The Taliban must be stopped

Moriah Schervone ('11)/Eastside Global Commentary Editor

By Sunday afternoon, three suicide bombings ripped through the Kandahar province, Afghanistan in two days, killing US and Afghan soldiers alike. The violence in Afghanistan is increasing and the Obama Administration has moved the beginning of the drawdown from 2011 to 2014. We should not be in a hurry to withdraw our troops any time soon.

Moreover, we should not give up and send our troops away just yet.

The “cut and run” attitude makes the United States look weak. Not only can we not surrender to the Taliban extremists on the other side of the argument, but also, we will lose the confidence of our allies. They will not be able to trust us if they know that we will leave a fight if it does not look like such a good idea.

No one wants to see our troops in harm’s way.

Yet the logic to stay in Afghanistan is like a simple chain. If our presence in Afghanistan disappears, the Taliban is sure to grow stronger. Having a stronger Taliban in Afghanistan will enable the terrorist organizations in neighboring countries to enter Afghanistan and create a stronghold. These neighbors are not just any neighbors— they include Pakistan, a neighbor manned with nuclear capabilities. What makes the Taliban even more of a threat to the safety of people around the world is that the Pakistani government is not stable, as the al-Qaida and Taliban forces there are growing stronger. Just on Sunday, according to the Long War Journal, a Taliban fighter attacked a school bus in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing the bus driver and a child and wounding many others. The Taliban continues to gain strength in ungoverned and “governed” areas. More pressure is needed, not less.

At the same time, we do not want to be somewhere we are not welcome.

We are welcome in Afghanistan, despite conventional wisdom. Afghan Defense Minister Wardak said, “Afghans have never seen [the Americans] as occupiers, even though this has been the major focus of the enemy’s propaganda campaign. Unlike the Russians, who imposed a government with an alien ideology, you enabled us to write a democratic constitution and choose our own government. Unlike the Russians, who destroyed our country, you came to rebuild.” We are not like the Soviet Union. We are not like Alexander the Great. We want the people of Afghanistan to be able to govern themselves without the threat of extremists. We want the women of Afghanistan to dress freely, and to go to school and vote without having to worry about the threat of getting acid thrown in their faces. Of course the people in the villages will say that they do not want the Americans in Afghanistan, especially since the Taliban supports are living among them. If someone holds a gun to a person’s head, the person will say what the gunman wants to hear. We are helping the Afghans, not harming them in the least bit.

The Taliban must be stopped.

They are on the run. Like ants in a patch of grass, it is close to impossible to find their hideouts and training camps. That does not mean we should give up and run the risk of having the Taliban take over Afghanistan. We saw what happened in 2001, and these terrorists are determined to create a part two. The threats against the Western World are steadily growing and if we leave now we will only be allowing the terrorists to freely regroup—to freely attack us again.