U.S. And Afghanistan Remain Allies?
After the infamous September 11 attacks, the U.S. launched a massive war campaign in Afghanistan to topple the Taliban government which was at the time believed to be supporting terrorist activities. This campaign was dubbed Operation Enduring Freedom. It is important to note that at the time of the September 11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden, the key architect behind the attacks was residing in Afghanistan. After the Taliban government was overthrown, the two countries, i.e. The U.S. And Afghanistan, sought to resume their diplomatic ties. The enhancement of diplomatic ties between the two countries is beneficial to both countries from a number of fronts. In that regard, the two countries should remain allies.
The Afghan government is headed by a president who serves for a maximum of two five-year terms. The current president is Hamid Karzai. According to the Central Intelligence Agency — CIA (2013), the country has a total population of 30.4 million people (as per July 2012 estimates). As the CIA further points out, the country’s capital, Kabul, has a population of 3.5 million people (CIA, 2013). Home to a number of ethnic groups, Afghanistan’s dominant ethnic group is the Pushtun. The country’s other ethnic groups according to the CIA (2013) include “Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%…” When it comes to the economy, it is important to note that Afghanistan is ranked amongst some of the poorest countries in the world. A significant proportion of its population lives below the poverty line. It should however be noted that in recent times, the country’s economy has started showing signs of recovery after many years of armed conflict (CIA, 2013). Currently, the unemployment rate remains relatively high.
Why the U.S. And Afghanistan should Remain Allies
Recently, the U.S. And Afghan governments signed a document that further sought to bring the two countries together. This particular document as the U.S. Department of State (2012) points out is “a 10-year strategic partnership agreement (SPA) that demonstrates the United States’ enduring commitment to strengthen Afghanistan’s sovereignty, stability, and prosperity and continue cooperation to defeat al-Qaida and its Affiliates.” Essentially, this is one of the many moves that have been initiated in the past in an attempt to cement the relations between the two countries.
To begin with, it is important to note that as I have already pointed out elsewhere in this text, the Afghan economy has in recent times shown signs of improvement. It is however important to note that this trend is largely dependent on the stability of the country going forward. As the CIA rightfully points out, “the economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistanceâ€¦” (CIA, 2013). This is a clear indicator that without allies like the U.S., the country could easily see the progress it has made in the last few decades (in terms of economic growth) reversed. This is more so the case given that in the opinion of the CIA (2013), “a resurgent Taliban and continuing provincial instability — particularly in the south and the east — remain serious challenges for the Afghan Government.” Therefore, in the final analysis, the country needs all the help and support it can possibly garner. America is a blessed nation. In that regard, it should utilize the immense resources it has at its disposal to further enhance the prosperity of Afghanistan. Both countries therefore should remain Allies.
Next, it is important to note that the long-term security of the United States is partly hinged on the security situation in Afghanistan. This is more so the case when it comes to terrorist attacks. From the onset, the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan a couple of years ago was based on the need to rid the country of Taliban rule and hence effectively dismantle the Al Qaeda network which was effectively using the country as a launching pad for its nefarious activities. Given the challenges the country still grapples with, i.e. provincial instability and a resurgent Taliban, it wouldn’t be in the best interests of the U.S. To severe ties with Afghanistan. Terrorist cells that have been inactive for a while should be watched closely to ensure that they are not activated. This can only be done if the two countries remain allies. Should the terrorist groups be allowed to regroup, it will take probably another war to dislodge them largely because as Borger (2013) points out, the Afghan National Army is not yet competent enough to fight on its own. To safeguard its national interests, the U.S. should further deepen its relationship with Afghanistan. In my opinion, this is enough motivation for the two countries to remain allies.
It should also be noted that the two countries’ trade relations could be further enhanced should they decide to remain allies. In so many ways, the said trade relations between the two countries could be mutually beneficial. Several years ago, the U.S. Assistance for International Development (U.S. AID) entered into a partnership with the Afghan Agriculture ministry to enhance the farming skills of farmers by amongst other things training them on how to utilize modern farming skills to grow various crops (Tobia, 2009). Should these farmers eventually acquire the skills they need to engage in commercial farming, Afghanistan will see the value of its food exports grow significantly. Some of the crops Afghanistan has potential to grow and export include but they are not limited to grapes, potatoes, and apples. These are goods the U.S. could export from Afghanistan. Further, with the continued growth of the Afghan economy, the U.S. could find yet another export market for a wide variety of its products.
Although the U.S. – Afghanistan ties have never been stronger than they currently are, it should be noted that the two countries have in the past had on and of relationships. However, the relations between the two countries took an unprecedented turn for the better after the move by the U.S. To rein in Taliban insurgency. Should these ties be broken at this time, they might never be re-established. The world is now regarded a global village. Good relations between countries are fast becoming a necessity. In that regard, as the United States seeks to establish warm diplomatic relations with other countries, it should further cement its relations with Afghanistan.
The decision by the U.S. To make Afghanistan a special ally last year is a move in the right direction. According to Rosenberg and Bowley (2012), in communicating the decision to the Afghan president, Ms. Clinton is quoted as having said that the U.S. is “not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan.” This move as the authors further point out effectively grants Afghanistan a number of special privileges it did not have before. For instance, the country now has access to excess military supplies amongst other privileges (Rosenberg and Bowley, 2012). The declaration is also likely to further enhance the stability of the fragile Afghan government.
The current strong diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and the U.S. should be further strengthened, not weakened. This is more so the case given that the two countries have more to lose than gain by pulling apart. In that regard, the U.S. And Afghanistan should remain allies.
Central Intelligence Agency — CIA (2013). The World Fact Book: South Asia — Afghanistan. Retrieved March 1, 2013, from the CIA website: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html
Borger, J. (2013, January 1). Can Afghan Troops Hold Off the Taliban After NATO Withdraws? Retrieved March 1, 2013, from The Guardian website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/01/afghan-troops-taliban-nato-withdrawal
Rosenberg, M. & Bowley, G. (2012). U.S. Grants Special Ally Status to Afghans, Easing Fears of Abandonment. Retrieved March 4, 2013, from the New York Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/world/asia/us-grants-special-ally-status-to-afghanistan.html
Tobia, P.J. (2009). Agriculture: Exporting Afghanistan. Retrieved March 4, 2013, from Inter-Press Service website: http://www.ipsnews.net/2009/11/agriculture-exporting-afghanistan/
U.S. Department of State (2012, September 6). U.S. Relations with Afghanistan: Bureau of South and Central Asia Affairs. Retrieved March 1, 2013, from the U.S. Department of State website: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5380.htm
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