Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 04, 2020

U.S. Breaks Its Just Signed Agreement With The Taliban

Today a U.S. fighter jet bombed a Taliban unit which was fighting with an Afghan government checkpoint.

The air attack came just a day after U.S. President Trump had a telephone call with the Taliban leaders in Doha. The Taliban will likely see this as a breach of the recent ceasefire agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban.

The Russian Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov supports that view:

"This is a treaty violation, because both the US and the Taliban entered into legally binding commitments not to attack. The Taliban did not attack the Americans or other foreign forces. If the US did that, they violated the agreement blatantly," the diplomat pointed out.

The Russians have called the U.S. "nedogovorosposobny" (недоговороспособны) which translate to "not-agreement capable" or unable to make and then abide by an agreement.

Today's attack again demonstrated that.

On Saturday, February 29, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and a commission of high ranking Taliban signed the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban and the United States of America (pdf). (Yes, that is the real title.)

The Taliban were quite happy with the agreement:

Dozens of Taliban members had earlier held a small victory march in Qatar in which they waved the militant group’s white flags, according to a video shared on Taliban websites. “Today is the day of victory, which has come with the help of Allah,” said Abbas Stanikzai, one of the Taliban’s lead negotiators, who joined the march.

Shortly thereafter Stanikzai was seen shaking hands with Secretary of State Pompeo.

Jessica Donati @jessdonati - 18:30 UTC · Mar 3, 2020
We got a copy of the only known photo of Sec Pompeo shaking hands w top #Taliban negotiator Stanekzai — here it is #Doha. US told #Qatar to keep him away from insurgents to avoid photo ops.

bigger
At the same time the Doha agreement was signed, U.S. Defense Secretary Esper and NATO General Secretary Stoltenberg were in Kabul and signed a Joint Declaration between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States of America for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan (pdf).

Neither the U.S. agreement with the Taliban nor the joint declaration with the Afghan government constitute a ceasefire between Afghan government and the Taliban. Both agreements are designed to facilitate upcoming direct ceasefire negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

The joint declaration includes somewhat vague commitments of further military and economic support for the government in Kabul and its troops. But it noticeably does not include any commitment to use force in support of Afghan government operations against the Taliban. The relevant passage says in Part One Point 2 and 3:

The United States re-affirms its commitments regarding support for the Afghan security forces and other government institutions, including through ongoing efforts to enhance the ability of Afghan security forces to deter and respond to internal and external threats, consistent with its commitments under existing security agreements between the two governments. This commitment includes support to Afghan security forces to prevent al-Qa’ida, ISIS-K, and other international terrorist groups or individuals from using Afghan soil to threaten the United States and its allies.

The United States re-affirms its readiness to continue to conduct military operations in Afghanistan with the consent of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in order to disrupt and degrade efforts by al-Qa’ida, ISIS-K, and other international terrorist groups or individuals to carry out attacks against the United States or its allies, consistent with its commitments under existing security agreements between the two governments and with the existing understanding that U.S. counterterrorism operations are intended to complement and support Afghan security forces’ counterterrorism operations, with full respect for Afghan sovereignty and full regard for the safety and security of the Afghan people and the protection of civilians.

While listing al-Qaeda, ISIS and "international terrorist groups" the U.S. intentionally left out attacks by the Taliban.

Part One Point F of the U.S. agreement with the Taliban says:

The United States and its allies will refrain from the threat or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Afghanistan or intervening in its domestic affairs.

The fight between the Afghan Taliban and Afghan government forces is certainly a 'domestic affair'. Under this agreement the U.S. had no right to intervene in it.

Those who defend today's U.S. attack on the Taliban will argue that the Taliban broke the agreement by attacking a "U.S. ally". The U.S. agreement with the Taliban says under Part Two Point 1:

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qa’ida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.

The strategic Agreement Between the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and AFGHANISTAN (pdf) signed at Kabul May 2, 2012 designates Afghanistan as a "Major Non-NATO Ally" of the United States. The argument is thus that Taliban attacks on Afghan government forces are attacks on a U.S. ally from which the Taliban should refrain.

Still my legal reading is that the more recent U.S. agreement with the Taliban as well as the joint statement with the Afghan government supersede that with regards to inner Afghan fighting which is clearly a 'domestic affair'.

That the U.S. is not an honest partner is also visible in other parts of its recent Afghanistan agreements.

Part One C of the U.S. agreement with the Taliban says:

The United States is committed to start immediately to work with all relevant sides on a plan to expeditiously release combat and political prisoners as a confidence building measure with the coordination and approval of all relevant sides. Up to five thousand (5,000) prisoners of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban and up to one thousand (1,000) prisoners of the other side will be released by March 10, 2020, [...]. The United States commits to completing this goal.

The interesting point is that the 5.000 prisoners are actually prisoners of the Afghan government. That the U.S. committed itself to release prisoners it has no direct control over is quite curious.

It is also contradicted by the joint declaration with the Afghan government which was signed at the same time. Part Two Point 4 of it says:

To create the conditions for reaching a political settlement and achieving a permanent, sustainable ceasefire, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will participate in a U.S.-facilitated discussion with Taliban representatives on confidence building measures, to include determining the feasibility of releasing significant numbers of prisoners on both sides.

A vague Afghan government commitment to "participate in discussions" about prisoner exchange seems to contradict the strong promise with a fixed date the U.S. made in the agreement with the Taliban.

When the U.S.government signs two agreements with different parties which contradict each other on the very same day it is clearly not-agreement capable.

Why should the Afghan government now agree to a prisoner exchange which would clearly favor the Taliban?

The sitting president of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani immediately made the point:

Pajhwok Afghan News @pajhwok - 4:27 UTC · Mar 2, 2020
The US-Taliban agreement, which sets into motion the potential of a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, calls for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
“We have not made a commitment,” Afghan President says. “It’s a sovereign Afghan decision." He told @CNN

The Taliban demand the prisoner release before they will sit down with the Afghan government for ceasefire negotiations.

