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According to the New York Times (NYT), the British, over an 80-year period, waged three wars in Afghanistan, occupying or controlling the country and losing thousands of people. The British left in disgrace in 1919.
Additionally, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, apparently trying to quell a civil war and provide support to Afghan government allies. The Soviets left unsuccessfully in 1989.
The United States, under President George W. Bush, launched “Operation Enduring Freedom” in 2001 supposedly to avenge attacks on the World Trade Center, the United States Capitol and the Pentagon in which nearly 3,000 Americans perished.
Interestingly, an unidentified individual used the sobriquet “Cemetery of Empires” to refer to the aforementioned powers whose announced missions in Afghanistan have failed miserably.
Essentially, Operation Enduring Freedom turned into a fiasco. After Bush left, Presidents Obama and Trump continued to pursue a war that many generals and political experts saw as impossible to win. To his credit, when Biden was Vice President, he encouraged President Obama to end the war. Instead, Obama, during his first years in office, added about 70,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. (NPR)
President Trump made an agreement, setting a date for the withdrawal of American troops, with the Taliban, a terrorist organization whose precursor was the Mujahedin, backed by President Jimmy Carter in the summer of 1979 before the Soviet Union broke down. ‘invade Afghanistan. By the way, most people don’t know that in 1979 the United States was significantly involved in Afghanistan. The Mujahedin were anti-Communist, an important consideration for the United States, given our Cold War posture at the time.
Was our twenty year war in Afghanistan worth our time and our money? We apparently did not learn from Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and the closure of the North Vietnamese. President Lyndon Johnson had no solution for the Vietnam War. Likewise, Presidents George W. Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden had no solution regarding Afghanistan. Sadly, the US-led war in Afghanistan cost more than $ 2 trillion. (United States today)
According to Reuters, between 2002 and 2017, the United States supplied the Afghan military with around $ 28 billion in weapons, including firearms, small drones for intelligence gathering and rockets. Additionally, NPR reported that since 2003 the United States has provided Afghan forces with at least 600,000 infantry weapons, including M16 assault rifles, 162,000 pieces of communications equipment and 16,000 riflescopes. night vision.
According to Wikipedia, more than 47,245 civilians, 66,000 to 69,000 Afghan military and police, and more than 51,000 Taliban fighters were killed in April 2021. In addition, the Project on Defense Alternatives estimated that between October 7, 2001 and on January 1, 2002, more than 1,000 civilians were killed by the US airstrike campaign.
I would be remiss if I did not recognize the courageous actions of our soldiers. Without the brave men and women who risk their lives so that we can live, we would not have democracy. Additionally, American citizens have a moral obligation to express a debt of gratitude to the military and to pray for those who make honorable sacrifices and suffer wounds and scars on the battlefield.
Keith W. Cooper