There are going to be these kinds of spikes, in particular these spectacular assassinations. There are some who believe this is all they can do, given the challenges that the Taliban have faced over the course of the last couple of seasons.
So rather than acknowledging that the United States still faces a surmountable enemy, the military establishment has spun the upswing in attacks on NATO forces and Afghan officials as a last resort tactic of the Taliban fighters. The military is fearful, however, that these attacks will “erode citizens’ confidence in the Afghan government’s ability to protect its own people, and undercut U.S. efforts to turn security over to the Afghans.”
As has been seen many times during America’s fruitless war in Afghanistan, the Afghan army, intelligence, and police have proven to be woefully corrupt and inept. Just a few weeks ago, the Afghan military and police were left embarrassed as they failed to stop a suicide bombing and gun fight at the Intercontinental Hotel where Afghan and other international leaders were holding a conference. After being unable to control the situation, NATO forces were requested to put an end to the situation which was done via an all out assault using helicopters and ground forces.
Afghan distrust of the American installed, Kabul government runs deep. As Afghanistan is a tribal country, this distrust and lack of loyalty to the central government is ingrained into the minds of the Afghan people. The Afghan government’s complicity in the American led war, as well as rampant corruption and a remarkably incompetent central government, signals that the Afghan people will not have a radical shift in their views anytime soon.
These attacks by the Afghan Taliban and other associated groups are not tactics of last resort, but strategic decisions to make a mockery of what little hope there is left in winning the Afghan war on terror. Additionally, if such attacks continue, and there is no sign that they will stop otherwise except during the historical winter lull, Afghanistan will become just like Iraq. Deadlines for troop withdrawals will come and go, but no meaningful withdrawals will be made. Expect for America’s longest war in its history to go on well past the 2014 deadline, and don’t be surprised if the American military makes every effort to stay there as long as possible as is being done in Iraq today.