War on Terror the Conflict in Afghanistan Thesis

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War on Terror

The conflict in Afghanistan has fundamental and historical origins that have been eclipsed in importance and interest by the larger and more controversial war in Iraq. One of the most fundamental issues at hand in Afghanistan and a large reason why conflict is still so fierce there is that the U.S. supported regime a tribal coalition of "mujahidin" or "Islamic warriors" had been successful in forcing the Soviet Union to withdraw after a lengthy war but had been unable to hold the nation together, which resulted in the takeover of the nation by the Taliban has largely been reinstated into positions of power in the nation. (Jalali, 2006, p. 4) the "mujahidin" though popular proved better fighters than rulers. Accusations of mismanagement and obvious failure to unite the nation are still evident in the minds of man Afghans. (Donini, Niland, & Wermester, 2004, p. 31) the wounds of the Afghan war in Afghanistan are still bleeding and were made worse by the Taliban rather than better as was hoped by the people at the close of the war.


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Many people in the nation still resent the leadership that allowed tribal infighting and personal ambition to distract them while the Taliban took de facto power and did real and fundamental damage to the nation. This historical group is now in office again, holding the majority voice in Afghanistan today, with a great deal of support from the U.S. In short Afghanistan fought a war to oust the Soviets and their regime and unite the nation and those who failed to do so created a void that caused the nation to jump from the frying pan into the fire when the fundamentalist regime of the Taliban took hold of the vacancy.

Thesis on War on Terror the Conflict in Afghanistan Assignment

Like other modern state-building experiments, reformers in Afghanistan address these issues simultaneously. And therein lay the essential paradox of Afghanistan's revitalization. In something akin to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, more enlightened states of "being" simply cannot be achieved while physiological and security concerns remain. Afghanistan's post-conflict recovery, transition and development cannot be realized while its security situation continues to languish. (Martin, 2008, p. 89)

The nation has now been asked to climb back into the frying pan to accept the same leadership that failed to unite the nation as the Soviets withdrew and this is the essential reason for continued violence in the region. The desire of the U.S. To re-establish the "balance of power" in the middle-east, with regard to furthering the development of liberal/democratic governments in the region resulted in intervention during the soviet occupation of Afghanistan, regardless of the "right" of this action the Soviet invasion and American intervention have both led to changes in the fabric of the nation that are not likely to be easy to mend. It remains to be seen if the regime change in the U.S. will remedy the situation, in any fundamental way, with Obama's call for a "surge" response to increased violence in the nation.

Historical Background of the Conflict

Soviet Invasion

The soviet invasion of Afghanistan which, officially began in 1979 but was preceded by many years of attempts by the Soviets to take over power ended in significant loss of life and displacement for Afghanistan. Writing in 1982 and long before the Soviet's would actually retreat from Afghanistan one expert notes that;

So far they have resulted in the slaughter of about 10% of the Afghan people and the forced migration of another 25%, now refugees in neighboring countries, as well as the destruction of villages, agriculture, and the foundations of a prosperous economy which the Afghan people, after a respite from foreign intervention, were beginning to achieve. (Assifi, 1982, p. 253)

This historian's observations pale in comparison to the Pandora's box of social, military and political outcomes of the Soviet invasion, as it could be argued to be the beginning of decades of disorder in the nation, that continues today. The popular freedom fighters of the region the mujahidin, demonstrated a level of tenacity, that resulted in the departure of the soviets after the nation had been decimated by 10 years of constant fighting.

American Response

The American response to the Soviet invasion was to support the mujahidin with arms and other types of aide, in an attempt to allow the nation to repel the Soviet Union troops and the puppet regime they put in place. For a long time as, Carpenter points out the international community believed that the price the U.S. And other paid, in the form of limited supplies and arms but no loss of foreign life, was well paid and yet as the invasion dragged on and the fallout became apparent, still being felt today this opinion has changed.

Even before they ousted the Soviet- backed government from power in April 1992, feuding mujahidin guerrilla units spent almost as much time battling each other as they did fighting the communists. Since the fall of the communist regime, the infighting has sharply escalated, and thou- sands of Afghans have perished. (Carpenter, 1994, p. 77)

In a very fundamental way the population of Afghanistan had the choice of leaving their homes, which many did, or be at the mercy of a confusing set of regional players, infighting and outfighting, all over the nation. American support of the mujahidin was responsive to the idea that Soviet imperialist motives were in conflict with the liberal ideology of the U.S. And others who would rather have seen the previously neutral Afghanistan remain so. (Carpenter, 1994, p. 76) the balance of power ideology associated with the Middle East has dominated U.S. foreign affairs since the end of the cold war, a period that was still influencing actions against the Soviets, as has the international ideology of the development of democracy/liberal governments in as many nations as possible in the region. Afghanistan can be argued, in fact to have served as a backdrop to the close of the cold-war. (Donini, Niland, & Wermester, 2004, p. 21) the Soviet invasion according to many theorists if successful would offset the "balance of power" leaving another nation in the middle east under the control of a conflicting ideology to that of the U.S. And the liberal/democratic international community. (Ponzio, 2007, p. 255)

Soviet Withdrawal

The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan began in 1989, at the close of stalemate of sorts where the urban regions were dominated by the Soviet puppet government and the rural areas were under conflicting control by mujahidin tribal leaders. The Afghanis had not by any circumstances won the war; they had simply outlasted Soviet resources and the political climate that allowed the Soviet government to occupy a sovereign nation, under duress. (Rogers, 1992, p. 7) the withdrawal did not end until 1992, but the void it left after the prolonged conflict was no match for any reasonable force intent on unification. Despite the high hopes of Afghanis and all those who had supported their bid for independence on the eave of the withdrawal the political, cultural and social climate of the country did not easily meet the best practices associated with unification and rebuilding. (Hauner & Canfield, 1989, p. 2)

Rise of the Taliban

It took but two short years from the time that the last Soviet soldier walked across the border fighting all the way, for the Taliban to begin their assent to power in the nation.

The unraveling of Afghan society permitted the most ruthless and violent elements to emerge victorious. Step-by-step, successive waves of fighting since the late 1970s have killed, exiled, or otherwise silenced more-moderate forces. The Soviet occupation was immediately followed by factional fighting among Mujahideen warlords who killed and plundered civilian communities at will. The Taliban were the product of this long descent into impunity and societal breakdown. (Renner, 2002, p. 26)

The Taliban, one of the actual factions of the war agains the Soviets, immediately pleased many, as they though there might be some light at the end of the tunnel of war and chaos, and the Taliban were thought a unifying force. Yet the Taliban, populated in large by people who had known nothing but conflict and had in fact been indoctrinated to fight, not council, build or unify. The result was a group that became increasingly destructive to the fabric of the culture, doing even more damage, some would argue than the previous ten years of war. Even more people left the nation, or returned to being refugees as a result of the restrictions and chaos that the Taliban created with their roving bands of fundamental social enforcers. The Taliban; attracted people who had experienced nothing but war and violence, lacked education and cultural moorings, were hateful toward women, and were bent on imposing their rigid, extreme, and simplistic worldview....When they suffered setbacks in their campaign to conquer Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, Taliban forces were repeatedly reinforced by thousands of volunteers from Pakistan's madrassahs -- religious schools that indoctrinated rootless and restless young men, many of them Afghan… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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