War in Afghanistan is the longest war that the United States has engaged in its history (Hampson 2010). It started as a result of the 9/11 attacks on the US Twins Towers. The US military with the help of other countries invaded Afghanistan in a bid to destroy Al-Qaeda which used Afghanistan as their base. Since 2001, many lives have been lost and the US troops still keep charge in Afghanistan (Barfield 77). The US citizens initially supported the war but the population that opposed the invasion has increased with time (Bumiller and Kopicki 2012). Most of the population today is opposed to the Afghan war and they propose that the troops are to be withdrawn as soon as time allows.
Reasons for withdrawal
Those people who are opposed to any longer stay of the US troops in Afghanistan have cited many reasons, explaining why they want the troops withdrawn. First, the cost of maintaining the troops in Afghanistan is increasing every day. Surprisingly, most of the funds do not go to development projects that would better the lives of the Afghans, but rather, go to the military funding. The Afghan budget, which has a total population of 33 million, has an annual budget of about $26 billion. The US troops’ spending in the US, on the other hand, currently stands at $48 billion. This is a cause for worry to the US government since the existing infrastructure in Afghanistan is getting destroyed with the ongoing war (Kuchins 80). The war is therefore not beneficial in any way to the Afghan population and there is an increase in detest for Americans, rather than a better relationship (Williams 220). Therefore, the US government should stop the physical war and channel the funds towards building Afghanistan. This way the Afghan population will have more positive perception towards the US government and this can open up an avenue for dialogue with the terror groups. If the US is taken positively by the Afghan population, it will be easier to rebuild the country as well as kill terrorism in the world as peace between nations will be enhanced.
In the recent past the American troops have been portrayed as inhumane and ruthless to the Afghan civilians. The increased drone attacks by the military leading to killing of thousands of innocent civilians have brought negative attitude by the Afghan population towards Americans. They now see the military as intruders into their territory with oppressive motives, rather than keeping peace in the country and fighting terrorism. In the course of the military stay, the relationship between Afghanistan and the US that was supposed to improve, and the image that the whole idea of war was based on has been lost. Instead of the United States becoming more popular among the Afghan civilians, hate and bitterness is taking toll.
In the recent past the US army has made mistakes (apart from the drone attacks on civilians) that have made it even worse between the two countries. Recently, the US military officer was overcome with post traumatic stress and brain damages and killed 13 innocent civilians (Katel 790). This has led to the negative attitude by the Afghan civilians. Further, there was a reported case of American military officers who were recorded urinating on a dead Taliban fighter. This was very negative picture and a factor that depopularised the US stay on the Afghan soil. The recent burning of Koran by the US military officers has also sparked a lot of discontent by the Afghan people. The Afghan people were bewildered by this and sparked violence that led to deaths and injuries. It has ceased to be portrayed as a war against terrorism any more, especially to the Islamic communities, but a fight against Islam.
The above issues are some of the many factors that have led to the increasing resistance of the Afghans towards the US military. The war was initially meant to reduce the hostility between the two countries and terrorism, especially following the 9/11 attacks on the US (Williams 236). Instead of the war installing peace and understanding between Afghanistan and the US, the contrary is happening where there is increased hate and detest of Afghan civilians towards Americans and their country. Instead of keeping up with the increasing hate due to the misbehaving officers deployed in the Afghanistan, the troops should be withdrawn and discussions to determine the best ways to handle the issue without hurting the innocent population started immediately. Further mistakes will lead to unmanageable violence and total failure by the US government over the fight against terrorism.
The US military is comprised of people across all ages. Young Americans have been deployed in the war, where some of them have lost their lives in retaliatory attacks by the terrorist groups such as Taliban and Al Qaeda (Katel 790). These fallen young men are among those who become victims of a course they know little about. The Afghan invasion, which at a closer look dates back to as early as during the cold war, does not fairly claim the lives of the young and innocent American soldiers. The young Americans leave their wives and young children to fight for their country. The families of those who die in the war live to dislike the war against Afghanistan and they would never understand the reasons behind their losses. Therefore, to improve the status of family ties from where the young Americans come from; the United States should withdraw from the war and look for diplomatic strategies that would reduce terrorism. The young Americans leave agonized young widows who never appreciate the efforts by the government towards the war in Afghanistan.
Post traumatic disorders and brain damages among the American soldiers have been reported with increasing frequency (Klein 2010). Some of the war veterans who return from the war are stressed and they are left with little choice regarding their destiny. They are left to live lives that are troubled and though most of them recover from the condition after treatments, some do not fully recover and they are left to die in their pain and suffering. This would eventually lead to a weak society that does not appreciate the need to work for a government and lose one’s senses. The servants lead poor lives and their commitment to the government and the people of America leads to their devastation. To reduce cases where the society is losing its members in such situations, the government should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and embark on steps that would not result in the suffering of the committed people.
