Research Paper: War in Afghanistan

Pages: 9 (3312 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] By December, 2001, the money began to flow to Pakistan from the Pentagon, and a "complete reversal of the atmosphere" that had been created by the American sanctions was now in evidence, Zakheim continued. Pakistan of course knew full well that the Taliban were operating their shady terrorism in the remote region call the tribal areas of Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan. And they pledged to attack those tribal area now that they were basically paid billions of American dollars to do so. Money makes a big difference when there is a shaky diplomatic relationship between two countries but one country, in this case the United States, has the cash to spend, and has the need for support against terrorism.

Not only did the United States provide Pakistan with "billions of dollars" for military purposes, according to Zakheim, but the U.S. also initiated an enormous aid program as well. Still, as the song goes, "Money can't buy me love," and indeed there was "mutual suspicion" between the two countries that verged on "outright hostility" (Zakheim, 4). Part of the suspicion and paranoia on the part of Islamabad resulted from the American use of "drone attacks" inside Pakistani territory. The American reasons for suspicions were well founded in that they truly had good reason to doubt that Pakistan would so quickly turn on their recent allies, the Taliban. As for Pakistan, they were concerned that India would become involved in Afghanistan, and moreover that India would in effect "surround" Pakistan by becoming active in Afghanistan.

The Americans had every reason in the world to suspect that despite the gifts the American taxpayers were laying on Islamabad -- billions in domestic and military aid -- the Pakistanis were pulling a fast one. To wit, the strained relations between the two countries became even more tension-filled after Navy SEALS entered Pakistani territory, using stealth helicopter technology, and killed bin Laden, who had been living "in plain sight of Pakistan's military academy" (Zakheim, 5). How could the political leaders in Pakistan not have known that the world's most notorious terrorist was living just 40 or so miles from the capital of Islamabad, and a couple blocks from the main military training facility? It certainly stretched credulity for Pakistani leaders to argue that they didn't know of his whereabouts.

The War in Afghanistan / Pakistan -- Ten Years Later in 2011

As to what the situation is today in Afghanistan, and across the border into Pakistan, there has been "no result" worth commenting on other than "…the devastation and increasing threat to world's peace and security," according to professor Mazhar (Mazhar, et al., 2011, p. 272). There is a "lack of consensus with the U.S. administration itself," Mazhar explains. President Obama announced in 2011 that the U.S. would be leaving Afghanistan in 2014, presumably after assuring that the interim government of Hamid Karazai had sufficient means to protect the sovereign rights of Afghanistan against insurgencies (the Taliban has come back, or they never left, key geographic regions of Afghanistan).

Earlier in his administration, in 2009, in an attempt to bottle up and destroy the newly insurgent Taliban (and other fringe terrorist groups) Obama sent a surge of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, but obviously that strategic move has not stopped the Taliban from conducting suicide missions and other attacks. In fact the only clear successes that American forces have had in terms of eliminating terrorists and securing the safety of citizens in Afghanistan is through the drone technologies. These are small warplanes with no pilots, operated by sophisticated high-tech controls handled by operators in distant locations. These robot planes are called "Predators and Reapers" and they have video capabilities that allow them to focus on specific targets where terrorist leaders are suspected of hiding out.

As for Mazhar's viewpoint, the drones "blow up funerals and family dinners and children" in addition to targeting terrorists; in 2009 the drones "killed more than 700 civilians," which the author claims is "14 times the number killed in the 7/7 attacks in London" (273).

Certainly there have been attacks by the robot planes that have killed civilians; it would be impossible to imagine that every explosive missile launched from a robot plane would be precise enough to hit terrorists exclusively. But the drones have also killed "militants," according to the Long War Journal (Roggio). Predators attack a suspected stronghold of the Taliban in North Waziristan in Pakistan on October 29, 2011; six missiles were fired "at a vehicle and compound" killing "six militants,' Roggio writes. The drones killed 20 alleged "terrorists" in the tribal area of Pakistan, near South Waziristan, according to a story in The Hindu (2011). This attack was launched Wednesday, November 16, the day after an earlier attack by drones in North Waziristan (The Hindu).

