Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 14, 2017

The War In Afghanistan Is A Racket

The United States will again escalate the war in Afghanistan.

Sixteen years ago the U.S, invaded the country and decided to eliminate the ruling Taliban for something that was planed elsewhere by a different group. Since the invasion the U.S. tried to defeat the Taliban. It has lost that fight. As soon as it leaves Afghanistan the Taliban will be back in power. But no one is willing to pull the plug on the nonsensical military approach.

The Taliban are part of Afghanistan and a significant segment of the population supports them. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan it put the brutal and utterly corrupt warlords back into power. These were exactly the people the Taliban were created to hold down and the reason why they could take power in the first place. While demanding a strict religious life the Taliban successfully took care of local security and eliminated the lawless and corrupt rule of the warlords.

It is no wonder then that a large part of the population wishes to have them back in power.

The U.S. supported government in Kabul is utterly corrupt. The Afghan military and police the U.S. pays is likewise only motivated by money. It is not willing to fight. It takes high casualties during Taliban attacks and therefore avoids contact with them whenever possible. Some 60 % of the country is now more or less back under Taliban control. The government's say is restricted to the bigger cities.

It is obvious that this trend will continued and sooner or later the Taliban will be back in power. The only sensible strategy is to negotiate with them and to find some solution that allows them to rule while they guaranteeing that no harm will emanate from Afghanistan for the rest of the world.

But no one in the U.S. is willing to take responsibility for that. Who would want to be blamed for "neglecting" Afghanistan when another 9/11 happens - as unlikely as that might be? Therefore additional troops need to be send whenever the Taliban seem to gain the advantage over the puppet government forces.

President Trump has punted on the issue and has given full authority to the Defense Department to continue the war in Afghanistan with as many troops as it sees fit. It is now the generals, not Trump, who will be blamed should things in Afghanistan go wrong. But the military has no idea what to do about Afghanistan.

Yesterday the Secretary of Defense Mattis was asked during a Congress hearing what "winning" in Afghanistan would mean:

The idea, [Mattis] said, would be to drive down the violence to a level that could be managed by Afghan government forces with the help of American and allied troops in training their Afghan counterparts, providing intelligence and delivering what Mr. Mattis called “high-end capability,” an apparent allusion to air power and possibly Special Operations forces.

The result, he said, would be an “era of frequent skirmishing,” but not a situation in which the Afghan government no longer faced a mortal threat.

Winning in Afghanistan is an "era of frequent skirmishes" in which the proxy government is continuously endangered? That does, of course, not make any sense. It is a holding strategy that will only work as long as the general framework stays the same. Should the Taliban change their strategy or a new actor come in the "holding" strategy will be finished.

One new actor is already there. An Afghan variant of the "Islamic State" just kicked out the Taliban from the Tora Bora cave complex near the Pakistani border. Tora Bora was once though to be the retreat area of Al-Qaeda's Osama Bin-Laden and was attacked during the U.S. invasion in 2001/2.

But who is behind the Islamic State Khorasan Province’s (ISKP) in Afghanistan? Most of its fighters seem to be former Taliban who either defected in Afghanistan or were kicked out of Pakistan when the Pakistani military put pressure on their home areas. The real question now is who pays them and what do they want?

Officially no one seems to know.

For the warlords in Afghanistan the U.S. occupation has become a huge source of money. The U.S. pays them for protecting the goods shipped in from the states  and elsewhere. It is a protection racket. Should the U.S. not pay, its convoys will be attacked by "Taliban". As soon as it pays the local warlords, the "Taliban" will be defeated and the area will be clear again for the trucks to pass. The money the Afghan government receives is likewise dependent on a continuation of the U.S. occupation. No one in the ruling class of Afghanistan has an interest in ending that. The government in Kabul will do nearly anything to keep its money source available.

That may well be the reason why ISIS in Afghanistan was created. It was feared in Kabul that sooner or later the U.S. would find a compromise with the Taliban and leave the country. A new reason had to be found to continue the war.

It is therefore not astonishing that the Afghan secret services, the National Directorate for Security (NDS), was the first sponsor of "ISIS" in Afghanistan. The first "ISIS" fighters were refugees of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) who settled in the eastern province of Nangahar and were put on the NDS payroll:

The most well-known case of these militants finding a welcoming home in Nangarhar is that of the Lashkar-e Islam group led by Mangal Bagh.
Hoping to use them against Pakistan, the Afghan government started to woo some of these fighters, according to influential tribal elders involved in helping relation-building from the districts that sheltered the guest militants.
[E]fforts by the Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), to woo Pakistani militants in Nangarhar have not been confined to Lashkar-e Islam or to militants from Khyber. Tribal elders and ordinary residents of Achin, Nazian and Kot testify that fighters from Orakzai and Mohmand agencies belonging to different factions of the TTP have been allowed free movement across the province, as well as treatment in government hospitals.
It was from these ‘guests’ that the bulk of the Nangarhar-based ISKP foot soldiers emerged, following the official announcement of IS’s expansion to ‘Khorasan Province.’

It is not clear if or to what extend the "ISIS" group in Afghanistan is still controlled by the Afghan government services. Their weapon and ammunition supply is now allegedly coming from Pakistan. But what is clear is that these new participants in the war were first sponsored by the Afghan government and are now a welcome reasons for an extension of the U.S. occupation and the money flows originating from it. Meanwhile the media can reuse its old scary graphics of the Tora Bora complex and sell more advertisement.

The war in Afghanistan has no longer a real purposes. This or that radical group will always exist in Afghanistan. The war helps the U.S. military to claim more budget and to hand out promotions. It helps the Afghan government officials and the warlords to fill their pockets. What it does not do is to better the situation of the general population of Afghanistan or of the United States.

The war has become the proverbial self-licking-ice-cream-cone. It will unfortunately continue to be such under this and probably also the next U.S. presidents.

Posted by b on June 14, 2017 at 18:07 UTC | Permalink


The USA is now in Afghanistan for the minerals. It started out as a way of letting the CIA haul in mass amounts of money from drugs. Now it has morphed for the minerals. Afghanistan has the largest deposits of found lithium on the planet. Afghanistan is to lithium as Saudi Arabia is to oil. We are not about to abandon Afghanistan to the Chinese.
Also, where there is lithium there is rare earth elements, which are even more valuable than lithium.

Posted by: Robert Pinckney | Jun 14 2017 18:15 utc | 1

thanks b.. war is a racket, and there is no shortage of paper money denominated in us$ to pay to keep it going.. the justifications for it all, are beside the point..

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2017 18:36 utc | 2

some afghanis, I know from personal conversation, think part of the agenda in A. is experimentation with weapons in remote, inaccessible areas. there are multiple issues. have we kicked the Vietnam syndrome yet?

Posted by: j | Jun 14 2017 18:38 utc | 3

That the coincidence of the heroin epidemic in the US and our invasion/occupation of Afghanistan isn't mentioned every time the problem is discussed tells you all you need to know about the veracity of the US media. We're only told the cover story for every event of consequence, while those who orchestrate and profit remain safely hidden from public scrutiny.

Posted by: SlapHappy | Jun 14 2017 18:49 utc | 4

But how does the war in Afghanistan differ from US war since world war 2. The US military is a fundamentally a business enterprise. It's function is not to win wars, but to make money. A standing army was created after world war 2 to prevent the depression which the war cured, and it has since created jobs for Americans and money for the plutocracy that has traditionally owned and ruled America.

The idea is to create endless low intensity wars that validate the need for a enormous military budget. Afghanistan is perfect for this aim; relatively small numbers of US military that can endure,the motto being Enduring Freedom. The narcotics industry grows 90+% of the opium for the world, and fuels the prison industry in the USA, and the prison labor for the Free Market.

Huge amounts of money are stolen from the military budget, 2.3 TRILLIONS dollars unaccountable on 9/10, 2001, growing to five trillion on Obama's shift. The banks launder hundreds of billions of drug money every year, a needed resource in financial crisis.

Think of the Afghanistan war as a homicidal business enterprise and it makes perfect sense from a perspective of the plutocracy. And it will endure most likely until the people take the money away from the plutes, the guns away from their gunmen, and the truth away from their truthsters.

