Realities of US’ Generals’ Claims about Afghanistan

Report

Reuters has published on 12 April 2018 a detailed report titled Commentary: What U.S. generals get wrong about Afghanistan(1).

The report is by Patricia Gossman. She is a senior researcher on Afghanistan; had held senior appointments in the programmes and projects related to justice, war crimes and human rights covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, etc.; she has a doctorate in South Asian Studies from the University of Chicago and is widely published on human rights issues in the region (2).

The detailed report may be read on the given reference below. However, its following extracts convey the essence of the report:-

  1. S. Army General John Nicholson is repeating the dangerous mistakes of the past. In a recent interview he echoed the mantra of his predecessors, that the new U.S. military strategy — which includes increasing both air powerand the number of American troops training Afghan forces — has fundamentally changed the situation in Afghanistan. Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and head of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission since March 2016, should know better by now.
  2. In 2014, Nicholson’s predecessor, General John Campbell, said that he, too, had “seen the change.” General Joseph F. Dunford referenced “the inevitability of our success” in 2013.  His predecessor, General John Allen, declared, “We are winning. We are winning.” In 2011, General David Petraeus said that U.S. forces had “reversed the momentum of the Taliban.” General Stanley A. McChrystal, in 2010, thought that “success is still achievable,” while General David McKiernan, in 2009, observed that the United States was not “losing in Afghanistan.” And on it has gone since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in 2001”.
  3. S. military commanders might have a better sense of what’s really going on if they spent more time visiting civilian medical facilities like Nangarhar Regional Hospital, as I did last December.——–
  4. Lost in all this positioning is the stark fact that since 2009 the war has claimed the lives of 28,291 civilians and injured 52,366. The U.N. notes that those numbers are only the casualties it could confirm. The real numbers are most likely much higher. ————
  5. ——- Similarly, Afghans from rural areas of Nangarhar and Herat told me they live in fear of death from the skies and asked me, “Why can’t they see there are women and children?” before they launch an airstrike. ——-
  6. After the latest suicide bombing in Helmand, a new protest movement has emerged, calling on all parties to stop the killing.
  7. The U.S. commander in Afghanistan would have a lot more credibility with ordinary Afghans if he ended U.S. alliances with abusive police chiefs, militia forces and warlords; ——–

Commentary

The abovementioned extracts from the published report of Patricia Gossman, who has reported from Afghanistan clearly and credibly reflect four unmistakable aspects.

One, that the policy-making authorities in US and their military commanders in Afghanistan have constantly been keeping the US public misinformed about the fact that US government has been / and is still fighting an unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

Second, for this unwinnable war in Afghanistan, US government has already spent the huge amount of USD 1. 07 trillion drawn from the hard earned public tax payers’ money. That obviously brings economic hardship for the US’ public, albeit it could be filling the coffers of the bosses US’ Military-Industrial Complex.

Third, besides the wide-spread material devastation in the country, this unwinnable war has caused / is still causing extremely brutal misery to humanity by the US’ policy-makers. That human misery so far includes more than 80,000 Afghan civilians killed, injured and maimed, and around a million civilians displaced due to this US’ war; and as for the US’ military personnel, over 2,000 killed, tens of thousands wounded and maimed, and thousands suffering from mental disorders due to war stress. And, the US’ policy-makers still insist to continue with this human holocaust’. That extreme callousness certainly also does not reflect well about the US’ public opinion; and is the major reason for the spreading Anti-Americanism, which has its own serious repercussions.

Fourth, the US’ insistence to continue with this unwinnable war clearly shows that after having failed to solidify its military occupation under its planted government in Afghanistan, US’ policy-makers are most likely becoming content with the continuing destability of Afghanistan which provides US the excuse (albeit lame) to retain its politico military stranglehold of the country.         

(1). https://www.reuters.com/article/us-gossman-afghanistan-commentary/commentary-what-u-s-generals-get-wrong-about-afghanistan-idUSKBN1HJ26Q

(2). https://www.hrw.org/about/people/patricia-gossman