • ZZZZZZZZZZZZ…….zzzzzzzzzzz……..ZZZZZZZZZZZZ…….zzzzzzzzzzz……..ZZZZZZZZZZZZ…….zzzzzzzzzzz……..ZZZZZZZZZZZZ…….zzzzzzzzzzz……..ZZZZZZZZZZZZ…….zzzzzzzzzzz……..ZZZZZZZZZZZZ…….zzzzzzzzzzz……..ZZZZZZZZZZZZ…….zzzzzzzzzzz……..ZZZZZZZZZZZZ…….zzzzzzzzzzz……..ZZZZZZZZZZZZ…….zzzzzzzzzzz……..

            John Lofton, Recovering Republican
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          • Some notes for Mr. Lofton. The peace that Jesus gives is not the cowardly peace of pacificism.

            And thanks for fulfilling 2 Peter 3:3-9, since

            “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

            Please take note.

          • Jesus says blessed are the PEACEMAKERS and not the idiots who support unGodly, unConstitutional wars. And one does not achieve the peace that comes only from the of Christ by waging such wars.

            John Lofton, Recovering Republican
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          • “Peace” through war is a pagan, Roman idea and not a Christian view.

            John Lofton, Recovering Republican
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          • I need not be terribly prescient when I predict the outcome when the United States of America forces one of its allies to the negotiating table, signs a peace agreement with a ruthless and evil foe, and then proceeds to withdraw smartly, refusing even to provide the benefit of its overwhelming air power to preserve the agreement it has signed. We have indeed seen this movie before, and know how it ends. How much further does one have go to see the “Late Great Planet Earth” with the actualization of Gog and Magog, blood and massacre on an unprecedented scale ? And you, John Lofton, shall bear the guilt of it all. Because you are a hypocrite, and don’t care about your fellow man. Because you think you’re so special, elect in fact.

            Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

          • “Fools” are those who, among other things, wage and support unGodly, unConstitutional wars.

            John Lofton, Recovering Republican
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        • Because we were winning in Afghanistan and there won’t be peace until Islamo-Arab imperialism is defeated – as was happening until Obama let the enemy escape and decided to quit and run.

          How did that happen? Obama INCREASED troop levels beyond those that Bush had in the country. He threw money and assets but the problem did not go away because most Afghans do not want foreign occupiers in their country.

          You lost, Vangel.

          Actually, the chicken-hawks did the moment they forgot the lessons of history and convinced Bush that occupation was a good idea. The American public has no more stomach for this fight than it did for Vietnam. What you guys need to cheer you up is another Grenada.

          • Vangel, you never win any argument, so how about growing up for a change?

            Obama never increased troop levels – he was in on withdrawal from the Middle East from Day One. The fact remains Afghans WANT Americans because Americans are the protection from Islamo-Arab imperialism.

            Your citation of “the lessons of history” merely prove how dishonest you are because “occupation” succeeded everywhere. “The American public has no more stomach for this fight that it did for Vietnam.” False. The American public was fed up with Lyndon Johnson NOT pursuing victory; the American public supported winning, then and now.

            You were wrong about Vietnam, Iraq, etc, Vangel. Stop insulting everyone’s intelligence here.

          • Obama never increased troop levels – he was in on withdrawal from the Middle East from Day One. The fact remains Afghans WANT Americans because Americans are the protection from Islamo-Arab imperialism.

            You might want to get a map. Afghanistan is not in the Middle East. It is in Central Asia, the place where expanding empires go to die. The troop withdrawals in Iraq were planned and approved by Bush. Obama simply followed the plans except that the troops are still in harm’s way when they should be home. As for Afghanistan, according to Bush’s Secretary of State, OBAMA INCREASED the troop levels.

            http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/17/obama.troops/

            Your citation of “the lessons of history” merely prove how dishonest you are because “occupation” succeeded everywhere.

