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US Retreat from Afghanistan- Halted but for how Long?

Updated on December 27, 2017

The Retreat from Afghanistan will just change the Frontier


Afghanistan is a country that has only been subdued twice in its history. The first time was when Alexander the great invaded Afghanistan and subdued the tribes. Alexander was ruthless and the Greeks were masters of modern Afghanistan.

The second occasion was when the Sikh General Hari Singh Nalwa conquered the Afghans and created fear in their minds in his campaign from 1830-37 The British fought three Afghan wars and at the best their hold was tenuous.Later the Russians failed as they came up against the Muslim extremists who were supported by the USA. In case the USA had not sided with the Muslim extremists the Russians may well have won. The genesis of the present conflict lies in the support and creation of the Taliban by the USA.

The Concept of Rambo

Rambo is a soldier warrior created by Hollywood who ostensibly fights evil. In one of the movies, Rambo is shown fighting the Russians along with the Taliban. In fact there is a caption( now Removed) that says the movie is a tribute to the brave Taliban who are fighting for freedom.

One cannot fathom how the USA think tank could not look beyond their nose and realize that extremist Islam or the Wahhabi elements can never be friends of America.

US Entry into the War

After the attack on the twin towers, George Bush declared war on terror. But at best it was a half heart affair as Bush decided to settle personal scores by attacking Hussein of Iraq. The result was 4000 young Americans were sent to death and a Phyrric victory achieved. But the war in Afghanistan suffered and by the time the USA turned its attention to the extremists, the golden moment had been lost.

War in Afghanistan

The USA has completed 11 years of Afghanistan and victory is as elusive as catching an eel in one's hand. The US armed forces could not crush the Taliban and despite taking out Osama bin Laden, the USA failed to catch the other Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

President Obama is a pragmatist and given the American peoples aversion to fighting a war away from home, he decided that enough is enough and announced a phased withdrawal from Afghanistan by end 2014. It was in effect an admission of defeat and one can draw a similar parallel with Vietnam.

The Withdrawal

America has now decided to withdraw from Afghanistan and there is the fond hope that the after the withdrawal the Karzai government or the man who succeeds him with the help of armed and trained troops by the US army will be able to hold its own against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. This reminds me of Vietnam when the same thoughts went through the mind of Nixon. The result was catastrophic as the US-backed South Vietnam government collapsed in no time and the entire state was unified with North Vietnam.

This is a religious war- a Jihad

But here the similarity ends as the battle in Vietnam was not a religious war and now the Vietnamese are welcoming Americans as tourists and investors. The war in Afghanistan is a religious war where the hard-line Islamic groups have branded America as the 'Great Satan'. An American withdrawal from Afghanistan will not end the war between the Islamic groups and the USA, only the frontier will be changed closer to American shores.

The reason is not far to seek as most Muslims in the Middle East are not too enamored of America. Iran is breathing fire and hard-line Islamic groups in Pakistan routinely denounce the USA. Many Americans have been beheaded in this war. Retreating from Afghanistan will just mean changing the goal post and making it closer to America.

A religious war is different from a normal war. Here the religious zeal however misplaced is the driving force. In particular, the dream as enunciated in the Koran of beautiful virgins for the Jihad groups adds its own connotation to this conflict.

Retreat will not solve anything

The US think tank must understand that a retreat from Afghanistan will not solve America's problems. The coordinated attacks all over Afghanistan are a pointer. Karzai had to go into hiding. This happened when NATO and the USA are very much there. Once they exit, the hard-line Militant groups will take over in no time. that will be the signal to shift the war to another frontier.

A new president is taking over in Afghanistan, but it's doubtful whether he will be able to stop the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

With Obama in for a second term and his earlier track record of opposing the war on terror as a senator, this retreat from Afghanistan may spell something really bad for the USA

Trump trying to Change the Result

Obama's exit has led to a resurgence of the will to stay and fight in Afghanistan. Trump and Mattis must be given credit for it. There is an induction of troops but the ground situation has not changed and Trump will have to think hard how to turn the tables in Afghanistan. It's not easy.


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    • uzma shaheen profile image

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 5 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      For a US army war is a job but for afghans, its their life style. they grew up with war they live with war. US can never win over them.

    • Talullah profile image

      Talullah 5 years ago from SW France


    • profile image

      Hubert Williams 5 years ago

      MG Singh I agree with you there.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I agree with Jason. When the US left Afghanistan after the USSR pulled out, they left a void that made it easy for the Taliban to move in. I don't see any end in sight here and it disheartens me.

    • Jason Marovich profile image

      Jason Marovich 5 years ago from United States

      The US is in a difficult situation with its economic problems at home, and the growing tension between the Afghan public and the coalition forces. The Afghan people are again left with a hopeless situation, when the US pulls out, because there is still an armed army in country, waiting to grab the reins of power once more.

      It's a never ending game of hide and seek along the Afghan-Pakistan border. If there was a conventional army on easier terrain, the work would be completed. But that's the nature of Afghanistan, and why it's nearly impossible to completely conquer anyone that knows its tribal ways and terrain so well.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thank ypu Hubert,something similar is on in Afghanistan

    • profile image

      Hubert Williams 5 years ago

      In Vietnam soldiers weren't allowed to hurt the enemy without being court-martialed. Many guards weren't even allowed to carry loade weapons on at their posts. Can't beat what you can't fight.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 5 years ago from Singapore

      Good observations Hubert. America also would not have lost in Vietnam, but they did.

    • profile image

      Hubert Williams 5 years ago

      The United States didn't enter Afghanistan to conquer it, but to free it from the Taliban and try to make an ally. It was the US that helped them defeat Russia. South Vietnam was falling as we left Saigon. That being said, I agree that the Afghanistan government is not strong enough to defeat any invaders, but the people of Afghanistan will fight oppression after having come out of many years of it. They have tasted freedom. They will want more. After the burning of the Quran and the murder of innocent people, our presence appears to them to be as conquerers. Their religion cannot and will not accept that. The war has not been lost, only the trust that the Afghan people had in us. America and Americans will persevere. We have not fought a war on our homeland for many years. We would not be this close to it if our President would stop to foreign kings who would be happier if we didn't exist, and turning his back on allies. Since I am not President Obama I will not apolgize for my beliefs or those of like mind. I will not expect anyone who disagrees with me to apologize either. I do apologize for using up so many words and space for my comment.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Good hub, MG. Sounds like it's going to be a bumpy ride.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you teacor your commenthes f

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you ata1515. An excelllent observation

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Our time there is wasted if we pull out only to leave our home doors open to a closer warfront. Afghanistan does not have the power to withstand the bombardment from another country. When will the US see the light on this subject?

    • ata1515 profile image

      ata1515 5 years ago from Buffalo, New York.

      It's a great point that Vietnam fell in no time, and we left a functioning government there. In Afghanistan the government hardly even controls it's own cities, there's no way it will stand when the Americans leave. Karzai is going to be fleeing right with the US troops.