5 Reasons the US lost the War in Afghanistan

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October 9, 2012 01:01
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An Afghan villager stares at a US Marine from 2/3 Fox company patrolling in Farah Province, southern Afghanistan. Photo - David Furst/AFP/Getty Images

“Americans are asking, how will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command, every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war, to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network. 

“Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

Former US President George W Bush, 20 September, 2001

Exactly 10 years ago this week, US President George W Bush declared war on Afghanistan by announcing the beginning of so-called “Operation Enduring Freedom” against the ruling Taliban regime. He alleged the puritanical Islamic militia of harbouring Al-Qaeda in the country and helping them stage 9/11 attacks on American soil.

“The United States respects the people of Afghanistan – after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid – but we condemn the Taliban regime. It is not only repressing its own people; it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder,” former US President George W Bush said in his 20th September address to joint session of Congress and the American nation.

The truth cannot be further from what was told to the world by then US President, his cabinet and allied world leaders. What was commenced as a just war against global forces of terror titled “Operation Enduring Freedom” quickly turned into a quagmire that has dragged into its 10th year. Outernationalist’s Moign Khawaja looks at five reasons the US lost the war in Afghanistan.


The US portrayed the 9/11 attacks in New York as criminal acts of hijacking, murders and destruction of property and promised to prosecute criminals under national and international laws.

But instead of setting up an international tribunal and seeking the arrest of the perpetrators of 9/11 attacks, the United States of America invaded and occupied Afghanistan that resulted into the deaths, injuries, starvation and displacement of thousands of Afghan people and the destruction of their already dilapidated infrastructure and property which is illegal under international law.

george w bush un general assembly address

Photo - Marco Castro/UN

Soon after the 11th September attacks on American soil, Washington scrambled to seek support from international institutions such as UN Security Council and regional blocs such as NATO. However, Washington failed to secure the legal backing of any institution while it initiated the invasion of Afghanistan.

The war against Afghanistan violates international laws including the Charter of the United Nations, Geneva Conventions and all the eleven international agreements that deal with the suppression and control of terrorism.

The UN Charter prohibits the “use and the threatened use of any force in international relations”. Article 2.3 of the UN Charter mentions the following:

“All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”

Article 2.4 further mentions that: “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.”

Despite the US-controlled mainstream media making us believe that the invasion of Afghanistan and the battle to topple the Taliban was in accordance with UN Security Council, none of the resolutions passed after the 9/11 incidents give Washington the right to wage a war against a sovereign nation.

Resolution 1368 and Resolution 1373 were passed on 12 September and 28 September 2001, respectively. Neither resolution authorised the use of force against Afghanistan.

Resolution 1373 (2001), adopted by the Security Council while incorporating the earlier resolution of 12 September, affirms the responsibility of member states to take only those measures that are: “In compliance with national and international law including international human rights standards to prevent and suppress terrorist attacks and to take action against the perpetrators”.

Security Council Resolution 1373 specifically restricts member states to actions that are authorised by law and in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

Many policymakers in the former Bush administration insisted that American retaliating is in accordance with the UN Charter’s Article 51 that defines member states’ right to self-defence. However, the article neither authorises bombing and use of armed force as self-defence nor bestows legal authority to any country, including the US, to wage war. The article does give member states a limited power to defend themselves against a continuing armed assault until the Security Council intervenes to maintain and restore peace and security.

The government of USA did not present any proof that Taliban or Al Qaeda attacked the American soil or they intend to carry out further attacks. In fact, there has not been a single terrorist attack on US soil since 11 September, 2001.

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