Ghani is currently fighting with Afghan government's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah over who of them won the botched election in Afghanistan. The U.S. has yet to accept one of them as the newly elected president. Ghani will sabotage the prisoner release until Trump officially recognizes him as the newly elected president of Afghanistan.

The Taliban will press the U.S. to stand to its agreement and to press Ghani to release their friends. As long as that is not happening they will continue to fight:

A Taliban letter shared Monday with Stars and Stripes by a person with links to the militant group called on fighters to attack Afghan forces, but not U.S. or foreign forces.

“After signing the agreement, once again the Mujahedeen (fighters) of the Islamic Emirate are advised to start their attacks against the puppet Kabul administration,” said the Taliban letter, which the person provided on condition of anonymity.
...
Top officials at the Pentagon on Monday indicated they were not surprised the Taliban would return to attacking Afghan forces, but they called on the group to gradually reduce violence across Afghanistan as measures in the new agreement are implemented.
...
“This is going to be a long, winding, bumpy road,” Esper told reporters. “There will be ups and downs. We’ll stop and start. That’s going to be the nature of this over the next days, weeks and months.”

Yesterday Trump had a 35 minutes phone call with the deputy leader of the Taliban peace commission in Doha Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. The Taliban emphasized that the U.S. must stick to its agreement. The Taliban readout of the call includes this exchange:

Mullah Baradar said:

"Mr. President!"

"Take determined actions in regards to the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and do not allow anyone to take actions that violate the terms of the agreement thus embroiling you even further in this prolonged war."
...
The President of the United States Donal Trump said:

"It is a pleasure to talk to you. You are a tough people and have a great country and I understand that you are fighting for your homeland. We have been there for 19 years and that is a very long time and withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan now is in the interest of everyone."

President Trump added:

"My Secretary of State shall soon talk with Ashraf Ghani in order to remove all hurdles facing the intra-Afghan negotiations."

He said that we shall take complete part in the future rehabilitation of Afghanistan.

Extensive discussions were also held about the implementation of the agreement concluded by both sides.

The White House has not published a readout of the call but U.S. media mention it:

Afterward, he told reporters that his "relationship" with Baradar is "very good ... we had a good, long conversation today, and, you know, they want to cease the violence. They'd like to cease violence also."

That's not true. On Monday, the group's spokesperson said attacks would resume on Afghan government forces but not U.S. forces, and Monday into Tuesday, there were 33 attacks in 16 provinces, killing six people and wounding 14, an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson told ABC News. Five Afghan policemen also were reportedly killed during an attack on a security checkpoint, according to Reuters.

After the call the U.S. military announced that it would continue  to attack the Taliban:

TOLOnews @TOLOnews - 8:38 AM · Mar 4, 2020
Video [English]: US Gen. Miller in exclusive intw with TOLOnews on Tues. says US will defend Afghan forces, situation is "fragile," reduction of violence is the objective, if Taliban don't live up to obligations US will respond. #Afghanistan

The Taliban do not have any obligations to stop fighting the Afghan government. The U.S. agreement with them does not include any such clause.

The general announced that the U.S. would continue its air support for Afghan government forces and demanded that the Taliban "lower their violence."

That is not what the Taliban expected from the deal that was signed. From their point of view a ceasefire with the Afghan government is still far away and they have no obligations to put their weapons down. They will now likely escalate with attacks against the foreign troops in their country.

There were rumors that the U.S. agreement with the Taliban has four secret annexes which would allow for U.S. troops to stay in the country. Rumors in Afghanistan also say that the U.S. intends to let the Taliban take power and to then use them for its purpose against Iran, Pakistan and in Central Asia.

Secretary of State Pompeo denied such side deals:

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday in an interview on CBS News' Face the Nation said that along with the public document of the US-Taliban deal released on Saturday, “there are two implementing elements that will be provided. They are secret.”

“They are military implementation documents that are important to protect our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines,” Pompeo said.

“They're classified, secret. There aren't any side deals.

This is a rare case in which I believe Pompeo. The Taliban would not stick to any side deal after the U.S. proved to be not-agreement capable with regards to the main deal. If there were any side deals of any importance the U.S. would not disregard the just signed agreement as blatantly as it does now.

Trump does not care about any of the above. He needed the agreement to justify a draw down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He will use that draw down to claim that he kept his 2016 election promise to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. This even when there will actually still be the same number of troops in Afghanistan as there were during his inauguration.

Spring is coming and with it the campaign season of the Taliban. With the agreement with the Taliban breached the U.S. is likely to lose more soldiers. To be not-agreement capable tends to have a high price.

Posted by b on March 4, 2020 at 18:35 UTC | Permalink

Comments

There is one way to leave Afghanistan ... leave. The Deep State would shriek, the MSM, the Lindsay Graham’s, but the American people would be happy. Trump would be attacked as a defeatist by all the same actors from Russia-gate, and he would be afraid to lose the election, but if he could just talk straight as he did at one time and say that he is sick of this shit and we are leaving. Sadly, it wont’ happen.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Mar 4 2020 19:14 utc | 1

Surely Ayatollah Mike can sort out this misunderstanding; where is he?

Posted by: NOBTS | Mar 4 2020 19:17 utc | 2

Doesn't this US attack smack of generals resistant to a pullout from Afghanistan and itching for a seemingly viable reason for attacking doing their best to torpedo any agreement?

Posted by: chet380 | Mar 4 2020 19:26 utc | 3

U.S. Breaks Its Just Signed Agreement With The Taliban

Guess how surprised EVERYBODY wasn't?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 4 2020 19:35 utc | 4

What else does one expect from a crime organization?

