The Afghan War concluded precisely as it had begun, with no clear
understanding of its goals or outcomes. Accordingly, the US invasion of
Afghanistan was hastily devised in days. The choices that shaped the US military
operation in Afghanistan in 2001, however, exhibit a remarkable degree of
continuity due to a continuing pre-September 11 evolution in US foreign policy.
Twenty years ago, US military operations in Afghanistan did not start. But that
was in 1979, under Jimmy Carter's administration. Former National Security
Advisor to President Carter Zbigniew Brzezinski advocated US covert backing for
Islamic radicals engaged in combat in Afghanistan in 1998. America's longest war
in Afghanistan was founded on false pretences without any specific goal.
The outcome has been a persistently dangerous security environment that
coincides with the Taliban's rebirth as a potential replacement for Kabul's
deeply corruption that is ingrained and ongoing. These activities took place as
the non-Pashtun. The opposition to Karzai seemed to be in chaos and couldn't
seem to establish a centre. Around which to counterbalance the harmful impact of
Karzai and the company. It is difficult to believe that the simple one-year
delay in the withdrawal's effective date might cause. These essential realities
on the ground won't change in the event of US and NATO forces.
In 2014, the United States and its partners may have concluded that it was time
to drastically scale back, if not ultimately end, their presence in Afghanistan
unless the regime met a set of bare requirements. Few officials have
specifically mentioned the devastating repercussions following the abrupt U.S.
withdrawal from the region after the Soviet Union's collapse. Pull-out in 1989,
but the memories of the bloody and violent ensuing battle and the Taliban's
subsequent ascendancy cannot have completely subsided. Even so, the U.S. did
scale back its withdrawal, though not wholly. It increased its force to around
10,000 at the start of 2015, a level it will keep.
According to the conditions of the SOFA, NATO would deploy 2,000 troops to
Afghanistan in 2015. It is not unexpected that the nation's condition following
the drawdown continues to be a severe concern for the central states in the
region, not to mention the people of Afghanistan. These worries are primarily
related to how well the new Afghan government and security forces will maintain
law and order and keep the Taliban at bay as foreign soldiers leave the
The United States has effectively withdrawn from Afghanistan after the
considerable expenditure of blood and treasure. More than 2,200 American service
members have perished in battle there as of January 2015, and more than 17,200
Afghan civilians had also perished. 2 Additionally, a Pentagon assessment states
that the conflict is costing the United States $300 million each day. Congress's
support for the war in the United States has started to dwindle, but the Obama
administration does not appear unduly concerned about it. Congressional backing
for the number of U.S. allies in Afghanistan has progressively decreased. They
are beginning to show symptoms of growing weary of their commitment as domestic
support for their troops has sharply decreased. 
In a book by Ahmed Rashid, the American role in Afghanistan has been well
documented (2010).  The book Taliban: The Power of Militant Islam in
Afghanistan and Beyond offers a keen understanding of the nation, its people,
and the outside powers involved in the area in a new "Great Game."
The history of the movement, including its beginnings, fundamentalism, political
and military leaders, internal conflicts, the opium trade, the significance of
oil resources, and foreign meddling in Afghan affairs, particularly on the part
of Pakistan, the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and China, are all covered in
the book. Rashid, who is hardly a wild-eyed extremist, has worked as the Far
Eastern Economic Review and Daily Telegraph's Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central
He contends that the US was seeking allies and stable bases in energy-rich
central Eurasia but was constrained by its own embargo on Iran, which went into
effect in 1980 and was compelled to explore for alternative routes into the
intricate web of Eurasian politics and economics.
Sometime in 1994, as Afghanistan descended into chaos due to the civil war that
followed the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, a very covert organisation of Afghan
religious professors and students known as the Taliban arose from the merry band
of anti-communist militants. Its stated goals were to uphold traditional Islamic
law, maintain Afghanistan's Islamic identity, and restore peace while also
fighting crime and corruption. The group's assurance of security won the
According to Rashid, the US administration's decision to help this young rebel
force in its efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan's war-torn country was
motivated by the US's vital energy interests in using Afghanistan as a
significant oil transit route. The Taliban appeared to be the only force able to
keep the masses united during the civil war as they were rapidly disintegrating.
Once in power, the Taliban Movement controlled ongoing banditry, ethnic
disputes, and religious strife while disarming a large portion of the
Oil and gas have always held a special position among the long-term US strategic
motives, even though they are not the direct causes of the US engagement in
Afghanistan. A fundamental US objective was maintaining control over Central
Asia's massive but landlocked oil and gas deposits, especially Turkmenistan's.
