Taliban

A Response to a Comment from “Jason”

Earlier this morning I received a comment on my article about the shooting in Paris from a user named Jason. In this comment this user said my article lacked substance, sounded like something from FOX News, and was total “bullshit”.

The shooting in Paris I do not believe to be a case of “murderers being murderers,” as I believe Jason described it. There are no isolated phenomenas in the world, all phenomenas are interconnected and interdependent, and this is clearly evident in the Paris shooting of the satirical magazine. Two French-born citizens of Algerian heritage – let me remind readers that Algeria suffered a devastating war of independence from France between 1954-1962 that killed 1.5 million and remains under the economic domination of France – returned from Syria, where these suspects received paramilitary training in Islamist camps with the support of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf states, Turkey, and Israel, and attacked a magazine that was virulently racist and xenophobic.

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Taliban Declares Defeat of NATO in Afghanistan

From Antiwar.com

NATO’s flag-lowering ceremonies in Afghanistan and attempts to spin the 13+ year Afghan War as over belie the reality, which is that the war is simply transitioning to a more US-dominated conflict, with little tangible change between now and January 1.

The PR move is a risky one, however, because if the war was over, it’d be time to start wondering who won. The Taliban has been quick to jump into the conversation, insisting they had defeated NATO.

The Taliban’s new statement noted NATO had not achieved anything substantial in the 13-plus years of occupation, and said that the war end ceremonies proved a demoralized force was turning and running.

Unfortunately, some 13,000 US and allied occupation forces will remain in Afghanistan, with a deal to leave troops through 2024 and beyond. The war seems set to continue, in everything but name, through its second decade and well into its third, with no end in sight, and no winners.

War in Afghanistan Far from Over

Now into its 13th year U.S. and NATO are announcing the end to combat missions in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of troops, but despite the symbolic flag-lowering ceremony, the U.S.-led war is in fact not ending, and the brutal war is set to continue through 2015. NATO is set to “transition” to a non-combat, “Resolute Support” mission to assist the Afghan National Army in its operations, with 4, 000 NATO troops to remain in Afghanistan into 2015.

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President Obama has authorized the 10, 800 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan in 2015, an increase of 1, 000 from his May pledge to reduce U.S. troops in the country, to resume combat operations against Afghan militants, including night raids by Special Operation soldiers, previously banned by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and ariel strikes. A senior American military officer was quoted saying that “the Air Force expects to use F-16 fighters, B-1B bombers and Predator and Reaper drones to go after the Taliban in 2015.”

The continuation of combat operations in Afghanistan by U.S. troops comes after the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between the U.S. and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, a former U.S. citizen and World Bank employee, a highly controversial agreement that was followed by a wave of attacks. The agreement allows for thousands of U.S. troops to remain in the country for another decade and grants all U.S. servicemen immunity from prosecution under Afghan laws. Several massacres and unlawful acts were committed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, including the murder of 16 Afghan civilians in Kandahar and the footage of U.S. soldiers urinating on the dead bodies of Afghans and posing for photographs with dead civilians.

The U.S. and its imperialist allies have a long history of occupations and interference in Afghanistan. In the 1980s, the U.S. and its allies through Pakistan funded radical Islamic counterrevolutionaries, including bin Laden and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, that fought to topple the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), then implementing widespread social reforms that benefited millions of Afghans. These “freedom fighters,” as former U.S. President Ronald Reagan described them, tortured teachers and activists, burnt down schools, poisoned children, and raped women.

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Babrak Karmal, first President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Afghanistan

After the PDPA was overthrown, the U.S. largely disengaged from Afghanistan, having accomplished its primary objective, and the various counterrevolutionary factions fought amongst themselves in a devastating civil war. Later the Taliban, an organization of Islamic students led by Mullah Mohammed Omar, defeated these factions and captured Kabul in 1996. The U.S., “keen to see Afghanistan under strong central rule to allow a US-led group to build a multi-billion-dollar oil and gas pipeline” from Turkmenistan to the Arabian Sea, indirectly supported the Taliban’s rise to power through Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The U.S.-led 2001 invasion of Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11 or bin Laden. Notwithstanding the scientific inaccuracies of the official 9/11 story, the FBI has admitted it lacks any hard evidence to formally indict bin Laden for his responsibility in 9/11, only the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The U.S.-led invasion was an imperialist war of resource plundering and transferring public wealth into private hands. The media went into a frenzy when the U.S. “discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan” in 2010. The New York Times even declared that Afghanistan could become “the Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a mineral used in the manufacture of batteries. It is inconceivable that U.S. authorities weren’t aware of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth before the invasion; the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s confirmed the existence of enormous mineral reserves and produced “superb geological maps and reports that listed more than 1,400 mineral outcroppings, along with about 70 commercially viable deposits.”

Since the U.S. and NATO invaded Afghanistan the drug trade has boomed. Prior to the invasion, opium cultivation was banned by the Taliban in collaboration with the United Nations, and by 2001 the crop had declined by 90% to 185 tonnes. After the U.S. invasion the opium crop had skyrocketed to 3400 tonnes in 2002 under former President Hamid Karzai. The drug trade was an important source of covert funding for the Afghan counterrevolutionaries during the 1980s and 1990s and has long been under the control of the CIA. Mujahideen counterrevolutionaries forced Afghan peasants to plant opium, turning the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas into the world’s top heroin producer, with the collaboration of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Islamabad.

Afghan farmers in their fields.

Afghan farmers in their fields.

The money from the drug trade is laundered through banks and recycled as covert funds for intelligence agencies. Money laundering, according to the IMF, constitutes 2-5% of the world’s GDP, and a significant share of money laundering is linked to the trade in narcotics. The trade in narcotics represents the third largest commodity after oil and arms, with powerful financial interests behind the trade. “From this standpoint, geopolitical and military control over the drug routes is as strategic as oil and oil pipelines,” writes Professor Michel Chossudovsky.

13 Years, $1 Trillion Plus Spent, Obama Declares Afghan War a Success

From Antiwar.com

13 years and, by a very conservative reckoning, $1 trillion later, the US is transitioning to a different phase of the Afghan occupation in January. President Obama insists it was all worth it.

Speaking at a Marine Corps base, Obama declared that the occupation had made the world “safer” and that Afghanistan “is not going to be the source of terrorist attacks again.”

The comments must draw immediate comparisons to President Bush’s ill-conceived “mission accomplished” statement, as the US is far from ending the Afghan war, and indeed is planning to escalate activities in 2015 beyond what had previously been announced.

Obama went on to brag that Afghanistan “has a chance to rebuild its own country” because of the occupation, though many billions of dollars thrown at “reconstruction” schemes by the administration have been wasted, with Afghanistan regularly showing up on the list of most dysfunctional and corrupt nations on earth.