The US-led alliance has failed and in the last nine years they could not achieve any considerable success in Afghanistan. The security situation is worse than ever before, drug trafficking has touched record levels, civilian casualties have soared in the recent past, and there has been a rise in attacks on US led alliance that has deteriorated security situation in Afghanistan. Now the question arises whether the US-led alliance can achieve what they claim in next four years? Can America and its NATO allies clear nine years of mess in next four years, such claims are beyond reality.
By Shamsa Ashfaq
During the 10 years of Afghan war US military atrocities have shown continued upward trend in Afghanistan. Recently, foreign troops killed two Afghan boys, both of them in their adolescence, in restive southern city of Kandahar. After the incident in a usual fashion, NATO-led forces maintained that they had opened fire in self-defence after a civilian car veered across a ditch and struck at least three members of a foot patrol. Interestingly, in self-defence not only the two civilians who were driving the car were killed but also wounded four others when their bullets hit more than one car. Tragic part of the incident is that the killed civilians driving the car were inexperienced adolescents who got nervous when they learnt that car brakes had failed. Paradoxically, the deaths came just days after the first of five US soldiers charged with killing unarmed Afghan civilians was sentenced to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of premeditated murder. That case represented the most serious prosecution of alleged US military atrocities during 10 years of war in Afghanistan. Those are not the only cases of utter humiliation inflicted by the US military upon war ravaged Afghans living and dead alike. A few days back, Rolling Stones and German magazine Der Spiegel published photos of two of the US soldiers posing separately with the bloodied corpse of their young Afghan victim, whose head they were holding up by the hair in a trophy-style while smiling for the camera. The magazine identified one of the two soldiers as Jeremy Morlock, an army specialist and one of the five soldiers charged with murdering three Afghan villagers in 2010 then staging the deaths to make it look as though they had been killed in combat.
The Taliban are stronger than ever before. The overall safety and security situation is volatile and unstable in Afghanistan. Lack of basic infrastructure, government services and health facilities, a decrease in human resource development, drug trafficking, rising attacks on civilians and the US led alliance and corruption are the main characteristics of today`s Afghanistan.
The US military, however, apologized following the publication of these photographs out of fear that it could trigger a backlash in Afghanistan reminiscent of the reaction that greeted the publication of images of abuse by US personnel at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004. Most unfortunate and sad part of the Afghan war is the fact that there is a list of such so-called “accidental” killings of Afghan civilians followed by shallow apologies from US-led NATO forces to Afghan people. As there is a limit to everything so is the limit of Afghans’ patience and that is why they seem to be in no mood of buying the idea of apology after killing any of innocent Afghans. Civilian casualties caused by foreign troops have become a source of friction between Western forces and their ally Afghan President Hamid Karzai. They angered Afghans and now complicating efforts to win the support for a war that has brought only misery for most ordinary people. Looking away from these realities has not paid any dividends to US forces during these 10 years of war nor there are likely chances of any profitable outcome in near future. But unfortunately, US seems adamant to persistently follow “ignore reality” and “blame” others to justify their failures in fighting the war in Afghanistan and restoring peace. Perhaps, US Commander Gen. David Petraeus and Under-Secretary for Defence for Policy Michelle Flournoy’s call on Pakistan on 15th March, 2011, to do more to contain insurgents along the volatile border region, was part of their policy of scapegoating Pakistan for their own failures. The US military planners seriously need to focus on the mental illnesses of its troops fighting an unpopular war for almost a decade without any reason. The idea of safe havens in border region of Pakistan transplanted into the minds of US officials so firmly that they are fixated with the idea, which is why they are unable to succeed in Afghanistan and instead blame Pakistan. It is high time that US policy makers look into reality that psychological defeat of ISAF is the main reason for their defeat and continued suffering of its men on Afghan front and it should be stopped to have a respectable retreat from Afghan theatre.