Posted by: Robert | Mar 4 2020 19:46 utc | 5

This kind of thing is part of why the neoliberal establishment hates Trump even though there's zero substantive disagreement between them. They want to put on the best solemn act they can where it comes to treaties even though they regard the treaties with just as much contempt as Trump does, whereas Trump seems to delight in openly expressing that contempt, thus rendering the treaty weapon increasingly useless.

Of course we'll see how stupid and Trump-Deranged people around the world are if and when a non-Trump president comes along, whether they then think the US has discovered a new agreement-capability. The answer is that the empire is a monolith, and it's the empire which isn't agreement-capable, not any particular president.

Posted by: Russ | Mar 4 2020 19:55 utc | 6

As cynical as I am, even I'm amazed at how quickly the "peace deal" has fallen apart. But I think some of b's assertions need to be clarified:

  • He needed the agreement to justify a draw down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
  • But will there be a draw down? Breaking the agreement so quickly leads me to be very skeptical of any draw down.

    Breaking the "peace deal" is entirely consistent with past practice as described here: Lying by Bush and Obama over Afghanistan is this era’s Pentagon Papers

  • He will use that draw down to claim that he kept his 2016 election promise to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

    Trump's election promise was much broader. It was to end the wars and leave the Middle East. He stated several times that USA doesn't need ME oil and that USA should let Russia fight ISIS.


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IMO Trump makes phony peace deals so that he's better positioned to make war.

He did the "peace deal" with North Korea before terminating the "peace deal" with Iran.

And only after signing the Afghan "peace deal" did the Trump Administration say that they would provide ammunition to Turkey.

Trump's 'America First' slogan is simply this: USA visibly leading the Empire vs. Obama's "leading from behind" subterfuge. Those who say 'America First' means retrenchment and/or "isolationism" are just attempting to promote the lie of Trump as "peacemaker". A USA President is nothing more than the spokesperson for the Deep State, chief of political psyops, and a 'fixer' for the establishment.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 4 2020 19:56 utc | 7

I almost fell off my bar stool in shock and surprise over the US' breaking of its' agreement with the Taliban to pull its' forces out of Afghanistan. The Taliban aren't stupid folks. Only the US is. The stupidity of our leaders (they do the leading while we, the ordinary people, do the bleeding) is so great as to defy all comprehension. Back in the 18th century a British MP once described a minor peace treaty signed by the government as the "peace of God, for it passes all human understanding." The only way the US will leave Afghanistan is in one of two ways: We will cut our losses and march out, or the Taliban will throw us out. I'll bet it will be the latter.

Posted by: GeorgeV | Mar 4 2020 20:10 utc | 8

I almost fell off my bar stool in shock and surprise over the US' breaking of its' agreement with the Taliban to pull its' forces out of Afghanistan. The Taliban aren't stupid folks. Only the US is. The stupidity of our leaders (they do the leading while we, the ordinary people, do the bleeding) is so great as to defy all comprehension. Back in the 18th century a British MP once described a minor peace treaty signed by the government as the "peace of God, for it passes all human understanding." The only way the US will leave Afghanistan is in one of two ways: We will cut our losses and march out, or the Taliban will throw us out. I'll bet it will be the latter.

Posted by: GeorgeV | Mar 4 2020 20:10 utc | 9

If the Mujaheddin defeated the Soviet Union, which withdrew from Afghanistan because it was a stalemate, then the Taliban has just defeated the United States. Perhaps Americans will now STFU about how the Soviet Union was defeated in Afghanistan, but I doubt it because the Americans still believe they won the 1812 war with Great Britain because they won the second to last battle after the the Treaty of Ghent ending the war had been signed even though the United States had failed to achieve any of its political objectives in the war. BTW, the British won the war because they achieved all their political objectives and also won the last battle of the war, the Second Battle of Fort Bowyer on February 12, 1815.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Mar 4 2020 20:17 utc | 10

@ Russ #6:

and at a even more general level the empire isn't integrity-capable which leaves us all open to the psychological onslaught of their perverse but skillfully crafted drivel.

Good to read you here Russ. Your post here is always an easy click into your latest post that I have not yet seen at your site.

John

Posted by: juannie | Mar 4 2020 20:24 utc | 11

Posted by: chet380 | Mar 4 2020 19:26 utc | 3

This is all very reminiscent of Trump's dealing with Little Rocket Man. Kim agreed to a stepped procedure for disarmament, and the removal of nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula was the third and final step. After the summit, Trump insisted that Kim begin the process of disarming immediately in return for nothing. Nobody in their right mind is going to consent to an agreement with the U.S. except for the purpose of buying time, as in the case of the JCPOA.

Posted by: carl | Mar 4 2020 20:49 utc | 12

@10 Ghost Ship Did the USA actually have stated goals in the War of 1812? The US never has to loses a war anymore. You say they lost if Afghanistan. The USA has never publicly stated any goals for the Afghanistan war. Or any other war for that matter. Their are no benchmarks for success or failure.

Posted by: Goldhoarder | Mar 4 2020 21:25 utc | 13

For long time I tried to find any logic into decision and methods of USA government in last 30+ years and I couldn't until it clicked into my head: they are Mafia state.

And all the pieces fell into place. What would criminals do? Bully, intimidate, steal, cheat, lie, whatever suits them. Buy all judges (international "law" organizations) they can, threaten everyone else.

Posted by: Abe | Mar 4 2020 21:25 utc | 14

I've said it before and I'll say it again.
American troops will never leave Afghanistan as long as the CIA is buying opium poppies from the farmers in Afghanistan. That is the CIA's number one source of narcotic base for the illicit drugs that their assets make in Columbia and import into the United States to produce funding for their black projects.
Eliminate the CIA and the international drug trade would collapse.
When American troops were out of Afghanistan for a brief time several years ago, the Taliban almost eradicated the opium poppies. Current output is 1200%+ of what it was before the troops left.

