*******The Afghanistan Quagmire
The War in Afghanistan
By Investigating Journalist Jon Rappoport
September 27, 2010
You may recall that the decision to launch the current 18-month surge in military action came after President Obama engaged in a six-month appraisal of the situation. Obama explored the matter from top to bottom. He consulted with military advisors. He dragged out every possible option.
So what are we doing in Afghanistan again?
Shortly after 9/11, Bush ordered the US invasion. Supposedly, the goal was to find Osama Bin Laden and also knock out Al Qaeda training camps.
Rapidly, those objectives became entangled with overpowering the Taliban, the strongest military and political force in the country. The Taliban was cooperating with Al Qaeda: That was the rationale.
Bush’s mission, according to press reports and White House press releases, was a partial success. Although Bin Laden was never found, Al Qaeda enclaves were destroyed. And the Taliban was pushed into relative obscurity.
A US handpicked Afghan president was elected with the goal of unifying the country.
Fast forward to Obama. Predictably, the Taliban had come out of the woodwork and was asserting its supremacy once again. Al Qaeda encampments were operating out of the no-man’s land between Afghanistan and Pakistan and inside Pakistan, where according to some experts, they always had been.
The decision to go back into Afghanistan with more troops was based on the idea that the people and tribes and clans and villages of the country could be extricated from Taliban control if US troops took on an overt role as helpers and builders. Villages would be cooperatively strengthened and made more independent, etc.
This proposition presented several obstacles. Tribes and clans in Afghanistan have been warring with each other for centuries. Afghanistan was never a true nation. Disentangling locals from the Taliban would demand thousands of micro-managed operations. Of course, once US troops left, as Obama promised they would, after 18 months, the Taliban would reappear and resume their coercive conquests. Finally, the new central government of the country, a corrupt bunch, was viewed by most of the population as a remote power having no relevance or connection to their own concerns or lives.
To date, there is no sign that any of these obstacles have been overcome decisively.
What reason do we have to believe they will be?
And why, again, did Obama think he could gain significant ground in Afghanistan? How was this a war whose goals could be met?
Training up an Afghan army has proved to be an extremely difficult feat. Soldiers desert, they steal supplies, they feel only a faint obligation to police their own country. So when US forces come home, what will be left behind?
What was and is Obama thinking?
In August, Afghan President Karzai issued an invitation to hold new discussions with President Obama about the course of the war. Karzai stated that the war should not be about villages; it should be about shutting down Taliban terrorist attacks. Karzai also remarked that civilian casualties caused by foreign troops continue to be a major source of resentment among the Afghan population.
In other words, by Karzai’s estimate, the war is a failure. Whatever good will is being engendered by the “village-building” efforts of US troops is being undermined by the civilian casualties.
No matter what platitudes one might want to ascribe to war, it always involves destroying civilians. We can wish that it should not be so, but then we are talking about something other than war. Surely, Obama and his generals understood this going in. Restrictive rules of military engagement don’t eliminate bringing harm to civilians, and these rules also open US soldiers to grave danger.
Perhaps Obama’s real objective in Afghanistan has been to avoid the embarrassment of watching a US-created central government topple into the dust. If so, that’s a scant and cruel motive for war—especially since the Karzai crowd seems entirely capable of bringing itself down.
Or perhaps the US is in Afghanistan because certain people are hoping to control the oil/natural gas pipeline across the country, if it is eventually built. Or because of the estimated trillion-dollar mineral deposits which have been known about for some time. Or because the opium poppy business is worth many billions. We can speculate on these and other motives—establishing, for example, US military platforms close to Russia and Iran—but meanwhile, the US administration is no closer to achieving its vaguely stated goals for the war than it was when Obama took office.
The human and financial costs for this quagmire are very steep. And no amount of high-flying noble rhetoric coming out of the White House will curtail those costs or, as far as the eye can see, bring America closer to national security.*******
Seeing Red over Afghanistan: Bring all our troops home now
By: Devvy Kidd
September 11, 2010
If you have read Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor by Robert Stinnett you know the sickening lies told to the American people about that day.
Stinnett spent 16 years doing his research and fighting in the courts to obtain a plethora of shocking documents under the Freedom of Information Act – their authenticity cannot be denied. This link to a .pdf file provides a few of the official documents, i.e., "It (official document) directs the Hawaiian U.S. Army commander, Lt. Gen. Walter Short, to follow an official U.S. government desire: 'The United States desires that Japan commit the first overt act.'"
Pearl Harbor was no surprise. "Day of infamy," indeed.
There were 2,403 Americans who died at Pearl Harbor. According to Stinnett, who backs up FDR, those 2,403 Americans were acceptable casualties in order to take America into war. Stinnett goes on to say (same page), "Had the facts uncovered in this book been known immediately after the war ended, and had Roosevelt explained his war strategies and tactics to the families who lost their sons at Pearl Harbor, how different American history might be viewed today."
I feel confident in saying that the families of those 2,403 Americans slaughtered at Pearl Harbor would not have been very understanding. I was further shocked by Stinnett's next comments (same page), "The truth that has been told here does not diminish FDR's magnificent contributions to the American people. His legacy should not be tarnished by the truth. As with all American presidents, Roosevelt must be viewed in the total context of his administration, not just Pearl Harbor." Quite frankly, I would be ashamed to say such a thing.
George W. Bush lied to the American people about why "we" had to hurry up, bomb the hell out of Iraq, then invade and occupy a non threatening country. We had no such right. He boldly lied in order to conduct an unconstitutional, obscene "war" in Iraq that has caused the deaths of thousands of American soldiers, killed an estimated one million innocent Iraqi's and made refugees out of about five million in Iraq.
There was never a declaration of war by the cowards of both parties in the Outlaw Congress for either Iraq or Afghanistan. The nebulous "war on terror" isn't about fighting a government in a foreign country that attacked U.S. soil. It's a marketing slogan with Al Qaeda as the boogie man. A "enemy" created by the the U.S. The real game has always been power, money and expanding American control over countries who cannot defend against our military.
The U.S. Constitution does not authorize Congress to steal from the people's treasury to reconstruct or rebuild any foreign country.
Morton Abramowitz and Heather Hurlburt correctly pointed out in a July 12, 2004, piece, "No fewer than nine times over the past decade, Western powers have deployed noble rhetoric, soldiers and taxpayer dollars in the service of nation-building. And no fewer than nine times, they have, to one degree or another, failed to build stable, self-sustaining nations. The litany consists of Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Liberia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The best one could say is that they are works in progress. The worst: Too many of them still can't function on their own and continue to pose threats to their own citizens as well as U.S. national interests. While genuine good—both humanitarian and security-related—has come of these efforts, the results have fallen far short of our professed objectives, consumed enormous resources and political capital, and left uncertainty about the U.S. and international commitment."
