The war in Afghanistan took yet another tragic turn on April 21, with the killing of 150 Afghan troops by insurgents at a military base outside Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province. The attack led to resignations of the Defense Minister and the army chief, along with the usual pledges that the war against the Taliban would be conducted more efficiently.
One detail was little noticed in North America: the attack targetted Camp Chapman, one of the first U.S. bases in Afghanistan, and one that has had a significant CIA and Special Operations presence. The base was the location of a 2010 suicide bombing that killed seven CIA officers, revealing major flaws in U.S. intelligence.
Just as noteworthy, the assault came just days after the giant “MOAB” (“Mother Of All Bombs”) was dropped by the U.S. military on a cave system used by Taliban forces, killing dozens of insurgents and civilians. That bombing was greeted with jubilation by the U.S. media and political elite, who claimed an impending victory over the Taliban, and even more sickeningly, that this “proved” that Donald Trump is becoming “more presidential.”
The truth is that the war in Afghanistan is now the longest military conflict in U.S. history, with no “light at the end of the tunnel.” The death toll since the U.S., Canada and other NATO allies invaded the country in October 2001 includes some 30,000 civilians, an estimated 3,500 U.S. coalition troops, 25,000 Afghan government troops and security personnel, and thousands of Taliban insurgents. Despite the casualties and the enormous costs of the conflict, “victory” is nowhere in sight, and Afghanistan remains a divided land, saddled with a brutal and reactionary U.S.-backed government in Kabul. Trump is said to be considering yet another troop deployment, but Yankee imperialism will never win this war. It’s time to admit defeat and bring the troops home.