On September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda attacked the heart of the American economy causing not only losses in terms of property and financial damage, but also widespread terror and fear which extended far beyond the borders of the United States of America affecting the world as a whole. Like any other nation, the foremost interest of the United States is national security[footnoteRef:1], which entails not only the security of the American people, but also the security of the American soil. Since American leadership has always looked towards a better future, the moral aim is to eliminate any such danger that exists in the 21st century, leading to a more peaceful, globalized near future[footnoteRef:2]. President Barrack Obama clearly stated in his speech that had there been no such risk, the troops deployed in Afghanistan would be ordered back home immediately. This objective of preserving national security, however, is aimed to be achieved without compromising on the ongoing objective of globalization through better economic and political relations with the rest of the world. [1: The United States of America National Security Strategy, May 2010, 8] [2: Ibid., 5]
Although national security has always been a priority, after the 2001 attacks the United States moved towards a more aggressive approach to keep America safe and prevent such events from recurring. In the process of eliminating all risks of such attacks happening on the American soil in the future, the United States made its foremost objective to eliminate these threats known as Al-Qaeda and Taliban which are strongly believed to hail from Afghanistan, and have found their safe haven along the Afghan border which connects with Pakistan[footnoteRef:3]. It is in these nations, that the extremists are believed to attain their training and from where attacks like September 11 are planned. A more rigorous approach towards elimination of terrorism entailed an offensive strategy to dismantle the enemy at their own home to prevent risking the security of the people of the United States of America[footnoteRef:4]. Having seen how the extremists managed to migrate to Pakistan advocated a more hostile approach to avoid expansion of the terrorist network. [3: The United States of America Quadrennial Defense Review Report, February 2010, 6] [4: The United States of America Quadrennial Defense Review Report, February 2010, 12]
American troops deployed in Afghanistan are on the mission to eradicate terrorism, extremism and radicalism even if it requires the use of force in a foreign land. The mission, however, does not end here and extends toward rebuilding Afghanistan by empowering the majority of Afghan population which opposes the extremist agendas and desires peace. An example of this may be inferred from the current state of Iraq from where American troops have already exited[footnoteRef:5]. Although such extremist groups are known to be primarily based in Afghanistan and Pakistan, their spread is believed to be worldwide. While progressing on the mission to negate any national risk, the United States also emphasizes the great risk that American people may face if the nuclear powers in such foreign countries came into the wrong hands. In order to circumvent such a risk, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) signed in 1968, was strengthened to prevent misuse of such power and limit free sharing of such technology[footnoteRef:6]. [5: Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq (Report to Congress), March 2009, 1] [6: Treaty on the Non-Proliferation Nuclear Weapons 1968, Article 1]
The United States of America has always promoted democracy in the name of preserving human rights, freedom and equality, while also encouraging economic development of each nation on its own strength. Denial of such human rights and economic development in the modern world could never be viewed as anything less than a threat, which is what these extremist groups represent to the rest of the world. Countering such threats is not only important, but essential for the ultimate aim of peaceful globalization of the world representing one unit of humankind. It is to achieve this dream that American soldiers stand on the ground of Afghanistan, while ensuring the continued safety of the United States of America.
2. On 31st July, 2008, Ex- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates presented his National Defence Strategy (NDS), which called for a shift in the primary focus of the Department of Defense (DoD) from conventional wars to the 'irregular' wars being fought with nations like Afghanistan and Iraq. It highlights the importance of urgent action and superior importance of the war against insurgent groups which threaten the international order. Therefore, while advocating the need for modernization of the conventional military resources, it also calls to prepare against the terrorists and extremists using extremely dangerous tactics which include nuclear and missile proliferation, chemical and biological threats, and electronic and cyber warfare[footnoteRef:7]. [7: The National Defense Strategy of the United States of America, June 2008, 1]
The NDS states five main objectives which include defending homeland, promoting security and deterring conflict. However, it creates a division between the war against terrorism and the war against rogue states like North Korea and Iran[footnoteRef:8]. It recognizes a 'balanced strategy' as the key to success which is aimed at protecting the United States, winning the wars, and promoting long-term peace. However, Gates conceded that such a war cannot be fought by the United States alone. It recognizes the importance of the allies of the United States of America in this 'war against terror' and prioritizes their security and effective governance to counter any opportunity for the insurgents to find a safe haven on their land, or expand their network[footnoteRef:9]. The plan is not to attack enemy from foreign land, but to enable each nation to counter such threats on its own ability. [8: Ibid., 6] [9: International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghanistan Commander Counterinsurgency Guidance, 1-4]
The NDS is aware of the fact that such relations with the rest of the world can only be developed through diplomatic dialogue and strategic communication. The NDS recognizes that key states like China and Russia should always be deterred from attacking the United States, which promising an overwhelming response. It also aims to prevent adversaries from acquiring or using Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) through non-proliferation efforts[footnoteRef:10], while also being mindful of the greater threats which may be more difficult to detect or eliminate with the available technology. [10: The National Military Strategy of the United States of America, June 2008, 14-15]
The NDS highlights the importance of learning an important lesson from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, that military success alone is insufficient for victory. It also recognizes the heavy burden placed on the Department of Defense with the task of long-term reconstruction, governance and development. In the 2006 Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR), all the objectives were detailed, but the NDS points out that the capabilities of DoD are not sufficient to address all missions. The NDS recommends institutionalization of the U.S. Armed Forces and using civilian capabilities which could reduce deployment of American soldiers abroad. The capability of effectively communicating what the United States is and what it aims to achieve on the pillars of freedom and democracy is crucial for a positive outcome of the long war, as well as for the international relations with its allies. The NDS does not fail to address the power of innovation and Science, developing and redefining America's own capabilities.
To meet these challenges, United States requires resourcefulness and careful balancing of the risks and assets to implement this strategy. The NDS stresses on the sharing of information and intelligence as a vital component of national security. It makes a point out of investing in the right kind of technology at the right time to ahead of the States' adversaries[footnoteRef:11], while also maintaining high regard to invest in individuals who could realize their full potential in terms or resource, knowledge, skills and capabilities. [11: Quadrennial Defense Review Report, February 2010, 80]
3. The strategy towards Somalia is not much different from what we are currently witnessing in Iraq, and hopefully will see in Afghanistan as well. The main objective of the strategy concerning the Somalis is the development of Somalia with a democratic infrastructure in place and an elected government with enough power and control over the Somali territory to resist extremists undermining the stability of this authority[footnoteRef:12]. Whereas eradication of terrorism and extremism has been the most important world-wide objective, the mission to redevelop Somalia has been given great priority. It has been almost two decades that the Somalis had a chance to live peacefully in a humane environment[footnoteRef:13]. Seeing this real opportunity of a peaceful Somalia, the United States has helped and assisted the Somalis rebuild their country[footnoteRef:14]. [12: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 5 May 2010, 8] [13: Somalia: An Opportunity that Should Not Be Missed, Crisis Group Africa Briefing N"87, February 2012, 2] [14: Ibid., 3-4]
It has been recognized that the redevelopment of Somalia is not an easy task, given that no basic infrastructure including law enforcement, judicial, health…