Empire, Energy and Al-Qaeda: The Anglo-American Terror Network
The Imperial Anatomy of al-Qaeda, Part II
9/11 ANALYSIS: 9/11 and America's Secret Terror Campaign
The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda, Part III
The American people must stop believing the lies used to justify these never ending invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and now Pakistan. Invasions to chase "insurgents" while our own get killed and while our military continue to kill innocent civilians. Men, women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have been slaughtered by US and allied troops. The use of depleted uranium is a crime against humanity - watch what "our" government has done to innocent human beings. How can we justify this to chase a few "insurgents"? Is it any wonder our fatigued and morally conflicted troops are coming home and killing themselves?
The U.S. is bankrupt. The fruits of our labor have been stolen from us to fund this madness in the Middle East. More unpayable debt for what? For nothing. Next is an absurd "mission" for National Guard:
National Guard enlists goats in war on terror
Sep 8, 2010
LAKEVILLE — About 60 men and women with the Indiana National Guard are preparing for a 12-month tour in Afghanistan, but their mission is on a much different field than battle. “It's very different from the normal Army mission,” said Lt. Col. Robert Millsaps, with the 3-19th Agribusiness Development Team.
“Goats and sheep are a very important part of the agriculture spectrum in Afghanistan,” said Millsaps. This unit's mission is to help Afghan farmers rebuild what they once had decades ago … a thriving agricultural economy."
Are you kidding me? Who in the hell thought up this absurd 'war strategy'? Farmers in Afghanistan have been farming for at least 1500 years without the help of the Indiana National Guard. We invaded their country nine years ago, destroyed their infrastructure and now you, me, our children and grand children are being reduced to poverty through heavier and heavier taxation to fund this kind of nonsense? The National Guard in Indiana's job is to teach farmers in a foreign land how to make the best use of goats? America, where is your outrage?
Our military are guarding poppy fields in Afghanistan and now we're taking men and women from their families to teach farmers "the tools and techniques to prosper"? Listen to this propaganda: "We" have to provide Afghani farmers with tools, seeds and security.
US wasted billions in rebuilding Iraq
August 29, 2010. KHAN BANI SAAD, Iraq – "A $40 million prison sits in the desert north of Baghdad, empty. A $165 million children's hospital goes unused in the south. A $100 million waste water treatment system in Fallujah has cost three times more than projected, yet sewage still runs through the streets.
"As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. More than $5 billion in American taxpayer funds has been wasted — more than 10 percent of the some $50 billion the U.S. has spent on reconstruction in Iraq, according to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency."
Your incumbent and mine in the Outlaw Congress voted to fund this illegal rape of the people's purse. Well, we have to catch terrorists and that costs money!
President Obama's Secret: Only 100 al Qaeda Now in Afghanistan
With New Surge, One Thousand U.S. Soldiers and $300 Million for Every One al Qaeda Fighter
"As he justified sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan at a cost of $30 billion a year, President Barack Obama's description Tuesday of the al Qaeda "cancer" in that country left out one key fact: U.S. intelligence officials have concluded there are only about 100 al Qaeda fighters in the entire country."
Mad men are running the asylum.
Even if it weren't completely illegal under our constitution to steal the fruits of your labor to fund such insanity, we have 26 MILLION Americans without a job. 42 MILLION Americans on food stamps while the Outlaw Congress continues to borrow tens and tens of billions of dollars to chase down roughly one hundred Al Qaeda fighters. The blood of all our military killed in these grotesque invasions drip from the hands of every member of Congress who has continued to vote for this lunacy. Oh, and don't forget - one of the most popular sports in Afghanistan:
Right: Dog fighting
This is what our soldiers have been dying for? To protect their culture?
This is what our soldiers have been dying for? To protect their culture?
Opposition to invasion of Iraq based on emotion or facts?
"In Stalin's Russia, notes Mikhail Heller, enemies were blamed for everything; they were used to justify the invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968), the invasion of Afghanistan in 1980, and so on. The Soviet Communists were thus able to manipulate Soviet citizens into supporting government hunts for "terrorists," "traitors," and spies, for "liberation wars" for humanity.
"Using Marxist-Leninist strategies, the Russian, Chinese, and U.S. ruling elites have sought to frighten Americans and other populations with the specter of ruthless mass terror. They have created enemies and blamed them for everything including terrorist acts. They have used them ...to manipulate Americans into supporting government hunts for "traitors," "terrorists," and these never ending "wars of national liberation." Their aim is to manipulate whole populations into supporting "wars of national liberation" and achieving not only the sovietization of "liberated" underdeveloped countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, but also the full altruization and sovietization of the United States and other Western nations.
"Today, however, the Russian killers are back in Afghanistan, providing "humanitarian" aid to the "oppressed" peoples. The Russian, Chinese, and American governing elites manipulated the American people into fighting a "liberation war" in Afghanistan. On January 28, 2003, President Bush said, "In Afghanistan, we helped liberate an oppressed people." The Bush Administration now seeks to assist the Russians in their attempt to achieve the altruization and sovietization of Afghanistan, promoting community building and community values (the Communist morality), "strengthening" institutions, "educating" the children, developing media capacity, setting up "cultural exchange programs," and otherwise remaking Afghanistan in the image of the Soviet Communist totalitarian police state."
Yet, despite the fact that Bush and Blair lied to their own people, there are still some who are either delusional or simply cannot accept the fact that the invasion of Iraq was illegal:
Say It Loud, Say It Proud -- America Won In Iraq, Twice
America leaves Iraq a toxic legacy of dumped hazardous materials
"American troops going home from Iraq after seven painful years are leaving behind a legacy that is literally toxic. An investigation by The Times in five Iraqi provinces has found that hazardous material from US bases is being dumped locally rather than sent back to America, in clear breach of Pentagon rules. North and west of Baghdad, engine oil is leaking from 55-gallon drums into dusty ground, open acid canisters sit within easy reach of children, and discarded batteries lie close to irrigated farmland. A 2009 Pentagon document shown to The Times by a private contractor working with US soldiers mentions “an estimated 11 million pounds [5,000 tonnes] of hazardous waste” produced by American troops."
May 27, 2010
Homeless Iraqis Prompt Fears of Social Crisis
Homeless Iraqis Prompt Fears of Social Crisis
Half a million displaced Iraqis face grim future in squalid squatter camps.