Posted by: folktruther | Jun 14 2017 18:56 utc | 5

The Old Empire/US Masonic MIC game in Afghanistan can now morph
Into foreign mercs doing terror in Afghanistan and OBOR.

Call themselves ASSUS

Russia and China will smile and say
"Sure...we'll kick your ASSUS"

Posted by: Brad | Jun 14 2017 19:01 utc | 6

For imperialist USA, it also helps to have a major military presence west of China, south of Russia and east of Iran. Those US bases serve all sorts of malicious activities.

If the Taliban has some kind of consulary presence in Doha, then it shouldn't come to anyones surprise if much of the Afghan Daesh funding comes from Riyadh.

Last but not least, since the US invasion of Afghanistan, the opium production reached sky-high and hasn't dwindled since so the warlords and the bureaucrats in Kabul get some US funding but a big part is also coming from opium production.

Posted by: xor | Jun 14 2017 19:19 utc | 7

@j, #3

some afghanis, I know from personal conversation, think part of the agenda in A. is experimentation with weapons in remote, inaccessible areas.

Any war is always a proving ground for new weapons systems. Look how happy Russia's Oboronexport is after Syria;) Soviet war in Afghanistan saw a test run of many Soviet PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions) both on the ground and from the air--e.g. laser and TV guided bombs. It is just the way it is.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Jun 14 2017 19:20 utc | 8

@2, James

thanks b.. war is a racket, and there is no shortage of paper money denominated in us$ to pay to keep it going..

Actually there is, and this shortage (or limit on printing) doesn't have to manifest itself through some catastrophic economic event. Simple diminished returns, or, in layman's lingo, minuscule bang for a buck will do--such as the case currently. It will not get any better. United States increasingly can not build affordable and effective weapons systems. Very expensive and, in the best case scenario, marginally "better"? Sure. Effective? Very often, no.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Jun 14 2017 19:26 utc | 9

Somebody (somebody | Jun 13, 2017 6:36:01 AM | 178) posted this link yesterday about Monbiot's contention that the US will not leave Afghanistan (if then?) until the Western powers have a pipeline to the West thought Afghanistan.

Note the date -- The war is now 15 years and almost 15 full months old. We are not about to leave without getting something tangible, if then. Any pipeline to the West will have to be "guarded," so...when can the NATO armies leave?

Is this still a major US motive?

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 14 2017 19:27 utc | 10

They really have no shame
or are they afraid he knows far too much? Hope he ll quickly give some interviews.

Posted by: Mina | Jun 14 2017 19:27 utc | 11

Other people have to cope with the Western toys for generations,-say.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Jun 14 2017 19:32 utc | 12

The war in Afghanistan has no longer a real purposes. (sic)

Before I say anything critical, let me first commend you on your unparallelled body of work.

That said, I am always puzzled and quite frankly concerned when the author of a premier Geo-political blog professes to find no strategic purpose behind a nation or a bloc of nation's actions.

Nor is this the first time you have made such remarks. I generally chalk it up to a dry form of Northern European humor which I don't quite grasp.

One could fairly critique such actions as "immoral," "unlikely to succeed," "distasteful my sensibilities," "temporizing," etc.

But, in my humble opinion, failure to find "a real purpose" behind actions does not rise to the generally high level of your writing.

I will leave it to others to elucidate both the tactics and strategy of the endless presence in an unstable centrally located territory. The answers are quite obvious.

Posted by: Malooga | Jun 14 2017 19:43 utc | 13

Arghan War now 15 years and 8 months old...typo, oops.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 14 2017 19:48 utc | 14

Not the most carefully phrased article on this site b.

An Army friend clarifies that he "was never told or read in any of our briefings that we had a stated goal to eliminate the Taliban". He says they fought against the Taliban and warlords insofar as those aided Al Qaeda.

I think your opening salve "Sixteen years ago the U.S, invaded the country and decided to eliminate the ruling Taliban for something that was planed elsewhere by a different group", is not false, but probably a bit myopic. A counterargument is that yes, but the training occurred in Afghanistan. Maybe it is more important to detail the history of U.S. aid to mujahideen prior to 9/11? Or to question whether the military approach (and civilian casualties: gives more or less rational motive for additional attacks against U.S. targets?

Personally, I wonder if the billions spent between Carter and Reagan aiding mujahideen would have been better spent on cancer research, but maybe that's just me.

Posted by: j | Jun 14 2017 19:52 utc | 15


You again did something wrong!!

Posted by: OJS | Jun 14 2017 19:56 utc | 16

@OJS @j

Sorry I didn't realize there was another user with the handle "j"

Posted by: j | Jun 14 2017 19:58 utc | 17

May 22, 2001 of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent
anti-American violators of human rights in the world today. The gift,
announced last Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell,
in addition to other recent aid, makes the United States the main sponsor of
the Taliban and rewards that “rogue regime” for declaring that opium growing
is against the will of God. So, too, by the Taliban’s estimation,
are most human activities, but it’s the ban on drugs
that catches this administration’s attention.

The ban on "drugs" was not the real issue. It was a cover story.
Why did they gift the Tailiban with $43M?

This was a few months before 911.
911 was the day after the 2.3 trillion gone missing.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jun 14 2017 20:23 utc | 18

In 2001 I was quite naive. I actually supported the US war against Afghanistan then for the simple reason that the US public was lusting for war. Afghanistan seemed to be one enemy where we could let off steam without provoking some serious war elsewhere. Sort of like Reagan had to attack Grenada in order to save some face after the fiasco in Lebanon in 1982. It was clear that we could remove the Taliban government in a few months but it was also clear that it would be the height of stupidity to think we could occupy that country for the next 16 years. Alas, dumbo Bush decided to do just that. Afghanistan did have a traditional system with a king in Kabul that was tolerated as long as he didn't try to rule the tribal regions. The US violated that tradition and installed the puppet Karsi to rule the whole country.

In 2000 the Taliban government had nearly eliminated the production of opium poppies in Afghanistan. Today it is the leading source of opium derivatives in the world. This reminds me of the opium wars against China in the 1820's when the Forbes and Delano family fortunes were first made. Some things do not change.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 14 2017 21:19 utc | 19

First and foremost, Afghanistan and its people had absolutely zero to do with 911. Plans to invade Afghanistan were well developed many months prior to 911--the reason for those plans is the primary foreign policy directive of the Outlaw US Empire--Vision 2010 then reissued as Vision 2020, which declares Full Spectrum Domination of the planet and its people to be its #1 goal, with Afghanistan providing the ideal geographical location to pressure both Russia and China--That is the fundamental reason for the Outlaw US Empire's Aggressive War Crime of invasion and unending occupation of that poor country. Nor is it going to end until the Outlaw US Empire is forced to remove itself.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2017 21:31 utc | 21

American involvment in Afghanistan has most likely has had 2 objectives to fulfill:
--- War contractors:
In old days nations went to war to plunder other countries;
but America and Pentagon contractors have gone to war in Afghnistan to plunder the US treasury.

--- Opium production: see

Posted by: Aren Haich | Jun 14 2017 21:40 utc | 22

Russia and Iran must rejoice for the renewed US interest in Afghanistan. Both have borders with Afghanistan and will take pleasure in arming and supporting any forces that would confront and humiliate the US military.
Mathis, get ready for a bumpy road scattered with body bags...
We expect the US to blame Iran and Russia for the mess it is getting into.

Posted by: virgile | Jun 14 2017 21:56 utc | 23

"For the warlords in Afghanistan the U.S. occupation has become a huge source of money. The U.S. pays them for protecting the goods shipped in from the states and elsewhere"

The goods happen to be $1 trillion worth of annual opium/heroin production (which when from 0 tons per annum in 2000 to 13+tons annual production today). It is shipped out to Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and then sent all around the planet. Anybody see a problem with heroin in the US lately?

The big banks take a 20% cut to launder the money. Langley uses the rest to pay its mercenary armies, to buy and control governments, to do any damn thing it wants to.

It's all about freedom and democracy, you know.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jun 14 2017 22:00 utc | 24

Malooga @ 13:

"... The war in Afghanistan has no longer a real purposes (sic)... The war helps the U.S. military to claim more budget and to hand out promotions. It helps the Afghan government officials and the warlords to fill their pockets ..."

