Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 20, 2015

U.S. Military Seeks Reasons To Prolong Afghanistan Occupation

When the U.S. attacked Afghanistan the purpose was to remove the Taliban government which had given guest status to the AlQaeda leadership. Only a few weeks later, that job was done.

The alleged purpose of the occupation of Afghanistan then changed into hunting down AlQaeda remnants. But those had already fled to Pakistan and elsewhere.

The U.S. military instead started to hunt and kill former Taliban members even when those were just local farmers or former Taliban leaders who had given up any fighting and were willing to cooperate. This manhunt and the accompanying torture and killing of civilians revived the Taliban movement and a new revolt, now against the U.S. occupation and its puppet government, started. The alleged purpose of the U.S. military in Afghanistan changed again.

The task was now to fight the new anti-government forces while building an Afghan army that would be able to later take care of that job. But finally peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban leadership started. An end of the inner Afghan conflict is slowly coming into sight.

But now, as pressure on the military to leave Afghanistan grows, a new threat conveniently springs up just in time to argue for a further occupation:

The emergence of militants in Afghanistan claiming allegiance to Islamic State could disrupt White House plans to remove the remaining U.S. troops in that country by the end of next year.

Islamic State has provided new ammunition to Pentagon and Afghan officials seeking to persuade the White House to reverse its decision to pull out U.S. troops. Their argument, in effect, is that Islamic State could grow and the same security collapse that occurred in Iraq could happen in Afghanistan if the U.S. removes its troops as planned.

Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said Sunday that President Obama’s pledge to withdraw most of the 9,800 troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2016 was made before the appearance of Islamic State. He said the militant group has contributed to a worsening overall security situation in the country this year.

The threat of the somewhat imaginary Islamic State group in Afghanistan is vague. Those who are said to have joined it are former Taliban. The overall picture and number of potential enemies has thereby not changed at all. There has also been no significant operation yet of Islamic State followers in Afghanistan. They have likely killed less Afghan troops and civilians than the U.S. does with its regular friendly fire mistakes:

NATO forces launched an airstrike on an Afghan army outpost Monday, killing eight Afghan soldiers and wounding five others in an apparent friendly-fire incident, local officials told NBC News.
A later statement by Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense said that helicopters belonging to the U.S.-led military coalition had come under enemy attack in the area and returned fire, mistakenly hitting the army post, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. military has recently intensified its air strikes in Afghanistan. But air strikes can never solve the issues on the ground nor can foreign troops. Only the local people can. There are no real justifications for the U.S. military to stay in Afghanistan. The inner Afghan conflict has been going on since at least 1978. It will take another decade or even longer to calm down. There will always be this or that group that disagrees with the Afghan government and takes up arms. Outer forces with whatever motive would only prolong that time frame.

The U.S. military should be ordered out of Afghanistan and the country shielded from further outer military intervention. Only then can it find back to peace.

Posted by b on July 20, 2015 at 16:31 UTC | Permalink


Has any nation in history ever been involved in such a series of clusterf*cks like modern America?From Vietnam to the present,a total failure to grasp the reality of self determination that we ourselves claim as righteous,but refuse to grant to others.Hypocrisy,our greatest flaw.


Posted by: dahoit | Jul 20 2015 16:40 utc | 1

@1: I'm not quite sure the last few wars and their pathetic results are failures. I think things work as designed: destabilizing and smashing complete states.

Posted by: g_h | Jul 20 2015 16:54 utc | 2

i think it is called the 'occupy planet' movement, putting as many usa military bases on the planet as the us$ ponzi scheme allows for.. modern version of rape and pillage...

Posted by: james | Jul 20 2015 17:21 utc | 3


That's an example of the Seeming Madness: The Suffocating Unreality that Kills.

Posted by: James | Jul 20 2015 17:32 utc | 4

James @ 4

thanks for that, Silber's trenchant voice...

What they want is dominion over the world. They intend to have it. In pursuit of this aim, as they believe the necessity arises, they will destroy anyone and anything that stands in their way. To describe their behavior as insane is to miss the much more critical point, and to minimize the far greater danger. They know exactly what they're doing. They're hoping that you do not. To date, far too many people oblige them

Posted by: john | Jul 20 2015 18:14 utc | 5

There are no real justifications for the U.S. military to stay in Afghanistan.

Sure there are:

1) A US foot in the door of Eurasia to better position itself against its Russian and Chinese rivals.
2) A central garrison to better coordinate actions against opponents in the Middle East and Asia.

