|Americans Soldier Luxury Tents in Afghanistan|
War is waged to achieve political objectives, not to kill enemies. Politically, the US has achieved nothing in Afghanistan after ten years of desultory war and destruction.Once more, Afghanistan fulfills its grim title as "graveyard of empires."The US has failed to install an obedient regime in Kabul that controls Afghanistan. It has made bitter foes of the nation's Pashtun majority, and, in pursuing this war, gravely undermined Pakistan.US allies France and Germany announced similar troop reductions. All foreign troops are supposed to quit Afghanistan by the end of 2014.The US deficit is heading over $1.4 trillion. The national debt, when unfunded pensions and benefits are added, is likely $100 trillion, according to the chief of PIMCO, the world's largest bond trader.
Forty-four million Americans now receive food stamps; the national infrastructure of roads, airports, bridges and schools is crumbling from neglect. Unemployment, officially at 9.5%, is probably closer to 20%.
Mid-level talks between the US and Taliban have been conducted for over a year. Washington's plan was to try to split Taliban through such talks. US Afghan supremo Gen. David Petraeus tried to buy off Afghan resistance in the same manner he had bribed Iraq's Sunni tribes into quiescence. This gambit did not work with Taliban's hardened warriors, for whom honor holds as much value as money.
The US appears to be going and staying at the same time. By contrast, the Taliban's position is clear and simple: it will continue fighting until all foreign troops are withdrawn. US special forces, drones and hit squads have been unable to assassinate enough Taliban commanders to make the mujahedin stop fighting.The Pashtun Taliban and its allies are dedicated, undefeated warriors who fight where they live, and have all the time in the world. The US has lost the political and military war in Afghanistan. It may linger there, but it cannot win.(Eric Margolis)