Yet Another American Military Mission Is Failing

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I suppose you have to read the whole thing to get the true flavor of the situation, but here’s the latest from Afghanistan:

In September, the Taliban briefly seized Kunduz, the first city to fall since the demise of its regime, prompting the U.S. military to dispatch Special Operations troops and stage airstrikes to help the Afghan security forces retake control.

Now, the insurgents are on the doorsteps of several provincial capitals, applying more pressure on urban areas than in any year of the conflict. The clashes in Helmand have reflected the Taliban strategy that led to the takeover of Kunduz — seizing surrounding districts before moving in on the provincial capital. Already, the Taliban are in the enclave of Ba­baji, within the borders of Helmand’s capital, Lashkar Gah.

….Afghans, including senior military officials, no longer even pretend that they can fight the Taliban effectively on their own. “When the foreigners were here, we had plenty of facilities and equipment,” said 1st Lt. Naseer Ahmad Sahel, 30, a civil-order police company commander who was wounded last month in a firefight in Marja. “There were 100 cameras overlooking Marja alone.”

Faqir, the commander of the 215th Corps, said, “We don’t have the air support that we should have.”

There isn’t a single country from Libya to Afghanistan where American military intervention has succeeded, nor a single country where American military training has been anything but a disaster. We can’t do counterinsurgency on our own, and the troops we’ve tried to train are too divided in their loyalties to be effective.

But we’re supposed to believe that if only we’d picked a side in the Syrian civil war two years ago, that would have made all the difference? Or that if only we’d kept a few thousand more troops in Iraq for a few more years, ISIS never would have become a threat? Spare me. How many times does Lucy have to pull away the football before Charlie Brown finally figures out what’s going on?

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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