Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 21, 2019

Disunity Of U.S. Command Lets Afghan Rebels Win The War

The U.S. war on Afghanistan continues to fail. Disunity of command and lack of political foresight guarantee that the U.S. will be losing it.

Throughout the last months the 'moderate rebels' in Afghanistan made great strides against the U.S. sponsored government forces.

  • Last week a convoy of some 40 trucks loaded with military equipment was ambushed and destroyed (pics, vid). It was the largest such incident since the Soviets left Afghanistan.
  • Also last week a large bomb hit a security compound within the fortified international quarter of Kabul. At least five people died and some hundred were injured.
  • On Sunday a car bomb hit the convoy of the governor of Logar province. Eight of his body guards died in the attack.

Earlier today a raid on a military training center for the National Security Directorate, the Afghan CIA offshoot, killed some 200 forces. The attacking rebels used a U.S. made armored Humvee to drive into the compound and exploded it. A infantry unit followed and shot up the survivors.


Many successful raids on outlying security posts and police checkpoints are no longer mentioned in western media. The Afghan government has stopped providing casualty numbers.

U.S. foreign policy thinking on Afghanistan is as inept as ever. Witness the head of the Council of Foreign Relation agonizing over what not to do:

Richard N. Haass @RichardHaass - 13:36 utc - 14 Jan 2019
Neither winning the war nor negotiating a lasting peace is a real option in Afghanistan. Just leaving, though, as we are about to do in Syria, would be a mistake. What we need is an open-ended, affordable strategy for not losing.

What please is a strategy of not losing? Especially when the situation on the ground has for years been getting worse despite several large U.S. surges.

The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted nine years. But it was largely successful in building a stable government and the Soviets left a mostly competent Afghan military behind. Three years later Russia ended its financial support for the Afghan government. Only that gave the guerrilla the chance to destroy the state.

After 18 years in Afghanistan the U.S. military seems still unable to create and train competent local forces.

The $8 billion spent on the Afghan airforce have resulted in a mostly incapable force that depends on U.S. contractors to keep its birds flying. This was the result of unreasonable decisions:

Aviation experts have criticized a decision to phase out the old workhorses of the Afghan forces — Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters — for American-made UH-60 Black Hawks.

Mr. Michel, the retired general, said the Mi-17 was “the perfect helicopter” for Afghanistan because it can carry more troops and supplies than the Black Hawk and is less complicated to fly.

“Let’s be candid,” he said of the switch. “That was largely done for political reasons.”

The U.S. military built an Afghan force in its own image:

American trainers have built an Afghan Army that relies heavily on air power that the air force might not be able to provide for years, said John F. Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction.

Why the U.S. military, which since Vietnam proved inept at fighting local guerrillas, believed that its ways of fighting suits an Afghan force is inexplicable. If the Taliban manages to win without an airforce why should the Afghan military need one?

The only 'effective' Afghan units are the CIA controlled brigades which are known for the very worst atrocities on the civilian population:

As Mr. Khan was driven away for questioning, he watched his home go up in flames. Within were the bodies of two of his brothers and of his sister-in-law Khanzari, who was shot three times in the head. Villagers who rushed to the home found the burned body of her 3-year-old daughter, Marina, in a corner of a torched bedroom.

The men who raided the family’s home that March night, in the district of Nader Shah Kot, were members of an Afghan strike force trained and overseen by the Central Intelligence Agency in a parallel mission to the United States military’s, but with looser rules of engagement.

The report, unfortunately published on December 31, includes many such examples. Kate Clark adds of a more recent incident:

A survivor of the attack carried out in Surkai village in Zurmat district, in Paktia province, described to AAN how five men in his family, including three university students, and a neighbour, were summarily executed and how he was questioned by an American in uniform accompanying the Afghan gunmen. The Paktia governor’s spokesman has also confirmed that ‘foreign troops’ were involved in the operation (and the US military spokesman has said the US military was not involved).

While the U.S. military and diplomats and the Afghan military try to make nice with the Afghan population, these CIA proxy forces continue to alienate it. It drives recruits to the Taliban:

[T]he units have also operated unconstrained by battlefield rules designed to protect civilians, conducting night raids, torture and killings with near impunity, in a covert campaign that some Afghan and American officials say is undermining the wider American effort to strengthen Afghan institutions.

Those abuses are actively pushing people toward the Taliban, the officials say.

It is likely that today's large attack on the NDS compound hits CIA controlled forces:

Many of the strike forces were officially put under the control of Afghan intelligence starting in 2012. But senior Afghan and international officials say that the two most effective and ruthless forces, in Khost and Nangarhar Provinces, are still sponsored mainly by the C.I.A.

This conflict between militarized CIA proxy forces and forces trained by the U.S. military played out in every recent war the U.S. waged. In Iraq CIA sponsored Shia units clashed with Pentagon sponsored Sunni militia. In Syria CIA trained 'rebels' ended up shooting at U.S. military trained 'rebels' and vice versa. In Afghanistan the rogue force under CIA control is some 3,000 to 10,000 strong. It largely alienates the same population the Afghan military tries to protect.

Unity of command is an important condition for successful military campaigns. As the military works in one direction while the CIA pulls in another one, the campaign in Afghanistan continues to fail.

A similar split can be seen in Afghanistan's political field. The CIA is notorious for bribing Afghan politicians, while the military launches anti-corruption campaigns. The political system installed by such competing forces is unsustainable.

The last Afghan election with the top candidates being the Pashto Ashraf Ghani and the Tajik Abdullah Abdullah, was marred by irregularities. The uncertain outcome led the U.S. to fudge the results by making Ghani president and Abudullah his 'chief executive'. Both are now again competing against each other in the elections that are to be held later this year. They will be as irregular as all elections in Afghanistan are. The disputed outcome might well lead to new clashes between ethnic groups.

This upcoming conflict will further weaken the Afghan state. Why hasn't anything been done to prevent it?

Posted by b on January 21, 2019 at 19:24 UTC | Permalink


thanks b.. in answer to your question at the end - is expressing ineptness 24/7 the actual game plan?

Posted by: james | Jan 21 2019 19:46 utc | 1

I hate to say it, but I think the right thing to do here is to just hand it NOT to the Russians, NOT to the Pakistanis, but to the Iranians.Iranians can control Afghanistan and bring law and order there -- and essentially neutralize all forces that can create NOT only regional problems -- but global ones. I am NOT a supporter of the Iran's Mullahs, but I do know that they have the capability to manage the chaos in Afghanistan very effectively. By walking out of the JCPOA and sanctioning Iran, the Trump administration gave Iran's mullahs every reason to subvert US on the ground. Trump never thought through the implications of all this and had his ear to an upstart, usurping, inexperienced Prince in Saudi Arabia... who has turned everything he touches into shit. Sometimes in life you have decisions between bad and worse. And we're only making matters worse with our decisions in the region -- and specifically in Afghanistan.