The inner Afghan conflict has been going on since at least 1978.

Conflict yes, inner no. Because the US initiated it by creating the muhajadeen who later became al qaeda and the taliban, and now daesh/isis/scum.

I'm not quite sure the last few wars and their pathetic results are failures. I think things work as designed: destabilizing and smashing complete states.

Damn straight. The only problem the "mainstream" has with these actions is that they ran over budget.
It doesn't matter that over a million people have been slaughtered, valuable resources wasted, precious time diverted from addressing the global ecosystem collapse, or that the planet is drifting towards WW III. When something becomes a "bad investment" that's when the operation gets liquidated and blamed on "liberal" dissenters.

To describe their behavior as insane is to miss the much more critical point, and to minimize the far greater danger. They know exactly what they're doing.

Obviously they're batfuck insane but they don't know exactly what they're doing. Insanity is a disablity not an asset. Evil geniuses exist only in movies.
The fact is:
1) The US is very heavily in debt with little prospect of digging out except by precipitating ever larger versions of the financial three card monte ... which creates as many problems as it's supposed to solve.
2) Brand america is in the toilet and will be there for quite a while. So despite the confusion and disarray of populations around the globe you can expect heavy resistance from potential victims and pumped up morale from potential rivals.
3) Despite the millions of metric tons of agitprop, the US is simply not capable of running the world or fighting major engagements on several fronts. It's military is aging and overrated. It may be able to destroy the planet but that's about it.

Posted by: Some Guy | Jul 20 2015 19:24 utc | 6

I agree, the U.S. should be truly out of Afghanistan. Obama's "end of combat operations" has proven to be no end at all as U.S. regularly attacks the Taliban and now Islamic State. Sadly a complete U.S. withdrawal does not mean peace but just more war. Non-Taliban militias in the north are already gearing up, while the Taliban continues to make territorial gains. Though the rise of the Islamic State seems oversold, it is not unthinkable in a return to all-out Afghan civil war of Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks and Pashtuns that it could carve a foothold from which it would slaughter takfiris.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jul 20 2015 20:14 utc | 7

Here's a great antidote, in the way that there are other actors afoot, to the pathetic, destructive same old chaos put up by the hegemon. M K Bhadrakumar, the Indian former ambassador and pundit, covers much of this in "Karzai calls for Asian regional leadership"......

For the first time since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, a regional opinion is steadily crystalizing against the open-ended American and NATO military presence in the region.
Karzai is traveling in the region surrounding Afghanistan creating an awareness that enduring peace in his hapless nation can only be reached through a regional initiative involving Russia, China and India.
Karzai’s second point is that Russia, China and India should intensify their involvement in the Afghan situation as that would “balance” the western presence in Afghanistan and would strengthen Afghan sovereignty.

Karzai’s third point is his oft-repeated allegation that the U.S. has never been sincere or transparent about its intentions in the war, neither “siding” with the Afghan government nor with the Taliban, and instead has been pursuing its geostrategies.
In his characteristic style, Karzai danced around the subject, but dropping strong hints that the IS is in reality an American creation and its appearance in the Hindu Kush is fraught with geopolitical consequences for all regional states, as the U.S. would be finessing it as an instrument to advance its geostrategies.
Significantly, the scheduling of Karzai’s visit to Moscow hardly a few weeks before the summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation in Ufa (July 9-10) and the advance disclosure by the Russian side that Putin looks forward to receiving him not only carry much political symbolism but also provide a good indication that the Russian foreign and security establishment pays close attention to Karzai’s assessments.

With India and Pakistan joining the SCO and China wanting a peaceful world for its projects and trade, I think the local consensus will be happy to show Uncle Sam the exit door.

There is a lot more at the link, so enjoy! And check out Karzai's China and Russia TV interviews with the links at the very end. He hit it out of the park.

Posted by: kafkananda | Jul 20 2015 20:48 utc | 8
Alexis Tsipras: The man who cost Greece billions

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 20 2015 20:52 utc | 9

I messed up on that last part there. Islamic State is of course a takfiri group par excellence. Afghanistan is 10-20% Shia. So there would be plenty of grist for the kind of sensationalist atrocities that Islamic State has built its brand around. Two quotes from the last story b links to in his post show that at least for the purposes of propaganda there is something to the Taliban-Islamic State feud:

In public statements, as well as in a letter addressed to the Islamic State’s self-declared caliph, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Taliban have warned the Islamic State to stay out of Afghanistan.

