MG is an air warrior with a distinguished career and now a corporate advisor, writer, and intrepid traveler and novelist
On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered a major U.S. response to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.
At 9 p.m., he delivered a televised address from the Oval Office, declaring, “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
Operation Enduring Freedom, the American-led international effort to oust the Taliban regime in Afghanistan got on steam. The war to destroy the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, began on October 7. Within two months, U.S. forces removed the Taliban from operational power, but the war continued, as U.S. and coalition forces could not defeat a Taliban insurgency campaign as it shifted bases to Pakistan.
Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks, was finally tracked down and killed on 2 May 2011 in a secret safe house given by the Pakistan Army in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The war dragged on for 20 years because of an extremely faulty strategy of letting Pakistan off the hook. The military leadership including the US presidents very well knew that one faction of the Taliban was getting active support from Pakistan. Pakistan had provided the leadership, including Mullah Omar safety in Pakistan. They received medical treatment also in the military hospitals of the Pakistan army.
It is difficult to comprehend why the Americans never acted against Pakistan. Had they acted against Pakistan the war would have taken a different course. Maybe there was someone in the United States' top leadership in league with Pakistan. This is a real possibility, as I remember reading Price of power a book by Seymour Hersh wherein he stated that during the 1971 war the CIA had an informer in the cabinet of Indra Gandhi.
There is every possibility that someone in the top echelon of the American leadership, either military or political was secretly in touch with Pakistan and Taliban leadership. In such a scenario, the war was bound to be lost. Donald Trump appeared on the scene. He recognized the danger of Pakistan and the perfidy it was committing but apart from making a little noise he did nothing.
Donald Trump was a maverick and he always did some things out of the box like meeting the North Korean leader Kim and he also had a lunatic plan to call the Taliban leadership to Camp David. Nothing could be sillier than this. He was the man who started the negotiations and signed the peace deal with the Taliban
He negotiated with the very people who the United States for 2 decades had branded as a terrorist organization. Worse the negotiations were carried out behind the back of the Afghan government and a deal was worked out in secret. When Joe Biden took over he was, in any case, a man with very poor intellect and conceptual horizon apart from being senile and old and he threw in the towel immediately to get America out.
I would require people to ponder over the fact that Americans are maintaining more than 30,000 troops in South Korea and another 50,000 in Europe and I do not know what purpose they are serving. Maybe some Americans can enlighten me. As a military strategist and historian, I can say that all the Americans needed was to keep some 3000 troops in Afghanistan and the Taliban would have never come back to power. A strategy to collar Pakistan could be worked out also and the war would never have been lost.
The Americans signed the agreement as a defeated nation and it will go down in history as the Asian version of the Treaty of Versailles and resulted in an exodus of the Americans from Afghanistan and disorderly retreat. At this stage, there are hundreds of Americans still in Afghanistan and they are at the mercy of the Taliban.
Man proposes god disposes
I have an inkling that someone at the top echelon of the American leadership either military or political had some contacts with the terror groups. The retreat was absolutely chaotic and I fail to understand why the Bagram base was vacated in the middle of the night within two hours and without any notice to the Afghan government. I would like some explanation from somebody for this from the American side because at that time the Taliban was nowhere in the position of taking over Kabul. Such actions had a deleterious effect on the morale of the Afghan army who began to feel that a secret deal has been worked out with the Taliban by the United States.
One of the principles of war, as enunciated by Clausewitz, is the morale of the soldiers. The morale of the Afghan army completely collapsed after this episode and there were several other incidents also where US soldiers just left their posts as well as weapons in the hinterland and retreated. These actions demoralized the Afghan army which resulted in many of the Afghan army soldiers just defecting to the Taliban.
There have been retreats before and one is aware of the famous retreat of Napoleon Bonaparte from Moscow and also the retreat of the German army in Russia. In contrast, the American retreat was haphazard, chaotic, and precipitous. The aim seemed to be to retreat as quickly as possible out of Afghanistan.
As per audits on the Afghan military, Forbes estimates based on a US GAO (the United States Government Accountability Office) nearly $83 billion worth of training equipment given to the Afghan security forces has fallen in the hands of the Taliban.
As per reports, several Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft have been seized by the Taliban. Black Hawk helicopters can reportedly cost up to $21 million while a Super Tucano attack aircraft cost $21.3 million. Key PC-12 intelligence places have also fallen into the hands of the fundamentalist group. Aircraft like the C-208 light attack airplanes. which are capable to carry Hellfire missiles, anti-tank missiles, and other weaponry are also in Taliban hands. They cost $21.2 million each. The Taliban Air Force is now alive and kicking and almost 120 to 130 planes of the estimated 174 planes of the Afghan Air Force are in their hands.
