Afghanistan War: A Brief Profile

In 2001, the Afghanistan war had started after 9/11. The US and NATO coalition joined forces to attack Taliban and Al Qaeda groups. Starting 2014, United States workforces are pulling themselves back from the nation, finishing a decade long battle. The US has been at war for almost the first decade of the 21st-century. A big number of US military personnel have been sent to another country to the Middle East to take part in what the administration of President George W. Bush indicated to as the ‘War on Terror.’ In numerous ways, the main battle of the War on Terror has occurred in the isolated and hilly country of Afghanistan. So, let’s take a brief tour to the longest war in the history of US.

Causes of the War

Afghanistan has been an unsteady country, especially over the last century. In the early 1900s, the country had established itself as a sovereign country that no longer need outside help. In the early 1970s, power shifts hand at a random pace, especially, from one group to another. A civil war within Afghanistan’s border had begun in 1978 and the parties involved were pro- and anti-communist forces. The Soviet Union sent in a military group to show support to the communists. As a result, a severe conflict started. Throughout this battle, the US gave cash and military help to those battling the Soviets. Some of these were known as the Mujahideen, made out of Islamists who were staunchly contradicted to the Soviet intrusion. Throughout this conflict, more than one million Afghans had passed on this contention, yet the Soviets were repelled.

Following the war against the Soviets, different warlords and extremist groups viewed Afghanistan as a weak link and they strive to take control over the country in the coming years. By the mid-1990s, the Taliban took control of the nation and they ruled by Islamic Sharia law. They also initiated to a great degree unforgiving restrictions on the citizens of this nation. Furthermore, the Taliban group had made a situation in Afghanistan that feed terrorists. Osama Bin Laden, a veteran of the battle against the Soviets, turned into a main figure in the Al Qaeda terrorist association, one of the biggest and most advanced Islamic terrorist groups on the planet. They operated within Afghanistan and they had planned to strike against the USA.

In the year 2011, the Al Qaeda terrorists group started attacks against the USA and they flew with two planes filled with innocent people and crashed into buildings in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The brave passengers in Southern Pennsylvania had brought down the fourth plane. About 3,000 Americans were killed during these terrorists’ attacks.

How many have died in this war?

  • S. soldiers: 2,014 (as of 7/10/12, according to the Department of Defense)
  • Taliban: More than 30,000
  • Al-Qaeda: more than 2,500
  • Afghan government forces: 6,100
  • Afghan civilians: more than 34,000
  • British soldiers: 341
  • Canadian soldiers: 152
  • Soldiers from allied countries (mostly from Germany, Spain, France, and Denmark): 163

Why was it so hard to achieve positive goals against the Afghanistan?

  • The Afghan society is made of different tribes and ethnic groups. They have a history of conflict and rivalry. As a result, it is a difficult task to bring them into one government supervision.
  • The mountain terrains of this county provide several hiding places to insurgents and make traditional war an impossible task.
  • Despite the fact that the USA had no plans of making a colony in the country, the conventional Afghan brutality worked against them.

A False Attack: Why and How the USA went to War against Iraq?

The Iraq war has a root back to the first Gulf War. Back then, Iraq had attacked next-door country Kuwait in 1990. But, a US-led coalition stopped Saddam Hussein’s armed force out of the nation in 1991. After that, the U.N. resolution, which finished the war, denied Iraq from having or delivering natural, chemical or atomic weapons. Also, Saddam declined to give U.N. weapons investigators free access as well. Following 12 years, the world leaders agonized over the likelihood that Saddam was creating, or had produced these weapons of mass destructions (WMDs).

After 9/11, President George W. Bush along with the members from his close circle has focused intensely on Saddam. Saddam himself, on the other hand, denied that he had WMDs and conveyed a feeling that he never possessed WMDs. (shortly before his execution, he told an F.B.I. questioner that he had done this to keep Iran from considering him to be weak and defenseless.

President Bush demanded that Saddam represented a danger to the security of the U.S. and the Middle East. In a broadcast message in 2003, the president gave Saddam a final proposal – leave Iraq or the U.S. military will assault Iraq and evacuate you. He also said that the US had has solid evidence that Saddam had WMDs, and that Iraq had supported, prepared and harbored al-Qaeda terrorists. To anticipate a future terrorist assault through chemical, biological or atomic weapons, the president said, they have every right to defend the attack by eliminating the terrorist threat.

The American armed forces invaded Iraq in 2003 (March 20th) and after one and half month, President Bush declared victory on May 1. In the wake of beating Saddam’s government, U.S. investigators discovered no sign of WMDs. They reasoned that Iraq had stopped adding to these weapons in 1991. No confirmation for an Iraq/al-Qaeda association ever surfaced, either; Saddam himself, in the F.B.I. meetings specified above, criticized Osama bin-Laden and disagree having any dealings with al-Qaeda.

Furthermore, the Bush administration had offered several justifications for the intrusion including Saddam’s history of human rights violation. Also, they provided details of his backing for terrorist groups (he offered rewards to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers).Critics have believed that Bush and his allies wanted to eliminate Saddam from power and depended on flawed evidence to legalized the invasion.

