Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 30, 2018

U.S. Negotiates Retreat From Afghanistan

The United States seems ready to give up on Afghanistan.

After the World Trade Center came down the U.S. accused al-Qaeda, parts of which were hosted in Afghanistan. The Taliban government offered the U.S. to extradite al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden to an Islamic country to be judged under Islamic law. The U.S. rejected that and decided instead to destroy the Afghan government.

Taliban units, supported by Pakistani officers, were at that time still fighting against the Northern Alliance which held onto a few areas in the north of the country. Under threats from the U.S. Pakistan, which sees Afghanistan as its natural depth hinterland, was pressed into service. In exchange for its cooperation with the U.S. operation it was allowed to extradite its forces and main figures of the Taliban.

U.S. special forces were dropped into north Afghanistan. They came with huge amounts of cash and the ability to call in B-52 bombers. Together with the Northern Alliance they move towards Kabul bombing any place where some feeble resistance came from. The Taliban forces dissolved. Many resettled in Pakistan. Al-Qaeda also vanished.

A conference with Afghan notables was held in Germany's once capital Bonn. The Afghans wanted to reestablish the former Kingdom but were pressed into accepting a western style democracy. Fed with large amounts of western money the norther warlords, all well known mass-murderers, and various greedy exiles were appointed as a government. To them it was all about money. There was little capability and interest to govern.

All these U.S. mistakes made in the early days are still haunting the country.

For a few years the Taliban went quiet. But continued U.S. operations, which included random bombing of weddings, torture and abduction of assumed al-Qaeda followers, alienated the people. Pakistan feared that it would be suffocated between a permanently U.S. occupied Afghanistan and a hostile India. Four years after being ousted the Taliban were reactivated and found regrown local support.

Busy with fighting an insurgency in Iraq the U.S. reacted slowly. It then surged troops into Afghanistan, pulled back, surged again and is now again pulling back. The U.S. military aptly demonstrated its excellent logistic capabilities and its amazing cultural incompetence. The longer it fought the more Afghan people stood up against it. The immense amount of money spent to 'rebuild' Afghanistan went to U.S. contractors and Afghan warlords but had little effect on the ground. Now half the country is back under Taliban control while the other half is more or less contested.

Before his election campaign Donald Trump spoke out against the war on Afghanistan. During his campaign he was more cautious pointing to the danger of a nuclear Pakistan as a reason for staying in Afghanistan. But Pakistan is where the U.S. supply line is coming through and there are no reasonable alternatives. Staying in Afghanistan to confront Pakistan while depending on Pakistan for logistics does not make sense.

Early this year the U.S. stopped all aid to Pakistan. Even the old Pakistani government was already talking about blocking the logistic line. The incoming prime minister Imran Khan has campaigned for years against the U.S. war on Afghanistan. He very much prefers an alliance with China over any U.S. rapprochement. The U.S. hope is that Pakistan will have to ask the IMF for another bailout and thus come back under Washington's control. But it is more likely that Imran Khan will ask China for financial help.

Under pressure from the military Trump had agreed to raise the force in Afghanistan to some 15,000 troops. But these were way to few to hold more than some urban areas. Eighty percent of the Afghan people live in the countryside. Afghan troops and police forces are incapable or unwilling to fight their Taliban brethren. It was obvious that this mini-surge would fail:

By most objective measures, President Donald Trump’s year-old strategy for ending the war in Afghanistan has produced few positive results.

Afghanistan’s beleaguered soldiers have failed to recapture significant new ground from the Taliban. Civilian deaths have hit historic highs. The Afghan military is struggling to build a reliable air force and expand the number of elite fighters. Efforts to cripple lucrative insurgent drug smuggling operations have fallen short of expectations. And U.S. intelligence officials say the president’s strategy has halted Taliban gains but not reversed their momentum, according to people familiar with the latest assessments.

To blame Pakistan for its support for some Taliban is convenient, but makes little sense. In a recent talk John Sopko, the U.S. Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), made a crucial point:

“We keep referring to Pakistan as being the key problem. But the problem also was that the Afghan government at times was viewed very negatively by their local people and what you really need is to insert a government that the people support, a government that is not predatory, a government that is not a bunch of lawless warlords,” observed Sopko.

He went on to say that the U.S. policy of pouring in billions of dollars in these unstable environments contributed to the problem of creating more warlords and powerful people who took the law into their own hands.

“In essence, the government we introduced, particularly some of the Afghan local police forces, which were nothing other than warlord militias with some uniforms on, were just as bad as the terrorists before them,” said Sopko ...

This was the problem from the very beginning. The U.S. bribed itself into Afghanistan. It spent tons of money but did not gain real support. It bombed and shot aimlessly at 'Taliban' that were more often than not just the local population. It incompetently fought 17 one-year-long wars instead of a consistently planned and sustained political, economic and military campaign.

After a year of another useless surge the Trump administration decided to pull back from most active operations and to bet on negotiations with the Taliban:

The shift to prioritize initial American talks with the Taliban over what has proved a futile “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” process stems from a realization by both Afghan and American officials that President Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy is not making a fundamental difference in rolling back Taliban gains.

While no date for any talks has been set, and the effort could still be derailed, the willingness of the United States to pursue direct talks is an indication of the sense of urgency in the administration to break the stalemate in Afghanistan.
...
Afghan officials and political leaders said direct American talks with the Taliban would probably then grow into negotiations that would include the Taliban, the Afghan government, the United States and Pakistan.

In February the Taliban declared their position in a public Letter of the Islamic Emirate to the American people (pdf). The five pages letter offered talks but only towards one aim:

Afghans have continued to burn for the last four decades in the fire of imposed wars. They are longing for peace and a just system but they will never tire from their just cause of defending their creed, country and nation against the invading forces of your war­mongering government because they have rendered all the previous and present historic sacrifices to safeguard their religious values and national sovereignty. If they make a deal on their sovereignty now, it would be unforgettable infidelity with their proud history and ancestors.

Last weeks talks between the Taliban and U.S. diplomats took place in Doha, Qatar. Remarkably the Afghan government was excluded. Despite the rousing tone of the Reuters report below the positions that were exchanged do not point to a successful conclusion:

According to one Taliban official, who said he was part of a four-member delegation, there were “very positive signals” from the meeting, which he said was conducted in a “friendly atmosphere” in a Doha hotel.

“You can’t call it peace talks,” he said. “These are a series of meetings for initiating formal and purposeful talks. We agreed to meet again soon and resolve the Afghan conflict through dialogue.”
...
The two sides had discussed proposals to allow the Taliban free movement in two provinces where they would not be attacked, an idea that President Ashraf Ghani has already rejected. They also discussed Taliban participation in the Afghan government.

“The only demand they made was to allow their military bases in Afghanistan,” said the Taliban official.
...
“We have held three meetings with the U.S. and we reached a conclusion to continue talks for meaningful negotiations,” said a second Taliban official.
...
“However, our delegation made it clear to them that peace can only be restored to Afghanistan when all foreign forces are withdrawn,” he said.

This does not sound promising:

  • In a first step the Taliban want to officially rule parts of the country and use it as a safe haven. The Afghan government naturally rejects that.
  • Participation of the Taliban in the Afghan government is an idea of the Afghan president Ghani. It is doubtful that this could be successfully arranged. Norther Alliance elements in the Afghan government, like the 'chief executive' Abdullah Abdullah, are unlikely to ever agree to it. The Taliban also have no interest to be 'part of the government' and to then get blamed for its failures. Their February letter makes clear that they want to be the government.
  • The U.S. wants bases in Afghanistan. The Taliban, and Pakistan behind them, reject that and will continue to do so.

It is difficult to see how especially the last mutually exclusive positions can ever be reconciled.

The Taliban are ready to accept a peaceful retreat of the U.S. forces. That is their only offer. They may agree to keep foreign Islamist fighters out of their country. The U.S. has no choice but to accept. It is currently retreating to the cities and large bases. The outlying areas will fall to the Taliban. Sooner or later the U.S. supply lines will be cut. Its bases will come under fire.

There is no staying in Afghanistan. A retreat is the only issue the U.S. can negotiate about. It is not a question of "if" but of "when".

The Soviet war in Afghanistan took nine years. The time was used to build up a halfway competent government and army that managed to hold off the insurgents for three more years after the Soviet withdrawal. The government only fell when the Soviets cut the money line. The seventeen year long U.S. occupation did not even succeed in that. The Afghan army is corrupt and its leaders are incompetent. The U.S. supplied it with expensive and complicate equipment that does not fit Afghan needs. As soon as the U.S. withdraws the whole south, the east and Kabul will immediately fall back into Taliban hands. Only the north may take a bit longer. They will probably ask China to help them in developing their country.

