The operation in Afghanistan was America’s response to the September 11 attacks. US General Tommy Franks was appointed commander of the operation. American military men were supposed to find and seize the leaders of terrorist groups, including Osama bin Laden, head of notorious Al-Qaeda. Americans were also to disable the terrorists' headquarters in Afghanistan. Great Britain was a big help to America in terms of soldiers and equipment.
America managed to destroy all of the suspected terrorist bases and training camps and arrested several Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders. Some of the terrorists were either killed or imprisoned. However, Osama bin Laden and other leaders still enjoy their freedom. It is still impossible to find them.
Everything was done right from the military point of view. It would not be correct to reproach the Americans for their continuation of military actions in Afghanistan. Pursuant to the plans of the American command, the USA was supposed to destroy the major groups of terrorists with the help of air strikes. Then there was a lot of military and technical help rendered to the troops of the Northern Alliance. Finally, it was planned to deploy American troops in Afghanistan and to get rid of terrorists in the country with the help of anti-Taliban forces.
The deployment of American troops in Afghanistan started on November 13, after the Northern Alliance seized Kabul. Both American and British soldiers were stationed in the majority of Afghan provinces. There havem been no major military actions conducted in Afghanistan since the Tora Bora battles in December of 2001. Nevertheless, the USA has not given a date when the anti-terrorist operation is going to end. Why is that so?
It could be that America won the military war, but lost the information war. All American propaganda was aimed at the Western audience, basically. However, it would have made more sense to aim it at Muslims. This is a big mistake of the USA.
Bin Laden drew a parallel between the war in Afghanistan and the Muslim world. People perceived America as an aggressor that wanted to destroy Islam. Then there was the notion Jihad on the one hand and the crusades on the other side. The USA was forced to get rid of that association.
The United States was trying to defend its stars and stripes. The image of a powerful country that could spend hundreds of millions of dollars here and there is a lot stronger than its image of a military power. This propaganda phenomenon was actively used during the Afghan campaign: dropping bombs and dropping food.
This worked to a small degree. Numerous statements from US officials, who said that Osama bin Laden was about to be caught, resulted in the fact that the world started laughing at the US. Now, America prefers not to touch upon this subject. There were so many special operations to destroy terrorists, but they all basically resulted in nothing. And what about those bombings? Everybody remembers the incident when American pilots bombed an Afghan wedding.
The USA has been waging war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda for a year. Almost the whole world marched along with the Americans. Sixty countries made up the so-called anti-terrorist coalition, including Russia, China, and even Iran. It stands to reason that the USA would never have had such quick success in Afghanistan without Russia, India, Pakistan, and several other countries. Yet, Washington was doing its best to be independent in every way, even independent of NATO.
NATO Secretary General George Robertson has recently criticized Washington for its single-handed actions in Afghanistan. Robertson suggests that Russia and NATO to join forces in the struggle with new challenges of terrorism, and he criticizes the USA for ignoring the alliance. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
The United States failed to learn any lessons from the Afghan campaign. America is making the same mistakes now. American soldiers have no one to wage war with in Afghanistan. The situation is still tense, and relations with the local population are still tough. According to the Washington Post, the current “military operation” against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is about digging wells and restoring schools. Soviet troops did the same back in the 1980s. Everyone knows how it ended.