Eight years ago, the public objective was to displace the Taliban and create a non-al-Qaeda supporting "democracy" in Afghanistan.
For a moment, leave aside Washington’s more fundamental objectives in the military invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent base-building – security for the trans-Afghanistan pipeline project, restoring the opium exports that had finally subsided under Taliban enforcement by early 2001, and improved military positions vis-à-vis Iran, Pakistan and Russia. The fossil fuel manipulations, drug money and maintaining a justification for our outsized military-industrial complex are not the topics here.
The Taliban, while initially displaced from Kabul, are regaining some political influence. We may claim "mission accomplished" because they are competing for influence in an Afghanistan that has other comparable politicized ethnicities – and the Taliban no longer receive significant support from al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden.
Afghans were infuriated, not just at this past summer’s flawed and corrupted election, but also at the previous elections that confirmed US satrap Hamid Karzai. Afghans have international support for their case against the US-manipulated election – and we should take the anger of Afghans as confirmation of our success in creating a democratic mindset there.