I think the answer is staring at both of us in our faces. The war in Afghanistan may no longer have a real geo-strategic purpose if it ever did 15 years ago but it helps to keep ageing military generals in jobs, special military projects current (and providing work for technicians and other specialists) and justify more Congress spending on the military. It also helps circulate money in Afghanistan and enables Afghan government officials and warlords to fill not just their pockets but spread largesse to their families and communities when there are no other jobs to be had because of the chaos and instability. So that's really the purpose of the war: it's an economy in itself.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 14 2017 22:01 utc | 25

when americans enter a country, they turn it into an iraq or an afghanistan or a libya

americans not only love corruption, they actively create it:'The U.S. supported government in Kabul is utterly corrupt. The Afghan military and police the U.S. pays is likewise only motivated by money'

Posted by: brian | Jun 14 2017 22:01 utc | 26


I read this blog frequently.

The comments page is not elastic and you have to scroll sideways to read the page.

This is particularly problematic when reading on a mobile handset or tablet when you are forced to make the font tiny to fit on the screen.

Please fix? I understand it is a very simple matter.


Posted by: joh | Jun 14 2017 22:05 utc | 27

"...our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them..."
~ Irish-American Statesman and failed POTUS Barry O'Bama, Nov 2015, remarking on the current status of the strategy against ISIS™

Contain. And it would be wrong to assume strategy has evolved much past the word contain when it comes to US strategy on and employment of the Afghani based mudjihadeen, and it's various brand names since it's migration back westward since the 80's.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jun 14 2017 22:24 utc | 28

I'm interested in the electoral fig leaf that justifies the occupation. There should have been parliamentary elections last October, but they were postponed because the electoral commission that was created as part of the Kerry-brokered Ghani-Abdullah power-sharing agreement deadlocked. One of the main issues, and a beef of the Abdullah camp, is that there are millions more voter registration cards than actual Afghan voters; plus, Afghan voters do not have to vote at a particular location (giving new meaning to the old crack about "Vote early vote often"). Abdullah argued that he was robbed of victory in 2014 because of this.

In any event, the current parliament is still serving because of a presidential decree by Ghani. If electoral reform is ever agreed upon, it's a fair question if a nationwide vote can even be staged because so much of the country is controlled by the Taliban. So what happens in 2019 when it's time for the next presidential vote? Will Ghani extend his own term by decree, or will he leave that to the fraudulent parliament?

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jun 14 2017 22:30 utc | 29

An important if somewhat OT item of importance regarding war and its reporting surfaced at Southfront in response to an item published by Politico that deserves attention,

I'm rather tempted to comment on what at its base is an attempt to expand the scope of what's being called "Russiagate," but the comment platform is run by Discus which I will never use again due to its censorship and deep state connections. That said, reading some of the comments proves the deluded nature of Politico's readership, and provides evidence for turning the rhetorical table on it by accusing it of fomenting a Fifth Column of propagandized robots.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2017 22:32 utc | 30

Robert Pinckney 2:15:06 PM | 1
"We are not about to abandon Afghanistan to the Chinese."
So, Mr. Wise Man. Who is "we"? Do you identify with the u.s. sucker class's interests?

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 14 2017 22:40 utc | 31

voting changes nothing in the USL: just the nations underwear

Posted by: brian | Jun 14 2017 22:46 utc | 32

I believe the graveyard of empires will be the cause of America's downfall.
Just like the Macedons, the Brits and the Soviets fell.

Posted by: Lourenzo | Jun 14 2017 22:50 utc | 33

It's all about the lithium, and not letting the Chinese having it.
" " " " Opium (poppy fields) and cornering the market to finance Black Opps.

Posted by: Jean-Louis Desranleau | Jun 14 2017 22:55 utc | 34

In 2001 I was quite naive....
Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 14, 2017 5:19:30 PM | 19

Welcome to the club, ToivoS!

To our mutual defense, one can provide short and long justification. Afghanistan was definitely ruled by an "outlaw regime", and al-Qaeda, the outfit that, as they claimed, masterminded 9/11 was definitely present there, and on top of that, it seemed certain that the American coalition can find popular support in the country, spur economic development and opportunity, etc. At that important point we were TOTALLY wrong. Is it the case that this is inherently wrong in any country under an occupation, "mandate regime" etc.? Historically there are stories of success, especially if you count the cases when after 40-50 years the population turns against the installed government -- nothing lasts forever, after all. I think that there are two main elements of successful occupation, and alas, both were missing.

The first is a certain degree of "common cultural wavelength". An outside power never rules efficiently without local cadres. Recruiting those cadres requires at least imperfect ability to figure out who can be trusted. That would be hopeless if no significant segment of the population is minimally sympathetic to the outside power. Thus one could count as "success" east-central European countries under Soviet domination. After few initial years, there were numerous Communist parties providing the core support of the governments, and assorted functions, from security and military to industrial development were adequately performed. The direct application of force by Soviet troops and security forces was reduced to minimal. For example, in Poland there was a period of roughly four years with armed resistance, and building up a Communist party was a bit hindered by quite meticulous purge in 1937-38: the only ranked Communists that survived were in Polish prisons, and the leader, in exile in Paris, came to Moscow to attend his trial. Nevertheless, Stalin was careful to leave enough middle ranked people alive for his future plans. He also used Soviet cadres with family links to Poland or those who learned Polish (not that hard for a Russian or Ukrainian speaker). But that would not work without massive and successful local recruitment. American occupation of Philippines was also successful, after initial bloodshed the upper classes provided cadres for running the administration and economy and cemented local dynasties that rule Philippines till today (Duterte's family included). I suspect that American knew much less about Philippines than Russians about Poland, but the upper classes that thrived under the previous colonial rule could adapt to the new one.

The second ingredient, of equal importance, is the ability of fostering economic growth and other aspects of mundane life like maintaining administration, law and order etc. There have to be some reason to think positively about the outside power, or at least to be grumpy in moderation (which would be the "majority feeling" in the east-central Europe). Ideally, those two ingredients reinforce each other.

Somehow, none of the ingredients manifested itself in Afghanistan and Iraq. Concerning recruitment, the population was divided between those who detested the outside power and those who despised it. The feeling was mutual. One could think that it should be a simplicity itself to put 100-200 thousands of the "natives" on the payroll and train them to be effective local military + security. It seems that from day 1 the trainers and trainees hated each other. In Afghanistan that manifests itself in incidents of a government soldier shooting the Americans and the end effect of the pitiful state of armed forces after 16 years. How long does it take for Taliban to train their people? My impression was that in the initial period, the warlords in Afghanistan, each with a local web of "his people" and connections, tried to cooperate, and they got generous bribes for that, but somehow that went downhill. By the way of contrast, pro-Soviet Afghan military was somewhat reliable and there were numerous pro-government local militias, most notably in the region ethnically dominated by Uzbeks. One can take into account how much resources Soviets put in Afghanistan. Roughly same number of troops, but with less sophisticated weapons and less training that professional Western militaries. Some economic aid, but a very small fraction of the Western spending. Then consider what was the external aid to the regime opponents in Communist times and in American time. The conclusion is that American are doing much worse. In other words, a Communist superpower in its declining years was more effective that a "free market" power, and as we can see now, also it its declining years.

The main feature of the declining period of the West is de-industrialization, particularly in USA + UK. It is hard to stimulate the economic growth in Afghanistan and Iraq when we lost the ability to do it at home. And it is not like American and Brits have a ton of good ideas what to do with agriculture in a "backward country". And one cannot replace the more "primary" parts of the economy with the growth in, say, financial services. Ideas of unleashing local entrepreneurial spirit by writing tax regulations according to the most recent templates developed by AEI were total crap (and, in retrospect, a surprise that someone tried to do it).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 14 2017 23:41 utc | 35

Lithium in Afghanistan: ???? Link?

The largest lithium deposits are in the southern Andes, Chile is the largest producer and has the largest known deposits, next is Argentina. The largest undeveloped lithium deposits are in Bolivia. The lack of investments in Bolivia shows that lithium is not scarce or expensive enough to invest in remote landlocked locations.

The most exportable mineral in Afghanistan seems to be copper ore that can be processed into copper concentrate without local metallurgy, and the Chinese are supposed to developed a large deposit, and to build a railroad to Pakistan to transport the product.

