Despite the expenditure of hundreds of billions of (“borrowed”) dollars and thousands of US lives to route al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and prevent that country from being used as a launch pad for attacks – the US has all but admitted failure.
Ryan Crocker, American Ambassador to Kabul, said in no uncertain terms: “Al-Qaeda is still present in Afghanistan. If the West decides that 10 years in Afghanistan is too long then they will be back, and the next time it will not be New York or Washington, it will be another big Western city.”
Crocker said this in an effort to otherwise justify the continuance of more than 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan (33,000-strong “surge” force that is scheduled to withdraw, leaving about 68,000 American service members already in Afghanistan).
Mr. Crocker, who took up his post in Kabul last year, said “al-Qaeda remained a potent threat despite suffering setbacks”.
KILLING THE STUPID ONES
“We have killed all the slow and stupid ones. But that means the ones that are left are totally dedicated,” he said.
NATO experts suggest that al-Qaeda has a presence of around 100 fighters. The US maintains a presence of almost a 1000 to 1 and still al-Qaeda is this major threat which requires us to spend an estimated $6.7 billion per month?
“If this isn’t evidence of the US failure in Afghanistan – nothing is”, says Thomas Dunn a counterterrorism expert who faults the US for wasting precious resources, time, money and American lives in a failed 10 year long fight to eradicate al-Qaeda in Afghanistan (and Pakistan).
Dunn indicated that al-Qaeda is operating from safe havens inside Pakistan – based mainly in the Kunar and Nuristan provinces nearest the border with Pakistan.
Dunn also made the distinction between al-Qaeda in Afghanistan (estimated at 100) and al-Qaeda in Pakistan where he suggests “hundreds more are based in Pakistan” and could return if circumstances were to change. Dunn suggests a strategy of maintaining a few thousands special operations forces could deal with the problem rather than maintaining tens of thousands of combat soldiers in a nation that is hostile to our presence.
Not to be undone Senator Graham has suggested we maintain a permanent troop presence in Afghanistan (see: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/02/graham-permanent-military-presence-afghanistan/ ). A move that could cost the US billions and billions of dollars.
“There is no end to the stupidity of this war. From the failure to address the main funding source of the Taliban and al-Qaeda (opium poppy), to the failure to get at the safe havens they operate from inside Pakistan, the pay offs to the Taliban warlords not to attack, the US seems doomed to lose this war”, says Gary Sims of Charlotte, N.C. a former US Army infantryman who fought in 4 wars over 15 years, wounded twice. Sims added “The US fights wars stupidly like a bull in a China shop. The real war is along the Mexican border, not Afghanistan”, he said.