Reflections – What we are doing in Afghanistan?

Originally Posted On: July 30, 2008 at 1:00 PM By: DanNY

Our Guest Author today is Paul Fanning of the NY 27th Brigade in Afghanistan writing for the Daily Gazette – Staying in Touch blog in Schenectady, NY.

Having submitted several previous entries to this blog, this may be a good opportunity to mention how and why we got to this point and why we are still here in Afghanistan. I will start with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Everyone remembers that. Those of us in the New York National Guard have our own very personal reasons for never forgetting because so many of us served at Ground Zero amidst the destruction, and death. Our soldiers and airmen and women helped recover bodies there, in addition to providing security.

The al Qaeda attackers used Afghanistan as their base from which to plan and launch their attack, and the Taliban, which had taken over in Afghanistan, was giving them safe haven and protection. The consipirators’ trail led back to Afghanistan, and when the Taliban refused to turn them over, America responded, with coalition support, and took the fight to them. Our forces were assisted by several Afghan groups, including the Northern Alliance, who were opposed to the Taliban and eager to be allies with America and other nations.

With the Taliban pushed out, coalition nations worked with moderate Afghans to bring about an interim government through an international agreement known as the Bonn Accords, which set a framework for international assistance in December 2001. The U.N. Security Council endorsed the agreement, and included in that framework was international support for security and to reform social, economic and political institutions. Our mission to help Afghanistan develop the security forces it needs to support its government, protect its people and enforce the rule of law stems from this.

It will be seven years this fall since the U.S. and other allies have been here in Afghanistan, and I can understand why many Americans back home may wonder “what’s taking so long.” This is a huge undertaking here, and there are many challenges to overcome, not the least of which is the enemy – the Taliban.

And despite the violence here, Afghanistan has made a lot of progress. It has a constitution. It has held free and fair elections. It has an Army that has already had victories over the enemy, and the police forces are undergoing enormous change. Yet, there is so much more that needs to be done.

Read the whole thing here.

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