After America Fought Them for 20 Years the Taliban Now Hold More Territory Than They Started With
America: unbeatable at losing wars
When the first US bomb fell on Afghanistan on October 7th, 2001, the Taliban held 70 percent of the country. 20 years later with 800,000 US military men having rotated through, the Taliban hold 100 percent.
Many of those 800,000 did multiple tours and were joined by hundreds of thousands of NATO auxiliaries and contractors.
All they have accomplished is that the Taliban are now in a stronger position than they were when the US invaded.
This is a little bit like if the US invaded Iraq but was then kicked out from Iraq and Kuwait for good measure.
Blinken’s protestations that this is “not Saigon” because the US accomplished its goal are absurd.
“This is clearly not Saigon. We entered Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission in mind, and that was to deal with the people who attacked us on 9/11, and that mission has been successful.”
Yes, the US accomplished that goal…in December 2001. Then it moved the goalposts and decided Afghanistan ought to be America’s military colony forever, or until every little Afghan girl could attend a secular LGBT-friendly school which is the same thing.
Understand the only reason there was ever talk of the US exiting Afghanistan was because of the armed resistance there.
There is never talk of the US retreating from Germany, Japan, Korea, UK… The only way the US ever leaves is if it is shown the door by the government (Uzbekistan 2005, Kyrgyzstan 2014, Iraq 2011) or if it is forced out from the grassroots (Afghanistan 2021). (Or if the occupation is being transferred to the subordinate EU Empire as in Bosnia.)
If not for the Afghans resisting, the Empire of Bases would have been eager and happy to stay forever as it has in Germany, Japan, Korea, UK, and Blinken not be on CNN explain that staying longer was “not in the national interest” and that “strategic competitors would like nothing better than for us to remain”.
It is only active and armed Afghan resistance that finally made staying undesirable.
Yet before that, the sole US objective, as actually pursued, was to break the Afghan resistance to its presence there. And in that mission, the US has manifestly not been successful.
At the same time let’s not be too harsh on the US Empire. Expanding Taliban power across one hundred percent of Afghanistan perhaps isn’t what the US set out to do, but it is nonetheless a spectacular accomplishment. One that in a country as linguistically, socially, religiously and geographically divided as Afghanistan was highly unlikely and almost impossible without America applying its famed reverse-Midas touch to the situation. (In fact, it is so unlikely that regional anti-Taliban forces will likely slowly regroup and take back some of the territory but that depends on external support and how willing the Taliban are to work with them.)