The Washington Post today describes the failure of regimented programs in Afghanistan to reintegrate Taliban teenagers ("Taliban" (alt.: "Terrorist") means "any Afghan who fights against the presence of foreign military forces in their country" and "reintegrate" means "persuading or compelling them to passively acquiesce to those forces"):
The teenage insurgents spend their days learning to make shoes and bookshelves, listening to religious leaders denounce the radical interpretation of Islam they learned as children.
But when they return to their cells at Kabul's juvenile rehabilitation center, the boys with wispy beards and cracking voices talk only of the holy war from which they were plucked and their plans to resume fighting for the Taliban.
As the Taliban presses its efforts to recruit teenage fighters, Afghan officials and their international backers have crafted a program to reintegrate the country's youngest insurgents into mainstream society. But that ambition is coming up against the intransigence of the teens, who say they would rather be on the battlefield.
"We'll fight against America for a thousand years if we have to," said Ali Ahmad, 17, sitting at a desk that has hearts and Koran verses scratched in the wood . . .
"They bring us here to change us," said Nane Asha, in his late teens. "But this is our way. We cannot be changed." . . .
The Taliban visited Asha’s school when he was about 13, preaching the evils of American interlopers and the value of violent jihad. Asha approached the speaker after the sermon ended. "How can I join you?" he asked. . . .
Within a few weeks, Asha was enrolled in a six-month training course, learning how to fire a Kalashnikov and to connect a nest of wires and explosives that could take out a U.S. tank. He studied the material obsessively. . . .
Reintegration is at the heart of U.S. and Afghan government strategies to wind down the war, with schooling and employment being offered to coax fighters away from the insurgency.
To summarize: our invasion and occupation is what enables the Taliban to recruit massive numbers of Afghan teenagers into their cause. And now, we have to stay until we either kill all the people who hate us and want us gone from their country or propagandize deradicalize them into meekly accepting our presence. Once there are no more Afghans left who want us gone, then we can leave. For those of you who hae been cynically claiming that this war has no discernible purpose other than the generalized benefits of Endless War for political officials and the Security State industry, now you know.
(Of course, the goal of ridding Afghanistan of all those who want to fight us will never happen precisely because the American military presence in their country produces an endless supply of American-hating fighters -- just as the Soviet military presence there once did, and just as the general War on Terror [and its various bombings, detentions, occupations, assassinations and the like] ensures that Terrorism never ends by producing an endless supply of American-hating Terrorists -- but that's just a detail. All wars have challenges. At least we can now see the very important purpose of the war in Afghanistan: we stay until there's nobody left who hates us and wants us gone, then we triumphantly depart).
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