Victory in Afghanistan
When President Barack Obama announced in early December that he would be sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, many Americans denounced the move because of Obama’s promise to end the war before he leaves office in 2012. At that point, the American-led war that started more than eight years ago appeared endless. With over 1,000 American deaths and not a triumph in years, it seemed that the U.S. military has become so used to failure that it had lost any hope to win, but the recent victory over the Taliban should serve as a mode for confidence.
On February 15, the New York Times announced that the American and Pakistani intelligence forces had captured the Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Baradar is the most significant figure of the Taliban detained since the war began. On February 18, the U.S. military confirmed the capture of two more Taliban leaders, Mullah Abdul Salam and Mullah Mir Mohammed, in Pakistan.
The Taliban has been controlling Afghanistan since 1994. Even though their governance was overthrown in 2001 under the Bush administration, their leaders have gone into hiding and still gained power. The Taliban ruled Afghanistan under Sharia law—the way a Muslim must live. However, it was their interpretation of Sharia that the Taliban enforced. As a result, many Afghanis suffered, including women who were deprived of an education. With their top military commander gone for now, the Taliban’s stronghold is weakened.
There is another noteworthy point to these victories: they have come under the leadership of President Obama, not former President George W. Bush, who initiated the war. Americans seem to be desensitized by the failures under the Bush administration. There was not enough support for the U.S. military to enter Afghanistan in the first place, so even if there was good news to come out of the war, it wasn’t easy for dissenters to show support for the troops. Now that there is a victory, people need to encourage those who are fighting, despite the fact that they are still against the war.
Obama could have stuck with his campaign promise and pulled the troops out of Afghanistan right away—saving money and lives of Americans, but it would leave Afghanis in a weak position. The U.S. military might have strengthened the Afghan army, but that won’t make them strong enough to fight against the Taliban if they failed once before. Since the war began in 2001, approximately 8,600 Afghan soldiers and 8,300 Afghan civilians have been killed. If the U.S. military stays and defends the country for a little longer, there will be victory for both sides, especially if they work to protect one another.
Now Obama’s addition is not such a bad idea, is it?