AFGHANISTAN | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

AFGHANISTAN

Jun 14 13:01

The curious case of the United States

Internationally, the United States has punished sovereign governments that have attempted to liberate themselves from the yoke of the petro/nuclear-backed dollar, by committing some of the most heinous war crimes the world has ever seen. From commandeering the U.S. military to murder at least a million Iraqi civilians following an effort led by Suddam Hussein to ditch the dollar for the Euro, to brutally murdering the head of state of Libya following his promises to help create an African currency (with the U.S. Secretary of State openly cackling about it on national television), to playing a pivotal role in an effort led by Saudi Arabia to starve millions of Yemenis in order to advance Saudi Arabian interests in the region, the U.S. government has enforced an empire abroad, maintaining more than a thousand (known) military bases in dozens, if not hundreds of countries.

Jun 14 07:01

Taliban Rejects NATO Call for Troop Presence at Kabul Airport

With ongoing talks surrounding NATO troops, particularly Turkish troops, staying at the Kabul Airport, the Taliban has interjected, rejecting the idea out of hand, and insisting that foreign forces shouldn’t hold out hope for excuses to keep troops in Afghanistan.

“Every inch of Afghan soil, its airports and security of foreign embassies and diplomatic offices is the responsibility of the Afghans,” the Taliban said in a statement issued Saturday.

The Afghan government isn’t ruling the idea out, however, saying they haven’t decided to hand over security at the airport, but also haven’t finalized the plan, saying the matter is still under discussion.

There has been concern, given the number of diplomats in Kabul, of keeping the airport accessible. There hasn’t been much in the way of problems there in awhile, however, and the Taliban clearly doesn’t see a permanent NATO occupation of the airport as practical.

Jun 12 05:52

US Has Already Started Bombing Afghanistan From Outside of the Country

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday said the US military has already begun so-called “over the horizon capabilities” for operations in Afghanistan, which is Pentagon jargon for spying on and bombing the country from outside its borders.

Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee that combat and surveillance missions are being conducted in Afghanistan by aircraft that were either launched from aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf or from airbases that are located in Gulf nations. [Unclear against whom (vs the Taliban or vs ISIS) since there is supposed to be a US-Taliban ceasefire but which has been repeatedly broken by the US.]

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the “vast majority” of MQ-9 Reaper drone missions inside Afghanistan are being flown from outside the country.

Jun 11 12:56

Without American Support Taliban Steamrolls Afghan Army, Walks Away with Precision US Weapons and Armored Fighting Vehicles

Leo Tolstoy wrote that “war is always pernicious even when successful.”

The United States’ ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan demonstrates the truth of this claim.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid announced on Twitter that Taliban fighters overran government security forces with ease this week in the Maidan Wardak Province, just west of Kabul.

His posts included several pictures of booty from the conquest, which included American-made machine guns, rifles, carbines and armored vehicles.

“The enemy fled on seeing the casualties, and a large number of tanks, heavy and light weapons and ammunition fell into the hands of the Mujahideen,” he tweeted.

Jun 09 10:25

Trial of the century will reveal EXACTLY what Australian soldiers really got up to in Afghanistan

Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation case in Sydney has it all – it’s a battle between two media giants, an extension of the culture wars and, crucially, a chance to learn more about Australian forces’ misconduct in Afghanistan.

The eyes of Australia are on an important defamation trial which got under way in the Federal Court in Sydney on Monday. The trial, which is to be heard by a judge alone without a jury, has been described in the media as “the defamation case of the century.”

That may be something of an exaggeration, but its outcome will no doubt have serious consequences for the reputation of Australia’s armed forces, the media landscape in the country, and the culture wars more generally.

Jun 09 09:44

Official: US Pledges $3.3 Billion in Funding for Afghan Forces

The U.S. peace envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, along with a high-level delegation, met Sunday with leaders in Kabul to discuss bilateral cooperation after U.S. and coalition troops leave the country by a Sept. 11 deadline.

The discussions come as Taliban insurgents have intensified battlefield attacks against government forces, capturing nine Afghan districts, including six in the past week, since the foreign military withdrawal began a month ago. Hundreds of combatants on both sides and Afghan civilians have also been killed.

A spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Sunday the talks with Khalilzad’s team focused on three sectors, including defense, economy and humanitarian assistance.

Mohammad Amiri said the U.S. envoy told Ghani that Washington will annually provide $3.3 billion to Kabul over the next two years to support Afghan security forces battling the Taliban.

Jun 07 06:49

Troops Leaving, But US Commits Billions to Fund Afghan Fighting

US troops leaving Afghanistan was meant to mark the end of the war in Afghanistan. As it stands, however, it seems that the administration is going through any hoops possible that might keep the war going and the US deeply invested in it.

The latest sign of the Afghan War to come was envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and a delegation committing the US to $3.3 billion annually in direct funding to the Afghan military. This is just one aspect of all the US aid to Afghanistan still being negotiated.

The US spent decades designing an Afghan military that the country could never afford, and it was assumed the US would be on the hook for some subsidy. The sheer size of the funding, however, points to a US vision that they’re going to keep fighting a war, and doing it on the US dime.

Jun 07 06:48

CIA Seeks Bases for Spying, Attacks in Afghanistan

20 years into the US war in Afghanistan, the troops are going to leave, and the CIA is going to stay. The question right now is how that’s going to happen, and where exactly the agency is going to be basing its operations from.

There is no question that the CIA will be spying, and carrying out strikes in Afghanistan, but after decades mostly doing things out of US bases in Afghanistan, they’re going to need to find a new base, and there is no obvious choice.

Officials are describing “last-minute” efforts to find bases to operate from, which probably shouldn’t be so last-minute since the pullout has been a deal in place since at least early 2020, and could be seen coming well before that.

Pakistan is seeing consideration, as the CIA used to have a base there for their drone war. The US and Pakistan aren’t on such good terms now, however, and Pakistan reportedly wants to be able to sign off on who the CIA is attacking from their territory.

Jun 07 04:04

119 Killed, Mostly Afghan Troops, in Deadly Weekend Attacks

A Taliban attack in the Faryab Province has targeted a key police headquarters this weekend. The HQ remains under siege, with at least 14 fighters killed, and 37 other members of the security forces having been captured. Other officials say the death toll could be over 30 as fighting continues.

It was a big attack, and getting worse. That’s been the news all weekend, as officials reported attacks in about 10 provinces per day. All told, 119 people have been reported killed, and 102 of them are members of Afghan security forces.

Beyond the large death toll, 196 security forces were reported wounded over the 48 hour period. The Defense Ministry also claimed 183 Taliban killed on Friday, and another 181 killed on Saturday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

There are a number of perfectly valid reasons why Afghanistan has the dubious distinction of being called "the graveyard of empires".

And I would like to politely remind our "alleged leadership" in Foggy Bottom, that those who cannot learn from history.... are doomed to repeat it.

Jun 07 04:01

Troops Leaving, But US Commits Billions to Fund Afghan Fighting$3.3 billion annually to go to Afghan military

US troops leaving Afghanistan was meant to mark the end of the war in Afghanistan. As it stands, however, it seems that the administration is going through any hoops possible that might keep the war going and the US deeply invested in it.

The latest sign of the Afghan War to come was envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and a delegation committing the US to $3.3 billion annually in direct funding to the Afghan military. This is just one aspect of all the US aid to Afghanistan still being negotiated.

The US spent decades designing an Afghan military that the country could never afford, and it was assumed the US would be on the hook for some subsidy. The sheer size of the funding, however, points to a US vision that they’re going to keep fighting a war, and doing it on the US dime.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This is Federal ego and insanity writ large.

Bring our troops home; Let the Afghanis decide their future; negotiate with whatever government is still standing in Kabul post-troop withdrawal, for the oil rights, and call it a day.

Jun 02 07:32

Report: US to Hand Over Bagram Air Base to Afghan Forces in 20 Days

According to a report from AFP, the US will hand over Bagram Air Base to the Afghan government in about 20 days.

“I can confirm we will hand over Bagram Air Base,” an unnamed US military official told AFP. The report also cited an unnamed Afghan security official who said the handover was expected to happen in about 20 days.

The base at Bagram is the largest and most fortified military facility in Afghanistan that has been used by US and NATO forces. In May, Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported that locals in Bagram witnessed the US shipping truckloads of scrapped equipment out of the facility.

