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Terrorism is certainly one of the greatest threats to international security, peace, and stability. It is one of the main challenges facing the international community since the end of Cold War, which threatened to plunge countries back to devastating warfare like First and Second World Wars. Consequently, the international community, led by the world’s dominant power, the USA, and its allies has staged a serious war against terrorism (Bergen and Gelb Para. 4).
The menace of terrorism has forced the U.S, and its allies, to step up the fight against terrorism by sending military expeditions and intelligence personnel to countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. These countries are believed to be the operational bases from where terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Taliban plan and execute their heinous acts.
There has been an important and at the same time, an interesting debate, on what the U.S should do in Afghanistan after ten years of military action against Taliban and other terrorist outfits. While the US government appears to be convinced that appropriate time to leave Afghanistan has not come, some commentators, foreign policy experts, a considerable section of the media, and a considerable number of scholars propose that the U.S should leave Afghanistan now.
Nevertheless, the US should continue with its mission in Afghanistan until such a time when it will be convinced that terrorist groups are not in control of Afghanistan and do not have chances of re-seizing power from civilians and a legitimate Afghan government in the future.
What the U.S should do in Afghanistan
The U.S and its allies are the main target of the madness of hatred perpetrated by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Taliban. Unfortunately, more innocent and poor people have lost their lives and thousands have been wounded severely as terrorists attack with an aim of killing Americans and citizens from its allied countries, especially the Britain.
For example, during the 1998, Al Qaeda bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar el Salaam, Tanzania, at the American embassies in those two countries, hundreds of non-American Kenyan and Tanzanian citizens died and thousands incurred life-threatening injuries (Daily Nation Para.6). From a foreign policy point of view, as well as the need to maintain international peace and security, there are sound reasons that back the continued stay of the US and its allies’ military troops in Afghanistan.
First, the Taliban insurgency, which is, essentially, a misogynist group of ignorant, chauvinistic, and intolerant gangsters if left unrestrained, will provide a safe ground from which al-Qaeda will plan to execute their wicked deeds against innocent, unarmed civilians especially the Americans (Bergen and Gelb Para.4).
Therefore, the Afghan War is a war that is worth fighting and important to protection of not only Americans and their properties, but also other people within the international community who easily get hurt by terrorists’ unjustified violent acts directed towards the US and its allies. Second, an unrestrained Taliban can now easily take over control of Afghanistan’s eastern and southern regions and possibly the entire country in the absence of the U.S and the international military forces.
This line of argument is anchored on the fact that, the Afghan government and its ninety thousands-men army are very weak to withstand a serious rebellious challenge from Taliban’s fighters, a reality that is also acknowledged by some Afghan senior government officials. It is hard to win the fight against terrorism overnight. The Taliban outfit in Afghanistan, with the material support from anti-American elements in Pakistan, is strong and calls for plausible strategy to tackle.
The ability of an enemy to fight back harder is not necessarily an indication that the important war against the menace of terrorism and anarchy in Afghanistan is unwinnable. In fact, it is safe to argue that, the U.S military forces and allies continued stay in the south East Asian region coupled with intensified intelligence has started to bear fruits in the war against terrorism.
Following the victorious killing of al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, in one of the most magnificent manhunt story in contemporary history of humanity testifies of the fruits of the war against terrorism (Klein Para. 12). Thirdly, the available evidence shows that, Afghans, especially the unarmed peace-loving ones, favor the U.S military presence in their country.
For example, an opinion poll conducted by the BBC in 2009 showed that, over sixty-three percent of Afghans favored the U.S military presence in Afghanistan. Therefore, the U.S should continue intensifying the fight against Taliban and Al-Qaeda while at the same time assisting the Afghan government and its army to strengthen itself in preparation for unavoidable future governance challenges.
Afghanistan is in a turbulent transition period, which is accompanied by many socio-economic and political challenges that can be a serious impediment to peace in not only Afghanistan, but also in the whole of South East Asia and to a successful fight against terrorism.
Abrupt departure of the US and international military forces would open up Afghanistan to the reappearance of renewed Taliban military campaigns. Most probably, the al-Qaeda would like to revenge by killing more Americans because of the premature death of their leader, Osama bin Laden, in early May this year.
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The dialogue method is crucial in persuading the Taliban to end military campaigns and accept the constitution; nevertheless, the role of a competent and reliable third party in sealing of any possible peace deal, now and in future, cannot be underestimated.
Right now, it is dangerous to give in to Taliban promises that an exit of the Western troops will make them end their unjustified military campaigns. Furthermore, entertaining the thought of sharing power with an illegal armed band that can hardly uphold any single article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is tantamount to throwing basic human rights of the poor innocent Afghans to dogs (Foley and Oates Para.16).
Therefore, the U.S should continue with its mission to Afghanistan and even consider approving the 2009 proposal by President Obama’s administration to increase military troops in Afghanistan (Bergen and Gelb Para.15).
In any case, Obama is concerned that he would be blamed in case of a terrorist attack following a quick withdrawal of the US military troops at this moment when all is clear that Al-Qaeda might revenge, the unceremonial death and burial of Osama, by killing more Americans (Bergen and Gelb Para.17).
The US and her allies should then continue to watch vigilantly for any possible terrorist attacks while in Afghanistan while at the same time create an environment that is conducive to meaningful negotiations that involve relevant global actors like the United Nations among others (Atal Para.19).
In short, the US and its allies should take more time to put in place any possible measures that can help Afghanistan people transit into a peaceful country capable of undertaking sustainable nation building processes without dangers of slipping back into anarchy through Taliban control.
Given that a considerable percentage of Afghans, as indicated by recent news opinion polls, favor the US military presence in their country, it is arguable that the majority will not ready to tolerate ‘Stone Age’ governance styles of the Taliban any more (Foley and Oates Para.6).
The benefits won so far from the U.S and allies’ intervention in Afghanistan especially with regard to safeguarding rights of women and girls, should be safeguarded to the bitter end, regardless of the cost in terms of financial resources. The benefits are an indication that the war against Taliban, and by extension terrorism, is winnable.
Currently, even though women and girls continue to languish in dehumanizing conditions, hundreds of thousands of women and girls are in school; therefore, there is hope for an even a brighter future for them. Their slow but sure emancipation from the largely patriarchal and unjust domination by men, under Taliban control, should be the beacon of hope that the fight against the Taliban is winnable in the near future (Foley and Oates Para.6).
The US should, therefore, complete the work of assisting Afghans repossess their country from Taliban, and spearhead the fight against terrorism by destabilizing terrorist hideouts and safe havens in South East Asian countries. The US must appreciate the fact that, they came to finish that fight irrespective of the unavoidable challenges that have come their way and will continue to emerge in the future.
In a recap, the US should continue with its mission of stumping out the Taliban from Afghanistan by putting in place measures that will minimize chances of Afghans slipping back to anarchy. The achievements realized so far, like assisting Afghans to elect a government and give the majority of women and girls their dignity and integrity, should be the beacon of the hope that the US and its allies will defeat Taliban and terrorism in the end.
Atal, Subodh. “At a Crossroads in Afghanistan: Should the United States Be Engaged in Nation Building?” CATO Institute, 2003. Web.
Bergen, Peter, and Gelb, Leslie. “Two Arguments for What to Do in Afghanistan.” Time, 2009. Web.
Daily Nation. Nairobi bomb blast mastermind is dead, 2011. Web.
Foley, Conor, and Oates, Lauryn. “What should we do in Afghanistan?” The Guardian, 2008. Web.
Klein, Kent. “Obama Announces Death of Osama bin Laden.” Voice of America, 2011. Web.