Posted by: ayatoilet | Jan 21 2019 19:47 utc | 2

@ b who asks
This upcoming conflict will further weaken the Afghan state. Why hasn't anything be done to prevent it?
Stability is not part of the strategy. The opposite is.

With empire, war as a hammer makes everything a nail that never gets set entirely. And some get bent over horribly, etc.

Make global finance a public utility and wars would stop because there would be none to pay for them with their children.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 21 2019 19:48 utc | 3

what a nightmare!

Posted by: annie | Jan 21 2019 19:57 utc | 4

@1 @3

While appearing weak, incompetent and clueless the US implements chaos exactly as intended. It works in Congo, it works in Libya, it works in South America and it works in Afghanistan. Chaos is very profitable for extracting resources and supplying and controlling the world narcotic business.

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 21 2019 19:57 utc | 5

@1 @3

While appearing weak, incompetent and clueless the US implements chaos exactly as intended. It works in Congo, it works in Libya, it works in South America and it works in Afghanistan. Chaos is very profitable for extracting resources and supplying and controlling the world narcotic business.

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 21 2019 19:57 utc | 6

Why hasn't anything been done to prevent it? Perhaps because of the rot of corruption is so pervasive within the U.S. Government, that it's not doable.

Posted by: Eugene | Jan 21 2019 20:00 utc | 7

The USA goal is an incompetent state, a permanent war and the destruction of any stable Afgahan government that could make relations with neighbouring states. Permanent conflict prevents unity and transnational trade through the region. Same goes for the Baluchistan rebels in the south. Isolate Iran is all and no strategic care or thinking about anything else.

The USA will fight until the last Afghani civilian is killed.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 21 2019 20:02 utc | 8

The US military recently conducted a raid against a Taliban detention center. They rescued ~40 ISIS members held by the Taliban and flew them to parts unknown. One US Ranger was seriously injured in the firefight and died of his wounds.

The ISIS members were possibly transferred to Afghanistan from Syria, courtesy of the US military.

Posted by: Yonatan | Jan 21 2019 20:12 utc | 9

Afghanistan and Iraq have been a through success, defense contractors are raking in massive profits and job security seems assured unless an accidental peace breaks out.

Posted by: Tobi | Jan 21 2019 20:29 utc | 10

So just how many resources have been extracted from Afghanistan after 17 years of chaos? Excluding heroin.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 21 2019 20:34 utc | 11

@c1ue | Jan 21, 2019 3:34:23 PM

Why would you exclude the most profitable one?

Posted by: ex-SA | Jan 21 2019 20:52 utc | 12

What the US never gets is that other countries in the world have their own security concerns, and they often differ from US interests.

General McChrystal in his assessment for Obama in August 2009 made it crystal clear that Pakistan fears a growing US-fostered India interest in Afghanistan, and acts accordingly. Pakistan doesn't want to become an Indian sandwich (my words), with deadly foes on both eastern and western borders. So Pakistan supports the Taliban. Always has, always will. Nevertheless, Obama stupidly said in his December 2009 speech at West Point (after sending 70,000 more troops) that Pakistan is a US ally, and Washington continued to send dollars to Islamabad.

And now a new complication. As the US piles on Iran, that country is supporting the Taliban in western Afghanistan, further insuring that the US and its Kabul puppet government will fail.

The current US-Taliban "peace" talks? The two parties have different objectives. The US wants the Taliban to surrender, and Taliban wants the US to leave their country.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 21 2019 21:08 utc | 13

The groups taking part in the Moscow negotiations agree that NATO must leave for a political solution to become possible. But NATO forces refuse to leave, thinking they somehow know better as in the examples b provides. ADKC is correct since Afghanistan is the best location to base operations to foul attempts at Eurasian integration/unity. And since Outlaw US Empire policy is to prevent any such attempts, it will remain there for 100 years if required, just like Gitmo. Most unfortunate is the UNSCR allowing the Empire to be there in the first place, which was a massive mistake on the part of Russia and China. IMO, the Outlaw US Empire will remove forces from Africa to save money if that's what it takes to keep forces in Afghanistan. And of course, such truths cannot be told to the USA electorate; so, the euphemisms and false justifications to remain will continue to pollute and be used to smear anyone advocating troop removal as being soft on terrorism.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 21 2019 21:08 utc | 14

It would be indeed ironic if the US war in Afghanistan, fought every year 18 times over the last 18 years - because the US keeps applying the same tactics from one year to the next - were eventually to deliver Afghanistan to the Russian Federation as an ally and trading partner and to China as a major node in the Silk Road project, site of major infrastructure projects and linking Russia, Central Asia and the Middle East with India and East Asia.

The longer the US stays in Afghanistan, the more it will end up isolating itself.

Ditto for Australia, since Australian forces are mingled with US forces there. The same will go for Britain, Denmark and any other country whose forces are fighting with the US.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 21 2019 21:25 utc | 15

b: What please is a strategy of not losing?

They have already floated such a strategy: replace US troops with contractors.

This guarantees control until US government is ready to abandon Afghanistan altogether; at which point the contracts are not renewed. In this way, US army isn't the loser.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 21 2019 21:26 utc | 16

Is netanyahou still 4 stories underground near IDF hq's?

Posted by: Inflatable armies | Jan 21 2019 21:44 utc | 17

@ karlof1 | Jan 21, 2019 4:08:52 PM | 14

The groups taking part in the Moscow negotiations agree that NATO must leave for a political solution to become possible.
The Taliban has made it quite clear that, beyond its demand that the US leave Afghanistan, there is no substitute for victory. From a 2016 statement:

The Islamic Emirate has not readily embraced this death and destruction for the sake of some silly ministerial posts or a share of the power. On the contrary they epitomize the nation’s hopes and aspirations for a just and peaceful government that will strive to build our beloved nation on the basis of Islamic law, social justice and national interests.
The people of Afghanistan readily sacrifice their sons to achieve this objective. And the Emirate – as the true representative of our people – will not end its peaceful and armed endeavors until we have achieved this hope of Afghanistan. . .here

Afghanistan is the best location to base operations to foul attempts at Eurasian integration/unity.
The US "New Silk Road" strategy is decades old, involving the State Department, USAID, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and principally includes economic interests in Central Asia (the -Stans). Afghanistan is the geographical keystone of this effort.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 21 2019 22:01 utc | 18

closing time. time to leave.

Posted by: Toxik | Jan 21 2019 22:06 utc | 19

The Taliban ruled the place when we got there an it will be ruling the place when we leave whether is 10 more years or 100 more years. It was obvious from the beginning and only those out of touch with reality cannot see that plain and simple fact.

A decent background can be found here...Afghanistan">">Afghanistan Part I: Fake Islamists, Heroin & The CIA

Posted by: dltravers | Jan 21 2019 22:33 utc | 20

This is correct but far too text bookish. 18 years ago, NATO should have aided the Afghans to ship the Arabs in country back home. Reconstructed any damage and left. From the Greeks to the Soviets no invader has been able to kill most of the males and conquered the land. There are too many mountains and valleys for the defenders to hide and recuperate. Dick Cheney may have even known this. But, 2.1 trillion dollars has been transferred to his cronies, job accomplished.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Jan 21 2019 22:37 utc | 22

c1ue @11

Afghanistan is hugely resource rich. For example, Afghanistan has considerable lithium reserves. Lithium is an important strategic resource particularly for the future.

Taliban are believed to earn huge amounts from illegal mining while the unrest deters legitimate investors particularly China. It is believed that only the US can bring enough peace to allow legitimate commercial development.

So money is being made by the West in Afghanistan in the same way that it is made in Libya and Syria; rebel groups extract the resources and sell at below world market prices. China is also kept out and OBOR is threatened. The US cannot really withdraw because if peace returns to Afghanistan, China will win the commercial contracts (because they will offer a better price), ordinary Afghans will likely benefit more, but the US will lose out.

Gains need to be looked at not only in terms of profits, but controlling resources, restricting supply, denying resources, etc.

The US are not in Afghanistan for charity, if there was no money to be made, resources to be extracted/controlled the US would never have been in Afghanistan in the first place.

And as for heroin as a narcotic, Afghanistan produces 90% of the world's supply and is effectively a monopoly. A monopoly on whatever industry is able to make super-profits. It is the US (not Afghanistan or the Taliban) that control this heroin monopoly.

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 21 2019 22:40 utc | 23

Don Bacon @18--

Agreed, but it appears few are willing to see what is a lynchpin point for Outlaw US Empire strategy to obtain global control; or if it can't attain that goal, then to deter others from winning at the Empire's expense. As I see it, the future key is India/Pakistan détente, which would provide a solution for both Kashmir and Afghanistan--for without India's weight added to those of the other regional nations, the Empire cannot be forced to leave without resorting to force-of-arms, which no regional nation wants to attempt as that will just serve to worsen the plight of Afghans and generate more refugees. Getting India and Pakistan into the SCO was a necessary first step, although progress is slow as anticipated--but at least there's progress where none existed previously. What's required is Indian leadership to complement that of Imran Khan's. Hindis must come to the realization that Hindu nationalism is a dead-end as it prevents the regional cooperation required to solve problems and advance Win-Win commerce--and such a realization goes for all regional players.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 21 2019 23:02 utc | 24

US thinking on war and geopolitics done by military operations:
Don't ever stop (or leave) and keep spending on weapons and "democracy".

Notice that the "strategy" is never about a definition of victory/winning.

This is about creating permanent, unending chaos and gathering Trillions of dollars.

Those are the end product of never stopping or leaving and military operations while nation-building, winning hearts and minds, and creating phony elections that can pick whoever the US wants as its puppet.

It's a con game, a racket, criminal and perpetual since before WWI.

In fact, Afghanistan is under-performing. Only one trillion wasted there so far. Should be 2-3 times that if you look at the policy and operations in Iraq as the ideal model. Almost 5 Trillion wasted there.

The US is even failing at failing if you look hard at the dollars wasted in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jan 21 2019 23:04 utc | 25

The CIA acts like their shit doesn't stink, "we can't tell you about our successes..ha ha ha" they say.

Nor can the CIA tell you that they are spending 1/5 what the DoD spends to create shit-holes across the globe...and supreme ignorance in the world's oldest Democracy. Nope, the CIA man/woman always knows best..."if you only knew what I knew [but can't tell you] you'd realize we really are the smartest in the room" CIA apparatchiks are often known to say.

At least we get technology development, an industrial base and decent manufacturing jobs out of DoD, but with the wanton waste at CIA all we get, for the hundreds of billions spent every year, is a world-wide wasteland of shit-holes and...grotesque stream of misinformation that weakens the country with every passing year.

Posted by: S Brennan | Jan 21 2019 23:13 utc | 26

S Brennan @26--

"At least we get technology development, an industrial base and decent manufacturing jobs out of DoD..."

None of those things are worth the opportunity cost; and that's certainly the worst justification I've read for the murdering of tens of millions and immiseration of scores of millions more innocent people.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 21 2019 23:55 utc | 27


Posted by: dan | Jan 22 2019 0:12 utc | 28

Old Mongolian coots sunning themselves were overheard reminiscing about the good old days: Genghis Khan and all that; in Toronto, there are still hockey fans who reminisce over the Toronto Maple Leafs last championship team, back in 1967. Canadians still swear allegiance to the head of the dysfunctional 'royal' family of Britain: British Empire once upon a time and all that.

So it takes a while, maybe a long while, to get over what used to be.

The Americans used to be, in their minds, pretty all round number one. Best toilet paper; best straws for the best soft drinks; biggest stretch limos. Manifest destiny on steroids. And they had Hollywood and the advertising industry to color anything whatever spin pleased their vanity. American flags were, maybe still are, all the rage, and a few years ago, and it wouldn't surprise me if the same were true today, their military was the most esteemed institution in the country. We're number one; we're number one.

So it may take a while to adjust to the new circumstances. The American wars of aggression - which are just organized profitable mass murder and destruction on a massive scale - have been carried out with more or less at-home impunity, except for the cost in PTSD and thousands of suicides and a few trillion dollars blown up. But the new circumstance is that a lot of people get that the Americans are disgusting wackos, and people are more and more developing means of fighting back effectively. And its time to do something about a few hundred billion plastic bags in the oceans, and stuff like that. American phosphorus bombs dropped by Americans on the people of a city that Americans don't know exist has lost its appeal. Time to get real, America.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 22 2019 0:14 utc | 29

The purpose of many wars today is not to win. Its to create instability and chaos, reduce population, prevent economic growth and resource utlization, increase arm sales and provide a training ground for your own forces as well as extremists who may be used elsewhere, protect the heroin trade and keep the fighting going on as long as possible

When Trump took over the US had 7000 troops in Afghanistan, many of them safely tucked away in fortesses and never see any action. He increased that to 14,000 and now says he will cut back to 7000. Of course, like in Syria it seems this has triggered an escalation in violence or reporting. A never ending cycle. These forever fake wars will continue....

Posted by: Pft | Jan 22 2019 0:28 utc | 30

S Brennan @26--

"At least we get technology development, an industrial base and decent manufacturing jobs out of DoD..."

