Why U.S. forces bent on expanding military bases in Afghanistan?

15:35, September 20, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Of late, the United States planed to expand the Bagram, Kandahar and Mazar-E-Shairf air bases in Afghanistan with an allocation of 300 million US dollars. The expansion of U.S. military bases in Afghanistan is obviously running counter to the commitment to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2011; the United States is aimed to build permanent military bases in the "post-antiterrorism era" and to consolidate its global military network and to guard against the possible future global volatile situation.

In fact, the United States has tried hard to seek its permanent military presence since it launched the war in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as the US military Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) along the British military, in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., with the construction of its permanent military bases and "frontline" operation bases.

To date, the Untied States has established a dozen military bases in Afghanistan, with the airbases at Bagram, Kandahar and Mazar-E-Shairf as the permanent bases and the Herat, Jalalabad and other airfields as the "frontline" operation bases. These U.S. military bases are currently serving not only as a stronghold for control of Afghanistan and to battle hostile forces but also as a springboard to cope with the volatile situation in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The intention of the United States with its permanent presence in the Afghanistan is indicated by the new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan President Barack Obama’s administration has been pursuing since assuming its presidency in January 2009. The United States has set forth the limited goals to battle and destroy the "Al Qaeda" terrorist organization inside Afghanistan but involved itself quelling rebellions and national construction in an all-round way. And the limited goals and extensive means show in a protruding way the U.S.' strategic goal which is far more "grandeur" and audacious than its purpose on the war on terrorism.

President Barack Obama pledged to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011, according to David Petraeus, the commander of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, Obama would continue the US effort and postponing the withdrawal of forces if the war situation "is bad" and unfavorable. Although the U.S. has publicly come out to say they will start withdrawing in 2011, noted US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, it does not affect the U.S. continued support to Afghanistan in the political, economic and military realms.

Apparently, the United States will not abandon the strategic and geopolitical interests it has paid in blood easily. At a time when the Taliban insurgent forces stage a comeback, the U.S. will easily find many excuses to suspend withdrawing its forces.

As a matter of course, the United States has made a series of preparations for its permanent presence in Afghanistan. The U.S. 2005 Annual Defense Report made it clear to increase the number of military bases in southwestern Asia, in an effort to cope with the possible volatile global situation in the years ahead. In 2006, the U.S. forces started building a 3,000-meter runway at the Bagram air base and also a living facility for 1,000 servicemen undertaken by the Corps of Engineers at the time, a giant step ahead toward the goal of building the permanent military bases.

The United States and Afghanistan plan to work together to develop appropriate arrangements and agree to implement their strategic partnership; they also signed an agreement on the lease of additional land for a military purpose at the Bagram air base. So, the U.S. has undoubtedly the same purpose in nature with its endeavor to build permanent bases together with Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in East Asia.

Obama pledged to withdraw his forces from Afghanistan to gear to domestic political factors as the mid-term elections are historically difficult for the president's Democratic Party. The expansion of U.S. bases and the permanent U.S. military presence in Afghanistan have been a set policy of the Obama administration. As the Middle East and South Asia are the "frontline" in the U.S war on terrorism, Central Asia has much weight or a bearing in the U.S. global geopolitical and strategic interests and, hence, the maintenance of a long-term military presence in Afghanistan is a crucial component part of the vital U.S. military chain around the world to cope with possible volatile global situation in years ahead.

By People's Daily Online and its author is PD reporter Fu Xiaoqiang


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion