‘Target on the back’: why US troops flee from occupied countries?

This post was published in RIA Novosti. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.


MOSCOW, (BM) – Hundreds of thousands of victims, ruined cities and poorly concealed hatred of civilians – the Pentagon is withdrawing most of its troops from occupied Afghanistan and Iraq. Over the years of hostilities, they never achieved the targets set during the invasions, bringing only chaos to these countries. About why the Americans are going to give up what they started and run away – in the material RIA Novosti.

Unrealized plans

The decision to return troops to Washington was made back in the spring. So far, eight and a half thousand soldiers and officers have been left in Afghanistan, and by mid-October the contingent will be reduced to four and a half thousand.

This is the result of a peace treaty between the US government and the radical Taliban. According to the document, the Americans are obliged to remove troops from five military bases within 14 months. The Taliban, in turn, promised to free Afghanistan from terrorists.

This war is the longest in US history. American troops invaded the country in 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks. The goal of the campaign is to fight international terrorism and the Taliban, who sheltered the leaders of al-Qaeda. The contingent has steadily increased, reaching 110 thousand. For nineteen years of hostilities, the Americans lost more than 2,300 soldiers killed, about twenty thousand were wounded.

The civilian population also got it. Hundreds of Afghans are killed in mistaken air strikes each year. So, in 2019, the Pentagon recognized more than a hundred civilian victims. However, according to analysts, the official data are far from reality: the number of deaths is much higher.

It happened that shock drones wiped out several settlements at once. For example, in 2009, the Americans bombed two villages in the Farah province. 150 people died. And with all this, according to Sergei Sudakov, Corresponding Member of the Military Academy of Sciences, it was not possible to achieve noticeable success in the fight against terrorists.

Numerous instructors from the United States have failed to properly train the Afghan army fighting terrorism. Although billions of dollars in weapons and equipment have been supplied to the country, dozens of training bases have been built, the Afghans have never learned to fight. Their losses are colossal: over the past five years, more than ten thousand soldiers and officers.

Nose into other people’s business

“Donald Trump summed up the results of the operation back in the 2016 election campaign,” Sudakov notes in an interview with RIA Novosti. “that almost five and a half trillion the United States has simply squandered in wars it has not won.”

The main thing, the expert believes, is not the number of servicemen deployed in the country, but the results of the operation. The Americans failed to make the region stable and cope with many terrorist groups. Yes, during the years of Donald Trump’s presidency, not a single terrorist attack has occurred in the United States. But the price for this “security” is constant and large losses of the army.

The Americans will never leave Afghanistan completely – private military companies will remain in the country.

“They will continue to solve practical problems,” Sudakov explains. “Leaving the country means opening the borders for terrorists and losing sources of intelligence information, erasing everything that has been built over the years. Americans do not care how terrorism spreads in the post-Soviet space or in Europe. own territory. And PMCs will continue to defend this “frontier” in the form of Afghanistan.”

The situation is no better in Iraq, where the Americans invaded in 2003 under the pretext of destroying chemical weapons. Washington then accused President Saddam Hussein of supporting al-Qaeda terrorists.

The Western coalition finished off the Iraqi army in just a month. No chemical weapons were found, but a hunt was announced for Hussein. He was hiding for about six months, and in the end he got caught – the Iraqi leader was tried and hanged. It would seem that the goals have been achieved. However, everything was just beginning. The country plunged into a brutal religious civil war. Because of the differences between Shiites and Sunnis, bloodshed began, tens of thousands of civilians died.

The Americans, watching what was happening from behind the high fences of military bases, tried to resolve the situation using the “Big Wave” strategy.

More than twenty thousand additional soldiers were deployed to Iraq to maintain order. But the sectarian massacre continued. In addition, in response to the strengthening of the military presence, local rebels intensified – they fired at American targets, shot down helicopters, and staged terrorist attacks. And the inhabitants of Iraqi cities died in thousands. The losses in the American army also increased.

“Yankee go home”

There are now about 5,000 US servicemen in Iraq. Donald Trump has promised to cut the contingent to three thousand. Andrei Chuprygin, senior lecturer at the HSE School of Oriental Studies, explained this by the fact that American soldiers and officers feel less and less comfortable in this country.

“Recently, especially after the elimination of the Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, the situation for the United States in Iraq is not very good,” the expert notes. “In such areas with a target on the back.”

The Americans failed to fulfill the tasks set in 2003. In particular, they failed to spread in Iraq the ideas of democracy and liberalism, which are already “lame” within the United States itself.

In fact, Iraq has turned into another hot spot. According to various estimates, during the years of the American occupation, from two hundred to three hundred thousand people died in the country.

“The population of Iraq today is concerned with only one thing: to survive, dress and eat, to have a roof over their heads in the insane economic environment in which they have been living for 17 years,” Chuprygin says. “Whether there are Americans or not, they are of little interest. denials, as they say, “Yankee, go home. And this is understandable: the constant flickering of the guys hung with weapons is annoying.”

Nevertheless, most of the experts interviewed agree that, despite the reduction in its military presence, Washington is unlikely to completely withdraw from the Middle East processes. Just change tactics to a more peaceful one.

According to Chuprygin, much indicates that Trump is seriously thinking about the correctness of military intervention in the affairs of third countries.


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