None of those things are worth the opportunity cost; and that's certainly the worst justification I've read for the murdering of tens of millions and immiseration of scores of millions more innocent people.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 21, 2019 6:55:44 PM | 27

Has anyone here ever met anyone who works in a munitions factory? I haven't. Robots make the bombs.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jan 22 2019 0:34 utc | 31

ISLAMABAD — U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said on Saturday that Washington was ready to “address legitimate concerns” of all Afghan sides in order to restore peace in Afghanistan. Since being appointed in September, Khalilzad has met with all sides, including the Taliban, Afghan officials and Pakistan's political and military leadership in efforts aimed at finding a negotiated end to America's longest war in neighboring Afghanistan.//

The US managed the overthrow of the Afghanistan government seventeen years ago, then creating a puppet government with a feckless army to fight the Afghan resistance while assassinating many of the Afghan leaders who fought to regain their country, and now the US is ready to “address legitimate concerns” of all Afghan sides?

Well the Afghan officials are US puppets, so rule them out of legitimate concerns (as the Taliban has done). Pakistan? They fully support the Taliban's return to government, so that's a "legitimate concern" as is the Taliban's return to power.

Anything less ain't gonna work, that's obvious. Khalilzad was appointed in September to achieve results in six months, which is soon. So get with it, Zalmay. Get the US troops out of there as the Taliban demands in your "peace" talks.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 22 2019 1:21 utc | 32

No one disputes Afghanistan has enormous reserves of all sorts of minerals - the British tried to go there 100+ years ago for the same reason.
However, the resources being there is very different from actual harvest, nor are there significant resources being extracted for which the negative would benefit anyone (as in the Middle East).
My question, which you did not address, was whether resources outside of opium have been extracted, have any realistic chance of being extracted, or conversely existing extraction which benefits a foreign power is being interdicted.
The answer to all 3 scenarios, as far as I can tell, is a resounding no. In which case, what possible point of continuing to plow resources into this losing conflict?

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 22 2019 2:01 utc | 33

[T]he units have also operated unconstrained by battlefield rules designed to protect civilians, conducting night raids, torture and killings with near impunity, in a covert campaign that some Afghan and American officials say is undermining the wider American effort to strengthen Afghan institutions.

The "special forces" and the people trained by them don't follow rules. This has been going on for a long time.


The Clinton administration has enforced a near-total ban on the supply and sale of U.S. military equipment and training for the Colombian military because of its deep involvement in drug-related corruption and its record of killing politicians, human rights activists and civilians living in areas controlled by guerrilla groups.

The piece goes on to say that Special Forces were immune from this ban on training a foreign military to kill politicians, human rights activists and civilians". It names dozens of nations where this was happening.

Of course not all US Special Forces are wild and lawless. Unfortunately the ones who do behave are at risk of being killed themselves.

Green Beret killed by strangulation reportedly turned down illegal money from Navy SEALs

The Green Beret was murdered because he was NOT dishonest.

The Pentagon is belatedly cracking down. Or at least pretending to.

Pentagon ready to 'admit problem' of rampant Special Forces crimes – report

Whenever you have a combination of lousy leadership and "Special Forces", there is going to be a problem. Australia has recently made the news in that regard.

The Abuse Scandal Rocking Australia’s Special Operations Forces

Individually, each claim is staggering: apparent execution of detainees; reported use of so-called drop weapons, planted to cover up unlawful killings; confirmed reports of commandos flying a Nazi flag on a combat patrol; alleged “blooding” of rookies, initiation rites in which newcomers were pressured to execute unarmed men. In one particularly sadistic case, a prosthetic limb was allegedly pilfered from the corpse of a dead Afghan, only to be repatriated and repurposed as a novelty binge-drinking implement.

At some point a Special Forces person is going to shrug and say "so what?" He or she knows they can double or triple their pay with Blackwater-type mercenary forces. So except for taking minimal precautions against going on trial, they can do as they please.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jan 22 2019 2:15 utc | 34

The base attack took place in Maidan Wardak Province, where US Special Forces troops were evicted five years ago for atrocities.

In 2013 President Hamid Karzai demanded the withdrawal of all U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) from Wardak province after charges that U.S. special forces stationed in Wardak province engaged in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people.

A Memorandum of Understanding signed May 12, 2012 between the U.S. military and the Afghan Defence Ministry was trumpeted by the Obama administration as giving the Afghan government control over such operations.

But a little-noticed provision of the agreement defined the “special operations” covered by the agreement as those operations that are “approved by the Afghan Operational Coordination Group (OCG) and conducted by Afghan Forces with support from U.S. Forces in accordance with Afghan laws.”

That meant that the SOF was still free to carry out other raids without consultation with the Afghan government, until Karzai threw them out. But not the CIA.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 22 2019 2:16 utc | 35

@ 30 Pft

The idea that the US isn't REALLY trying to win wars strikes me as more of a rationalization of failure than a real explanation. The US is an economically declining power that is trying to use its military dominance to maintain, and ideally increase its power. So wouldn't it be in the US's best interests if Afghanistan or Iraq (for example) were completely controlled by US controlled puppet governments, and US controlled corporations were making huge profits by exploiting those countries mineral and human resources? Wouldn't that be far more profitable than the mere creation of chaos?
Part of the reason I tend to find your ideas less than plausible, Pft, is that you always seem to vastly exaggerate the competence and power of the US or transnational elites you suspect are controlling everything. So I don't think the US's wars are either "fake" or "forever". Instead they are failures. And they can't last forever, because the corrupt system that generates them needs some successes, and soon, in order to continue to survive.

Posted by: Glenn Brown | Jan 22 2019 2:27 utc | 36

@ ADKC | Jan 21, 2019 5:40:16 PM | 23
So money is being made by the West in Afghanistan in the same way that it is made in Libya and Syria; rebel groups extract the resources and sell at below world market prices.
Do you have any evidence to support that claim?
(So I agree with c1ue, it isn't true)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 22 2019 2:45 utc | 37

A little off-topic, considering the geopolitical context: last week the US Senate revived a bill that, if passed, would give the green light to US sanctions against China over the country's perceived treatment of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region:

The text of the bill, originally introduced last year by Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez:

Posted by: Jen | Jan 22 2019 2:57 utc | 38

The Americans are like a mad gifted juggler of death; able to keep so many bombs in the air simultaneously in so many places. As a prelude to Afghanistan, and Libya, and Syria, and even remnants of Yugoslavia, there was Iraq.

From a Jan 21st, 2019 article at GlobalResearch by Prof. Souad N. Al-Azzawi re a 1991 episode of the continuing US war on Iraq:

Number of American coalition troops: 670,000 mostly Americans
Number of combat aircrafts: 2,250 mostly Americans (1800)
Total sorties flown from Jan. 17- Feb. 28: 65,000 days and night
Bombs dropped on Iraqi cities and withdrawing army: 88,500 Tons
in addition to 297 Tomahawk missiles and 35 CALCMS.
Number of Depleted Uranium projectiles fired: 940,000 plus 14,000 by British troops
Number of bombs dropped on cities: 210,004
Number of Cluster bombs dropped: 39,336
Number of Smart bombs dropped: 9,342
Air to ground missiles fired: 5,930

Resulting in 3968 schools and educational facilities destroyed and 39 universities and schools of higher education destroyed, and 90 tv and radio broadcasting facilities and museums and archaeological sites and so on ....

