Remembering the Mission in Afghanistan
Reports of a renewed Taliban offensive in Afghanistan all got it wrong. Almost without fail, pundits have concluded that the mere capability of the Taliban to launch attacks is proof that the war is unwinnable and Afghanistan is lost. If anything, this latest violence underlines the opposite conclusion.
The Taliban can't launch a major offensive to seize territory. Most of the country hates them. They lack widespread indigeous support and without Pakistani and Iranian logistical backing, they would have died away years ago. They are reduced to "attention getting" attacks of opportunity. "Look at us, CNN! We're still around. We're still fighting the jihad! We can still [BOOM BLAM BLAM BLAM] oh crap I'm dying."
The attacks they undertook against embassies and military installations were wholly ineffective. Four civilians and 11 Afghan security personnel are dead in exchange for 36 Taliban casualities. This was hardly Stalingrad or Normandy. It's not even Tet. The embassies are still running just fine. The military bases are still secure.
The critical problem in Afghanistan is not our own capabilities, but the lack of a clearly-stated mission by ourselves and our allies. Instead of talking about why we are in Afghanistan, the entire conversation has turned to how quickly we are leaving. If we end up "losing" this war, it won't be because of any insurmountable military challenge by the Taliban, but a failure of will and strategy.
Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist