Updated: Jun 22, 2021
Afghan Col. Sohrab Azimi was a general's son, a U.S.-trained officer with a dazzling
academic record and a daring military reputation. He was also a field commander in Afghan special forces that often rescue troops and retake outposts from Taliban attacks, symbolized the country's best hope to fend off an insurgent takeover as U.S. troops began to withdraw from the fight.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported Azimi, 31, and his squad of 22 men were massacred Wednesday by Taliban forces while defending a base in northern Faryab province and waiting for reinforcements.
The Washington Post reported Faryab is one of numerous provinces where the Taliban has launched repeated assaults in recent months, the mass killing added to a deepening sense of despair and defeat. After weeks of attacks that wore down local security forces and led many to surrender, the highly trained commandos sent to save the day had been surrounded, isolated and mowed down en masse.
“Government forces don’t have the will to fight. Their morale is weak and there is little coordination among the forces,” Sayed Babur Jamal, a provincial legislator, said Saturday.
The Post reported Mr. Jamal said the insurgents control eight districts in Faryab and continue to overrun military and police bases, seizing military vehicles and weapons from surrendering local forces.
Officials say the pace and aggression of Taliban attacks have increased since the Biden administration announced in April that all remaining troops would be withdrawn by Sept. 11. In some areas, local forces have surrendered after negotiations between community elders and the Taliban. In others, departing U.S. troops have destroyed bases or stripped them of everything usable to keep them from falling into Taliban hands.
Despite the drumbeat of attacks, military officials play down the significance of local Taliban advances and note that many are quickly reversed. After the commando slayings in Faryab’s Dawlat Abad district, the district was recaptured by Afghan forces by Thursday, with insurgents suffering heavy casualties, authorities said.
Many Afghans say the curtailing of U.S. airstrikes has been a critical loss for ground forces, and some suggest that such strikes could have saved Azimi and his men. Another widespread complaint is ongoing discord and poor coordination by senior Afghan military officials. Some field commanders, desperate for supplies and food, have resorted to appealing for help on social media.
Allied commanders desperate for supplies and food appealing for help on social media? And the United States with Joe Biden as Commander-in-Chief does nothing?
This is a blot on the honor of the United States that can never be erased, but it is as we predicted in our 2018 column “The Folly Of Peace Without Victory In Afghanistan” and more recently in “Under Biden There Will Be No Boats Out Of Afghanistan” and “Biden Surrenders To Islamic Supremacy.”
The notion that we can broker a peace and some sort of coalition with the Taliban is a folly born of desperation to save political face, not win the war Islam has declared on the West.
And this sorry situation, illustrated by the death of a fine officer and Afghan patriot like Col. Sohrab Azimi demonstrates that our top echelon at the Pentagon, CIA headquarters and the State Department have learned nothing from two decades of war in Afghanistan.
Despite the trillions of dollars and thousands of lives poured into geography no one but the Afghans want, nothing the generals and best and brightest of the intelligence community proposed worked to defeat the Taliban, and their Iranian allies.
From the failed efforts to implement a new Counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine in Afghanistan, to the false deadlines Obama established for withdrawal, nothing American leaders have done has achieved the goal of a stable regime in Afghanistan that is inhospitable to terrorist organizations with transnational aspirations and capabilities.
And the reason for this failure has nothing to do with the bravery and selflessness of the American military personnel deployed to accomplish the goal – or our Afghan allies such as Col. Azimi and his men. It has everything to do with the unwillingness of American political level leaders to recognize what enemy we are fighting and to deploy the correct resources to defeat it.
The war in Afghanistan hasn’t been a regional or tribal conflict, it hasn’t been a war on “terrorism,” it hasn’t been a war on narco-warlords (even though 90% of the worlds illicit opium originates there); it is a war between the values of Islam and the values of the Western Enlightenment, and because America’s political and military leadership refused to understand it and fight it on those terms the war in Afghanistan will never be over and certainly could never be won.
What everyone from President George W. Bush to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to the entire Obama team to Trump’s team and now Biden’s team of yes men at the NSC our entire military-political leadership never grasped is that the enemy in Afghanistan isn’t the Taliban insurgency; it is their underlying ideology of Islam and the allegiance of the majority of the Afghan people to a misogynistic 7th Century Sharia-based Muslim culture.
If you understand that the teachings of Islam are fundamental motivators of the people who we are fighting in Afghanistan, then that informs your entire strategy.
That means instead of sending a few thousand troops to Afghanistan we needed to deploy all the means of our national power against the real enemy – the Islamist doctrines that motivate the Taliban.
It means we should have deployed psyops to attack the enemy’s belief system. It means we should have offered an alternative belief system to replace the one that is motivating the enemy. And it means we attack the centers and advocates of that belief system.
The existence of Col. Sohrab Azimi and his unit proved that Afghanistan was not an infertile place for such a strategy, but the United States never did that in Afghanistan, because, as far as we can tell for 20-years the United States never knew who or what we were fighting, and never had any idea how to achieve victory.
Joe Biden may declare peace and go home, but the ghosts of Col. Sohrab Azimi and his 22 men and the 2,312 Americans killed there should haunt him and every American political and military leader who sent them to their deaths without a clear commitment to victory.
George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's ConservativeHQ.com. A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for now-retired Rep. Mac Thornberry formerly Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Joe Biden administration
Biden foreign policy
Afghan Col. Sohrab Azimi