In the most recent issue of Dabiq, the Islamic State’s online English-language magazine, the group derided Mullah Omar as a minor leader lacking global vision. It said Mullah Omar “was at most one day a former leader of one of the Islamic lands,” and possibly dead. Mullah Omar has not been seen in public in years.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jul 20 2015 21:02 utc | 10

Of course US troops want to stay there, it's US policy, as long as one condition is fulfilled, that they retain their extra-territorial rights. The moment that they're subject to Afghan law, they'll be out.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 20 2015 21:49 utc | 11

I can see why some people think the USA should withdraw from Afghanistan since none of its stated goals were achieved, but it's obvious why they will not do that. Aside from the vast mineral deposits and the critical foothold in Central Asia, US bases are set along the prospective TAPI pipeline route.
The Trans-Afghan Pipeline Initiative: No Pipe Dream August 2014

Neither Dems nor Republicsns support nation building anymore, so what you see is what you get....a bankrupt , failed state that is prevented from creating a strong central government that could block resource extraction or pressure the US military to leave.

Washington wouldn't,t persevere with the same policy in Syria, Lybia, and iraq, if the policy wasn,t succeeding in the way they figured.

Posted by: Plantman | Jul 20 2015 23:32 utc | 12

Their argument, in effect, is that Islamic State could grow and the same security collapse that occurred in Iraq could happen in Afghanistan
Riiight. The Islamic State is gonna' succeed where Russia, Britain, and the US didn't? This I gotta' see.

Posted by: MRW | Jul 20 2015 23:44 utc | 13

kafkananda @8

Good link. Thanks.

Posted by: MRW | Jul 21 2015 0:54 utc | 14

@12 Plantman

The Trans-Afghan Pipeline Initiative: No Pipe Dream

Finally, TAPI would create a viable alternative to the proposed Iran-Pakistan pipeline, which could help western negotiators maintain the economic pressure on Tehran to end its nuclear weapons’ program. With TAPI, Pakistan can find a way to meet some of its energy needs without providing Tehran with an economic windfall and undermining western economic sanctions.

I think that the Chinese are building the Iran-Pakistan pipeline now.

Iran-Pakistan Pipeline Receives Boost from Nuclear Deal

Iran has been eager to build a natural gas pipeline to Pakistan and India, a project that would benefit all three countries. This would allow Iran to tap into a hungry market for its gas, and Pakistan and India could access much needed energy for electricity. The pipeline has been in the works for years but essentially on hold due to U.S. opposition. The U.S. has sought to block the project in order to isolate Iran and deny it of export earnings.

Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi responded to news of a historic agreement between Iran and the West by saying that the gas pipeline could begin operations by the end of 2017. “Removal of sanctions will facilitate us in meeting our commitments and addressing our energy needs,” he said in an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency, and reported by UPI.

In fact, Pakistan got a head start on the pipeline, lining up financing from China earlier this year to build its section of the project, which will run from Gwadar to Nawabshah. A second section from Gwadar to the Iranian border also needs to be constructed, and that portion will be built by Pakistan itself. “We’re building it,” minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told The Wall Street Journal in April when Chinese President Xi Jingping visited Islamabad. “The process has started.”

The US will keep trying to do anything it can to cause all the trouble it can in Russia's 'soft underbelly' and China's periphery, that's why it is in Afghanistan. But this particular train does seem to have left the station. And now, with Pakistan and India both becoming full members of the SCO and Iran's application in the wings, the 'soft-underbelly' of US-occupied Afghanistan has been firmed up by countries that perceive the US as the world's arch destabilizer - indeed, devastator and destroyer. I agree across the board with some guy @6 ... but especially with his second of three points at the end of his post.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 21 2015 1:12 utc | 15

The US is protecting its drug trade in Afghanistan.

Posted by: linda amick | Jul 21 2015 1:28 utc | 16


Karzai calls for Asian regional leadership

Karzai has drawn attention to something of profound significance. India cannot afford to ignore the disruptive role that the U.S. plays in the region. Where the U.S. has the upper hand is that it can exploit the contradictions in regional politics – enabling Washington to “run with the hare and hunt with the hounds,” as Karzai has assessed.

