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What has made America’s war in Afghanistan unwinnable?

Afghanistan war is the longest war in American history. America and its allies invaded the country after September 11, 2001, terrorist attack. Taliban who was in power in Afghanistan had sheltered Al-Qaida and its leader Usama Bin Laden.

Nearly 20 years later the conflict has achieved very little. Taliban are controlling majority areas in war-torn Afghanistan. According to the report of The Economist, 25,000 people died in Afghanistan in the year 2018.

40 Years of War

Back in 1979, the Soviet Union invaded the country to support the Afghan Communist regime. Americans then funded the Afghan Mujahideen to fight the foreign invaders. In 1989, even after the Soviet’s withdrawal, the war didn’t end and the country witnessed the years of civil war due to power conflicts among the tribal warlords.

The same unrest is feared in Afghanistan in case Americans withdrew from the country without concluding a prolonged and sustainable peace deal. It’s the civil war among the local warlords and power groups that have badly affected Libya even after the demise of the former Libyan leader.

The chaos created fertile ground for the Taliban to grab power in Afghanistan and in 1996, they took control of the capital city and established themselves as the governing body in much of the territory.

The fate of democratic elections in Afganistan

It was after three years of American invasion that the elections were held in the country. After the US invasion, the elections were held across Afghanistan for about 6 times but attaining the environment of peace in the country is still an upheaval task.

Taliban merely consider the US-backed Government as a puppet government and continue to attack the allied forces and local troops. What they want is the complete withdrawal of foreign troops and hold of power in the country. Civilians have suffered the most in the power struggle between the invaders and local power groups.

Who controls the majority of the districts?

Data from Long War Journal indicates that about 18 percent of all Afghanistan’s districts are under the control of the Taliban and 48 percent are contested. Taliban don’t have modern weaponry, tanks, and air forces what they have is the local legitimacy.

Drug money in Afganistan

About 90 percent of the world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan, according to the report of The Economist. This drug money is a strong source of funding for the Taliban. The drug money and profit earned from the drug supply make the Taliban one of the strongest and richest rebel groups in the world.

Efforts of destroying the opium fields badly affected the livelihood of farmers as they’d no alternative source of income. Such efforts of destroying the local economy further deepen the differences between the residents and government.

What can promise peace in Afganistan?

Only a power-sharing agreement with terms agreed upon by the parties of the conflict can promise prolonged truce in the war-torn country in case of US withdrawal.

Trump Administration wants evacuation from Afghanistan but evacuation without a power-sharing agreement won’t stop the escalation even after the 40 years of war in neighboring Afghanistan.

Regional forces like Russia and China must also strive for the peace in Afganistan. The world community is worried about the coronavirus and Ebola outbreaks but a consistent war in a nearby country can engulf the whole region if remains unchecked and undeterred for long.

About Noshin Bashir

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