American foreign policy is not making enough of an effort to contain Islamist extremism, and the consequences are likely to roil not only Afghanistan and Pakistan but, eventually, the wider region and beyond.
In 1998, Osama bin Laden described U.S. soldiers as “paper tigers” and predicted that U.S. aversion to war would lead to the success of his ideology. “We have seen in the last decade the decline of the American government and the weakness of the American soldier,” bin Laden said in an interview. “He is ready to wage cold wars but unprepared to fight hot wars. . . . This was proven in Beirut when the Marines fled after two explosions. . . . This was then repeated in Somalia.”
Unfortunately, bin Laden’s followers and other extremists can add Afghanistan to that list.