The war in Afghanistan against the Taliban has become invisible to American citizens since the ousting of the militant group in 2002. However, the US involvement in Afghanistan and its war against the militant insurgence once again come into view (Bergen, 2011). Undeniably, the war is now poised to become the most contentious and discordant issue in the United States.
Analytically, a significant number of Americans want to know why and how the group and its activities matter to the United States. They also want to know what is truly at stake. Despite the end of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, US troops continued stay in the region has two primary national interests (Bergen, 2011). The continued war against militants by America aims at ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven to terrorist threatening the United States and its allies’ security. Since the 9/11 attacks on the US soil, the United States army has continued to attack Taliban militants in Afghanistan with the aim of ending the faction’s influence and growth in the country (Bergen, 2011). However, since 2002, Taliban and al-Qaeda influence and impacts in Afghanistan have not been fully eliminated. Currently, the group’s base is believed to be around the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (Linschoten & Kuehn, 2012). In the absence of the US war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgence, the security status of the US will be under threat. For instance, if the current Afghanistan government collapses, the militants will rise to power and provide terrorists with a safe haven to establish their network (Bergen, 2011). In this regard, Taliban’s current activities are of significant concern to the United States.
Another main concern by the US administration is the possibility of al-Qaeda and Taliban destabilizing Pakistan (Brisard & Martinez, 2005). With a population of more than 173 million people, GDP of $160 billion and functional nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s government collapse will pose a considerable threat to the universal war against terrorism (Brisard & Martinez, 2005). The collapse of Pakistan government will enable Taliban and al-Qaeda militants to establish a safe sanctuary across Pakistan, where they can acquire nuclear weapons. In case these nuclear weapons end up in the possession of Taliban terrorists, the security of America and the rest of world security will be at stake. In line with this, Taliban activities still matter to the United States and the government should not back down in its war on groups that pose a threat to the state security (Brisard & Martinez, 2005).
The American government plan of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan should be a matter of a concern. With the Taliban and other militants launching regular attacks against the existing Afghanistan government and western military personnel, America’s aims of ending the militant’s presence and threat in Afghanistan might diminish, if appropriate withdrawal plans are not in place (Brisard & Martinez, 2005). The accelerated plans by America to withdraw their combat operations in the region worry the fragile Afghan government (Linschoten, & Kuehn, 2012). Political analysts view the US plan to withdraw its troops by the end of this year as a rushed plan that goes against initials plans and may jeopardize the Afghanistan forces’ ability to secure the country from the Taliban faction. Such concerns have been a main factor to the US government. Off late, the government has been considering the possibility of attempting peace negotiations with Taliban (Linschoten & Kuehn, 2012).
After the 9/11 attack, the US government quickly responded to the ongoing war on terrorism in Afghanistan with the aim of ending the Taliban rule in the region and capturing its top leaders (Linschoten & Kuehn, 2012). After the attack, several US citizens supported the US government’s planed war against the Taliban, and al-Qaeda terrorists believed to be the main architects in the fatal attack. Under President Bush’s rule, the US government laid down plans to bring the al-Qaida leader, Osama Bin Laden, to justice and prevent the emergence of other terrorism networks (Linschoten & Kuehn, 2012). Thereafter, the US government responded to Taliban acts by sending military troops to the Middle East with the aim of ending the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. On 7 October 2001, the US army, in collaboration with British troops, bombed the militant’s base in Afghanistan. Afterwards, the US and its allies’ forces invaded Afghanistan with ground troops. Eventually, the US bombed militants’ military camps before NATO forces joined them in war aimed at capturing Osama. The Pakistan president also swore to support US in arresting Osama. This led to a series of protests in Pakistan from groups supporting Taliban. Fleeing Taliban members sought refuge from their Pashtu brothers on the North-West border of Pakistan (Linschoten & Kuehn, 2012).
Currently, President Obama’s administration has indicated that there is a possibility of ending the Taliban threat to the United State through peaceful agreements with leaders of the faction. For the last two years, there have been allegations about ongoing secret talks between Taliban, America and other western officials aimed at finding a lasting solution to the current Afghanistan uprisings (Linschoten & Kuehn, 2012). The ongoing talks are believed to have started when Obama’s administration came into power. Among its demands, the US insists that Taliban should end its ties with al-Qaeda, cease from violence and acknowledge Afghanistan’s constitution (Linschoten & Kuehn, 2012).
Despite the US and its allies’ combined effort to destroy the Taliban militia, the operation has suffered from numerous challenges with skeptics warning that the war in Afghanistan may continue into the next decade (Tripathi, 2010). Due to the support from Afghan and Pakistani tribes, the complete destabilization of Taliban activities in both Afghanistan and Pakistan has proved to be a challenging task to the US administration. Native tribes compromise the American and current Afghanistan government efforts to wipe out Taliban activities in the region, since tribes do not want to demonstrate any form of opposition to the Taliban faction. In this regard, members of these tribes assist Taliban followers through the provision of shelter and protection. Similarly, the Taliban, through tribes, obtain intelligence on enemies’ whereabouts and movements. In addition, Taliban guerrillas operation facilitated by the familiar terrain has given the group an advantage over American troops (Tripathi, 2010). In this regard, the American administration should consider other peaceful means as a way to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Through these approaches, America should engage militants in peaceful talks to persuade them to cease from their unprecedented attacks. Similarly, the US government should ensure that the group detaches itself from the al-Qaeda faction once it is included in the current government.
The Bush administration’s response to Taliban attacks on the US soil has received numerous criticisms. Although the harm inflicted by Osama on the United States was severe, the response by the Bush administration has compromised on the country’s principles while undermining its economy (Linschoten & Kuehn, 2012). Lastly, ongoing talks between the United States and Taliban require a lot of support from various parties if they are to be successful. The US government should realize that these negotiations would bear fruit, if serious considerations and aspects deemed crucial were considered, so that all the involved parties reach a lasting agreement (Linschoten & Kuehn, 2012).
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