On that topic, phosphates in Syria may be important in the near future. EU made a directive to reduced allowed cadmium content in phosphate fertilizers, and apparently, the only current producer with sufficiently low cadmium is Russia, but Syrian phosphate mines, like those liberated from ISIS in the last month, are equally good. Phosphates are cheap, but if you disallow Moroccan and other African phosphates you get a shortage and premium prices for the "acceptable" phosphate. Since the "base price" is low, agriculture can still thrive with the "premium prices". Besides the fact that any source of foreign currency would be very helpful to war-thorn Syria, it would help EU to re-think their sanctions on the trade with Syria (and possibly, with Russia).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 14 2017 23:55 utc | 36

Personally, I wonder if the billions spent between Carter and Reagan aiding mujahideen would have been better spent on cancer research, but maybe that's just me.

Posted by: j | Jun 14, 2017 3:52:52 PM | 15

My impression is that there is no shortage of cancer research. More troubling, the directions which we can observe now lead to the development of super-expensive drugs that are very effective in giving billions of dollars of revenue to the drug company and which give some improvements in "survival rates". Of course, this is better than billions of dollars to weapon makers etc., but nevertheless we can see a similar scheme of waste and enormous privatize profits. The same goes with research on allergies, infectious diseases etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 15 2017 0:02 utc | 37

This column is a bit like being in a room full of god botherer's all tryin to proselytize their 'faith'. A big mob of different points of view each one determined to somehow prove that theirs is the one truth.

The opium one is particularly problematic especially in regard to amerika because while I have no doubt that there are people in Afghanistan making big bucks outta growing & selling opium and that doubtless some are amerikan, the incidence of afghanistan sourced smack or indeed any illegally manufactured opioid or morph in amerika is infinitesimal.
The amerikan middle class prefers it's opioids to have a Purdue, Johnson & Johnson, Teva or whatever stamp of approval on every dose.
There are street opioids available in amerika for those who lack a decent 'health' plan, but in the main that is either mexican hammer 'n tack, or garage fetynal knocked out by the great granchildren of bathtub gin makers who are seeking to diversify their product range outta crystal meth.

On the other hand if I were to cruise the redlight district that adjoins Frankfurt's train station, I betcha I could get on in a flash and that there is a 90% certainty the product would be from the ME and probably be Afghan.

Europe is the main western market for afghanistan's opium, while I doubt that it's paucity in amerika is purely coincidental, I also doubt opium production is more than an ancillary driver for the endless war.

Gas pipelines, ability to squat with amerika's buttcheeks up against China, Russia & Iran are also important, as is the blood money laundry that is the MIC - all these things matter some more than others sure, but taking one or more likely part of one, out of the picture is unlikely to alter jackshit.
IMO this war like most awful long running and seemingly unresolvable conflicts is best compared with a planecrash.
Airplanes have safety systems comprised of redundancies built on redundancies, when a plane crashes without anything obvious like a bomb or missile downing it, the cause is usually a complex combination of a lot of different factors coming in to play at once.

This is what has happened to the people of Afghanistan and it means tragically that stopping asshole amerikans and their ass kissing enablers outta europe and elsewhere from treating the afghan people's homeland as a battlefield to play on, is equally complex.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 15 2017 0:16 utc | 38

For those who are confused and wants to hear the truth just listen the Iranians what they say. More specifically Ayatollah Khamenei.

The leadership of Iran and its the most important people had some kind of conference yesterday where Khamenei had speech.

"Ayatollah Khamenei called issues such as human rights, terrorism, and claims that Iran causes instability in the region excuses by the US against the Islamic Republic. He reminded the audience: The US is a terrorist itself, rears terrorists and supports the Zionist regime--which is the core of terrorism and was created from the beginning by using terror and oppression; Thus, we can never get along with the US."

He spoke with astonishing clarity and without a bit of diplomatic language, he leaves no room for improvement in relationship between two countries.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Jun 15 2017 0:17 utc | 39

Hiya malooga

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 15 2017 0:17 utc | 40

Oh that NYT link @ #38 only talks about non-pharma opiod usage which is great for the Times seeking to protect it's big pharma customers.
Here is a truthdig piece by Emma Niles which puts a little more perspective on the pharma created drug deaths.
Also I noticed some typical corporate obsfucation in the NYT piece. It has 'first responders' claiming that fetynal is stronger or somehow better than presription opiates because it takes more cans of narcan to keep a patient alive.
This is tosh the difference is that fetynal's half life is much longer than morphine or codeine which is the basis of the 'legal' narcotics.
A dose of fetanyl will take about 18 hours to drop from the top of a high to about half effect, whereas morphine/codeine type drugs take around 6 hours only a little longer than the receptor blockers in narcan last in the body before being at half peak intoxication.
So someone stoned on fentynal will require a top up of narcan after 4-5 hours but a pharmaceutical opiod won't.
Incidentally the requirement to dose more often is good for the corporates since it means more product is shifted but it is also a major cause of OD increases as toxicity increases due to overlap.
The alleged 'slow release' products such as the 'contin' range - oxycontin & MS(morphine sulphate)contin is about extending that half life but since it is a half assed jury rig of a solution most likely all that does is increase the chance of OD.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 15 2017 0:51 utc | 41

=>> Debsisdead | Jun 14, 2017 8:51:21 PM | 41

I assume you know that fentanyl is vastly more potent than morphine, so it delivers a much greater reaction in much smaller quantities. They are so small that they are extremely difficult to "cut" into precise dosages. I always suspected that this is the biggest problem.

However, it seems that for people who need it for actual pain relief, the fenanyl "trans-dermal" patches are much more effective, since they are delivered through the skin in a highly controllable manner. People who are given morphine or oxycontin are typically in great pain until they get their next dose. This, apparently is a medical scandal, with the drug makers trying to insist that their drugs work for greater lengths of time than they actually do.

Posted by: blues | Jun 15 2017 1:28 utc | 42

Each new status of Afghanistan seems to be the result of what preceded it. Stupid way to say it I know. But Taliban/Pak imported fighters/jihadi proxies of Carter/Reagan led the way to take out a socialist state and ensnare the Soviets. Pak/US/Saudi work fed the extremists. US even produced books for the schools (for boys mostly ... to become fighters). It seems odd to see pix of people in Afghanistan in the 60s/70s in western clothing. Would the change have happened naturally without the US efforts? I don't know. We can look at our government and like Ollie say, "it's another fine mess you've gotten us into." US Govt involvement/tinkering makes everything magnitudes worse.

From what I read, it's the Russians and Iranians who've taken some of the brunt of Afghani exports (and probaly EU, too). Some must make it to the US but where does the rest come from? Are we turning yet another blind eye to what's going on south of the border?

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 15 2017 1:32 utc | 43

Mina 11
The Saif story was an interesting one and reflects the many factions operating in (the country formerly known as) Libya. BBC is disparaging and the US MSM would be too if they covered it. Maybe he would mention that he talked to Kucinich and the Joint Chiefs and told them there were no air attacks on the rebels in Benghazi and that peace talks were going on. "Incitement to violence and murdering protesters?" That sounds like the charges from US/NATO.

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 15 2017 1:37 utc | 44

@39 - Chauncey Gardiner


I read the comments here with great involvement, but sometimes my head begins to spin a little from all the pieces of the puzzle that come together. How refreshing then to hear the words directly from the oppressed regarding the oppressor. It is a welcome relief to hear the words of Ayatollah Khamenei, just as it is to hear Sayed Nasrallah or Sheik Imran Hosein. These are not afraid to call a spade a spade, or a Zionist a Zionist, or a thief a thief, or a terrorist a terrorist.

In the west, even now, we have a great inhibition against speaking adversely regarding those who rule us - or who would rule us, if we were not awake. But still it's hard to call a spade a spade.

This is a little off topic, perhaps, or at least across a border, since this was about Afghanistan rather than Iran. And yet, this topic of the sources and progenitors of practical evil in the world is never very far removed from any of our discussions here. And hearing these clear words, we can more easily perceive and deconstruct the particular evils at work in Afghanistan, I think.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 15 2017 1:39 utc | 45

=>> Curtis | Jun 14, 2017 9:32:56 PM | 43

So... Clearly the whole big "COMMUNIST THREAT" was a giant put-on, as we can clearly see now. It's been all smoke and mirrors. I wonder how many are awakening to the fact that the Deep State is utterly insane?