And that was just the opening salvo.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 22 2019 2:57 utc | 39

18 years and the Taliban now have plenty of ammo and gear to carry out large successful strikes. US have taken the place of soviets fighting CIA supplied jihadists, and if the old saying of what goes around comes around, then Russia may well be starting to supply the Taliban.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 22 2019 3:31 utc | 40

@ Glenn Brown #36

Wouldn't that be far more profitable than the mere creation of chaos?

Your remark reminded me of an old joke:

A physician, an engineer and a lawyer were arguing about whose profession was the oldest.

The surgeon announced, "Remember how God removed a rib from Adam to create Eve? Obviously, medicine is the oldest profession."

The engineer replied, "But before that, God created the heavens and the earth from chaos, in less than a week. You have to admit that was a remarkable feat of engineering, and that makes engineering an older profession than medicine."

The lawyer smirked, and said, "Who do you think created the chaos?"

Getting serious, creating chaos can be profitable.

US pays $400 per gallon for gas in Afghanistan (2009)

The stunning revelation emerged Thursday in a report from the Pentagon to House officials. The information conveyed offers new insight into a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, which found that the US spends $1 million per year for each servicemember on the ground in Afghanistan.

I've read reports of Army tents being airconditioned by gasoline-powered generators - naturally using that $200/$300/$400 stuff. What might they do in the winter? Perhaps run those same gasoline generators to keep small resistance heaters going inside the canvas tents?

Now as an All-American Patriotic Businessman, how could you beat making things and transporting them to Afghanistan to be burned or blown up? Your only problem is maximizing the number of 'customers', so you put on your Patriotic Cap and scream for more soldiers to be sent there. When Gold is about $1200/ounce, a ton of the stuff is worth around $40 million dollars. In a new Afgan mine you'd have to ship in heavy machines. Milling equipment. Construct buildings. Pay wages. No possible way would this compare with being a middleman whose risks are minimal at the same time profits are maximal.

And while constructing this post I just learned the first link is outdated. From the Defense One site in 2013: "Each U.S. Troop In Afghanistan Now Costs $2.1 Million".

It's now 2019 - what is the cost of each serviceman now?

Regarding the sustainability of all this, so what? The Corporate Psychopaths ignore how the world is in the process of being destroyed by climate change due to their money grabbing activites. They're living for TODAY, and don't give a hoot about you, me, or even their own grandkids. Think back to the days of Saint Ronald Reagan and remember, Greed Is Good.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jan 22 2019 3:32 utc | 41

Peter AU 1 @40--

I don't think the Taliban need to be supplied by Russia as they do indeed have plenty of resources, plus their opponents are terribly inept. Keeping clean--besides being mandated by Russian law--gives Russia a better position regarding negotiations, and far beyond that of the Outlaw US Empire which refused to attend the recent Moscow conference.

One of the most interesting facts you won't see published by BigLie Media is Russia's involvement in at least 7 different ongoing Peace Conferences--Syria, Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Armenia/Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Libya. How many similar efforts can the Outlaw US Empire claim to be involved in--One (barely), Korea. Is it any wonder BigLie Media's employed to smear Russia anyway possible.

Pompeo boasted while lying that the Outlaw US Empire is a force for good. The above fact proves beyond doubt which of the two--Russia or USA--is the force for good I the world.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 22 2019 4:04 utc | 42

@33 c1ue - i will take a crack @ your question from @11 -> "So just how many resources have been extracted from Afghanistan after 17 years of chaos?" i think the number one resource is actually a made in the us thing called the us$.. it has been extracted out of the us budget into making the military and financial complex with all the contractors in tow very wealthy.. it continues on perfectly, if you don't mind some dead usa bodies from time to time.. why, even that has been largely replaced with the poor in afgan and elsewhere that want to sign up as cannon fodder.. a smedley butler quote comes to mind..

i'd say that's the number 1 resource being extracted outside the heroin industry..

location, location, location.. afganistan is right in the centre of where pappy warbucks needs to be to continue this endless onslaught against innocent people, all for harvesting money in large quantities.. it is sanctified by that holy country worshiping the god of mannom 24/7, while claiming something else regularly...

i don't believe the ordinary person is predatory.. but those having an undue say on the direction of the fate of the late great earth are indeed predatory... can they rise above that, or are we doomed to be an extinct species?

Posted by: james | Jan 22 2019 4:12 utc | 43

Wasn't a certain Speaker of House junket include Afghan (or neighborhood) stop over?

In wake of gov shutdown, it is almost like musical chairs, to see who has liquidity when the music stops, is almost adifferential audit tool at least to an initial aporoximation.

Whose coins fall out if the pockets when the trousers are upside down? $21 trillion?

Posted by: slit | Jan 22 2019 4:12 utc | 44

@35 don b and @36 glenn brown... i agree with @30 pft, along with @adkc in that failure only looks like failure in your bank account.. the military and financial industry is laughing all the way to the bank with these endless wars in afganistan and etc. etc.. it is a non stop merry go round, until more folks in the usa wake up to it.. i am not counting on that happening any time soon either.. the hubris and rationale used to justify or explain away these endless wars by many is unbelievable, especially when the answer is right out in the open..

Posted by: james | Jan 22 2019 4:18 utc | 45

What the US is doing in Afghanistan is familiar to players of card games and other forms of gambling: not winning, but not letting the opponent win by "refusing to lose." Anyone who has played cards will tell you that this is a horribly annoying strategy that wastes time and resources for other activities (ie social services and investment in a just transition to green energy).

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Jan 22 2019 4:34 utc | 46

i doubt that the endgame is winning.

the endgame is staying, bugger the costs - its not the decision makers in the US/Russia/Europe etc that send their kids to the killing fields - and stay long enough to take what is of value.

So let the afghans kill each other, and kill a few westerners here and there, its all good, so as long as the powers that are can start their mining, pipeline building, opium harvesting etc etc etc.

in the meantime every blown up humvee, every bullet shot is a revenue point on some spreadsheet somewhere in the weapons manufacturing countries of this planet.

i mean that is winning, you guys need to get on with it. Your ideas of winning/loosing peace and war are outdated and moot.

Posted by: Sabine | Jan 22 2019 4:59 utc | 47

#46 says: not winning, but not letting the opponent win by "refusing to lose." Anyone who has played cards will tell you that this is a horribly annoying strategy

As one who has wasted many hours at the card tables over the past 20 years, this comment makes no sense at all. In my experience those who do not win but refuse to lose makes for profits for those players who are not losing.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 22 2019 5:55 utc | 48

Drunk Americans desecrated Christ crucified in Ukrainian Uman

In the Ukrainian city of Uman (Cherkasy region), two drunk Americans desecrated a local shrine - the plaster crucifix of Jesus Christ, mounted on a wooden cross on the bank of a city pond.

