The election of 2014, though riddled with "irregularities," brought the first peaceful transfer of presidential power in Afghanistan, from Hamid Karzai to Ashraf Ghani. With it came renewed hope that the wild dream of an Afghan-style peaceful democracy might work after all. It was a longing barely diminished by Ghani’s choice for vice president: Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Uzbek warlord notorious for war crimes of surpassing brutality.
Here we go again! Years after most Americans forgot about the longest war this country ever fought, American soldiers are again being deployed to Afghanistan. For almost 16 years now, at the command of three presidents and a sadly forgettable succession of generals, they have gone round and round like so many motorists trapped on a rotary with no exit. This time their numbers are officially secret, although variously reported to be 3,500 or 4,000, with another 6,000-plus to follow, and unknown numbers after that. But who can trust such figures? After all, we just found out that the U.S. troops left behind in Afghanistan after President Obama tried to end the war there in 2014, repeatedly reported to number 8,400, actually have been “closer to 12,000” all this time.
If I were so bold as to send a note to President Ashraf Ghani, I would say this: Tell your people to stop waiting for help from others. They cannot rely on foreign support. Tell your citizens they should instead take an active role in restoring peace to Afghanistan themselves. Tell them they can do this. Tell them that your government will help them.
American forces could still be in Afghanistan sixteen years from now—or even generations from now—under the White House’s current strategy of maintaining an open-ended commitment to that war-torn nation.
It is impossible to win a war that you cannot define. That seems to be the main lesson to be drawn from Afghanistan, where a so-called victory seems ever more unreachable. It is also the conclusion of several experts on the region, who fear U.S. forces would be mired forever in that unjustly punished country.
Paradoxically, despite a horrific and seemingly endless war raging around them, there are brave citizens building peace across Afghanistan every day. The United Nations is doing its best to listen to each and every individual who stands up for peace. Indeed, the UN sees these actors as beacons of hope, lighting the way for change.
The C.I.A. is pushing for expanded powers to carry out covert drone strikes in Afghanistan and other active war zones, a proposal that the White House appears to favor despite the misgivings of some at the Pentagon, according to current and former intelligence and military officials.
The Trump administration has presented its plan for Afghanistan as a regional approach — it’s anything but that “The core goal of the U.S. must be to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda and its safe havens in Pakistan, and to prevent their return to Pakistan or Afghanistan… And after years of mixed results, we will not, and cannot, provide a blank check (to Pakistan)… As President, my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people. We are not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future,” said the President of the United States, announcing a “regional strategy” for Afghanistan after the worst year of the conflict. The President was Barack Obama and the year was 2009.
There are no two views that Afghanistan is blessed with mineral wealth. In 2010, a survey by United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated the total wealth of the minerals to be around 1 trillion, with $908 billion in minerals while another $200 billion in hydrocarbons. These minerals include precious and semi-precious gemstones, copper, iron, lithium and other rare elements. The mineral wealth is a hope and potential source for Afghan nation to secure a sustainable economic future. This is the reason why trump administration is now eyeing the mineral wealth of the country to pay for the cost of war and support economy of the country. However, at the moment, this nothing more than an elusive quest.
The strategic geographic location of Afghanistan sometimes referred as “in the heart of Asia” is the cause of many miseries. Afghanistan is strategically located in South and Central Asia, sharing border with Iran on the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan on the north, an isolated small border with China on the northeast and the disputed Durand line on east and south with Pakistan. Historically Afghanistan has been the passage to get into Indian subcontinent. Afghanistan was an important part of ancient Silk Road which connected Far East to Middle East and Europe.