The latest debacle in Afghanistan is the culmination of a failed U.S. foreign policy in that part of the world. To say that recent events in Afghanistan are an embarrassment to the United States and the current administration would be an understatement. There are noticeable similarities between Vietnam and Afghanistan. Apparently, the United States has yet to learn its lesson from its experiences in Vietnam.
In 1979, Islamic Mujahedeen fighters began a lengthy war with invading Soviet forces. Nearly all of the Taliban’s original leadership fought in the Soviet-Afghan War as part of the Mujahedeen. At that time, the United States government hailed (and supported) the Mujahedeen – the Taliban – as “freedom fighters” who courageously and fiercely engaged in an armed conflict against Soviet aggression. The United States now considers the Taliban to be an Islamic extremist organization.
History clearly demonstrates that foreign powers have failed in their military efforts in Afghanistan. The British Empire intervened in Afghanistan during the 19th century; Great Britain failed miserably. As mentioned above, the Soviet Union fought a decade-long war in Afghanistan; that adventure became the Soviet’s version of a “Vietnam-type” conflict.
The United States has engaged in an extremely costly twenty-year “deployment” in Afghanistan. Similar to Vietnam, the United States financed the Afghani military forces and that nation’s government. At this point, just like others have done in the past, the United States is abandoning Afghanistan. Just like the fall of Saigon, chaos has erupted in Kabul as people flee the approaching Taliban forces. Also, just like what Nguyen Van Thieu did in Vietnam when he fled communist forces, the former president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, absconded the seat of government with stolen loot.
Consequently, like Vietnam, the United States winds up with egg on its face. Perhaps the U.S. misadventure in Afghanistan is a “redo” of Vietnam. If so, then the United States has proven Einstein’s definition of insanity to be correct; doing the exact same thing and expecting a different result.
John Di Genio