Such complete detachment from reality leaves me speechless. No where in our constitution does it authorize a president to invade a foreign country who was no threat to us, "remove" its leader, drop thousands of tons of depleted uranium on the indigenous population and occupy it for years. Liberate Iraq? What has been done to the people of Iraq in our name is criminal, never mind something to be proud of. (Please, save the hate mail. If you know nothing about me because some one sent you this column, my husband is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who served in Viet Nam. It's not about hating our military.)
And, the clincher:
Congressman Rohrabacher: Almost All House Republicans Think Iraq War Illegal, Immoral
The Republicans had control of Congress in 2003 when their cowboy, Bush, Jr., illegally invaded Iraq. The Outlaw Congress could have stopped him, but they didn't. Now, how many years later, Rohrabacher comes out and says, gee whiz, the invasion was not only a mistake, but also illegal and immoral! What DAMN hypocrites are these outlaws. They could have stopped the funding and forced our withdrawal years ago. Instead, all of them kept voting for war funding - that includes Rohrbacher. The immoral and illegal occupation continues and our soldiers are still dying in Iraq. I'm sure that's very comforting to the widows, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who have had their loved one killed for an illegal and immoral invasion. Just like Afghanistan.
Hold these criminals accountable
If you think the effort to bring George W. Bush to trial for murder is dead, it is not. Bush, like the usurper in the White House, are war criminals. They cannot be allowed to get away with their crimes against - not just we the people - but the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and increasingly, Pakistan.
Nothing has changed under Obama/Soetoro/Dunham or whatever his real name is; we don't know. The occupation of those countries is in full swing with chatter that our troops need to remain another 10, 20 years. All the hype about "winning the war in Afghanistan" - what are we supposed to win? More resentment and hatred from the people of that country that we invaded with no legal authority under our own Constitution? What is the big prize, I ask you? Well, here's a typical response to a column (located below the column in the link) that lays bare the big picture: "In the near future the Bush presidency and the Iraq war as well as the war on terrorism as a whole will be seen as a huge success for America and conservatism. Bush guided us through one of our nations darkest hours and responded to the terrorist threat with great courage and because of him America has liberated an entire nation as well as gained an ally in the Middle East thus showing the rest of the world that America is a beacon of freedom and democracy." That is someone who willfully believes lies because he needs to believe them.
Lies used to smash our God given rights
Building a brutal police state around us has been underway since 9/11: "The Establishment is systematically constructing a domestic police- state apparatus, indoctrinated, trained, and ready to impose on the great mass of Americans whatever harsh measures the Establishment decrees, because it expects, in the not-so-distant future, disturbances in America of magnitudes far greater and consequences far more reaching than anything a few Islamic terrorists could possibly cause." Dr. Edwin Vieira, March 8, 2005, "Homeland Security" -- For What and For Whom?
Today is the day of remembrance for what happened on September 11, 2001. Mass terror was perpetrated on our country and the lies about who and why continue from "our" government and the gutless cowards in Congress. The American people have supported these "wars of national liberation," waving their flags and sacrificing their loved ones all based on lies and deception. Each time I do a column on this issue, I get hateful email calling me a left wing nut. One vet sent me this: "People like you are beneath contempt. You are not worth the effort, let alone worth dying for under any circumstance." Desert War Dawg
The truth about 9/11 and these obscene invasions isn't about being a Republican or Democrat or conservative vs liberal. They are American issues and Americans by the millions should be screaming down the roof: Bring ALL our troops home, not just from the Middle East, but in dozens of countries where we have no business sticking our nose into their business. Chasing "insurgents" or "suspected" members of Al-Qaeda in the Middle East for decades will do absolutely nothing towards making America secure.
How many more funerals for lies?
Bomb Iran now because...uh, what's the reason?
Israel Prepares to Attack Iran With WMD's, Could Trigger World War III
But, if we are ever going to stop the evil, we must first understand who is behind the curtain orchestrating events and their agenda. It is painful and so many Americans don't want the truth. They need to believe their son, daughter, father, brother, died for a noble cause. The links below require quite a bit of reading time. I hope you'll book mark this column and get back to them when your time permits. We the people must demand no war with Iran and bring our troops home now from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Get our military out of harm's way because they are not fighting for you or me or the security of these united States of America.*******
The American Occupation of Afghanistan and the Birth of a National Liberation Movement
By Prof. Marc W. Herold
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20946
Global Research, September 7, 2010
Edited Transcript of a Public lecture by professor Marc Herold, Massachussetts Institute of Technology M.I.T., Cambridge, Mass. August 2010
Kabul, August 1996 before the Taliban entered. An old man in his neighborhood that was destroyed by years of inter-factional fighting, following the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989. Photo by photo-journalist anthropologist, Teun Voeten (from http://www.teunvoeten.com/)
I shall discuss ten points:
· The Taliban entering Kabul on September 27, 1996. Who were they?
· Arrival of "the guest" (Osama bin Laden) in May 1996 and Al Qaeda’s agenda (very different from that of the Taliban);
· 9/11 and the implementing of the neo-conservatives’ Project for a New American Century (PNAC);
· US aerial attacks during Oct-Nov Dec. 2001 (release of my first Dossier on Dec. 10, 2001 documenting the slaughter civilians, families, etc...) beginning of armed opposition to the invader;
· Crucial battles in the northern plains of Afghanistan during Oct-Nov 2001 and what each side learned. Mullah Omar retreats on a motorcycle into the mountains north of Kandahar on Dec 8, 2001;
· Begin of slow reconstitution of the Taliban, 2002-4. US anti-guerrilla operations alienate increasing numbers of common Afghans. By early 2004, I could write about the “Taliban’s Second Coming”:
· Key point: the way the Americans (and later NATO) fought the Afghan resistance built a national liberation movement. People who fight a foreign occupation are a resistance, not terrorists. Provide lots of concrete examples of this;
· Analysis of what I mean by the three words in the Afghan “national liberation movement.” Differences exist with other national liberation movements as in Algeria and Vietnam;
· The primary struggle now is to oust the foreign occupiers;
· End with three stark photos depicting maiming, abduction and fear.
Let me, in the words of Richard Nixon, “be perfectly clear” about some matters which I do not wish to speak about. I am not defending the Taliban and/or the Afghan resistance, but keep in mind that as far as retrograde social practices, the Taliban hold no monopoly on that in Afghanistan.  Secondly, much of Western denigration of the Taliban is inspired, sadly, by that old practice going back to the British Empire’s thieves of feminist language, i.e. “feminism as imperialism.” Lastly, pre-modern forms of social failure are much more naked or visible than complex subtle modern forms. It is easy to critique the burka, but less so the bikini. Or, civilians get killed in suicide bombings as they do in even deadlier U.S/NATO “precision” air strikes.
The great African revolutionary leader Amilcar Cabral connected culture to national resistance.
