News On The “Forever War”

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In 2001, a coalition made up of the US and several Eeuropean countries invaded and occupied Afghanistan. The invasion was sparked after the 9/11 attacks, coordinated by Al-Qaeda’s founder Osama Bbin Ladenn. President George W. Bush gave an ultimatum to the oppressive Taliban government to “close immediately every terrorist camp, hand over every terrorist and their supporters, and to give the United States full access to terrorist training camps for inspection.” Of course, the Taliban rejected all these demands and President Bush authorized the invasion of Afghanistan, which was officially called Operation Enduring Freedom, on the 7th of October.

 Operation Enduring Freedom was to bring a massive change to Afghanistan. It’s purpose was to topple the Taliban government and to stop Al-Qaeda from having a safe base of operations in Afghanistan. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was created in 2003, according to NATO, “to enable the Afghan government to provide effective security across the country and develop new Afghan security forces to ensure Afghanistan would never again become a safe haven for terrorists.” ISAF’s mission concluded in 2014, now replaced by the smaller, non-combative, Resolute Support (RS) Mission. 

To the American people, the “Forever War” is a subject that is well known. When asked about if he thinks the government/media gives enough information about the war Erik Castaneda, a JHS Sophomore, “The media gives too much information about the war, but not the Afghan people or their culture.”  He also expressed surprise when told that the war has been going on even before his birth, “It’s crazy that it’s been that long.” Certaintely, it comes to a grim realization that the war has been going on for 20 years, “We have been rather inefficient [in the conflict],” Mr. Sid Gambles, the history teacher, said, “We either commit more troops to Afghanistan or just completely leave the country.” 

It’s important to say that the Afghan government is unable to survive without international support. “It will return to the same state it was in before the war.” Mr. Gambles said when asked if he thinks the country can survive by itself. Corruption, lack of national identity and violence are all causes of why the Afghan government will be unable to stand by itself. Which leads to the question of whether Afghanistan is even worthwhile or not. “To the Afghans it is, maybe not for us, but it certainly is for them. However, it’s hard to tell.” Mr. Gambles responded. The Afghan people, at first, depended on the coalition for protection against the local militias, but now many don’t even understand why there is still American presence in their country. Many Afghans are just tired of war and want peace, even if it meant that the US needs to leave.

 There is uncertainty of Afghanistan’s fate this year. Many Americans, like Mr. Gamble, are worried about what the upcoming elections will mean for Afghanistan. “Trump has been hard against terrorism in Afghanistan.” he said, “Hopefully, if Biden wins he’ll be tough on them too.”  Even so, David F. Helvey, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, stated, “the president [decided] that the conditions of Afghanistan were sufficient to reduce our force to between 4,000 and 5,000 by the end of November 2020.”