Posted by: blues | Jun 15 2017 1:40 utc | 46

@blues in regard to overdose; experienced users OD'ing is generally more connected to repetitive usage creating a build up of toxicity in the 'overlap' that is the difference between the biochemical action of the drug and the dosage interval than accidentally taking too much in one dose. Not so for new users of course, but fentanyl's much longer half life is appreciated by those experienced users caught in the burglary or sex industry trap as one dose per day suffices - that is get up, have a shot do whatever it takes to pay for the next blat, then get on, go to bed, get up and repeat. There are disadvantages with that of course, the biggest one being that the user rarely if ever feels 'straight' their consciousness is always polluted by a narcotic much the same as a methadone users is.

Of course that doesn't apply with fentanyl neophytes t/fing from codeine/morphine who may have developed a fixation on the regular act and so feel obliged to have another shot of fentanyl even though the are ripped to the tits, but given addicts' general attitude towards sitting on their asses for hours and hours discussing the vagaries of different intoxicants, most fentanyl neophytes become aware of the issues long before they switch. As for potency users down the food chain generally get a product so adulterated it would be lucky to stun a gnat.

Yep fentanyl is strong but much of the propaganda which seeks to portray it as being always more dangerous than big pharma's poisons is just that industry generated propaganda.
I suppose that it is better in some ways than before. When I lived in england in the 1970's a synthetic pharmaceutical called diconal was all the rage among those users who imagined that their desire to risk their lives indicated manliness. Diconal had a coagulant in it - some say designed by drug companies to discourage intravenous usage. One or two blats in a vein would permanently block that vein so users stood out from the crowd because they were missing fingers, hands arms amputated after lack of blood circulation caused the appendage to die & fester.

Did that deter the idjits? it did not, one of the most graphic memories of that sojourn, one that still haunts me is from a visit to a really scungy squat, seeing a one handed dingbat shooting diconal into the vein running up the side his neck while he lectured others about how great 'the rush' was. When I asked if the rush would be equally good once 'they' amputated his head it was suggested I should leave which I happily did.

@Curtis #43
Yep Russia and Iran have major problems with ME opiates a sizeable amount of which is sourced in Afghanistan - that is why I wrote 'western nations'. It should not be forgotten though that a sizeable amount of Iran's morphine/heroin is indigenous, produced by asshole arab speakers looking to fund violence such as that outside the Iranian parliament last week.
Russia also has trouble with opiates from other central asian states who aren't afghanistan although there has been a drop in Polish narcotics coming into russia since the Poles signed up to Nato, they prolly make it to Germany now.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 15 2017 2:15 utc | 47

Piotr Berman @ 36:
If you Google "lithium" and "Afghanistan" together, you'll dig up over 500,000 search results.

Such as this one linked to Michael Chossudovsky's Global Research article which references other articles and links on the topic of lithium in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 15 2017 2:58 utc | 48

Considering the mountain of taxpayer's money the USG has pissed against the Wall Of Futility known as the Afghan Chapter of the Fake War On Terror, maybe they should call the anticipated escalation in US Troop numbers a Splurge instead of a Surge.

Splurge: To indulge oneself in some luxury or pleasure, especially a costly one...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 15 2017 3:11 utc | 49

Re: Jen @48

In the article you have linked, lithium was just mention in a list of minerals that looked like hype, while for copper it mentioned a bona fide economic project.

Re: Debisdead @ 48: there has been a drop in Polish narcotics coming into russia

I knew that something is wrong here. "Polish heroin" existed, but it was eliminated by agricultural regulations. Instead (I paste):

Poland (along with Latvia, Netherlands, Belgium and Estonia) is the biggest producer of amphetamine in Europe. It is not possible to precisely say how many amphetamine laboratories exist on Polish soil. What is known, is that in between 1995 and 2008, the police closed down 171 laboratories, including one producing methamphetamine, which is not popular in Poland and is usually produced in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Amphetamine produced in Poland goes to Germany, France, Sweden, UK, Ireland, USA and Australia. Another synthetic drug produced in Poland is ecstasy, which is generally exported to the Netherlands and Belgium.


[narcotic is] any psychoactive compound with sleep-inducing properties. <- hence, not amphetamine or extasy

The favorite mode of smuggling in those parts seem to be tractor-trailer, but containers can be send by ship, I guess. Containers nicely mesh with enormous mass of international trade, and large single shipment can be protected with correspondingly large bribes at inspection points. Nevertheless, the border crossing to Belorus are probably more of a bother than internal borders in EU.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 15 2017 3:44 utc | 50

The war in Afghanistan has no longer a real purposes. (sic)
Posted by: Malooga | Jun 14, 2017 3:43:22 PM | 13

Gosh! Rude and Ignorant?
Guess how surprised I'm not?

Pretending not to understand that b has outlined the Official Story, as a ploy to invite speculation on the truth, is a feeble excuse to object.
Have you never heard of Audience Participation?
Are you stupid; or jealous?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 15 2017 3:47 utc | 51

@30 karlof

having a look at the politico screed and southfront's response to it now. speaking of outfits trying to create a fifth column of patriots, or just active citizens, within the us armed services, i've followed the (formerly GI Special) for years. tireless, stalwart effort. solid people there. i hope a lot of soldiers, sailors, airforce, and marines follow it as well. War is a racket all right.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 15 2017 4:47 utc | 52


as well, karlof, i think you hit the nail squarely on the head in your last paragraph @14, syria summary the end of the war is now in sight

But I urge caution to those thinking Daesh will be destroyed in Syria as it's already moved Eastward. The Outlaw US Empire hasn't given up on its goal to establish Full Spectrum Dominance, which is why it will never leave Afghanistan unless forced militarily ...

afghanistan is the us empire's foothold for proxy-terror, for death, devastation, and destruction, and deceit in central asia ... russia to the north, iran to the west, china to the east, and 'stans on every side. ac/dc would like to keep afghanistan as its center of depravity in central asia.

but afghanistan's an oberver state of the sco ... sooner or later there'll be an offer made by the sco that even the corrupt leadership of afghanistan can't refuse. in the meanwhile its ddd&d for afghanistan ... and its attempted spread in every direction therefrom.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 15 2017 5:05 utc | 53

@30 karlof

Serena Moring, a former military contractor from a military family, said she first became concerned about pro-Russian sentiment among soldiers on social media last spring, when an unverified report purporting to relate the story of a Russian soldier who died heroically while fighting ISIS in Syria began circulating among American service members on social media.

“All of the response from the military guys was like, ‘That is awesome. That’s an epic way to die,’” recounted Moring, 39. “It was a very soldier-to-soldier bond that was created through social media.”

Moring said she has become further alarmed as friends of hers in the military, including military intelligence, have become avowed admirers of Putin, and that she now expends considerable effort arguing about Russia on Instagram and Facebook channels geared to military audiences.

In the Wild West of social media, it is difficult to sort out pro-Russian sentiment that is organic—Putin’s approval rating has surged among U.S. Republicans since 2015, and he is often the subject of positive coverage in right-leaning outlets like Fox News—from that which is manufactured. ...

there's politico's - all those at the depraved center's - worst nightmare: the fact that the russian effort in syria is honorable, while the us' is dishonorable, the fact that putin is straight-arrow compared to the depraved neocons in ac/dc, and ... the fact that the folks with skin in the game know that.

this is going to require 'heroic' efforts to counteract from disinformation central, and this article from politico is 'in the vanguard' of such efforts. but the people in the military have been there. they know what's what. who are they going to believe? these fakes at politico? or their own lyin' eyes, ears, hearts, and souls?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 15 2017 5:23 utc | 54

As usual, good run-down. However, you also said:"The war in Afghanistan has no longer a real purposes."

I beg to differ, and JLD @ 34 said the magic word, Lithium. The are of course many other minerals, but I've read where Afghanistan is the KSA where Lithium is concerned. If I can find the article, I'll post it.

The corporate empire must have market share globally. It's just business ya' know.

Posted by: ben | Jun 15 2017 5:26 utc | 55

"The war in Afghanistan has no longer a real purposes (sic)."

