As part of the effort, the first order of business for the sponsor of the ad campaign, Concerned Veterans of America (CVA), is to press US lawmakers to “get America out of Afghanistan,” US-based military news outlet Task & Purpose reported Friday.
In the 30-second television ad that is due to be aired in states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, five US veterans of the country’s 18-year military occupation of Afghanistan speak against the longest war in American history.
“We would like to see a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan as soon as possible,” said Nate Anderson, an Army Green Beret and executive director of CVA, as quoted in the report.
“The reality for us is that leaving our forces there only puts them at further risk in a country where we don’t have a strategic objective that we have not already met,” Anderson said, pointing to the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, “punishing” the Taliban for harboring al-Qaeda, and “largely uprooting the terror group” from the country.
“All those things happened,” he added. Yet, his group supports Trump administration peace talks with Taliban and submitting to its demand the US troops should pull out from Afghanistan with or without a deal.
According to the report, “18 years, 3 months, and 9 days after ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ was officially launched in Afghanistan, the war continues to grind on, albeit under a different name – Resolute Support, purportedly a NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces.
In addition to the human cost of more than 2,400 American troops killed and tens of thousands wounded, the US government has spent nearly $2 trillion on the war in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, secret documents published by The Washington Post in December showed that top officials in Washington had repeatedly lied to the American public about the war in Afghanistan, which many believed was unwinnable.
Despite these fundamental failures, according to the daily, top American officials have said in public that the US military was making progress in Afghanistan, in part by distorting statistics to “present the best picture possible,” as one counterinsurgency adviser said.
“Candidate Trump campaigned heavily on the need to end our endless wars,” Anderson said. “I think his gut is right on this issue, but the establishment is pushing back hard. That’s why we’re taking action now.”
The issue is personal for Anderson, who served five years on active-duty with Army Special Forces, deploying twice to Afghanistan as a communications sergeant. The five other veterans in the ad, also CVA staffers, served in the Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps.
“When you’re on the ground as an operator or an infantryman, you want to do your part in the mission. You want to demonstrate success in whatever mission that you are part of. We certainly did our best to do that,” said Anderson, but “it felt like we were running in place… that’s demoralizing.”
Meanwhile, the Taliban and the United States have resumed peace talks aimed at ending the war, though their outcome is far from certain.
This is while critics insist that an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan could result in a Taliban takeover of the war ravaged nation, risking the possibility that the country will once again turn into a safe haven for “terrorists.”