Research Paper: War in Afghanistan

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War in Afghanistan is visibly approaching its end in 2014 as the U.S. has committed to withdraw majority of combat troops in the year 2014. Since it is an electioneering pledge made by President Obama, it is likely that the U.S. will not let any worsening of the Afghan security situation to hinder his withdrawal plan from Afghanistan. The theoretical perspective of the Afghan war, however, points to a somewhat disturbing situation in the future. Use of Ad-hoc terrorist theory, war of the flea theory, and fourth generation warfare theory by the Taliban fighters in confluence with Al-Qaeda indicate that Taliban will find it highly difficult to come in peaceful terms with historically anti-Taliban warring groups. Thus, superiority in terms of war skills of Taliban may result in another era of civil war in Afghanistan, as happened after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan back in 1989. Writers such as Ann Jones portray a bleak picture of a victorious America in Afghanistan. The writer observes 'Compromise, Conflict, or Collapse' as the only possibilities of Afghan endgame. The present study theoretically investigates the possible outcome of American withdrawal from the region.

I. Introduction

It appears that U.S. Middle East foreign policy is going to take yet another tactical turn in the "war on terror" with the recent reelection of President Obama. After scaling down operations in Iraq in his first term, the Obama team is at least rhetorically signaling that they will remove combat troops in 2014. By just about every measure, Afghanistan is still smoldering (and could possibly reignite) from the 2001 U.S. invasion and removal of the Taliban in Kabul. The U.S. armed forces have been engaged in fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. War in Afghanistan was the start of both these wars but continues to date; even the Iraq war has ended after a long drawn out battle between the allied forces of the U.S., Britain, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and hardliner Islamic groups such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban (Dreyfuss, 2005). With such backdrop, the U.S. despite vacating territory from Iraq could not manage to perform a smooth withdrawal from the war of Afghanistan. This implies that the war, as planned by the U.S. will end after their withdrawal may not be so (Coll, 2005). The intergroup rivalries between Taliban and Al-Qaeda factions and other Islamist groups led the country into civil war. Increased war activities in the Middle East region of Iraq, Syria, and Central Asian region of Afghanistan has left the U.S. foreign policy makers with tight and often conflicting options to exercise.

1.1 Thesis statement

The war in Afghanistan is set to prolong even after the withdrawal of the U.S. forces as the number of groups that are fighting the war for Afghanistan's liberation are more than 1500 hundred in number. Bringing all these groups in the mainstream to enable smooth transition of administration in Afghanistan will be difficult for the newly elected President and administration of Afghanistan. As in case of the soviet war in Afghanistan, a power vacuum will leave insurgent groups to intensify their fight against each other.

II. Historical background

A- Soviet invasion -- 1979

Known as the 'Soviet war', the Soviets fought in Afghanistan for ten years and did not win the war at the time that the country withdrew its forces from Afghanistan. The conflict was the longest of guerilla fights from December 1979 to February 1989 in virtually all the cities of Afghanistan. The war was fought by the soviet backed militant groups in Afghanistan with that of Taliban. Troops of soviet forces also actively participated in the war be deploying troops and sending combat artillery.At the background of the war was the 'great game' dynamics in which the war was more of a fight between the capitalist and socialist economic and social systems.

B- American response

The direct outcome of the war was that the U.S. placed sanctions on U.S.S.R and secondly to launch covert offensive against the Soviets through support of Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. The mujahedeen that were basically the Taliban and other loosely gathered militant groups were armed by the U.S. through the covert support of the Pakistan's army government. Weapons were secretly flown to the region and also by purchasing weapons from Soviet supported Afghans.

C- Soviet withdrawal-1989

The first step of the Soviet regime was to shift the burden of fighting on the locals. This meant that a significant increase in the number of Afghan national combat troops was made. The Soviet army directly supervised the process of recruitment and training to the Afghan national army. Number of people recruited in the army numbered more than 3 hundred thousand.It was Mikhail Gorbachev of Soviet Russia that decided to pull out the forces from Afghanistan to tackle the worsening situation of economy and disruption in national fabric. Surface-to-surface missiles, long-range artillery, and air-to-surface missiles were heavily used in the course of ten years of the Soviet war however, the Soviet army made agreements with the mujahedeen to make the exit peaceful. Thus, it was ten years of battle that inflicted heavy losses to the Russian army that enabled the withdrawal of Soviets from Russia.

D- Rise of the Taliban 1994-2001

It was in the backdrop of this situation that Taliban were helped by natural occurrence of historic incidents to emerge as the single most powerful group of mujahidin in Afghanistan. The aftermath of Soviet eviction from Afghanistan was spread of civil war and anarchy in the Afghan region and it were young Taliban backed by the Pakistan armed forces and political governments that ultimately seized power in Afghanistan in 1994.

From 1994 to 2001, Taliban were involved in many controversies including demolishing Buddha statues and flocking women and men in open. However, the group was successful in establishing peace in the country only to last till 2001 when the country was attacked by the U.S. after the incident of September 2011 (9/11).It was the strong economic and cultural ties of the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan that allowed significant influence of latter on the former.

2.2 September 11, 2001 and the American invasion

2.2.1 World trade center (WTC) attacks 11 September 2011

It was in the early hours of 11th September 2001 that both the World Trade Centers (WTC) were attacked by two U.S. planes being hijacked by the Al-Qaeda militants recruited by Osama Bin Laden. The incident was a national tragedy and everyone in the U.S. And abroad was shocked at the incident. The U.S. was quick to name Al-Qaeda behind the attacks several leads were attributed to Al-Qaeda as being responsible for the attacks. Al-Qaeda chief was alleged to have flown to Afghanistan and the U.S. government required the Taliban government to handover Osama Bin Laden to the U.S. But was rejected by the Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

This caused the U.S. And allies to plan an attack on the Afghan soil to bring the culprits to justice. On October, 7th 2001, the U.S. launched an attack on the Taliban and removed them from the government. International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was established by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in December 2001 in which armed forces from more than 40 countries including forces from Islamic countries such as Turkey were also included. The force was later lead by the NATO in the combat operations.

With the help of the U.S. government's generous funds to rebuild the Afghan society, an Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was established in 2004 under the leadership of Hamid Karzai as the first Afghan president after the 2001 invasion. The later years proved that the battle is much hard than initially been anticipated by the U.S. think tanks. The war has brought the adjoining Pakistan into a bloody wave of terrorism in the wake of support to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

PART III

3 Theoretical constructs

3.1 Level of analysis

3.1.1 Low Foot print invasion

The initial invasion of Afghanistan by the U.S. was through Ariel precision bombing as well as the carpet bombing of the Afghan cities. The U.S. warplanes initiated their combat operations in Afghanistan with first bombing taking place on October 7th, 2001 and later a full scale war offensive followed the initial attack. This level of warfare was deployed to make the life losses minimum during the operations in Afghanistan as this would have been met with criticism from the U.S. citizens (Jones, 2013).

In part, the low-foot print invasion was also initiated in order to pave way for the U.S. army to later step into the territorial land of Afghanistan and occupy key cities for establishing the new government and oust the Taliban regime. The tactic was also supported by the coalition partners that did not want to risk lives of their soldiers. The Taliban militants withdrew to the mountains after the bombing and this caused the U.S. army heavy losses when the army was deployed in towns and cities.

3.1.2 Counterinsurgency

After the low foot-print invasion… [END OF PREVIEW]

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War in Afghanistan.  (2013, March 26).  Retrieved April 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/war-afghanistan/4371523

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/war-afghanistan/4371523.