The war against terrorism has been a part of our lives for many years. Terrorism came to America’s shores on September 11, 2001, when approximately 3,000 people lost their lives in New York City, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. This was not the first terrorist attack against us, but it became important in the way that the US fought terrorism.
To begin with, the United States determined that it would deny “terrorists a safe haven from which to plot terrorist attacks.” This is the main reason why the United States went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is also the reason that Donald Trump is “holding Pakistan accountable” for its part in the destabilization of that region of the world.
President Trump made a campaign promise to destroy ISIS, and he unloosed the reins on the Armed Forces to do so. Thus, the “territorial integrity of ISIS’ `caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria” has eroded. However, ISIS is now looking to join another group of terrorists in Afghanistan. Nathaniel DeBevoise at The Heritage Foundation explains this problem.
As the territorial integrity of ISIS’ “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria erodes, the terror group now finds itself looking to its contingent group in Afghanistan, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan, or IS-K, in order to maintain its operations.
In the northern Afghan province of Jowzjan, IS-K has been actively recruiting fighters associated with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of
But the terror groups in Afghanistan are hardly unified. As ISIS makes inroads there, competition among various groups is emerging, with each seeking to tap into a common pool of militants.
This growth of militant organizations makes the Trump administration’s new aggressive strategy all the more vital.
DeBevoise continues his article by explaining why the United States and its allies must be aggressive against terrorism. One way that the US has been aggressive is to remove “the cumbersome, Obama-era restrictions on the use of U.S. air power” and to give “commanders on the ground … broader authority to use airstrikes as they see fit” – a change that has “already produced an obvious result.” He then proceeds to relate some of those results and then says:
This new Afghan strategy is a breath of fresh air in what is now America’s longest war. This new approach may be exactly what is required not only to prevent ISIS from establishing itself in the country, but to break past the security stalemate that has characterized this conflict for so long.
The Trump administration should measure its success in Afghanistan incrementally, based on conditions on the ground and with an eye toward the future. As a Taliban commander once mused, “You [the West] have the watches, but we have the time.”
We would be wise to consider that statement and disavow any lofty, short-term expectations in favor of a realistic outlook that embraces the true, protracted nature of America’s longest war.
I believe that America must understand that we are in this war for a long time. We must defeat terrorists totally and never give them a “safe haven” where they can plan future attacks on us. We will never be free from terrorism until we totally destroy it.