In 1776, American won its independence. In 2001, Afghanistan began anew, having toppled the Taliban. Hamid Karzai’s government worked to provide national security with support from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) established by the UN Security Council.
The Taliban opposition forces fled to a haven in Pakistan from which to continue an insurgency against the Afghanistan government.
At the “age 14 years” mark in American history, the citizens of America had defeated the British in a revolution of their making. They had international assistance from the French. The British maintained an insurgency and would strike the young nation again in 1812.
1790 – Rhode Island ratifies the Constitution and becomes 13th state
1791 – Bill of Rights ratified (see ratification timeline)
1791 – First Bank of the United States chartered
1791 – Vermont, formerly the independent Vermont Republic, becomes the 14th state
At “age 14 years,” Afghanistan citizens seem to be invisible behind a backdrop of wobbly government leadership and with a large international presence of foreign troops, most noticeably the U.S. military. The Taliban remains an active insurgency accompanied by remnants of al Qaeda. On the horizon there is the Islamic State terrorist forces.
The U.S. wants to drawdown and leave, but doing so too quickly would leave a vacuum of capability needed to hold off the opposition.
There is little alignment between the U.S. history timeline and Afghanistan. It took much time for America to develop as a nation. It is taking time for Afghanistan to do the same. Missing in the equation is a strong visible citizenry clamoring for an ideal life.
Where is the imagination and desire to shape an integrated pluralistic nation? Where is the driving force to engineer a sustainable economy with sustainable government that effectively secures its borders and people inside them?
That cannot be imposed from the outside, so answering those questions should be the focus on Afghanistan leadership. Otherwise, deploying U.S. military assets to shore up a most incomplete government that lacks competence to proceed may be a strategic defensive move on America’s part, and not a strategic development for Afghanistan.
Was colonialism a good idea?
“Army to send headquarters group to Kandahar in first sign of revision to Afghan withdrawal plan
BY ADAM ASHTON
McClatchy Washington Bureau February 24, 2015
TACOMA, WASH. — In the first official sign that the Pentagon plans to keep a U.S. military presence in southern Afghanistan after this year, the Army is sending the 7th Infantry Division headquarters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord on a year-long deployment to Kandahar Province this spring.
The deployment follows Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s weekend visit to Kandahar, where he acknowledged in a meeting with soldiers that the Obama administration was reconsidering the pace of its planned withdrawal of the 10,000 U.S. troops who remain in Afghanistan.
The deployment is small, fewer than 100 soldiers. But it’s significant because it shows that the U.S. military wants to maintain a presence in Afghanistan’s Pashtun heartland while continuing to reduce its footprint in the 14-year-old war.”