Tag: Taliban

Pepe Escobar On The Afghanistan Presidential Election

Does it matter who will win the Afghan presidential election – Hamid Karzai or Abdullah Abdullah? Not that much, as this was an election to legitimize the US and NATO occupation of parts of the country not controlled by the Taliban. But in terms of the New Great Game in Eurasia, as Pepe Escobar argues, that’s when the grand American strategy can be perceived in full bloom : it involves nothing less than rehabilitating the “evil” Taliban. Anything goes when it comes to Washington trying to establish an energy corridor from the Caspian to South Asia, bypassing Russia.

Real News Network – August 26, 2009

The Afghan Chessboard

Pepe Escobar commentary: The real meaning of the Afghan elections

We are funding the Taliban — no joke

Turns out that the Taliban isn’t getting all that much of its money from drugs.  Why get it from drugs when you can get it from Uncle Sam?

KABUL – It is the open secret no one wants to talk about, the unwelcome truth that most prefer to hide. In Afghanistan, one of the richest sources of Taliban funding is the foreign assistance coming into the country.

Virtually every major project includes a healthy cut for the insurgents. Call it protection money, call it extortion, or, as the Taliban themselves prefer to term it, “spoils of war,” the fact remains that international donors, primarily the United States, are to a large extent financing their own enemy.

“Everyone knows this is going on,” said one U.S. Embassy official, speaking privately.

It’s classic East Coast politics.  The Taliban are the mob, and they get their cut.  A big cut.  

Then they use the money, from us, to fight us.

And why shouldn’t they fight us?  WE’RE ATTACKING THEM.

What’s lost in most of these discussions is the obvious elephant in the room — the only reason the Taliban is fighting us is because we’re there attacking them.

Why are we there, spending $133 million a day?

I repeat, we are spending throwing away $133 million A DAY, five and a half million bucks AN HOUR fighting the natives who are using our own money to defend themselves.

And the generals admit we are losing there.

Five and a half MILLION DOLLARS AN HOUR fighting a “war” that we are losing.

Only to find out that a lot of our money is going to the same people we’re fighting.

Now, my absurdity meter has redlined quite a few times over the years, but I think this completely smashes it.  

Of course what those figures don’t tell you is how much of that $5.5 million bucks an hour is going directly to American corporations.   I mean, it’s not going to the soldiers.  Right?  It’s going to the corporations who supply the machinery, the gasoline and diesel fuel (ESPECIALLY them), the arms makers, the bootmakers, hell, there must be hundreds of big corporations for whom this is a BIG portion of their daily cash flow.

$5.5 million bucks an hour.  To fight an opponent that we are also funding.

That’s what America has turned into.

The dog has caught its own tail and is devouring it.

Land of Perpetual War: US Troop Levels in Afghanistan to Double from Last Year

According to a report by Paul Tait of Reuters, published at Truthout.org, U.S. forces in Afghanistan have expanded to near double the level of last year, with plans to expand to 68,000 troops or more by December, up from 32,000 at the end of 2008. Currently, with both U.S. and other allied troops, there are over 100,000 soldiers facing what is reported to be a more “aggressive” and “brazen” Taliban force.

Forty-one U.S. troops died in Afghanistan in the past month; 71 allied troops overall. The article gave no figures for Afghan deaths.

Commander of U.S. forces, U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal — formerly head of Special Forces for the Pentagon, during a time when Special Operations units were implicated in torture in Iraq — “said the resurgent Taliban have forced a change of tactics on foreign forces and warned that record casualty figures would remain high for some months” (emphasis added). No one asks why the Taliban should be stronger now, almost eight years after 9/11 — well, no one in the mainstream U.S. press.

They Have One of Ours Now

cross-posted at Dkos

They have one of ours now:

Insurgents have captured an American soldier in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Thursday.

Spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said the soldier went missing on Tuesday.

Will we demand that the Taliban treat our soldier well? Will we call for international oversight? Will we lecture about the use of torture? Will we have the gall to speak about human rights and dignity?

Obama’s Afghanistan Surge: What’s Going On?

Crossposted from Antemedius

Today in “The secrets of Obama’s surge” Pepe Escobar says that “the President is not exactly telling all that’s going on in AfPak”, and argues there are many more strategic issues at play than meets the eye – and the President and his team’s spin:

President Obama’s highly anticipated new strategy for what the Pentagon now calls AfPak – Afghanistan and Pakistan – is full of grey areas.

