This very day, on July 3rd 1979, the US President Jimmy Carter made a historic decision. He signed some extremely confidential papers to covertly support militant organizations opposed to Soviet rule in Afghanistan with arms. Little did they think that these very militant organizations would soon become the biggest thorn in their foot, scratching them at every turn and bleeding it.

To US policymakers, it was a good decision to make back then. It would strengthen opposition to the USSR in Afghanistan by leaps and bounds and could potentially lead even to their overthrow. The USA was anyways worried over increasing USSR influence in South Asia, with India leaning towards it and Afghanistan overwhelmingly in their favor. Being home to a large part of the world population, it was a good reason to worry back then.

The strategy paid off in the short term, with the USSR leaving soon(the reason for this leave is debatable; it could even be due to the economic weakening of the USSR). Nevertheless, the Soviets departed and there is nothing more which US foreign policy in the Cold War wanted to achieve. It was a victory for them back then.

The sudden leave of the USSR created a gaping power vacuum in Afghanistan which was filled by extremists and fundamentalists of all hues; each one squabbling with the other over the pettiest of issues. The always volatile country of Afghanistan was thrown into further turmoil and instability. And so it remains, till today.

After a few short-lived experiments with democracy, the Taliban we see today overtook the administration of Afghanistan. Administration is quite the wrong word to use here, cause there wasn't much of it. There was a lot of extremism though, with a strict implementation of Sharia law (or rather what the Taliban interpreted it to be) and a lot of curtailing of fundamental rights.

With extremists ruling, Afghanistan become a haven, a hotbed for all extremists fighting wars across the world. Afghanistan suddenly became a hot spot of terror, where the top rung of most military extremist organization were located. All terrorist attacks were masterminded here and all attention began to be drawn to Afghanistan.

What I didn't talk about yet is the fact that the Taliban were but one of the numerous Afghanistani insurgent groups with which the US provided arms in order to overthrow Soviet rule. It was with these arms and ammunition that the Taliban began to overthrow the weak democratic rule. It was with their help that they began their rule of terror over Afghanistan and invited all their like-minded organizations to set up base in Afghanistan.

The most important of these organizations was the Al-Qaeda (The Base in Arabic) headed by the now-dead Osama Bin Laden. The overwhelmingly anti-USA organization began to organize terror attacks aimed at the USA all over the world from here. Most of them were small-scale ones which didn't draw more than a day's attention in the headlines. But all changed on September 11th when the Al-Qaeda hijacked planes and struck at the very heart of the USA - the symbol of capitalism, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon- the headquarter of USA's massive military power.

The Al-Qaeda got what it desperately desired - attention. It hogged center stage on all newspaper headlines and all news channels for at least a month after the event. Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden become household names. And then an angry USA struck back.

With support from it's similarly affected NATO allies, it began's it extremely controversial War on Terror. It attacked Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban (it's own demonic creation) and installed once again a flimsy democratic rule. Then it ravaged the country, hounding for the Taliban all over again. The cost for this - trillions of dollars (something which the USA will eventually find out, it can't afford) and hundreds of American troops.

As mentioned, the USA would soon find out that it can't really afford such a costly intervention. But the realization came too late and by then, it had accumulated sky-high mountains of debt. And then there was the famous 'fiscal cliff' which kept flashing headlines on all day - "USA on the edge of disaster" and "On the edge of the cliff?" etc etc.

So going back to the focal point - what the USA achieved from it's decisions.
1.) A false victory in the Soviet withdrawal
2.) More than a decade of Afghan turmoil
3.) Rule of extremists (Taliban)
4.) 9/11
5.) Death of hundreds of army men
6.) Trillions of dollars and a 'fiscal cliff'

See? None of them are beneficial to the USA at all. To top it all, come 2014 and the withdrawal of USA forces from Afghan soil, the Taliban shall bounce back to it's feet. So you see, the USA's faulty decisions have boomeranged.

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