The news media today are reporting how seven US servicemen who were training Afghan security forces were wounded in a grenade attack carried out at a base in Afghanistan, presumably by one of their students. That is on top of two US Army officers murdered while advising an Afghan government ministry two days ago and two other American soldiers killed by an Afghan army officer two days before that. All were killed and wounded as a result of the Quran burning incident, which has produced major violence and resulted in the deaths of many Afghan civilians.
There have been numerous other killings of ISAF advisers by their students, including an Albanian and several Italians last week. ISAF has withdrawn all its advisers from Afghan government ministries and the French and Germans have ceased all training while they re-evaluate the situation. France is considering leaving the country ahead of schedule.
If anything underscores the absolute futility of the US and NATO “mission” in Afghanistan it is the attacks being staged against so-called trainers and advisers by the very people that some in Washington believe we are helping. The Afghans recognize that they are being occupied by foreign and alien forces even if the Pentagon and White House haven’t quite figured it out.
I supported the initial US intervention in Afghanistan because it was a terrorist haven from which we were attacked and I was, in fact, one of the first CIA officers to arrive in the country after the Taliban fell. We should have then stabilized the situation insofar as possible, installed a puppet, and left. No one will be able to straighten out Afghanistan but the Afghans, if it can be done at all. And that is their problem because, after all, it is their country. The recent killings demonstrate that it is not a question of leaving Afghanistan in 2013, or 2014, or even 2020 as some generals would prefer. We should have left a long time ago and spared the thousands of killed in action US and Allied troops as well as the tens of thousands of Afghans who have died in a war that is not only the longest in US history but also completely pointless and unwinnable.