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US Presence in Afghanistan as Long as Soviet Union’s
Posted by The Agonist on November 26th, 2010

From our partners at The Agonist

November 26

VOA – The United States has now been fighting in Afghanistan as long as the Soviet Union did before it withdrew in 1989. Friday marks nine years and 50 days that U.S. forces have been fighting in Afghanistan.

The U.S. says it will continue its presence in Afghanistan for at least four more years, with the goal of ending the campaign in 2014.

A Pentagon-led report released earlier this week described the progress made since the United States injected 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan earlier this year as fragile.

The study said there has been progress in establishing security in key parts of Afghanistan, but the Taliban is a resilient enemy that retains significant capabilities.

Pentagon report shows little progress, rampant corruption in Afghanistan

Raw Story, By Eric W. Dolan, November 26

Little progress has been made against Taliban fighters and the Afghan government remains weak and rife with corruption, according to the Pentagon’s semiannual report to Congress on the war in Afghanistan.

The report, titled “Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan [PDF],” was released this week and outlines the failures and successes of the United States’ mission in Afghanistan.

Although more aggressive security operations are expected to increase pressure on insurgents in Afghanistan, they have proven to be a resilient enemy.

“The insurgents will retain operational momentum in some areas as long as they have access to externally supported safe havens and support networks,” according to the report.

The US of A breaks the Soviet record, By Glenn Greenwald, November 26


It seems clear that a similar — or even grander — prize awaits us as the one with which the Soviets were rewarded. I hope nobody thinks that just because we can’t identify who the Taliban leaders are after almost a decade over there that this somehow calls into doubt our ability to magically re-make that nation. Even if it did, it’s vital that we stop the threat of Terrorism, and nothing helps to do that like spending a full decade — and counting — invading, occupying, and bombing Muslim countries.

The good news — beyond our shattering this record and thus showing that we can still kick those Soviets around even after they no longer exist — is that this decade of utter futility hasn’t at all diminished the Government’s appetite for endless war in the Muslim world. By all accounts, the administration its actively debating whether to accelerate its already escalated intervention in Yemen. We’ve dramatically increased our covert actions in countless countries across the Muslim world. And today, former Bush State Department legal adviser John Bellinger III (one of the “moderates” from that era) argues in The Washington Post for a re-writing of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) — not in order to rescind it after nine years of endless war-fighting, but rather to expand it, on the ground that it “provides insufficient authority for our military and intelligence personnel to conduct counterterrorism operations today” and outrageously fails to empower the President’s “wish to target or detain a terrorist who is not part of al-Qaeda” (for good measure, he also wants the new law to authorize the killing of American citizens and to allow detention without charges).

Afghanistan: a history of occupation

Afghanistan has been repeatedly invaded for more than 2,000 years, dating back to Alexander the Great

The Telegraph, November 26

330BC – Alexander the Great invades region including modern day Afghanistan and spends two years fighting and facing repeated rebellion.

667AD – Arab armies sweep into Afghan territory, but only partially subdue locals and face frequent revolts.

1220 – Genghis Khan’s Mongol armies sweep through Afghanistan.

1722 – Birth of Ahmad Shah Durrani, first Emir of Afghanistan.

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