Afghanistan’s Fool’s War

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

FIF­TEEN years ago last week, the US launched the long­est war in its his­tory: the in­va­sion and oc­cu­pa­tion of re­mote Afghanistan. Neigh­bour­ing Pak­istan was forced to help the Amer­i­cans or “be bombed back to the stone age”.

Amer­ica was fu­ri­ous af­ter the 9/11 at­tacks. The Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion had been caught sleep­ing. Many Amer­i­cans be­lieved 9/11 was an in­side job by pro-war neo­cons.

Afghanistan was picked as the tar­get of US vengeance even though the 9/11 at­tacks were hatched in Ger­many and Spain. The at­tack­ers made clear their mis­sion was to pun­ish the US for “oc­cu­py­ing” the holy land of Saudi Ara­bia, and for Wash­ing­ton’s open-ended sup­port of Israel in its oc­cu­pa­tion of Pales­tine.

This ra­tio­nal was quickly ob­scured by the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion that claimed the 9/11 at­tack­ers, most of whom were Saudis, were mo­ti­vated by ha­tred of Amer­i­can “val­ues” and “free­doms”. This non­sense planted the seeds of the ris­ing tide of Is­lam­o­pho­bia that we see to­day and the faux “war on ter­ror”.

An anti-com­mu­nist ji­hadi, Osama bin Laden, was in­flated and de­monised into Amer­ica’s Great Satan. The sup­posed “ter­ror­ist train­ing camps” in Afghanistan were, as I saw with my eyes, camps where Pak­istani in­tel­li­gence trained ji­hadis to fight in In­dia-oc­cu­pied Kash­mir.

Afghanistan, re­mote, bleak and moun­tain­ous, was rightly known as “the grave­yard of em­pires”. The Bri­tish Em­pire in­vaded Afghanistan three times in the 19th cen­tury. The Soviet Union, world’s great­est land power, in­vaded in 1979, seek­ing a cor­ri­dor to the Ara­bian Sea and Gulf.

All were de­feated by the fierce Pash­tun war­rior tribes of the Hindu Kush. But Ge­orge W. Bush rushed in where an­gels feared to tread, in a fu­tile at­tempt to con­quer an un­con­quer­able peo­ple for whom war was their favourite pas­time.

I was with the mu­jahidin when fight­ing the Soviet oc­cu­pa­tion in the 1980’s, and again the newly-formed Tal­iban in the early 1990’s. As I wrote in my book, War at the Top of the World, the Pash­tun war­riors were the bravest men I’d ever seen. They had only an­cient weapons but pos­sessed bound­less courage.

Dur­ing the 2001 US in­va­sion, the Amer­i­cans al­lied them­selves to the heroin and opi­umdeal­ing Ta­jik North­ern Al­liance, to former Com­mu­nist al­lies of the Sovi­ets, and to the north­ern Uzbeks, blood foes of the Pash­tun and former Soviet Com­mu­nist al­lies.

Tal­iban, which had noth­ing to do with 9/11, had shut down 90% of Afghanistan’s heroin and opium trade. The US-al­lied North­ern Al­liance re­stored it, mak­ing Afghanistan again the world’s lead­ing sup­plier of heroin and opium.

US oc­cu­pa­tion forces, backed by im­mense tac­ti­cal air­power, al­lied them­selves with the most crim­i­nal ele­ments in Afghanistan and in­stalled a pup­pet regime of CIA as­sets. The old Com­mu­nist se­cret po­lice, no­to­ri­ous for their record of tor­ture and atroc­i­ties, was kept in power by CIA to fight Tal­iban.

Last month, Wash­ing­ton’s Spe­cial In­spec­tor Gen­eral for Afghan Re­lief is­sued a damn­ing re­port show­ing how mass cor­rup­tion, bribery, pay­offs and drug money had fa­tally un­der­mined US ef­forts to build a vi­able Afghan so­ci­ety.

What’s more, with­out 24/7 US air cover, Wash­ing­ton’s yes-men in Kabul would be quickly swept away. The Afghan Army and po­lice have no loy­alty to the regime; they fight only for the Yan­kee dol­lar.

A re­port by Global Re­search has es­ti­mated the 15-year Afghan War and the Iraq War had cost the United States US$6 tril­lion. Small won­der when petrol trucked up to Afghanistan from Pak­istan costs the Pen­tagon US$400 per gal­lon.

Some es­ti­mates put the war cost at US$33,000 per cit­i­zen. But Amer­i­cans do not pay a spe­cial war tax, as it should be. Bush or­dered the to­tal costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars be con­cealed in the na­tional debt.

Of­fi­cially, 2,216 Amer­i­can sol­diers have died in Afghanistan and 20,049 were se­ri­ously wounded. Some 1,173 US mer­ce­nar­ies have also been killed. Large num­bers of US fi­nanced mer­ce­nar­ies still re­main in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Barack Obama promised to with­draw nearly all US troops from Afghanistan by 2016. In­stead, more US troops are on the way to pro­tect the Kabul pup­pet regime from its own peo­ple. Tal­iban and its dozen-odd al­lied re­sis­tance move­ments (“ter­ror­ists” in Pen­tagon speak faith­fully par­roted by the US me­dia) are steadily gain­ing ter­ri­tory and fol­low­ers.

The US last month dra­gooned Nato and other satrap states to a “vol­un­tary” donor con­fer­ence for Afghanistan where they had to cough up another US$15.2 bil­lion and likely send some more troops to this hope­less con­flict. Wash­ing­ton can­not bear to ad­mit de­feat by tiny Afghanistan or see this strate­gic na­tion fall into China’s sphere.

Omi­nously, the US is en­cour­ag­ing In­dia to play a larger role in Afghanistan, thus plant­ing the seeds of a dan­ger­ous Pak­istaniIn­dian-Chi­nese con­fronta­tion.

There was no men­tion of the 800lb go­rilla in the con­fer­ence room: Afghanistan’s role as the world’s by now largest heroin/opium/mor­phine pro­ducer – all un­der the proud aus­pices of the United States gov­ern­ment. The new US pres­i­dent will in­herit this em­bar­rass­ing prob­lem.

Com­ments: let­ters@the­sundaily.com

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