I am not optimistic about our efforts in Afghanistan. We have military rules of engagement that in essence turn our soldiers into policemen while doing battle in a combat zone. We have a strategy of containment that assumes the Taliban are nothing more than a herd of recalcitrant sheep needing to be penned. And we have a ‘get out of Dodge’ mindset that fuels the hopes and morale of the forces we are attempting to vanquish.
We are fighting a state of mind long set in the Middle Ages. But the Taliban are a clever and persevering people and they see very clearly that victory is not necessarily a strategic win on the battlefield. The Taliban are attempting to destroy any vestige of Western influence in Afghanistan and they know just where to start. These IslamoFacists understand how threatening any type of education can be to their doctrinal fundamentalism. And while we’re conducting military maneuvers, they’re blowing up the educational infrastructure of the country.
Winning the hearts and minds of the people may be one of our stated goals, but if I were a poor Afghani attempting to scratch out my living in the midst of all the conflict and terror, I’d be betting on the Taliban. I think they’ll be around long after the US and allied forces have shipped for home.