The TMOQ documentary made quite an outstanding impact on me regarding the United States involvement in Afghanistan. Upon watching the documentary, I went further to do some research on whether the United States has any business continuing their involvement in Afghanistan since we have disseminated Osama Bin Laden and weakened Al-Qaida. I think that the continued stay in Afghanistan is an insult to nation building and to the integrity of Afghani people. In the article, Why the Military Needs to Leave Afghanistan, and Soon, Phil Sparrow makes a case against continued western military presence in Afghanistan. Phil Sparrow argues that while NATO, led by the United States and British military should leave as soon as possible, the political capacity builders should stay to help Afghanistan rebuild the governmental institutions that are vital for the country’s structural revamping. I think the argument that Sparrow makes resonates with me and here is why.
My main premise is that while Afghans need security, the international community is not providing that much needed security. Instead, contrary to what the popular belief, Taliban has provided that peace in some regions. For example, Sparrow writes about a region called Faryab of the Northern provinces that has the highest number of internally displaced people at about 25,000. The high number of internal displacement in this region is not about Taliban’s incursion but because of the US military approach. While the initial Taliban approach caused quite unrest, it did not take long before the unrest was settled. However, when the United States army went in, conflict increased due to increased drone attacks, heavy security, and increased death that actually caused insecurity instead of providing that needed security. This was a demonstration that the United States methods in Afghanistan were not helpful for the general wellbeing of the country’s long-term security.
I am also skeptical of the aid strategy used in Afghanistan. There are reports that after the United States military set base in the province, the aid budget for the region went up by 500 percent. While this aid was aimed at alleviating the conflict, it only served the purpose of catalyzing the conflict. Had the United States military not moved into this region, the Taliban militants would have secured the region thus avoiding unnecessary conflict. The Taliban has been able to secure the area although through use of force and unorthodox means. I am not in support of the Taliban’s, but I am of the view that our business in Afghanistan is over since our security mission was to get Osama and we did get him. I wonder what we still we do there.
Sparrow also charges the United States military for increasing corruption in Afghanistan. He argues that thanks to the exuberant aid given as salaries for projects such as schools or translation fees. While this is a noble thing in terms of increasing money circulation in the Afghan economy, it has very grave ramifications in the future. First, when the foreign military leaves the country, the hitherto big salaried young men will not be comfortable taking teaching jobs of less that $300 per month from the government. A natural discontent with top elites who have gotten rich from oil money and corrupt deals could lead to anger protests and possible resignation of violence. The internationally backed process of creating peace in Afghanistan would have failed. Instead of fighting terrorism and fundamentalism, the world would be forced to fight a war of different front, one that is shaped by income inequality.
If the troops leave, Afghans would be faced with the daunting reality of fending for themselves. The gap left by the international community, if not filled up now, could lead the county into a civil war not because of anything else, but because of a class struggle between the rich and the poor. The optimism created after the fall of the Taliban authoritarianism would have achieved nothing but delicate balance between civil war and anger explosion. It will be up to the Afghans to build their own country from scratch with limited help from western capitals. Foreign money, showered by the United States and other western allies and the façade of security facilitated by foreign troops are not panacea to the problem in Afghanistan.
In principle, my argument is that military presence ought not to be confused with political stability. The military presence creates an illusion of security. The efficiency of the United States military facilitates the realization of security in the shot-run. In the end, the Afghani society will be orphans without a stable parent military to take care of the country. In the absence of strong political institutions and stable leadership, the country could degenerate to the pre-intervention disorder. To salvage this problem, the international troops should leave the country and leave the political capacity builders to help the country streamline its institutions of leadership. In the article, Sparrow highlighted that the helping Afghanistan would not rely on the continued military presence but on capacity building of political institutions of the Afghani people. This role should not be played by the international community alone, but should be delegated to the people of Afghanistan. As a poor underdeveloped country, Afghanistan must rebuild its devastated infrastructures. In addition, the country must revamp its economic policies and formulate functional political infrastructure. The United States forces and the western allies, in a joint venture, with the country’s national forces must ensure that Afghanistan is cleared off rebellions that the country is free from the threat of Al-Qaida, and regaining sanity from civil conflict. Until these are done, the country’s progress since the end of the Taliban regime will go unnoticed.
Sparrow, Phil. “Why the military needs to leave Afghanistan, and soon Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/why-the-military-needs-to-leave-afghanistan-and-soon-20120402-1w8np.html#ixzz1vjIGdFNU .” Fairfax Media. N.p., 3 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 May 2012.