The erratic empire failed in another of its crazy endeavors. That will not hinder it to look for a new ones. The immense increase of the U.S. military budget, which includes 15,000 more troops, points to a new large war. Which country will be its next target?

Posted by b on July 30, 2018 at 02:49 PM | Permalink

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All sights seem to be set on Iran, an absolute disaster that would be for millions of people.

Posted by: George Lane | Jul 30, 2018 3:16:14 PM | 1

thanks b.. it would be good if the exceptional warmongering nation could go home, but i am not fully counting on it.. i liked your quote here "The U.S. military aptly demonstrated its excellent logistic capabilities and its amazing cultural incompetence." that is ongoing.. unless the usa leaves, i think the madness continues.. i suspect the madness will continue.. the only other alternative is the usa, with the help of their good buddies - uk, ksa, qatar, uae and israel - will keep on relocating isis to afgan for future destabilization.. i watched a video peter au left from al jazzera 2017 with isis embedded in the kush mtns... until the funding for them ceases - i think the usa will have a hand in the continued madness... if the usa was serious about ending terrorism they would shut down the same middle east countries they are in bed with.. until that happens, i suspect not much will change.. i hope i am wrong..

Posted by: james | Jul 30, 2018 3:26:49 PM | 2

Excellent write up, thumbs up. Catch 22 for Herr Trumpet, Next target you poignantly ask, Duh ! No Brainer, it is Pakistan !
Make our Day, Attack a Nuclear Nation of 220 Million with over 200 Nukes !
Is Mattis Crazy Enough?
17 year in AFG would look like a walk in Park !! I know Pakistanis, I lived there for 20 years, they are fatalist!
Here's one take,
India is burned too !
PAK Can't Nuke or Fight US! Sure !
But they Sure have their Doomdays clocks on, India Comes along to Hell.
Trust me, I know !
Modi, Anyone? Mushroom over Delhi !!
This Bully (PAK) surely comes homes home to beat up the Wife (India)!

Posted by: shaw | Jul 30, 2018 3:30:29 PM | 3

Is there any solid information about what the US is doing (or not doing) concerning infiltrating ISIS fighters into Afghanistan?

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 30, 2018 3:44:50 PM | 4

I dont believe it for a second. Especially with Iran looming as a potential target. US is staying in Afghanistan also to counter China , keep opium production high and of course there is the TAPI pipeline to "protect" that is backed by US as an alternative to the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline that would have tapped Iran’s South Pars gas field. A hostile or unfriendly Pakistan is just one more reason to stay

Just like US will never leave Iraq or Syria, they will stay in Afghanistan. There will be ebbs and flows, and talk of disengagement from time to time primarily for domestic consumption, but thats all it is IMO.

Posted by: Pft | Jul 30, 2018 3:52:04 PM | 5

And what of ISIS in Afghanistan?

It seems that there is now a Taliban-ISIS proxy war. That would take pressure off USA to leave.

ISIS in Afghanistan: Central Asia Faces Risk of Spillover

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 30, 2018 3:58:58 PM | 6

It seems that an ISIS-Taliban proxy war has begun.

That will take pressure off USA to leave. Likely gives USA an excuse to stay (to supply fight ISIS).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 30, 2018 4:01:30 PM | 7

This is a fine recap of the situation. It's much too optimistic. The classic method of American negotiation and warfare like the Roman before them is to divide and conquer. It was very successful against the American Indians.

If the Taliban get free movement in two provinces, the Americans will demand an end to attacks on their bases, their soldiers and their agents elsewhere in Afghanistan. Just as the Iroquois Confederation enjoyed special privileges in what is now Upper New York for their help against the French, the Taliban will have special privileges in their two provinces while the Americans consolidate in the rest of Afghanistan. When the Americans feel strong enough, just as with the Iroquois, they will break the previous treaties.

After the Revolutionary War, the ancient central fireplace of the League was re-established at Buffalo Creek. The United States and the Iroquois signed the treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1784 under which the Iroquois ceded much of their historical homeland to the Americans, which was followed by another treaty in 1794 at Canandaigua which they ceded even more land to the Americans./b

Posted by: Uncoy | Jul 30, 2018 4:03:17 PM | 8

Trump says he's ready to meet Iran’s Rouhani ‘any time’ & with ‘no preconditions’
https://on.rt.com/9be6

Too bad one cant trust Trump.

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 30, 2018 4:08:10 PM | 9

I still think Trump wants to cut the Gordian Knot and get the USA out of all this crap. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/30/trump-i-am-ready-to-meet-with-iran-anytime-they-want-to.html

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | Jul 30, 2018 4:18:44 PM | 10

(...continuation of the comment above, somehow got posted when I pressed the return key)

Even the Soviet Union and Russians were unable to make the American respect their commitments. The United States reneged on the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty as soon as it could in 2001 (Russia was on its knees), reneged on its commitments not to expand NATO east and has built ballistic missile bases all around Russia which seem to be preparation for a pre-emptive nuclear strike/war against Russia.

The Afghanis (foolish to call them the Taliban, they are traditional Afghani patriots) have always been wise enough to annihilate any invader to the last man. This salutary policy keeps invaders out for decades at a time. The Taliban have a long row to hoe. It took almost a hundred years and several massacres to finally curb British ambitions on Afghanistan (1838 to 1919). Afghanis' best hopes rely on forging tight alliances with Pakistan and China, squeezing the Americans out completely right now.

The Americans burnt their bridges with the Russian already and are in the process of burning their bridges with Pakistan while losing influence with China. The US is very short of options right now. It's the ideal time for Afghanis to reclaim the whole territory, not leaving a single American soldier or airbase operational. They'll need a technically sophisticated ally to help them clear their skies of US drones. This role might appeal to either the Russians or the Chinese. As a training exercise, extended anti-drone warfare could be very useful.

Posted by: Uncoy | Jul 30, 2018 4:19:49 PM | 11

What a great success the US achieved in destroying Yugoslavia. Murdering thousands went almost unnoticed. It was able to break up the country into a number of tiny, impoverished nations and got to put a US MIC Base in most of them.

Afghanistan is one tough nut to crack.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jul 30, 2018 4:24:15 PM | 12

You did not mention isis-k in your analysis. Its active mostly in eastern afghanistan in areas close to or adjacent to Pakistan (it is also controlls a small area in Jawzjan, in northern afghanistan). Many fighters are formerly pakistani taliban(not to be confused with afghan taliban who are simply called taliban). Before isis-k appeared in afghanistan, the areas which it now controls had pakistani taliban presence. TTP, or tehreek e taliban pakistan was facilitated by afghan ggovernment to settle down in these areas after they fled pakistan when its military launched a large scale offensive, Operation Zarb e Azb. The afghan government planned to use them to pressurize Pakistan, basically to use them as a bargaining chip. They operate openly in eastern afghanistan, but many of them joined isis-k.

Russians estimate isis-k's strength to be between 10k to 12k, although it might be a bit inflated number. From here they plan attacks against afghanistan and pakistan alike, mostly suicide bombings as of now. They have had fierce clashes with afghan taliban in eastern Afghanistan but have held their territory for now. Afghan army simply doesn't have the capacity in those areas to confront them. It was here that MOAB was dropped but as expected against a guerrilla force, it was ineffective in every way. But it did make headlines and has helped US in giving an impression its seriously fighting ISIS. The reports of unmarked helicopters dropping god-knows-what have also been coming from these areas. Hamid karzai mentioned that and also maria zakharova asked afghan gov. and US to investigate that which shows these are not just rumors. Recently intelligence chiefs of Pakistan, russia, iran and china as well(if i remember correctly) met in islamabad to discuss isis-k in afghanistan, no details other than this of this meeting are available.

In Northern afghanistan, in Jawzjan, fierce clashes broke out between taliban and isis-k after taliban commander in thiae areas was beheaded. ISIS-k has been beaten up pretty badly there but clashes are ongoing. Many areas have been cleared but fighting is still ongoing. An interesting aspect is taliban sources claiming that whenever they come close to a decisive victory, they have to stop operations becauae of heavy bombardment by US planes. They made similar claims when fighting daesh in eastern afghanistan. Anyway in a few days isis presence will probably be finished in Jawzjan. ISIS fighters who have survived have done so by surrendering to afghan forces. They will probably end up back in eastern afghanistan.

Posted by: Bilal | Jul 30, 2018 4:39:14 PM | 13

Next Target for a long war?

Africa. US AFRICOM has a huge playground, tactics won't change and logistics is far easier.

There also will be a long Hybrid wr against Iran, but that will be much like the early days of Syria. Proxies as "moderates". Insurgents, not US troops. ISIS and AQ crazies will be on the ground.