Whenever Goebbels, the brain behind Nazi propaganda, heard anyone speak of culture, he pulled out his pistol. That goes to show that the Nazis who were and are the most tragic expression of imperialism and its thirst for domination even if they were, all of them sick like Hitler, had a clear idea of the value of culture as a factor in the resistance to foreign domination.
The Taliban marched into Kabul after a ten month siege on September 27, 1996. The Taliban received strong Pakistani ISI support.
The reach of the Pashtun Taliban was never national with areas in the north (Tajik, Uzbek), center (Hazaras) and the west resisting. During October 1996-October 2001, bloody fighting continued across northern and central Afghanistan. The divides were largely along ethnic fault lines. The following map indicates the situation in September 2001:
The brunt of the Taliban’s conservative, patriarchal social policies was felt in Afghanistan’s more westernized urban areas – a small part of the country. In most of the rural regions, life went on as it had for decades, nay centuries, based upon traditional village structures and practices.
Former mujahideen, disillusioned with the chaos that had followed their victory in1989, became the nucleus of a movement that grouped around Mullah Mohammad Omar, a former minor mujahid from Kandahar province. The group, many of whom were madrasa (Islamic school) students, called themselves Taliban, meaning "students". Others who became core members of the Taliban were commanders in other predominantly Pashtun parties, and former Khalq PDPA members. Their stated aims were to restore stability and enforce their strict interpretation of Islamic law. But, the original Taliban came mostly from religious schools and refugee camps in the Pakistani border regions and were not former members of the mujahideen who had fought the Soviets (1980-89).
The Taliban inherited a devastated country, torn apart during six years of warlord in-fighting. Few state structures or institutions existed. Moreover, the background of the Taliban hardly prepared them for national governance. Close to a half of Kabul looked like this, destroyed by the factions once united in their fight against the Soviets:
A woman and her son walk along Kabul's main avenue. Once a bustling thoroughfare lined with
merchants, the avenue was destroyed by four years of fighting. 1996 © Didier Lefevre (Source: http://www.lensculture.com/webloglc/mt_files/archives/2004/12/ )
During 1994-96, no relations existed between the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. But a new element had been introduced in 1996: bin Laden arrived in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on May 18, 1996 after being expelled from the Sudan which bowed to U.S. pressure. Initially, bin Laden stayed in an area not controlled by the Taliban, who were fighting for control of the country. But by the end of September 1996, the Taliban conquered the capital of Kabul and gained control over much of the country. Bin Laden then became the guest of the Taliban. The Taliban, bin Laden, and their mutual opportunistic ally, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, then called for a jihad against Ahmed Shah Massoud, who retained control over a small mountainous area along Afghanistan’s northern border.
Osama bin Laden arrived in Jalalabad with 180 Arab followers on a chartered Ariana Boeing 727 cargo jet from the Sudan in May 1996. The pilot of Ariana, the Afghan national carrier, remembered flying to the Sudan and back in 1996.1 Sayed Hashimi said his crew waited for five days in Khartoum for their ‘cargo.’ They realized they had transported the bodyguards and the families of bin Laden’s inner circle to Jalalabad when at midnight at Jalalabad airport, all sorts of important people came to greet the ‘cargo’ of 90 persons.3 Bin Laden and his followers were welcomed by Haji Abdul Qadir and his lieutenant, Engineer Mahmood, the man who had extended the invitation to bin Laden. Bin Laden took up residence in Jalalabad with Mahmood. Tora Bora had been Mahmood’s headquarters during the 1980s anti-Soviet war.
As bin Laden established a new safe base and political ties, he spoke about attacks on Western military targets in the Arabian Peninsula. Such attacks took place on U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998. 9/11 was a clear consequence of bin Laden’s original fatwa of August 1996 about the “Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places”. In turn, 9/11 provided the Bush regime with the perfect pretext to launch the neo-conservatives’ plan to establish unilateral U.S hegemony - or what was called at the time in the academic literature, America’s unipolar moment - in the twenty-first century. I have written extensively on that and why the U.S. decided to bomb Afghanistan in the fall of 2001. 9/11 was the wished-for Pearl Harbor (trigger event) of the PNAC document.
The launching of the neoconservatives’ PNAC plan (or grand design) meant that no compromise with the Taliban would be accepted. Once the U.S bombing had begun, Mullah Omar made a couple serious attempts at compromise. All were immediately rejected by the Bush gang. Details may be found in my manuscript, Blown Away.
Aerial attacks such as the one in October 2001 by an AC-130 upon entire Afghan villages contributed to a growing sense amongst common Afghans that the foreigner was terrorizing the nation. By the way, this was nine years before WikiLeaks in 2010 released the video, “Collateral Murder” of the U.S Apache helicopter assault upon innocent Iraqis.
During October – December 2001, some 3,000 innocent Afghan civilians - about the same number as died on 9/11 - were killed upon impact by U.S bombs (to which many others need be added – injured who later died, refugees in camps who froze to death or starved, etc.). The Taliban quickly lost territory faced by an unreachable onslaught of U.S air power, purchased mercenaries/thugs of the Northern Alliance, and some 400 U.S Special Forces and CIA operatives on the ground pinpointing targets with lasers. The technological asymmetry between the U.S aggressors and the Taliban defenders was stark and militarily decisive in the short-run: Toyota pickup trucks or Soviet-era tanks (photo below) stood no chance against F-16s, F-18s, B-52s, B1-Bs, F-15s and laser/GPS positioning technologies.*******
The following chart plots the civilian victims in each tragedy. As the body count of the World Trade Center [WTC] was revised downward from the initial high of 6,700 to the 2,819 in 2002, that in Afghanistan rose from 20-37 on October 8th to 3,215. The twin lines of ignominy cross around January 15, 2002. But in truth, the Afghan civilian casualties far exceeded the WTC deaths already during the second week of the U.S. airstrikes in real terms - experienced pain parity - that is in terms of the collective pain equivalent felt by a society. Why? The U.S. population was 13 times larger than the Afghan one  and hence to make Afghan casualties relevant in U.S. terms we need to multiply Afghan numbers by thirteen. A calculation of the twin tragedies then reveals 2,819 dead at the WTC and an equivalent pain parity of 41,795 dead Afghan civilians.
The Twin Tragedies: Cumulative Civilian Deaths
Arundhati Roy added an important point:
The bombing of Afghanistan is not revenge for New York and Washington. It is yet another act of terror against the people of the world. Each innocent person that is killed must be added to, not set off against, the grisly toll of civilians who died in New York and Washington.