On the other side of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, suicide bombers are also taking a toll, leaving many Western observers to question the rationality of keeping American and NATO troops in a country where terrorists can, at will it seems, kill people in key venues. On October 28, a suicide bomber killed 13 Americans (5 service members and 8 civilian contractors); the bomber attacked an armored military bus in downtown Kabul (Baktash, et al., 2011). The bombing "represents a propaganda coup for the Taliban, which claimed responsibility in text messages to news organizations" (Baktash).

Another suicide bombing took place on November 5, 2011, as two suicide bombers cruelly, brutally targeted "worshippers on a key Muslim festival in northern Afghanistan, killing seven" including a pair of police commanders (Associated Press). As worshippers were leaving a mosque, a bomber blew himself up in the midst of the group, injuring 18 others. It is fair to say that Afghanistan is very much unsafe and should be considered vulnerable to attack at any moment.

Federico Manfredi explains in the peer-reviewed journal World Policy Institute that basically the war in Afghanistan has been a failure. Yes, he admits, Afghanistan "…now has a democratic constitution, a democratically elected president, and a democratically elected legislature" (Manfredi, 2008, p. 24). But these accomplishments cannot "mask the shortcomings of a nation-building endeavor gone awry," Manfredi continues on page 24. The authority of the Afghan government does not extend out into the country much at all, and even Kabul, the capitol, is not safe. Moreover, the Karzai government "does not hold sway," and it is "notoriously corrupt and inefficient, with a rapacious police force and scarce to non-existent public services" (Manfredi, 24).

In conclusion, while Obama inherited this war from Bush -- who probably should have withdrawn troops once the Taliban was shoved out of the country and the original goals had been met -- it is now his war. He was smart to indicate he would extract American troops by 2014, but the question is, why even stay that long? With over 100,000 NATO and U.S. troops in the country it still is clearly vulnerable to assaults. With an unlimited stream of radicals, insurgents, militants, terrorists -- whatever term one chooses to describe them -- flowing over the porous Afghan-Pakistani border like a river of violence, it is a cause that no longer justifies the loss of additional American and NATO lives.

Works Cited

Associated Press. (2011). Suicide Bombers Kill Worshippers In Afghanistan. Retrieved November, 2011, from

This is an article that brought to light the ongoing violence in Afghanistan, in specifics the proverbial suicide bomber situation, where an radical Islamic terrorist is willing to blow himself up in order to kill others. In this case the people killed with fellow Muslims -- worse yet, he killed people exiting a mosque following their worship services -- but clearly the message to the world was this: the NATO and U.S. presence in Afghanistan will never stop terrorists from doing whatever they want to do whenever they wish to do it.

Baktash, Hashmat, and Magnier, Mark. (2011). Suicide bombing in Kabul kills as many as 13

Americans. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 19, 2011, from

The thirteen Americans killed in Afghanistan on October 28 in Kabul -- the capitol of the country -- were riding in an "armored military bus" when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives. The reporters quoted a spokesperson for the United Nations who said violence in Afghanistan "…is at its worst since the war started in 2001."

Chernus, Ira. (2004). George W. Bush's War on Terrorism and Sin. Political Theology, 5(4),


This scholarly article goes into intimate detail regarding how George W. Bush began his presidency on a crusade to help fund conservative Christian churches in the U.S., but soon after 9/11 Bush was on another crusade. His "war on terrorism" basically asserted that America was the country on God's side and any country harboring terrorists is considered evil.

Herold, Marc W. (2002). A Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States' Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Accounting. Retrieved November 18, 2011, from

Herold's article is not peer-reviewed, but he uses reasonably… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

War in Afghanistan.  (2011, November 20).  Retrieved July 23, 2019, from

MLA Format

"War in Afghanistan."  20 November 2011.  Web.  23 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"War in Afghanistan."  November 20, 2011.  Accessed July 23, 2019.