The big money will go into Africa. You want to see Trillions "spent"? It will be Africa.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jul 30, 2018 4:49:21 PM | 14

The decision to invade Afghanistan had been taken before the 9/11 false flag coup. Had nothing much to do with the CIA's al-Qaeda mercenaries.

As I understood it, there were many agendas at work: testing weapons and making money for the MIC; controlling the lucrative (how many hundreds of billions of dollars ?) opium/ heroin production/profiteering; military bases relating to Iran, Russia, China, Pakistan and other ...stans, etc; control of oil and gas pipelines; access to increasingly valuable and sought rare earth minerals; proximity to oil and gas actual and potential.

More generally, subjugating Afghanistan was a necessary part of the 'full spectrum dominance' 'we will rule the earth' doctrine, dear til recently to too many mad hatters, and still evoking a misty eyed longing in some, no doubt.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jul 30, 2018 4:55:49 PM | 15

Ahhh...the US produces some of the lamest euphemisms approved for all audiences; such as "Afgahn Security Forces." So sterile, innocuous. And benign. How could anyone question their plight? (We did pick up the game a little bit in Syria with "Free Syrian Army..." Can I get a hell yeah?) All the people hearing this in the US could do was shrug their shoulders and speak, "I guess I should support them." That is, of course, after we took out OBL and the mission in Afghanistan was a little more opaque. Just a little bit. Anyways...Hell, yeah! Get some!

Thanks b for the brief history. Really invaluable.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jul 30, 2018 5:00:17 PM | 16

Afghani patriots, resisting invaders since 330 BCE... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasions_of_Afghanistan
The US military, the planet's costliest losingest military since 1946. The US military, like its munitions manufacturers, doesn't win but it does get paid and is why we can have nice things like oh, decent health care. Lack of health insurance kills more Americans than the Russians ever will. The Russians aren't the enemy, Trump is. Lobbyists are too.

Posted by: StephenLaudig | Jul 30, 2018 5:26:35 PM | 17

I haven't read anything about Blackwater wanting to replace the U.S. Military in Afghanistan. Of course, the U.S. Treasury would continue to shovel those pallet loads of newly printed $100.00 bills down the Blackwater hole. Any odds this might go forward from anyone's opinion?

Posted by: Eugene | Jul 30, 2018 5:39:35 PM | 18

- The US already started to plan an invasion of Afghanistan in januari & february of 2001.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 30, 2018 5:45:04 PM | 19

robin cook before he was murdered stated that alqueda was a cia data base.
i believe bresinski knew obl as tim osman who was later killed by cia mi6 man omar blah blah sheikh bhutto of pakisyan was assasinated after spilling the beans about sheikh.

christopher bolleyn on you tube will give you the sp on what 9 and 11 was shirley we are past the point of the offecal theory.
the turd burger that is the official theory is clearly the worst and lowest grade of all the conspiracy theories.
the taliban where in barbera bushes texas talking lithium opium and oil pipelines with the paedo bush crime syndicate before 9 and 11

marvin bush ran security at the twin towers

christopher bollyn is the go to man in these regardings

https://www.bollyn.com/

Posted by: adam gadahn | Jul 30, 2018 5:45:40 PM | 20

The US wants peace talks but wants to keep its bases in Afghanistan. US under Trump has built new bases in Syria, Iraq, Kuwait.
SDF have been talking with Syrian government, and US in Talks with Taliban. Are these just moves to buy the US a little time until it launches the war Trump has been building the US military up for.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 30, 2018 5:55:31 PM | 21

Trump is?What about the neocons who started this f*ck up.

Posted by: dahoit | Jul 30, 2018 6:00:22 PM | 22

alas not a nice number 13 bilal

isis is israeli counter gang with support of usa usa and the city of london,ukrainian,polish,uk sas,cia,kiwi,aussie,jordanian and donmeh satanic house of saud.

talking of isis as if it is real entity rather than a frank kitson gang counter gang and pseudo gang is polluting the well.

who has been providing extraction helicopters from syriana for the last 14 months.
who has been washing these bearded devils operating on them in kosher field hospitals making them well shiny and new
who?
scchhhhh you know who

Posted by: adam gadahn | Jul 30, 2018 6:02:02 PM | 23

From Russian Ministry of Foriegn Affairs 25 March 2018.

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/3139715
"We are alarmed by the growing number of terrorist activities being carried out by the Taliban who stage armed attacks across Afghanistan, as well as by the increased ISIS presence in Afghanistan’s northern provinces that border CIS countries.

We are concerned about reports regarding the use of helicopters without any identification marks in many parts of Afghanistan that are delivering terrorists and arms to the Afghan branch of this terrorist organisation. We believe that reports to this effect made by Afghan officials should be thoroughly investigated."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 30, 2018 6:13:36 PM | 24

Some days ago, the head of the intelligence services of Russia, Iran, Pakistan and China met in Pakistan to discuss ??? - in all probability how to deal with the hordes of ISIS terrorists the US has dumped in Afghanistan.

https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/07/historic-meeting-of-intel-chiefs-from-pakistan-iran-russia-and-china-but-why/

Russia has been making approaches to the Taliban as a significant member of any peace process in Afghanistan.

https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/07/historic-meeting-of-intel-chiefs-from-pakistan-iran-russia-and-china-but-why/

The recent major attack by the Taliban on ISIS formations suggests some coordination between Russia military intelligence and Taliban ground forces.

A recent hit-and-run incident against western tourists in Tajikistan has been blamed on ISIS members. This suggests the ISIS forces are spreading out from Afghanistan, initially northwards.

https://z5h64q92x9.net/proxy_u/ru-en.en/rusvesna.su/news/1532982686

Posted by: Yonatan | Jul 30, 2018 6:25:37 PM | 25

- Of course. The US wants to keep its bases in Afghanistan. Surprise, surprise.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 30, 2018 6:27:53 PM | 26

In 2002 when ABC corporate propaganda showed Special Forces rounding up village Hajji, the writing was on the wall. Afghanistan is a Holy War run by incompetents for a profit. The only question is when will the Westerners withdraw from the Hindu Kush and how disastrous it will be. Americans cannot afford the unwinnable war’s blood and treasure. The US's Vietnam War (1956 to 1975) ended for the same reasons. That war ushered in the Reagan Revolution and the Triumph of the Oligarchy. The consequences of the breakup of the Atlantic Alliance will be even more severe.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Jul 30, 2018 7:06:37 PM | 27

@uncoy.. i basically see it like you, however another proxy war involving usa-russia-china sounds like a running theme now...

@13 bilal.. good post.. i agree about the analysis missing much on isis presence in afgan as @6 jr also points out.. i think it is a critical bit of the puzzle.. it appears the usa is using isis as a proxy force, as obama previously stated with regard to syria... the usa just can't seem to help themselves with their divide and conquer strategy using isis as part of it's methodology... it's exact opposite of what they profess..

@18 eugene.. isn't blackwater or whatever they're called now - headquartered in uae? perfect place for them, lol... right on top of yemen, afgan, and etc. etc.. if isis can't do the job for the west thru their good friends ksa, uae - well, then maybe they can pay a bit more and get blackwater directly involved too..

Posted by: james | Jul 30, 2018 7:21:13 PM | 28

Trump is serious when he said he would talk to anybody. The CIA is alleged to have been stirring the pot with Islamic militants prior to the Soviet invasion when the country went full socialist. I would suspect the Russians had a hand in that in 1978. US intelligence was said to be helping along the backlash to socialism by Islamic militants back then in 1978. The CIA station chief was promptly assassinated the next year.

Obviously you could dump 600,000 NATO and US soldiers into the country and not control it short of executing every Muslim. What a foolish endeavor but what would you expect from these buffoons and their death cult? These human sacrifices are holy to them. They worship blood, death, power and money.

With their loss in Syria the NEOCONS can now make peace with the Taliban and use them and ISIS to push into old Soviet Central Asia in an attempt to deny them what the Anglo American Zionist alliance cannot have at this time, control of the commodities.

China will slide right in and take it all at some point once exhaustion sets into place. Even the Brits knew when it was time to leave India and their Middle Eastern holdings. They realized the costs of containment would wipe out their country.

Posted by: dltravers | Jul 30, 2018 7:41:30 PM | 29

@ Patrick Armstrong | 10

I still think Trump wants to cut the Gordian Knot and get the USA out of all this crap. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/30/trump-i-am-ready-to-meet-with-iran-anytime-they-want-to.html

No he doesnt, along with Israel and neocons. There was already nuclear deal, and US was out of "all this crap", so why introduce Gordian Knot if he doesnt want it?

