Gulbuddin Hikmatyar’s Hizb-i Islami [the Islamic Party] guerrilla group bombed a military convoy in Kabul this morning, killing 15, including 6 Americans.
The Reagan administration gave Hikmatyar billions in the 1980s because he was effective in fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, but in 2001 the old guerrilla switched sides and allied with the Taliban in an effort to get the US back out of his country.
For background, look at Ben Anderson’s documentary:
“This is What Winning Looks Like”, p. 1: VICE documentary on America’s last days of failure in Afghanistan.
Ben Anderson writes:
“with each year that followed, casualties and deaths rose as steadily as the local opium crop. Thousands more British troops were deployed, then tens of thousands of US troops, at the request of General Stanley McChrystal, following a six-month review of the war after President Obama took office. Still, the carnage and confusion continued unabated. Suicide bombings increased sevenfold. Every step you took might reveal yet another IED.
In February 2013, on his last day at the helm of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John R. Allen described what he thought the war’s legacy will be: ‘‘Afghan forces defending Afghan people and enabling the government of this country to serve its citizens. This is victory, this is what winning looks like, and we should not shrink from using these words.’’
The US and British forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan for good (officially, by the end of 2014), and my time in the country over the last six years has convinced me that our legacy will be the exact opposite of what Allen posits—not a stable Afghanistan, but one at war with itself yet again. Here are a few encapsulated snapshots of what I’ve seen and what we’re leaving behind. “