Ain't that the truth. The rottenness of the 'US brand' as some guy says has finally become its most salient characteristic. If India and Pakistan can cooperate on Afghanistan ... and share a pipeline full of Iranian gas ... maybe Iran and Turkey can follow their lead ... they already share the pipeline ... and discover "that enduring peace in this hapless nation can only be reached through a regional initiative involving" Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, and that "regional opinion is steadily crystalizing against the open-ended American and NATO military presence in the region" as well.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 21 2015 1:43 utc | 17


Well it's a money maker for the CIA for sure, but the world market for heroin is as constant as that for fossilfuels to the addicted. If they lose Afghanistan they'll just exploit the drug trade elsewhere. In addition to lining their pockets its real importance is as a source of 'untraceable' funds, a la Iran-Contra.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 21 2015 1:52 utc | 18

If the stated figure of 9,800 (expendable) US cannon-fodder in Afghanistan is correct then I'm confident that they're not getting out because they can't. i.e. the Pentagoons have blundered (yet again) and are now stuck with the consequences of believing too much of their own bullshit.

The US deployment in Afghanistan was arranged on the basis of Base & Bunker which involves setting up hundreds of bases ranging in importance from temporary outposts to large, multi-discipline, permanent bases (think Regional HQs). However, this arrangement has one gigantic (terminal) flaw. Every base, large or small, needs the ability to maintain a protective perimeter AND relies on nearby bases which can send help to 'rescue' any base which comes under fire from Freedom Fighters with longer range weapons.

Also the Pentagoons relied on Russian-controlled airports to fly troops and supplies in and out of Afghanistan. It's not hard to imagine that the US-Russia friction induced by the spectacularly asinine Ukraine SNAFU has diminished Russia's willingness to cooperate with their Afghan SNAFU.

Base & Bunker looks OK until the time comes to withdraw because withdrawal means reducing the number and size of bases. This translates to fewer bases, farther apart and with decreased ability to defend themselves and longer delays until a base under fire can be 'rescued' by its diminished neighbours. Lack of cooperation from Russia makes matters worse.

Imo this story is about Pentagoons falling flat on their faces, then jumping up and saying "We meant to do that!"

I always suspected that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for them to get out in one piece (like every other bunch of racist supremicist clowns who've tried the same thing) and now they're on the verge of reaping the whirlwind.

It couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of assholes.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 21 2015 2:55 utc | 19

Some Guy @6:

Agree. Afghanistan is a reasonably good base for making trouble in a region that China wants to project power (and economic development) into.

Also, remember that Afghanistan (with the approval of the US) supports the Pakistan 'Taliban' that has been destabilizing that country for years. The reason had been that Pakistan was supporting the Afghanistan 'Taliban'. But recently Pakistan has pulled back from destabilizing Afghanistan, and it's quite possible Saudi Arabia has stepped into the vacuum and funded a new offshoot of ISIS, which is 'real' in Afghanistan to the extent that random Salafist Islamic fighters do take on one name and drop another depending on who pays.

The real aim of ISIS is to assert Saudi Arabia's declining influence in Afghanistan and also, primarily, in Pakistan, or to take revenge against Pakistan for moving away from it. Destabilizing Pakistan makes it _much_ more difficult for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (or whatever it's called) to get built and hook the oil and gas of Iran, Saudi Arabia's main rival, up to China.

The US interest, as it is in Syria, would be to back ISIS as it fights for US interests in the region, and to steer it in the 'proper' direction. Destabilizing and possibly partitioning Pakistan might be attractive to US imperialists. The US maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan gives it that option and many more than pulling out would.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 21 2015 8:31 utc | 20

I hadn't read jfl's posts which are fairly similar to mine. Good posts.

One thing I wanted to add, that I don't think the US and the old men of Saudi Arabia and their terror militias will succeed in blocking China's route to Iranian oil/gas. There is too much money to be made and too much popular support for economic development and against ethnic separatism and religious intolerance, the two key tools the US and Saudi Arabia would use to 'inspire the troops'. Not just in Pakistan, but also in India. But China needs to do all it can ($$$) to make sure India is on its side.

That failure will be the decisive loss in the US effort to isolate China and block China and Russia's domination of the Eurasian heartland. And that will be the end of US sole superpower status.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 21 2015 8:48 utc | 21

Some Guy @ 6 says:

Evil geniuses exist only in movies

no, consistent triumph over 'evil geniuses' is what only exists in movies.

from one side of your mouth you agree that America's destabilizing war effort has worked according to design, while from the other side of your mouth you claim they don't really know what they're doing.