What Trump demands is Iran's surrender. 'b discussed it at length some time ago, the list of Trump's demands is completely ridiculous and the goal is Iran as a client state.

From its side, Iran is refusing to even meet Trump, two reasons: 1) If Iran agrees to meet, it would mean they agree to renegotiate the deal, which they dont. 2) US word isnt worth a toilet paper, so any negotiations is meaningless. Plus US list of demands makes even endeavor to negotiate dead from the get go.

Posted by: Harry | Jul 30, 2018 7:53:57 PM | 30

Congress went along with the Pentagon's 7 countries in 5 years plan. No investigation of 9/11 or even consideration of Ron Paul's bringing in an old idea of Letters of Marque and Reprisal.
As to the US leaving the warlords in power to continue opium production, etc, Van Buren (We Meant Well book) said some of the same happened in Iraq with some sheikhs still holding power in local areas. General Garner looked forward to going in to rebuild (and was promising quick elections) but was shocked to see no protection of ministries (except oil) which were looted and burned. And then Bremer was put in charge. Complete mismanagement of the war, the aftermath, etc. Like someone once said, if they were doing these things at random you would expect them to get it right once in a while.

The Kunduz Airlift which allowed Pakistan a corridor to fly out Pak officials, Taliban, and possibly al Qaeda was yet another snafu like paying Pakistan to supposedly block any escape from their side of Tora Bora only to have a long convoy leave at night. It made one wonder about the US supposed air superiority/domination. Again, complete mismanagement.

A comparison to the end situation in VietNam 1975 is apt.

Posted by: Curtis | Jul 30, 2018 7:54:05 PM | 31

Trump meeting Rouhani. Trump saays he wants a better deal. The nuke agreement took years to negotiate and Iran accepted far more stringent inspections than any other country signed up NPT. There is nothing more for Iran to negotiate other than to give away their sovereignty.
The offer of a meeting by Trump is more along the line of "we tried to avoid war".
The US under Trump have scrapped the nuke agreement and made demands that are impossible for Iran to meet without giving away its sovereignty.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 30, 2018 8:11:57 PM | 32

Erik Prince's plan for fighting in Afghanistan.
He presented it to the WH. Military rejected it.
He is no longer Blackwater-connected.
Frontier Services Group Ltd. is his new military-security services corp.
He has extensive contracts with the Chinese government and their SOEs overseas.

This was a trailer he made to explain his concept. He still wants to do this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjhPSaqBj1c

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jul 30, 2018 8:21:00 PM | 33

Peter AU 1 @31

I fear you're absolutely right.

Posted by: spudski | Jul 30, 2018 8:38:09 PM | 34

did you see General Souleimani answer's to Trump rabid tweet

it went like this

Our president doesnt lower himself to answer someone like.I, a soldier answer someone like you, you re someone who speaks in the vocabulary of a cabaret owner and a gambling house dealer.(paraphrasing saker has the video on his site)

and then he went on to describe how your cowad troops wore adult diapers in Afghanistan and Iraq

Posted by: occidentosis | Jul 30, 2018 9:08:50 PM | 35

China will slide right in and take it all at some point once exhaustion sets into place.

dltravers @28

No. China, being development-oriented rather than imperialist, will leave Afghanistan alone. China and Russia, but especially China, requires an Afghanistan that is not a U.S.-controlled terrorist base. Because China needs the oil/gas link that it is building through Pakistan to access Gulf energy resources, and that energy corridor would be the primary target of U.S.-hired mercenaries ('terrorists').

How Afghanistan manages itself in the post-U.S. era is Afghan business, but it will almost certainly involve the Pashtun majority (in the form of the 'Taliban') retaking power in Kabul but with the traditional huge amounts of autonomy for the provinces. That arrangement reduces pressure by Pashtun nationalists in Pakistan against Pakistan's government, and in general seems to be the long-term stable set up, and stability is what China has to have in Afghanistan.

Now is the time with perfect China partner Khan and the Pakistan military firmly in power. Not instant, but over the next two years I think we'll see the Taliban's fighting capacity hugely improve, with transfers of supplies, weapons and intelligence from Pakistan. It would be very smart for Trump to get out in 2019. History is going to accelerate in that region.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 30, 2018 9:25:35 PM | 36

Which country will be its next target?

I know I'm in the minority here, but I worry a lot about Venezuela. See, it's a perfect fit for the U.S. economy. U.S. shale oil is way too light to be useful, while Venezuelan oil is way too heavy to be useful. They are destined for each other, i.e. to be mixed into a blend that would be a good fit U.S. refineries. Plus, Venezuela is very import-dependent and thus would make for a good vassal. It also has a rabid capitalist class that will do anything — any kind of atrocity or false flag — to return to the good old days of exploitation. "But Venezuela has a lot of arms!", I hear you counter. True, but the people are severely demoralized because of the extreme economic hardship. Think of the USSR in late 80s/early 90s. It had the most powerful military in the world, and yet people were so demoralized and disillusioned with the old system that they simply chose not to defend it. Same thing may happen in Venezuela. After Colombia has signed peace accords with FARC, U.S. has been steadily increasing its military presence in Colombia. I think there is a very real possibility of a naval blockade combined with supply lines/air raids from Colombia supporting the "Free Venezuelan Army" assembled from Venezuelan gangs and revanchist capitalists and foreign mercenaries. It would be logistically impossible for Russia or China to provide military help to far-away Venezuela. Neighbors will not come to the aid of Venezuela either as there is a surge of pro-U.S. right-wing governments in the region.

Posted by: S | Jul 30, 2018 9:31:48 PM | 37

Any moves the U$A makes will have to be approved according to which natural resources their corporate masters covet at any particular moment. Lithium and other rare earth minerals, strategic importance, whatever the corporate form needs to stay on top globally, will dictate what the empire does.

Leave Afghanistan? I very much doubt it.

DJT will do what the "puppet masters" desire. Just like all his predecessors.

Profits uber alles!!

Posted by: ben | Jul 30, 2018 9:33:25 PM | 38

'Correction': No reliable census has been done in decades, but I don't think the Pashtun are the majority in Afghanistan. They
are by far the largest minority however. British 'divide and rule' stategists long ago deliberately separated them into Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 30, 2018 9:36:15 PM | 39

s 36

Venezuela and Iran have two things in common. Both have large oil reserves and neither recognize Israel.
Trump's wars will be about destroying enemies of Israel, and at the same time, achieving global energy dominance.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 30, 2018 9:40:53 PM | 40

I've posted this before. I met a Taliban leader and his two guards in a brutal area during the Hearts and Minds Schtick, preparatory to Cheney getting all the oil and gas, and copper and iron and coming coal lease awards.

He was a nice guy, the Taliban leader. His guards looked at me with absolute death in their eyes. Not wanting them to hear him, as we finished our tea, the Taliban leader leaned close, then whispered, 'I love your Jesus, but I hate your Crusaders.'

And I take issue with the US 'incompetence' meme. Ever since Cheney hosted the Taliban in Texas in 1998, trying to get a TAPI pipeline, the US has deliberately and cunningly taken over the country, assassinated the local-level leadership, and installed their foreign Shah, first Karzai, then Ghani.

In that time of occupation, 18 years, Pentagon MIC disappeared TRILLIONS in shrink-wrapped pallets of $100s, and ballooned from $340B a year, to now Trump is saying $840B a year.

That's not incompetence. Just the opposite.

Now, to honor my Afghan friends, who love to joke even after 35+ years of machine warfare, a joke I wrote in their honor:

Ring ring ring ring

"Office of the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan!"

"BRRZZZBRRZZZV..."

"Hold please."

President Reagan, it's the Iranian ambassador!"

"Well hello Mr. Assinabindstani, what can I do for you?"

"BRRZZZBRRZZZV..."

"Well I'll get my staff right on it."

[Intercomm clicks]

"Hey Ollie, the Ayatollah wants more guns! Step on it!"

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 30, 2018 9:58:21 PM | 41

38

Actually, the British paid an annual tithe-tribute the the Afghan king to stop raiding their India holdings, and agreed to a neutral zone between them. Then when the British pulled out, they declared the neutral zone as Pakistan and shrunk India away from Pashtun territory to create a bigger divide. The Afghan leaders had no say in the matter. I believe Baluchistan was also carved away. At one time, Afghan control extended from Persia to the Indus Valley. There is no way to defeat a nation of warriors who created a kingdom that vast, while William the Conqueror was still running around in bear skin diapers.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 30, 2018 10:10:55 PM | 42

@41 'Afghan control extended from Persia to the Indus Valley.'

You are probably referring to the Khalji Dynasty, a brutal bunch, who ruled India from 1290 to 1320 by which time William the Conqueror was long dead. You would be a lot more credible if you got your history right.

