After 9/11, the Bush Administration blamed Al Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks, and blamed the Taliban government in Afghanistan for providing a base for Al Qaeda. The U.S. then invaded Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban government, destroyed Al Qaeda training camps, helped set up and supported an elected Afghan government, and continued to fight Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.

Now, nine years later, President Obama has tripled the number of American troops in Afghanistan to 95,000, but they are spread thin in some regions, and they cannot hold on to territory. The Afghan police and army are developing very slowly. The Obama Administration warns that the Taliban are taking back territory and making a serious comeback.

Over the past nine years, thousands of American soldiers, thousands of Muslim fighters, and thousands of Afghan Muslim civilians have died in Afghanistan. America has spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan. The American public is tiring of the war in Afghanistan. Many Americans now think the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting, and they don’t want to keep sending more American troops and American money to Afghanistan.

Arguments By Those Who Believe That America Should Send More Troops To Afghanistan And Try To Completely Defeat The Taliban

1. The 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Africa and the 9/11 attacks originated from Afghanistan. The Taliban government gave Al Qaeda a safe haven where Al Qaeda planned and prepared for these attacks. America asked the Taliban to turn Osama Bin Ladin over to America after the 1998 bombings and after 9/11, but the Taliban continued to protect Bin Ladin. America had to eliminate the Taliban government, and America must prevent the return of a Taliban government.

2. Before 9/11, the Taliban were evil oppressors or ignorant Muslims who were misinterpreting Islam to justify a power grab in Afghanistan. If America withdraws from Afghanistan, there will be a bloody civil war; the poorly-trained and undisciplined Afghan army will collapse; and then the Taliban will eventually re-establish a government that will once again oppress the Afghan people, especially women, ethnic minorities, and religious minorities. In addition, the Taliban will be in a better position to expand their control and influence into other parts of Asia. American troops must stay in Afghanistan at least until the Afghan army is strong enough to protect Afghans from the Taliban. It would be even better for Afghans if American troops stayed until Afghanistan is reconstructed, and until the establishment of an Afghan government that protects the rights of the Afghan people.

3. Without the benefit of its pre-9/11 Afghan training camps, Al Qaeda’s recent attempts to attack America have failed, because Al Qaeda has been on the run, and it has been unable to effectively plan those attacks. Due to poor planning and execution, Al Qaeda’s bombs failed to detonate during the 2009 Christmas Day plot to bomb a plane flying to Detroit, and during the 2010 plot to bomb Times Square. If America leaves without completely defeating the Taliban, the Taliban will return to power, and they will allow Al Qaeda to re-establish training camps in Afghanistan to plan more effective attacks on American cities. In light of Al Qaeda’s many grievances about American foreign policy in the Muslim world, there will be more plots targeting American cities if Al Qaeda gets breathing room. In addition, if America withdraws from Afghanistan, the Taliban and Al Qaeda will be in a better position to expand their influence in Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons.

4. America must prove to friends and enemies that it doesn’t run from a fight. America must prove to the Afghan government and others that America is a reliable ally that doesn’t abandon its friends. In order to deter future attacks, America must prove to the Taliban and Al Qaeda that no one gets away with attacking the American homeland.

5. America has not yet succeeded in Afghanistan, only because the Bush Administration did not put in the necessary resources; Iraq was a greater priority for the Bush Administration. America is fully capable of defeating the Taliban, now that the Obama Administration has made the war against the Taliban a priority.

6. America won’t be alone in this fight. The Afghan government will continue the fight against the Taliban if Afghan President Karzai is convinced that America will not abandon Afghanistan prematurely. The Pakistani government did have ties to the Afghan Taliban, but once the Pakistani Taliban began attacking Pakistan in an attempt to overthrow the Pakistani government, the Pakistani government fully allied itself with America. Pakistan cannot allow American troops onto Pakistani territory, because the Pakistani people are suspicious of American motives; but Pakistan is doing what it can, by allowing the U.S. to launch missile strikes (from un-manned Predator aircraft) onto Pakistani territory.

Arguments By Those Who Believe That America Should Cut Its Losses And Withdraw From Afghanistan

1. The 9/11 attacks did not originate from Afghanistan. They originated from the CIA or Israeli intelligence, in order to “justify” the invasions of Muslim countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore, American troops should never have been in Afghanistan. Even if the 9/11 attacks did originate from Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11. The Taliban hosted Al Qaeda based on the Taliban’s understanding that Al Qaeda were sincere Muslims who needed shelter. After Bin Ladin was accused of carrying out the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Africa, America asked the Taliban to turn Bin Ladin over to America. The Taliban said they would turn Bin Ladin over to America if America provided evidence that Bin Ladin was involved, but America provided no evidence. Regardless, the Taliban ordered Bin Ladin not to use Afghan soil to plan international attacks, and Bin Ladin agreed. At a hearing of the 9/11 Commission, the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow said that Taliban leader Mullah Omar did not want Al Qaeda to attack America. (One hour and one minute into the hearing.) The Taliban were not involved in planning or carrying out the 9/11 attacks. When America asked the Taliban to turn Bin Ladin over to America after 9/11, the Taliban again said they would turn Bin Ladin over to America if America provided evidence that Bin Ladin was involved in the 9/11 attacks. America refused to provide the Taliban with any evidence, so the Taliban refused to turn Bin Ladin over to America. Therefore, the U.S. should have just attacked Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan, rather than overthrowing the Taliban government and trying to restructure the whole country.

