Three Mistakes

Bill Neinast

The call for three strikes is firm.  YOU’ER OUT!  But what is the call for two bad mistakes?

There may be an answer soon.  The call will come in or from Afghanistan.

The first mistake was in sending American and allied troops into that troubled nation in the fall of 2001.  There were all kinds of cautionary flags waving trying to tell us not to repeat Russia’s mistake.

A large, well trained Soviet army occupied Afghanistan for nine years in the 1980s. The predecessors of the Taliban carried on a continuous guerrilla war  against that army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government until the Soviets folded their tents and left in defeat.

That war resulted in hundreds of thousands of Afghans being killed and even more fleeing to Iran and Pakistan.  The Muslim terrorists were  the unquestioned winners and continued to be the haven for Osama bin Laden.

After it was determined that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of the 9/11 attack and that the Taliban was his security blanket, the U.S. tried to have him extradited.  When that failed, we sent in our army to try to do what Russia could not do.

Here it is 20 years later and, although bin Laden has been found and eliminated, we are still trying to stabilize Afghanistan.  We have spent many billions of hours and dollars trying to prepare the Afghan Army to do the job.  However, when the Taliban moves in and takes over provinces at will, the effectiveness of the Afghan Army is questionable.

It was a surprise, therefore, to read in Thursday’s Banner that the Afghan Army had retaken a crossing point on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border that had been seized by the Taliban.

Mentioning that border incident triggered a memory of another situation that appears to have been a mistake.  That would raise the count to three.

Pakistan’s latest creation was in 1947.  That is when Great Britain pulled out of India and created a separate country (Pakistan) for the Muslim population of India.

Actually, there were two Pakistans---East Pakistan and West Pakistan.  West Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971.

In 1959, 12 years after Pakistan had become independent, I was on a one month special assignment to Karachi, East Pakistan.  That is close to the area where the Taliban has found sanctuary for its forays into Afghanistan.

During my four weeks in Karachi, I observed that the Pakistanis really liked America and Americans.  It also appeared to me that the U.S. was lavishing attention and support on India and basically ignoring the two Pakistans.

Is that type of relation the bedrock of Pakistan’s basically ignoring the Taliban activities within its borders?

So, after 20 years of nation building in Afghanistan, we are pulling out and leaving the country in the hands of an apparently weak army.   

How long will it take for the Taliban to be in control of the entire country and the government?   When that occurs, its neighbor Iran, also controlled by radical Muslims, will become a close ally.

Now include that part of Pakistan that is a haven for the Taliban and you will find a pretty large nest of Muslim terrorists that will be harder to monitor and control from the outside.

Remember also the females of Afghanistan.  While the U.S. and allied foreswore there, girls were allowed to go to school and adults were freed of some of the Muslim restrictions. In the near future, they may be pushed back to their subordinate, second class citizenship status.

So here’s the perspective.

The United States made three mistakes in and around Afghanistan. The end result of those mistakes is a disaster.

So is disaster a better call than out for three mistakes piled on top of each other?



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