With the endgame near for large-scale U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, Americans have already begun to debate the broader implications of the conflict. Many have painted it as a failure, even a strategic fiasco. But it is not. Given the dynamics of the conflict and its wider strategic context, Afghanistan should be considered a win, albeit one that came at a much greater cost than was necessary.
In the emotional turmoil following the Sept. 11 attacks, there was little consideration of the ultimate strategic goals of a U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan. The focus was instead on destroying al-Qaida and its infrastructure. The brutal and barbaric Taliban regime governing the country only became a target when it decided to support its terrorist allies. The Bush administration believed that once the Taliban had been removed from power, Afghanistan would be put under some sort of international control. This reflected the administration's wider preference that fighting be left largely to the United States, with someone else taking care of cleaning up afterward. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $11.99 monthly or $94.99/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Diplomatic Fallout: Frustrations Mount for Both the U.S. and Its Foes at the U.N.
- Can Afghanistan’s Ghani Avoid the Pitfalls of the Resource Curse?
- Global Insights: For U.S. and South Korea, Missile Defense Looms as Next Big Challenge
- The Realist Prism: The International Order Faces a Fateful and Perilous Winter
- Strategic Horizons: Updated Weinberger Principles Still a Guide for Use of U.S. Force