Posted by: Vonu | Mar 4 2020 21:36 utc | 15

No surprises here. This deal was a no-go from the beginning. CIA was not about to give up its lucrative opium trade. The military was not about to give up its foothold in a strategically-located area of the world. It's reached the point where it's all nothing but yada-yada-yada blah-blah-blah. Onward thru the fog.

Posted by: Ben C | Mar 4 2020 21:47 utc | 16

Just saw Vonu's post #15. Didn't mean to be repetitive. Although, this certainly bears repeating.

Posted by: Ben C | Mar 4 2020 22:00 utc | 17

Vonu #15

American troops will never leave Afghanistan as long as the CIA is buying opium poppies from the farmers in Afghanistan. That is the CIA's number one source of narcotic base for the illicit drugs that their assets make in Columbia and import into the United States to produce funding for their black projects.
Eliminate the CIA and the international drug trade would collapse.


Thank you Vonu and YES YES to that. The CIA is even more likely to protect its illicit trades these days as they are in danger of losing that $21 TRILLION dollar cut they grab from the US 'defence' budget. They cant shut that story down no matter how hard they try so they need to shore up their narcotics cash stream.

They don't care if Trump is collateral damage as they now look like they will the carpetbagger-in-chief Joe Biden to lead around if/when Trump falls.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 4 2020 22:15 utc | 18

Is anyone paying attention here? There will never be a withdrawal of US forces, because, they are there to protect the cash cow opium/heroin production. For 2 decades certain parties have enjoyed, annually, billions of dollars in income from their drug trade. No-one gives up this kind of money without a fight. Certainly not the bankers that launder all this loot.

Posted by: joetv | Mar 4 2020 22:18 utc | 19

As'ad AbuKhalil: "...the long U.S. history in Afghanistan stretches to the time when the U.S. decided that its war against the Soviets in Afghanistan would be more important than the welfare of the Afghan people. When the Soviet Union was supporting secularism, feminism and modernity in Afghanistan, the U.S. was on the side of fundamentalism, obscurantism and reactionary organizations wishing to bring back the Middle Ages. The U.S., after all, was in the same trench with bin Laden." A-men!

Posted by: Maracatu | Mar 4 2020 22:44 utc | 20

Brzezinski: "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"

Posted by: Maracatu | Mar 4 2020 22:49 utc | 21

Joetv@19

You are right. We had to invade in 2001 because Taliban had stamped out opium crops depriving organized crime and covert intelligence ops of badly needed revenue, which reduced Eurodollar deposits in the tax havens and caused a hit on stock markets. Also Big Pharma needed the opium for its opioid products.

The great success of the war was to restore the opium crops to far greater levels than Afghanistan under the Taliban could grow. Some of it makes its way to Iran and Russia where it helps to debilitate the populations there but for the most part its just a huge money making machine that funds covert operations and makes the rich richer. The war on Taliban is as fake as the war on AQ and Isis (at least at the top levels). Both parties maintain a reason for existence and presence by maintaining the conflict at the lower levels while at the top levels they are partners in a venture that is mutually beneficial.

Hell will freeze over before we leave Afghanistan

Posted by: Pft | Mar 4 2020 22:54 utc | 22

For the time that the US does not control the government of Iran, the US will stay in Afghanistan.

For the time that the US does not contain China, the US will stay in Afghanistan.

For the time that the Russian Federation seeks a Multipolar Global Power arrangement based on Eurasian Integration, the US will stay in Afghanistan.

For the time that the Chinese and Russians seek a stake in the rich mineral resources of Afghanistan, the US will stay in Afghanistan.

Those are the primary strategic national interests the US pursues by staying in Afghanistan.

And the poppies are the value added for the CIA's black budgets.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Mar 4 2020 23:08 utc | 23

That deal had defects for a wrapper. Was the Kabul gov a party to the negotiations or was US mandated to act in lieu of?

Memo to the Kurds, Erdogan, Kim Jung-un, Bojo, Macron who all resting in confidence that a treaty or Agreement with the U.S. is worth a pinch of________. Feel free to fill in the blank in any language.

Likely Quotes from notables:

Sen. Lindsey Graham and Cohorts: We are happier than pigs in _______

Iran: "We told you so. You're wasting time."

North Korea: "Gosh, proven again. Let's resume our program."

Bibi: "I told you, not without my permission are you allowed to leave.

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 4 2020 23:12 utc | 24

Here we go again the "Its all about the O" types repeat their 100% unsubstantiated claims which apart from 40 year old highly selective Alfred McCoy excerpts and 30 year old Gary Webb investigation have no contemporary substantiation. This is mistaking the means for the end, and failing to take note of the vast inroads into the O market that synthetics have made in the past two decades.

Obviously these commenters do not mix with the drug milieu and rely on ancient texts and gossip. Talk to anyone at the pointy end of the drugs trade, either IDU's (injecting drug users) or emergency services and they will tell you that it is the big shift which began at about the turn of the century when the 'natural' opiates began to be replaced by synthetic opioids as street drugs which has led to the massive upsurge in OD's.

Why would the CIA who showed in the 1980's that they were more than happy to 'get with the program' when they switched up to crack from smack, revert to such a labour intensive, high overhead drug production method, when for a lower capital investment, bigger cash return and a helluva lot less hassle they can crank out as much opioid drugs product as they need from a lab located anywhere they choose?

I'm sure the amerikan intelligence groups did buy a fair swag of raw O in the Hamid Karzai years, as that was their vector for enriching the Karzai family, but that was a means not an end in itself. It was a way of ensuring amerika's stay in Afghanistan.

If the intelligence agencies do still need 'black' funding, an issue we cannot be certain of given Congress' willingness to pump vast sums into the MIC and require no oversight, they won't be using such clumsy old fashioned and easily intercepted techniques as O unless it is just a means and not an end.

