By Bonnie Kristian
The last week has seen two grim additions to the panoply of civilian suffering in Afghanistan's decades of war. First, a U.S. drone strike intended to take out forces of the Islamic State instead killed 30 pine nut farmers. Another 40 civilians were injured in the attack in Nangarhar province, where the farmers were resting after a long day of work.
Four days later, across the country in Helmand province, 40 innocents were killed and 18 wounded in a mistargeted attack by U.S.-supported Afghan special forces. The target was a Taliban hideout house, but most of the dead were women and children, local authorities reported, who were assembled for a wedding ceremony.
By the time this article is published, these 70 deaths won't even be the most recent additions to Afghanistan's spiking civilian casualty count for 2019, which by July had nearly caught up with the tally for all of 2018. Still, they illustrate an uncomfortable but increasingly inescapable reality: After 18 years of U.S. military intervention, Afghanistan is not growing more peaceful. Washington's meddling has utterly failed to end the country's civil war, which is not relevant to American security and predates U.S. involvement—if anything, as these two tragedies show, it's making matters worse for a population that has endured too much. It is long past time to abandon the pretense that military intervention has any plausible path to any metric of success. It is long past time for U.S. troops to come home.
This piece was originally published by Reason on September 24, 2019. Read more HERE.