Recently, the United States has decided to deploy 300 marines to southern Helmand province as it also has soldiers already stationed in Farah province. While the move is apparently intended to prevent provincial capitals from falling into the hands of Taliban, past experience has shown that it is not the solution. The protection of only provincial centers, at the cost of civilian lives, can neither be termed peace nor security.
With the wisdom of hindsight, the United States and other actors involved in Afghan conflict for over a decade and half now know better that the ongoing problem in Afghanistan doesn’t have a military solution. If America could or would like to solve the conflict militarily, it would do it when the number of its troops fighting the insurgency here exceeded 150,000. Now with a few hundred soldiers, neither it can prevent violence nor is it possible to provide security all over the country.
Even if attempts are made to crush the militants in a bid to bring security, achieving stability will not be possible. The need of Afghans is not to provide security from the barrel of a gun, but to restore stability through political dialogue. War has divested Afghans from so many opportunities of development and a better life for decades, and its protraction can also deprive future generations of a prosperous and tranquil life. If the West and Afghan government really yearn for peace, one of the best and rational ways is to initiate a broad-based and all-inclusive peace process, one that can really represent Afghan nation and float practical steps towards peace.
Given the past experience, emphasis on military solution of Afghan conflict will only prolong the war and lead to more bloodshed. Because of this, peace parleys and political dialogue, not a military solution, should be the first choice.