Also on Tuesday, US Central Command (CENTCOM) released its weekly update on the withdrawal process. It said the “retrograde” is between 30 and 44 percent complete, but the command is not disclosing troop numbers.

Jun 02 05:02

NATO Ready to Continue Funding Afghan Security Forces After Troop Withdrawal

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed on Tuesday that the alliance will continue to provide financial support to the Afghan security forces after withdrawing its troops from the country, which is expected to finish by 11 September.

"We are ending our military mission in Afghanistan, but will continue to provide support to the Afghans and we will do that in different ways. We will maintain our civilian presence in Kabul to provide advice and capacity building for the Afghan security institutions. We will continue to provide funding," he said at a press conference following a meeting of NATO defence ministers.

Stoltenberg added that during the meeting several NATO allies also reaffirmed their commitment to continue providing financial support.

Other measures currently discussed could include out-of-country training for the Afghan security officers, the NATO chief added.

May 28 06:23

NATO Chief Says Afghan Military Strong Enough to Stand on Their Own

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that he believes the Afghan military will be able to stand on its own against the Taliban after US, NATO, and other coalition forces leave Afghanistan.

Before President Biden ordered the withdrawal of troops out of Afghanistan, Stoltenberg was busy looking for reasons to stay. He frequently said the Afghan government would fall without Western troops in the country, but now Stoltenberg is changing his tune.

“I think that the Afghans, they also realize that we have been there now for 20 years and we have invested heavily in blood and treasure in Afghanistan,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“Afghanistan has come a long way, both when it comes to building strong, capable security forces, but also when it comes to social and economic progress. At some stage, it has to be the Afghans that take full responsibility for peace and stability in their own country,” he said

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Will someone, gently, please, take the cotton out of Stoltenberg's ears, and the veil from over his eyes, through which he is looking at the situation on the ground in Afghanistan?!?

What he is saying, is pure geopolitical bull-biscuits, and I would like to hope that at some level, he knows it is.

Afghanistan hasn't been called "the graveyard or empires" for utterly no reaon; the English and Russians found that out, the hard way. The last guy who was able to hold it together, was Alexander the Great, and only lasted for 3 years.

When the US and NATO pull out, I expect to see a spate of Taliban attacks against its puppet government, and for them to become politically resurgent.
I would love for events on the ground to prove me wrong, but I sincerely don't think they will.

May 28 06:17

America's Lone Carrier In Asia-Pacific Will Depart Region For Afghan Troop Withdrawal

Currently the sole US aircraft carrier based out of the Asian-Pacific, specifically with a home port in Yokosuka, Japan, is the USS Ronald Reagan - but it's now set to depart the region for the first time in years in preparation for the complete withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan.

Pentagon officials told The Wall Street Journal the new carrier mission will see the Reagan depart Asian-Pacific waters this summer in support of ensuring a safe US troop exit from Afghanistan by the time of Biden's Sept. 11 deadline. There's growing concern that given Americans are now staying well past the previously agreed upon May 1st exit (based on the prior deal under the Trump White House), departing soldiers could face severe Taliban attacks, a scenario which is more likely the longer they stay. But now Congressional hawks worry abo

May 27 07:09

US Troops Will Be Out Of Afghanistan By July: Pentagon Officials

According to a report from The New York Times, US troops are expected to be out of Afghanistan by early to mid-July, well before the September 11th deadline set by President Biden.

Unnamed US officials told the Times that Washington’s allies are also expected to be out by July, although Germany is apparently struggling to keep up the pace. US Central Command on Tuesday said the Afghanistan withdrawal process was about 16 to 25 percent complete.

May 24 07:50

What critics of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan get wrong

Within hours of President Joe Biden's announcement that US forces will leave Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, objections and remonstrations appeared across US media. These protests are nearly all disingenuous, false and specious, and meant to utilize fear to continue a tragic and purposeless war.

Much of the argument against withdrawal ignores how truly counterproductive the war in Afghanistan has been. Consider just two facts: In the years prior to the US invasion in 2001, Afghanistan and Pakistan were home to four international terror groups. Now, the Pentagon testifies that the number of such terror groups has grown to 20 or more

Second, when the US first invaded Afghanistan, al Qaeda counted around 400 total members worldwide. Al Qaeda has since spawned branches and offshoots -- including the Islamic State -- in dozens of countries, with total memberships in the tens of thousands, and have, at times, controlled entire cities in multiple countries.

May 24 03:45

NATO to Train Afghan Military Outside Country After Withdrawal

As the US and NATO are withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, the Western powers are still hoping to maintain influence in the country. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that the military alliance will train Afghan forces outside of Afghanistan after NATO troops leave.

“We are planning to provide military education and training outside Afghanistan, focusing on Special Operations Forces,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Paris. He said the alliance will provide “advice and capacity-building support” as well as “continued financial support” to the Afghan military.

The US military is currently working out what its post-withdrawal plans in Afghanistan will look like. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has said that training Afghan forces in another country is an option under consideration.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This is an utter pipedream, on the part of NATO, and I use that term advisedly.

Once the occupation is over, the Taliban will reconquer the entire country, and not one self-described "metric of success" from the invasion and occupation of this country will ever be realized, period, end of discussion.
Biden is not "ending" the occupation; he is merely rebranding it, and Americans need to be paying attention to why this is happening.

As reported by globalresearch.ca on 8 May, 2021, and incorporating info from a June 2007, article, we have the following, titled:
The Spoils of War in Afghanistan: Multimillion dollar heroin trade
and this article makes why this is happening crystal clear.

May 22 05:28

Afghans Who Worked with German Troops Seek Protection

Some Afghans who have worked with German troops in Afghanistan, especially in the north, expressed their concerns about their future and said they see a big threat to their lives after the coalition forces leave the country in the next few months.

The Afghan contractors held a protest outside German troops’ base in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, seeking asylum and protection.

One of them who wished not to be named over security reasons said he worked with German armed forces for nine years and that three of his colleagues who worked with the forces were killed.

“If the staff is not supported, it will not only be a concern for us but for our families, too,” the contractor said.

A small number of them who held a protest outside German troops base in Balkh chanted the slogans of “don’t leave us alone” in Deutsch.

May 22 05:27

Afghanistan Withdrawal Pace Increases With Five Bases Handed Over

The military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is speeding up, with five facilities now handed over to the Afghan government and about 115 C-17 loads of material flown out of the country, though a new report states Taliban violence remains high.

U.S. Central Command reported May 18 that more than 5,000 pieces of material also have been turned over to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction. So far, CENTCOM estimates that between 13 and 20 percent of the overall retrograde process has been completed. Kandahar Airfield, which has long hosted major U.S. Air Force operations, is among the installations that have been handed over to the Afghan Ministry of Defense. This latest update marks a significant increase from the previous CENTCOM statement one week earlier, which said just one base had been handed over to the Afghan army.

May 13 02:41

US Troops Trying to Break Through from Afghanistan into Central Asia

Uzbekistan has no Russian or Chinese military bases and is not a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are. And if Uzbekistan faces a security threat, it can only count on bilateral military agreements, which is why Washington believes the deployment of US troops could provide it with some additional guarantees in deterring militants based in Afghanistan.

May 12 06:08

Cemeteries in Western Kabul Extend after Each Deadly Attack

Western Kabul has many hills that have been changed into cemeteries. Now, these cemeteries must expand after each deadly bombing in that part of Kabul.

At least 70 victims from the school bombing were laid to rest in these cemeteries – in one case 20 bodies in a row.

Residents of western Kabul said victims of suicide bombings and blasts have been buried in these cemetaries in the hundreds over the last five years.

The victims’ families said they are tired of the mass burial of civilians, especially youth.

“They are almost full. Victims of suicide bombings and explosions are brought here,” said Hassan, a grave digger.

The victims of the Imam Zaman Mosque attack, the attack on the Mawood tuition center, the attack on the Dasht-e-Barchi 100-bed hospital, the attack on the Kawsar tuition center, and the attack on the Sayed-ul-Shuhada school were all buried in cemeteries in the west of Kabul, mostly on the hills.

May 11 07:35

Iran Publicly Accuses US Government of Orchestrating Bombing That Targeted and Killed Scores of Afghan Children

85 people were killed and 147 injured — mostly children — in a ruthless bombing of the Sayed Al-Shuhada school in Kabul. The school formally educates girls.