Afghanistan offers Turkmenistan's massive oil and gas deposits the quickest and
most affordable export route. For the US firms to build an oil and gas pipeline
through Afghanistan, there were extensive negotiations and planning.
Without considering this long-term strategic objective, it is impossible to
determine the reasons behind the war in Afghanistan by focusing solely on the
September 11 terrorist attacks. The US administration was determined to maintain
a dominant position in the heartland of Eurasia for reasons of global strategy
and control over natural resources. Before the September 11 terrorist attacks,
the 2001 intervention was meticulously rehearsed and well-planned.
The September 11th incident gave the US government more motivation to tighten
control over the area and to demonstrate to the rest of the world America's
potential for political and military dominance. A few days before September 11,
the US Energy Information Administration stated that:
Afghanistan's significance from an energy standpoint arises from its
The hijacked aircraft that struck the Pentagon and the World Trade Center only
added another justification for the unilateral expansion of US political and
military dominance over Afghanistan and the surrounding region. The so-called
war on terror made it possible for the US military to enter regions where it had
not before been present.
The US military set up 13 new military bases in neighbouring former Soviet
states during the early phases of the war in Afghanistan, with Uzbekistan
becoming the first country in central Asia to host a permanent military post in
early 2002. Soon after, more facilities started to arise in Tajikistan and
Kyrgyzstan, and the associated policy and practice of joint military drills
expanded to include faraway Kazakhstan.
President Bush designated Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-born former UNOCAL
staffer, as a special representative to Afghanistan after the first fighting was
over. Through this nomination, the significance of the financial and commercial
interests at risk in the US effort in Afghanistan was brought to light.
Before being named ambassador, Khalilzad created a risk assessment for a
planned gas pipeline from the Indian Ocean to the former Soviet republic of
Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Numerous financial transactions, the production of natural gas and oil, and
massive multinational enterprises with solid ties to the US state. It's not a
paranoid notion; instead, it's just a nexus of political and economic interests
operating under the guise of the "war on terror." It is just the way things are,
not a plot.
What can only be described as America's loss in Afghanistan is represented by
this outcome in yet another way. Given China's desire to alter the global
economic system, Washington must make every effort to avoid making additional
errors that could provide Beijing with the lucrative chances it so tenaciously
pursues. Last but not least, the withdrawal from Afghanistan has left a void
China is willing to fill. A detailed examination of America's Afghan blunder
would undoubtedly reveal many more lessons.
Nevertheless, Washington should not hesitate to take action as quickly as
feasible since those mentioned above seem likely to stand the test of time. The
difficulty that America's allies encounter is that the country seems to be
undergoing a severe transformation for the worst policy towards others
Written By: Sayed Qudrat Hashimy
- Michael D. Shear and Mark Mazzetti, ''U.S. to Delay Pullout of Troops
from Afghanistan to Aid Strikes,'' ibid., March 24, 2015, p. A1.
- Ankit Panda, ''U.S., Afghanistan Cement Long Delayed Security
Agreement,'' The Diplomat, October 1, 2014, at , accessed October, 2022
- Mihai Carp, "Building Stability in Afghanistan," NATO Review (Spring
2016); Sean Kay and Sahar Kahn, "NATO and Counter-Insurgency: Strategic
Liability or Tactical Asset," Contemporary Security Policy 28, no. 1 (2016),
- Rashid, A. (2010) Taliban: The Power of Militant Islam in Afghanistan
and Beyond. 2nd ed. London: I. B. Tauris.
- Yuen Foong Khong, Analogies at War: Korea, Munich, Dien Bien Phu and the
Vietnam Decision of 1965 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 12.
- Cited in Max Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of
American Power (New York: Basic Books, 2002), 307
- See Andrew J. Bacevich, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are
Seduced by War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), for one of the best
critiques on how history has been abused in the United States
- Misra, A. (2002) "The Taliban, Radical Islam and Afghanistan," Third
World Quarterly, 23(3), 579.
- Haslam, J. (2011) Russia's Cold War: From the October Revolution to the
Fall of the Wall, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011, 326
- Helen Cooper and Eric Schmitt, "Officials in U.S. Debate Speeding Afghan
Pull-out, Commanders Opposed," The New York Times, March 13, 2012, A1;
"Australia to Withdraw Troops Sooner than Expected," CNN International,
April 17, 2012
- Mihai Carp, "Building Stability in Afghanistan," NATO Review (Spring
2006); Sean Kay and Sahar Kahn, "NATO and Counter-Insurgency: Strategic
Liability or Tactical Asset," Contemporary Security Policy 28, no. 1 (2007),