1)they are in debt
2)brand America is in decline
3)the US is not capable of running the world

and then the real kicker...

It may be able to destroy the planet but that's about it

what the fuck!!

Posted by: john | Jul 21 2015 9:35 utc | 22

Agree. But that's not the intention of the US. They want to stay as long as possible.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 21 2015 11:23 utc | 23

Yes,there are people who enjoy the misery of others(Zion)but no,I don't believe our poohbahs wanted US to be embarrassed on the world stage repeatedly by our stupid and totally unproductive actions of invasion and murder.They wanted a totally destroyed and divided Middle East?Yes,there is no doubt they've been played like fools by Zion,and still are,of course.
They thought they had a winning hand,but instead they are four flushers.

Posted by: dahoit | Jul 21 2015 14:10 utc | 24

"To get the Taliban' (i.e., the same guys that St Ronnie hailed as Freedom Fighters!! )...was only Pentagon's cover story.
Remember the secretive meetings at the very start of Bush regime? when Cheney had secret meetings with scads of Oil Corp executives...maps were used...but the content of their discussions was never revealed /"declassified"....he immediately after 9/11 dispatched troops to Afghanistan and again I ask you to remember back to that time, when we learned that instead of establishing bases where Osama, allegedly was hiding (mountains) they began building bases ALONG THE AFGHAN PIPELINE.
Several generals at that time even acknowledged that because of those pipelines the US would remain there for several decades to come!!

Posted by: Miriam | Jul 21 2015 22:53 utc | 25


I think you are confusing the Taliban with the Mujahedeen, different folks with different strokes. Ronnie's Freedom Fighters, The Northern Alliance were the fighters who defeated the Taliban when the US intervened in 2001.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 21 2015 23:22 utc | 26

Wayoutwest @26: You're right, but like the intolerant Sunni mujahadeen a few years earlier, the intolerant Sunni Taliban drew heavily from refugee madrassas in Pakistan and received heavy support from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the latter essential to their 1996 victory in most of Afghanistan. A key difference is that the U.S. was relatively uninterested at that point, whereas it had been a heavy supporter of the mujahadeen in 80s and early 90s.

Miriam @25, although you are right about Bush/Cheney and their oil pipeline dream/fiasco, I don't think that short-sighted foolishness reflects the big US historical picture in the region. Expecting to be able to build that pipeline was just dumb. The US under Obama is back to playing the Great Game, which has nothing to do with a mythical 'Afghan pipeline' but is instead about maintaining/asserting control over gas/oil resources in the Middle East and central Asia. Afghanistan is a base for disrupting neighboring countries trying to independently develop resources the US considers 'ours'.

Hopefully the US gets booted out of Afghanistan as soon as possible and China's economic development approach wins out.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 22 2015 9:49 utc | 27

Afgh. It is just to keep up military spending, military industry in the US, it doesn’t matter how the Taliban - Pashtun peasants, local dignitaries, ex-allies..- are treated, nobody cares. The point is to keep the cauldrons boiling, skim off the US tax payer, provide gigantic profits for a few, fool the US ppl into eternal war, keep Afghanistan as a country in chaos incapable of any action.

Remember the great touted mineral wealth of Afgh. and pipeline opportunities (UNOCAL) in Afgh? At that time the Taliban were courted. What was actually realised? Nothing.

For the invasion of Iraq, Bush / Cheney said something like it would pay for itself from oil revenues! After destroying the country and then killing Saddam, who is active in the oil trade in Iraq today? Not the US.

Wiki lists 23 foreign coop projects oil in Iraq (ok just blah wiki ..), they are from the EU, China, Korea, Russia, Malaysia, Turkey, Angola, Japan. The only US projects are one from Occidental and one from Exxon both minor.

one ref article (counterpunch), couldn’t find better (on Iraq, UNOCAL)

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 22 2015 15:33 utc | 28

Iran may be quietly encouraging the US to stay in Afghanistan now that the Islamic State has shown its ability to sketch out the Caliphate reaching from the Maghreb to the Ganges and begin to build its forces in those areas. Iran certainly appreciates the threat of another country on their border turning their guns in their direction and they are already strained by their deployment of forces and aid to Syria and Iraq.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 22 2015 17:14 utc | 29

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Posted by: Timon Screaming | Aug 10 2015 23:33 utc | 30

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