“In a stark admission….” this is how Fox News in the United States presented the statement, by the American General, Nicholson, in command of American occupation forces in Afghanistan, that America was faced with a “stalemate” in its attempt to consolidate its hold on Afghanistan. The note of alarm by the media was designed to create the urgency in the American people to support the demand by the general for thousands of additional American soldiers to be sent to the middle of Asia to shore up their shaky puppet government, for thousands more to die.
The usual attempted justifications for the invasion of the country, for all the countless dead and maimed, were repeated by the good American general like a parrot skilled at learning lies; that the American invasion in 2001 and occupation since were necessary to counter “terrorism”, to eliminate the “remnants of al Qaeda,” to prevent “terrorist attacks on the homeland.” The media and the government committee before which he made this statement accepted it all as a matter of routine, as did the Nazi media and government committees when SS generals demanded more troops to put down the resistance, excuse me, of course I mean the “terrorists,” operating under the noses of the Quisling and Vichy regimes across the Third Reich.
And how many thousands does he want? He didn’t say but admitted that on top of the roughly 9,000 regulars there now, there were also another 17,000 mercenaries making the total number of American forces there 26,000 at least. Alongside them are handfuls or hundreds of others from a number of American satellite nations, all participating in the latest phase of the American devastation of the country, termed Train, Advise, Assist” or TAA. This is their acronym for the placement of American command and control forces at different levels of the Afghan forces and government by which they ensure their puppet forces do the job of protecting American interests in the region. But the Afghans don’t seem to be doing very well and their masters are worried.
In a separate interview a few months ago another American general in Afghanistan stated:
Brigadier-General Cleveland: “Yes, Andrew, so General Nicholson does watch that closely and he is concerned obviously. Any casualty is probably going to be too many. But we do and he does watch the number of casualties, and really the trends that are ongoing as closely as possible. You know, what we saw in 2015 was the Afghans, the ANDSF writ large, did take a tremendous number of casualties.
“But what we also saw was how resilient these forces are. And overall, we think the Afghans took in the neighborhood of about 20,000 casualties, both killed and wounded. And for many militaries, that would break their back. But what we saw with the Afghans is that they were able to be resilient. They were able to continue to regroup and they were now of course able to move out on the offense.”
So, the puppet forces took casualties that would break the back of other armies but, of course it hasn’t, but you see they still need to send in reinforcements because, well, you get the picture. Twenty thousand killed and wounded out of total Afghan ground forces of approximately two hundred thousand, in one year, is a very high attrition rate.
Apparently this must all be due to the Russians and Iranians for the general added some new spice to the recipe of the Afghan war by making the unsupported claim that Russia and Iran were essentially at war with the United States and NATO by “aiding the Taliban” in their recent territorial gains. He said, “When we look at Russia and Iranian actions in Afghanistan, I believe that, in part, they’re trying to undermine the United States and NATO”.
Though there was no mention made of either country being involved in its Report to Congress of June 2015 by the US Defence Department, on “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan.” The only other country referred to in that lengthy report is Pakistan and in terms of cooperation on security issues. It is well known that the Russians provided a convenient transportation and logistics route through Russia for the American and NATO forces operating in Afghanistan for several years, a very big favour to the Americans, for which the Russians were thanked with a kick in the teeth, so this claim of Russian interference must originate with a recent Russian initiative to end the war once and for all.
But before we can discuss a peace we must ask what is the war for? In their Report to Congress the US Defence Department the same propaganda is repeated about the reasons for the invasion and occupation using the same language used by General Tillerson. The true reason for the invasion is difficult to find in all the euphemisms and obfuscations but they do reveal themselves. On page 10 the Report states:
“The U.S. strategy leading into 2017 and beyond sets the stage for the responsible transition of the mission that will allow U.S. forces to continue building the capacity of the Afghan government as a reliable defense partner, and to protect U.S. national security interests in the region.”
So there it is, to protect American “national security interests”. And since those interests are not about preventing “terrorist” attacks on the “homeland” those interests must be something else.
One of the reasons has to do with gas pipelines and the Taliban not agreeing to the dictated terms put to them by the Bush regime in 2001, similar to the diktats put to Yugoslavia just two years before, “Do what we tell you, or we will bomb you.” In the case of the Taliban, which the Americans had helped create, along with other reactionary groups, when they used those groups to attack and destroy the socialist government of Afghanistan and the Red Army that came to protect it, the diktat was to make sure that the proposed American gas pipeline projects to Pakistan and the Indian Ocean were secure.
The Americans demanded that the Taliban form a coalition government of all factions, a government of “national unity,” in order to stop the ongoing civil war. The Taliban refused the offer. In Berlin, in July 2001, according to Jean Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquiein the Americans insisted “either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.”
The war was never about Bin Laden. The hunt for Bin Laden was just an excuse for the invasion of Afghanistan, an invasion decided upon several months before the incident in New York City on September 11 of that year, the incident that was used as the cover, first for the invasion of Afghanistan, then for the invasion of Iraq.