Arguments against the invasion

The US attack on Iraq was a controversial and questionable decision in recent American history. The critics have made the following arguments over the war:

  • To attack Iraq without the U.N’s. approval as we think Saddam may have WMDs, disregards international law.

 

  • Overthrowing Saddam may bring chaos in Iraq, which could destabilize an officially dangerous part in middle-east.

 

  • Invading Iraq without the backing of the international community will detach the U.S. also; make enemies for us, particularly in Islamic nations.
  • If we need to keep America safe from the individuals who might hurt us, then we should put our assets into eliminating Al-Qaeda. Iraq represents no prompt danger to us.

How many US Soldiers have died?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Defense setback site (May 29, 2012) 4,425 US soldiers have died (including both murdered in action and non-hostile) and 32,223 injured in activities (WIA) as a consequence of Operation Iraq Freedom.

American Military Casualties in Iraq
Date Total In Combat
American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 4493 3528
Since “Mission Accomplished” (5/1/03) 4347 3424
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3627 2899
Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): 256 128
Since Operation New Dawn: 66 39
American Wounded Official Estimated
Total Wounded: 32021 Over 100000

Results of the invasion, in brief

By removing the atrocious regime of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. led coalition won the appreciation of numerous Iraqis. Not long after he was gone, nonetheless, Saddam supporters and religious radicals started to strike against American fighters. Chaos and fighting additionally broke out between Sunnis and Shiites, taking a huge number of lives. Regardless of proceeding with strains between distinctive groups, and progressing violence, Iraq now is by all accounts headed straight toward building up a functioning democratic government. But we don’t know what will happen once US forces leave the country!

How do the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan affect the Surviving Soldiers?

Since Vietnam war, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are the longest ever battle operations. A lot of stressors confront these Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) troops. OEF/OIF service members are at danger for death or severe injury. They may see others hurt or executed. In fact, they might have needed to slaughter or wound others. As a result, they are subjected to dangers. These and different components have the potentials to expand the possibilities of having PTSD or other psychological problems.

Several members of service have been far away from home for long stretches of time and these issues can bring problems at home or work. Also, these issues can add to the anxiety as well. Besides, these problems are severe for National Guard and Reserve troops who had not anticipated that they would be away for so long. Half of the individuals who have served in the present wars have been Guard and Reservists.

There is another persisting stress problem that occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan is military sexual trauma (MST). This is rape or recurring, devastating inappropriate sexual behavior that happens in the military. It can happen to men and ladies. MST can also happen during peacetime, training period, or war.

One early study looked at the mental health of service members in Afghanistan and Iraq. The study asked Soldiers and Marines about war-zone experiences and about their symptoms of distress. Soldiers and Marines in Iraq reported more combat stressors than Soldiers in Afghanistan. This table describes the kinds of stressors faced in each combat theatre in 2003.

A research has been conducted on the emotional well-being of service members in Afghanistan and Iraq. It revealed some information about war-zone experiences and the side effects of distress. More soldiers, officers and marines in Iraq war reported about stress than in Afghanistan war. The below table portrays the kinds of stressors confronted in every battle in 2003 –

Combat Stressors Seeing dead bodies Being shot at Being attacked/ ambushed Receiving rocket or mortar fire Know someone killed/ seriously injured
Iraq Army 95% 93% 89% 86% 86%
Iraq Marines 94% 97% 95% 92% 87%
Afghanistan Army 39% 66% 58% 84% 43%

Source: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/

The soldiers and marines served in Iraq war suffered from more combat stressors and mental health problems than those who served in Afghanistan. The rate of having PSTD is higher for the soldiers in Iraq than Afghanistan. A later research confirmed these findings with evidence.

What causes the risk of PTSD in OEF/OIF service members?

Some research studies have revealed that specific factors make it more likely that OEF/OIF service members will develop PTSD. These factors include:

  • Long deployment time
  • Severe combat exposure, such as Deployment to “forward” areas close to the enemy and watching others wounded or killed
  • Severe physical injury and Traumatic brain injury
  • Lower rank and Lower level of schooling
  • Low morale and poor social support within the unit
  • Not being married and having Family problems
  • Member of the National Guard or Reserves
  • Prior trauma exposure
  • Hispanic ethnic group

What are the probable outcomes?

A research on OEF/OIF Veterans recommends that 10% to 18% of OEF/OIF troops are vulnerable to have PTSD after the war. Also, the PTSD, OEF/OIF service members are at a greater level of danger for other mental problems. In spite of the fact that studies differ generally as far as systems utilized, approximations of depression in returning troops vary from 3% to 25%. An excessive level of drinking and use of tobacco among OEF/OIF Veterans might be hazardous. They additionally report worries over differences with others.

Apart from this research, several other research studies have revealed how the reaction to war stressors changes after some time. The PTSD signs will probably appear in returning OEF/OIF service members after a while. Utilizing a brief PTSD screen, they were evaluated at their arrival and an again six months later. They will probably have a positive screen and they have demonstrated more PTSD side effects – at a later time. Now, a lot of service members who were screened positive with PSTD in the initial showed that the side effects will be reduced after six months. As a whole, it must be noted that almost all the returning members evaluated negatively for PSTD at both times.