As Republicans and Democrats consider what to include in next year’s NDAA, they are killing any attempt to end the longest war in US History, despite reports that the US has given Afghanistan nothing but corruption, destruction and a very powerful Taliban after 19 years…
On today’s edition of ‘Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About This?’ it’s that time of the year again—the time when Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate magically forget all of their differences and come together to decide what should and should not be included in next year’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Isn’t it crazy to think that the two parties that act like they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, somehow manage to come together to decide how many tens of billions of dollars to spend waging wars around the world—wars they never voted to authorized in the first place?
This year is even more bizarre because now that President Trump has called for ending the Afghanistan War, and the NY Times has published an anonymous, debunked report claiming Russia is targeting American troops in the country, some lawmakers are doubling down on wanting to keep the war going. In fact, Democrats and Republicans have come together to strike down any amendments calling for an end to the war and a removal of troops that could have been included in the 2021 NDAA.
But the war they are fighting to continue is nearly two decades old, and so far, the result has been trillions of dollars spent to literally build infrastructure and then bomb it, thousands of lives lost on both sides, opium production that has skyrocketed, and a Taliban that is now more powerful that they have been at any point since the war began.
It has been nearly 19 years since the US invaded Afghanistan, not only has Taliban not been defeated, but it is now stronger than it has been at any point since 2001. While the group is known for its brutal tactics and extreme religious beliefs, in some cases it is those beliefs that attract new recruits. And for others, they see the revolving door of US soldiers who are stationed in their country for months at a time as the true enemy.
Among a long list of strict rules, the Taliban also outlawed the production of opium. But since the US invaded, not only has the cultivation of the poppy plants that are used to make opium increased—it has skyrocketed. Afghanistan now produces more than 90 percent of the world’s opium supply, and the current area for opium cultivation in the country is four times larger than it was in 2002—making it around 20 times larger than the land area of Washington D.C.
Civilian casualties have also increased dramatically in the country, and a report from the United Nations found that 2018 saw the largest number of civilian causalities since 2009, with nearly 4,000 civilians killed and nearly 11,000 wounded. The UN also found that while the number of civilians killed by the Taliban has dropped 43 percent this year, the number of civilians killed by the US and its allies has increased 31 percent. As a result, NATO forces have killed more civilians than the Taliban in 2019.
Then there is the cost of war—a combination of bombing campaigns, military operations and rebuilding projects are estimated to have costs American taxpayers around $1 trillion dollars. In 2018 alone, the Department of Defense budgeted $45 billion dollars for the War in Afghanistan, which included $13 billion for U.S. forces, $5 billion for Afghan forces, and $780 million for economic aid. In conclusion… But after 18 years of war, hundreds of billions of dollars spent, and tens of thousands of civilians killed, the US is now hoping for a peace deal with the same group they refused to negotiate with in the first place—raising the question of whether the longest war in US history will come to an, and if the US will ever be out of Afghanistan.