October 7, 2016
The Independent (UK)

The Invasion of Afghanistan 15 Years Ago Was an Arrogant, Wretched Adventure That Caused a Migrant Crisis

by Robert Fisk

As usual, all the warnings were there. Three Anglo-Afghan wars. Russia's Vietnam. The Graveyard of Empires. Poppy capital of the world. The most bombed, crushed, corrupted, mined nation on the globe.

So off we set in our righteous war of revenge for the Twin Towers and the dead of 9/11 to bomb Afghanistan all over again and -- a new twist, this -- to bring "democracy" to the land though which Alexander the Great passed en route to India. Osama bin Laden was our latest Hitler, although his protective screen of Salafist obscurantist Taliban legions could hardly be compared to the Wehrmacht.

Bin Laden was a Saudi -- so were 15 of the 19 hijackers who committed the international crime against humanity of 11 September 2001 -- and Saudis supported the Taliban. But, as usual, Saudi Arabia was not part of the media story. This was to be a retelling of Victorian children's books; of brave if bearded Afghan fighters struggling to take back their country, of high-altitude American bombers that killed the Taliban and wiped out a score or more of innocent villages, of US Special Forces riding bareback with Afghan horsemen to play "Bouskache" with a dead goat between battles. Carry On Up the Khyber.

The story, of course, was flawed from the start.

With what arrogance we began the whole wretched adventure 15 years ago. This time, we would not forget the brave Afghans (as we did after they drove the Russkies out of their country) and there would be freedom, aid, security and democracy. But as the years went by, the newly installed and "democratically elected" Afghan government became as wretched and corrupt as its communist predecessors.

The NGOs arrived with millions to spend -- all competing with each other and with the US military which offered even more millions in humanitarian aid in return for intelligence information. There were the usual massacres, an atrocity or two -- Afghans loyal to General Abdul-Rashid Dostum suffocated Afghan Taliban prisoners in container trucks, US jets and armed Americans liquidating prison mutineers at only occasional cost to themselves -- but Kabul was swiftly "liberated" by journalists and a clutch of tribesmen from the Panjhir Valley.

A few women were persuaded to take off the evil burqa, in which their ancestors in parts of the country had covered themselves for hundreds of years, and George W Bush and our beloved Tony Blair quickly diverted themselves to the more lucrative rewards of a not dissimilar war in Iraq.

Allegedly, we "took our eye off the ball" by abandoning Afghanistan for Mesopotamia, but contemporary documents clearly prove that Iraq was Bush's target all along. Afghanistan was never intended to be anything but a side-show. . . .


FREE BOOK 9/11 UNVEILED (2nd ed) in Arabic, Chinese, English -- "best, short summary"

"What Really Happened on 9/11," The Wisdom Fund

Eric Margolis, "A Quick Guide to Afghan Politics, The Toronto Sun, November 15, 2001

Enver Masud, "FBI: Bin Laden Not Wanted for 9/11'," The Wisdom Fund, June 8, 2006

["This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran."--Gen. Wesley Clark, "'Seven Countries in Five Years',", March 2, 2007]

"Regime Change: 'Seven Countries in Five Years'," The Wisdom Fund, October 12, 2007

"Afghanistan: A War for Empire," The Wisdom Fund, October 17, 2008

"Afghanistan: Obama's Vietnam," The Wisdom Fund, January 9, 2009

"Massive Leak of Secret Files Exposes Truth of Occupation," The Wisdom Fund, July 25, 2010

"American Patriots Question 9/11: 3000 + military and intelligence personnel, engineers, architects, professors, pilots do not believe the official account of 9/11," The Wisdom Fund, September 11, 2011

Afghanistan: the Great Game, June 1, 2012 -- part 2

"Helmand's Golden Age,", August 7, 2014

Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne, "US drops largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan: A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB),", April 13, 2017

Vijay Prashad, "America's Afghan War: 16 Years, as Many as One Million Killed,", May 30, 2017

James Mackenzie, "Donald Trump eyes Afghanistan's $1 trillion mineral reserves to pay for reconstruction after 16 years of war,", August 21, 2017

Rod Nordland, "Bracing for Next Decade, U.S. Expands Kabul Security Zone,", September 17, 2017

