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Editorial; Ugly war

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Afghan war was declared by the Bush-administration after 9/11 attacks in the United States. The terror attacks have claimed lives of many innocent people from different faiths. Wars helped Bush to win the presidential election. However, the war has become burden on Americans due to its cost and failed strategies of the US policymakers. In initial stage when the Taliban were ready to broker a peace deal with the Afghan government without setting any condition, the United States continued to use force against the militant group. The use of military might had changed the political and strategic landscape of Afghanistan. War has become a serious disease with no cure in sight. It was a major mistake of the US authorities.

Result of this failed policy was that the Afghan insurgents have reorganized themselves and launched attacks in different parts of the country. The second mistake that the history has recorded was the unwillingness of the US Defense Department to dismantle the Taliban’s command structure in Pakistan. Destruction of the militants command and control centers in Quetta, Peshawar and North Waziristan would have turned the table. Without leadership the militants would have been unable to organize in southern, eastern and northern provinces of Afghanistan and launch attacks. Unfortunately, the military strategies have not scored well and left Afghan government in troubled waters.

Afghan insurgents have become favorite strategic ally of major regional countries. Key actors in Central and South Asia are trying to manipulate these groups in order to secure their goals which are harming national interests of Afghanistan and undermining credibility of the Afghan government. Thanks to the US policies. Russia, China and Iran are taking great interest in Taliban. Policymakers sitting in Washington know very well that support given by these countries to the Afghan insurgents could create several and severe challenges not only for Afghanistan but also for the United States.

The most serious of the mistakes committed by the US military strategists was ignoring the calls of Afghan authorities for well-equipped and well-trained Afghan security forces. For long the US turned down requests of Afghan government regarding building of Afghan defense forces on modern lines. The decision was taken at the eleventh hour. However, it still helped Kabul in warding off terror attacks and preventing cities from collapse to the Taliban.  At this point, the right decision for the next US administration would be to chase the militant leaders and impose sanctions on those countries that provide shelter and financial support to the Taliban. In addition to that, the US should provide heavy weapons and advanced fighter jets to Afghan security forces so they could target insurgents while minimizing risks of casualties and maximizing chances of victories in pitch battles and during siege.