Conventional-style ground battles raged across the northern plains of Afghanistan during October-November 2001 pitting Taliban ground forces supplemented with Pakistani volunteers against the Northern Alliance backed up by U.S. Special Forces and CIA operatives with formidable air firepower. The Taliban lost 3-4,000 troops. Each side believed it had learned a lesson. The Taliban realized that they could no more marshal conventional ground forces to face the awesome firepower of the United States, a different enemy than the Soviets fifteen years earlier. They became true believers in asymmetric warfare, later superbly perfected with the use of IEDs and suicide bombers. For its part, the United States’ penchant to rely upon technological fixes/solutions was reinforced, leading to the certainty that the Taliban would soon be routed by U.S firepower. One might say the U.S was blinded by its success, thereby laying the foundation for its subsequent slow defeat.
Mullah Omar and the Taliban leadership “did the right tactical thing” to abandon Kandahar on December 8, 2001. Omar allegedly rode off into the Afghan dust on the back of a motorcycle headed into the mountains of Helmand evading hundreds of U.S troops searching for him. For his part, bin Laden hiked across the Tora Bora or Spin Ghar Mountains southeast of Jalalabad into the Pakistan border area and then disappeared (I personally believe he is up in the Pakistan-Chinese mountainous Pamir border region). Mullah Omar’s comeback journey is nothing but extraordinary: from fleeing sitting on the back of a motorcycle in December 2001 to leading a movement which today exerts significant control in 80% of Afghanistan.
What had been the Taliban government quickly disintegrated. Slowly three groups reconstituted themselves – one led by the veteran anti-Soviet fighter and brilliant tactician, former Minister of Border Affairs in the Taliban government, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and the other a loose grouping based in Quetta, Pakistan what later would be called the Quetta Shura with Mullah Omar as leader. A third group slowly re-aligned itself with the Taliban, that of the particularly oppressive fundamentalist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (the Hizb-i-Islami or the HIA). These three groups remain independent today, belying the silly notion of a unified resistance.
I want to now make and document a critical point: the way the U.S carried out its occupation of Afghanistan and its campaign against the Taliban, transformed what was a low-intensity guerrilla campaign as of 1/2002 into a full-fledged war of national liberation by 2006. For now almost nine years, I have been documenting how the U.S has waged its Afghan war and the consequences for average Afghans. This transformation from a low-intensity conflict during 2002-4 took place because of certain deeply felt, ingrained, Afghan cultural beliefs of independence, pride, and responsibility (by the way, beliefs I cherish too). For example, to take revenge for ill done to a family member is expected. Estimates suggest that for every Afghan killed by the foreign occupiers, 3-5 members of the resistance are created.
But other factors played as well: (1) violation of the sanctity of Afghan homes by marauding U.S ground forces; (2) widely publicized desecration of the Koran; (3) mistreatment of Afghan female family members by occupation forces; (4) the abducting and/or beating of Afghan family members; (5) the old U.S. practice going back to Indochina of secretive night-time assassination raids carried out by U.S special operations forces; and (6) systematically labeling civilians killed by US/NATO occupation forces as “insurgents” or Taliban.
In some small Afghan village in 2004, U.S occupation forces break into another Afghan home (photo from http://images.wn.com/i/4a/c310f3e1aeeb70.jpg)
The heavy-handed U.S. search-and-destroy forays over time swelled the ranks of supporters, as the battle for Afghan hearts and minds tipped in favor of the Taliban. U.S. aerial 'decapitation raids' frequently devastate small villages and families. In January 2004, two U.S. raids killed 15 children and not a single Taliban was either captured or killed. The reality of living daily in fear is captured in the words of a young girl in Loi Karez, Zabul:
Whenever these tall people with blue eyes come to our village, we become very scared," said eight-year-old Saira Bibi as she fetched water from a well in Loi Karez. "They take away people and ask us about the Taliban. I haven't seen the Taliban. I don't know who these Taliban are.
A similar perspective is offered in Qalat, Zabul province, in January 2004:
... For many people a much more visible aspect of American intervention is the steady stream of civilian casualties. And in Qalat, there is hostility to patrols by American Special Forces. From a Humvee a man gets out wearing a Stetson and sheriff’s badge, and proceeds to have a loud argument with a colleague carrying a sawn-off shotgun. As they move away, the locals stare after them. "We are so unhappy when we see them," says Rahmatullah, a bearded 29-year-old shopkeeper watching from across the road. "When the Russians came here we fought to save our liberty and independence. So also Americans came... and so we will be fighting them.
During a search of the village of Atel Mohammed in Kandahar by U.S. Special Forces (and their allies of the Afghan Militia Forces) in the summer of 2003.
Scared Afghans in the southern province of Kandahar hid holy Quran and other religious items before United States troops searched their village, afraid the Americans would kill them for being Muslims.
U.S occupation forces of the 82nd Airborne raided homes in the village of Salar in Ghazni province, December 2007 (photo by Tyler Hicks)
Afghan woman waits as U.S. Marines attached to the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, rest during a search of her residence during an operation.
I am proud to have helped publicize the following rare photo. A collection of 1,000 photos of Afghanistan under the U.S occupation boot can be seen on my website under “Scenes of Afghanistan” at http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mwherold)
Photo 128. Member of 82nd Airborne, Stacey White, body searches Afghan women in a village in the Baghran valley, Helmand province, as U.S. forces moved northward village by village, house by house carrying out searches, confiscating items, going through houses and personal belongings, February 24, 2003 [A.P. photo, Aaron Favila].*******
A female American soldier frisks Afghan women at a village during Operation Deliberate Strike, some 40 miles north of Kandahar. The mission involves hundreds of U.S. troops on a sweep through southern Afghanistan to counter operations by the resurgent Taliban and allied groups (Monday, May 19, 2003) Source: Kamal Kishore (Reuters)
The following shots by German photo journalist Perry Kretz were published in the German weekly, Der Stern:
These photos by German war photographer, Perry Kretz, were taken in the fall of 2004 during a raid by U.S. occupation forces in Paktika Province. The first shows a raid in-progress by the Wolfhound unit of the 3rd Platoon, 25th Infantry Division. The second depicts the same unit photographing a homeowner, Amir Mohammad, another example of the sexual humiliation perpetrated by the U.S. occupation forces upon Afghan villagers.*******
A French journalist visiting Kandahar in December 2003 wrote:
One quiet afternoon in Kandahar, a convoy of U.S. military vehicles passed by. In the pharmacy where I was making a purchase, men who had been chatting animatedly stopped and watched the personnel carriers drive slowly by carrying young American soldiers chewing gum and pointing their rifles defensively at the locals. After the last armored vehicle passed, one of the Afghans spat in their tire tracks, and mumbled, "Inshallah, they will leave soon.