A fractionally reserved monetary system with a unilateral owner of the medium of exchange, has an inbuilt arithmetical limit that guarantees the collapse of the system.

In order to extend in time the "utility" of the system, the owner of the medium of exchange must foster progressively more transactions which are brought into existence by fostering ever greater numbers of political and fiscal constructs that generate new legislation financed by increasing fiscal pressure.

The World Bank, the UN or the IMF are typical cases in point that illustrate this policy. USAID or any of the European agencies too serve exactly the same purpose. GIZ is today one of the largest NGOs that is spending hundreds of millions in places like the Middle East and Africa.

Take the UN for example. Here is a presumably not-for profit entity that is ostensibly devoted to the smoothing out of relations between peoples in order to prevent conflict or, if that should fail, to alleviate the results of conflict.

But few think about how the UN is financed and the implications thereof. The UN, of course, is financed via sovereign taxation. The UN is, therefore, a parallel unelected government. Over the past 60 years, the UN has grown into an unwieldy and complex organisation that, empirically, not only has failed repeatedly to prevent conflict but also fails to alleviate human suffering and displacement.

UNHCR Global Forced Displacement Hits Record High

Amongst the plethora of interesting factoids relative to the UN (due to the sheer amount of information the UN puts out, they continually poke themselves in the eye thus making themselves an easy piñata), one stands out to me as typical of the true role they play.

The last quarter of every year, sees all UN agencies terribly busy calling each other to see who can "blow" any budget leftovers. The rationale is that if an agency does not completely use their budget, they won't get as much the following year.

So, here is an ostensible not-for profit organisation that nonetheless operates as a corporation when it comes to budgets.

More troubling however is the fact that when money is "blown", due process cannot be guaranteed. Hence the reason the UN always disburses sums regardless of the reality on the ground. But quite aside from the aberration inherent in this policy, clearly the UN cannot be relied upon to guarantee due process at any time. Hence the reason that these sums often end up in the hands of unsavoury characters that, eventually, will precipitate chaos somewhere else down the line.

Specifically with regards to Afghanistan, the SIGAR report makes for enlightening reading. Year after year, the waste and the corruption is detected and is reported. Yet, accountability is singularly lacking.

Ghost Soldiers Costing US Taxpayers Hundreds Of Millions A Year

The long and the short of it is that in this particular variety of monetary system, initially the political construct has a vested interest in disregarding the arithmetical ramifications inherent in the system. Ramifications are for tomorrow. Politics is for today.

As this dynamic progresses however, the political construct must gradually go from disregarding to tolerating malfeasance, till finally, the system can only be maintained with the collusion if not the direct intervention of the political construct.

The diminishing marginal utility of the monetary system guarantees that the owner of the medium of exchange has a de facto vested interest in not solving crisis. The diminishing marginal utility of the system also guarantees that, eventually, the owner of the currency must precipitate crisis.

The political construct is merely the implementing partner.

Arithmetically speaking, this monetary system can only result in the political construct eventually having to confront society. In time however, the political construct must necessarily confront the owner of the medium of exchange too.

This is the point at which geographically extended wars are usually kicked off too.

Posted by: guidoamm | Jun 15 2017 6:43 utc | 56

If we want the omnipresent state-sponsored terrorism threats to disappear, the World needs to eliminate the "exceptional" terror funding states.

Until that happens, prepare to live in a society where "frequent skirmishes" and "suicide bombings" become the new normal.

Posted by: LXV | Jun 15 2017 7:30 utc | 57

- The US has been in Afghanistan for 16 years and was still not able to "drive down the amount of violence" ? what has the US been in those same 16 years ?
- US reports say that there's "a stalemate". But it was a "stalemate" in Vietnam as well. And the US lost that "stalemate".

Posted by: Willy2 | Jun 15 2017 9:32 utc | 58

The original purpose of funding, arming and giving military guidance to the Mujahideen - Taliban was to attack the very progressive government that was running Afghanistan but was closely allied with Soviet Russia, drawing Russia into a 'Vietnam' scenario of their own. Well that plan certainly worked with the result of installing an Islamic feudalistic system were once a forward looking progressive government was the Afghani people's choice. Perhaps the 'forward' looking CIA and a western business model to be based on the heroin trade and war profiteering for the MIC was the preferred course as envisioned by the western plutocrats. The unintended consequences is that the western plutocrats could not in the end control the Taliban and the cult of the AK 47 they had created in Afghanistan with the resulting revising of the playbook plans that concluded that a sixteen year on going occupation would be the end result. All fun and games for the 'leadership' of the Imperium.

Posted by: BRF | Jun 15 2017 13:50 utc | 59

jfl @52-54,

Thanks for your commentary on that topic, which is of considerable import. Today is Putin's annual national people-press conference, that's already elicited several interesting answers and comments. I am, as you probably have figured, an unabashed fan of Putin, Lavrov, and several other Russian politicos and military wo/men. I also value Southfront as an information source. Escobar's latest briefly discusses the Iranian-Afghan connection with Syria, where a division-sized contingent are training/fighting, and will eventually influence Afghan events in a hopefully positive manner. As for the SCO, I'm betting it will provide the necessary venue for its newest members to finally come to amicable terms with their existence and finally pull them both from the Outlaw US Empire's orbit, which will also effect Afghanistan positively. Perhaps at some point in the future, the SCO will oversee the peaceful redrawing of borders between numerous states in Central and South Asia formerly made by imperialists of various stripes, enhancing the lives of all while reducing the motivations for extremism.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2017 15:19 utc | 60

Many good comments already. The title of this post is "The War in Afghanistan is a Racket."

Yes indeed. So it's off to Cui Bono land to see why Team USA is still there. Many comments have already nailed it. In summary:

1. Money: lots and gobs of it, both off the backs of hapless USA rubes who are ripped off by the MIC as much as possible, as well as the Opium/Heroin trade, which I posit was one of THE main objectives when Team USA invaded Afghanistan in the first place.
2. As others have noted: squatting right up against China, Iran & Russia is a plus.
3. Access to lithium and other rare earth metals (aka, more money)
4. Ability to launder money in various ways while ripping off whomever is available to be ripped off
5. Ability to use the area as a bomb testing site, as our fearless leader demonstrated a while back
6. Ongoing work for aging "Generals" in the Pentagon

And so forth. So a few Yankee-Doodle-Dandy kids get killed in the meanwhile? Hooray: more useless mouths to complain and/or feed.

It's all pretty simple, really, and frankly, a larger (still not large enough) contingent of US citizens are figuring it out. But what can be done about it? I mean, really? Clearly protests don't work. Trump found a way to goose up the NeoNazi's to vote for him, which has been an unending BOON to the Republican party and the MIC, as well as the so-called Democrats, who benefit as well. Ergo...

In case you haven't noticed by now, the crazed Russia scare-mongering has provided excellent cover for our UniParty "government" to get on with rapine, plunder & pillaging on a ever massive scale. And the beat downs go on...

Posted by: RUKidding | Jun 15 2017 15:27 utc | 61

"There is a widespread misconception that the Soviets were defeated in Afghanistan and fled precipitately. In fact, they left in a well‐prepared, co‐ordinated fashion, leaving behind a functioning government, a tolerable military situation and a serious advisory team to disburse military and economic aid and provide practical assistance to ensure that the Najibullah government could continue." ( Papers 3 Lessons from the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.pdf)

The nomenklatura lost the will to continue in Afghanistan and ultimately to continue in the USSR itself. America has not yet lost the will to continue in Afghanistan and, for reasons advanced by other commenters, may not do so for a long time.

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Jun 15 2017 15:49 utc | 62

From Nafeez Ahmed in 2015:

The post-Cold War period saw the Pentagon’s creation of the Highlands Forum in 1994 under the wing of former defense secretary William Perry — a former CIA director and early advocate of neocon ideas like preventive war…

O’Neill reveals that the Pentagon Highlands Forum was, fundamentally, about exploring not just the goals of government, but the interests of participating industry leaders like Enron…

Through the late 1990s, Enron was working with California-based US energy company Unocal to develop an oil and gas pipeline that would tap Caspian basin reserves, and carry oil and gas across Afghanistan, supplying Pakistan, India and potentially other markets. The endeavor had the official blessing of the Clinton administration, and later the Bush administration, which held several meetings with Taliban representatives to negotiate terms for the pipeline deal throughout 2001. The Taliban, whose conquest of Afghanistan had received covert assistance under Clinton, was to receive formal recognition as the legitimate government of Afghanistan in return for permitting the installation of the pipeline.

