As Surge Ends, ‘Stalemate’ in Afghanistan Predicted

As the troops from President Obama’s military surge in Afghanistan now leave the war-torn country, a transition to “Afghan security” is supposed to be taking place, but the war is increasingly seen as a failure.

“A decisive end seems nowhere in sight,” reports The Associated Press, noting the enduring Taliban insurgency, the failure of a negotiated settlement, the weakness of the US-backed Kabul government, and Washington’s plans to keep tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan well beyond the much-cited “withdrawal date” of 2014.

“We are probably headed for stalemate in 2014,” says Stephen Biddle, a George Washington University professor who has advised US commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq. Biddle warns that the US will probably be pumping billions of dollars a year into Afghanistan for decades to come in an attempt to prevent collapse and civil war.

US and Afghan negotiators in Kabul have been meeting to hammer out a formal security agreement that will govern the presence of US troops past 2014, perhaps until 2024.

The complete and utter failure of the US and its NATO allies to get anything constructive done in Afghanistan for the past 11 years should be testament enough that another 11 years won’t do any good either.

The stated mission of the US in the war in Afghanistan has been to eliminate the Taliban and al-Qaeda and prevent their return by building up a stable Afghan government and independent security forces. Every one of these goals have been objective failures, and experts and commentators across the political spectrum acknowledge this.

The fact that the insurgency in Afghanistan is as strong as ever, even after 11 years of facing off against the world’s most advanced military, is an indication that it will remain alive and well so long as there are any occupation forces on the ground and so long as the Kabul government is propped up by hostile foreign governments. Staying in Afghanistan beyond 2014 – indeed, beyond tomorrow – makes no strategic, or moral sense.

Last 5 posts by John Glaser

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.

  • dublinokarra

    Poor American soldiers! They should know how their country has never won any war after WW2. From Korea to Afghanistan it is one long history of defeats so they should be used to this stalemate thing.

    • MoT

      That all depends on what your definition of "defeat" means. If all you're interested in is moving the imperial agenda forward and extracting the maximum amount of wealth out of your slaves, AKA "citizens", while indoctrinating them into believing their "enemy" is some outside force and not from within, then there is no such thing as defeat. It's an illusion. In someones simple "win/lose" thinking it may appear that way but the reality is completely different.

  • Dr.Khan

    I am Pushtoon and from the tribal areas of Pakistan.I do not know how will the END justify the means in this case by the USG to start with as withdrawlal nears.By now we all know it was an absolutely unjustified and illegal war imposed on people who already were suffering since 1979 Russian and then civil war.
    If anyone still think that the solution to the problems lies in the think tank organisations or the magic word will be spelled by and academic intellectual,I must say they are still wrong.Let the Afghans first themselves while the regional powers assisting them should find a viable and long òasting solution.If not and the USG insist and keep bullying then I am afraid we are all barking at the tree.More Human life,Dollar bleeding and more worsening will continue for indefinite period.

  • Bruce Richardson

    Tis a shame that we never seem to learn from history. A glance back at the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, or for that matter the British who chose to go to war on three occassions with the Afghans experience during the 19th century, would tell us that a protracted war against a determined guerrilla/insurgency is doomed to fail…despite the presence and deployment of overwhelming firepower superiority of the part of the superpower of the era.

  • popsiq

    I hope somebody's telling the Taliban. .
    ..

    ….
    .That 'stalemate' features the regular killing of military personnel and civilians. As such it's really no different than the non-stalemate that got us here. But as a liguistic 'construct' for getting out of Afghanistan, it's as good a place as any.


    … 'Stalemate' sounds better than 'evacuation', or 'unvasion'. Makes for a bettter memorial , too.

  • wthePoster

    What can we suppose Prof. Biddle 'advised' the 'commanders' in Afghanistan? Two words for you, Napoleons: "get" "out" would have sufficed.

  • wthePoster

    How come GOP lies work on our people but not on the Afghani people? I guess they're just more sophisticated.

  • HasteinD

    Looks like "we" lost another war. Oh well, the game continues…

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