As debate in the US regarding the never-ending mission in Afghanistan is revived with calls from US President Donald Trump to draw down troop numbers, a horrifying view into US-backed operations there was printed Monday on the front page of The New York Times.
The Central Intelligence Agency, the Times reported, is overseeing an Afghan strike force operating under none of the constraints to which conventional Afghan or US troops are beholden.
Officials say the tactics are prompting more Afghanis to side with the Taliban, the group that the US has tried keep out of power since the initial invasion in 2001.
The first three paragraphs of the article describe war crimes committed by the CIA-backed forces:
“Razo Khan woke up suddenly to the sight of assault rifles pointed at his face, and demands that he get out of bed and onto the floor.
“Within minutes, the armed raiders had separated the men from the women and children. Then the shooting started.
“As Mr Khan was driven away for questioning, he watched his home go up in flames. Within were the bodies of two of his brothers and of his sister-in-law Khanzari, who was shot three times in the head. Villagers who rushed to the home found the burned body of her three-year-old daughter, Marina, in a corner of a torched bedroom.”
Trump’s call for drawing down troop numbers in Afghanistan has prompted some libertarians on the conservative side and some traditionally dovish liberals to make an appeal for reason amid widespread criticisms.
Democratic congressman Ro Khanna wrote in The Washington Post recently of why Trump’s decision is correct and provided some data to prove that – even if you agree with the goal of reducing the Taliban’s influence – increased US efforts in Afghanistan are only strengthening the group.
“In the case of Afghanistan, Trump announced that we will be reducing our troop level by 7,000. This is, fortunately, a reversal of his deployment of 3,000 troops there in September 2017. His instincts as a candidate of ending the war and bringing our troops home were spot-on.
“We have spent more money in Afghanistan than we did in the Marshall Plan and continue to spend more than $40 billion each year. Our military approach has not worked. After the 2008 surge, the Taliban now exerts influence or maintains control over 70 percent of Afghan territory instead of just 40 percent.”