Fifteen Years Into the Afghan War, Do Americans Know the Truth?

Last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan,
the longest war in US history. There weren’t any victory parades or photo-ops
with Afghanistan’s post-liberation leaders. That is because the war is
ongoing. In fact, 15 years after launching a war against Afghanistan’s
Taliban government in retaliation for an attack by Saudi-backed al-Qaeda, the
US-backed forces are steadily losing territory back to the Taliban.

What President Obama called “the good war” before took office in
2008, has become the “forgotten war” some eight years later. How many
Americans know that we still have nearly 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan? Do
any Americans know that the Taliban was never defeated, but now holds more ground
in Afghanistan than at any point since 2001? Do they know the Taliban overran
the provincial capital of Kunduz last week for a second time in a year and they
threaten several other provincial capitals?

Do Americans know that we are still wasting billions on “reconstruction”
and other projects in Afghanistan that are, at best, boondoggles? According
to a recent audit by the independent US government body overseeing Afghan reconstruction,
half a billion dollars was wasted on a contract for a US company to maintain
Afghan military vehicles. The contractor “fail[ed] to meet program objectives,”
the audit found. Of course they still got paid, like thousands of others getting
rich off of this failed war.

Do Americans know that their government has spent at least $60 billion to train
and equip Afghan security forces, yet these forces are still not capable of
fighting on their own against the Taliban? We recently learned that an unknown
but not insignificant number of those troops brought to the US for training
have deserted and are living illegally somewhere in the US. In the recent Taliban
attack on Kunduz, it was reported that thousands of Afghan security personnel
fled without firing a shot.

According to a recent study by Brown University, the direct costs of the Iraq
and Afghanistan wars thus far are nearly five trillion dollars. The indirect
costs are virtually incalculable.

Perhaps Afghanistan is the “forgotten war” because to mention it
would reveal how schizophrenic is US foreign policy. After all, we have been
fighting for 15 years in Afghanistan in the name of defeating al-Qaeda, while
we are directly and indirectly assisting a franchise of al-Qaeda to overthrow
the Syrian government. How many Americans would applaud such a foreign policy?
If they only knew, but thanks to a media only interested in promoting Washington’s
propaganda, far too many Americans don’t know.

I have written several of these columns on the various anniversaries of the
Afghan (and Iraq) wars, pointing out that the wars are ongoing and that the
result of the…

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