The attackers were targeting the Hazara population, which is part of Afghanistan’s Shia Muslim minority. The latest bloodshed threatens to plunge Afghanistan into a sectarian conflict as the Biden administration begins withdrawing troops from the region.

No group has officially taken responsibility for this slaughter. The Afghan government has publicly accused the Taliban, but they have formally denied involvement. Some Arab media outlets are reporting a rumor that it was ISIS, but the group has not confirmed culpability.

May 11 06:14

Will Biden Have Blood on His Hands in Afghanistan?

President Biden has announced that America’s forever war in Afghanistan is finally coming to an end. He says that U.S. forces will exit the country by next September 11.

That’s a good thing. And it is long overdue.

But there is one big problem with Biden’s timetable: It violates an agreement that the U.S. government entered into with the Taliban to exit the country by May 1 of this year.

Under that agreement, the Taliban agreed not to attack U.S. troops prior to their scheduled departure on May 1. With Biden’s decision to deliberately violate the agreement by unilaterally extending the withdrawal to September 11, he is knowingly placing the lives of the 3,500 American servicemen still in Afghanistan at risk.

May 11 05:53

Taliban-Govt Ceasefire Set for Afghanistan, Govt Urges It Be Made Permanent

The holy month of Ramadan is wrapping up this week, and there is hope that Afghanistan will be able to use this to get a permanent ceasefire. Already the Taliban has announced it is accepting a three-day ceasefire for the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Eid ceasefires have happened in recent years, and allow celebrants of the end of Ramadan to feel a lot safer for a few days. Efforts to extend the ceasefires beyond that period has so far not happened. The Afghan government suggests this time that they just make the three days permanent.

The US endorsed the temporary ceasefire and urged both sides to make it permanent. With all factions expecting a permanent ceasefire to be reached sooner or later, this might be a good time for everyone to just get on board and end the fighting.

May 11 05:41

Escobar: An Empire In Love With Its Afghan Cemetery

One cannot but feel mildly amused at the theatrical spectacle of the US troop pullout from Afghanistan, its completion day now postponed for maximum PR impact to 9/11, 2021.

Nearly two decades and a staggering US$2 trillion after this Forever War was launched by a now immensely indebted empire, the debacle can certainly be interpreted as a warped version of Mission Accomplished.

“They make a desert and call it peace,” said Tacitus – but in all of the vastness of the Pentagon there sits not a single flack who could imagine getting away with baldfacedly spinning the Afghan wasteland as peaceful.

Even the UN bureaucratic machinery has not been able to properly account for Afghan civilian deaths; at best they settled for 100,000 in only ten years. Add to that toll countless “collateral” deaths provoked by the massive social and economic consequences of the war.

May 10 06:50

Wall Street Journal: US Could Deploy Military to Central Asia After Afghan Withdrawal

The May 8 edition of the Wall Street Journal ran a feature titled Afghan Pullout Leaves U.S. Looking for Other Places to Station Its Troops which explores options the Pentagon is entertaining to station troops and equipment for an ongoing military role in Afghanistan.

The article mentions three options: basing military personnel and hardware in Central Asian nations; concentrating them in the Middle East, particularly in the Persian Gulf (identified by the newspaper more than once as the Arab Gulf), including the U.S.’s largest base in the region at Doha, Qatar, and over a dozen other bases “in countries stretching from Kuwait to Oman”); and using aircraft carriers and their strike groups for power projection in the South Asian nation.

May 10 05:32

Putin Pledges Support for Tajikistan as Afghanistan Concerns Mount -RIA

Russia is working on strengthening its military base in Tajikistan and will do all it can to support the former Soviet republic amid rising tensions in Afghanistan, the RIA news agency cited President Vladimir Putin as saying on Saturday.

Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon, at a meeting with Putin in Moscow, said the situation in neighbouring Afghanistan had escalated since the United States' announcement last month that it would pull out its troops, with President Joe Biden promising the withdrawal of all troops by Sept. 11.

"I know you are concerned about this situation. It goes without saying, it is a valid concern," Putin said.

"For our part, we are doing everything we can to support you," he added.

Afghan security forces fought back a major Taliban offensive in southern Helmand province in early May as militants launched assaults around the country after the United States missed a May 1 deadline agreed in talks with the Taliban last year to withdraw troops.

May 10 05:30

The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade

Despite president Biden’s announcement of US troop withdrawals, the Afghan opium trade continues to be protected by private mercenaries as well as US-NATO occupation forces on behalf of powerful financial interests.

In the course of the last decade, there has been a surge in Afghan opium production. In turn the number of heroin addicts in the US has increased dramatically. Is there a relationship?

In a bitter irony, Johnson and Johnson which is marketing its “experimental” COVID-19 adenovirus viral vector vaccine, just so happens to be a major producer of prescription opioids.

In November 2020 a “a tentative $26 billion settlement was reached with counties and cities across America which sued J and J and its distributors on behalf of opioid victims.

May 08 06:21

SHOCK: CBS Understands Biden Is President, Actually Responsible for Afghanistan

In a stark contrast to the Biden decision making blackout at NBC, CBS This Morning on Wednesday repeatedly brought up Joe Biden's role while talking about the perilous state of Afghanistan as U.S. troops prepare to leave. In an interview with Robert Gates, co-host Anthony Mason even quoted his epic slam of Biden.

Talking to the former Secretary of Defense, Mason brought up Biden’s decision to remove all U.S. troops. He reminded, “You famously said in your memoir, sir, that Mr. Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the last four decades. Is he wrong on this one, too?”

May 07 06:31

How Washington Lost the Ultimate Drug War

Originally posted at TomDispatch.

Shouldn’t we be amazed? After all, for almost 20 years, the U.S. military has been supporting, equipping, training, and building up the Afghan military to the tune of more than $70 billion. The result: a corrupt mess of a force likely to prove incapable of successfully defending the U.S.-backed Afghan state from the Taliban once our troops are gone — that is, by this September 11th.

Recently, three New York Times reporters interviewed Afghan officials and military and police figures across the country and concluded that Washington had

May 07 06:08

Milley: US Considering Training Afghan Forces in Other Countries

n Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the US was considering training the Afghan military in other countries after US troops are pulled out of Afghanistan.

“We’ll continue to take a look at training them perhaps in another location,” Milley said at a joint press conference with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. When asked if that means the US would train Afghan forces from a different country, Milley said, “It’s possible.”

“There’s a lot of different options out there, and we haven’t settled on one of them yet,” he added. Milley reiterated that the US will continue to provide financial support for the Afghan military.

The Afghan military, especially the air force, is reliant on Pentagon contractors to maintain their equipment. At the press conference, Austin said the plan is to remove US contractors from Afghanistan, but Milley suggested some sort of contractual support could continue.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

SERIOUSLY?!?

The more I read, the more I suspect that the US government is not "leaving Aftghanistan"; it is re-branding the war!!

May 04 06:52

US failed to collect reimbursements from Afghanistan coalition partners for years, IG finds

For four years, the Pentagon failed to charge partner nations for use of American rotary-wing aircraft in Afghanistan, and the department has no way of knowing how many millions of dollars has been lost, according to a new report from the department’s inspector general.

During that time period, American and coalition costs for rotary-wing transportation hit $773 million. How much of that should be reimbursed is effectively impossible to know, according to the auditors.

For the 38 members of the Resolute Support coalition, American air transportation is vital for moving from the central hub in Kabul and Bagram Airfield to four outposts located in Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kandahar and Laghman. But auditors discovered that the Department of Defense “did not request reimbursement for air transportation services provided to Coalition partners” between September 2017 and September 2020, despite a standing requirement to do so.

May 04 06:10

End of an Era? Afghanistan Is Now Graveyard of Contractors, Too.

The golden post-9/11 years of the war contractor — the providers of food and transportation, fuel, construction, maintenance, IT, not to mention security and interrogation services for the U.S. military — appear to be drawing down.

With the (hopeful) withdrawal of the remaining 3,600 troops in Afghanistan by September, attention is also on the nearly 17,000 contractors on the U.S. payroll there, 6,147 of whom are American citizens.

“The U.S. contractors will come out as we come out. That is part of the planned withdrawal we have in place right now,” said CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, in a briefing with reporters last week.

