Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Afghanistan War

The never-ending war in Afghanistan may be doomed to another decade of fighting. The Afghan people are largely opposed to the Taliban, but the Taliban is fighting for their religion and their country and can likely fight forever. Getting the Afghans and Taliban to discuss how they can share power in a democratic model of government is the best solution.

The Taliban have no incentive to protect Al Qaeda and that could be the wedge issue. An agreement to share power within an Afghan regime that excludes Al Qaeda would likely be supported by NATO and the US. Al Qaeda is reported to be down to only 300 people. Although it is Al Qaeda the US wants after 9/11 it may possibly be achieved by getting the Afghans and Taliban to share power and by getting Pakistan unconditionally on side.

Unfortunately, the US has other interests, which is primarily establishing permanent residence via military bases in Afghanistan to protect their larger interests in the region. The Afghans and Taliban will oppose this indefinitely and it makes it more difficult to isolate or capture Osama Bin Laden who is believed to be still living somewhere in Pakistan near the Afghanistan border.

The US driven NATO presence in Afghanistan is one the US may have to fight alone. Afghanistan, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Pakistan are not natural allies, but they do all oppose the US and any western presence in the region. It is time to push for peace through negotiations or get out of the region completely.

Finding Osama Bin Laden, defeating the Taliban, gaining the unconditional support of Afghanistan and Pakistan has eluded NATO and the US. It is a complex mess of religion and divergent views and objectives flowing from all sides. A military victory is highly unlikely. Continuing the fight in Afghanistan will see the needless loss of more lives on both sides and fail to satisfy the region or the US led NATO involvement. So why are we still there?