Posted by: dh | Jul 30, 2018 11:03:19 PM | 43

@42 dh is correct. Afghan territory was in the Persian sphere of influence much longer compared to the Mughal/British/Indian periods..

Posted by: Lozion | Jul 30, 2018 11:30:50 PM | 44

IMHO the military Budget increase, and what an increase it is!
is part of worsening an already outrageous situation to reach a caricatural point. Typical of trump repeated special "art".
Of course Nobody in USA, no President can go against the MIC and Pentagon.
But money is cheap when you print it.

It is sugaring the intended shrinking of foreign deployments (as in NATO), closure of "facilities" and replacing them officially with total deterrence capacities (Space Forces anybody ?).
While keeping classical projection capacities for demonstration against backward tribes.

Posted by: Charles Michael | Jul 31, 2018 12:19:59 AM | 45

That is an excellent account. Who can help rooting for the Afghanis to get their country back?

The economics of empire are always upside down; the homeland people end up shelling out for it.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jul 31, 2018 12:21:04 AM | 46

...
From its side, Iran is refusing to even meet Trump, two reasons: 1) If Iran agrees to meet, it would mean they agree to renegotiate the deal, which they dont. 2) US word isnt worth a toilet paper, so any negotiations is meaningless. Plus US list of demands makes even endeavor to negotiate dead from the get go.
Posted by: Harry | Jul 30, 2018 7:53:57 PM | 29

Tru-ish but Trump's latest offer is, according to the MSM, "no pre-conditions." It's quite likely that Iran's allies have advised the Iranians to tell Trump to Go F*ck yourself (if you feel you must), but then satisfy yourselves that Trump's No Preconditions means what Iran wants it to mean.

Trump jumped into the NK and Putin talks first because both were eager to talk. Iran will be a good test of Trump's seduction skills. All he's got to do is persuade the Iranians that talking is more useful than swapping long-distance insults. Iranians are rusted onto logical principles and Trump will find a way to appeal to that trait, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 31, 2018 12:26:51 AM | 47

Which country will be its next target?

Iran.

Posted by: Ian | Jul 31, 2018 12:41:07 AM | 48

It's too late for the afghanis who have been driven into the urban areas during the regulaar 'Afghanistanisation' campaigns. Most of them will have become hooked on consumerism and the necessity of dollars.
That leaves only two options for the Taliban when they take over as they undoubtedly will altho that is likely to mean having to tolerate clutches of obese amerikans lurking in some Px strewn green zone, the inhabitants of which are likely to have less contact with people from Afghanistan than any regular user of a Californian shopping mall. The new government can ignore the consumerists even when these rejects insist on getting lured into some nonsense green revolution - the danger with this isn't the vapid protests which can easily be dealt with by fetching a few mobs of staunch citizens from rural Afghanistan who will quickly teach them that neither cheeseburgers nor close captioned episodes of daytime television provide sufficient nutrition to handle compatriots raised on traditional food and Islam. Or the new administration can do as other traditional regimes have done many times over the last 80 years or so, purge the consumerists by disappearing the leadership and strewing empty lots in the urban areas with mutilated corpses of a few of the shitkicker class consumerists. That option can cause a bit of a fuss but it (the fuss) generally only lasts as long as the purge.

I suspect the Afghan government will favour the latter approach but they may try to hold off until the North has been brought back into line. OTH, consumerism is a highly contagious condition so, unless the North can be pacified speedily which seems unlikely, initially at least the Taliban adminsitration may have to fight on two fronts, agin the North while they nip urban consumerists in the bud before those confused fools can cause any highly publicised in the west but in actuality, low key, attempted insurrection.
My advice to the gaming, TV or cheeseburger addicted inhabitants of Kabul would be to volunteer your services to the amerikan military as a 'translator' asap and join yer cobbers in California.
It is unlikely that you will bump into Roman Brady especially not when he is in one of his avuncular moods, but if you stay outta Texas, Florida or any other part of flyover amerika chocka with alcohol induced blowhardism, you will discover than amerikan racism isn't as lethal as it once was.

Apart from having to ignore being jostled in the line at fast food joints and being loudly and incorrectly termed a motherf**in sand n***er mid-jostle. Certainly a whole lot less lethal than trying to cover your Fortnite jones by waving a badly copywritten sign in front of the al-Jazeera cameras for a one month battle pass.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jul 31, 2018 1:11:58 AM | 49

This retreat is to focus resources on Iran. Nuclear Winter it is!

Posted by: AV17 | Jul 31, 2018 1:49:03 AM | 50

What was happening in Kabul, Afghanistan less than 8 hours after the WTC Towers turned into dust in midair? Who here remembers the massive bombing/cruise missile attack?

Here is CNN's transcript:

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "Well, Joie, it's about 2:30 in the morning here in Kabul. We've been hearing explosions around the perimeter of the city. We're in a position here which gives us a view over the whole city. We just had an impact, perhaps a few miles away.

“If I listen, you can hear the ripple of explosions around the city. Perhaps you heard there. The fifth explosion -- sixth explosion, I think. Gun bursts and star bursts in the air. Tracer fire is coming up out of the city. I hear aircraft flying above the city of Kabul. Perhaps we've heard half a dozen to 10 detonations on the perimeter of the city, some coming from the area close to the airport. I see on the horizon what could be a fire on the horizon, close, perhaps, to where the airport might be. A flash came up then from the airport. Some ground fire coming up here in Kabul."

“I've been in Belgrade and I've been in Baghdad and seen cruise missiles arrive in both those cities. The detonations we're hearing in Kabul right now certainly sound like the detonations of loud missiles that are coming in. “

“Certainly -- certainly it would appear that the Afghan defense systems have detected a threat in the air. They are launching what appears to be anti-aircraft defense systems at the moment. Certainly, I can see that fire that was blazing on the horizon. It was a faint yellow; it's now a bright orange blazing. Several other detonations going off around the city, multiple areas. Rockets appear to be taking off from one end of the airport. I can see that perhaps located about 8 or 9 miles away from where we stand, Joie.”

The bombing/explosions continue for 10+ minutes of this broadcast.

Then, they cut to WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: who says the US is only collecting intelligence. He says what we’re seeing must be part of the “Civil War” (despite the fact that neither side had an air force or cruise missiles). The Pentagon later denies knowing anything about it.

Then, CNN returns to Nic Robertson, who- within 15 minutes of his first report - begins to change his tune. Suddenly, the jet sounds are not mentioned. The cruise missiles (jet engines) have transformed into possible rockets. The airport fire is now an ammunition dump.

And voila! They lose their connection and Nic will not be heard from again. And this little bit of history will essentially disappear.

CNN video archive (attack report starts at 7:43).

https://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/11/bn.61.html

NPR had a reporter in Kabul that night. He apparently didn’t notice the massive bombing, at least in his memoir 15 years later.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 31, 2018 2:05:21 AM | 51

Dear Mr. B,
"All these U.S. mistakes made in the early days are still haunting the country."
These mistakes are by design. To cause and keep causing destabilisation.

I like to refer to it as the 3-letter Scrabble method of doing things.
Me living in the Netherlands as I do, let me take the example of Greece.
Greece had its regime changed in 1948 (Wiki says 46-49).
And how is Greece doing these days? ...

Posted by: Mishko | Jul 31, 2018 2:07:19 AM | 52

@37 yep, gotta agree with the more passimistic outlook here. Personally i'll eat my shoes if US leaves Afghanistan within any reasonable time frame. In addition to plentiful natural resources, there are very influential vested interests in Afghanistans booming opium industry.

Posted by: Plasma | Jul 31, 2018 2:16:47 AM | 53

Off topic: Andrei Nekrasov's 'Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes' can be viewed in full on You Tube at this moment (31 July, 08:15 Amsterdam time). Can it also be seen in the USA, I wonder? How long will it take before Google take it down ? Watch it and learn about one of the main drivers of the Russia obsession.

Posted by: Quentin | Jul 31, 2018 2:20:09 AM | 54

The US (Neocon dominated) Power Elite has only one strategy left for that Region: destabilization and chaos to serve as a barrier against the Project of the Eurasian Cooperation!
See:
„Geo-Politics: The Core of Crisis and Chaos and the Nightmares of the US Power Elite“ https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/geo-politics-the-core-of-crisis-and-chaos-the-nightmares-of-the-us-power-elite/
And on the recent developments:
“US Politics, Russia, China and Europe, Madness and Strategies”: https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/us-politics-russia-china-and-europe-madness-and-strategies/
Best regards

Posted by: Andreas Schlüter | Jul 31, 2018 3:35:18 AM | 55

@ Hoarsewhisperer | 46

Tru-ish but Trump's latest offer is, according to the MSM, "no pre-conditions." It's quite likely that Iran's allies have advised the Iranians to tell Trump to Go F*ck yourself (if you feel you must), but then satisfy yourselves that Trump's No Preconditions means what Iran wants it to mean.

