Afghanistan, Iraq and the 'War' on Terror: Struggle for Global Soul

Afghanistan, Iraq and the US-led ‘war’ on international terrorism are at different critical phases, but the fates of all three are now interlocked.

The World Today
9 minute READ

Amin Saikal

Director, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University

The outcome in one is capable of seriously affecting the fortunes of the others. Afghanistan has achieved a great deal during its two-year transition from a theocratic past, but is now balanced on a knife-edge. By comparison, Iraq, where the United States and its allies are both politically and militarily in serious trouble, faces further upheaval with uncertain outcomes. Meanwhile, the war on terror has lost its initial focus.

The Iraq conflict has diminished the ability of the United States and, for that matter, the international community, either to deliver effectively in Afghanistan or to prevent Al Qaeda and its associated groups from expanding operations and recruitment. The US has relied heavily on its military power, addressing the symptoms of Al Qaeda’s extremism rather than its deeper causes.

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