by SWJ Editors
The Denial of Failure in Afghanistan
by Noureddine Jebnoun, Small Wars Journal
The Afghan geopolitical terrain, which historically never had the reputation of being easy to negotiate, has made life particularly difficult for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its allies, which have witnessed internal political quarrels being added to the tactical military failures.
The Taliban guerrilla and the Arab fighters who joined them had no chance to militarily defeat the modern Western armies deployed in Afghanistan. But in contemporary asymmetrical warfare, an unvanquished guerrilla is a victorious guerrilla. However, in the seven years of NATO's deployment, the Taliban have not ceased extending their influence over Afghan territory. Far from being confined in the South, they have multiplied their attacks, reaching Jalalabad, the largest city in eastern region of the country, and even the capital, Kabul, which lived in relative peace until a year ago.
At the root of this failure are several mistakes of analysis, mostly but not limited to American origin. The European allies are not absolved from the same mistakes. Western public opinion conflates al-Qaeda and Taliban, thinking of them as one organization. This confusion, when wanting to justify war leads to rejection of any negotiation with the Taliban.