May 03 12:58

Taliban Declares Open Season On Americans As Weekend Fighting Erupts, Scores Dead & Wounded

Fierce fighting between US-allied national Afghan forces and the Taliban broke out Saturday into Sunday, the day after the May 1st American pullout deadline set under the Trump administration. It included the Taliban immediately attacking a government base in southwestern Ghazni province.

Afghanistan's defense ministry counted over 100 Taliban insurgents killed over the prior 24 hours in a statement on Sunday, at a moment the US is said to have started the process of withdrawal. The statement counted a further 52 Taliban wounded. Separately an attack on the Ghazni military outpost left at least 17 national soldiers dead and some 25 captured, according to international reports.

May 03 07:25

Blinken says US troop pullout from Afghanistan ‘doesn’t mean we’re leaving’

As the United States officially begins pulling out its troops from war-torn Afghanistan in what President Joe Biden has claimed ending “the forever war”, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says there will still be US presence in Afghanistan even after the American troop pullout is completed.

"We've been engaged in Afghanistan for 20 years, and we sometimes forget why we went there in the first place, and that was to deal with the people who attacked us on 9/11. And we did. Just because our troops are coming home doesn't mean we're leaving. We're not," Blinken said on Sunday.

He added that the US will continue what he claimed as “providing economic, humanitarian, and developmental support in Afghanistan.”

Blinken also said, "We have to be prepared for every scenario and there are a range of them," if the Taliban could end up taking over in Afghanistan.

May 02 07:21

Guess Who's Testifying In Congress US Troops Must Stay In Afghanistan Forever?

When interventionists and national security deep state hawks need to prolong what's already the longest war in in US history, who're they gonna call?...

"Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee they're worried about President Biden's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, with Rice suggesting the US may need to go back," Axios reports.

Apr 30 09:05

White House Says Afghanistan Troop Drawdown Has Officially Begun

Following the earlier this month Biden-ordered full troop exit from Afghanistan slated to be completed by Sept.11 of this year, the White House on Thursday announced the military withdrawal has now officially begun.

While traveling aboard Air Force One, the deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed to reporters that "A drawdown is underway," but also added the caveat that, "While these actions will initially result in increased forces levels, we remain committed to having all of US military personnel out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021."

Apr 30 08:24

US begins much-touted ‘withdrawal’ from Afghanistan... by sending MORE troops & gear for ‘temporary force protection’

The US military has begun its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the White House said, pulling out after occupying the war-torn country for more than 20 years. For now, however, troop levels will grow to “protect” the departing forces.

Apr 30 08:21

Al Qaeda promises 'war on all fronts' against America as Biden pulls out of Afghanistan

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary since Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, was killed by US special-operations forces, Seal Team 6, inside his high-walled compound in the Pakistani military college city of Abbottabad.

His name and that of his terrorist network, al Qaeda, came to define an era of US reaction and retribution dwarfing any previous counter-terrorism policy.
America's "war on terror" is about to enter a new phase as President Joe Biden prepares to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11, but now al Qaeda claims its war with America is far from over.

In an exclusive interview with CNN conducted through intermediaries, two al Qaeda operatives tell CNN that "war against the US will be continuing on all other fronts unless they are expelled from the rest of the Islamic world."

Apr 30 08:18

Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice Slam Biden on Afghanistan Withdrawal, Say US Might Have to Go Back

Hillary Clinton, who served as US secretary of state under former president Barack Obama, supported moving an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan to counter gains made by the Taliban in 2009.

Former US secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice have criticised President Joe Biden’s plan to withdraw the US troops from Afghanistan in a House Foreign Affairs Committee members-only Zoom call on Wednesday, two attendees said.

"A little disagreement on Afghanistan, but they both agreed we're going to need to sustain a counter-terrorism mission somehow outside of that country," one committee member told Axios.

"Condi Rice is like, 'you know, we’re probably gonna have to go back'," the member said.

Apr 30 07:28

Afghanistan, the US Plan for a New Catastrophe

General Scott Miller, US and allied forces commander in Afghanistan, announced on April 25 the beginning of foreign troops withdrawal that should be completed by September 11, according to President Biden’s decision. Is the US ending the war waged for almost twenty years? In order to understand this communication, it is first of all necessary to consider the results of the war.

The toll in human lives is largely unquantifiable: the “direct deaths” among the US military would amount to about 2,500, and the seriously injured soldiers are over 20,000. The contractors (US mercenaries) killed would be about 4,000, plus an unknown number of wounded men. Losses among the Afghan military would amount to around 60,000. Civilian deaths are in fact incalculable: according to the United Nations, they would have been around 100,000 in just ten years. It is impossible to determine the “indirect deaths” from poverty and disease, caused by the social and economic consequences of the war.

Apr 29 07:27

Afghan forces prepare to take on the Taliban without U.S. help, because there's "no other option."

In his first address before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening, President Biden underlined his plan to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan after nearly 20 years — America's longest war. The final pullout begins in May, and with the Taliban expected to ramp up violence, CBS News' Charlie D'Agata met some of the U.S.-trained Afghan forces who will soon face the insurgents on their own, ready or not.

The Taliban has been gaining ground in Afghanistan for months. Traveling by road in the country has never been more dangerous, so D'Agata and his crew were flown by helicopter to a military base where Afghan soldiers have been training and putting on a show of force.

The elite Afghan troops have been staging military exercises, with weapons and training provided by their U.S. military allies.

Apr 28 01:09

US State Department Urges Americans to Leave Afghanistan 'ASAP'

To date, an estimated 80% of countries have been placed on a "do not travel" advisory list by the US State Department for varying reasons, with the novel coronavirus being one of the more cited reasons.

The US State Department issued a new travel advisory on Tuesday that called on all Americans interested in leaving Afghanistan to do so "as soon as possible."

The new alert urges Americans against traveling to the Middle Eastern country due to "COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping and armed conflict."

Apr 27 07:11

The Politics of Heroin and the Afghan US Pullout. Private Mercenary Occupation

The Biden Administration has announced an Afghanistan US troop withdrawal date of September, 11, 2021, symbolically exactly two decades after the game-changing 911 attacks in New York and Washington. However the Pentagon and White House are saying nothing about one of the main reasons the powers that be who control Washington have remained in Afghanistan since the fake chase after a former CIA contract employee named Osama bin Laden.

What is clear is that the US Administration is not being straightforward with its plans for Afghanistan and the so-called pull-out. The previously agreed May 1 date versus September 11 is clearly not about making a more graceful exit after a two decade war that has cost US taxpayers more than $2 trillion. The argument by some US Democrats that a full pullout with endanger the rights of Afghan women with the brutal Taliban culture of misogyny is clearly not what US and NATO soldiers have been protecting with their presence. What then is at stake?

Webmaster's Commentary: 



In Afghan fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses
Row on row.

Apr 26 10:21

The United States Has Declared Defeat In Two More Wars

President Biden announced last week that he planned to remove all combat troops from Afghanistan by September, which he says will mark the end of what is now a twenty-year war in the central Asian country.

A week earlier, the US and Iraq reaffirmed a deal to withdraw “any remaining combat forces” from Iraq, and to further wind down the US involvement there, which dates back to the 2003 invasion.

In both cases, of course, the stated plans to end military intervention have been framed in polite language designed to make it look like the US is leaving on its own terms—and also to allow the US regime some level of plausibility when it claims “mission accomplished.”

Apr 24 07:35

Obituary for America’s war in Afghanistan

One missing part in US President Joe Biden’s remarks Wednesday announcing a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan was that he didn’t order a commission of inquiry into the disastrous military invasion of 2001.

It’s an intriguing lapse, as Biden did acknowledge that “there are many who loudly insist that diplomacy cannot succeed without a robust US military presence to stand as leverage. We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective … Our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm’s way.”

Truly, this was an “unavailing war.” In a survey in the Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor began by lamenting: “The initial punitive mission might have succeeded, but it turned into America’s longest war, a Sisyphean exercise in counter-insurgency and state-building.” [Emphasis added.] How did that happen?

Apr 24 07:31

The Stupidity of Fighting a War to Prove a Dead Man Wrong

Bret Stephens thinks that U.S. forces should stay in Afghanistan indefinitely to spite Bin Laden’s ghost:

But what was the American interest in staying in Afghanistan beyond the fall of the Taliban? It wasn’t, centrally, to kill Osama bin Laden, who was just one in a succession of terrorist masterminds. It was to prove Bin Laden wrong about America’s long-term commitments, especially overseas.

