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Ultimately, our failure in Afghanistan is a spiritual one

When I first wrote about the situation in Afghanistan over a month ago, no one could have imagined it would unfold into such a catastrophic situation. The American people deserve an explanation of how we lost a war after sacrificing the lives of thousands of Americans, spending over a trillion dollars, and possessing the greatest military force on the planet. In my opinion, ultimately, our failure in Afghanistan is a spiritual one because our policies no longer reflect our Christian values. 

Hedieh Mirahmadi
Courtesy of Hedieh Mirahmadi

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,....2 Timothy 3:1-2

The terrible miscalculation of the capabilities and willingness of the Afghan army and national police to defend their nation is primarily the result of systemic corruption. Countless private contractors, military personnel, and US diplomats siphoned away billions of dollars in US taxpayer funds to train these forces while largely ignoring the fact that many were not meeting the benchmarks required to build capacity. In some instances, the soldiers and police officers were listed on the payroll but never received the training. 

Though the Americans involved knew the Afghans were often demoralized and lacked the will to fight, the programs received a rubber stamp of completion, and the money continued to flow. The lack of oversight by US officials allowed for bribery, fraud, and extortion to run rampant while also empowering abusive warlords and their militias.

As one former Army ranger and West Point graduate wrote in a blog as if written by the Taliban to Americans, "Your retired Generals "earn" tens of thousands of dollars talking to your political, industrial, and financial leaders about "teams, winning, and discipline." It's a mockery of the war they refused to fight.  We urge you to continue following their vacuous personalities so we can further watch your once great nation collapse. Your statesman and elected officials are spineless, narcissistic, and more cowardly than your Generals.  They crave power over you above all else." It is a tragic perspective coming from a member of our elite fighting force who spent three tours of duty in Afghanistan. 

Not only have American diplomats and personnel engaged in egregious examples of financial deceit, but the majority of them also do not value or understand the impact of religion – not their own and not that of our adversaries. Suppose the majority of our policymakers do not factor into their decision-making that God will judge their actions. How then can they understand a people who clearly state ALL their actions are determined by obedience to their god? The Taliban have pledged an oath to their radical interpretation of Islam and their desire to uphold its draconian laws for society and the state. The statement from President Biden that the Taliban is undergoing an ``existential crisis about whether they want legitimacy on the global stage" completely disregards the Taliban's unwavering commitment to the Islamic state. The Taliban would never sacrifice their eternal goals in exchange for a seat at the "table" with nations they have vowed to subdue or conquer. Their intent was simply to get the US to withdraw from Afghanistan, and they had no interest in power-sharing with a democratic regime. To claim otherwise is at best naive and, at worst, dangerously ignorant.

Finally, the worst example of "hearts that have grown cold" is the fact that the US withdrew its troops and abandoned thousands of US citizens without an exit strategy. With the horrible conditions at the Kabul airport and the total lack of planning for the evacuation of Americans throughout Afghanistan up to 500 miles from Kabul, US officials continue to insist on the August 31st deadline for withdrawal. Despite the reports of people being beaten or trampled to death in their attempt to reach the airport, we do not hear of any revised plan to secure their evacuation by other means, possibly through neighboring countries.  Our top national security officials, intelligent agencies, and military personnel should have had an effective strategy to protect national security interests in Afghanistan BEFORE we exited and chaos ensued. Ironically, just one week before the hasty withdrawal, our counter-terrorism apparatus released the latest Homeland Security bulletin that claims one of the significant threats of domestic terrorism emanates from Americans who question the results of the 2020 election or new COVID restrictions. Sadly, it seems our government is so misguided that it focused on vilifying its own citizens instead of saving thousands of them from a terrorist regime overseas.

Despite these moral failures, the Gospel reminds us that when it seems darkness is covering humanity, followers of Christ are the sons of light and of the day. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation – 1 Thessalonians 5.  With thousands of new Afghan immigrants coming to our shores, we suddenly have the chance to call them to the redemptive power of salvation in Jesus Christ.  I have a dear friend who lived as an Iraqi in a refugee camp in Berlin, Germany. The local church wanted to invite the new refugees as guests but did not have a translator. Even though my friend was a devout Muslim at the time, the pastor hired her anyway. The church opened its doors to the refugees, providing meals and teaching them the truth of the Gospel in Arabic. The wisdom and open-hearted nature of this pastor not only led to the most miraculous conversion of my friend but also several of the other attendees! We have to BELIEVE in the power of the Gospel and simply create its way to work. The new immigrants are being uprooted from their homes not by choice but by the tyranny of the Taliban and its evil religion. Providing opportunities for them to hear of the free gift of salvation from a loving God and His Son is precisely the type of comfort they need. Let us see this as a divine opening to bring glory out of tragedy and turn a diplomatic failure into a victory for the Kingdom.

Hedieh Mirahmadi was a devout Muslim for two decades working in the field of national security before she experienced the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and has a new passion for sharing the Gospel.  She dedicates herself full-time to Resurrect Ministry, an online resource that harnesses the power of the Internet to make salvation through Christ available to people of all nations, and her daily podcast LivingFearlessDevotional.com.

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