On September 11, 2001, 19 member of Al Qaeda, most of whom were from Saudi Arabia, hijacked four airplanes of “United” and “America” airways and carried out attacks on New York and Washington cities of the United States. Around 3000 people were killed in these attacks and thus, were considered a justification for launching the war on Afghanistan. The U.S invaded Afghanistan and deployed tens of thousands of troops there under the banner of the “War on Terror”.
17 years later, the Afghan war initiated by the U.S is still ongoing and claims the lives of countless Afghans every day. After 17 years of war, not only does the Taliban remain undefeated, but a number of other armed groups including ISIS (Daesh) have also emerged in Afghanistan.
The analysis will look into how the 9/11 attacks occurred, the U.S. war on Afghanistan and what the U.S has gained in Afghanistan since 9/11.
U.S. Campaign on Afghanistan
A number of Arab nationals were residing in Afghanistan during the Soviet Union attack on Afghanistan, and were aiding Afghan Mujahedeen on different grounds. Some Arab nationals including Osama Bin Laden and his comrades remained in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime. They were being supported by the Rabbani administration prior to that.
Osama Bin Laden was the cause of Taliban and U.S enmity. Though the United States had launched a number of missile assaults on Afghanistan in 1998; the dispute over Osama Bin Laden, once again led to animosity after the 9/11 incident.
On September 20, 2001, the U.S. President, George W. Bush made the following demands on the Taliban; to deliver to the United States authorities all of the leaders of Al Qaeda who hide in Afghanistan, to release all foreign nationals, to immediately and permanently close down every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and to hand over every terrorist and their support structure to appropriate authorities. The U.S also demanded to be given full access to terrorist training camps, so that they could make sure that they are no longer operating. Nevertheless, the Taliban rejected these demands and said that the United States possessed no evidence against Osama Bin Laden’s involvement in the incident.
Later, the Taliban however proposed to the United States that they were ready to hand Osama bin Laden over to Pakistan to be tried; but Parwez Musharraf precluded the proposal. On October 7, 2001, Taliban, once again, proposed that they were ready to try Osama Bin Laden in a court in Afghanistan; however, the U.S. continued with the attacks on the day and initiated the ongoing war.
The Current Situation of the Ongoing U.S War in Afghanistan
Apparently, the U.S. attack on Afghanistan began under the pretext of a “War on Terror”, however, 17 years later terrorism is yet to be eliminated and new armed groups have emerged in Afghanistan as well. The war has intensified day by day and despite the involved parties, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have suffered casualties.
Overall, the consequences of the U.S. war on Afghanistan in the last 17 years can be established as follows:
First: 17 years later, the war is still ongoing, and apart from Taliban, various other armed groups, including ISIS have emerged in Afghanistan. More than 40 per cent of Afghan land is controlled by the armed opposition of the Afghan government, according to SIGAR. More than 40 thousand civilians have suffered casualties during the four years of the National Unity Government (NUG) only, according to UN. The United States has perpetrated many crimes and is afraid of investigating them. It has threatened against files of U.S soldiers being referred to the International Court of Justice.
Second: After the Taliban regime collapsed, a new system was established by the U.S and its international allies in Afghanistan 17 years ago; however, political instability and deep disputes among government officials are still considered big challenges. The Afghan electoral commission is yet to be trusted even after they held three Presidential Elections, and Afghanistan is still among the four most corrupt countries in the world.
Third: Billions of dollars entered the country with the arrival of international troops, however, they have filled the pockets of specific individuals and circles in the country. For now, about 40 per cent of Afghans are living below the poverty line, where almost 2 million of them are eligible to work but are unemployed. Hundreds of thousands of educated Afghan youth migrated to foreign countries due to unemployment, where a large number of them lost their lives travelling through dangerous routes.
Fourth: The U.S war on Afghanistan resulted in a “by hook or by crook” involvement of some regional countries like Iran, Pakistan, Russia and China in Afghanistan. Nowadays a large number of analysts believe that the Afghan war is prolonged due to secret confrontation and interference of regional and world countries. If this continues, Afghanistan will perhaps turn into the rivalry center of great powers.
The 9/11 attacks have had as much negative impacts on Afghanistan as its domain is yet to be shortened. Due to these attacks, the U.S. and a number of other military powers found justification in attacking Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria,Libya and many more countries, leading to deaths of thousands of human beings in these wars.
Alot of analysts believe that after 17 years of war on Afghanistan, the U.S. is not interested in the War on Terror, instead, it follows its strategic and long-term regional interests and that the 9/11 incidents are interlinked to these goals.
Hence, the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan has led to the concern of some regional countries like Iran, China and Russia. In the last few years, Russia and Iran believe that the U.S. intentionally instigates insecurity in the region and supports the terrorists under the banner of “War on Terror”; however, U.S. has always rejected these allegations and inversely has accused these countries of providing support to armed groups.
In conclusion, the post-9/11 U.S. attack on Afghanistan was the start of its longest war. After 17 years, the U.S. generals today, have concluded that the ongoing U.S. war in Afghanistan has encountered deadlock and it is necessary to put an end to it through negotiations. Due to its inappropriate policies, the U.S. is subject to criticism from inside and outside.