In Kahului Airport many aircraft and hi -Tek equipment were abandoned by the Americans. The Taliban have said that they will be able to make most of the aircraft and equipment serviceable and for this, they would be getting the help of China and Russia.
Many American experts have opined that the equipment left behind cannot be used by the Taliban as it has been degraded. This claim can be dismissed out of hand. I will give you an example. At the end of World War II, the United States had left some 52 Liberator B-26 bombers in India at Chakeri in Kanpur. They were made unfit for flying. The cold war was on and the West did not want to supply heavy bombers to the IAF. The Indian Air Force engineers got to work on these planes and after cannibalization was able to make almost 60% of machines serviceable and these were used as part of the bomber squadron. The USA was stunned..
Thus the Americans claim must be taken with a pinch of salt because if the Indians could make planes airworthy, there is no reason why the Taliban engineers with help from Russia and China will not be able to make the planes and weapons serviceable. However, it must be noted that the small arms like rifles and other equipment are in absolutely good condition and have been captured by the Taliban.
In effect, the USA has just handed over weapons worth billions of dollars to the Taliban for free and you can well imagine what is going to be the result. Taliban has the latest equipment now. Its firepower is tremendous. The weapons especially the rifles have already started being smuggled to Pakistan and even far away places like Syria. It will not be long before they will be used against America.
Despite all that has happened, I find the American people are not really concerned and still Biden has an approval rating of almost 45%. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize whether the American people are really concerned about their own future because they seem to be more concerned discussing things like whether Donald Trump is a terrorist or whether to wear masks to avert the China virus. Just shows the unreal world in America. I'm afraid within another few months this dream is going to be shattered and Americans will know what it means to take everything in an easy-going manner.
Price of power - by Seymour Hersh
The Afghan US Retreat-https://operationdisclosureofficial.com/2021/08/17/the-afghanistan-us-retreat
The Wages of Defeat in Afghanistan-Chris Patten.-https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/lessons-of-western-retreat-from-afghanistan-by-chris-patten-2021-08
MG Singh (author) from UAE on September 02, 2021:
Thanks, Bill, so nice you commented.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 02, 2021:
I will never understand our world policy. Perhaps one day it will be clearer, but to my simple mind, it seems like lunacy. I'm with you all the way on this one, my friend.
MG Singh (author) from UAE on September 01, 2021:
Tom, this is a very interesting topic, and thanks for commenting. The Deputy Chief of Taliban has trained at the Indian Military academy and I have a gut feeling that the Taliban will like to be friends with India. I had visited Kabul twice in 2017 and was struck by the friendly attitude towards India of the Afghans. The USA can be written off as a great power. It neither has a strategic plan nor the will to fight and as a soldier I am surprised that these chaps(Americans) lost every war after 1945. Read the comments of Colonel Savage below. The most surprising thing is that in America there is more bickering on inconsequential matters. This defeat is at the door of the military leadership as well the Chief of Staff is supposed to have a say but he buckled down like General Westmoreland in Vietnam to civilian leaders.
tom on September 01, 2021:
ima trained afghan officers since 1950s,india trained nigerians ,iraqis,panjsher valley difficult to capture,invasion of pakistan not aproved by us senate,that is why us lost taliban haven pak ,major gen naserullah khan babur a pathan created taliban as proxy in 1994,please visit major ah amins blogs,us lost all wars since ww2,macarthur only great general
MG Singh (author) from UAE on September 01, 2021:
Thank you Colonel savage for an excellent comment. I'm glad you appreciate my point that somebody inside the American think tank being in league with the Taliban; maybe this may come out later.
Col John Savage on September 01, 2021:
It was nice reading this article but the facts are obvious which I can see sitting in London. The Americans have a propensity to give up and really have no great generals. This was evident during World War II when the only reason general Ike was made the commander-in-chief was because he was American while Monty was the better general. I am not surprised at the American defeat in Afghanistan they had suffered similar defeats earlier also in Korea and Vietnam. But since this defeat is the greatest it is going to rankle in the throat of the Americans for a long time. I think the Americans need better leadership both military and civil. You have rightly pointed out that the biggest problem was that the terrorist camps were in Pakistan and I'm not able to understand why for 20 years the Americans did nothing about it. It may look a far-fetched story that somebody in the military hierarchy or the political hierarchy was in league with the Taliban but there is a possibility and there have been instances in history when this came to light after tens of years.