We have always been or have not always been not at war in Afghanistan, except when we have or have not been… A little help here, Minitrue.
— Billmon (@billmon1) December 29, 2014
Lest we forget. Dan Murphy, at the Christian Science Monitor, on how “The Afghan war that didn’t really end yesterday ended in defeat“:
… While most of America’s NATO allies that hadn’t already washed their hands of combat will now do so, American fighting and dying will continue, with 11,000 US troops remaining in the country. There will be talk of “advising,” and “training” and “non-combat” presence. But for the most part that can be safely ignored.
Afghanistan is a dangerous place. The US-installed government there is on shaky ground, and just advising Afghan troops is a dangerous job, given that a high-percentage of US military deaths in recent years have been caused by Afghan soldiers and police. In August, Maj. Gen. Harold Greene was murdered by an Afghan soldier, becoming the highest ranking US officer killed overseas since Vietnam.
US casualties compared to Afghan ones have been negligible. Over 4,000 Afghan soldiers and cops were killed fighting in 2014 alone, compared to 2,224 US soldiers killed fighting there since 2001. Civilian deaths had soared to 3,188 by the end of November, making this year the bloodiest for civilians since at least 2009, when the UN began tracking civilian deaths. The civilian death toll is at least a 20 percent increase over last year…
Meanwhile, opium production in Afghanistan has soared despite $7 billion flushed down the tubes by the US on opium eradication. Afghanistan can not by any stretch be called a democracy – vote buying and thuggery at the polls dominate elections. The country’s government is entirely dependent on foreign aid, and has been gifted or burdened, depending on your perspective, with assets it cannot afford…
We did, however, give our remaining forces a kewl new label, so there’s that.