According to the press service of the local prosecutor's office, a pre-trial investigation revealed that the 19-year-old and 20-year-old US citizens, while intoxicated, on January 19 intentionally destroyed the sculpture depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, breaking off her legs. After that, the attackers fled the scene.

Vandals detained in the manner of Art. 208 Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine. On January 20, they were informed about the suspicion of committing a criminal offense under Part 2 of Art. 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, namely hooliganism, that is, a gross violation of public order on the grounds of apparent disrespect for society, accompanied by particular audacity, committed by a group of persons.

A petition has been sent to the Uman Town District Court for the election of a measure of restraint in the form of detention in respect of offenders. It is noted that the article imputed to hooligans provides for punishment in the form of restriction of liberty for up to five years or imprisonment for up to four years.

Posted by: John Doe | Jan 22 2019 7:26 utc | 49

Swine flu and Lugar laboratory: new experiments may be waiting for Georgia

Posted by: John Doe | Jan 22 2019 7:35 utc | 50

I hope Afghanistan rids itself of the foreign invaders on their soil.

Posted by: flayer | Jan 22 2019 7:38 utc | 51

ayatoilet @2

OK I'll bite on your bait there. I would not 'hand over Afghanistan to Iran", that is ludicrous and counter to the entire history of foreign interference in this region. Afghanistan is FIERCELY independent and has demonstrated same for centuries. They are always ready to make deals or war with their neighbors as it suits them and their circumstance but yield to foreign control? Never.

Sure there are many shia and many sunni and so many others there but they have a centuries old accommodation and no foreigner has ever been able to 'control' their internal processes successfully for long. Iran has interests in the western regions but not dominance. A subtle play by the two states has been effective and fairly resilient over time.

Today's taliban are no longer the same as yesterdays invaders from Pakistan, either east or from the Baluchi south. They will need to resolve their own new world and no daft christian western savior need bother to come back from anywhere for a long time.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 22 2019 8:04 utc | 52

c1ue @ 33
In which case, what possible point of continuing to plow resources into this losing conflict?

Thanks c1ue for posing the burning question and I might hazard a guess: 1/ to block Iran making allies to the east (including Afghanistan and India and China)and enlarging its capacity and resource potential, 2/ to obstruct Chinese investment and or infrastructure building of OBOR routes overland to Iran via the shortest non maritime route.

I am not knowledgeable of Afghanistan resource potential but the above two elements are sufficient to motivate the USA and its allies to seek to destroy the national unity and cohesiveness of Afghanistan.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 22 2019 8:25 utc | 53

i don't even know what "winning the war" means. just seems like an extended cash grab by some of the donors to the 2 party duopoly, and trying to get a new pipeline built.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 22 2019 8:25 utc | 54

@48 yeah i fail to see any resemblance to a legit strategy for winning at cards.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 22 2019 8:27 utc | 55

james @43

You are making (indicating) a point which is very difficult describe. That is, you can make money without appearing to make money.

Firstly, money is really nothing. Resources is what it is all about. And it is not ownership of resources; it is control of resources that is what matters.

An example, is that you can reduce the supply of oil (by destroying a functioning well developed oil extraction process in a particular country) and make even more profits/money/resource ownership with the increased price of the reduced supply. This is why monopoly's are bad for humanity; a mononpoly can reduce supply or decrease manufacture of a product and make much more money (with a lot less trouble) that if they increased manufacture or supply.

Some would have us believe that the US is in Afghanistan for altruistic reasons or because they are naive or incompetent. That is a complete underestimation of how the US conducts business. Why

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 22 2019 10:21 utc | 56

@ 56 cont.

....Why would the Pentatagon and the US be conducting studies such as this (from an article in the Independent) if they didn't have their eyes firmly on the prize. This article also mentions the new great game between the US/West and China. In my view, the chaos in Afghanistan is not the US/West losing control but actually western promoted conflict that is aimed at China (as well as mantaiinng control of resources and heroin production).

The Taliban, I believe, have long been suborned to western interests and this is indicated by their abandonment of previously held, princpled positions such as stamping out the production of heroin. The planting of ISIS in Afghanistan was obviously enabled by the US and provides a long term basis for conflict and tension (between Afghan Govt, Taliban, and ISIS) that only the US can "contain".

As for making money from resources other that heroin? Any internet search will reveal articles that outline Taliban funding and, in addition to money form narcotics, you will find clear references to a many, many millions from illegal mining and resource extraction (just like in Syria and Congo); it's just nowhere near the amount that it is believed the Taliban gain from the production of narcotics. (In my view the amounts suggested by these articles are probably underestimated both for heroin and other resources).

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 22 2019 10:44 utc | 57

@ayatoilet #2

> I hate to say it, but I think the right thing to do here is to just hand it NOT to the Russians, NOT to the Pakistanis, but to the Iranians.

Well, Russia does not have common borderline with Afghanistan.
Nor does Afghanistan have sea ports.

So, well, i do not think Russia would be very eager to take it even if you would offer.

Posted by: Arioch | Jan 22 2019 10:58 utc | 58

It's NOT about winning! It's about creating 'failed states' that are incapable of resisting the Empire's predations.

Moreover, the longer the slaughter goes on (as long as it's only the locals), the more money US capitalism makes!

The US hasn't won a war since WWII and even that 'win' was mostly the result of the Soviet Union doing the bulk of the fighting and dying (casualties: 25-30 million).

It's calculated that since WWII, the US has been responsible for around 20 million deaths in far off lands, deaths that have enriched the Empire.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 22 2019 12:01 utc | 59

We have to be the most inept empire in history.

Posted by: morongobill | Jan 22 2019 13:24 utc | 60

Afghanistan is a tribal country with the Pashtuns dominate in the central provinces, including Wardak, and also the southern provinces, extending into Pakistan. In fact the previous Pashtun Taliban government did not recognize the Afghan eastern border, the so-called Durand Line which was a gift from the British.

Twenty years ago the US befriended the Pashtun Taliban government in an effort to gain support for a US petroleum pipeline project in Afghanistan, a central component of the US silk road strategy in Central Asia. But the Taliban refused so the US with India aid enlisted the northern tribes, predominately Tajiks, to overthrow the Pashtun government in Kabul. That was an easy task, but maintaining the replacement US puppet government with its predominately northern tribal "security force" has been increasingly difficult, especially given the support for the Taliban from especially Pakistan and also Iran.

Recently Afghanistan has been rocked by suicide attacks, with a major attack against CIA "commandos" (assassins) in Wardak. It's not difficult to find one willing to give up his life to get revenge against foreign forces who have committed atrocities in one's tribal land. The Taliban has also been successful in conventional military attacks against the US puppet forces not only in the central and southern provinces, but also up north. The puppet government no longer publishes its casualty figures. The Taliban control about half the country geographically (not population).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 22 2019 13:49 utc | 61

Well, Russia does not have common borderline with Afghanistan.
Nor does Afghanistan have sea ports.

