WASHINGTON - The optics surrounding the Barack Obama administration's
"Enduring Strategic Partnership" agreement with Afghanistan and the
memorandums of understanding (MoUs) accompanying it emphasize transition to
Afghan responsibility and an end to US war.
But the only substantive agreement reached between the US and Afghanistan -
well hidden in the agreements - has been to allow powerful US Special
Operations Forces (SOF) to continue to carry out the unilateral night raids
on private homes that are universally hated in the Pashtun zones of
The presentation of the new agreement on a surprise trip by Obama to
Afghanistan, with a prime-time presidential address and repeated briefings
for the press, allows Obama to go into a tight presidential election
campaign on a platform of ending an unpopular US war in Afghanistan.
It also allows President Hamid Karzai to claim he has gotten control over
the SOF night raids while getting a 10-year commitment of US economic
But the actual text of the agreement and of the MoU on night raids included
in it by reference will not end the US war in Afghanistan, nor will they
give Karzai control over night raids.
The Obama administration's success in obscuring those facts is the real
story behind the ostensible story of the agreement. . . .
Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specializing in
US national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book,
Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was
published in 2006.
[The US ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, announced recently that
a US$511 million contract had been awarded to Caddell Construction to build
the world's largest embassy in Kabul--Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Pakistan
opens its door to US ops," atimes.com, November 23, 2010]
[By hiding behind the claim that the organization provides for 'common
defense,' NATO allows us to wage wars of choice under the guise of
international peacekeeping. . . .
NATO was originally founded to provide a strategic counterbalance to the
Soviet Union. Its founding purpose no longer exists, but NATO continues to
circumvent the authority of the United Nations and to provoke other nations.
NATO is an anachronism. Instead of trying to bolster the organization, we
should begin serious discussions to dismantle it.--Dennis Kucinich, "NATO Talks a Sham: War in Afghanistan Is Not
Ending," huffingtonpost.com, May 21, 2012]
[In early 2010, the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
claimed that it had nearly 400 Afghan bases. Early this year, that number
had grown to 450. Today, a military spokesperson tells TomDispatch, the
total tops out at around 550.--Nick Turse, "Afghanistan's
base bonanza," atimes.com, September 6, 2012]
[Even with 4,200 bases set up to secure the country, along with close to
80,000 troops from the most technologically sophisticated and well-funded
military on the planet (with assistance from 40,000 personnel from other
powerful armies) and an allied indigenous force of around 350,000 soldiers
and police, the Afghan War has dragged on for more than a decade. All that
military might has been unable to decisively defeat a rag-tag, minority
insurgency of limited popularity.--Nick Turse, "Afghanistan
overdoses on military bases," atimes.com, September 12, 2012]
[. . . the only strategy Washington and London are firmly committed to is
an exit strategy.--Michael Glackin, "No more pretending in
Afghanistan," Daily Star, September 21, 2012]
[A is for Allah, J is for Jihad . . . the Afghan Ministry of
Education, which works closely with CAII, has decided to omit all recent
history (read the past thirty years of war) from its curriculum.--Mark
in Afghanistan: Plunderers and Prey," counterpunch.org, December 5,
[Under the BSA, as it is called here, American forces would keep some bases in the
country. The agreement also prevents U.S. military personnel from being prosecuted under
Afghan laws for any crimes they may commit; instead, the United States has jurisdiction
over any criminal proceedings or disciplinary action involving its troops inside the
country. U.S. contractors and their employees do not fall into this category and would
be subject to Afghan laws.--Sudarsan Raghavan, "U.S., Afghanistan sign long-delayed security pact,"
washingtonpost.com, September 30, 2014]
[Under Resolute Support, officials said, a total of 12,000 NATO forces will remain
through the end of 2015, including about 5,000 Americans. An additional 5,500 U.S.
forces will operate in the second separate role.--Pamela Constable, "NATO flag
lowered in Afghanistan as combat mission ends," washingtonpost.com, December 28, 2014]
[What is actually happening now is much less significant, a transition from the NATO-led
war to a more US-dominated one, with the US planning significant troops to remain
through 2024 and beyond, and already agreeing to extend combat missions beyond the "end"
of the war.--Jason Ditz, "NATO Touts Afghan War 'End,' With Transition to New, US-Led
War," antiwar.com, December 28, 2014]
[ . . . the strong indication that the US military presence in Afghanistan will be,
after all, open-ended; and, second, that the Afghan peace process involving the
reconciliation with the Taliban is, finally, taking off.--M K Bhadrakumar, "US resets the Afghan chessboard," rediff.com, February 23, 2015]
[Months after President Obama formally declared that the United States' long war against
the Taliban was over in Afghanistan, the American military is regularly conducting
airstrikes against low-level insurgent forces and sending Special Operations troops
directly into harm's way under the guise of "training and advising."-Azam Ahmed and
Joseph Goldstein, "Taliban Gains Pull U.S. Units Back Into Fight in
Afghanistan," nytimes.com, April 29, 2015]