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Friday, January 2, 2009

War in Afghanistan

As the American involvement in Iraq begins to wind down, many more troops will be heading to Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, few policy makers seem to be considering that, even though the Afghans start each war badly, they have a two hundred year record of four wins and no losses. The losers during this time period are:
  • Britain: 1st Afghan War 1838 - 1842

  • Britain: 2nd Afghan War 1878 - 1921

  • Britain: 3rd Afghan War 1919 - 1921

  • Soviet Union: Afghan War 1979 - 1989

Now the Great Game is on again: America 2001 - present.

In 656 AD, a few years after the death of the Prophet Mohammad, Arab armies invaded Afghanistan in the name of Islam. It took over two hundred years until Afghanistan was fully conquered, in approximately 870 AD, and the population converted to Sunni Islam. From that time on there have been many invaders - Genghis Khan, the Moghuls and the Persians to name a few - but none have managed to disturb the Islamic and tribal nature of the country for long.

Afghanistan is occupied - sort of - by NATO and American armies who are attempting something that has never been achieved in the history of the country. That is the creation of a strong central government which will be able to control the country and, most important to the West but not perhaps to Afghans, deny sanctuary to Islamic terrorists.

There is little likelihood of any victory in Afghanistan in the near or medium term since the West's objectives (the rule of law and the dissolution of terrorist bases and sanctuaries in the bad lands of the Afghan - Pakistani border) are no closer now than in 2001 when America invaded and overthrew the then Taliban dominated government. The idea that Afghanistan can be governed by a strong central government has simply not been accepted by the tribes who value autonomy over country and those who know that the forces of Islam are again at war against the Crusaders.

Be prepared for the loss of many more of our lives and much treasure, for little gain, in one of the world's great hell holes.

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