The conflict in Afghanistan is far from over even with the recent actions of President Obama’s rhetoric of withdrawing combat troops by 2014. The American troops should have held on until the Afghans have a stable government operating smoothly. This research paper examines the genesis and development of this war while at the same time analyzing the actions of the current regime.
Historical Background of the Conflict
Soviet Invasion – 1979
December 25, 1979, marked the official deployment of Soviet armed forces in the kingdom of Afghanistan. This marked the start of a decade long rule of the Soviet in the country. The US and the Soviet Union competed for global power. Afghanistan inclined towards the Soviet Union for maintenance after the United States convened military ties with Pakistan in 1954. This provided the Soviets with a strategic point in Afghanistan at the intersection to counteract the alliance of Pakistan, the US, and the immediate Persian Gulf states. The main aim of the Soviets to enter Afghanistan in 1979 was to establish a key position in Asia with possibilities of trade and gulf oil access (Shaban, 2006).
Afghanistan was a helpless monarchy at that time. King Zahir Shah was the leader who, like his forerunner, was unable to amalgamate the underlying tribal people with a core government. This division of the Afghan influential and core government from the tribal leaders ultimately led to a revolt in opposition to the monarchy. In April 1978, the Saur revolution occurred during which the Afghan communist party People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan took power in a coup, which killed the prime minister, creating a space for foreign invasion due to the lack of a justifiable government in the country (Shaban, 2006).
Shortly after its entry in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union imposed both military and social modifications that started to create enemies in various categories of the indigenous population.
They initiated different reforms, which were inclusive of land reforms that led to trouble with tribal leaders. It was either economic measure implemented that led to worsened conditions for the poor majority or further trying to limit ethnic uprisings through mass arrests, executions, torture of dissidents, and aerial bombardments. Approximately 1 million Afghans were killed during this period. The Mujahedeen resistance together with Afghan freedom fighters whom the United States backed led to a massive crackdown by the Soviet Union (Shaban, 2006).
In December 1978, the Soviet Afghan friendship treaty was signed by Amin permitting military assistance and advice to Afghanistan when the country requires. The Soviet used the treaty to solidify an ally in Asia leading to Soviet forces taking control of Afghanistan in December 1979 and appointing Kamal Barbak, a former deputy prime minister and PDPA leader, as the head of state (Shaban, 2006).
The resistance by Mujahedeen was a success, and by the early 1980s a range of Mujahedeen groups were combating against the Soviet forces and pro-Soviet Afghan government troops. The anti-aircraft missiles donations to the Mujahedeen by the United States led to substantial losses of the Soviet aircraft and troops. The United States expressed its disagreement with the Soviet occupation by boycotting Moscow Olympics in 1980. Later, the U.N. General Assembly requested for the withdrawal of the Soviet forces (Shaban, 2006).
Barbak was ousted as prime minister in 1986 amid continuing hostilities between the Soviet forces and Mujahedeen. This was because of ineffectiveness and he was replaced by Mohammad Najibullah, a former chief of the Afghan Secret Police. However, Najibullah also was unable to manage the Mujahedeen (Shaban, 2006).
The precarious position of Amin’s regime in comparison to that of the rebels made him naturally desire the Soviet military assistance, which fitted well into Soviet plans since a military buildup would need to commendably disguise the Soviet putsch. Snow impeded the rate of the Soviet upsurge and consequent deployments and also obstructed the movement of rebel forces and averted them from opportunistically grasping the proposal when the Soviet took on their Afghan partners. In any case, the Soviet Army was expected to execute more than sufficiently in winter circumstances while the rebels took back to their usual mid-winter hibernation. The November 4 capture of the U.S. embassy and the long crisis in excess of the American hostages could have been expected to dwell in the Washington's mind. This was very similar to the Suez crisis diverting it from the 1956 involvement in Hungary and the Vietnam War. It softened its reaction to the 1968 Czechoslovakia invasion. The debatable performance of the Carter government in the September 1979 crisis of the Soviet troops in Cuba hardly made the Soviets consider invading Afghanistan. Based on this experience, Kremlin may have been tempted to deem that even if the Carter government had found the attack of Afghanistan too faulty, it would have accepted it and after a few weeks redefined the crisis as non-existent.
