ISLAMABAD (Asia Free Press) – The United States fought its history’s longest and expensive war in Afghanistan to hunt its most wanted enemy in the landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia.
The 20year long war not only caused human loss but loss of American tax payers money which was flushed into the dungeon it created.
“We went to Afghanistan almost 20 years ago with clear goals: get those who attacked us on September 11th, 2001, and make sure al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again,” US President Joe Biden told reporters on Aug. 16, at White House.
“We did that. We severely degraded al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We never gave up the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and we got him. That was a decade ago,” he added.
Post 9/11, the US government invaded Afghanistan, after Taliban government in Kabul refused to hand over Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden to Washington.
On Oct. 7, 2001, the US and British forces launched “Operation Enduring Freedom”, an airstrike campaign in Afghanistan targeted Kandahar, Kabul and Jalalabad that lasted five days and after Kabul fell to west.
The US in Afghan war has spent over $2.26 trillion to eliminate Al-Qaeda and Taliban to bring a democratic government in Kabul in order to protect the country from any future threat to Washington. However, recently the US President said that his country’s mission was never supposed to have nation building in Kabul
“Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy,” Biden said.
US, its allies and civilian losses in Afghanistan and Pakistan
The US coined war against terror has not only caused huge financial and military losses to US and NATO allies but also caused human and financial losses to civilians in the region as well.
According to the US based Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University report, Washington has spent $2.26 trillion for the war in Afghanistan from the fall of 2001, through the fiscal year that ends in September. The report also said 241,000 lives were lost as a direct result of the war.
The deaths account for, 2,448 US military and Defense Department civilians were killed in the conflict, as well as 1,144 allied troops. The report estimates that up to 69,000 Afghan security forces personnel died, along with 72 journalists and 444 humanitarian aid workers.
The report mentioned that number of deaths do not include deaths caused by disease, loss of access to food, water, infrastructure or other indirect consequences of war.
“This is what happens when you loose track of your objectives. US went in Afghanistan with un clear objectives, for some it was bombing Afghanistan, for some it was getting Bin-Laden and for some it was keeping US’s footprint in Central Asia.” said Sabah Aslam, security expert and chief executive of Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution, Islamabad based think tank.
No one is certain about what is going to happen next, but what we should know is this war has effected this region particularly Pakistan and we all need to ensure that it never happens again, she added.
On June 30, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan , while addressing the country’s parliament, said that over 70,000 civilians including army and police persons killed in Pakistan in terrorists attacks during last 15 years.
“The U.S. war triggered a militant backlash Pakistan in which 70,000 Pakistanis were killed in suicide bombings and other terror attacks, and loss of around $150 billion was inflicted to our economy,” Khan said.
US Defeat in Afghanistan
US and its NATO allies currently facing tough public criticism inside their countries following Afghan Taliban took over the country’s capital Kabul on Aug. 15.
Many US and its allies’ countries analysts termed the recent episode in Afghanistan as total failure of Washington and NATO.
“The US has suffered total humiliation in Afghanistan. The US and its puppet regime had no popular support. The Taliban did. Over the last 20 years Western interventionism has been an abject failure. The US’s role as a global power will never recover,” Martin Jacques, a UK based analysts and author tweeted.
However, the US President apparently rejected the public criticism and said he inherited a deal that President Trump negotiated with the Taliban last year in Doha.
“U.S. forces had already drawn down during the Trump administration from roughly 15,500 American forces to 2,500 troops in country, and the Taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001,” Biden said.
Sudden collapse of Afghan army
The US also facing criticism over its investments on Afghan army that it built during its stay in Kabul.
Despite spending over $88 billion to train and equip Afghanistan’s army and police, the Afghan military dismantled within few days after majority of US troops withdrew from the war-torn country.
“There are many reasons behind sudden collapse of Afghan army but the main reason was corruption in the military and rely on US forces,” said Sabah Aslam.
However, the US President accused the Afghan leaders for sudden collapse of its army and said “So what happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed without trying to fight. “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said and adding the US spent over a trillion dollars, trained and equipped an Afghan military force of some 300,000 strong, incredibly well equipped, a force larger in size than the militaries of many of our NATO allies.
“We gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide them was the will to fight for their future,” he added.