Although Washington announced the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq with pomp and circumstance, in reality it is just a splashy move intended to showcase “America’s commitment to peace”.
The US is withdrawing indeed, but in such a manner that it is leaving behind a greater number of unresolved problems created by America itself and its “muscle-flexing” on the world chessboard. “The US military rule” basically never managed to resolve vital social problems of the local population. It failed to rebuild the social and economic structure destroyed by hostilities, while local residents who lost their homes, farms and breadwinners as a result of military actions or “erroneous airstrikes” never received any financial compensation from Washington. And those woes still haunt Afghanistan even after the US withdrawal.
So, a new investigation by American journalists uncovered another “tragic mistake” that has become a distinctive feature of US policies in Afghanistan. It turns out that the August 29 US military airstrike in Afghanistan killed not a terrorist, but an American NGO employee who sought asylum in the United States, as well as nine civilians, including seven children. The head of the United States Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie was forced to apologize for this “mistake”.
However, this US military routine excuse citing a “technical error”, reminiscent of other such incidents (often leading to unjustified civilian deaths), is debunked by numerous witnesses and investigative reports claiming that the American military targeted the civilian population deliberately.
One example supporting this claim is the mass killings of civilians in Raqqa, Syria, that took place four years ago. In 2017, the US warplanes flew 129 sorties carrying out more than 150 airstrikes on residential blocks in this Syrian city. While mainstream Western media portrayed these military operations as “US-led international coalition‘s war on the ISIS terror group (outlawed in Russia) in northern Syria,” the things in fact looked very differently. The US military bombed civilian residences, as well as extraction and storage facilities containing drinking water. At the same time, the US military did everything to drive the local residents out from Raqqa, since it was of particular interest to Washington due to rich hydrocarbon deposits in the area that the Americans were eager to capture. On the next day in August 2017 when the elders of Raqqa refused to comply and leave the area at the US forces’ request, US military vehicles entered the town, installing missile and bomb guidance hardware, local residents say. Then, on the weekend, when civilians and children were on their way to prayer, with no terrorists in sight, the US bombed the buildings full of people, as well as important infrastructure facilities. As a result, in August 2017 alone, the US military killed over 500 civilians and destroyed the infrastructure of the town of Raqqa. The neighborhoods of al-Batu and an-Naru have been almost razed to the ground, with the buildings now beyond repair. Meanwhile, a couple of years ago, Amnesty International sent to the UN an investigative report claiming that in August 2017 the US military deliberately targeted civilians in Raqqa.
After bombing the civilians and residential blocks in Raqqa, the US military deployed extremist militants in the area while US companies proceeded to extract oil and sell it to European countries, an activity they did not give up until this day. According to an investigation by Spanish journalists, 70% of the oil wells located in two regions in eastern Syria are guarded by American soldiers.
A report from Brown University’s the Costs of War Project aiming to document the economic and human fallout of the military operations after 9/11 attacks also confirmed that the United States committed various crimes while flexing its military muscles. A two-decade US-led global war on terror has claimed almost one million lives around the world with costs piling up to more than eight trillion dollars! And this is not to mention chaos and havoc that the US troops left behind. As the 20-year occupation of Afghanistan ended in a dismal failure with the Western alliance fleeing the country, Russia has repeatedly called on the United States and NATO to act according to the international law complying with the mandate of the UN Security Council. To no avail, however.
On September 16, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said: “We proceed from the premise that the United States and the countries involved in the international coalition that were present in the country over the past 20 years bear responsibility for what is currently happening in Afghanistan. It is for this very reason that they must assume a fair share of the cost related to post-conflict recovery and Afghanistan’s further development.” She also pointed out that Afghanistan’s Western donors have to help the country’s population “to reduce the number of refugees or stop people from fleeing their country altogether.”
Her statement was echoed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on September 17 during a quadrilateral meeting with the Russian, Iranian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the SCO and The CSTO in Dushanbe. He stressed out that the United Stated should take responsibility for rebuilding Afghanistan and provide it with economic and humanitarian aid. “The United States must comply with the assumed commitments,” he said. “The four countries (China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan) must pool efforts with other countries adhering to similar views to persuade the United States to learn the lesson, to assume the responsibility for the reconstruction of Afghanistan and to provide economic and humanitarian assistance to it. It would be wrong to shirk this responsibility,” he added.
Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.