Enron paid $400 million for a feasibility study for the pipeline, a large portion of which was siphoned off as bribes to Taliban leaders, and even hired CIA agents to help facilitate.

Then in summer 2001, while Enron officials were liaising with senior Pentagon officials at the Highlands Forum, the White House’s National Security Council was running a cross-departmental ‘working group’ led by Rumsfeld and Cheney to help complete an ongoing Enron project in India, a $3 billion power plant in Dabhol. The plant was slated to receive its energy from the Trans-Afghan pipeline…

Then in June 2001, the same month that Enron’s executive vice president Steve Kean attended the Pentagon Highlands Forum, the company’s hopes for the Dabhol project were dashed when the Trans-Afghan pipeline failed to materialize, and as a consequence, construction on the Dabhol power plant was shut down. The failure of the $3 billion project contributed to Enron’s bankruptcy in December…

By August, desperate to pull off the deal, US officials threatened Taliban representatives with war if they refused to accept American terms: namely, to cease fighting and join in a federal alliance with the opposition Northern Alliance; and to give up demands for local consumption of the gas…

Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda, including an “imminent” invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron’s Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.

Posted by: Fecund Stench | Jun 15 2017 15:52 utc | 64

First of all, Afgh: it is not a war it is an occupation. (It is violent, that is not denied.)

The US is not fighting any kind of conventional force in a ‘war’, for any national purpose.
Afghanistan is now an outpost of the US Empire where the military / the arms industry / the re-consructionists
/ a few cos. / various branches - CIA / other Mafia type orgs can make money and have a wild time.
Many are: part of import-export schemes.

Comprises, first, the drugs opium industry (the history here is very complex, it is not true the Taliban tried to stop/repress it,
note the refineries are in Pakistan, (1) Afgh. is not even allowed to process it’s own product..),
second all the ‘contracts’ (big corps, gvmt. US AID, more), then further down, sex / human trafficking,
with of course multiple small players Afghani, US, and some Europeans and Aussies these last
being rare in all kind of dollari-profita schemes.

About Afgh. it was bruited as a rapine rationale that there would be great ‘booty’ in the form of precious minerals and nat gas.
amongst others etc. to be taken over. As in Iraq, extractive / other activities (very slim in the case of Afgh.) are not being
undertaken by the US, but by China, Malaysia, India, even France etc. The US activity is on the surface, violent and coercitive,
and not productive, follows no long term plan.

1. See new trade deals between Pak and Afgh.

on intl. trade aggrements Afgh-other official US doc (2016)

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 15 2017 15:58 utc | 65

Piotr Berman @ 36:
If you Google "lithium" and "Afghanistan" together, you'll dig up over 500,000 search results

google results numbers are fake! Just see how far you get by clicking on next


Posted by: c | Jun 15 2017 16:06 utc | 66

"Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him." - Sun Tzu

The NATO armies need to be slaughtered inside Afghanistan. NATO = Rothschild-Zionist armies of "useful idiots". So bleed them like a pig in Afghanistan.

"Nobody is driven into war by ignorance, and no one who thinks that he will gain anything from it is deterred by fear." - Thucydides

We all 7 billion people on this planet have internet and most of us can think clearly. If you fight for NATO you fight for the Rothschild-Zionists and are nothing more then "guns for hire", a mercenary force to murder people all over this planet for gold bars. Your destruction is a delight to me!

"It is pleasant, when the sea is high and the winds are dashing the waves about, to watch from the shores the struggles of another." - Lucretius.

Now go die for Rothschild his desire for gold bars sukkers!

Posted by: Thucydides | Jun 15 2017 16:08 utc | 67

@9 smoothie.. i think we see it differently.. yes, the returns are much smaller, but it is still working as i see it.

@13 magoola.. good point. some of the rationale might be offered in the quotes and comments immediately below..

@23 virgile.. i think that might be more of the rationale for continuing in afgan - "blame Iran and Russia for the mess it is getting into."

@25 jen.. of course keeping the military complex running is a big part of it too...

@53 jfl, articulating karlof1's comments is another aspect of all this..

the opium / money - seems like a diversion to me, but i know it generates a huge amount of money, so maybe i am underestimating this.

noirette.. yeah, occupation as opposed to war, but ultimately war as that is why they are their - to spread it where they can...

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2017 16:22 utc | 68

@61 Exactly! We just have to ride it out with Darwin till there are no more "suckers" left to fight for the profits of others. Fight, die and get maimed for life. As long as there are enough "useful idiots" prepared to die for a fist full of dollars this will all continue.
Enjoy this movie! I do. Death to the suckers that join the USA army! (NATO armies) Let them die in countless wars for profits for the elites!

"Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." - Henry Kissinger (Rothschild-Zionists)

Do NOT glorify the American army, its generals, soldiers, etc. See them for what they are. Thugs for hire. That is the only way to prevent more carnage on this planet.

Posted by: Thucydides | Jun 15 2017 16:24 utc | 69

T @ 67 said:"We all 7 billion people on this planet have internet and most of us can think clearly. If you fight for NATO you fight for the Rothschild-Zionists and are nothing more then "guns for hire", a mercenary force to murder people all over this planet for gold bars. Your destruction is a delight to me!"

I would agree, with one caviot. The greedy and avariced individuals who make up the corporate empire/NATO, are not exclusively Jewish, but transcend all religions because love of money and power, are their gods..

Posted by: ben | Jun 15 2017 17:14 utc | 70

James Corbett produced a good piece on Afghanistan:

What You Are Not Being Told About the Afghanistan War

Posted by: Tobin Paz | Jun 15 2017 17:51 utc | 71

The war in Afghanistan which is going today began in 1978, not in 1979 when the Soviets became involved. It began with the Saur coup in that year.

The wikipedia entry on the Saur revolution of 1978 wrote this:

"Anahita Ratebzad, who was a major Marxist leader and a member of the Revolutionary Council. Ratebzad wrote the famous May 28, 1978 New Kabul Times editorial, which declared: 'Privileges which women, by right, must have are equal education, job security, health services, and free time to rear a healthy generation for building the future of the country ... Educating and enlightening women is now the subject of close government attention.'"

It was this policy by the Afghan revolutionary government that resulted in the rebellion by the rural tribal groups spurred on by the Islamist jihadis that began the war in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union, in one very stupid move, sent in its troops one year later to support the Kabul government. This created the conditions for Saudi Arabia and the US (led by Brzezinski under Carter) to start pouring in money and foreign fighters to support Jihadis. This has turned into a 40 year war.

One should keep this history in mind when we hear western feminists decrying the treatment of women in Afghanistan today. Every time I heard Hillary Clinton bring up women's rights in Afghanistan it is this history that comes to my mind. Stupid, stupid western liberals have no idea how they are being manipulated. They simply do not realize that the problem today is the presence of US forces, Afghanistan cannot begin to solve its problems while the US is present. Total withdrawal of all western forces -- military, financial, NGOs, advisers -- will be required before the Afghanis can even begin to solve their problems.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 15 2017 17:51 utc | 72

TAPI. Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline. In the early nineties the late Z. Brzezinski was negotiating the pipeline with the Taliban. After SOS Colin Powell's negotiations for the pipeline fell through in the summer of 2001, after the US had given the Taliban the paltry sum of 30 million dollars for opium control. The rest, as they say, is history.

Posted by: Bob In Portland | Jun 15 2017 17:54 utc | 73

Debs 38, interesting, remember it's pretty close to Mannheim.

Posted by: Mina | Jun 15 2017 18:32 utc | 74

When you give the generals free reign to do what they've supposedly been forbidden to do by the foolish politicians who don't understand the art of war they just double down on their mistakes, it's an embarrassment. The American officer educational and promotional systems are a joke. At some level they understand that if the war was real it would be nuclear, so everything is a chance to wring out more dollars. COIN is an opportunity for whole new types of graft, Drones are like smartphones in their fragility, constant use, and product cycles, great for profits.

You made a perfect enemy for yourself and now you fight it endlessly, the self licking ice cream cone. At least it's helped the Dubai real estate market.