The anti-communist groups drew some of their maintenance from the United States that persisted in standing by their policy of containment. This led to various covert operations in opposition to the Afghan government, such as assisting the Mujahedeen rebel groups. Afghanistan majority resisted the invasion, and even though the Soviets were advanced militarily, they were not capable to add control of the nation, having to engage in a guerrilla war. Similarly, in response to the Soviet invasion, the U.S. placed an embargo on certain commodities getting to the USSR; they also boycotted the 1980 Olympics. Further, in the following years, the Soviets were not capable to find a solution to the conflict. The withdrawal began on May 15, 1988. Tensions in the world rose after a phase of detente between the two superpowers. The Soviets’ primary reason for the invasion was to keep a friendly government in authority; though, they also wanted to gain access to the Afghan oil deposits. However, a similar problem to what the Americans had encountered during the Vietnam War faced them. International community opposed the incursion and supported rebel groups with the aim of weakening the Soviet influence in the region. The war impacted heavily Afghanistan. A number of issues like mines, which have not exploded in the region, has remained to the present times. These events geared the war in the Middle East, which stayed behind as one of the world's most volatile regions.
Soviet forces pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989. Fifteen thousand Soviet soldiers together with numerous Afghans were killed in the decade long war. Furthermore, billions were exhausted each year in support of troops in Afghanistan. Unable to overcome the Mujahedeen and hard-pressed by a worldview to leave Afghanistan, the Soviet leader Gorbachev resolved that the USSR had to get out. It is clear that coupled with this, surge of the war was turned against them by the introduction of the US-made antiaircraft missiles in 1987. Armed with these missiles, the Mujahedeen brought down several Soviet planes and helicopters, increasing the human and monetary price of the war and making the Soviet strike strategies ineffective. Demoralized by no chances of victory in sight, the Soviet forces left Afghanistan (Zhang & Jacobs, 2001).
The effects of the war were far fetching for Afghanistan, the Soviets, and the US. Millions of Afghans either took refuge to neighboring Pakistan or became internal refugees. In addition, many more died due to starvation or from Soviet bombings and raids. Most of the survivors are a generation that has known only war, fear, and hatred. Moreover, thousands of tiny land mines dropped by the Soviet continued and still continue to pose hazards to Afghan people even long after the war is over.
The Soviet also suffered tremendously due to its failure. It lost approximately fifteen thousand troops, but the real damage done was in the ruin of its image and billions of money it spent throughout the war. This plummet from invincibility and the vast money expenditure to finance the incursion in part led to the USSR fall apart in the early 1990s.
The long-term effects of the Soviet offensive and pull out were the development of a weak state engulfed with religious hatred. As a result, richer nation’s dislike has led to fertile breeding grounds for terrorism. Though the supply of the Afghan resistance with American guns as well as anti-aircraft missiles may have seemed like a noble idea for the US in the 1980s and deemed as the Soviets’ defeat, it turned out that when the US invaded Afghan, they were met with their own guns. The implication of the complicated guns has not been up till now determined (Kakar, 1995).
Rise of the Taliban – (1994 – 2001)
The Taliban, which is an Islamic revolutionary group, seized Afghanistan's administration in 1996. It ruled in the year 2001 when the US led attack to deprive it of authority (Bajoria, 2011). The grouping was identified to have provided safe sanctuary to one-time al-Qaeda leader. The one-time leader of the group was known as Osama bin Laden. It was also famous for its inflexibility in understanding the Islamic law whereby wrong doers openly performed and forbade the teaching of women.
Initially, the Taliban was a combination of Mujahedeen rebels who battled in opposition to the Soviet assault in the 1980s. Others included the grouping of Pashtun who had spent much time in Pakistani devout schools known as madrassas and established aid from the “Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency”. The rebels’ leaders trained Wahhabism, which was an Orthodox type of Sunni Islam alike to that practiced in Saudi Arabia. After the government failing, the Taliban came into sight as a power group in the Afghan politics in 1994 in the middle of a civil war, which was between the northern forces and the southern region of Afghanistan. Again, they expanded an early defensive grip in the southern town of Kandahar. In the following two years, they expanded their authority with a combination of force, compromises, and payoffs. Moreover, in 1996, they captured the capital Kabul and hence took the rule.
The rule of the Taliban had characteristics of severe Islamic law formation, which required women to wear head-to-toe veils, outlawed television as well as pronounced a jail term to males who had short beards. Prior to the ouster by the US led forces in 2001, Taliban controlled a high percent of the Afghan's territory, even though the United Nations never recognized it officially. After its collapse, the Taliban has shown pliant. In June 2011, the International group concerned with Crisis gave out a report showing how the Taliban had prolonged far-off past its throttlehold in the south regions in the country. Rebellious privileged people had gained impetus in the central-eastern regions by applying a policy, which was a blended structure of fake rule, bullying as well as government heads’ co-opting.