Apr 24 06:54

Pentagon Says 2 B-52 Bombers Arrived Near Afghanistan for Force Protection of US Pullout

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved the extended deployment of the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier and the deployment of long-range bombers to the Middle East, two of which have already arrived, to provide US forces in Afghanistan protection during the pullout, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Friday.

US and NATO forces in Afghanistan will withdraw ground forces from the country by May 1 and aim to complete the pullout of all assets by September 11.

"[Austin] has approved some additional measures today, he has approved the extension of USS Eisenhower to remain in the Central Command area of responsibility for a period of time and he has approved the addition of some long-range bombers to be deployed to the region," Kirby said in a press briefing. "Two of those B-52s have arrived in the region."

Kirby said it is possible there can be a temporary increase of US ground forces in Afghanistan to assist in an orderly withdrawal.

Apr 22 08:01

Chris Hedges: The Unraveling Of The American Empire

America’s defeat in Afghanistan is one in a string of catastrophic military blunders that herald the death of the American empire. With the exception of the first Gulf War, fought largely by mechanized units in the open desert that did not — wisely — attempt to occupy Iraq, the United States political and military leadership has stumbled from one military debacle to another. Korea. Vietnam. Lebanon. Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Libya. The trajectory of military fiascos mirrors the sad finales of the Chinese, Ottoman, Hapsburg, Russian, French, British, Dutch, Portuguese and Soviet empires. While each of these empires decayed with their own peculiarities, they all exhibited patterns of dissolution that characterize the American experiment.

Apr 22 06:19

What I saw in Afghanistan: It's time to go

President Biden’s announcement of the withdrawal of American military personnel from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 will create uncertainties after this longest of American wars. But it is time to go. The U.S. has met the original objectives in Afghanistan, and the U.S. and allies have invested more than enough to this point to give the Afghans the means to shape their future. Remaining at present levels is unlikely to improve the situation.

After several trips to Afghanistan as a NATO official, I concluded that bringing the country into the modern world was a 100-year project. The challenges of tribalism, illiteracy, economy, healthcare, attitude toward women and other deeply seated cultural norms — and the interference of Afghanistan’s neighbors — would take decades to resolve.

Apr 22 06:13

Biden's 'Orderly' Afghan Exit Already In Peril As Suicide Attack Rocks Kabul

After Biden broke the prior Trump administration's long negotiated May 1st deadline pullout deal with the Taliban, it vowed a "nightmare" for US troops should they stay past that date. Are we witnessing the beginnings of a massive upsurge in violence to come? A major peace conference meant to bring the national government and Taliban into a power-sharing arrangement to help facilitate a swift US exit has been canceled before it got off the ground...

"Just hours before the announcement of the postponement, a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of Afghan security personnel, wounding seven people in the capital of Kabul. The interior ministry said civilians and security personnel were among the wounded.

Apr 22 06:07

Istanbul Summit on Afghanistan Postponed After Taliban Rejects Attending

Long awaited as a key for trying to kickstart the Afghan peace process, the Istanbul summit was finally scheduled for next week, but is now being postponed indefinitely, with the Taliban having refused to attend.

The Taliban had been set for the conference not so long ago, but are now objecting because the US reneged on the May 1 pullout date, and won’t return to the talks unless the US changes that.

Officials indicate that they’re postponing the summit until some time after Eid al-Fitr, which is in mid-May, and will try to get the Taliban to participate after that. The Taliban are reportedly keen on a prisoner release deal to get them back to the table.

The summit was to be sponsored by the UN, Turkey, and Qatar. The Afghan government has been reviewing various peace proposals of its own to take to the conference, while President Ghani has urged them to focus chiefly on his proposal.

Apr 21 04:42

CENTCOM Chief: It Will Be ‘Harder’ to Bomb Afghanistan After Withdrawal But ‘Not Impossible’

The US military is looking for ways to maintain the ability to bomb targets inside Afghanistan without a troop presence in the country. On Tuesday, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said it would be “harder” but “not impossible” to strike targets inside Afghanistan if President Biden follows through on his withdrawal plan.

“If you leave Afghanistan and you want to go back in to conduct these kinds of operations, there are three things you need to do: you need to find the target, you need to fix the target, and you need to be able to finish the target,” McKenzie told the House Armed Services Committee.

“The first two require heavy intelligence support. If you’re out of the country, and you don’t have the ecosystem that we have there now, it will be harder to do that. It is not impossible to do that,” he said.

Apr 21 04:39

The War in Afghanistan Has Cost Over $2.26 Trillion

The US government has spent over $2.26 trillion on its failed war in Afghanistan, according to the latest numbers from Brown University’s Costs of War Project. The report also estimates that the war has directly killed 241,000 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The $2.26 trillion in spending was broken down into five categories. The single greatest expense was $933 billion, which was covered by the Defense Department’s Overseas Contingency Operations Budget. The second-highest cost is the estimated interest accrued by borrowing money for the war, which accounts for $530 billion.

The Pentagon’s base budget saw increases over the years for the war in Afghanistan that accounts for the third-highest expense at $443 billion. Care for veterans of the war comes in fourth at $296 billion, a number that will continue to rise for decades to come. The State Department’s budget for Afghanistan comes in fifth at $59 billion.

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Apr 21 04:08

UK ‘reserves right’ to return to Afghanistan if terrorism flourishes in ‘ungoverned spaces’ – minister

London has left the door open for itself and its NATO allies to return to Afghanistan for another military campaign in the event there is any “threat” to the UK or its allies, the under secretary for the armed forces has said.

The UK “reserves the right” to send its troops back to Afghanistan, including as part of a “unilateral” action, should it see a “threat” coming from this country again, UK Under Secretary for the Armed Forces James Heappey told MPs on Tuesday.

If some part of the Afghan territory turns into “an ungoverned space” providing safe haven to international terrorists and threatening “the UK homeland or to the interests of our allies,” London would not hesitate to act “unilaterally and multilaterally through NATO,” Heappey, himself a former Army officer, who served in Afghanistan, said.

Apr 20 05:22

Opium Poppy Production in Afghanistan. Multibillion Drug Trade. Big Money for Opioids

“Afghanistan is the source of more than 90% of world’s opium supply and more than 95% of the European opium supply since 2001.” (Rubenstein 2019, Pg. 235). Why?

The planned events of September 11, 2001 set in motion a series of United States military occupation of Muslim countries that had nothing to do with exacting justice.

Invading other nations is a planned event. By December 2001, 2,500 United States Armed Forces had invaded Afghanistan, climbing to +100,000 soldiers by 2011. By March 2003, 43 NATO countries (51 countries by 2006) had joined in the occupation of Afghanistan. In March 2003, United States Armed Forces invading Iraq totaled 177,194.

Apr 20 04:47

Lindsey Graham Slams Trump For Supporting Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan – ‘I Could Not Disagree More’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke out on Sunday to say that he “could not disagree more with former President Trump regarding his support for President Biden’s withdrawal of all forces from Afghanistan against sound military advice.”

This came hours after Trump released a statement addressing Joe Biden’s plan to have all American troops withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11, with the former president saying that “getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do,” according to The Hill.

“I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible,” Trump said.

Apr 19 12:41

Trump Blasts Biden For Pushing Back Afghanistan Withdrawal

On Sunday, Former President Trump released a statement criticizing President Biden’s decision to push back the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

The Trump administration had set a May 1 withdrawal deadline and the Republican former president’s statement said that the U.S. “should keep as close to that schedule as possible.”

Trump also criticized Biden’s decision to use September 11th as a marker for the withdrawal.

Apr 19 07:25

I SPOKE TOO SOON -AFGHANISTAN IS NOT OVER YET

Apr 19 07:04

US Troop Withdrawal May Disrupt CIA Network in Afghanistan, Media Claims

Last week, President Joe Biden announced that the US would begin withdrawing its 2,500 troops from Afghanistan on 1 May, with the pullout due to wrap up on 11 September.

The planned withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan will most likely disrupt a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) network that was created there more than twenty years ago, CNN has quoted unnamed sources as saying.

One of the sources stressed that intelligence obtained by agents working on the ground is crucial for secret CIA missions, including those related to drone strikes.

"With the right information, [you] can launch an operation to kill someone a thousand miles away within two hours. But if you don't have any information, if you don't have any intelligence, how on earth can you predictably do that?", the insider said.