An apocryphal story tells of a Taliban leader in the mountains where Afghanistan meets Pakistan, looking at his wrist and saying to a Western visitor: "You have the watches, but we have the time." That may be the Taliban's most powerful weapon against the Americans.
By 2004, the Taliban were showing signs of a second coming as I wrote about in February 2004:
“The Taliban's Second Coming”
The specter of Vietnam began taking shape in 2002 with U.S. raids upon compounds, villages, and neighborhoods of cities. The forced entries, frisking and abuse of persons (including women and children), the ransacking of homes, and the abductions merely served to heighten Afghan animosity towards the foreign occupier. John Pilger saw evidence of new Vietnams in: U.S. servicemen saying that once they leave their secured base, they are in a combat zone; renewed "search and destroy" missions carried out in villages across Afghanistan; and in the targeting of civilians (for arrest or execution). Daniel Bergner who accompanied a U.S. force into the countryside south of Kandahar, reports the enemy is everywhere and nowhere, and Liz Sly wrote about the same thing in eastern Afghanistan. Nick Meo provided a superb first-hand account of the sheer unknown, the dangers and frustrations experienced by young American soldiers on a nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Others noted the resurgence of the Taliban and its allies - Al Qaeda and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-i-Islami group - by mid-2003. In June 2003, the Taliban publicly named a new 10-man leadership council, including such veterans as former Defense Minister Mullah Obaidullah, Minister and Commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, and Commanders Mullah Dadullah Kakar and Mullah Akhtar Usmani. Mullah Usmani led Taliban forces in the south in late 2001 and was named in 2001 as successor to Mullah Omar should he perish. Dadullah harks from Uruzgan and Usmani from Helmand. (Source: Marc W. Herold, “The Taliban’s Second Coming, Cursor.org (February 29, 2004) at http://cursor.org/stories/secondcoming.html)
Both Usmani and Dadullah were later killed in U.S air strikes. The rest is history: soaring Afghan civilian, escalating violence, local military and US/NATO occupation forces deaths.
The following systems’ chart highlights the essential feedback elements at work in the America’s Afghan war:*******
The essential link is that America’s Afghan war causes civilian casualties which, in turn, fuel the Afghan resistance which, in turn, causes more U.S casualties. No link exists between Afghan and U.S civil societies, i.e. rising civilian casualties in America’s foreign wars have never caused the U.S general public to become anti-war. Thirdly, McChrystal’s alleged effort to reduce Afghan civilian casualties (-) was a trade-off for rising U.S military casualties (++) as I demonstrated a year ago. The graph makes an essential point: the United States can pursue its war but the result will be either soaring Afghan civilian casualties or escalating U.S. military deaths.
A recent video of how the U.S/NATO military actions contribute to the building of a movement of national liberation to oust the foreign occupiers was released by the Brave New American Foundation which confirms what NATO forces repeatedly denied: U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan killed dozens of people in the Sangin district of Helmand Province on July 23, 2010. Mohamed Ahmadzai, a resident of Sangin where this U.S attack took place, explained clearly what happened. He told independent reporters how he was forced to bury two daughters, his sister and wife after a rocket fired by coalition forces hit a soft target: a house full of woman and children who had fled to the nearby village of Regai to avoid a firefight between the Taliban and occupation forces. His story described a reality that cannot be found in the mainstream U.S media or in a UNAMA report.
"We gather(ed) all of the body parts, some were missing legs or heads, we placed them in a bag and buried them," Ahmadzai said. "We were able to identify them through the clothes they were wearing and by their shoes. The body parts we couldn't identify we put into a piece of cloth and then buried them. Those chunks of flesh, blood and bone were from so many people not just one, but we couldn't identify them so we put those body parts into an individual grave and buried them as though they belonged to one person..."
On July 1, 2002, I reported on the U.S aerial attack less than one hundred miles away from Regai upon a wedding party in Kakarak, Uruzgan province in which 63 civilians were massacred. Nothing changes. But where were The Nation magazine, the Brave New Foundation, the Tom Engelhardts, etc. nine years ago when I was documenting at Cursor.org the human carnage resulting from U.S military actions in Afghanistan? Answer: all cozily housed inside the humanitarian imperialist tent alongside the likes of Laura Bush, Samantha Power, and Michael Ignatieff. Rare voices of dissent in America could only be read in Z Magazine, Counterpunch, Antiwar.com, etc. It’s easy to be anti-war today when humanitarian imperialism has visibly failed in Afghanistan.
As I wrote two years ago,
The perceived poison of a foreign occupation, the rampant corruption, the all-too-frequent desecration of Islam by the occupiers, the sheer folly of the US/NATO seeking to extend the writ of a central government to the Pashtun tribal regions , the spiraling count of civilian deaths has shifted the Afghan struggle towards a war of national liberation. Anatol Lieven of King’s College (London) put it aptly. Afghanistan is ‘Becoming a sort of surreal hunting estate, in which the U.S. and NATO breed the very “terrorists” they then track down’.
I realize that my use of the phrase “national liberation movement” may not sit well with some people. How can a national liberation movement exist in a largely pre-modern, rural society? Isn’t a national liberation movement or front part of the anti-colonial struggle? The West had no qualms labeling Afghan resistance to Soviet occupation as a “war of national liberation.” For example, the legal scholar W. Michael Reisman cited the 1949 Geneva Conventions which argued that peoples engaged in resisting the suppression of their right of self-determination are fighting what has come to be known as a “war of national liberation.” The phrase illustrates the contest over assigned meaning. America’s duplicity is mind-boggling: when common Afghans fight the evil Soviet Union, it is a war of national liberation; when a dozen years later common Afghans fight the American invader, they are terrorists.
Let me briefly discuss the three terms – national, liberation and movement. The current Afghan resistance movement comprises various factions: the Quetta Shura led by Mullah Omar; the Haqqani group based in eastern Afghanistan, the Hekmatyar group, as well as some smaller organizations based in the Pakistani border regions. The dominant goal of this gradually constructed “coalition” comprised mostly of Pashtuns became the ouster of U.S and NATO occupation forces from the territory of Afghanistan. In that sense, this is a national movement; national does neither necessarily imply everyone is on board nor that the result will be a socialist society. American neo-colonialists effectively sought to use ethnicity to divide-and-rule in Southeast Asia; the British colonizers did the same in British West Africa. The national liberation of Angola from Portuguese rule was deeply divided along ethnic lines. The national liberation movement (the FLN) in Algeria, however, was a unified oppositional force. In Afghanistan, the U.S. employed the surrogates of the Northern Alliance. The Afghan resistance was not built through hard organizing work of the Taliban and associates, but rather by the actions of the US and later NATO.