White House just explained what Trump's "no preconditions" means: 1) Iran should at the core change how it deals with its own people. 2) Change its evil stance in foreign policy. 3) Agree on nuclear agreement which would REALLY prevent them making a nuke.

In other words, Iran should capitulate and become a client state, thats what Trump means by "no preconditions."

Posted by: Harry | Jul 31, 2018 4:35:59 AM | 56

@eugene #18

https://taskandpurpose.com/blackwater-eric-prince-afghan-war-plan/

"Blackwater Founder Erik Prince’s Afghan War Plan Just Leaked, And It’s Terrifying "

Tis was 8 months ago.

Posted by: venice12 | Jul 31, 2018 4:53:03 AM | 57

Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires!

When I heard old hand Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (what a name!) was heading back it was clear that things were afoot.

China's been trying to get in for a while, the Mes Aynak mine for example, but nothing much has happened.

Afghanistan is sitting on huge amounts of valuable mineral resources (an estimated $3t) but remains dirt poor...

Posted by: et Al | Jul 31, 2018 5:04:41 AM | 58

In any hot clash with China the U S would be very exposed in Afghanistan .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jul 31, 2018 6:42:37 AM | 59

At this advanced stage of American insanity, I don't see why the devil should have all the best tunes. I'm sick of the yanks doing this shit in over people's county's ! While they stuff there fat faces with burgers and donuts! The dirty games they play on over country's, should now be played in America with all the brutality that they have used on others. Until that happens things world wide will continue to detriate. Natural justice is all that remains. They'v curupted all else.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 31, 2018 6:51:36 AM | 60

@19 "The US already started to plan an invasion of Afghanistan in januari & february of 2001."

Well, to be fair the USA probably has plans to invade lots of countries.

Indeed, it would be more interesting to consider how many countries there are that the USA *doesn't* have invasion plans gathering dust on the shelves.

Not many, I would suggest.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 31, 2018 7:09:00 AM | 61

It's just been reported on the bbc news---- the man responsible for the Manchester bombing had been 'rescued from Lybia when Gadafi was overthrown and tracked ever since. Even in Britain up to the day of the bombing ! And now on this post we discuss America uk transporting terrorists from Syria to Afganistan . Not to mention the white helmet bunch and where Ther going! The Manchester bombing, Westminster bridge and London Bridge atacks were done by the Tory party to win a general election ! This is the reality of the world we live in.full on oppression !!!

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 31, 2018 7:41:56 AM | 62

Indeed, I agree with the sentiments here. But missing a big part of the picture.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have sky-high fertility rates. Forget the rubbish peddled by economist-whores like Milton Friedman, under these conditions no country without an open frontier has ever developed into anything other than a larger mass of poverty. In Pakistan something like half the children are so malnourished that they grow up stunted, and it is this misery that is starting slow population growth. Pakistan is yet another example of the Malthusian holocaust, which is not a global catastrophe: it is slow grinding poverty that results when people have more children than they can support.

Bottom line: these places will remain poor and unstable no matter what lunacy the United States does or does not do. The traditional approach to such places is to leave them alone, and only keep them from escaping. Bottled up, the Afghanis and Pakistanis will kill only each other. 9/11 is a consequence of allowing people from these places free access to the Untied States.

The 'war on terror' is a consequence of 'there shall be open borders.' It's a big and messy world, and even if the government of the United States was not criminally incompetent, there would be a lot of misery and hatred in it. Open borders means that now the Untied States has to intervene in every country all over the world to ensure that nowhere can there develop terrorist cells. An impossible task.

Posted by: TG | Jul 31, 2018 8:26:48 AM | 63

Charles Michael @ 44

I agree with the caricature nature of much of this. I don't think there will be a next target. The MIC has become bloated while Iran, Syria, Russia, China are turning out true fighters as well as stronger economic planning.

The US still has some resources and some use but needs to continue to make friends in the pattern of Kim and Putin and give up on its self defeating economic and military sabotage planning which has been exposed as morally bankrupt as well.

Posted by: financial matters | Jul 31, 2018 9:19:51 AM | 64

America and England at this stage are both a total right off. Basket case !

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 31, 2018 10:12:22 AM | 65

@62TG. . '9/11 is a consequence of allowing people from these places free access to the Untied States.' Wow!! Just WOW!!! Was that typed wrong because that just flies in the face of all reason, not to mention demonstrable and verifiable facts in regards to 911.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Jul 31, 2018 10:25:50 AM | 66

62 TG
Whatever you mean the f**k with the big picture. Afghanistan and Pakistan is part of geographically strategic location right on the highest tension of the cold war first then they're strategic economic hub second. More psychopathic than you are they never care about which people they destroyed as long as they don't interfere with their interest. You ? You're not their interest you're just like those poor, fertile, people you talk about in their eyes. All livestock and fodder.

Posted by: cbrown | Jul 31, 2018 11:11:38 AM | 67

Money:
Going back a bit I seem to remember that the military "Budget" for Afghanistan does NOT come out of the regular Pentagon Budget. It was an extra as Afghanistan is/was classified as a "war" zone. Which is why the "war on terror" became so long living. (17/18 years). I do not know if this is still the situation, but it is clear that the Arms business will not want to lose a profitable source of income.

Conclusion; there may be a draw-down, but the "US" will not leave while there is still money to be made. Trump or no Trump.

PS. There are enough economic reasons, (ie. Lithium, rare earths, transit for oil and railroads, screwing up the Chinese "one road.) to mean that the US "Big Arms Business (BAM) will insist on staying.

Posted by: stonebird | Jul 31, 2018 11:26:38 AM | 68

The Taliban offered to hand over Bin Laden twice. Once with the trial conditions and again, after the Freedom Bombs began falling, unconditionally to s neutral nation.

Posted by: AirmanSparky | Jul 31, 2018 11:28:23 AM | 69

It's a real shame the Soviets lost in Afghanistan. A Communist government would have been far better than the mess they have now.

Posted by: Fidelios Automata | Jul 31, 2018 11:38:36 AM | 70

TG@62
"Afghanistan and Pakistan have sky-high fertility rates."
In relative terms, the only ones that make sense, this seems unlikely.

"Forget the rubbish peddled by economist-whores like Milton Friedman, under these conditions no country without an open frontier has ever developed into anything other than a larger mass of poverty."
What does this mean? It makes no sense to me.

"In Pakistan something like half the children are so malnourished that they grow up stunted, and it is this misery that is starting slow population growth."
T
here are children whose growth has been stunted by malnutrition everywhere, including the UK and the USA. This is not because of high fertility rates but because of inequality- the food is there but the kids aren't rich enough or strong enough to wrest it out of the hands of the wealthy and powerful ruling class.

"Pakistan is yet another example of the Malthusian holocaust, which is not a global catastrophe: it is slow grinding poverty that results when people have more children than they can support."

This is Malthusian nonsense: Malthus became so popular because he provided ideological cover for the rampant injustice and callousness of the capitalist system. The living standards of the masses were falling as he wrote, as enclosure, forced urbanisation and the diversion of resources from food to commodity production, deprived the people of their access to land, their traditional 'common' resources and their regular employment. This was because of capitalism not increasing population.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 31, 2018 12:29:30 PM | 71

Diana Johnstone was right to recently call US elites demented.
Don't underestimate their ability to double down on stupid.
Until the US is defeated, exhausted, or neutralized, its madness will continue.
The only positive is that the US and its Anglosphere and EU vassals have met their match in the Russian/Chinese alliance.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Jul 31, 2018 1:07:18 PM | 72

ot - regarding usa / iran negotiations "“If the Americans demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behavior, can agree that it's worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the Iranian president said he's prepared to sit down and have the conversation with them,” Larijani said.

fixed it, lol...

Posted by: james | Jul 31, 2018 1:12:57 PM | 73

I should restate my ideas above more strongly: the time is _now_ for China to assert itself and, cooperating with Pakistan, make sure a terrorist-free space is cleared in Afghanistan/Pakistan for the energy corridor. Otherwise that project will be destroyed by US/Saudi paid and managed mercenary militias.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 31, 2018 1:54:41 PM | 74

@bevin 71 "rampant injustice and callousness of the capitalist system." Right on.

But might we also substitute for "the capitalist system" the words "the 'when corporations rule the world' system" or " 'the profit motive and militarism conjoined' system"?