Apr 19 05:32

‘We can and should get out earlier’: Trump slams Biden for using September 11 as Afghanistan withdrawal date

Donald Trump has blasted President Joe Biden for not sticking to the former administration’s May 1 withdrawal from Afghanistan and using the September 11 anniversary instead.

“I wish Joe Biden wouldn’t use September 11 as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for two reasons,” Trump said in a Sunday statement.

The first, Trump says, is that the US “can and should get out earlier.”

“Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long. I made early withdrawal possible by already pulling much of our billions of dollars of equipment out and, more importantly, reducing our military presence to less than 2,000 troops from the 16,000 level that was there (likewise in Iraq, and zero troops in Syria except for the area where we KEPT THE OIL),” Trump said.

Apr 18 08:03

China Mulls Deploying Troops to Afghanistan After U.S. Pullout

China is considering sending troops to Afghanistan after the planned U.S. military withdrawal in coming month. “China may send peacekeeping force to Afghanistan after US troops leave,” the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post reported Friday, citing senior Chinese national security experts.

The report comes after this week’s announcement by President Joe Biden to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. According to the plan, 2,500 U.S. servicemen and a further 7,000 allied NATO troops will leave the country by September 11, 2021.

Following the Biden White House announcement, China raised the alarm about the security situation in the Taliban-ridden country close to its western borders. On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned that “terrorist forces” may take over Afghanistan once the U.S. pulls out.

Afghanistan is strategic to China’s economic and military expansion in Eurasia and the Middle East, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

Apr 18 07:04

Biden Isn't Ending The Afghan War, He's Privatizing It

'Unclear' If Over 18,000 Contractors Will Ever Leave Afghanistan: Pentagon
While President Biden said he will withdraw troops from Afghanistan, it’s not clear if his plan extends to the thousands of contractors working for the Pentagon that are still in the country.

When asked about this issue on Friday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he wasn’t sure. "So on the contractors, we don’t know exactly. There are some preliminary plans. And clearly, the goal is to get all our personnel out and I suspect that contractors will be part of that. But whether there’ll still be a need for some contractor support, I just don’t know," he said.

Apr 17 14:03

Biden Isn't Ending The Afghan War, He's Privatizing It

'Unclear' If Over 18,000 Contractors Will Ever Leave Afghanistan: Pentagon

While President Biden said he will withdraw troops from Afghanistan, it’s not clear if his plan extends to the thousands of contractors working for the Pentagon that are still in the country.

When asked about this issue on Friday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he wasn’t sure. "So on the contractors, we don’t know exactly. There are some preliminary plans. And clearly, the goal is to get all our personnel out and I suspect that contractors will be part of that. But whether there’ll still be a need for some contractor support, I just don’t know," he said.

Apr 17 11:04

Biden Claimed He Was Ending The Yemen War, Yet It Has Only Escalated – So What About Afghanistan?

By Robert Inlakesh

In early February US President Joe Biden made it clear, as part of his first speech on his administration’s foreign policy initiatives, that he aimed to end the war in Yemen. Now, months later, not only has this promise begun to fade away and with it media attention to the issue, but the war has only intensified...

As Joe Biden now claims US forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11th, the precedent set with Saudi Arabia may well give us some insight into what will happen to such an announcement...

Apr 17 07:11

US to Withdraw from Afghanistan after Two Decades of War Leaving Behind a Tortured Wasteland and Having Accomplished… Nothing.

The US decision to leave Afghanistan without any conditions represents a political victory for those in the US government who sought an end to the nearly two-decade conflict in that nation.

President Joe Biden, in a departure from a policy embraced by four successive US presidential administrations which placed stringent conditions on determining the conditions under which the US might leave Afghanistan, has announced that he is ordering all US military forces out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 – the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks which propelled the US Afghan intervention to begin with. This decision, which is not linked to any preconditions or other policy contingencies, means the US will finally extricate itself from the two-decade long nightmare in Afghanistan that had become known as “the forever war.”

Apr 17 06:41

Pentagon: Unclear if Contractors Will Leave Afghanistan

While President Biden said he will withdraw troops from Afghanistan, it’s not clear if his plan extends to the thousands of contractors working for the Pentagon that are still in the country.

When asked about this issue on Friday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he wasn’t sure. “So on the contractors, we don’t know exactly. There are some preliminary plans. And clearly, the goal is to get all our personnel out and I suspect that contractors will be part of that. But whether there’ll still be a need for some contractor support, I just don’t know,” he said.

The US plans to continue supporting the Afghan military and Air Force. Since the bulk of the maintenance for these armed forces is performed by US contractors, there’s a good chance the Pentagon will justify a continued presence of private contractors.

Apr 17 06:40

More US Troops Could Be Deployed to Afghanistan to Help With Withdrawal

More US troops could be deployed to Afghanistan in the coming months to “help” in the withdrawal process, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Since President Biden broke the US-Taliban peace deal by pushing the withdrawal deadline back to September, the chances of attacks against US forces in Afghanistan starting again are high. The idea is that the US might need additional forces or weapons to protect the troops that are leaving.

“It is not out of the realm of the possible that for a short period of time, there will have to be some additional enabling capabilities added to Afghanistan to help effect a safe, orderly and deliberately planned drawdown of everybody by the president’s deadline by early September,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a news briefing.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Yeah ... that makes a lot of sense!

Apr 17 05:25

US Joins Past Empires in Afghan Graveyard

An Afghan taxi-driver in Vancouver told one of us a decade ago that this day would come. “We defeated the Persian Empire in the eighteenth century, the British in the nineteenth, the Soviets in the twentieth. Now, with NATO, we’re fighting twenty-eight countries, but we’ll defeat them, too,” said the taxi-driver, surely not a member of the Taliban, but quietly proud of his country’s empire-killing credentials.

Now, after nearly twenty years of a war that has been as bloody and futile as all those previous invasions and occupations, the last 3,500 US troops and their NATO brothers-in-arms will be coming home from Afghanistan.

Apr 16 13:29

Biden Drops Afghan Mess to Target China, Russia

President Joe Biden’s administration is the sixth one to have presided over the 20-year US war in Afghanistan. And he is the fourth president to have overseen America’s “longest war”.

Two previous presidents, Obama and Trump, promised to end the “forever war” and both left office without fulfilling that aspiration.

So there is fair reason to view with skepticism Biden’s vow this week to withdraw all US troops from the Central Asian war-torn country – known as the “graveyard of empires” – by September.

Currently, there are 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan along with 9,600 other NATO soldiers. That’s a fraction of the numbers a decade ago when the war was at its height. Washington and its NATO allies agreed this week to all pull out residual forces by September in an “orderly” exit.

Apr 16 10:17

SecDef Austin Hints at Continued US Military Involvement in Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Wednesday said the US would continue to support the Afghan government’s military after President Biden withdraws troops from the country and hinted at a possible “counterterrorism” force in the region that could strike targets in Afghanistan.

“We will look to continue funding key capabilities such as the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing, and we will seek to continue paying salaries for Afghan Security Forces,” Austin said at a NATO press conference in Brussels. “We will also work closely with them and with our allies to maintain counterterrorism capabilities in the region,” he added.

Apr 15 15:07

U.S. Intel Admits 'Russian Bounties' Story Was BS Now That Biden Aims to Pull Out Of Afghanistan

The US intelligence community on Thursday "walked back" their claim that Russia put "bounties" on American troops heads in Afghanistan.

Apr 15 10:29

Afghanistan: 'We have won the war, America has lost', say Taliban

Driving to Taliban-controlled territory doesn't take long. Around 30 minutes from the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, passing large craters left by roadside bombs, we meet our host: Haji Hekmat, the Taliban's shadow mayor in Balkh district.

Perfumed and in a black turban, he's a veteran member of the group, having first joined the militants in the 1990s when they ruled over the majority of the country.

The Taliban have arranged a display of force for us. Lined up on either side of the street are heavily armed men, one carrying a rocket propelled grenade launcher, another an M4 assault rifle captured from US forces. Balkh was once one of the more stable parts of the country; now it's become one of the most violent.

Baryalai, a local military commander with a ferocious reputation, points down the road, "the government forces are just there by the main market, but they can't leave their bases. This territory belongs to the mujahideen".