So, well, i do not think Russia would be very eager to take it even if you would offer. Arioch | Jan 22, 2019 5:58:00 AM

It is more complicated. Russia supports the military of Tajikistan

Tajikistan is perhaps most loyal ally of Russia because it has no better options. The country suffered from a civil war, and the situation is currently stable. A LOT of Tajiks work in Russia, the military is basically on Russian payroll, and units from Russia help controlling the lengthy and difficult border with Afghanistan. Tajiks speak a language similar to Persian and almost identical to Dari, spoken by ca. 30-40% of Afghans. In spite of having more cultural connections and Russian help, Tajikistan has some problem with Islamist fighters and defections from the military, orders of magnitude less that Afghanistan.

Thus Russia has means and some motivation to aid in stabilization of Afghanistan.

Of course, Iran has even more motivation, and its own Afghan population of refugees.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 22 2019 14:18 utc | 62

"I don't see...any method at all."
-Capt. Willard

Posted by: Al | Jan 22 2019 14:35 utc | 63

@ Arioch | Jan 22, 2019 5:58:00 AM | 58
I think the right thing to do here is to just hand it. . .
The US is not capable of handing anything to anybody these days. That especially includes all the countries the US is at war in: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan (not a complete list).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 22 2019 14:45 utc | 64

Guerro @ 31--
"Has anyone here ever met anyone who works in a munitions factory? I haven't. "

Saw an interview with a California woman who worked in a bomb making factory.
She said that she would much prefer working in Santa's factory but she needed a job to live.

Posted by: arby | Jan 22 2019 14:48 utc | 65

Al @63

Poignant and chilling.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 22 2019 15:37 utc | 66

Guerrero @ 31--
"Has anyone here ever met anyone who works in a munitions factory? I haven't. "

Saw an interview with a California woman who worked in a bomb making factory.
She said that she would much prefer working in Santa's factory but she needed a job to live.

Posted by: arby | Jan 22, 2019 9:48:06 AM | 65

I suspect that the robot AI executive hires day-workers to provide those interviews to the mass media.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jan 22 2019 15:58 utc | 67

I would hand Afghanistan over to Israel who should jump at the chance because then they would have troops on Iran’s eastern border. Then turn the USA’s Syrian bases over to Israel as well. Let them do something to earn those $4 billion a year in US subsidies.

Posted by: Chas | Jan 22 2019 16:47 utc | 68

@Jackrabbit | Jan 21, 2019 4:26:44 PM | 16

They have already floated such a strategy [of not losing]: replace US troops with contractors.
This guarantees control until US government is ready to abandon Afghanistan altogether; at which point the contracts are not renewed. In this way, US army isn't the loser.

The contractors will be expensive. Remember that the U.S. has already spent who knows how many lives and something like a trillion dollars in Afghanistan. Contractors (mercenaries) tend to be more costly than regular military; will Congress want to pay for them, when it refuses to spend what would likely be far less for the Mexico wall?

Posted by: Cyril | Jan 22 2019 16:59 utc | 69

Excelente artigos e excelentes comentários. Realmente, a heroína é um fator primordial para a guerra no Afeganistão. Gastam 1 trilhão do povo e ganham 1 trilhão para dividir entre eles. Essa guerra não acaba nunca !!!

Posted by: euclides de oliveira pinto neto | Jan 22 2019 17:34 utc | 70

karlof1 42

On one side of the thought is Taliban being declared a terrorist organisation in Russia and the Russian leaderships aversion to dealing with or using terrorists - on the other side is the US setting up ISIS in Afghanistan for the purpose of attacking Russia. Lower level politicians in Russia have directly accused the US of doing this, while Lavrov has toned the accusations down a bit by publicly asking what are the unmarked helicopters flying into ISIS territory doing. In the Al Jazeera doco from an ISIS camp, the headchoppers stated aim for setting up in Afghanistan was to attack Russia rather than the US occupying force.
As to if Russia would back the Taliban against the US occupation, I guess it depends on how much of a threat Russia feels its under from the build up of ISIS in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 22 2019 18:20 utc | 71

@56 ADKC... it might be best to tell others to start by reading the book 'confessions of an economic hit man' by john perkins... that book outlines us foreign policy from sometime after ww2... john perkins lays out his own personal story, as a cog in a bigger wheel that is still going on to this day.. basically is to get these countries indebted to the world bank and imf... they never can repay all the money owing, so they have to be paid off by converting the assets of the country to the banks behind the wb and imf... voila - instant exploitation on a huge scale, all under the guise of helping the poor country out...

for anyone still reading - get john perkins book...

Posted by: james | Jan 22 2019 18:25 utc | 72

@ james with the book suggestion for describing the jackboot part of empire

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein describes the same sort of financial R2P done to South American countries.

And now we are seeing the US and other Western countries being set up for the big debt/bankruptcy adjustment and asset grab.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 22 2019 18:48 utc | 73

Peter @72--

Thanks for your reply! Russia appears to be working through Tajikistan, which is a CSTO member. Karzai has said some very pointed things since his exit from the Afghan government. His 2017 Valdai Club Testimony ought to be revisited because of the history he provides and the solution he proposes, none of which has changed over the temporal interlude. I'm again highlighting Karzai's question to the Outlaw US Empire:

"Therefore, as an Afghan in the middle of this great game, I propose to our ally, the United States, the following: we will all succeed if you tell us that you have failed. We would understand. Russia would understand, China would understand. Iran, Pakistan, everybody would understand. India would understand. We have our Indian friends there. We see all signs of failure there, but if you do not tell us you failed, what is this, a game?

Trump's answer has been to admit failure, but not to admit failure through actions taken. Therefore, Karzai got his answer: It's a game. Daesh is the new International Outlaw US Empire Death Squad/Army that's radicalized beyond the initial extremism of al-Ciada, which the Empire hopes to control in Africa and Asia. Until the world's nations admit that unpalatable fact, they will be ineffective of combating it.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 22 2019 19:15 utc | 74

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: Fec | Jan 22 2019 19:49 utc | 75

James mentions the IMF at 73

Doing a search on that body and Russia in the 1990s I found this -

The author says he runs a hedge fund. In the article he gives a short synopsis of Jeffrey Sachs' inability to get his recommendations accepted by the IMF. Too much shock and not enough loans.