A commonplace example of the built in perversity of the conventional economic system is given in Barry Commoner's book The Closing Circle. Farmers find that the single most financially feasible and rewarding tactic is to add artificial nitrogen fertilizer to their fields: crop yield/quantity increases and thus income. But at some point, the ground water and downstream water begin to absorb excess nitrogen and be negatively affected by the nitrogen - nitrites, too much algae, too little oxygen for fish - and the quality of the food grown may decline due to mineral imbalance, thus affecting both the eaters of the food, and perhaps increasing the rationale for pesticides. The farmer begins with 'how do I make a living?', not "how do I degrade and contaminate the environment?', but staying afloat financially dictates his conduct. This is a variation on the theme of the in effect dictatorship of the profit motive as basic premise.

A more pleasant and challenging basic premise is something like the question: how do we raise bright healthy children and also take care of the environment?

Incidentally, in Commoner's book he points out that whereas after the 2nd world war population increased such and such much, pollution of the environment increased at a much greater rate. The new technologies, 'living better with chemistry' etc, in conjunction with militarism and corporate capitalism, were the basic problem, not the increasing population. For example, natural cotton and wool, derived from the sun, are used and then decompose; artificial fibers malinger. But the latter were more profitable.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jul 31, 2018 2:08:43 PM | 75

62

Once again, the Terrets spew of The Miracle of the Three Towers and the Two Planes, followed by the Amazing 6G Spiral Diving 270º Turn at 550 Knots and 30 Feet Off the Deck, by a gaggle of duped Saudis and Egyptians who could not even fly a single-engine 172, but somehow Dick Cheney knew this would come to pass, he ordered the Afghanistan Invasion in AUGUST.

Here's a challenge to every MoA: download MicroSoft Flight Simulator. Use Camtasia to capture your screen in flight. Then from 10,000-feet, *on your first try*, pull that 270-degree diving spiral and crash into the Pentagon at ground level.
Remember, maximum speed of descent 490 knots, maximum allowable bank angle, 65º, or your wings will shear off in flight.

You will soon realize the Epic Evil which Pentagon Continuity of Government (Deep State) has perpetrated on the world.
No wonder Trump says he wants an $840B Pentagon for 2019. You are owned. They own you. E pluribus now get back to work.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 31, 2018 2:26:42 PM | 76

Robert Snefjella @15
“The decision to invade Afghanistan had been taken before the 9/11 false flag coup. Had nothing much to do with the CIA's al-Qaeda mercenaries.”

CaChing!

StephenLaudig @ 17
“The Russians aren't the enemy, Trump is. Lobbyists are too.”

CaChing! Of course, Trump is merely playing his role as our first Reality TV President. As his fans cheer and his detractors jeer, the AZ Empire presses on, mostly unreported or underreported.

Eugene @18
“I haven't read anything about Blackwater wanting to replace the U.S. Military in Afghanistan…. Any odds this might go forward from anyone's opinion?”

See Peter’s link @24 to RF concern over unmarked helicopters shipping terrorists and weapons into Afghanistan.

dahoit @22
“Trump is?What about the neocons who started this f*ck up.”

Those NeoCons are still driving policy. To imagine that the people who planned the very Zionist wars that Trump is escalating are really “the resistance” to their beloved front puppet is, frankly bizarre.

Peter AU 1 @ 24
“We are concerned about reports regarding the use of helicopters without any identification marks in many parts of Afghanistan that are delivering terrorists and arms to the Afghan branch of this terrorist organisation. We believe that reports to this effect made by Afghan officials should be thoroughly investigated."

It looks like Erik Prince got his wish.

S @36
"Which country will be its next target?
I know I'm in the minority here, but I worry a lot about Venezuela."

And right after the Trump Administration started talking about a “humanitarian military intervention,” Venezuela’s neighbor, Colombia was brought into NATO. Is this the same NATO that our dear leader is allegedly working to dismantle? LOL

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 31, 2018 2:27:52 PM | 77

fairleft @74: I should restate my ideas above more strongly: the time is _now_ ...

I think they KNOW that "the time is _now_", while the West KNOWS that "the time is _now_" to block their ascent.

That's why war is all but unavoidable. And it's already being fought by proxies like Hezbollah, ISIS, MEK, Taliban, etc. (not an exhaustive list) in multiple far-flung locales (Mali, Venezuela, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, etc.).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 31, 2018 2:29:43 PM | 78

The US will not leave Afghanistan until it gives up its fantasy from Israel for regime change in Iran - even if it requires US military intervention. It almost happened in the last years of the Bush administration but among others in the military, Admiral Fallon said no. So there was the "success?" of removing Ghadafi from Libya and the failure (due to Russian intervention - also stopping NATO from becoming the air force for the jihadis as in Libya) of regime change in Syria. A war with Iran could be the event that causes the next economic downturn /collapse?. Or the economic catastrophe could be the reason Trump starts the war with Iran in order to get re-elected. The economic meltdown might even be triggered by the elites (out of White House power from Hillary's loss) to bring down Trump who starts a war.
In which case Venezuela might be the choice. There is an out of power elite who would gladly run the country the way the US wants. It has as much or more oil than Iran. It's much closer to the US and US refineries in Gulf states are set up to use the heavy crude from Venezuela. There are already US military bases in next door Columbia. They would gladly join in. The US military probably thinks it would be a slam dunk. No Oil in North Korea who had China and Russia at its back. I doubt Venezuela would get any help from them.
Of course, Israel would much prefer the US to invade Iran. Do they really control US foreign policy aside from the Middle East?

Posted by: gepay | Jul 31, 2018 3:21:09 PM | 79

Is it more war externally, while the carnival barker distracts the crowd, and his sycophants dismantle Roosevelt's "New Deal"?

Stay tuned...

Posted by: ben | Jul 31, 2018 3:26:36 PM | 80

Fritz, a good ally, standing by america through all its 9/11 difficulties, (read, ‘mafia-standard’ opportunities,) left the shitz krieg in Afganny years ago.

Did you notice?

1) Krauts, ever since wwII, come in high on the knowing-when-to-go-home-contest.

2) There was no steins of beer, no october fest, no art to steal, and, how sad is this, a deck of Afganny playing cards shows 52 exotic Afghanny beauties dressed in black from head to toe.

oiy-yah-yui-yah-yui.

Posted by: DineroDProfit | Jul 31, 2018 3:27:39 PM | 81

Sunday 12 Aurgust Washington DC.Anti fascist march ! Do your bit to save your country .

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 31, 2018 4:42:05 PM | 82

@Bilal | Jul 30, 2018 4:39:14 PM | 13

Thanks for the overview of the isis-k situation.

An interesting aspect is taliban sources claiming that whenever they come close to a decisive victory, they have to stop operations becauae of heavy bombardment by US planes.

The U.S. supports the terrorists while claiming to fight them. So typical. Maybe the Afghans need some MANPADs.

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 31, 2018 8:49:05 PM | 83

President Putin is insisting on maintaining the 1974 Armistice Line. That means, Israel continues to illegally occupy Syria's Golan. He's said this quite specifically at least twice that I've seen.

At least he's saying he opposes Israel continuing to conquer its "Eretz Israel" to the Euphrates River.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 31, 2018 8:49:49 PM | 84

@james | Jul 30, 2018 3:26:49 PM | 2

i suspect the madness will continue.. the only other alternative is the usa, with the help of their good buddies - uk, ksa, qatar, uae and israel - will keep on relocating isis to afgan for future destabilization.

I've no doubt the U.S. will want to keep Afghanistan boiling. But the turmoil may not be inevitable, however hard the Empire of Chaos and Deceit attempts to foment it.

The key question, I think, is whether ISIS is supported by the population. A guerilla force will shrink if it is continually being outed by the local people.

After 17 years, I think Afghans are tired of fighting, and will reject any ISIS attempts to continue the conflict. Especially if peace -- and China's new Silk Road -- begin to bring some economic benefits.

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 31, 2018 8:50:10 PM | 85

@Debsisdead | Jul 31, 2018 1:11:58 AM | 49

Most [Afgans] will have become hooked on consumerism and the necessity of dollars.

No dollars needed. Afghanistan will be getting lots of Yuan from China for OBOR's transit rights, and will be sending the Yuan back to China for consumer goods. The Chinese make most of the world's consumer goods anyway.

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 31, 2018 8:50:57 PM | 86

Daniel 84

Israel will continue to occupy Golan until the US or US power is destroyed. Only then can it be forced back into its UN recognized borders. There are many frozen conflicts in the states of the former USSR. These too will not be resolved until US power is destroyed. Russian policy in these areas seems to be about halting fighting until that time.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 31, 2018 9:02:33 PM | 87

"The erratic empire failed in another of its crazy endeavors. That will not hinder it to look for a new ones. The immense increase of the U.S. military budget, which includes 15,000 more troops, points to a new large war. Which country will be its next target?"