Posted by: A User | Mar 4 2020 23:14 utc | 25

US is not the only country which is legendary as nedogovornosposobni, Turkey is just the same. For those two countries the agreements are straightforward subterfuge - lull your opponent in an agreement and then strike.

To my great surprise, it seems to always work despite reputation. Therefore, maybe there is something to pretending to negotiate in good faith. Taliban even celebrated the withdrawal of US. My guess is that political agreements with these two, just like every other kind of con, rely on pretending to give the conned side what it wants. People are most prepared to believe that they will get what they want just if they give the other side what it appears to want, they never understand what the nedogovornosposobni party really wants. The Taliban want US out of their country and they fell for an agreement. Putin wanted deescalation in Syria and he fell for it AGAIN, although the Turks through trickery and lies shot down and killed a Russian pilot just a few years ago (the Turks knifed him in the back, the fool said at the time). Rinse and repeat.

What is the reputation for if people never learn its value and keep negotiating with unreliable parties. What is the beautiful term nedogovornosposobni for if its owner keeps getting suckered again?

Posted by: Kiza | Mar 4 2020 23:49 utc | 26

Col. Wilkerson said during the Q&A at a talk he did that one of the key reasons for the US to stay in Afghanistan is so it can support CIA operations in Xinjiang. And if that applies so it applies across the ‘stans as well.

They won’t leave so long as the target is China and Russia. Not a chance.

Posted by: OHH | Mar 5 2020 0:05 utc | 27

A USER @25

I have seen a news real or something that showed white folks hooked on opioids crossing over to the poorer part of town to get heroin. The reason being that it was cheaper and easier to get. Can't recall but I think it was in Baltimore.

I have seen photos of Canadian and American soldiers patrolling the poppy fields.

And then we have the massive increase in poppy production since the US took over.

These things seem to throw some water on your statements.


Posted by: arby | Mar 5 2020 0:24 utc | 28

And then there is this---

"Opiates are substances with active ingredients that are naturally derived from opium

Posted by: arby | Mar 5 2020 0:39 utc | 29

The Russians call it “недоговороспособны”, and I call it “rogue state” or “Schurkenland”.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Mar 5 2020 0:45 utc | 30

Where has the U$A ever withdrawn entirely once they've gained a foothold in a country with
an abundance of natural resources, and a strategic location? I can't think of one.

Besides, even though they withdraw troops, they leave military contractors. 25K in Afghanistan alone, or so I hear.

The empire WILL have their way.

Posted by: ben | Mar 5 2020 0:46 utc | 31

That did not take very long...

Posted by: Joshua | Mar 5 2020 0:48 utc | 32

"Inside Erik Prince’s secret proposal to outsource the war in Afghanistan"


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2017/08/09/inside-erik-princes-secret-proposal-to-outsource-the-war-in-afghanistan/

Posted by: ben | Mar 5 2020 0:56 utc | 33

I rather think that the U.S. will be out of Afghanistan long before hell freezes over. I’d give it 50 years tops. I won’t be around to see it but compared to the 4 billion years before the Earth ceases to exist, how ever long it takes is an irrelevance to the Universe. It’s all a matter of scale.

Posted by: Beibdnn | Mar 5 2020 1:01 utc | 34

re Mar 5 2020 0:24 utc | 28
Gossip & innuendo and ancient conspiracies will never replace facts.
Even here in Aotearoa when the smack on the streets was once Burmese No4 IDU's are now only able to get a weird brownie mixture of funk and fetanyl; instead of pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical tends to be more expensive than hammer n tack, so if it is correct about Baltimore which as you can see here features many more synthetic OD's than opiate OD's what is happening is junkies are going to low socio-economic neighborhoods to score that same pseudo smack as kiwis are offered, that shit sometimes has a little genuine Mexican or Iranian heroin but the big stone actually comes from the fetanyl mixed into it and the irregular strength of these backstreet mixtures causes OD same as everywhere else. People buy it cause it is cheap, much cheaper than oxy or MS; it is cheap because it is cheap to make.
Heroin is over or at least a lot harder to get, much to the consternation of old school junkies, the fentanyl stone just doesn't measure up they reckon.

These photos let's see em and I betcha they date back to the Hamid Kazai years. AFAIK amerika no longer has enough outright control of the countryside to produce sufficient smack to get a gnat out of it.
But hell lets not be letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

Posted by: A User | Mar 5 2020 1:33 utc | 35

So is it like we b staying bc we want their opium ie like the oil in Syria😀

Posted by: Danny | Mar 5 2020 2:34 utc | 36

US is not to be trusted at all
americans so far prove to be dishonest brokers

Posted by: brian | Mar 5 2020 2:50 utc | 37

NOBTS @ 2:

Michael d'Andrea's entry on Wikipedia is still in the present tense.

He's just somewhere in Afghanistan if you look hard enough for daisies growing closely together.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 5 2020 3:31 utc | 38

"There will never be a withdrawal of US forces, because, they are there to protect the cash cow opium/heroin production"

Bah, there will never be a withdrawal because the US is a bloodsucking tick, period. We never left anywhere we invaded, ever, except when the tick's head was extirpated by brute force. Look into history, case by case. Why else is Europe celebrating its 75 years of occupation -- and counting?

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Mar 5 2020 4:01 utc | 39

Just another day in Empire. Treaties and agreements can't stand in the way when there are weddings and funerals to be attacked.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 4:55 utc | 40

After the call the U.S. military announced that it would continue to attack the Taliban

Don't forget Iran also have major strategic interests in forcing the US out of Iran. Like the Downing of the spy plane, Iran may view this attack as a good opportunity to enhance strategic cooperation with the Taliban. Expect Iranian missile forces and air defence forces to be embedded with the Taliban forces in future. That would certainly result in major US setbacks and abundant body bags.