Most extra troops will be deployed to poppy-growing areas, not to fight al-Qaeda, the President’s stated number one objective.

The President talks about building trust – but as the US cannot trust the Pakistani ISI, the Pakistani people don’t trust the US or even their own government.

Gen. David Petraeus and envoy Richard Holbrooke

Last night the News Hour carried a report and the discussion with Petraeus and Holbrooke.

This is the site page link where you’ll find the transcript as well as the links for audio and video.

This link will give you their Video Player to watch from here.

There is No win in this now debacle. One thing about warfare these last couple of decades, outside of the bloviated power hawks talking tough to each other as others are sent to do the actual fighting, is every invasion turns to Guerilla Insurgency. It’s lost as soon as the Bombs start dropping, the Missiles Destroy, the Military Invades, ‘Hearts and Minds’ turn to Hate as their countries are destroyed but more important as their Loved Ones and Friends and Fellow Citizens are Blown To Bits or Cut Down by the Bullets Sprayed, than add in the arrests of Innocents, the Blackhole Worldwide Prisons and most of all Torture, Innocents become Enemies Real Fast, Real Fast! They either fight back or support those who do! It becomes an extreme uphill battle to win back a majority of those ‘Hearts and Minds’!!

Just ask yourself “What would you do if you were them?”!

Just think how many here felt after 9/11 and how that was used to kill and destroy many times over since!

Afghanistan stopped being about 9/11, in their eyes and the worlds eyes and minds as soon as the drums started beating towards Iraq. Security and money Stopped coming in to Stabilizes after the Taliban were removed and al Qaeda were forced to run, It Became The Quagmire That Exists Today and has expanded into Pakistan thus Inflaming the whole region even more!

Can stability be brought back, it’s possible, but the Hate will be Deeply Embedded, especially in the children growing up in the destruction and death, the ones that survive, and will linger for their decades of life!!

The only way a Guerilla Insurgency ends is on their time Not The Occupiers, but it than can be inflamed when policy is perceived  to be against those common folks, and they’ve got the fighting experience!!!!!!!

Just an added note, the Escalation, not ‘surge’, did not bring down the death and destruction in Iraq, the Iraqi people, sects, did. And that situation is a match just waiting to relight at anytime, the world can only dampen that match so it doesn’t until the Iraqi’s decide. We destroyed that Pandora’s Box, it’s up to us to try and help rebuild a new one but only if they want the help, and ours is shit in that country, others will fill the void!!  

Fox News & Oliver North Involved with U.S. Afghanistan Massacre Cover-up

The UK TimesOnline has posted a video of the aftermath of the killings of dozens of villagers in the Afghan village of Nawabad (called Azizabad in other stories). The U.S. has maintained that seven civilians and three dozen Taliban militants were killed in the combined U.S. Special Forces/Afghan Army/U.S. air operation last August 21. The United Nations and local villagers insist that 92 civilians were killed, over half of them children. According to the article:

In the video scores of bodies are seen laid out in a building that villagers say is used as a mosque; the people were killed apparently during a combined operation by US special forces and Afghan army commandos in western Afghanistan. The film was shot on a mobile phone by an Afghan doctor who arrived the next morning.

Local people say that US forces bombed preparations for a memorial ceremony for a tribal leader. Residential compounds were levelled by US attack helicopters, armed drones and a cannon-armed C130 Spectre gunship.

First U.S. troop incursion into Pakistan alleged, 20 dead

The United States may have ‘invaded’ Pakistan.

The Washington Post reports, U.S. and Afghan troops kill 20 in Pakistan. This marks the “first known instance” that U.S. forces “conducted an operation on Pakistani soil since the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan began”.

According to the NY Times, NATO Accused of Civilian Deaths Inside Pakistan. The incursion and subsequent attacks were made “a little after 3 a.m. when three U.S. army helicopters carrying American and Afghan troops landed in Musa Nika in the Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan… Troops then left the helicopters and launched a ground assault on three houses where Taliban fighters were believed to be hiding.”

Pakistan is not amused. The “hot pursuit” of Taliban forces across the Afghan-Pakistan border is contentious issue with Pakistan.