The resistance differs greatly from other national liberation movements like those in Algeria, Vietnam, Angola, or Peru (Sendero Luminoso) insofar as it lacks a national political vanguard party. In Algeria and Vietnam, the armed struggle against the occupier began with the formation of a national liberation front. In Afghanistan, on the other hand, the national liberation movement emerged de facto after the aggressions of the foreign occupiers. This reflects the particular specificity of Afghanistan wherein family-clan-tribe-ethnic group form the primary social cohesion blocks. Afghanistan never was a secular nation-state; instead a figurehead, royal sovereign reigned over the little urban island of Kabul (just as Karzai, the ‘mayor of Kabul,’ has since 2002).
We saw the fragile unity at the national level in the Taliban movement in its tenuous relationship with the Al Qaeda group. The latter had clear national and international political agendas, whereas the Taliban’s focus was upon strengthening the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan proper inspired by the Deobandi interpretation of Islam, removing un-Islamic foreign influences. As I mentioned earlier, the Taliban were even willing to hand over Osama bin Laden in early October 2001 in return for a cessation of the brutal U.S. bombing. The Haqqani hard-line faction within the Taliban maintained a greater affinity and working relationship with Al Qaeda (it also remains the cutting edge in military terms of the Afghan resistance).
What the U.S-led occupation did was to provide the glue during 2003-6 to bring together disparate groups united in a fight against the foreign occupier (and his obvious corrupt, puppet regime in Kabul), i.e. liberation from the foreign occupation. In effect, this is a replay of the anti-Soviet struggle in which a variety of mujahideen groups aligned themselves against the Soviets. And just as when the Soviets withdrew in 1989, the disparate members of the current temporary national liberation movement will disband once the US/NATO exit and pursue their own regional agendas. In other words, I use the word “liberation” here in a very constrained way: this is no implied social liberation from multiple forms of social oppression. There is no guarantee what emerges after: Islamic Sharia, a bourgeois democracy, or a socialist state. The mujahideen anti-Soviet national liberation war resulted in six years of deadly civil war. Those who wish to conflate national and social liberation (however defined) may do so at their own intellectual peril. I would caution, however, against whining about a lack of “democracy” in post-occupation Afghanistan. Samir Amin has argued that the term “democracy” - or the ‘democratic question’ (whose essence is of course the caricature of ‘multi-party elections’) has been and continues to be employed by the Triad of collective imperialism (and its academic point men/women) as a battering ram in its geopolitical struggle to open up the world to the dictates of the market. But, democracy in its essence is about accountability and traditional societies whether Native American Indian or rural Afghan may have community structures of responsibility and/or accountability, admittedly sometimes imperfect (respectively constrained here by money and there by religion). We whether bourgeois democrats or Marxists, might not like this national movement but that should not cloud our analysis. As Julian Assange recently stated, “the Taliban is part of the will of Afghan people.”
An optimistic vision of Afghanistan’s post-occupation future must involve a very loose federative structure with significant regional autonomy, allowing regions to implement their visions of socio-economic “development.” For example, one would hope that Afghanistan’s innovative National Solidarity Program of grassroots development would be greatly expanded.
As my dear friends from RAWA put it, first get rid of the foreign oppressors, then we’ll focus upon the remaining home-bred ones. Is that not better than continued.....maiming......abductions......and fear?*******
Burned victims of a U.S. “precision” bombing in the Kajaki region arrived in October 2006 at the Emergency (Italia) Surgical Hospital in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province (source: Maso Notarianni, “Burnt Children after a NATO Bomb Attack,” RAWA News (October 31, 2006) at http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2006/10/31/afghanistan-presumed-taliban.phtml ). Maso Notarianni is the editor of PeaceReporter, an online news magazine and news agency set up by the Missionary International Service News Agency and the humanitarian organisation Emergency. Emergency is an independent and neutral Italian organization founded in order to provide free, high quality medical and surgical treatment to the civilian victims of war, landmines and poverty. Its work around the world is possible thanks to the help of thousands of volunteers and supporters. Maso is married to Cecilia Strada, daughter of Gino Strada and Teresa Sarti, the founders of Emergency.*******
Faces of Afghanistan under U.S. bombs and occupation. The first photo above depicts a detained Afghan in November 2007 (photo by Reuters reproduced in Spain’s El Pais). The second, award-winning picture (2001) taken by Seamus Murphy shows a young “Girl in Ghulam Ali,” a village in the Shomali Plains where the U.S. bombed heavily during November 2001. The latter photo is taken from
 See Michael Stittle, “Warlords are no better than Taliban, says Afghan MP,” RAWA News (November 8, 2007) at
 See for example Katherine Viner, “Feminism as Imperialism. George Bush is not the First Empire-Builder to Wage War in the Name of Women,” The Guardian (September 21, 2002) at
 Feminist politics of clothing is discussed in Sarah Seltzer, “From Bikinis to Burqas, the Feminist Politics of Clothing,” RHRealityCheck.org (July 10, 2010) at
 The conclusion is inescapable. When using delivery-adjusted cost data as a proxy for accuracy, U.S./NATO "precision" bombing slaughters many more innocent Afghan civilians than does a Taliban suicide car bomber (from my “Suicide Car Bombs vs ‘Precision’ Bombs,” Frontline. India’s National Magazine 23, 19 (Sep. 23-Oct 06, 2006) at
 From his “National Liberation and Culture,” Transition No. 45 (1974): 12-17
 See video at
 Omar fought as a guerilla with the Harakat-i Inqilab-i Islami faction of the anti-Soviet Mujahideen under the command of Nek Mohammad. After the experience in the Soviet conflict, Mohammed Omar shifted his attention to his religious studies. He reportedly taught at a madrasah (Islamic religious school) near the Pakistan border.
 Kathy Gannon, “Qadir Key Pashtun Leader for Karzai,” Associated Press (July 6, 2002)
 See Marc W. Herold, "Tratando de comprender los veinte años de guerra en Afganistán (1989-2009) y el 'momento unipolar' de Estados Unidos" ,in Enric Prat Carvajal (ed.), Las raíces históricas de los conflictos armados actuals (Valencia: Publicacions de la Universitat de València, 2010): pp. 141-169
1] Go to a 7-minute video of an attack by an AC-130U Specter gunship upon an Afghan village in October 2001. The video depicts U.S gunners firing directly upon people leaving the mosque, view at:
 From her “Brutality Smeared in Peanut Butter. Why America Must Stop the War Now," The Guardian (October 23, 2001)
 Martin Bentham, "Omar Flees by Motorcycle to Escape Troops," Telegraph (January 6, 2002)
 Described by Philip Alston in 2008 in Joe Kay, “CIA Death Squads Killing with “Impunity” in Afghanistan,”
WSWS.org (May 19, 2008) at
and in Pratap Chatterjee, “The Secret Killers: Assassinations in Afghanistan and Task Force 373,” The Huffington Post (August 19, 2010)
 H.D.S. Greenway, “In Mideast, Time is not on America’s Side,” Boston.com (February 27, 2004) at
 As beautifully expressed in “The American public is conditionally tolerant of [military] casualties and consistently indifferent to collateral damage,” Dr. Karl P. Mueller, School of Advanced Airpower Studies, Maxwell Air Force Base.
