Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Coalition Forces Are Losing Ground In Afghanistan
If that is really true, I have to wonder why when the United States met with NATO recently the withdrawal target was moved from the end of 2011 to the end of 2014. If coalition forces are being so successful, why is an additional three years needed? The truth is that either the president has been misinformed or he was telling a lie (to make the troops and other Americans feel better about a war we cannot win).
The United Nations, under whose auspices the war is being fought, has official maps that tell a different story from that being expressed by the president and military officials. These maps divide the country's many districts into ratings of very high risk (red), high risk, medium rish and low risk (green). Last March, the maps showed the southern parts of the country as red, while the northern parts were green.
Since that time, the coalition troops have conducted intense fighting in the south. They did capture some Taliban strongholds, but as the Wall Street Journal reports, "Though no longer under uncontested Taliban control, most of these areas remain a war zone, with frequent shootings and bombings." The south has not been pacified.
And unhappily, the maps for October showed that while the south remains very high risk, many areas in the formerly low risk north have now become high risk areas -- mainly because troops were pulled out of these areas to fight in the south and insurgents moved back in. The U.N. wouldn't comment on the maps, but spokesman Kieran Dwyer did say, ". . .the security situation in many parts of the country has become unstable where it previously had not been so. There is violence happening in more parts of the country."
In addition, the NGO Safety Office says that insurgent attacks are up 66% in 2010. The latest Pentagon report puts that figure a little higher -- at a 70% increase. This means that not only have coalition forces lost ground in the amount of area they declare as safe from attack, but the attacks are up significantly. In plain English, coalition forces are not winning the Afghan War. They actually lost ground in 2010.
If this is the situation after more than nine years of war, why should anyone believe the situation will improve with another four years of the same war? It won't. Despite the best efforts of our military, our government (starting with Bush and continuing with Obama) has gotten us embroiled in another Vietnam-like conflict that cannot be won.
It is time to admit this and withdraw all of our troops from Afghanistan (and while we're at it, the 50,000 troops left in Iraq should also be brought home). Failure to do this will just mean more American soldiers will die while nothing is accomplished (except to continue protection of the most corrupt regime in that part of the world). It's just not worth it.