ANALYSIS – American special forces have fought like lions in Helmand province – that part is obvious to anyone following the still ongoing Afghan war. A picture of an American soldier posting his nation’s flag in MARJAH compound in every way symbolises the best of his country’s fighting forces. The Taliban know how good the opposition is, they also know that the Americans can fight, that they have forever banished the myth that the US relies too heavily on technology and not fighting prowess.
Unfortunately, the same can not be said for the politicians and arm chair generals in Washington who still haven’t accepted the reality on the ground. America has lost this war – not because of its soldiers, but because of the failure of policy makers. From the start, this was a failed campaign because US bombing simply replaced the Taliban with the very people whose presence had made the emergence of the religious students necessary. The resulting government has been corrupt and incompetent, they have committed outrages against Taliban prisoners of war and the Afghan population, whose lives continue to be desperate despite the billions of dollars being poured into KABUL. Before Helmand, there was KUNDUZ which was overrun by Taliban fighters who attacked each district from several directions for weeks before forcing their way through to seize control of the whole province. It was an action that also resulted in the bombing of the MSF hospital that America blames on its Afghan colleagues. Today, with SANGIN poised to fall and with it the neighboring Helmand districts the question is when will the politicians in Washington accept the realities on the ground. And that will mean having serious talks with the Taliban.