Even as Trump has announced the US will, once again, expand the war in Afghanistan the US public radio broadcaster, NPR is explaining the US-backed Afghan government can not survive without that backing:
The problem is not new: Afghanistan is a house that can stand only if the United States remains in the corner holding up the roof.
Its government cannot afford the military and security infrastructure built by Washington and other international donors. The Afghan military and police cannot hold their own against the Taliban and other insurgents they’ve been battling for nearly two decades. Billions of dollars of international aid have been squandered.
The U.S. intelligence community assessed years ago that if or when the United States withdrew its support, the Afghan government would most likely collapse. The question is how badly and how quickly.
But the government in Kabul by the US is not under assault from abroad. Except for Pakistan the groups battling the US-installed government have no major outside backers, and even the Pakistani aid for the Taliban is pitiful compared to US and NATO aid for the government.
Yet Kabul has extreme trouble controlling the country. To do so even just in part it requires, and receives, massive amounts of American money, intelligence and technology, and even thousands of US and client troops to battle its enemies for it.
Its problems then are clearly not caused by a lack of resources, of which thanks to American largesse it has plenty, but by a basic lack of legitimacy across wide swathes of the country.
Yet there is a term for a government which enjoys massive foreign backing but lacks enough legitimacy among its people to survive on its own — that is known as a puppet government.
Last time I checked running around, setting up puppet governments was something the Nazis and the Stalinists did and the freedom-loving west ostensibly opposed. So what is the supposedly staunchly moral US doing just that?
The problem of the occupation of Afghanistan isn’t just that it’s wasteful and in the long-term likely futile, or that it kills civilians — the key problem is the very fact that it is an occupation. An enterprise where foreigners with guns exercise power over people who actually live there.
If millions of Afghans do not want the government and system Americans want for them, why should they be forced under it at gunpoint?
Occupation was not moral in 1941 and can not be moral today.