It is clear that the flow of the US forces in 2010 and enhanced capability of the security forces of the Afghans induced growing stress on the Taliban. In March 2011, the US military assessed the sanctuary achievements of the previous year as delicate and reversible. In 2011, the International council from land issued a report concerning sanctuary as well as expansion (ICOS). The killing of the Afghan high-ranked officials is referred by experts as an intimidation of Afghan citizens and wearing away community’s self-assurance in their safekeeping forces.
September 11, 2001 and the American Invasion
On October 7, 2001, a coalition led by the US began assault on Afghanistan, which was controlled by the Taliban. The British and American forces conducted intense bombing, while logistical aid was offered by nations such as Germany, Australia, Canada, and France and later the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance rebels provided troops. The Afghanistan incursion was the start of war on terrorism in the United States as an answer to September 11, 2001, terrorism attacks on Washington and New York.
The incursion on Afghanistan was projected to aim at Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization. He was believed to be the chief planner of the terrorists’ attack and the head of this network, which had its foundation in the country together with the Muslim fundamentalists and extremists within the Taliban administration that ruled the majority of the country since 1996 protecting al-Qaeda. The Taliban had enforced its own extremist versions of Islam in the whole country. Furthermore, it perpetrated innumerable abuses of human rights on its people, mostly on girls, women, and the ethnic Hazaras. Most Afghans lived in absolute poverty and approximately 4 million Afghans were believed to have undergone starvation during the Taliban rule.
Before the attack, the Security Council of the UN had commanded from the Taliban to hand over and give out Osama bin Laden. The counteroffers of the Taliban, among them the idea to try Osama bin Laden in an Islamic court, were not satisfactory. The incursion started with an aerial assault of the Taliban as well as al-Qaida systems in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif. The allied union choppers flew in a form of airdrops with compassionate supplies for the Afghan citizens. The Taliban measured the actions as an assault on Islam and called to action. Osama bin Laden appealed for a war against the whole non-Muslim world in a taped statement released on the Arabic al-Jazeera television network.
Shortly after the campaign lessened Taliban forces, the alliance started a land incursion with the NATO forces being provided in the majority by the US, and the forces of other nations gave immediate support. On November 12, in about a month after the military accomplishment had started, the Taliban officials jointly with their forces moved back from Kabul to the capital. In December, Kandahar was the very last Taliban monopoly that crushed, and the head of the Taliban Mullah Mohammed Omar escaped rather than submitted. Al-Qaeda fighters remained in hideouts in the Afghanistan's mountainous regions of Tora Bora that were occupied by resistant forces, which were supported by the U.S. forces’ soldiers. Soon, Al-Qaida introduced an armistice, currently thought to be a strategy to enable Osama bin Laden together with al-Qaida members to escape to the adjacent Pakistan. In December, cave complex and bunker used by these groups in Tora Bora were captured, but bin laden was nowhere to be found
After a grand council of Afghan ethnic elders known as Tora Bora as well as former exiles assembling beneath the headship of Hamid Karzai, the latter came to serve as the first provisional head before being announced the first president elected on democratic grounds in 2004. Even as this country started taking the key approaches on the road to equality, there were many U.S. soldiers in the countryside and the Taliban soldiers belonging to al- Qaeda begun to recover around the precipitous boundary of their mother country and Pakistan. They carried on to take on the U.S. as well as Afghan forces in a guerilla war and were accountable for the elected officials’ and aid employees’ deaths as well as for series of kidnappings (“Oct 7, 2001: U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan begins”, 2013).
Levels of Analysis
The following levels of analysis are applied in the conflict analysis:
System-level analysis represents a top-down move for studying world politics. It starts with the outlook that countries and international actors operate in a global social-economic-political-geographic environment and that the exact characteristics of the system help determine the patterns of relations among the actors. Systems analysts consider that any system operates in an expected method and that there is behavioral propensity that the actor countries follow more often than not. These systems are assorted from the local ones, such as families and schools, to much larger systems, such as a country and the world. No matter what its size is, the operation of the political system depends on four factors: structure characteristics, relationships of power, economic realities, and norms (Rourke, 2005).
State-level analysis is a second move for understanding world politics that puts emphasis on the national states and their interior processes as the main determinants of the course of the world affairs. As such, this advance focuses on midrange factors that are not as much of general as the macro analysis of the system from an international perspective, but is lower in individuality than the micro analytical focus of the human-level analysis. A variety of actors is involved in making foreign policy, for instance, bureaucracies, legislatures, or interest groups (Rourke, 2005).