The start of war in Afghanistan was culminated by the 9/11 attacks in the US. The terrorist attack led to loss of many innocent lives (Lansford, Watson and Covarrubias 63). The government in its commitment to fight such actions and protect its population from terrorists invaded Afghanistan with an aim of suppressing terrorist groups. However, a decade after invasion, more American soldiers are dying in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. The protection that the government wanted to ensure to its citizens has therefore failed to materialize. Americans continue to lose lives, with the only difference being that they are dying in a foreign country. However, this does not eliminate the fact that more American lives are being claimed through terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. It is therefore evident that with the increasing stay of the American soldiers, they are continually getting exposed to more attacks. The main goal of the war was to ensure that no more American lives were lost due to terrorist attacks but this has not changed and the only way to ensure that it works is by withdrawing the exposed soldiers from Afghanistan. Once they return home, peace talks and diplomatic procedures could be used to reduce any chances of America being hit again as it happened in 2001.
The existing government in Afghanistan is not committed towards ending the war and improving the status of the country (Kuchins 92). The current president and his administration are corrupt and do not support the war against the terrorist groups. This leaves the Unites States at a difficult situation where they are left on their own, managing a foreign country. The corrupt Afghan government has even led to a conflict arising between the US and Pakistani governments. If the troops continue to stay in Afghanistan, there is a high likelihood that more countries will join in the feud and aggravate the existing anti-American perception by other countries. More terror will be created and the initial mission to keep peace in the world will be lost. The US should therefore withdraw the forces and leave the Afghan people to create their government that they would negotiate with the rebuilding of the nation. More stay would only make matters worse in the long run.
Changing a society is extremely hard task and needs time and tactics that would be acceptable to that particular society. The terrorist groups in Afghanistan need recognition and despite the US policy of never negotiating with terrorists, the blood spilt and lives lost due to these groups’ attempts to get recognition. Apart from the American lives lost, there are other thousands of innocent Afghan lives that have been lost in the war (Lansford, Watson and Covarrubias 63). Women and children have been killed and these are obviously not members of the terrorist groups. The Afghan people can therefore not appreciate the invasion of the Americans if they continue losing lives in attacks. It is therefore important that the government of the United States withdraws its troops from the Afghan soil and allows the locals to address the issues that affect their lives. Only Afghan people can solve their problems if they are accorded the support they need. Dealing with terrorists has widespread effects even in other countries such as bombing of the US ambassadors in Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa in 1998 where many lives were lost. However, they could turn positive if they were invited for dialogue coupled with the withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan. It is therefore important that use of arms to suppress terrorism be revised because it has been used over the years, yet its success is not evident. Dialogue has always been eliminated as a way to resolve terror issues, yet it could be the right way to end wars and deaths, and eventually promote peace among the world population.
Reasons for a Longer Stay of the US Troops in Afghanistan
While many Americans opt for the withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan, some people still advocate for stay beyond 2014. First, they term withdrawal as a way to concede defeat against the terrorist groups. They argue that negotiating with terrorists would not be an appropriate move to kill terrorism since it would show that the government has finally subjected to the pressure exerted by terrorists. They argue that the withdrawal would result in loss in confidence by the Americans towards their government since they will not have finished what they started (Riedel and O’Hanlon 2012). One thing that these people forget is that the fundamental reason that led to American invasion into Afghanistan was to avoid more blood spill of the Americans like it happened during the 9/11 attack. The war was not a sign of might and power. Therefore, since the military method to end terror has failed, other means should be tried as well and that would start with withdrawal of the American military troops.
Further, others point out that the Afghan government is still unstable and leaving it the way it currently is would result into creation of rich ground where terrorist groups would flourish (Kuchins 80). Therefore, the troops should stay in Afghanistan until a credible government is initiated and is supported by strong army. This seems a credible argument but it has wide loophole in that the current government is weak and corrupt. Therefore, it would be hard to create any foundation with military and governance strength. Further, the withdrawal would not mean that the US stops to fight terrorism, but will be using better, more economical, less expensive and less violent means to reach out to the terrorist groups.
The recent killing of the Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, is another reason that is used by those opposed to the withdrawal of troops. They cite this as a credible progress that should be maintained in order to kill terrorism in the world. However, they forget that as more terrorist leaders are being pursued, more innocent lives are lost, and more blood is shed unnecessarily. Instead of using this violent method to look for peace in the world, dialogue with the terrorists would prove priceless and more efficient. Innocent killings will stop while peace could finally engulf the world after a long period of war and hate between nations.
The American people were aggrieved by the 9/11 terrorist attacks where many lives were taken. They supported the retaliation and suppression of the terrorist groups by the US military, a process that they believed would enhance peace and tranquility among the citizens (Barfield 77). According to the opinion polls that were held at the start of the war, many people were for the idea that the US attacked Afghanistan in a bid to fight terrorism. The war was to take a short time, according to the initial assessment. However, it turned out to be the longest war that the United Sates were ever engaged in and is still on to date. Its effects have been however not as positive as earlier thought and perceived and despite the killing of the chief terrorist, Osama bin Laden, the war is far from over. It has turned out that more lives will be lost. The population of people who supported the war has reduced over the years, while the number of those who are discouraged by the war has equally increased. Today the opinion polls suggest that more Americans would prefer the withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan as soon as it can be possible.
Dialogue and diplomacy have never been used to attempt to end terrorism. It could be the only remaining way to end terrorism in the world and promote sustainable peace and coexistence. The perceptions that fight against terrorism is a fight against Islam should be eliminated and new view that terrorists can be reformed to become productive people in the society should be encouraged. Before more lives and loss of confidence by the Afghan people towards the Americans is lost, the United States government should withdraw its troops and leave Afghan people to solve their issues domestically.