The cost of the Afghanistan war

Episode 35 with Matthew Hoh

This week, our focus is on Afghanistan: how the imperialist interests of the United States led it to build up the Taliban and destabilize the government, how we should assess the Biden admin’s response to the Taliban’s takeover, and what policy we should be calling for in order to end the U.S.’s decades of destructive influence in the region.

We’re joined by Matthew Hoh, whose firsthand knowledge of the evils of American violence in Iraq and Afghanistan informs his opposition of our country’s forever wars. Formerly with the Marines, the Department of Defense, and the State Department, Matthew left his job with the State Department in Afghanistan as of 2009. Hoh recognized that the growing U.S. military presence in the country only led to destabilization, corruption, and violence. His story gained widespread traction in late 2009, offering criticism of a war that had massive public support in its early days.

In the conversations surrounding the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the current resurgence of the Taliban, critics of this conflict point out the loss of American lives — thousands of American soldiers over two decades — as a sign of the war’s senselessness and cruelty. Yet far less common is an acknowledgment of the casualties among Afghan civilians: 71,000 Afghan and Pakistani civilians were killed in the war, as of April 2021. Meanwhile, the U.S. government’s deeply convoluted fourteen-step process for special immigrant visa approvals will result in more deaths. As an estimated 550,000 Afghans have been forcibly displaced from their homes, now is the time for the U.S. government to welcome and support those whose lives its imperial motives have upended. We look forward to talking about this and much more on this week’s episode of Krystal Kyle & Friends.