2. Before 9/11, the Taliban were making a sincere effort to establish an Islamic state based on their understanding of Islamic law. They also brought law-and-order and security to a lawless region. Even if the Taliban were (and will again be) unpopular in Afghanistan, America should not be sacrificing the lives of American soldiers to protect Muslims from their own unpopular governments on the other side of the world. America should be spending billions of dollars to rebuild American cities, not Afghan cities. Furthermore, many Muslims around the world don’t want non-Muslim soldiers on Muslim land. American invasions of Muslim countries produce much more death and destruction than they prevent.

3. America has made a huge investment in building the 134,000-man Afghan army. It’s time for that investment to pay off. When American troops pull back, the Afghan army will keep the Taliban on the run. Furthermore, if there are no American troops in Afghanistan, fewer Afghans (like Najibullah Zazi, who pled guilty in the 2009 NYC subway plot) or Pakistanis (like Faisal Shahzad, who pled guilty in the 2010 Times Square plot) will try to attack American cities. (Both Zazi and Shahzad said they planned their attacks because of American intervention in Afghanistan.)

4. America has already proven that it will respond with severe force to an attack on the American homeland. America has already sent a clear message to its friends and enemies. There is no need for American troops to stay in Afghanistan forever.

5. It is not possible for America to defeat the Taliban. After nine years, the Taliban have proven themselves to be tough and elusive on their home turf. The Taliban fight and then melt away among the Afghan and Pakistani people. Then they strike again, and melt away again. Fighting a guerilla war, they don’t plan to beat America militarily. The Taliban are just playing a waiting game, knowing that America cannot stay in Afghanistan forever.

6. America does not have reliable partners in the region. The Afghan government wants to cut a power sharing deal with the Taliban (because Afghan President Karzai believes America is not a reliable ally). Afghan President Karzai has accused the U.S. of intentionally bombing Afghan civilian targets and falsely blaming the Taliban for those attacks. The Afghan government is not a useful ally, because it is unpopular, illegitimate (due to election fraud), corrupt, and ineffective. The Pakistani military has been fighting the Pakistani Taliban in Pakistan, but Pakistani intelligence has been arming, training, and funding the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan (to ensure that the Afghan Taliban are friendly to Pakistan if the Afghan Taliban return to power in Afghanistan). The Pakistani government does not allow American troops to enter Pakistani territory to fight Afghan Taliban who are retreating from Afghanistan into Pakistan, where they regroup for new attacks against American troops in Afghanistan. European allies have said their troops will not remain in Afghanistan indefinitely.

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9 Responses to Should America Send More Troops To Afghanistan And Try To Decisively Defeat The Taliban, Or Should America Cut Its Losses And Withdraw?
  1. Let me say firstly that a web site such as this one is very important. The issues of Islam in the western world need to be openly discussed by all for the benefit of all to understand that we are all human beings.

    I think it is important for practicing and non-practicing Muslims to talk about themselves and what they believe. I was raised Roman Catholic and at a very young age started questioning Christianity. My first recollection of this questioning happened when I was about 15 years of age. I reflected on something I had heard many times in every church service I attended. The belief I heard was basically that the only way to reach the kingdom of heaven was through Jesus Christ. Even at that young age in the 1970′s I was aware that 100′s of millions of people in the world did not believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Therefore, my church and religion was indirectly implying that non-Christians will not be saved and hence not go to heaven. Wow . . . I thought! That’s pretty arrogant, not to mention not very brotherly or sisterly. I asked a few other Catholics about this and they basically said that in the Catholic religion it is ok for non-Catholics to have a different religion. Of course, I was not satisfied with this explanation so I pressed further and posed the question about where do good non-Christians go once they die. I also pointed out that Catholicism is not a religion but basically a sect of Christianity. The answer I got was no better than the first explanation. Approx. 15 years later I had an opportunity to ask a young Catholic Orthodox priest at a family gather the same question. He advised that accepting Jesus Christ is one’s choice as a Christian and this our the way to heaven. He further explain that if one is a non-Christian then they make whatever decisions or choices required under their religious belief to get to their version of heaven. Wow…..How convenient! So let me get this right, in 2000 years of Christianity that’s the best answer that has been developed. I can only imagine the answers I would have got had I been a member of some rigid fundamentalist church. NO wonder the world is so divisive.

    Here’s the conclusion I have come down to after asking this question of many ordinary Christians for the past 3 decades, and a number of Muslims in the last 5 years. Organized religion is nothing more than a self serving hierarchical institution. The more one is a rational independent thinker the more he/she will not fit into any religion. In short, the more fundamentalist the sect of any religion the more it is true that its members are either mentally lazy or simple unable think on their own. These are people who want nice simple black and white answers.