 See my “Obama’s Unspoken Trade-Off: Dead US/NATO Occupation Troops versus Dead Afghan Civilians?”
 view 2 ½ minute video at http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/63771
 see my “Crashing the Wedding Party: Arrogance, Pentagon Speak and Spooky’s Carnage,” Cursor.org (July 8, 2002) at http://cursor.org/stories/kakarak.htm
 My original dossier was released on December 10, 2001 at the Cursor.org website. A slightly revised version can be found as “”A Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States’ Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Accounting [revised],” Cursor.org (March 2002) at http://cursor.org/stories/civilian_deaths.htm
 Marc W. Herold, “More of the Same Packaged as Change. Barack Obama and Afghanistan,” Counterpunch (August6, 2008) at
http://www.counterpunch.org/herold08062008.html. I have added the “...” in Lieven’s quotes
 the concept is explored in amongst many others, Nigel Harris, National Liberation (London and New York: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd, 1990)
 see amongst many others the editorial comment by the legal scholar, W. Michael Reisman, “The Resistance in Afghanistan is Engaged in a War of National Liberation,” American Journal of International Law 81,4 (October 1987): 906-909 available at http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.unh.edu/stable/pdfplus/2203416.pdf
 Reisman, op. cit.: 908
 As falsely argued by David Whitehouse, “Afghanistan Sinking Deeper,” International Socialist Review No. 69 (Jan-Feb 2010: 12 at
 Details on Nigeria in Pade Badra, Imperialism and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria, 1960-1996 (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1998): 72
 Samir Amin, “The Battlefields Chosen by Contemporary Imperialism: Conditions for an Effective Response from the South,” MRZINE.Monthly Review.org (20101) at
 “Interview: Taliban is Part of Will of Afghan People – WikiLeaks Chief,” The Voice of Russia (2010) at
Once the Taliban acquired surface-to-air missiles, the primarily advantage our military had was removed
By Alan Caruba
Friday, June 18, 2010
The war in Afghanistan has been going on for more than eight years as of this writing. Over that period of time I have been against it, for it, against it, for it, and now I return to what my instincts and experience told me all along. It’s over.That war is lost. Once the Taliban acquired surface-to-air missiles, the primarily advantage our military had was removed. In the past month, the Taliban have shot down two of our helicopters. Any low-flying aircraft will be vulnerable along with all our front-line forces.
This is a repeat of how the Soviets lost their war in Afghanistan. The Stinger missles the CIA began to provide the Afghan insurgents and the many Arabs that joined the battle—-including Osama bin Laden—-the war was over. Not many years later, the Soviet Union collapsed.
You cannot win a counterinsurgency with local forces if:
you don’t have a significant portion of the population on your side and
those forces do not want to fight.
Afghans don’t like anyone who is not an Afghan and, in many cases, they do not like other Afghans from other tribes. They didn’t even like the Arabs that joined them in the fight against the Soviets. They want to be left alone to raise poppies and make money the only way they can, via the drug trade.
The other factor that is a key to the situation is our “ally”, Pakistan. The U.S. has poured billions into Pakistan and they have been supporting the Taliban the whole time; more specifically, the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.
Let it be said that George W. Bush was right to chase al Qaeda out of Afghanistan after 9/11. Failure to take military action would have been seen as weakness and made the U.S. vulnerable to more attacks on the homeland. For eight years while he was in the White House, there were no further attacks.
Then Barack Hussein Obama got elected. He did so in part by claiming that Afghanistan was the “real” war to be won and that our war in Iraq was a mistake. Then, when he had to decide what to do there, he spent three months making up his mind, agreed to send 40,000 more troops, and announced the date when we would leave. You don’t win wars by telling the enemy when you’re going to leave.
While he’s been in office there have been two unsuccessful attacks, the Christmas underwear bomber and the Times Square bomber. The Fort Hood murders were swept under the rug after Obama took three days to think of something to say about them. He said we should not “jump to conclusions” about Major Hassan who shouted “Allahu akbar” while murdering his fellow soldiers.
Debka File, an Israeli news agency is saying what the U.S. press is disinclined to say. “America’s longest war is about to end.” Drawing on its military and intelligence sources, it said the US-led NATO forces will have no victory and must settle “at best in a draw or at worst in a win for the Taliban, al Qaeda’s extremist partner.”
Pakistan puppet masters guide the Taliban killer
An article in the UK’s Times was picked up by the Washington Post on June 14. The Times article was headlined “Pakistan puppet masters guide the Taliban killers.” It reported that “Pakistan’s own intelligence agency, the ISI, is said to be represented on the Taliban’s war council, the Quetta shura. Up to seven of the 15-man shura are believed to be ISA agents.”
The former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, Amrullah Salah, recently resigned. He concluded that Afghan forces of the government under Hamid Karzai, the US hand-picked president of Afghanistan, would not and could not prevail. Afghanistan has never been a nation by any standard definition. It has always been a nation of tribes.
The Afghanistan conflict has cost the West billions and hundreds of lives. NATO, an institution put together during the long Cold War with the then-Soviet Union, has never had much support among its European members, none of whom have had much heart for a fight following World War Two.
The United Kingdom has been our most steadfast partner in NATO and in our two invasions of Iraq, after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and in wake of the widespread belief he had weapons of mass destruction. Almost from the day he first stepped into the Oval Office, President Obama has engaged in every way possible to offend the British and his latest fulminations about the BP oil spill have only worsened relations.
Obama’s “rules of engagement” in Afghanistan
When word leaked about Obama’s “rules of engagement” in Afghanistan that essentially put every one of our soldiers and marines at risk, the die was cast.
The combined US-UK force failed to loosen the Taliban’s grip on Marjah, the most recent military engagement. The Afghan forces refused to fight much of the time. The Taliban continue to control the whole of southern Afghanistan.
The Kandahar offensive has been postponed. It was to be waged by American, British, Canadian, and Afghan forces. If that doesn’t tell you that the war in Afghanistan is over, nothing will.
If there is no will to wage war vigorously to bring about victory, nothing can be done for now. This is not to say we will not have to return at some time, but as long as President Obama is in office, that is not an option.