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Pulling U.S. Troops Out of Afghanistan

There has been much discussion of late about pulling our troops out of that central Asian nation. An interesting article by Seth G. Jones in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of the CTC Sentinel explores this dilemma. One side of the argument says that the U.S. has no vital security interests in that far away country, and that the conflict has been going on for 19 years with no resolution. In essence, it appears we will keep troops there for the benefit of the globalists who want to keep a U.S. presence around the world, whether we have a need to or not. In general, I believe we (the U.S.) need to bring our troops home if there is no over-riding need for national security. The decision in Afghanistan is a hard call, but let me share some of the deciding factors.

Reasons to pull out troops:

The US has had troops there for the last 19 years with no resolution.

The US has spent over $800 billion in military expenditures. More than 2,300 soldiers, 43,000 civilians and 114,000 jihadis have been killed with no end in sight.

The Taliban is heavily influenced, if not dominated, by the Pashtun tribe, which is interested in establishing an “Islamic Emirate” with self-rule. They are not focused on establishing a world-wide Caliphate or being dominated by one.

The Taliban receive much material support from Pakistan, Russia, and Iran. They also receive financial support from wealthy Gulf donors. If funds, equipment, weapons, and intel reach the jihadi organization, they can outlast any outside non-Muslim country. The Afghans have a history of outlasting and wearing down their opponents. Russia, which shares a border, was an example in 1980s.

If the situation is worth saving, why aren't area countries more involved with their troops? India, not to be outdone by Pakistan, is involved in their urban cities trying to make a difference. I would gather that India has a lot more skin in the game, but where are their troops?

This situation is reminiscent of the quagmire the U.S. faced in Vietnam.

Reasons for not pulling out troops:

The Taliban already have de facto rule of the countryside. The urban areas belong to the Afghan government. The Taliban have failed to seize and hold any major cities; their extremist ideology is not supported by many Afghans in urban areas.

Taliban leaders remain committed to fundamentalist Islam. They believe participation in democracy is blasphemy and they believe the role of women should be limited in outside life. Removing US troops would allow the Taliban to destroy all attempts the US made at nation building. All the democratic elections – gone. All the gains in women’s healthcare and education – gone. All the resources spent to bring Afghanistan into the twenty-first century – gone. The Taliban are known for their human rights abuses, but so were the Viet Cong.

The one issue that started the U.S. incursion into Afghanistan is still an open sore. The Taliban is and will continue to maintain close ties with al-Qa’ida and several other terrorist groups. If US troops are pulled out, there is no guarantee that al-Qa’ida will not move in as they did before and cause another 9/11 attack. However, al-Qa'ida is at war with the Islamic State and their attention for the foreseeable future will be focused on this inter-religious conflict.

Pulling out will allow Muslims to consolidate their belief in jihad as a means to promote their religion. The Russians pulled out in 1989 and if you ask the Taliban, it was not Western arms and funding that bogged down the Russians, it was the religious call for jihad. If the US pull outs, they will give credit to Allah and move on to the next conflict either in Syria or Kazakhstan.

The last reason is the military support received from western oriented organizations such as NATO. If the U.S. pulls out, they probably will also.

Deciding factors

The resources received by the Taliban are porous and unstoppable. Their religion encourages jihad. Unless you can stop the resources and redirect the jihad, it will be like army ants that keep on marching.

While al-Qa’ida might resume operations in the country, they are in other countries as well. Why not let them have refuge in a country you can easily surveil with satellite and drone technology. Let it be known that al-Qa’ida personnel are subject to devastating aerial attacks. While the Islamic emirate rules the people, the US rules the skies.

The US lost the Vietnamese War in 1974 but in 30 years we were back in their country as best friends. Perhaps the military strategy is not one to use. Muslims do believe in trade and commerce and they may come around to a country who wants to be a trading partner.

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