Perhaps is time to look at the rear view mirror. Maybe just taking a glance to the past will give us some insight to the future, but in the mean time let me tell you: no army has won a war against a guerilla in the last 50 years. With the exception of Alberto Fujimori who captured the leader of “Sendero Luminoso” nobody can claim such victory. But to be honest, when Fujimori captured Abimael Guzman, the “Sendero Luminoso” movement was already dead, killed by the economic progress of the 1980’s in the Latin-American region and abimael Guzaman was already a ‘fatty daddy’ grandpa of the Maoism.
Some other movements died drowned by emerging democracies such as the “Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional – Tupamaro”, the “Movimiento Peronista Montonero” the Mexican guerillas of Lucio Canañas and Genaro Vazquez as well as the most recent “Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (EZLN)”, but no one killed by the bullets.
When an army goes to a war, normally they face another army. Both armies have been trained by the same book and the fight by the same code of honor… guerillas have no formal training and follow no code of honor… even worse, they are mad. We saw that in Vietnam. The guerilla fought and fought hard following the most unconventional tactics they knew at that time and at the end the won.
Afghanistan is living a chapter two of his own history. A guerilla war fought against the Russian army put the Taliban government in power. The Taliban government fought a war against the USA army and lost… the Taliban government turns into a Taliban guerilla and now they are winning.
The process is fairly simple. When two armies fight the civilians stay away from them and watch until anyone wins and then they resume their lives following whoever won the war. But circumstances are quiet different under a guerilla of guerillas. In this case the civilians get directly involved. Most of the time they don’t support the guerilla because most guerillas are radical and they don’t offer an alternative other than a new government but no one knows what kind of government they offer. Guerillas are known for been violent too and when they arrive to a new village they terrorize the inhabitants and that way they form an alliance, offering protection and hope even though the people in the village knows there is no hope in that alliance. That way, inch by inch they advance, extending their web until they rich power.
If there is something we can see trough the rear view mirror, I’ll say, let’s look back and analyze the Latin-American history. Let’s look to what happen to the 1970’s guerillas and learn something… the war wasn’t won by the army, but by democracy and economic progress. What people saw in democracy wasn’t the vision of a new world but the vision of a world without worries, a world where normal people could go and find a job, drink a six pack on a given Saturday, have sex every Sunday, play with the kids and go back to work on Monday.
Perhaps is not too late for Afghanistan, but it will be if we don’t look through the rear view mirror, if we don’t build the society that will reject the Taliban’s offer.