Win or Withdraw? The Need for Clarity in Afghanistan

(CCU Student) Anybody who has wandered around their living room in the middle of the night will tell you the potential danger of moving in darkness. Yet for the past nine years, the United States has done just that in Afghanistan. And it is this lack of direction that has a potential for crushing consequences.

Immediately following September 11, 2001, the U.S. began organizing and preparing to strike at the heart of Al Qaeda by invading Afghanistan and toppling the Taliban government that had been harboring and training terrorists. In doing so, the military was forced to literally write the book on Afghanistan from scratch. But despite a lack of solid intelligence going into the fight, U.S. Special Operations and conventional units achieved a rapid and decisive invasion of Afghanistan.

But nine years later, the United States and NATO still find themselves bogged down in Afghanistan. One of the biggest contributors to this problem is the fact that we still have yet to define clearly the mission in Afghanistan almost a decade into the war. Are we there simply to kill the Taliban and Al Qaeda? Are we there to liberate the Afghani people? Are we there to build a nation? The possible reasons for our military intervention in Afghanistan are endless; but we must make a decision as to the real reason for our involvement.

For the leadership within the United States and NATO, there is a desperate need for clarity and decisiveness on what we hope to accomplish in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, looking this problem in the eye may reveal a much larger and deeper condition than our leaders wish to acknowledge. But without looking into the full story of our enemy’s situation, we cannot expect to combat their efforts effectively.

Until that happens, all that can be done by the military is the purchase of more time for Western and Afghan leaders to come up with a clear plan that benefits both parties. But Afghanistan is proving every day that time costs blood. Just how much blood it takes before the coalition readjusts remains to be seen.

Jacob Delargy is a Colorado Christian University sophomore and and Army ROTC cadet. He posted this the day after helping host Bill Roggio of Long War Journal for a Centennial Institute briefing entitled: “Reality Check on Iraq and Afghanistan.” Delargy is pictured below introducing Roggio at the Oct. 25 event.

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