Report: The Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan has Failed

The Senlis Council, an international policy think-tank, recently released a report titled “Afghanistan Five Years Later: The Return of the Taliban” in which they provide evidence that nearly five years after their removal from power, the Taliban “has strong psychological and de facto military control over half of Afghanistan” and that the military invasion and occupation has failed to achieve its major objectives. The report also states that the United States’ occupation of Afghanistan has failed to achieve “stability and security” in the country with violent attacks—including suicide bombings, murders, and ambushes—being perpetrated on a daily basis. In addition to the security situation and the return of the Taliban, the report makes four additional conclusions:

Failure to address Afghanistan’s extreme poverty fuelling support for Taliban

After five years of international donor pledges to provide resources and assistance to Afghanistan, Afghans are starving to death, and there is evidence that poverty is driving support for the Taliban. Prioritising military-based security, the United States’ and United Kingdom’s focus on counter-terrorism initiatives and militaristic responses to Afghanistan’s opium crisis has undermined the local and international development community’s abilities to respond to Afghanistan’s many poverty-related challenges.

US and UK counter-narcotics strategies have accelerated and compounded all of Afghanistan’s problems

By focusing aid funds away from development and poverty relief, failed counter-narcotics policies have hijacked the international community’s nation-building efforts in the country and undermined Afghanistan’s democratically elected government. Poppy cultivation is a food survival strategy for millions of Afghans, and the United States’ and United Kingdom-led poppy eradication policies are fuelling violence and insecurity.

Afghan central government legitimacy and effectiveness undermined by US-led international community’s approaches in Afghanistan

Five years of internationally lauded democracy-building achievements in Afghanistan mask the growing scepticism with which Afghans view their central government. Increasingly, Afghans perceive that their government is accountable to international donors, and not to the Afghans themselves. In establishing democratic institutions, the international community raised expectations high, yet stood back as the United States and United Kingdom undercut the Afghan government’s ability to deliver on these expectations by forcing the adoption and implementation of militaristic counter-narcotics policies. Failed counter-narcotics policies have undermined the legitimacy of the Afghan government.

Nation-building sequencing in wrong order

Massive international expenditure on security illustrates that right from 2001, the international community’s priorities for Afghanistan were not in line with those of the Afghan population. Rather, for the past five years, the US-led international community has prioritised military-focused security over the relief of Afghans’ extreme poverty and economic instability. Military expenditure outpaces development and reconstruction spending by 900%. An intensive and extended focus on relieving the poverty of Afghans could have created a solid foundation on which to re-build Afghanistan. Instead, because the fight against poverty has not been prioritised, the international community’s democracy-building efforts are collapsing as Afghans starve.

Author: mediamouse

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