America’s longest war is now in its 17th year

By Habiba Iqbal

The events that unfolded on September 11th 2001-single-handedly shook the turn of this century. America suffered a great loss that day with nearly 3000 people killed and nearly 6000 others injured. Casualties weren’t just capped to the people in the towers but several emergency service workers, innocent civilians aboard those planes, people at the Pentagon and even foreigners- lost their lives that fateful day. The event shook up the western world and marked a turn in the way Terrorism worked. Before 9/11 it was rare for there to be such a bold act of terror on a western country but sadly afterwards they’ve become frequent: the 2005 London bombings, the 2013 Boston marathon bombings, the terror attacks on Paris that started in 2015- are just the tip of the iceberg! Now, this consequential war has raged on into its 17th year and with the instalment of Trump as president: it seems the road to peace is going to be long-winded.

In fact, the newly elected president is going to stray from President Obama’s policy which echoed the policies adopted by America’s NATO allies. Across the board, the intention was they were all going to start withdrawing their troops. The reason was that keeping them there: hasn’t made Afghanistan anymore governable over these year, occupying a country especially in a war were one side (the Taliban) is supposedly religiously motivated just aggravates the situation as they become more motivated to get you out at any cost and finally because of how much the terrorist threat has evolved since 9/11- keeping your forces fighting in that foreign country doesn’t keep the threat they still pose to your country, contained.

While president Trump made clear that he hasn’t forgotten his campaign promise on how he’d deal with Afghanistan. He is still ready to breach his “original instinct…to pull-out,”. Rather, he has committed America to an open-ended war in Afghanistan that will most likely see more troops deported there, instead. In president Trump’s eccentric fashion he’s also contributed to tensions in this part of Asia by Inviting India to play a greater role in rebuilding Afghanistan while also cutting off security assistance worth billions of dollars to Pakistan for what President Trump called its “lies and deceit” in harbouring Taliban militants. Both countries have given tension between them and the situation has inflamed that tension once again. India rather unnecessarily welcomed President Trump’s tough message to Pakistan. While the relationship between Pakistan and America (which proved chief in the 2011 mission that saw Osama Bin Laden killed) has severely deteriorated since Trump has taken the reins. Following the remarks, the National security committee (NSC) of Pakistan put out a statement that expressed how the recent comments by the US leadership “were completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts manifestly, struck with great insensitivity at the trust between two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation”. In fact, the country expressed they were “…ready to publicly provide every detail of the US aid that it has received.”

17 years into the war and all the US keeps doing is alienating its allies and sacrificing more troops, to keep face. However, the real victims of this war have and always will be, the innocent Afghan civilians. Some of whom even recently took up a hunger strike in a desperate attempt to bring about any peace they could. Their lands been poisoned by war and no longer resemble the place they once proudly called home. They’ve lost their family and friends to a mine here and a bomb there. The poor children will never get a real chance at living this one life they get. Therefore, the longest war America has fought to date cannot be cited as an act of heroism but rather one of embarrassment because of how long its gone on and will go on.

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