[Zakaria's apologism and justification to extend America's longest war demonstrates, rather disturbingly, just how firmly entrenched the US military-industrial complex and warfare state has become.--Danny Sjursen, "What Fareed Zakaria Gets Wrong About Afghanistan: Everything,", August 19, 2019]

[If the Taliban could not be defeated by an Afghan army, built up by the U.S. for a decade and backed by 100,000 U.S. troops in 2010-2011, then are the Taliban likely to give up the struggle when the U.S. is drawing down the last 14,000 troops and heading home?--Patrick J. Buchanan, "When, If Ever, Can We Lay This Burden Down?,", August 20, 2019]

[A one-trillion-dollar war built on intentional, deliberate, and knowing lies, just like the Vietnam War was. More than 2,300 American soldiers killed for nothing. Thousands more injured, mentally, spiritually, or physically. Tens of thousands of Afghans killed, maimed, incarcerated, or tortured. The entire country destroyed.--Jacob Hornberger, "Afghanistan: a Pentagon Paradise Built on Lies,", December 10, 2019]

[A regional and international congruence of interests will involve many parties in America - the Pentagon and the US right-wing opinion which is still wedded to Cold War mindset; America's military-industrial complex; US national security strategists who see Russia and China as "revisionist powers" and place primacy on the US' global hegemony; NATO's "corporate" interests, being an alliance in search of a post-cold war raison d'être; the Afghan war lobby and war profiteers and the anti-Taliban groups; and, of course, some regional states for whom Afghanistan has become a turf for the pursuit of their agenda in regional politics..--M K Bhadrakumar, "Trump's Afghan drawdown doesn't mean war is ending,", November 17, 2020]

M K Bhadrakumar, "Obituary for America's war in Afghanistan,", April 16, 2021

US Retreats From Afghanistan: Truth Behind The Empire's Defeat, Empire Files, April 20, 2021

Andrew Cockburn, "How the US military got rich from Afghanistan,", July 19, 2021

[The main backer of the Uprising forces, it seems, is the formidable National Directorate of Security, whose main sponsor is the CIA.--Kathy Kelly "U.S. Government Owes Afghan Civilians for Past 20 Years of War and Brutal Impoverishment,", August 2, 2021]

Ahmad Seir et al, "Afghan president flees country as Taliban move into capital Kabul," Associated Press, August 15, 2021

The Pentagon Gave the Taliban Blackhawk Helicopters, RT America, August 17, 2021

Proof positive Afghanistan was all about the money, RT America, August 17, 2021

Afghanistan: Land of endless war, DW Documentary, August 17, 2021

Videos, articles and photos of the invasion of Afghanistan vanish, TRT World, August 19, 2021

Spencer Ackerman, "REIGN OF TERROR: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump,", August 19, 2021

[In August 1979, the U.S. embassy in Kabul reported that "the United States' larger interests . . . would be served by the demise of the PDPA government, despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan."--John Pilger, "The Great Game of Smashing Nations,", August 24, 2021

Talban Takeover Decoded: What Role Did Pakistan's ISI Play?, The Wire, August 26, 2021

The Fall Of Afghanistan: How America's $2 trillion, Two-Decade War Ended In Chaos, CNBC, August 28, 2021

Onboard the USS Roosevelt fighting Taliban forces, 60 Minutes Australia [HUBRIS]

[For a normal CIA presence in Afghanistan the U.S. could of course simply reopen its embassy as the Taliban had asked it to do.--"The U.S. Wants Back Into Afghanistan,", October 9, 2021]

[Over the 20-year period of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense paid various companies about $108 billion in contracts for work performed in the country, according to our latest research. This is in addition to the trillions of dollars spent on Department of Defense contracts performed in the U.S. over that period - and does not include other goods and services produced in the U.S. and used in the war in Afghanistan, such as weapons. What’s more, this figure is just a fraction of the over $14 trillion in Pentagon spending since the start of the war in Afghanistan in total, with one-third to one-half of the total going to military contractors.--"WARTIME CONTRACT SPENDING IN AFGHANISTAN SINCE 2001,", August 9, 2022]

BEFORE/AFTER: food insecurity 62%/92%, child malnutrition 9%/50%, poverty 80%/97%, women's rights unchanged--AFGHANISTAN BEFORE AND AFTER 20 YEARS OF WAR (2001-2021),", August 9, 2022

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