The US' war on terror has only resulted in more unfinished battles

The US' war on terror has only resulted in more unfinished battles

Author

The terror attack which took place on September 11, 2001 was significant for the way it changed the US foreign policy and the course of international affairs for generations to come.
In his address to the nation in the aftermath of the incident, George W. Bush, a relatively unpopular president before 9/11, had said at the time that they would make "no distinction between those who committed the terrorism and those who harbor terrorists".
It was at this time that the narrative of transnational terrorism was introduced causing events to unfold dramatically in the years that followed.
On October 7, 2001, both the US and NATO forces entered Afghanistan with an aim to eliminate Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, with the latter being successfully driven out of power.
The move, however, set the tone for other insurgency groups and non-state actors to emerge, thereby worsening the situation instead of completely eliminating terrorism.
The US celebrated the ‘defeat’ of the Taliban without realizing the fact that the insurgents had a strong footing in Afghanistan and that a civil war was an obvious possibility.
By miscalculating the after-effects, the US' war on terror resulted in the Afghan land becoming a thriving ground for Al Qaeda new militants.
While no other attack has taken place on as large a scale as 9/11, dozens of bombings and transnational terrorist activities have been carried out ever since, including the London underground bombing, the Madrid attack, and the Paris shooting.
More wars have been fought as a result of the war on terror; and the US and its allies' counter-terrorism strategy backfired tremendously, leading to unfathomable consequences.
The spillover effect of the war in Afghanistan has been quite costly for Kabul's neighbors, too, specifically Pakistan.

By miscalculating the after-effects, the US' war on terror resulted in the Afghan land becoming a thriving ground for Al Qaeda new militants.

Naila Mahsud

In a state of chaos and rebellion, the insurgents moved to the tribal areas of Pakistan, following which it was rendered necessary to start a military operation to extricate terrorists from their hideouts. This was done by the government of Pakistan in collaboration with the US.
At least 60,000 people have been killed in Pakistan alone due to these terror attacks, in addition to the $120 billion loss to the economy.
After Afghanistan, it was Iraq's turn to bear the brunt of a poorly thought-out US policy. In 2003, Iraq was dealing with a power vacuum and the presence of US troops made it a fertile ground for a new brand of terrorism. 
Not only has the war in Iraq caused losses amounting to hundreds of thousands of lives, it also ripped Iraq off its statehood – similar to what happened in Afghanistan – leading to the emergence of Daesh which established its presence in Syria and branched out from there.
After 18 years of war, we must take a moment and evaluate the US' policies in dealing with crises in the region. 
These have created wars in the region and adopted the military solution approach, but what is more important is that these wars failed to achieve any of the goals set out at the start and continue to remain undone.
The United States which had declared a war on the Taliban is now negotiating with them and planning to withdraw from Afghanistan.
In Iraq, the US has left it for Iran, while in Syria, Washington is no longer the only player there. Iran’s influence cannot be ignored, and Russia's strong presence in Syria has pushed the US to the brink of an exit from an unfinished war.
The war on terror, after 9/11, has resulted in more wars, saw terrorism spread and grow, and failed to make this world safer.

– Naila Mahsud is a Pakistani political and International relations researcher, with a focus on regional politics and security issues.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view