THE war in Afghanistan has entered its 20th year making it longer than the Vietnam war, which lasted for 19 years. The peace process to end the Afghan conflict is in progress. Iraq has American occupation forces on its soil since 1991. President Bill Clinton bombed Baghdad to divert attention from his impeachment. When President Trump ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria, he was described as having ‘become presidential --the only time CNN used these words for Donald Trump.
Presidential or survival instincts sometimes necessitate a prolongation of war; or resurgence in troops in Afghanistan as by the Obama administration.
The Afghanpeace process has been on for a decade. American forces are not leaving Iraq even when asked by their government, reasons being oil and Iran. On the contrary the chosen Afghani government wants American troops to stay.
When the cry went up in Washington to bring troops home from Afghanistan NYT in June 2010 front-paged a Pentagon sponsored article claiming discovery of vast mineral wealth there. Most of the claims were dubious but the timing and placement were so perfect that the roar died down. Oil in Iraq and mineral resources in Afghanistan justified occupation.
NATO’s Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer speaking at Brookings Institute in Feb 2009 had said that a permanent NATO presence in a country that borders the ex-Soviet republics, China, Iran and Pakistan was “too good to miss.”
Let us not kid ourselves about this peace process despite Zalmay Khalilzad’s shuttle diplomacy.
Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2020