U.S. losing in Afghanistan

Since it began tracking civilian casualties in Afghanistan a decade ago, pro-government forces were responsible for the majority of civilian deaths, attributing 53 percent.

This statistic is just another indicating that the American mission to root out terrorism and establish stability in Afghanistan has failed.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in pursuit of the terrorists and their sponsors which were the base for the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.

It’s getting harder and harder to track the 17-year-long war, the longest in U.S. history.

But insurgent forces have remained responsible for the majority of overall civilian casualties, with civilian casualties from non-suicide improvised explosive device (IED) attacks spiking at 21 percent, with 53 deaths and 269 injuries.

U.S. Special Inspector-General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko warned ahead of the release of his latest quarterly report:

“What we are finding is now almost every indication, [the] metric for success or failure is now classified or nonexistent. Over time it’s been classified or it’s no longer being collected …The classification in some areas is needless.”

Sopko did not detail what information previously made public would be blacked out in the new quarterly report — which are mandated by Congress and intended as public documents — aimed at tracking waste, fraud and abuse in U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. The reports have also become an important tracking tool for territorial and population control by the insurgent Taliban.

The blame rests in part with the Afghan government, Sopko said. Kabul, which provides some of the information to the U.S. Defense Department, insists that certain data not be made public. (Members of Congress can still view the information in a classified annex.)

“I don’t think it makes sense,” Sopko said. “The Afghan people know which districts are controlled by the Taliban. The Taliban obviously know which districts they control. Our military knows it. Everybody in Afghanistan knows it. The only people who don’t know what’s going on is the people who are paying for all of this, the American taxpayer.”

President George W. Bush vowed to “win the war against terrorism,” and later zeroed in on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Bush eventually called on the Taliban regime to “deliver to the United States authorities all the leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land.”

The Taliban regime unraveled rapidly after its loss at Mazar-e-Sharif on November 9, 2001, to forces loyal to Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek military leader. In December 2001, after tracking al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to the well-equipped Tora Bora cave complex southeast of Kabul, Afghan militias engaged in a fierce two-week battle (December 3 to 17) with al-Qaeda militants resulting in a few hundred deaths and the eventual escape of bin Laden, who is thought to have left for Pakistan on horseback on December 16—just a day before Afghan forces captured twenty of his remaining men.

After the fall of Kabul in November 2001, the United Nations invited major Afghan factions, most prominently the Northern Alliance and a group led by the former king (but not the Taliban), to a conference in Bonn, Germany. On December 5, 2001, the factions sign the Bonn Agreement, endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 1383. The Bonn Agreement is followed by UN Security Council Resolution 1386 on December 20, which establishes the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF.

President George W. Bush called for the reconstruction of Afghanistan in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute.

“By helping to build an Afghanistan that is free from this evil and is a better place in which to live, we are working in the best traditions of George Marshall,” he says, evoking the post-World War II Marshall Plan that revived Western Europe. But the United States and the international community do not come close to Marshall Plan-like reconstruction spending for Afghanistan. The U.S. Congress appropriates over $38 billion in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan from 2000.

Hamid Karzai, chairman of Afghanistan’s interim administration since December 2001, is picked to head the country’s transitional government. His selection came during an emergency assembled in Kabul, attended by 1,550 delegates (including about 200 women) from Afghanistan’s 364 districts. Karzai, leader of the powerful Popalzai tribe of Durrani Pashtuns, returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks to organize Pashtun resistance to the Taliban.


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