I was a big supporter of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. The intent was noble. The will (political and military) was adamant about rooting out Taliban and Al Qaeda from that country and put it on a path of self determination. The citizens of Afghanistan seemed to want to throw out Taliban to better their lives.
But NATO’s mission in Afghanistan has failed on all counts. There is no political leadership anymore. Militarily NATO is strong but has absolutely no clue on how to fight an insurgency. The citizens of Afghanistan are exactly where they were 5 years ago. Self determination is a joke. NATO itself is fragmented with some member countries refusing to pull their weight leaving the country to US and Canada to manage.
So what happened to the noble idea of “introducing democracy to Afghanistan”? It got left in the dust by Iraq. That’s what happened. When the focus of US shifted to Iraq, Afghanistan became a lost project. It’s broken and no one wants to pick the pieces.
And who is facing the brunt of the failed cause? The citizens of Afghanistan and 25 – 26 year old idealist kids from NATO countries. The citizens of Afghanistan are paying the higher price. All they want to do is to continue to live. But they continue to answer to warlords and continue facing insurgents’ wrath of having aided the foreign enemy.
And what about the kids from NATO countries. They went to Afghanistan with the hope of helping build a society but what are they actually doing. No one knows. And this is the biggest beef I have with the whole mission. What is the objective of the NATO mission? What are the short term and long term goals? It seems like no one has sat down and actually thought about that for a while.
Canada was quick to contribute to the mission but when you think about it, what exactly was the plan of action? Did Canada go in to the mission because it was a quick way to extract “revenge” from Al Qaeda for 9/11? Or did Canada really have noble intention which, when faced with the reality of the situation in Afghanistan, was grounded to dust.
I think this mission is going nowhere now. Kids and citizens are dying for reasons unknown. Our political masters are playing god. And the politics is hidden behind the logo Supporting The Troops because to pull them out would mean “defeat”. I think that disingenuous. And it’s our troops who are paying the price for this moronic attitude by politicians (well, I was one of them
so I guess it’s a poor reflection on my “logical mind”).
The mission has (semi-) failed. Now is the time to pull out of Afghanistan. And arbitrary pullout date of 2009 is meaningless. Start in the next 6 months and finish by mid – 2008. The security on the ground should be left to the Afghanistanis. The more we try and baby sit them, the more difficulty they will have in taking those crucial baby steps.
It’s time to bring the troops back home.