Posted by: BM | Mar 5 2020 5:58 utc | 41

This is only the latest indication that the Never Victorious US Military has long since gone rogue on The Trumptard and he is too afraid of them to drop the hammer on them.

Posted by: mrtmbrnmn | Mar 5 2020 6:20 utc | 42

those exceptional americans.. doing everything in such an exceptional way... thanks b...

Posted by: james | Mar 5 2020 6:31 utc | 43

Seems to me that Mr. Trump has no control over his own forces. They simply do what they like. Rogue State behavior. Feel sorry for the man. Must also wonder when he will be killed to make way for someone more controllable by DS. GMJ

Posted by: GMJ | Mar 5 2020 6:49 utc | 44

Shame on b for a dishonest reporting. Presenting only parts of the facts in order to enhance your point is a form of lying. The US and Taliban concluded an agreement over something none of both parties controlled, namely the 5000 Taliban prisoners. Deliberately ignoring the one with the final say just marked that both negotiating parties were deluding themselves.
When the third parity refused to honored an agreement it was not invited to take part in - that's an issue between US and Afghan gov - the Taliban declared the agreement dead - that's their right though they could also have waited a bit for the US to pressure on the afghan gov so that to save the deal - and announced they will resume their attacks. I don't see any foul play other than a failed negotiations. It is one of these post attack that the US air force bombarded.

So why use the word 'US breaks' when the US was the last of the three party to abandon the agreement? There are much more wrong doing from US to report than finding them guilty of everything. B let his bias distort the truth which poses the question what others claims were distorted?

Honesty has a clear boundary that once crossed set you forever in the infinite realms of dishonesty.

Posted by: murgen23 | Mar 5 2020 8:11 utc | 45

Sometimes I think perhaps the Deep State just simply goes rogue. Of course, Trump is an idiot.

Posted by: Steve | Mar 5 2020 9:13 utc | 46

Russ@6 - - - ".... it's the empire which isn't agreement-capable, not any particular president."

The mask has slipped from US leadership, and they now cannot help but be seen to be common gangsters & brutes. They do what they do, seemingly asking, "So what you going to do about it?"

One day, they will need a hand, and find that none will be offered.

Empires end (fade into insignificance) this way.

Then the "leaders" will fly away in their Learjets to "lead" another country, which they would have had the foresight to soften up for the taking over.

Problem is that, by then, several generations of good, hardworking Americans will have paid -- and doubtless, they will go on paying -- the cost of corruption put on them by their erstwhile "leaders". They will have lost generational opportunity costs for seeking happiness & fulfilment waiting for "democracy" to arrive if only somehow they can fix the 4-yearly voting cycle.

But no matter. It is far easier, more fun, safer -- like many Americans do here -- to argue interminably about election cycles, election fraud, game theory, statistical oddities, deep states, hillarious killary, mini mikes, bumbling biden, orange idiots, fake indians, fake christians.

Still, there is hope. Still, the mask falls further each day.

People go mad in crowds, often for generations, but recover their senses one by one.

Discussion blogs like this one are a huuuuuge help.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 5 2020 10:04 utc | 47

Murgen23 @ 48
B’s integrity is second to none! Show me another blog half as good as this one.
If the American govenment had any where near is much honesty this world would’nt be in the mess it’s in now.
Afghanistan just one more of a long list of examples.
So don’t talk such plain garbage please.

Posted by: Mark2 | Mar 5 2020 10:06 utc | 48

snake | Mar 5 2020 6:20 utc | 43

Here

Are the Wuhan, China, Covid-19 story, Bernie to Biden switch, and Afghanistan treaty somehow related?

I am responding at the coronavirus thread on this post as it seems better to have the corona bar hear it.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 5 2020 10:10 utc | 49

murgen23@48 - - - "Honesty has a clear boundary that once crossed set you forever in the infinite realms of dishonesty."

Seems to me that mark2@52 is correct.

Something about your truthiness is simply off.

We can talk about honesty & integrity only if we are just as hard on ourselves as we are on B.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 5 2020 10:30 utc | 50

Here is what the real problem is:

All this insanity is not happening just so a few fatcats can make more money -- They for all practical purposes have all the money. It is not being done even for the grasping of more power -- They have that too. It is happening for a completely other reason.

First of all, understand that we are dealing with The United States of America Mafia Government Subculture (USAMGS). Now ask yourself, what is the really substantive motivation of people living in a subculture? Simple! It is always to maintain their lifestyle. And what, actually is any mafia lifestyle, of any size or power? It is simply predation. War (predation) is a force that gives them meaning.

So it is not just the money, not just the power, far beyond that, they must perpetuate their culture and its lifestyle. Just like it is for the Taliban, it totally is everything that their lives are about.

Even if Russia and China were totally conquered, they would have to create new peoples to prey upon. The American people are not to be made aware of the true nature of this subculture, which is inexorably destroying them. Therefor, true democracy cannot ever be permitted.

Posted by: blues | Mar 5 2020 10:55 utc | 51

Mark2@52 : stick to the chronology of the facts : the Taliban announced, 1 day before the attack, that they will resume hostilities if they don't got their 5000 prisoners free. The next day, they did effectively resume attacks and US resume air support Afghan gov. So why this "US breaks signed agreement" in the title ?

kiwiklown @54 : I like readings MOA, there are interesting quotes, gem resources pointed but too often mixed with absurd stuff. My rant is about an obvious distortion of chronology to fit an opinion.

Posted by: murgen23 | Mar 5 2020 12:14 utc | 52

A User @25: Why would the CIA... revert to such a labour intensive, high overhead drug production method, when... they can crank out as much opioid drugs product as they need from a lab located anywhere they choose?"

You are a smart guy, so if you put in the effort you can figure this out yourself, but simply put the fact is that the profit margin on cheap synthetic opioids is nowhere near as high as it is for heroin. The reasons for this are basic market economics, as well as a Marxist analysis of the origin of value.