Bin Laden himself was a long time American asset whose family had strong links to George Bush through interlocking companies such as the BCCI bank and Bush’s Harken Energy, in which Bin Laden’s half brother Salem Bin Laden was an investor. Osama Bin Laden helped the Americans set up Al Qaeda to fight the socialists in Afghanistan and was seen as recently as 1998-99 in Yugoslavia with his mujahidin, under American Army command, fighting to destroy the socialist government there.
Just a day before the September 11 incident, his brother Shafiq Bin Laden attended a meeting of the Carlyle Group, an American holding company, at the Ritz Carton Hotel in Washington that was also attended by George Bush senior. Both were investors in the company. The claim that Bin Laden attacked the United States is absurd on the face of it to anyone who knows his connections and his family’s connections to the American leadership and intelligence and military services. They tried to make him a patsy but he refused to play the role and denied he was involved in the tragedy in New York. The American government has never presented any proof that he was.
Another primary reason for the American invasion of Afghanistan is its vast mineral wealth, from oil, gas and coal, to gem stones and rare earths such as lithium, to gold and iron ore; some of the richest deposits of minerals in the world. The Americans invaded to take those resources and to keep them. In the meantime, while the war continues and mineral extraction is inhibited, the Americans exploit the huge production of heroin and other opiates that has grown manifold since their invasion. Essentially Afghanistan has been reduced to an American mining and heroin extraction concession, and others can have access only in regard to their contribution to the invasion and occupation to secure that wealth. The Americans, like all the other colonial powers of the past and present, choose to call this racket “foreign policy.”
But minerals are not the only reason. Afghanistan is strategically located between India, Pakistan, China, Iran as well as Russia, through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to the north, all of which have their own large mineral deposits. It is an important link for the Silk Road routes of the past and present and for China’s development.
For years the war has spilled into Pakistan with the Afghan regime routinely accusing Pakistan of supporting the groups labeled as Taliban while Pakistan states that it is trying to prevent “terrorist attacks from groups in Afghanistan. Everyone is tired of this endless war, everyone, except the Americans, who seem to lose all purpose if they are not at war. But today the Americans and their Afghan puppets are wondering what will transpire next after Russia began a major diplomatic initiative with a meeting held in Moscow in December 2016 between China, Pakistan and Russia to talk about Afghanistan’s “security.”
Russia knows the presence of ISIS fighters fleeing the wars in Syria and Iraq into safe havens in Afghanistan is a threat to its security. The Taliban also have clashed with them so both have a common interest insofar as dealing with ISIS is concerned. Since there is good reason to believe that some elements of ISIS are supported by the United States these clashes are also skirmishes between Russia and the United States, just as they are in Syria.
The Chinese know that the Americans want to stay in Afghanistan to increase American economic and political power in central Asia as part of its unquenchable lust for world power and control and diminish Chinese development along its new Silk Road connecting Beijing to Berlin and beyond.
To the south lies India, further west Turkey. Whoever holds Afghanistan has an advantage in exerting its power in all these spheres. The Americans invaded to get that control and they care nothing for what the people of Afghanistan want.
But they are not getting their way. The war drags on with no victory in sight and now they are ignored at international meetings. The countries of the region are reacting, under Russian leadership, trying to resolve the war once and for all. On February 15, 2017 a second round of talks were held in Moscow between Russia, Pakistan and China but this time Afghanistan and India were invited with the key question discussed of the participation of the Taliban in further talks.
The Americans were not invited and are not happy that the Taliban will be treated as a legitimate party to the conflict and will be a heightened threat to ISIS. The Russians propose to include even more countries from the central Asia region at the next meeting but no NATO or western countries are invited to take part. Russia politely states that it supports the present government of Afghanistan and that contacts with the Taliban are necessary in order to increase the chances of obtaining a peaceful resolution of the war. But it is clear that behind this polite language Russia and the others are hoping to pull the war rug from under the Americans, by coming to an agreement between all factions, declaring the war over and removing any excuse for the American forces to be there.
This will not be easy as the American generals and the American media call for more men to be sent in to secure their position and to destabilize the Russian initiative, the Indians sit at the table willing to take part but wondering what the Russians, Pakistanis and Chinese are up to that can hurt them, while the Afghans state, as they listen carefully to their earpieces, that the American have to be part of the talks, and wonder why no one takes them seriously. But we must hope that this long war can be ended and Afghanistan left to its people, their sovereignty restored, their self-determination assured.
We must hope that the Russians can continue their important initiative and move it forward quickly before the shouts for more arms and men from American generals result in more blood being spilt for absolutely nothing. But with the missile attack on Syria today, Friday April 7 as I write this, it is clear the American madmen and fanatics want war at any price and are willing to push Russia to the wall and risk the destruction of us all in nuclear world war.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”