The Unwinnable WarAfghanistan, often called the crossroad of central Asia has been at the center of scrutiny and hardship seemingly since the very beginning, passing from country to country and ruler to ruler. On December 1st, 2009, President Barack Obama gave a speech regarding his decision to add thirty thousand more troops to Afghanistan. His objectives are to deny al Qaeda a safe haven, reverse the Talibans momentum, and strengthen Afghanistans security forces and government. While watching the president speak I came to the sudden realization I knew little to nothing about the United States involvement in Afghanistan. Recently I have begun considering the military as a very real and viable option and decided this was a good way to learn something that could help influence my decision, I believe every person has an effect on the worlds future and also that people need to be held accountable for their actions.
However it is important for citizens to know what their government is doing and not blindly support an idea and instead researching the facts. That is why I decided to research why the president decided to increase troops in Afghanistan, learn who the Taliban and Al Qaeda are and how they operate, and reasons why past efforts to erect this country from ruin have failed. For my research I found that using the databases shown to us in class were an extremely helpful asset in finding up to date knowledgeable information on my topic. I also researched by watching President Obama??™s speech, and the news on a daily basis. I also kept up to date by reading online articles and opinions. While reading online articles and opinions I noticed an abnormally large variance in statistics between different news sources on information and it helped me become aware of the personal bias that has crept into our mainstream media.
On December 1st, 2009 our president Barack Obama spoke to the public regarding a troop increase to Afghanistan to help take control of the chaos surrounding Afghanistan. The increase in troops, Obama said, “ will increase our ability to train competent Afghan security forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. They will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.
” Obama put an emphasis on the rest of the world joining the fight to help end the war in Iraq stating that, “ We must come together to end this war successfully??? and “ Its easy to forget that when this war began we were united — bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear.” (1) It was also stated that the security of the world was at risk to the unstable conditions that are occurring from the middle east. “ Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011,” Obama said at West Point on December 1.
“ Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground.” (2) It was decided that 30, 000 people are scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan, putting key emphasis on the fact that he wanted to train the Afghan troops to be successful in securing their own country, hoping that they will soon be trained well enough to be proficient enough to where the U. S. will be able to reassign the responsibility of Afghanistan on to the Afghan army. The majority of troops being released are designated as Combat troops but were given very specific orders that even if considered combat to consider themselves a instructor.
He also announced his timetable for troops to withdraw as early as July 2011. “ If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan,” Barack Obama said, announcing his decision to send 30, 000 more troops to Afghanistan, “ I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow.” (3)One of the 20th-century armed conflicts involving our Armed Forces was the so-called Afghan crisis that started in the 1970s and lasted till the 1990s. (4) Afghanistan finally managed to gain their independence from the soviet unions control in February of 1989. Unfortunately soon after the Taliban, a terrorist organization seized control of the country because of its weak and corrupt political system. The Taliban originally came to Afghanistan in 1980 when the war with the Soviet Union broke out, fighting against the Soviet invasion though not becoming a standing force in the Afghan politics until 1994. The groups leaders practiced an orthodox form of Sunni Islam similar to that of the practice in Saudi Arabia, this was known as Wahhabism.
The city of Kandahar was where their initial foothold began and then expanded influence through force, negotiation, and payoffs. Afghanistan is also the worlds largest producer of opium; poppy cultivation decreased 22% to 157, 000 hectares in 2008 but remains at a historically high level, if the entire opium crop were processed, 648 metric tons of pure heroin potentially could be produced; the Taliban and other antigovernment groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan; widespread corruption and instability impede counterdrug efforts; most of the heroin consumed in Europe and Eurasia is derived from Afghan opium; vulnerable to drug money laundering through informal financial networks. After taking control of the capital city of Kabul on September 26, 1996, the Taliban issued edicts forbidding women to work outside the home, attend school, or to leave their homes unless accompanied by a husband, father, brother, or son. In public, women must be covered from head to toe in a burqa, a body-length covering with only a mesh opening to see and breathe through.(5) The Taliban restricts women??™s and girls??™ access to health care, employment, and education. The Taliban prohibit girls from attending school, there are a few home based schools and some schools in rural areas which quietly operate to educate girls. They also require that windows in houses that have female occupants be painted over. The burqa was worn in Kabul before the Taliban took control, but it was not an enforced dress code and many women wore only scarves that cover the head.
The Talibans restriction on women??™s movement and dress is stopping women from fleeing the country or getting aid of any type. The burqa makes it difficult for them to move quickly. The Taliban is not the only concern of the United States War on Terror, The attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 was led by Al-Qaeda, a terrorist force that has initiated major attacks on various locations throughout the world.
Activities ascribed to it may involve members of the movement, who have taken a pledge of loyalty to Osama Bin Laden, or the much more numerous “ al-Qaeda-linked” individuals who have undergone training in one of its camps in Afghanistan. The origins of al-Qaeda as a network inspiring terrorism around the world and training operatives can be traced to the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda has developed elaborate ideological constructs that manipulate Islamic religious teachings to justify the mass murder of innocent people, in a holy war or jihad which is prohibited by the Koran and rejected by mainstream Muslim religious leaders. Though still addressed as a major threat to the safety of America and its citizens it is believed by United States intelligence that less than 120 Al-Qaeda remain in reclusion somewhere on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Overall I learned a lot about the country of Afghanistan, and the ongoing conflict and controversy surrounding the country. The vast amount of human rights violations along with the current infestation of terrorist organizations makes the United States involvement a must, President Obamas decision to add 30, 000 troops to the country was bold but necessary not only to protect the citizens of America, but the Afghani people as well. Only time will tell if the increase in troops will be enough to dismantle the serious threat that occupies the country.
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