United States Repeats Mistakes of Iraq in Afghanistan


As Iraq slowly inches towards self-destruction, politicians and historians are contemplating what went wrong. As the military of the United States dominates other countries, it becomes of utmost importance to understand these mistakes. As Afghanistan awaits the results of the election, the presence of U.S. military in the country is questioned. Many fear that the United States will repeat the mistakes of Iraq in Afghanistan, as they help the country reach democracy.

The election in Afghanistan was the biggest example of what the U.S. military did right. Despite the warning issued by Taliban militants, citizens of Afghanistan showed bravery as they went out to cast their votes. The results will be made available in late July. The fair and democratic election is the biggest success of the U.S. military in Afghanistan. While war-torn Iraq has held several elections over the past 12 years, many experts believe that the rise of ISIS, also known as the Sunni militant group, was predictable.

The Shi’ite ruled nation is now bracing for an attack on the capital city of Baghdad. Michael Leiter, who was the top counterterrorism official in both the Bush and Obama administrations made it known in an interview that it was clear from the start just “how bad these guys are.” It is unclear if the mistake that led to the rise of the Sunni was a tactical or an intelligence error. Meanwhile, many are concerned that the United States will repeat the mistakes of Iraq in other countries they attempt to help, such as Afghanistan.

The U.S. military could have predicted the plans of the Sunni militants, when the group invaded the city of Fallujah in January. ISIS, also known as Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. ISIS was originally a branch of Al Qaeda, however the two groups had to go separate ways during a territorial dispute regarding Syria. The militant group believes in the single Islamic State which will be made up of Syria and Iraq. Although the group is relatively young, they are extremely rich. International Business Times believes that ISIS is worth $2 billion. Much of their wealth comes from oil wells that they control in Syria.

Despite the sudden attacks on Iraq this year, it is believed that much of the conflict could have been predicted well in advance. Some even believe that the attacks could have even been predicted before the initial deployment of troops to Iraq by the United States in 2003.

Iraq is a nation with three different groups of people: the Shi’ites who control the government, the Sunni and the Kurds. When the U.S. military brought in troops to Iraq, it begun a slow separation of the groups by turning them against each other. Similarly in Afghanistan, the separation of different groups has been present since the 1980s. The major difference between the two nations is the presence of outside military. While Afghanistan still houses troops from many nations, Iraq has been seeing a major decrease in military. This leads to the potential civil war in Afghanistan once the troops start pulling out.

Leaders of both Sunni and Shi’ite governments released a statement calling for national unity in Iraq on Tuesday. Meanwhile, people risk their lives to protect their cities from seemingly inevitable ISIS invasion. Many experts believe that the provinces will separate, forever changing the borders of Middle East. While the conflict in Iraq develops, it is crucial that the U.S. military does not repeat the mistakes of Iraq in Afghanistan.

Opinion by Ivelina Kunina

New York Times
New York Times