    Christianity has been evolving in the Western World in order to stay relevant and therefore, survive. This has not always been the case though. A few hundred years ago I would be burned at the stake, or something similar, for saying what I have said here. In some Christian communities, particularly the US, I would be shunned and excommunicated even today.

    The many leaders in Muslim countries fear Islam evolving. They see how the Christian church has lost power in the West. They do not want this to happen in their country as it will become very hard to justify their dictatorship. So 100′s of millions of Muslims live in a pre 17th century world.

    As for Muslims in the West, I suspect there are many that are questioning the same things I have questioned. Although, I have not heard one yet. I suspect many moved to the West because they do not want to live in a pre 17th century culture. I also realize their are many things they want to keep from the culture, but mind control is not one of them. The Muslims that are not blind sheep in the West need to speak up if they ever want equality in the West.

  2. I read your argument, Chris, and this is a common argument against religion, along the lines of… “Religion is the opiate of the masses”..
    But Islam in it’s true and ideal form does not promote an institution. What you may hear about these days on the news are the cases where the non-ideal form is promoted by one person or another.

    Islam is about getting each and every individual to know God and, hopefully, submit to Him. If people do this simple task, there is no need for arms/warfare/self-promoting institutions etc.

    p.s. sorry for the other viewers about our divergence from the original topic of this discussion.

  3. Reply to Hosam: It is a common argument because in the West we have freedom of speech and freedom of thought for those whom choose to exercise their rational mind, which all people are born with. This freedom allows many things to be questioned including religion. This freedom was fought for by ordinary people. It was not handed to the masses as a gift. This level of freedom does not exist in many other parts of the world. There is censorship, enforcement of religious law and draconian punishment for breach of that law. Why? This type of dogmatic thinking and behavior use to dominant the West also, but for the most part the West has evolved beyond those times. Hypocrisy and greed still exists in the West. The two illegal wars in the Asia are glaring example of this, which the majority of people in the US, Canada, and the UK for example are now against for various reasons. Many in these countries were against these wars on moral grounds before the wars even started and protested throughout the West. OUr culture/society is a work in process and the West is much further along then the Islamic world; by a few hundred years.

    Islam has a hierarchical structure so much so that Islamic nation states have Sharia law and many are ruled by a monarchy. You can deny this reality all you like, however, the Saudi royal family is struggling with reform and are making some progress.

    There are some very fundamental reasons why ordinary Westerners are not choosing to emigrate to Islamic countries. On the other hand, many Muslims have chosen to move to the West. Why?

    If it is only for material gain, I say go back to where you are from. We have too many hypocrites as it is.

  4. Well, i think America should send some more troops to Afghanistan and then should stop this whole process so that there should be a proper and effective environment can grow there and the people should like to stay there and should try to work for the effectiveness and rebuilding of the city …

  5. american should get out from afghanistan they have not right to kill the taliban in afghanistan they are muslims leave them to live there lives

  6. So I have a question. All we hear about on the news is how the president of Afghanistan wants U.S. troops gone. Is this true? I sometimes wonder if we should just leave each other alone. No trade no travel no immigration nothing. I speak for Many Americans when I ask, what is the truth behind all of this? Why does the taliban want to kill Americans? I’ve heard so many answers I just want to know the truth. Is there a difference between Al Qeada and Taliban? Tell me so I can tell other Americans. We are just as confused as ya’ll on all of this, and the lines of communication need to be opened up. We have a problem in America and it’s called the political system. When it comes to election time we have to vote for the lesser of the to evils. I can’t just go and run for president. I don’t have any money. Most people who are elected into office are from political families or families of money. Most. I know the law says it can work this way and a long time ago it did. But now days that’s just not how it works. The political system does not represent the American. It’s very complicated, and much is deeper than surface value. That’s why Americans were so mad when 9/11 happened. Because the politicians who got us into this mess sit back and watch it on TV while the average American died and had to clean it up.

  7. can someone just sum this,up for me???

  8. Reply to George.W. Bush: OK, here is my attempt at a reply to your question. Truism #1. All of humanity has the same basic desires and needs. Truism #2. All of humanity have the same basic questions, but in spite of our best efforts there is much we do not understand; including the fact that we do not know what happens to us after our death, nor do we know if there is an omnipotent divine entity. Truism #3. As a species we are capable of rational reasoning, but many abhor not having the answers to basic questions and therefore are willing to accept a variety baseless explanations as an alternative to living without the knowledge we seek.

  9. I’m only 13 but it’s clear that we have made progress in Afghanistan and our allies want us to stay there. We have not won it yet obviously but are making progress. Al-Quida is on the run and most of their plots have failed. There has not been any major attack in years. I think if we keep fighting we should be able to eventually win. you cannot win a war in a day and cannot win with out sacrifices and losses. We need to stay. im not that old but i understand we need to stay in.


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