Ah, yes. Of course. Does Kerry mean Afghanistan the reliable ally of the United States? Well, no, it is not a reliable ally. Does Kerry mean Afghanistan the stable Western-style republic? No, it isn’t a republic in any genuine sense. Is Kerry referring to Afghanistan the economic powerhouse, raising the standard of living for its own people and those of other countries around it? Uh, no, Afghanistan is nothing like that. Does Kerry mean the Afghanistan in which the Taliban has been decisively defeated, never to menace Afghans who reject it and non-Muslims elsewhere again? No, the Taliban is poised to take power again as soon as the Americans are gone. Does Kerry mean the Afghanistan in which U.S. troops were respected and received with gratitude, and were able to help the Afghans build their own reliable military and police force? No, in Afghanistan there was a spate of green-on-blue attacks in which American soldiers were senselessly murdered in jihad attacks by their ostensible allies, even the people they were training.
The Afghan misadventure has been a failure of catastrophic proportions. Is Kerry completely self-deluded, or just hoping to fool the American people?
Secretary of State John Kerry recently spoke at the Oxford Union and addressed a range of issues from climate change to extremism to political corruption. During the question and answer after Kerry’s remarks, one audience member asked the secretary of state to name the “proudest achievements of the Obama administration” now that President Obama’s eight years in office are coming to an end.
Kerry seemed to be somewhat taken off guard by the question, but quickly named three issues in which Kerry himself had been intimately involved: the Paris climate change agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and the reestablishment of ties with Cuba. But then he also named Afghanistan:
Wow, that’s asking me to be sort of retrospectively judgmental. But I – I mean, obviously, I think that the global climate change agreement in Paris and the Iran nuclear agreement and the Cuba opening; the efforts in Afghanistan to hold together – transition Afghanistan; fighting – ending Ebola as a global threat… [emphasis added]
In December 2009, President Obama announce the “way forward” for the US in Afghanistan. The three objective he set forth were “denying al-Qa’ida a safe haven, reversing the Taliban’s momentum, and strengthening the capacity of Afghanistan’s security forces and government so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan’s future” and to “support the Government of Afghanistan as it moves towards full responsibility for security across Afghanistan by the end of 2014.”
The reality has fallen somewhat short of these goals. In April, CNN reported that Afghanistan and U.S. officials were concerned that “al Qaeda is ‘very active’ and a ‘big threat’ in the country,” and that there was “concern over growing ties between al Qaeda and the Taliban.” In addition, the Washington Post reported in January:
Top U.S. military commanders, who only a few months ago were planning to pull the last American troops out of Afghanistan by year’s end, are now quietly talking about an American commitment that could keep thousands of troops in the country for decades.
More recently the Post reported in April that “[t]he Afghan army, left on its own, had failed to live up to expectations.”…