Value comes from labor. You need to underpay workers in order to extract profit. This is just as true in the black market as it is in legal marketplaces. The more workers being underpaid and by larger amounts results in larger profits. In a market (black or otherwise) prices of products will always face pressure to drop to the production value. There may be temporary variability, but the tendency will always be for prices to approach production costs.

Keeping the above in mind, note that if the CIA were to invest heavily in synthetic opioid production they would be going into direct competition with gigantic pharma manufacturing facilities in China. Efficiencies of scale rule and there is no way the CIA could beat that competition. Their specialty is trafficking, not manufacturing. They would realize better profits from just buying directly from the manufacturer and using their existing black market distribution networks to sell.

But the profits from just being middlemen/importers are not so great. People can still get gray market synthetic opioids from crooked pharmacists, so there is only so high that the CIA could leverage prices. The only way to boost prices would be to somehow artificially limit production... a viral epidemic where the production occurs might help with that.

Heroin, specifically because of its higher labor content, will naturally yield higher profits. Furthermore, having a monopoly on heroin production allows the CIA to be able to bypass the natural capitalist tendency for price to drop to cost.

The CIA needs Afghan heroin and Colombian cocaine. They cannot just go to Congress and say "Hey, we need cash to pay our death squads in Ukraine and buy off some judges in Brazil!" That stuff has to be off-budget.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 5 2020 12:18 utc | 53

It doesn’t matter if the US ‘breaks’ the agreement or not. The agreement is just a fig leaf to get out of Afghanistan. The US isn’t going to keep it, the Taliban is not going to keep it, and neither is the Afghan government. I think Trump would leave in a minute, but the War Party has so much power, even a President finds it difficult to oppose them. It doesn’t help that Trump is stupid and ignorant. It will take an extraordinary person to wind down the aggression of the empire. Hint: Joe Biden is not that person. And Bernie Sanders is probably not as well.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Mar 5 2020 13:00 utc | 54

stevek9 @58 Tulsi I bet could do it. Here's hoping she's flying wing to Bernie.

Posted by: glitch | Mar 5 2020 13:26 utc | 55

The Taliban start to make noise about the issues:

Suhail Shaheen: US airstrikes against Taliban violates the peace agreement

The Taliban said that the US airstrikes in Helmand on March 4th was a violation of the US-Taliban agreement, signed in Qatar, and would be investigated by the monitoring team.

Although the US forces conducted some airstrikes on the Taliban in defense of the Afghan forces, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the defense committee of the US Senate, said there have been zero attacks by the Taliban against the US and NATO forces.
...
in an interview with Ariana News, the spokesperson of the political office of the Taliban in Qatar said that the US had violated the agreement by striking the Taliban’s hideouts in Helmand.

Suhail Shaheen told Ariana News, “This is a violation of the agreement. There is a joint US-Taliban monitoring channel, which will investigate the case.”

After the “reduction in violence term,” war has been intensified in Afghanistan. According to Afghan officials, 76 attacks have been conducted against Afghan forces by the Taliban. Both have reportedly, suffered casualties.

Posted by: b | Mar 5 2020 15:14 utc | 56

Bhadrakumar at Indian Punchline has an analysis that seems credible
https://indianpunchline.com/trump-puts-taliban-deal-back-on-track/

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Mar 5 2020 15:26 utc | 57

@36. Not exactly. The oil grab in Syria is to stop Syrkans using it. A lot of Afghans benefit from the opium business.

Posted by: dh | Mar 5 2020 15:38 utc | 58

OR you could just ask any indigenous person living on US occupied territory what the papers they signed were worth, or even right now, in Canada with the Wetsueten Unistoten and Tyendinaga whose lands have been invaded despite assurances and treaties that their sovereign land was THEIR sovereign land

Posted by: GymRat Hippie | Mar 5 2020 17:52 utc | 59



Military brinksmanship is the order of business these days, and from a certain perspective Afganistan is but a piece of the puzzle. If we look at the distribution of bases throughout the area it looks like a thinly streached web with a few larger logisitical hubs. Over the past 20 years or so the USA military has morphed into more of an occupation force than an army conditioned for near peer conflict. Other than special forces often used for monkey wrenching, coalition forces throughout the reigon remain within compounds and engage in "search and avoid" patrol tactics. It has been speculated that most of these bases would be quite vulnerable if they were targetted by modern guided missiles. Now that Iran has made that a fact, they estimations made by all parties have changed. Lacking any meaningful anti-missile defenses, these bases are effictively soft stationary targets.

On the matter of opium and related subjects, there has already been quite a bit of discussion but I will add to it nonetheless.
According to one poster, the notion of CIA trafficing heroin in todays world is an antiquated notion based on outdated testimony. I often hear this sort of thing when it comes to the recent past. "Oh MK Ultra was terrible but we dont do that sort of thing anymore" or "Well yes, Operation Mockingbird was real but things are different now". I'm not sure if it's a particular brand of American naivette, but I sometimes think people simply dont want to believe such things could be real so they simply deny them despite evidence. I find it difficult to believe that any clandesdine agency with billions to made would simply cease operations or worse, let some competitor take over.

It was suggested earlier in this thread that opium and heroin has been somehow made obsolete due to the availability of synthetics. Honest question: how are the notorious opiods manufactured. Given that there is a huge supply of opium available
why would one not simply use it a precursor? Are we meant to believe that rather than use what is readilly available, it's easier to gather other ingredients and synthesize it? William Gruff addressed the economics of this, and based on his assessment I cannot see why any alphabet agencies would forego the ample supply lines coming out of Afganistan.