Also scroll down to see a Michael Hudson footnote and a lot on Browder.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jan 22 2019 20:11 utc | 76

For the sake of black humor:

Congresswoman Cheney said that the US will know when ISIS (and terrorists, in general,) are defeated. It is when “we have no more 9/11s”

Posted by: A. Person | Jan 22 2019 20:40 utc | 77

@77 bart hansen... the imf and world bank are the front for western banks that are given a door to exploit vulnerable countries, like russia in the 90's... these institutions need to be ended, as they favour the rich nations at the cost of the poor, which seems like that was the whole idea.. the whole way they are structured is to favour the powerful and marginalize any country that might try to get a place at the main table... thus usa, canada, france, uk and some others are developed countries with greater voting rights.. countries like russia, china, brazil and etc. etc. are developing countries with lesser voting rights.. kid you not.. it is a big ponzi scheme set to favour those already in power... all the financial sanctions recently - towards russia, iran, north korea and etc - are all worked thru the leverage of these institutions, along with the bank of international settlements and a few other supposed ''international'' institutions... it is totally fixed ponzi scheme meant to keep those in power, in power and those on the periphery, on the periphery.. this will change, but will probably take ww3 for it to happen..

Posted by: james | Jan 22 2019 21:42 utc | 78

Good one James

Posted by: arby | Jan 22 2019 22:59 utc | 79

United Statesians say "Taliban", perhaps, just perhaps quite a few "Afghans or Afghanis or Afghanistanis" would recognize them as "Minutemen". Isn't the one primary lesson from the 20th Century is that the visiting team loses? All United Statesians could have health care coverage for the cost of the War on Afganistan.

Posted by: stevelaudig | Jan 23 2019 2:55 utc | 80

Why the U.S. military, which since Vietnam proved inept at fighting local guerrillas, believed that its ways of fighting suits an Afghan force is inexplicable.
Follow the money. I'm sure most of the soldiers know they're being ordered to do stupid, counterproductive shit, but the top couple of commanders are going to get very nice supplements to their very large pensions. Don't expect them to break their own rice bowls.

Posted by: Procopius | Jan 23 2019 2:57 utc | 81

karlof1 75

Thanks for the link to Karzai's speech. The Afghan veiw historical and current on competing powers, as Karzai put it I had not heard or read of before.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 23 2019 7:49 utc | 82

Better a good government than a bad government but better a bad government than no government at all... ask all those living in states that the US [and its accomplices] have assisted in the destruction of its government... Libyans come to mind most immediately, beginning with the US genocide in the Philippines 1898-1906 Iraq for a while, Somalia,.... Libya, the Ukraine, the attempt on Syria, readers can fill in the gaps.

Posted by: stevelaudig | Jan 23 2019 15:14 utc | 83

@james re #43
The MIC angle is possible, however, there are a lot of other ways to keep that running. More importantly, Iraq has showed that MIC profits won't stand in the face of internal opposition. The question is really why the Afghanistan government isn't taking a stronger stand than the Iraqi one.
I'd also note that past (Smedly Butler era) interventions showed clear operational profits - for United Fruit, oil companies etc. It seems far less clear today.
@uncle tungsten #53
The Pipelineistan gambit (resources, transport of same or both) is well documented by Pepe Escobar as being primarily a Brzezinski era fantasy. What is clearly happening is the Russian/Central Asian tie-in to China - that's definitely been progressing even as Afghanistan falls further apart. Even Pakistan is making progress via its port+rail link to China.
As for Iran - there's a reason why Iran never had a really strong influence in Afghanistan: language, culture and ethnicity are very different despite ostensibly both being Muslim.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2019 20:56 utc | 84

@William Bowles #59
Yes, the "spoiling attack" theory of Edward Luttwak and others (including George Friedman of Stratfor).
Unfortunately, the spoiling attack theory only works if positive gains are achieved.
What possible positive gains are being achieved by the series of failed conflicts the US has engaged in for the past multiple decades, much less the last 20 years?
In this last 20 years, the US middle class has seen its economic prosperity eroded to the point where Trump gets elected President.
The US goes from undisputed hyperpower in 1992 to military checkmate in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
China goes from 6% of US GDP in 1984 to greater than parity likely this year or next (if not already).
To me, the spoiling attack theory looks more like apologia for an elite which has utterly failed rather than any coherent or thought out strategy, much less a positive outcome.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2019 21:04 utc | 85

@84 c1ue... thanks.. it is a bit more complicated and i encourage you to read that john perkins book - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. it will help clarify how the usa makes a lot of money off going into other countries in a number of different ways.. it is a good read and enlightening...

Posted by: james | Jan 23 2019 21:15 utc | 86

The feminist activists that get so much airtime should try and ply their wares
in this very strict very orthodox Afghan society.
Chances are they would end up in a ditch sooner than later.
Bonds of family, honour, obligation, tradition way beyond what we imagine.
And those you want to train to be your kickass subjugators of their own?
Not going to happen, at this point is not even meant to happen. Preposterous!
Bit of nonsense, hopium, theatre,fluff.
While destroying the region through endless conflict
coupled with drug trafficking and the proceeds/consequences thereof. Bait&switch.

Posted by: Mishko | Jan 25 2019 1:48 utc | 87

@Procopius #81:
It has been more than a year ago since I've read anything worth wile on the subject
(website received the pay-wall treatment) but the gist of it was that in the case
of the Dutch army, it is bogged down finance-wise by too much generals / high ranking officers.
Next to incompetence, stupidity and corruption.
But always chomping at the bit to partake of NATO missions, yessir!

Posted by: Mishko | Jan 25 2019 1:59 utc | 88

@A. Person #77:
Sounds familiar tbh.
The designated sockpuppets within the EU love to proclaim how the peace and stability
of europe is a reward granted by valiant effort of EU members uniting in EU.

Which ones? How exactly? Shut! Up! So not at all having anything to do
with US army bases here, there, just not effing everywhere?

Butbutbut NATO, costs, GDP, Lala Land! So US army bases byebye? Nope. Wrong. Again.
Europe is occupied territory. Occupied by the USofA. So what of the EU?
The concept is just some old skanky nazi-idealistic concept dusted off for totalitarian
fun & games. And genocide. One more, in the name of love.
Honk if you love bloodshed, holler if you think it will hurt! ...

Posted by: Mishko | Jan 25 2019 2:27 utc | 89

American troops chewed up the VC and kept them off balance and hiding in swamps like the U Minh Forest. The Vietnam War was a US military victory augmented by a political betrayal by leftist Democrats. Frank Snepp has the story.

Posted by: Col. B. Bunny | Jan 25 2019 20:16 utc | 90

Quote from Thierry Meyssan, The use of terrorism according to John Bolton

"..Despite their apparent similarity in name, there is no connection between the Mujahedin (with one d) of the Muslim Brotherhood (who are Arabs and Sunnis) and the Mujaheddin (with two d’s) of the MEK (who are Persian and Chiites). The only objective link between the two groups is that they have both been used by the United States and both practise terrorism..."

This adds to the connection outlined in the article.
Is it just unintended failure? Or is this part of the imperial strategy?

Posted by: Peter Grafström | Jan 29 2019 15:36 utc | 91

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