US-led retreat from Afghanistan almost renders the whole 20-year war there pointless

News Letter editorial of Saturday August 7 2021:

Saturday, 7th August 2021, 5:53 am
Updated Saturday, 7th August 2021, 5:56 am
News Letter editorial

It is almost 20 years since the war in Afghanistan was launched.

You could say that the nation is in fact war-torn, and has not been at peace for many decades.

But the nature of the current conflict there took on its present form after the September 11 Islamic terrorist attacks on the United States.

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While the 2003 Iraq war, which also flowed from that dark day in 2001, was controversial and is now widely seen as discredited, the Afghan war had much greater international support. The country had been in the hands of Taliban fanatics, who used pre medieval methods of control such as stoning people to death for adultery. It had become a base for Al Qaida terrorists to plan global attacks.

The war in Afghanistan, and the attempt to install a western form of government in Kabul, seemed for a while to be succeeding. But there were always difficult moments.

We reported on 2008 on young soldiers from Northern Ireland who were engaged in gun battles of an intensity rarely seen since World War II. Service personnel from the Province were among those to pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Yet there is something about western will power, perhaps rooted in our wealth and privilege, that always seems to soften our resolve. The American-led retreat from Afghanistan is taking the country back to where it was and, tragically, potentially renders the whole two decades almost pointless.

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