I don't know which country will be its next target but while Trump is President it certainly won't be Iran.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 31, 2018 9:46:22 PM | 88

Trump will rub the "Israelis" noses in their Imaginary Nukes if Bibi & the Neocons don't STFU about Iran.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 31, 2018 9:51:54 PM | 89

@87 Peter Au 1

Agreed. I was thinking roughly the same thing. Russia will not facilitate Israel in any Golan action contrary to UN resolutions.

It seems apparent that Russia doesn't want to be involved when Syria takes all the Golan back. That's going to be a new and intense international discussion. Russia will sit quietly on its base and be involved diplomatically, but in no other way. And the only way to sit quietly is with all the dust settled, and the US gone from Syria, or as you suggest, in a reliably frozen situation. However, I don't see Assad settling for frozen with the US, the way it looks currently - this could change of course. But the insurgency building will cause the US some pain, and that's what the world could use now, the US with its tail on fire.

Easy to say the US will never leave a place. Actually no historical grounds for saying this, and in fact quite the opposite. And the Pentagon is extremely pain-averse.

One thing at a time. There's actually no need for anyone to rush any of the Golan action. It should be the very last piece.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 31, 2018 10:00:36 PM | 90

Grieved 90

For the Syrians to attack the Israeli's in the occupied Golan, in sufficient force to push them out would be the same as Syria attacking the US. The US will use whatever force is necessary to defend the Israeli's in the occupied Golan. That is why I believe it cannot be resolved until US power is destroyed and US can no longer come to the aid of Israel. Any Syrian attack in the meantime would result in thousands of Syrian dead for no result.

Under Putin, Russia began development of its new strategic weapons the moment the US pulled out of the ABM treaty. The same long term planning by Putin would also apply to the US itself. I think Putin will oversee the collapse of US power before he is gone.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 31, 2018 10:17:54 PM | 91

Peter and Grieved. Sorry, I accidentally posted that comment about Golan here instead of OT #37.

Grieved, you wrote, "Easy to say the US will never leave a place. Actually no historical grounds for saying this, and in fact quite the opposite."

I'm not sure I understand that. What countries (besides Vietnam) has the US militarily occupied and voluntarily left (at least, without first toppling the government and installing a puppet regime)?

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 31, 2018 10:29:49 PM | 92

...
Under Putin, Russia began development of its new strategic weapons the moment the US pulled out of the ABM treaty. The same long term planning by Putin would also apply to the US itself. I think Putin will oversee the collapse of US power before he is gone.
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 31, 2018 10:17:54 PM | 91

There's also this warning From Russia With Love...

"If Russia or one of its allies is attacked with Nukes, of any yield, our response will be swift and with predictable consequences."

V V Putin, 2018.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 1, 2018 12:11:28 AM | 93

@92 Daniel

There is no "besides Vietnam". Vietnam is the example of the country that fights at peer level, at the nation level, where the real nation is at stake. In such a case, the US loses, and withdraws. The example is quite sufficient to prove the case, I think.

North Korea will fight at this level. Iran will fight at this level. Syria did not fight at this level, but it was attacked with proxy war, and now it has fought through the proxies and is raising itself up to fight at this national level. Similarly, Lebanon did not fight at this level but it spawned Hezbollah, which does fight at this level - and will fight not just proxies but whole nations if it must.

And similarly, Iraq and Afghanistan have had to gather and gird themselves to defeat the invasions of the US, and it has taken years and will take more years, but who can even pretend to see that the US is on a victorious course?

Does any sane person believe that the US can engage in country-wide strife with any of these forces, for the stakes of the nation itself, and place the lives of its own soldiers in the field at risk - and just conceivably its civilians at home at risk - and win?

Do we think Vietnam is some kind of anomaly, some kind of exception to the rule? Do we believe that the spirit of the US has toughened since those days? Do we think its weaponry or its resolve or its fighting soldiers have become more diamond-like in the time since the truth of the powerless of the US was made manifest in Vietnam?

Or do we, on the contrary, think the US fighting machine has become more craven, more corrupt - in a word, more chickenshit - since that time?

Based on the observed flow of events, how the fuck could anyone think the US can fight a real war?

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 1, 2018 12:53:37 AM | 94

@ Hoarsewhisperer
Putin's warning came after US under Trump had updated its so called nuclear posture to include tactical nukes and according to Putin, to enable their use against even cyber attack. Why did Trump, since winning the election, push for tactical nukes - dial a yield - to be used amongst conventional weapons and the accompanying doctrine that allowed then to be used against non nuclear states like Iran.
US is going to drone warfare and so on because US voters do not like US boots in body bags. Tactical nukes would help to greatly reduce US boots in body bags in Trumps future wars of energy dominance.


Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 1, 2018 2:10:56 AM | 95

@ Grieved
In this I am trying to look at US aimed under Trump and Kissinger rather than what I think it will actually achieve. Kissinger whom Trump has known for a long time has, like Putin, an established record so it is possible to see into his thinking.
The difference now is, in Kissinger's heyday, he had no worthy opponents, whereas Kissinger is now old and and Putin and I believe Xi are easily his equal.
Trump sitting beside Kissinger has said he intends to return US to its place of 'importance' it held 25 years ago, and Kissinger in many separate interviews has said he thinks Trump will return the US to its place of 'importance' in the world.

We tend to think of, or what is termed as, the accepted norms of the last decades. Accepted norms are meaningless to the likes of Trump and Kissinger. It now remains to be seen what risks they are prepared to take to return US to is place of - as they term it - importance in the world.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 1, 2018 2:23:45 AM | 96

Grieved. Why are you not answering my question, "What countries (besides Vietnam) has the US militarily occupied and voluntarily left (at least, without first toppling the government and installing a puppet regime)?"

Because for you to write, "no historical grounds for saying this, and in fact quite the opposite" suggests you believe you have the weight of history behind your claim.

If you'd like to discuss why the US did pull out of Vietnam, I've listed several times the three most cited possible reasons, but no one has shown interest in exploring them, or offered any others.

These sources may help you narrow down your list.

"According to data from the Defense Manpower Data Center, the U.S military has 200,000 active-service members deployed in at least 170 countries worldwide.... U.S. special operations forces deployed to at least 138 nations in 2016, equating to about 70 percent of the world. "

https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/03/28/all-the-countries-worldwide-with-a-u-s-military-presence-infographic/#5a287d6728cf

Prior to the 2017 escalations in Afghanistan and Syria, "The number of active-duty U.S. military troops stationed overseas has dipped below 200,000 for the first time in at least 60 years. "

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/22/u-s-active-duty-military-presence-overseas-is-at-its-smallest-in-decades/

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 1, 2018 2:42:39 AM | 97

Do we think Vietnam is some kind of anomaly, some kind of exception to the rule? Do we believe that the spirit of the US has toughened since those days? Do we think its weaponry or its resolve or its fighting soldiers have become more diamond-like in the time since the truth of the powerless of the US was made manifest in Vietnam?

Or do we, on the contrary, think the US fighting machine has become more craven, more corrupt - in a word, more chickenshit - since that time?

Based on the observed flow of events, how the fuck could anyone think the US can fight a real war?

It is hard to imagine how the USA military could possibly defend it's far-flung military bases from
any coordinated assault. It would be a series of beleagured retreats and catastrophic battle results.

Posted by: Guerrero | Aug 1, 2018 1:59:18 PM | 98

98

I concur. A single base being attacked can be defended and ressupplied.
A coordinated assault will result in mass casualties for the US troops.

Posted by: CarlD | Aug 1, 2018 5:27:37 PM | 99

Yes, it's frequently said that when Empires spread out their militaries too far, they fall. That's not to say they can't still do a horrible amount of damage, but even if the attacks against it are not coordinated, a series of attacks against outposts of Empire force it to either withdraw or spend an enormous amount shipping armies from point to point.

Is the AZ Empire at such a stage? I don't know. Much of the argument that it is, is based on the theory that Empire has been failing in its military goals. I don't know that either. Militaries are for breaking things, not building them. And the AZ Empire's military sure has broken a lot of sh*t, especially since 9/11.

Has anyone read Noam Chomsky's theory that the US achieved its military goals in Vietnam, and that's when and why it withdrew?

"History doesn't repeat, but it rhymes." I have no doubt that the AZ Empire will go down one day. I hope it doesn't take the rest of civilization or even humankind along with it. That "Samson Option" is chilling, and I fear at least some of those PTSB are fanatical enough to do that.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 1, 2018 8:22:20 PM | 100

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