Apr 15 04:26

White House Won’t Say If Special Forces Will Leave Afghanistan Under Biden’s Withdrawal Plan

After President Biden formally announced his plan to withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11th, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if special operations soldiers would remain in the country under the plan, which she declined to answer.

“I’m obviously not going to get into operational specifics from the podium,” Psaki said when asked if the removal of combat troops by September 11th will include withdrawing Special Forces.

“I will say that we may — we will have what is needed to secure a diplomatic presence,” Psaki added. “And those assessments will be made over the coming months and obviously led by the Defense Department and State Department in coordination.”

Apr 15 04:22

Biden Spoke to Bush, Obama Prior to Announcing Pullout of US Troops From Afghanistan

Biden announced a full US troop withdrawal starting on May 1 in the White House Treaty Room on Wednesday, the same room where Bush declared the first airstrikes in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001.

US President Joe Biden spoke with former President George W. Bush on Tuesday, ahead of his announcement that US troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

"I spoke yesterday with President Bush to inform him of my decision," Biden said in his remarks.

Apr 14 08:17

Biden's plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan splits Congress -- but not just on party lines

President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by September 11 -- the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- prompted a split on Capitol Hill among both Republicans and Democrats, creating some strange bedfellows over what to do about America's longest war.

Many Republicans slammed the decision as premature, but other GOP lawmakers cheered US troops finally coming home. Most Democrats said they supported Biden's desire to finally wind down the longest war in US history, but some said they were concerned about losing hard-fought gains in Afghanistan.

Apr 14 05:41

Biden To Announce Afghanistan Troop Exit "Hard Deadline" By Sept 11

A report in The Washington Post has revealed that Biden plans to make a major announcement on Wednesday related to a full and final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. A senior administration official was cited as saying the president will announce a full US troop exit from America's longest war in history, scheduled to be accomplished prior to the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, which is this year.

"President Biden will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan over the coming months, people familiar with the plans said, completing the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that first drew the United States into its longest war," Washington Post writes.

Apr 14 05:38

Taliban Won’t Attend Peace Talks Until US Leaves Afghanistan

It is an announcement that’s been coming for awhile, but in pushing back the final Afghanistan withdrawal date from May 1 to 9/11, the Biden Administration finally clarified its expectations on America’s longest war and threw another spanner in the works of the peace process which may make future dates tougher to deal with.

The effort to sell everyone on this pullout delay is that the peace process is behind schedule. The Istanbul conference was meant to kickstart that process, but that’s not going to happen now, because the Taliban is boycotting all such conferences until the US makes good on withdrawing.

This puts the whole process into serious doubt, as it’s not clear how an Afghan peace deal can be reached without getting the Taliban to the table, and delaying the pullout is keeping the Taliban away, a predictable result.

Apr 12 08:13

'Woke imperialism strikes again': CNN faces backlash after it defends keeping US troops in Afghanistan by citing women’s rights

Noting that US President Joe Biden signaled that the May 1 deadline for the troop pullout will unlikely be met, CNN argues that “a precipitous withdrawal” would have spelled doom for “hard-won gains for women and civil society in Afghanistan.”

The argument that the US presence on the ground is necessary so that Afghan civil society does not crumble failed to strike chord with many. The article quickly got ratioed on Twitter, triggering a torrent of criticism and mockery.

“Good gracious the propagandists will do anything to keep wars going,” US Navy Veteran and Martech Zone founder Douglas Karr tweeted.

“It’s disgusting the way the corporate press serves as the propaganda wing for endless war,” a libertarian commenter chimed in, while another took issue with the pretext CNN cited to delay the withdrawal. “Woke imperialism strikes again,” he tweeted.

Apr 12 06:16

Concerns mount that US withdrawal from Afghanistan could risk progress on women's rights

Concerns are mounting from bipartisan US lawmakers and Afghan women's rights activists that the hard-won gains for women and civil society in Afghanistan could be lost if the United States makes a precipitous withdrawal from the country.

President Joe Biden has suggested it will be difficult to meet the May 1 deadline for US troops to leave the country as dictated in the deal the Trump administration signed with the Taliban. However, there are fears that if the US withdraws troops before the conditions on the ground are right -- regardless of the date on the calendar -- there will be a sharp and possibly catastrophic backslide.

Apr 09 07:33

The Yankees Are Coming Home: the Taliban Won. Get Over It

It hardly made the evening news, but the New York Times reported last week that after twenty years of fighting the Taliban are confident that they will fully control Afghanistan before too long whether or not the United States decides to leave some kind of residual force in the country after May 1st. The narrative is suggestive of The Mouse that Roared, lacking only Peter Sellers to put the finishing touches on what has to be considered a great humiliation for the U.S., which has a “defense” budget that is larger than the combined military spending of the next seven countries in order of magnitude. Those numbers include both Russia and China. The Taliban, on the other hand, have no military budget to speak of. That enormous disparity, un-reflected in who has won and lost, has to nurture concerns that it is the world’s only superpower, admittedly self-proclaimed, which is incapable of actually winning a war against anyone.

Apr 09 06:21

Pentagon condemns Taliban attack on base housing hundreds of US troops

The Taliban fired rockets at Kandahar Airfield, causing no damage or casualties but drawing a swift condemnation from the Pentagon which said the attack was “disruptive” to peace negotiations.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to say whether the Wednesday attack violated last year’s U.S.-Taliban peace deal. The attack occurred about three weeks before the peace agreement requires all U.S. troops to have left the country.

“We condemn the attack, and we believe this decision to provoke even more violence remains disruptive,” Kirby said. “I can’t deliver a comprehensive analysis of what we believe they were trying to achieve or what message they were trying to send.”

Massoud Pashtoon, the airfield director, told Stars and Stripes on Wednesday that the attack began around 10 a.m. and ended after four rockets landed in an open field.

Apr 08 05:46

The military signed contracts for Afghanistan well into 2023. That’s their problem.

This is clearly the week that every argument against getting U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by May 1 is being thrown up — to borrow a line from Robin Wright — like spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.

The latest, this little nugget highlighted by CNN’s Oren Liebermann this morning, which suggests Washington will be sued by private companies that have contracts with the U.S. government if they cannot continue operating in Afghanistan through 2022 and 2023. In fact, according to Liebermann, some 18 contracts totaling $931 million dollars were signed after the Doha Agreement in 2020 that outlined the U.S. departure this spring.

Much of the contract work involves private security, weapons transfers, training, and information technology. According to the report, there are at least 18,000 private contractors working on behalf of Uncle Sam in Afghanistan right now — including 6,350 Americans (that’s twice the size of the estimated 3,500 US troops there now).

Apr 07 07:22

‘What happened next?’ CIA roasted after bragging about arming Afghan Mujahideen, aka the Taliban

The fact that the CIA armed the same Afghan militants who now kill US troops is not a conspiracy theory, and the agency was roasted after it took to Twitter to boast about its covert 1980s arms shipments to jihadists.

In a Twitter post on Tuesday, the CIA proudly displayed a shoulder-fired FIM-92 Stinger missile launcher. The launcher, the post read, “supplied by the United States gave Afghan guerrillas, generally known as the Mujahideen, the ability to destroy the dreaded Mi-24D helicopter gunships deployed by the Soviets to enforce their control over Afghanistan.”

Apr 02 05:15

Biden Plans Afghanistan Train Wreck

The seemingly eternal war in Afghanistan continues. American forces have been on station for nearly 20 years, longer than the Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and Korean War combined.

Some $2 trillion have been spent. More than 6,000 U.S. service members and contractors have died, along with roughly 1,100 allied soldiers. Many more have been wounded, some suffering crippling injuries. Absent a speedy exit, those numbers will continue upward.

The U.S. is supposed to leave Afghanistan on May 1, the timetable agreed to by the Taliban. However, at his recent press conference President Joe Biden essentially admitted that American forces won’t be leaving then. He expressed hope that they would not be there next year.

Mar 31 10:44

Biden Begs Taliban: Let Us Stay Six More Months

Mar 31 06:35

NDS: 'Taliban Leaders Summoned to Peshawar for War Planning'

Pakistan’s intelligence agency has summoned the Taliban’s shadow governors and commanders to wage war in Afghanistan, said Nazar Ali Wahidi, the deputy head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan's intelligence agency.

However, he said that the Afghan security forces are fully prepared to crush any hostile move by the Taliban if the peace process does not lead to a final conclusion.

