Today marks the 15th birthday of America's longest war. Here are some reflections.
Derek Coy in the veterans' newsletter Task and Purpose.
Fifteen years later, we're still fighting in Afghanistan and no one cares:
. . . Today, Oct. 7, marks the 15th anniversary of combat operations in Afghanistan, which is now our longest war to date, and other than a select few who bear the brunt of this burden, most people will see #WorldSmileDay trending on Twitter today and not think twice about this somber and embarrassing anniversary. Nothing could be more insulting to the troops currently serving.. . .
Vijay Prashad in Afghanistan Times.
15 Years Later the Taliban Is Back in Power in Afghanistan, and More Radical Than Ever:. . . Fifteen years ago, the United States went to war on Afghanistan. . . . A decade and a half later, the Taliban is back in force. It commands large parts of the countryside, and threatens major urban areas. Kunduz, in the north, has been going back and forth between the Taliban and the Afghan National Army. Just this week, the Taliban forces took the center of the city, only to be ejected a day later. In Helmand Province in the south, home of the US Surge, the Taliban threatens the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. It already holds six of the fourteen districts of Helmand – Baghran, Dishu, Musa Qala, Nawa, Now Zad and Khanashin). The rest of the district is almost entirely dominated by the Taliban. Just north of Helmand, the Taliban threaten the provincial capital of Uruzgan – Tarin Kot. Much of southern Afghanistan, in other words, is in the craw of the Taliban.
Robert Fisk in The Independent.
The invasion of Afghanistan 15 years ago was an arrogant, wretched adventure that caused a migrant crisis:. . Now Isis is in Afghanistan. Car bombs are as frequent in Kabul as they are in Baghdad, suicide killers as numberless as they are anonymous. A new president, Ashraf Ghani, an American citizen, has pledged an end to corruption – some hope – but the militias reign supreme. (Ghani’s running mate was the ghastly Dustom). His Afghan army and police are as impotent as they were when first created by yet more American advisers after 2001.Soldiers turn up for their uniforms and a month’s pay then vanish into the desert. Khunduz is under Taliban siege for the fourth time. The Americans bombed an MSF hospital in the last battle for the city. And the Germans have just announced that they won’t pay more than the original $5,000 to families who lost their loved ones in a German/Nato air strike because the pilot followed the rules. Again, the same old story: it’s not the extent of an Afghan’s loss that will measure his recompense but the degree of culpability of those who brought about that loss. And we are never – ever – going to blame ourselves.
May Jeong in The New Republic.
Afghanistan is an Infinite QuagmireOh yeah. Fighting continues in Kunduz.
. . . Today, 15 years after the invasion began, Afghanistan has turned into America’s longest war. More than 2,300 American troops have died in the conflict, which has cost U.S. taxpayers $686 billion. As a candidate, Barack Obama vowed that we would quickly “finish the job” in Afghanistan. Instead, Obama has presided over a war that went from dismal to disastrous. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Taliban gained ground this year, while the government in Kabul grows weaker. In July, Obama announced that the United States will leave 8,400 troops in Afghanistan—up from the 5,500 he originally called for. By almost any measure, we are moving backwards.. . .
Fighting briefly closes the Kabul-Kandahar highway in Zabul.
Army base attacked in Kandahar.
Tens of thousands of non-existent troops on Afghan army payroll.