            The British and Russians had to leave Afghanistan just as all previous invaders did. You might want to try learning your history because you are clearly ignorant of it. Look where Vietnam got you.

            “The American public has no more stomach for this fight that it did for Vietnam.” False. The American public was fed up with Lyndon Johnson NOT pursuing victory; the American public supported winning, then and now.

            Right, “Give Peace a Chance” was a pro-GOP, pro-war song. Wasn’t there a pro-Nixon rally at Kent State? How did that work out? No wonder the GOP is in such big trouble even as the Democrats show what kind of fools they are; GOP supporters don’t have much use for reality when it comes to military issues just as the Democrats have no use for reality when it comes to economics.

            You were wrong about Vietnam, Iraq, etc, Vangel. Stop insulting everyone’s intelligence here.

            Right. There were all demonstrations in favour of the war. Those smelly kids with the long hair and their parents were so eager to go to Vietnam and change the country so that one day it could export camping gear, footballs, clothes, and running shoes to the US because if the commies ever won it would be lost forever.

            Like I wrote before, try reading a bit of history. And perhaps look into some medication.

  2. The goal of the war was never to conquer or rebuild Afghanistan. It was to go after Al-Qaeda and anyone supporting them, the Taliban. Bush blew it by going into nation building mode. We should have been out of there by 2006 at the latest. I hope to god that Obama has learned that lesson with Syria. Let them kill themselves. Once they cross the line and come after us, bomb them back to the stone age and then leave.

      • What? Should we be compassionate and try talking to them? They only see it as a sign of weakness, which it is. There is no strategic reason to go to these places other than if we don’t go there and kill them they will continue to come here and try to kill us.

        Its a tough world with not a lot of nice choices. We better get used to it.

        • What? Should we be compassionate and try talking to them? They only see it as a sign of weakness, which it is. There is no strategic reason to go to these places other than if we don’t go there and kill them they will continue to come here and try to kill us.

          Who is they? And why should so many kids die occupying a country in which they are hated? Why should taxpayers fund nation building or whatever Orwellian term is used to describe what is going on these days? And why should the US make the same error made by the Russians and English before them?

          You lost. Just as you have lost most conflicts since the end of WW II. Admit it and move on.

          • Because we were winning in Afghanistan and there won’t be peace until Islamo-Arab imperialism is defeated – as was happening until Obama let the enemy escape and decided to quit and run.

            You lost, Vangel.

          • No one EVER wins an unGodly, unConstitutional war such as the one we waged and have lost in Afghanistan.

            John Lofton, Recovering Republican
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          • John Lofton – I’ll ask again – why is defeating the enemy ungodly or unconstitutional? Nowhere do you present any credible argument to that end – because, of course, there is none. The US was winning in Afghanistan as it had won in Iraq, and OBAMA threw away victory.

            The way to peace is to win the war.

          • True “peace” — shalom — comes only from a relationship with the Christ.

            John Lofton, Recovering Republican
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  3. The US has a long and dishonorable history of negotiating deals with third parties, while cutting locals out of the picture as though they are farm animals being disposed of. In every case it was a prelude to long-term disaster.

    • Yes, further evidence of the insanity of the unGodly, unConstitutional war in Afghanistan that after all that blood and treasure thrown down that rathole there will now be “peace” talks with the “enemy.”

      John Lofton, Recovering Republican
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    • The disaster was the occupation, not the pullout. Just how much longer do you want to fund Afghan ‘nation building’ and just how many more dead military personnel are you willing to tolerate? Most Afghans clearly do not want Americans there. Isn’t it time you cut your losses and left?

      • The disaster was the pullout. The “occupation” was succeeding the entire time. You keep lying when you say “Most Afghans clearly do not want Americans there.” There is no such thing and never has been such thing as “they don’t want us there.”

        • No, the “disaster” was the decision to wage an unGodly, unConstitutional war in Afghanistan.

          John Lofton, Recovering Republican
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