In yet another foreign policy success this week, President Obama won commitments from Britain, France and Germany to provide 5,000 more troops to supplement the 21,000 new American forces that will sent to Afghanistan in a renewed effort to destroy Al Qaeda. Past foreign policy during the Bush Administration clearly lost the focus on Afghanistan when it started military action in Iraq.
A renewed effort to defeat Al Qaeda's bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan would prevent this terrorist organization from being able to send terrorists all over the world to create mayhem.
President Bush allowed his personal feelings to motivate his efforts to invade and occupy Iraq, however with the continued bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan to train and recruit new fighters, new insurgents only flowed into Iraq or other nations and created acts of senseless violence against civilians in public places. A focused effort to finally rid the world of this criminal organization would dramatically reduce worldwide terrorist violence as well make the U.S. much safer.
Not all of the 5,000 new NATO troops will be combat forces. Many will be trainers who will train Afghan troops to be able to defend their own nation as part of the new Obama policy is to raise up a credible new Afghan military. Afghanistan is a very primitive and backward nation with little real development, however building a credible military is a vital key to this nation's future success. However, there have been some recent bad signs of the Karzai government bending to social demands of the Taliban such as harassing or arresting TV station managers on flimsy morals charges such as showing women in Western dress dancing on TV. If the Karzai government continues to bend to Taliban social demands, then it means that that the Taliban and Al Qaeda actually remain as the strongest political and social forces in the nation. On the other hand, one of the few liberalizations by the Taliban is stop measuring the beards of men.
Part of the problem with the Bush Iraq War policy is that it hurt world support for foreign policy to defeat Al Qaeda. Changing American administrations as well the successful appearance by President Obama in the G20 Summit all helped to clear the air enough to create a second chance for this new effort to refocus the effort on Afghanistan.
Sadly, social life for most Afghanistan women remains very bad because of the backward society of Afghanistan and unwanted arranged marriages. Young women are routinely attacked by Taliban thugs for attempting to get an education in Afghanistan in the few schools that exist to educate girls. Life is so bad for so many young women in this country that many prefer to set themselves on fire in an attempt to kill themselves to protest their oppression in this society. Many women fail in this attempt to kill themselves, and spend the rest of their lives as horribly disfigured burn victims with little value as a woman in this society or a male to provide them a living, creating an entire class of oppressed and poverty stricken disabled women. Socially, Afghanistan is one of the worst nations on Earth, yet militant fighters will continue to emerge to defend this bad social social system. After the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan, the Soviets failed to make this a godless and secular state and modernize it, and the U.S. and NATO still struggle in a society with primitive social values and primitive religious views. Afghanistan is nearly stone age state and very difficult to modernize.
The Obama policy in Afghanistan really needs to not only defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but needs to socially improve the backward conditions in a very poor nation where many don't like life in Afghanistan, yet will fight to their death to defend socially backward customs and a religious system that holds women in great oppression so much that suicide by fire looks a good alternative by comparison to many. Afghanistan is a sad nation of many tears.
Changing the social environment and culture of Afghanistan is a difficult problem that continues to fuel new fighters for the Taliban and Al Qaeda. And how to change this culture that fuels these religious fighters remains as a very difficult question.
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