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Some brief thoughts on Afghanistan

August 16, 2021 pm31 1:43 pm

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is horrible for the people there.

The US military presence in Afghanistan, for 20 years, has been a foreign military presence. Some of us may have forgotten that.

Without US troops, the Afghan government put up little resistance. In many cities the Taliban just walked in.

The Taliban entered Kabul a day earlier than they had announced – to prevent crime. Sounds like a made-up excuse, except there were on the ground reports from locals about armed men, not Taliban, stealing and looting.

The US left Bagram Airbase July 2. The Taliban swept through the provinces and took Kabul in the intervening six weeks. This is comparable to the time it took Germany to conquer Poland, for an area 6 times as large.

Twenty years of US presence in Afghanistan built up no popular support for the Afghan government. That’s clear.

Twenty years of US presence cost roughly $850,000,000,000. That’s 850 billion.

Could 850 billion have extended/improved unemployment benefits? Built new roads and schools? Rebuilt bridges and tunnels? Bailed out small businesses? With all those zeroes at the end, it can be hard to fathom. But know this: 850 billion could have paid for a lot of stuff we need.

Twenty years of US presence cost Afghanistan – who knows?  100,000 dead. But what sort of damage to the country? And it also cost almost 3000 Americans their lives.

The United States under Ronald Reagan armed Islamic guerrillas in Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight against the then Afghan government. That government was pro-Soviet. The United States constructed and supported the forces that would later develop into the Taliban.

The Taliban takeover is horrible for the people there. A solution needs to be found – but as the last 40 years have shown – the US is part of the problem – and keeping us out is part of the solution.

Map shows areas controlled by Taliban in orange. (AP)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Pat Ballew permalink
    August 16, 2021 pm31 3:28 pm 3:28 pm

    Hard truths you never hear on floor of congress. Well stated, and needs to be repeated often.

    Thanks

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