Afghanistan

’60 minutes’ story on Afghanistan highlights 16 years of US failures

Ghani also made a staggering claim of 21 international terrorist groups operating in the country, making Afghanistan less safe.

A fifteen minute story on CBS network’s famous show ‘60 minutes’ highlights glaring US failures, amid growing insecurity after 16 years of operations, in Afghanistan. The story is covered by Lara Logan who interviews both Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as well as US General John Nicholson on the current situation and progress of US operations in Afghanistan.

In the beginning of her story Logan reveals how unsafe Kabul has become with foreign dignitaries and diplomats having to fly for a mere 2 km distance to the airport due to the risks associated with using roads. Gen. Nicholson, during his interview, also presents a picture of doom and gloom stating that Afghanistan is at war, with its capital ‘under attack by a determined enemy’.

The story further reflects on US cutting short the number of troops to less than 10,000 creating a deadly vacuum in 2016. This vacuum was then filled by militant groups, who successfully carried out suicide attacks and have terrorised Kabul city since then.

Logan while interviewing President Ghani enquired why the city had changed so much in recent years with tight corridors and high barriers. Ghani, who now rules from his Palace, said that it was because the war in Afghanistan had transformed from ‘a war against the armies to a war against the people’.

Ghani also made a staggering claim that 21 international terrorist groups were operating in the country, making Afghanistan less safe. Such a statement gives a clear indication of how the United States and coalition forces have failed to achieve any of their intended security objectives – in terms of War against Terror – since invading the country in 2001. Ghani also believes that a brutal Taliban campaign has also turned the Afghan people against him.

During a tough line questioning from Logan, Ghani revealed how his country is heavily dependent on the US, with Kabul not having enough resources to sustain its military for even six months. The US taxpayer is paying 90 percent of Afghanistan defense budget, which amounts to more than $4 billion a year. However, even with USA’s financial support for Afghan security forces, the situation is still dire. The story claims that “in just four months last year, more than 4,000 Afghan soldiers and police were wounded, another 2,500 killed. Since then, Ghani has refused to reveal casualty figures”.

The story, even though roughly fifteen minutes long, not only presents a scathing account of the US failures in Afghanistan, but also provides little hope for any improvement in the security situation of Afghanistan. Logan, in additional footage under the title ’60 minutes overtime’, rues the fact that her previous visits to Kabul felt safer than her latest one. Logan also claimed that the blast walls had doubled, and in some cases tripled, in size since her last visit. Finally, one of the story’s producers, in the same segment, asks

‘if a city controlled by US/NATO forces for 16 years is even unsafe to drive, where is the US standing in this war then?’. 

Full video of the story can be found here

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