To understand why the US has failed, and is failing, so colossally in Afghanistan, we need to remember the reason the US got involved in the country in the first place, and no, I am not referring to the US government’s publicly acknowledged pretext for entering the war there, namely to retaliate against the people who allegedly perpetrated the 9/11 attacks (who were in fact mostly Saudis, not Afghans. Yes, it was a patently phony pretext).
The reason the US got into the country first is the real, ulterior motive for waging war on the country in Oct 2001. And that reason goes back to the Carter administration.
Carter was somewhat smarter and less bellicose than most other presidents, but he made the fatal mistake of heeding the advice of his deranged adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who advised him to send the CIA into Afghanistan to rout the Russians. Carter foolishly allowed this, and ultimately, it cost the US trillions of dollars and many US lives and it further tarnished the already tarnished US reputation and undermined the trust invested in it by the rest of the world.
Now while smart in some areas, Carter had no understanding of what the Russians were doing in Afghanistan and why. Like most US politicians, he was blinded by Russophobia and thought Russia was merely trying to spread its “godless communist” ideology. Not exactly.
Despite all their blemishes, the Soviets were supporting a secular government in Afghanistan in order to create a more peaceful and civilized environment for the Afghans and, as a corollary, to preserve the stability and security of surrounding Soviet satellites like Tajikistan, which serves as a buffer between Afghanistan and Russia. While the Soviet Union did have its own ideology to peddle, the crazies in Afghanistan also had theirs, and theirs was infinitely more dangerous. And supported by the good old USA.
So while the Soviets wanted to create a communist state there, more importantly, they wanted to control that government to keep Russia safe, and that was a very understandable motive (unless you are a high ranking member of the State Department or other mentally deranged US official who hated Russians for being Russians, not because the Soviet Union was communistic).
This Soviet goal of creating a secular government – whether communist or other – is the key to the question of why the Afghans have so stubbornly resisted entering the 21st Century.
And the answer is disarmingly simple, and related to the reason for the failed US-led wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.
I will highlight this simple explanation because it is crucial to understanding all US foreign policy:
The US, under the CIA, needed to sponsor military action not by a secular people, but by radical Islamist groups in Afghanistan, and this was known collectively as the Mujahideen, the forerunners of the Taliban.
Whether you are a radical irrational Russia hater or a rational human being, you will understand that the Russians were not supporting a radical group of terrorists in Afghanistan. The US was supporting such radicals, and that was for them necessary in order to reach their irrational goal of evicting the Russians.
In fact, the Soviets were helping the ordinary, decent people of that country to live in a more civilized environment where, for example, women and minorities would be treated with respect.
But in order to fight the Russians, the US warmongers had to collaborate with only the radicals, because decent Afghans did not want to evict the people who were helping them improved and progress.
There is an old proverb that goes:
He who goes to bed with dogs wakes up with fleas.
The US spent 2 decades in bed with dogs and can’t figure out why it is covered with fleas?