Posted by: Pespi | Jun 15 2017 18:45 utc | 75

Afghan reader here.

The situation in Afghanistan is at a critical boiling point right now after the government brought back one of the most violent warlords from pakistan. Gulbudin Hekmatyaar aka the butcher of kabul aka Gulbudin ROCKETyar. He launched 2,000 rockets at kabul in one single day and now he is back at it again under the protection of our own government.

The sectarian rift has picked up and now non-pashtoons have armed themselves up to defend themselves if the government decides to align themselves with the Taliban and attack areas under non-pashtoon control. We have had demonstrations in the past few weeks in regards to washington giving these criminals millions of dollars monthly and nothing gets done in Afghanistan.

The only thing that has changed in Afghanistan in the past 16 years is that people have access to Facebook and men can shave their beards. All NATO funds are stolen by warlords and their minions and invested outside Afghanistan in case a civil war breaks out again and they can flee to their homes in Dubai and elsewhere.

I urge everyone to sign petitions if you see anyone to call on Washington to stop funding our corrupt government who is killing us daily!

Posted by: shoes | Jun 15 2017 18:53 utc | 76

Two things from the linked article: Russia is again speculatively associated as the responsible disrupter (allegedly arming the Taliban), and the proposed surge will feature upwards of 13,000 NATO troops.

Posted by: jayc | Jun 15 2017 19:28 utc | 77

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 19:34 utc | 78

it helps to keep ageing military generals in jobs, special military projects current (and providing work for technicians and other specialists) and justify more Congress spending on the military. It also helps circulate money in Afghanistan and enables Afghan government officials and warlords to fill not just their pockets but spread largesse to their families and communities when there are no other jobs to be had because of the chaos and instability. So that's really the purpose of the war: it's an economy in itself.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 14, 2017 6:01:48 PM | 25


THIS (too)

Orwell laid it all out quite concisely in his/Goldstein's "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism":

    The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of DOUBLETHINK, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 19:41 utc | 79

This whole article is a waste of words. The U.S. is there for one reason only - to make sure the poppy fields are protected and the CIA gets the results.

Posted by: Tony B. | Jun 15 2017 19:54 utc | 80

The enemies of NATO/Pentagon need to bleed out this pig in Afghanistan. It is simply the best spot on earth to destroy their armies. To war! It will prevent a ground war on Iran/Syria/Lebanon. They have no choise but to get the armies of the Pentagon deeper in the swamp until it no longer has low IQ soldiers left prepared to fight in Rothschild-Zionist wars.
To war American dumbasses! That you made die foolishly!

"To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!" - H. L. Mencken

Posted by: Thucydides | Jun 15 2017 20:35 utc | 81

During WWII the Nazis nearly defeated Britain with a submarine blockade. All the British had was a world-spanning commercial empire, a first class economy and university system, their Navy, the Canadian Navy, a big part of the US Navy, and the entire North Atlantic to hide their shipping. 

Germany went through tremendous pain with the Allied blockade. They had nearly the entire European continent, a first class industrial economy, a university system that produced Einstein and world-class chemists, and a highly trained, supremely well equipped military.

Afghanistan is a tiny, landlocked country that will never have these necessary assets. Their military isn’t under unified command. Their troops are an ignorant guerrilla rabble with some tactical skill. They have no public allies, no economy outside of drugs and corruption, no university system. They can’t produce anything more complex than a fertilizer bomb, but only if the ingredients are supplied by the US or its allies.

After 911 the US's so-called warriors had the most advanced weaponry ever seen, total air supremacy, and the whole world to call on for supplies and troops.
If the US can never defeat the Taliban it isn’t for lack of advantages. It’s because US military and political leadership is stupid. 

The world’s soldiers sent to help you in Afghanistan didn’t fight to avenge 911, or to bring human rights and the light of western civilization to the Afghans, or to make the world safe from terrorism. 
They fought, destroyed, killed and died, for stupid.

Posted by: Richard Graham | Jun 15 2017 20:46 utc | 82

@79 js 'to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living'

absolutely. no matter the level of production more is always required because what is produced is immediately destroyed. this is the stuff 'elite' braindead economics 'justifies'.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 15 2017 22:34 utc | 83

@64 fs

there's a lot of information in those links of yours ... the afghanistan / enron bit, while revalatory, is nearly a 'throwaway' in the context of the entire article. thanks very much. i'd seen it before but lost track of it ... appreciate your link to it.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 15 2017 23:25 utc | 84

@60 karlof, 'Perhaps at some point in the future, the SCO will oversee the peaceful redrawing of borders between numerous states in Central and South Asia formerly made by imperialists of various stripes ...'

i don't require them to walk on the water ... just to swim with the fish in the central / south asian sea ... 'enhancing the lives of all while reducing the motivations for extremism' will do it for me :)

Posted by: jfl | Jun 15 2017 23:36 utc | 85

The U.S. Military is helping ISIL in Afghanistan
It seems there are so many things at stake for the U.S. military that they are not going to leave the country. With their blessings, ISIL (Daesh) is rising in Afghanistan, just to give the U.S. one more pretext to prolong its military presence over there. Haji Zahir Qadir, a member of Afghan parliament, recently expressed that:

"Daesh fighters have captured around 90 percent of Chaparhar, 80 percent of Tora Bora, they have plan for Khogiani, Hesarak and Azra in order to cut Kabul-Jalalabad highway,
I have eye witnesses that three days ago, a container full of weapons transferred to Daesh in Narai Obo area of Nangarhar."
Moreover, he stated that:
"Few days ago, Helicopter has deployed 50 Daesh fighters in Badabad area in Behsood district, so we are worried that who are they that are killing us and beheading us. Whether they are American, government, or Daesh? If it is Daesh then who supports it?"

Posted by: Massoud | Jun 16 2017 5:35 utc | 86

Endless 'war in' or occupation of Afghanistan may be due to the loss of Iran as a listening base to oversee whatever may be happening in central Asia where Russia is still active in their space programs for instance. The Pathology Country (the U.S.ofA.) lost its perch when the Shaw of Iran was overthrown and the Iran Republic refused to cooperate, even incarcerating their embassy for 444 days until just after noontime Washington time on Inauguration Day of Reagan. There are no coincidences available in this history.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 16 2017 7:08 utc | 87

@Massoud The armies of the Pentagon should be slaughtered in Afghanistan the next decade at minimal costs and losses until there are NO American men left that want to fight there. No rush! Take 50 years for this if needed. But they will bleed!

Posted by: Thucydides | Jun 16 2017 9:55 utc | 88

Indian role in Afghanistan is rarely discussed but they are a major backer of current Afghan government. Indian intelligence agency RAW is practically a partner to NDS(Afghan intelligence) and has deeply penetrated it. What is their interest? To destabilize Pakistan.

TTP fighters who were forced out of Pakistan in operation Zar-e-azb have found a safe haven in Afghanistan. Afghan Intelligence have given them fake identity papers to facilitate their movement in Afghanistan. See this video of Ehasanullah Ehsan, former spekesperson TTP who surrendered before the Pakistani Army.

Indians fund Baloch separatists in Pakistan and train them in Afghanistan. With Afghan government backing, they have been a free hand to operate and definitelt have American tacit support.

With Americans watching Indians and silently supporting them in Afgahnistan to wreak havoc in Pakistan, don't expect Pakistan to just give up. Pakistan will go to any lengths to safeguard its security interests. If Americans are serious about Afghanistan they will ensure Afghan territory is not used against Pakistan.

Posted by: bilal | Jun 16 2017 10:47 utc | 89

All Wars Are Based on the "Racketeering & Profiteering" Scheme; Read:

Posted by: Dr. Panos G. Adamopoulos | Jun 16 2017 11:48 utc | 90

ISIS is a part of the Sunni culture of the state's part of Iraq and Syria. ISIS has support of a significant amount of the populace as an alternative to regimes that tended to favor non-Sunni groups. Yet, this website is dedicated to destroying ISIS and accusing anyone that disagrees with the site's world vision to be ISIS supporters, while it lovingly praises the Taliban. Why is there a double standard here? Why does the Taliban get a pass that no other religious extremist group gets?

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jun 16 2017 17:15 utc | 91

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