To better understand the War in Afghanistan, this author argues one must contend with three distinct errors in American judgement:
- The original U.S. objective in Afghanistan was punishing those who carried out the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Within a relatively short period, this had been accomplished. The Taliban were crushed and Al-Qaeda were no longer training on Afghan soil. The mission then expanded to include building a central democracy in Afghanistan, a decades-long effort consuming trillions of dollars, that fell to the Taliban in just over 10 days.
- After 9/11 but before the fall of Kandahar, the Taliban offered Washington to demobilize their soldiers in exchange for general amnesty. Believing the Taliban could be militarily wiped out, the Bush administration rejected their offer, snuffing them out in Afghanistan, but allowing their regroup in Pakistan.
- The additional American troop surge between 2009-2011 into Afghanistan represented our continued attempt to provide regional stability and build a self-reliant Afghan security force. Even with greater numbers in Kabul, the surrounding peoples never fully accepted an American presence.