“The majority of Taliban governors and military officials have been summoned to Peshawar to prepare for the war,” said Nazar Ali Wahidi, the deputy head of the NDS.

“I wish Pakistan was kind and would help Afghanistan reach peace and move toward development. But Pakistan always thinks of how to kill the Afghans. They have made preparations for war, but we are also ready for it,” added Nazar Ali Wahidi, the deputy head of NDS.

Mar 31 06:31

Taliban Leadership Sees Afghanistan as a War They Already Won

20 years into the US and NATO war in Afghanistan, the Taliban sees things as effectively over. Top Taliban officials say that the situation is unsustainable for the Afghan government, and that they’ve already won the war.

It’s not hard to see why they’d think that. The Taliban has increasingly controlled more and more territory in recent years, and with the US looking to make a peace deal with them, it seems they are in a very positive position.

This has informed a lot of Taliban reticence in negotiations, seeing the Ghani government’s unwillingness to consider an interim government as unrealistic given the position they are in militarily. With the US also looking to put off the pullout, the Taliban is once again waiting on the enemies to realize they’ve already lost, and not expect to make a better deal.

Mar 30 05:38

Pentagon Would Face Costly Lawsuits If US Ended Afghanistan War

Since February 29 of 2020, the US has had a peace deal in place, intending to withdraw from Afghanistan on May 1 of 2021. The US military was always averse to that, but seems to have been basing its contracts on the idea it wouldn’t happen.

Former financial officials are warning that if the US does leave Afghanistan, either on May 1 or any time in 2021, the Pentagon would be facing down a “barrel full of lawsuits” from contracts that had not been fulfilled yet.

This is rather a flimsy excuse for dragging the war on, and such a clumsy situation to be in with the knowledge of the war’s end being public throughout, that it must inevitably be questioned if this was just many, many colossal blunders, or if the Pentagon was openly trying to contractually obligate itself to the Afghan War.

Mar 29 01:09

US Intelligence Warns Withdrawal Could Lead to Afghanistan Being Controlled by Afghans

US intelligence agencies have warned the Biden administration that if the United States withdraws its military presence from Afghanistan under current circumstances, the nation would be at severe risk of falling under the control of the people who live there.

A New York Times article titled “Officials Try to Sway Biden Using Intelligence on Potential for Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan” warns that an intelligence assessment has predicted that if “U.S. troops leave before any deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government, the militant group will take over much of the country.”

“The intelligence estimate predicted that the Taliban would relatively swiftly expand their control over Afghanistan, suggesting that the Afghan security forces remain fragile despite years of training by the American military and billions of dollars in U.S. funding,” NYT reports.

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Mar 27 06:46

Taliban Threatens to Target US Troops If Biden Stays in Afghanistan

The Taliban warned on Friday that the group would start targeting foreign troops in Afghanistan if they remain in the country beyond the May 1st deadline set by the US-Taliban peace deal. The warning comes a day after President Biden said it would be “hard” to pull troops out by May 1st, signaling that he plans to stay.

The Taliban said in a statement that if foreign troops do not leave by the deadline, the group “will be compelled to defend its religion and homeland and continue its Jihad and armed struggle against foreign forces to liberate its country.”

Proponents of prolonging the almost 20-year-old war claim the Taliban has not lived up to its end of the agreement it signed with the Trump administration. But one aspect of the deal the Taliban has lived up to is its pledge not to attack US and other coalition forces. Since the deal was signed last February, no US troops have died in combat in Afghanistan.

Mar 24 08:28

Senior U.S. Official Acknowledges Washington Has Spent $143 Billion to Destroy Its Own Government in Afghanistan

The U.S.-created and supported government of Afghanistan is on the brink of collapse. It has lost all credibility with its people because of its incompetence and unbelievable corruption. If U.S. military aid and the enormous inputs of international aid were to be withdrawn, the Taliban would be at the gates of Kabul and poised to take over the entire country in a matter of days.

Since President George W. Bush idiotically proclaimed the goal of creating a modern, progressive, pro-Western, stable, democratic state in Central Asia from scratch 20 years ago, the United States has poured $143 billion into Afghanistan reconstruction. And it has all been wasted.

Today, the biggest factor destroying the credibility of the Afghanistan government among its own people is not the attacks and military opposition of the insurgent Taliban: It is the U.S.-dominated and directed international aid which has totally undermined and discredited the very government it is supposed to support.

Mar 24 03:52

Taliban Threatening U.S. Troops As Biden Backtracking On Trump Agreements

The Taliban has threatened that there will be a “reaction” if the United States retains its troops in Afghanistan beyond May 1.

Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban negotiation team, explained to reporters in Moscow late last week that if American troops were to linger past the deadline, “it will be a kind of violation of the agreement.”

“That violation would not be from our side. … Their violation will have a reaction,” he continued.

Mar 22 07:26

Taliban Warns Of "Reaction" If US Stays In Afghanistan Beyond May 1st

The Taliban warned the US on Friday that there would be a "reaction" if President Biden failed to withdraw from Afghanistan by the May 1st deadline set by the US-Taliban peace deal signed in Doha last year. The comments were made from Moscow, where the warring sides met to discuss the peace process.

"They should go," said Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban’s negotiation team. He warned if the US stayed beyond May 1st, it would be a violation of the Doha agreement. "After that, it will be a kind of violation of the agreement. That violation would not be from our side... Their violation will have a reaction," Shaheen said.

Shaheen also called for "expedited" peace negotiations. "It is important that the negotiations should be expedited because it will help us to achieve a permanent ceasefire and countrywide peace and this is our goal," He said. "As we talked with Afghan politicians, they also insisted that the process should be expedited."

Mar 22 06:55

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visits Afghanistan as troop withdrawal deadline looms

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Sunday as a May 1 deadline looms for the possible withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the country. The deadline was part of last year's peace agreement with the Taliban.

President Joe Biden has not yet decided whether to pull out the 2,500 U.S. troops and is considering whether they should remain in Afghanistan for another six months, according to a U.S. official.

In his first visit to Afghanistan as defense secretary, Austin met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and with Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Austin's visit was carried out under tight security restrictions and reporters accompanying Austin were asked not to report the visit until after he had left the country.

Mar 20 06:52

Taliban Warns of ‘Reaction’ If US Stays in Afghanistan Beyond May 1st

The Taliban warned the US on Friday that there would be a “reaction” if President Biden failed to withdraw from Afghanistan by the May 1st deadline set by the US-Taliban peace deal signed in Doha last year. The comments were made from Moscow, where the warring sides met to discuss the peace process.

“They should go,” said Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban’s negotiation team. He warned if the US stayed beyond May 1st, it would be a violation of the Doha agreement. “After that, it will be a kind of violation of the agreement. That violation would not be from our side. . . Their violation will have a reaction,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen also called for “expedited” peace negotiations. “It is important that the negotiations should be expedited because it will help us to achieve a permanent ceasefire and countrywide peace and this is our goal,” He said. “As we talked with Afghan politicians, they also insisted that the process should be expedited.”

Mar 19 09:05

The Inside Story Of How Pentagon Leaders Sabotaged Trump's Afghan Withdrawal

In an exclusive interview with The Grayzone Col. Douglas Macgregor, a former senior advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense, revealed that President Donald Trump shocked the US military only days after the election last November by signing a presidential order calling for the withdrawal of all remaining US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

As Macgregor explained to The Grayzone, the order to withdraw was met with intense pressure from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark M. Milley, which caused the president to capitulate. Trump agreed to withdraw only half of the 5,000 remaining troops in the country. Neither Trump’s order nor the pressure from the JCS Chairman was reported by the national media at the time.

Mar 19 08:29

Report: Biden Considering Keeping Troops in Afghanistan Until November

According to a report from NBC News, President Biden is considering keeping troops in Afghanistan until November instead of leaving by May 1st, the deadline set by the US-Taliban peace deal.

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the NBC report said Biden has been pushing back against the Pentagon’s efforts to stay in Afghanistan after May 1st but has been convinced to consider a six-month extension.

Biden was presented with three options: leave by May 1st, extend the withdrawal deadline, or stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. The report said deliberations are still being made, and a final decision has not been reached.

An extension of the withdrawal deadline would have to be negotiated with the Taliban, or the group would again target US troops. February 8th marked the first full year since the war started that no US troops died in combat in Afghanistan.

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