At its core, the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan is an attempt to establish a client regime supported by a military operation to pacify resistance. In May 2012, the Obama administration took a major step towards consolidating its war aims and signed the Enduring Partnership Agreement with President Karzai, which ensures a U.S. military presence for at least a decade after 2014. It is clear from this agreement, the previous memorandums on detention and night raids, and the continuing development of U.S. mega-bases in the country that 2014 is far from a “withdrawal” date.
Over more than a decade, the policies pursued by the U.S. in Afghanistan and throughout Central Asia have drastically altered the region’s “political map”, facilitating unprecedented U.S. influence, securing a long-term military presence and producing the rudiments of a client regime at the heart of Asia; objectives that lie within the framework of U.S. policy doctrine and the historical record, although outside proclamations of concern for anti-U.S. terrorism, human rights or democracy. With the Obama administration committed to a military solution, the continuation of the conflict will have a disastrous impact on the Afghan population and risks further radicalising and destabilising the region.