This brings us to the present situation. We all knew this peace deal was just for show, although I dont quite see who audience would be. Going from 13K to 8K troops (or whatever) is hardly withdrawal, and you can be sure there a double the amount of "contractors" and spec.ops. types who will stay behind. Without the coalition, the Afgan puppet gov. wont last a year and just like that we're back to where we started: Taliban rule and the possibility of Russia, China, Iran and others making deals and building infrastucture. The USA cannot allow this, so on Afgan soil they will remain. Until they get overrun, and are forced to withdraw. I really dont see any other likely possibilities given the factors at play as of right now.

Posted by: Chevrus | Mar 5 2020 17:54 utc | 60

Way to go bro, couldnt agree more.

Posted by: Chevrus | Mar 5 2020 23:40 utc | 61

re William Gruff @ | Mar 5 2020 12:18 utc | 53

Look I'm sorry to break this to you but neither amerika nor most of the western world has valued an article on the basis of the cost of its inputs (which usually boils down to labor plus taxes) since mid-80's reaganomics took hold.
Demand is the arbiter of value know.
Do you really imagine that that tiny iphone all the kids want for a mere thousand dollars cost anything like that amount to make?
Or anything else - diamonds are the classic example where DeBeers have bought up close to every diamond mining operation in the world (except maybe Russia but the Russian operation has been careful not to rock the boat) and they are ripping them out of the ground as fast as they can before one of their hosts they parasite off wakes up and decides the wealth needs to be shared with the citizenry - which would mean they lost control of the market.

There are vast secure warehouses in London and Antwerp where well over half the diamonds mined each year are stored for as long as it takes to mine all the diamonds DeBeers can. The market is controlled by only realizing a fraction of the high quality diamonds they hold in stock each. By ensuring demand always exceeds supply DeBeers keeps their value far, far higher than would be the case were the market open slather.

The same applies to nearly every product.
When a new corporate begins eg Amazon - goods are sold for years at prices well below the cost of production. This is called 'building market share' and is looked on supportively by investors who 40 or 50 years ago would have gone apeshit at such a business model.

The same applies to narcotics. Fentanyl pseudo smack sells for exactly the same as actual smack. Junkies are the drivers - drivers of a demand market who are generally willing to pay whatever the price being asked is.

It is crazy to imagine that the CIA would stay with opiates when there is far more money & less hassle producing opioids.

This is a pointless argument cause I can lead a horse to water but that's all.

The only thing that interests me is why are people so determined to stick with such an out-moded notion?
The flaws in logic & incorrect reading of facts that some have displayed here attempting to refute what I've posted on this, really blows me away - why is this such a central tenet of amerikan anti-imperialists?

There has been no recent relevant evidence to support the claim the CIA is still running O at all much less monopoly level bizness since Karzai pulled the pin yet everyone still contorts their beliefs into tangled positions on a long past its use by date idea.

I'm sure the amerikan intelligence is up to even worse stuff than O pushing now, no one knows what that is cos they prefer to keep repeating the old stuff than hunting out CIA blackmail & extortion being conducted through social networks. eg We know the CIA is determined to ensure that there are no "all Huawei" networks out here in the world because if there were it would be impossible for either them of the NSA to spy on any&every human they want to, yet there is little indication of what the CIA in particular (Snowden's revelations focused on the NSA) does with its electronic sheet-sniffing.

As long as everyone sticks with such out of date 'news', the arseholes at Langley can laugh up their sleeves at the simplemindedness of the opposition.

Posted by: A User | Mar 6 2020 2:11 utc | 62

A USER,, please explain why O production is at record highs with the US in control up from nearly zero when the Taliban were in control? Am I to assume this is a coincidence?

Posted by: arby | Mar 6 2020 12:46 utc | 63

@63 Opium is a big part of the Afghan economy. Anybody who tries to stop it soon becomes very upopular. The US realized that. The Taiban tried for a while....now they get their revenue from it.

Posted by: dh | Mar 6 2020 14:27 utc | 64

That makes no sense to me. But, whatever.

Posted by: arby | Mar 6 2020 15:24 utc | 65

@65. You obviously don't know much about Afghanistan.

Posted by: dh | Mar 6 2020 15:42 utc | 66

So you are saying that the US and Canada were patrolling the fields to make sure that the Taliban got a good income and also to show the Taliban that eradicating the poppies was not in their (The Taliban) best interest.
LOL.

Posted by: arby | Mar 6 2020 15:46 utc | 67

@67. No. The Us and Canada may think they are in control of the opium but the farmerds, middlemen, smugglers, corrupt officials and the Taliban know better.. LOL

Posted by: dh | Mar 6 2020 15:59 utc | 68

RE arby | Mar 6 2020 15:46 utc | 67
The coalition of the killing helped protect the O crop when Hamid Karzai was prez. see see this old msm cbs nes piece which illustrates Hamid's brother the family bagman's role while down playing Hamid's gas pipeline connections.
The Karzai family collected on the O when the pipeline boys refused to pay more than basic rent until the pipeline deal was done.
That deal never happened and even worse for the Karzai mob, Taliban domination outside urban areas meant that they couldn't collect on O so lost the ability to pay off other crooks, which is why old Hamid was replaced in 2014. amerikans were also whining about spending trillions to regime change a pusher into power.

The new prez of Afghanistan has a different scam. Sinve the amerikans invaded Kabul has grown from a town of 2 or 3 hundred thousand into a city of around 5 million, so Ashraf Ghani pays off the clans by getting leader's sons in particular into the ever expanding Afgham administration.

There is absolutely no need for amerika to be in long term smack networks any longer and as I have already said if all these armchair experts got off their arses and into the pointy end of the junk trade, they would learn that synthetics now dominate the business.

I still do not understand how it is that Langley runs the smack has become such a fixed article of faith among the cadres of amerikan anti-imperialists, when it defies logic and makes no economic sense.
I have to say this debate is really fucking boring especially since the 'CIA are gangster pushers' mob offer zero evidence.

Posted by: A User | Mar 7 2020 10:02 utc | 69

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