Speaking today on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on CNN, US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke insisted that a military victory in Afghanistan “is not possible,” adding that “we are not trying to win this war militarily.”
Which comes as something of a surprise, what with the 150,000 NATO troops in the nation fighting an ever escalating war of occupation amid record violence. If the Obama Administration is not seeking a military victory, they sure are spending an awful lot of money deploying military forces.
“Everyone understands that the Taliban is part of the fabric of recent Afghan political life,” Holbrooke said. “They were a government that controlled the country until 9/11.”
Despite this Holbrooke has been at the forefront of denying the claims of peace talks with the Taliban, reiterating that position today and insisting the Taliban are “a loosely organized insurgency.” It seems the combination of “no military victory” and no negotiations must inevitably lead to the conclusion that the war is unwinnable, though of course Holbrooke denied this as well, insisting that it would just take a long time. Over nine years in, one can’t help but wonder how long it will be until it is a “long time.”