As Kabul fiddles Afghanistan burns

Without the West, the Taliban will be back in three years.

History does repeat itself. Impossible not to think so when looking at what's now happening in Afghanistan. A decade after what began as a’peacemaking’ effort gradually turned into more of a ‘peace-enforcing’ mission as the fighting flared, to the point where it resembled a fully-fledged occupation, NATO and American soldiers are now in the process of pulling out.

Some countries will withdraw completely, such as the United States, which hasn’t reached an agreement on jurisdiction over crimes committed by American GIs in Afghan territory. Other countries – including Italy, unfortunately – will stay behind with its instructors in the hope of improving military and police training and operations. This mission will involve the constant risk of bloody involvement in the fierce infighting between opposing tribal factions, left unchecked even under the watchful presence of more than 100,000 foreign soldiers. It can perhaps be argued that NATO and the United States have not been defeated.

Or, if there has been a defeat, it’s more political than military. The soldiers did their duty, fighting well when necessary and enduring hardships with stoic discipline. However, during these many years in Afghanistan the foreign military presence has met very few of its original goals. This is probably because they were too ambitious from the outset, given the low level of commitment our public opinion and political forces have been willing to devote to this distant country.

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