Individual-level analysis centers on human actors on the world stage. This loom begins by identifying the characteristics of the multifaceted process of human choice development, which includes collecting information, information analysis, goals establishment, pondering options, and building policy choices. The human position in the world affairs can be addressed from three diverse perspectives: human nature, organizational behavior, and idiosyncratic behavior. Human nature engrosses the way in which fundamental human characteristics affect decisions. Organizational performance looks at how humans interrelate within planned set-ups, such as a decision-generation group. Characteristic performance explores how the peculiarities of human pronouncement makers affect foreign policy (Rourke, 2005).
Theory Explaining the Conflict
The Just War Theory
Wars, which are fought to level out serious misunderstandings or place an end to the evil, have been referred to as just wars. The notion genesis in traditional as well as in theological philosophy was open in the ethics based on the Christianity. Theories of war portray their thin status and highly scheduled constraints and resources that are to be used in this term. Even though the laws in the Western regions move toward accepting the inevitability of war, state strategy and turning its interest to situating principles in respect to the demeanor of conflict are significant echoes of the theory of a just conflict.
A difference is made by the United Nations charter distinguishing between unacceptable aggressive wars and acceptable wars of self-defense. Modern arguments about meticulous wars still depend on seven key principles of the just war theory. However, relevance of these main beliefs to the divergence in Afghanistan does not resolve the problem, but instead might help to make up the lessons learnt from the conflict (Leaning, 2002).
The legitimate reasons for the aggressive war include the following: self-defense in opposition to an invader as well as involvement in a supreme nation’s reply to action that is a shocking factor in respect to the moral scruples of humanity. A military reaction to the enormous assault on the United States in September, 2011 is arguably necessary as a form of self-defense. Convincingly, a case needed to be developed in a malicious total system of panic that was accountable for the deed, thus justifying the invasion once again. Intrusion into the independent associations of Afghanistan in following Al-Qaeda legitimacy is evident. A contradiction to this stand may give notice either to the seriousness of the United States’ threats or to assertions about the insufficiency of the shocking actions in order to warrant Afghanistan intervention.
It is notable that decision concerning the forces is based on the law.
There was a request forwarded to both the UN and NATO to see if they could hold up this verdict, whereby it was accepted. This issue of lawful power will unquestionably come again if the present fight widens in terms of geography or time.
The purpose of the warfare must agree with the international rules and regulations. Justifiable objectives for an unquestionable war include the elimination of intimidation and establishment of a legalized regime expected to uphold international rules, regulations, and human rights.
The key objective was to eliminate things that could hinder the growth of the economy such as the international terrorism, which led to reaction against an outlawed group known as al-Qaeda. Event though warfare against non-citizens of a country does not have legal justification in case there is an attack on an independent country. Moreover, it was inevitable when it became evident that this outlawed group had joined the leadership and management of the Taliban. The United States had the responsibilities of eliminating the outlawed groups whose main objectives were to destroy. Nevertheless, the US government had to make sure it had overtaken their government. The application of dictatorship has to be a final remedy
Various economic and political ways are the preferred practices to combat those people who are not obeying the formulated set of laws. The argument to bolster the old military achievement was that the Taliban was not critically concerned in agreeing. The entire military attack would push out the al-Qaeda set of connections out of Afghanistan.
There was in no way any considerable concern whereby the superiority of the United States forces could be confronted in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, following the end of that period of disagreement, the al-Qaeda group in Asia had been interrupted. Again, CBO, which is normally referred to as “Cost Benefit Ration”, should be constructive.
In the just war theory, the concept of rationality stipulates that the high quality sought after the war should be more important than the immorality it will create. This complex study needs weighing incommensurable commodities. The ways in use have to obey the rules of the worldwide-civilized law.
The just war theory persists that various ways used in whichever war unity by the means of rules should be clear in terms of the global law. Some of the countries follow the Geneva principles. These regulations, rules, and guidelines concern the countries, which take on their military in warfare and put high value on the residents’ defense. They also manufacture weapons they make use of during the combat (Leaning, 2002).
However, the primary war aim remains unsatisfied and the quest continues to hunt down and destroy the terrorist network. If the government installed in Afghanistan acquiesces in this campaign, the United States will have some legal latitude in which to pursue its military strategy.
In terms of restoration of a legitimate regime, the results so far would accord with the just war precepts. It is notable that the Afghan people are relieved to be rid of the Taliban. An interim national government with strong international backing is trying to fill the political vacuum. An international peace keeping force has been organized, desperately needed humanitarian aid programs have started again, and the international community is planning sustained reconstruction.