Before 9/11 – Taliban – al Qaeda

The National Security Archive has just released a Load of Files Electronic Briefing Book No. 253 Posted – August 20, 2008 under the title: 1998 Missile Strikes on Bin Laden May Have Backfired with a subtitle: Extensive 1999 Report on Al-Qaeda Threat Released by U.S. Dept of Energy,

Taliban Told U.S. They Wanted to Bomb Washington

With backlinks to the PDF’s and more links in the sidebar on the left.

Afghanistan – A Different Type of Surge

The NGO network in Afghanistan (Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief – ACBAR) reports that the number of civilian casualties caused by all sides has “surged” and that insecurity has spread to previously stable areas.

The number of insurgent attacks for each of the months of May (463), June (569) and July is greater than the number of such attacks in any other months since the end of major hostilities following the international intervention in 2001…

July was reportedly the worst month for Afghan civilians in the past six years, with 260 civilian casualties recorded…

Now, due primarily to a stepped up air operations, Afghanistan, “the good war” is turning bad.

Pakistan is done with playing Bush’s games

That whole democracy thing isn’t working out so well in Pakistan- for the Bush Administration, anyway. According to McClatchy Newspapers:

Senior Bush administration officials Thursday said they oppose plans by some Pakistani politicians to open talks with Islamic militants, saying that could lead to a repeat of a failed 2006 peace accord.

That accord “didn’t really work,” Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte told a Senate committee. U.S. officials say the agreement gave al Qaida and other militant groups breathing space to regroup.

Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, the State Department’s point man on South Asia, was blunter.

“We’ve always found that a negotiation that’s not backed by a certain amount of force can’t really force out the bad guys,” Boucher said in an interview on National Public Radio, referring to militants in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.

“Ultimately, it’s the outcome that matters,” he said.

Of course, all outcomes, under Bush favorite Musharraf’s regime, led us to where we are today. Which is in need of better outcomes. Which pretty much defines where everything Bush has touched stands, today.

The two parties that triumphed in the Feb. 18 elections for the national parliament, however, have stressed the need for a political – rather than a military – solution to the insurgency.

Also, McClatchy reported on Tuesday that the smaller secular party that won the elections in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province plans to open talks with local Islamic insurgents allied with al Qaida.

Because, of course, all Bush accomplished in Afghanistan was to allow al Qaeda to escape back into the Pashtun region that straddles the literally randomly chosen border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they have regrouped, grown stronger, and now, with the also resurgent Taliban, grown strong enough to threaten Pakistan, itself.

Afghanistan defines the Bush Administration

It’s tempting to say that Afghanistan represents the Bush Administration’s supreme failure. I’ve made that claim, in the past. But that presumes that the Bush Administration was, in the the smallest degree, interested in catching the people who attacked us on September 11, 2001, and in keeping this nation safe. Of course, some have done very well, from Bush’s wars. Meanwhile, the collective wisdom of the more than 100 bipartisan foreign-policy experts consulted by Foreign Policy and the Center for American Progress to form The Terrorism Index led to this summary:

The world these experts see today is one that continues to grow more threatening. Fully 91 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for Americans and the United States, up 10 percentage points since February. Eighty-four percent do not believe the United States is winning the war on terror, an increase of 9 percentage points from six months ago. More than 80 percent expect a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 within a decade, a result that is more or less unchanged from one year ago.

But, of course, if the Bush Administration actually gave a damn about national security, and catching the terrorists who attacked us, they’d have done something about it. Instead, their incompetence allowed Osama bin Laden to get away, when he could have been caught or killed, at the battle of Tora Bora. They disastrously shifted their focus from those who had attacked us to those who never had, and because of that, the Taliban are growing stronger both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while Al Qaeda has also regrouped and grown stronger in both countries. In fact, both countries are having to negotiate with the Taliban, and bin Laden, himself, is even now well-positioned to launch another attack.

If this war actually was about justice and security, rather than profits, it would be correctly seen as the signature failure of the singularly disastrous administration. Bush is destroying the Constitution and violating international law, not to mention the basic laws of humanity and morality, but he has not made America safer, and he has not caught the people who committed the worst ever act of terrorism on American soil. It would be surreal, were it not so damnable.  

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