Families of those who fought and died in Afghanistan to subdue the Taliban will likely feel their sons have perished for nothing. For the Islamist fundamentalist group has besieged the town of Sangin, in the Helmand province; a battleground fiercely contested between NATO and the Taliban for years, until Britain handed the town to US forces in 2010, and NATO ended its combat mission last year.
Now the threat has resurfaced, a weakened Afghan state is relying on its security forces to stand firm against the insurgent Islamists. Yet their morale is dire, and alone cannot shield the region from the militants.
Losing the region to the Taliban would hand them a solid base, making it easier for them to spread further.
After pleas for reinforcements, NATO has responded, sending in a force of 300 soldiers, now based at camp Shorabak, roughly 50 miles from Sangin.
Of course, the Taliban was marginalized by the West during the initial campaign in Afghanistan, which lasted for over a decade.
Yet now the threat has resurfaced. What does this show?
Clearly, due to an ill-thought out plan for invading the country, and effort made to establish a safer society for the aftermath of the invasion, the nation is still very much at risk from insurgency. The Taliban is one of multiple factions vying for control over a weakened nation.
This incidentally highlights the failures of the so-called “War on Terror” so far, as implicated in a previous article of mine.
Moral of the story: invading a nation, and weakening the regime in the process, does not necessarily cause extremism to just go away.
Should those who lost loved ones in the previous campaigns feel that their lives have been given in vain?