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Archive for category Taliban & Afghanistan War

Afghanistan: How America and NATO betrayed humanity by Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja

Afghanistan: How America and NATO betrayed humanity

Thomas Paine (Common Sense, 1776), one of the leading ideological architects of American Freedom noted: “Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a Government, which we might expect in a country without Government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”

America and NATO Lacked Sense of Rational Thinking, Practices and They Lied

For twenty long years, American led NATO occupied Afghanistan under the guise of peace, nation-building, democracy and strategic harmony.  Lacking wisdom and forbearance, America and NATO became swollen with pride and prejudice in their military power and fell into crass materialism, violence and planned destruction of Afghanistan and its political destiny. On August 16, President Biden in his speech clarified that it was not the aim of  “nation-building” or “democracy” to keep our forces in Afghanistan. He acknowledged that Afghan political leaders were responsible for the turmoil and continuing societal conflicts with massive corruption and illegitimacy of the political rule as they fled the country. American leadership and allied NATO countries blame the Taliban* for the prevalent chaos and insecurity across Afghanistan. The Western news media appears biased and unprepared to recognize the new Taliban* administration as a legitimate transformational entity for peace and stability in the region. The myth of Taliban* being an extreme “Islamist”, “militant” and sometimes a “terrorist” group is kept functional in all of the recent reporting. Do the Western news media ever describe the Bush’s invasion as “Christian Crusade” or “terrorist” occupation of Afghanistan? To revisit the formative history, the Western leaders deny any reference to the pathological lies and political deception engineered by George W. Bush when he invaded Afghanistan as part of the prolonged scheme of “war on terrorism.”  

Michel Meacher, former British Environment Minister under PM Blair (This War on Terrorism is Bogus) – provides reliable insight into the real reasons for the ‘War on Terrorism’. He claims that the “war on terror” is flatly superficial:

“The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination … the so-called ‘war on terrorism’ is being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider US strategic geopolitical objectives … in fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext to put the PNAC plan into action. The evidence again is quite clear that plans for military action against Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11.” 

According to David Corn (Is the President a Pathological Liar?  12/2003; and the Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception, 2003), Bush lied and misled the American masses about the real reasoning for the invasion of Afghanistan. Recall that it was Al-Qaeda* (the US sponsored and trained group) blamed by Bush for the 9/11 attack, not Taliban*. Afghanistan under Taliban government in 2003 had no military-political capacity to threaten America or its security in any rational context. When nations and leaders live in darkness – away from truth, they seem to lose any rational sense of direction and imagination. This happened to America and NATO under its control. No wonder, why America and NATO are fearful of the futuristic unthinkable consequences if truth is revealed to the global mankind.  They invaded Afghanistan without any justification, dismantled its culture and values and tortured innocent civilians and political enemies – the Bagram Airbase tells that all. 

The Talibs are the people of Afghanistan and are a political organization within the geo-political culture of Afghanistan. The Taliban* takeover of Afghanistan was politically motivated after some twenty years of struggle for power. If Talibs are dressed in their own national costumes, speak their own language and adhere to Islamic thoughts and values, it does not make them terrorist or Islamists. In all perceptive eyes and rational analysis, Taliban* is a political party, not a “terrorist” entity or an extremist “Islamists” as some Western media suggest to its public viewers.  If they were terrorist or extremists, why would America and NATO and others in international community engage them in peacemaking conferences and forging relationships over the decades?  In its pursuit of unbridled ambitions and global hegemonic power, America and its allies enjoin wrong thinking, wrong aims and do the wrong things as it happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere. 

Glenn Greenwald, a prominent American journalist and lawyer (The US Government Lied for Two Decades about Afghanistan, Information Clearing House: 8/16/2021) makes the startling remarks:

The pattern of lying was virtually identical throughout several administrations when it came to Afghanistan. In 2019, The Washington Post — obviously with a nod to the Pentagon Papers — published a report about secret documents it dubbed The Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war. Under the headline AT WAR WITH THE TRUTH, The Post summarized its findings:……Year after year, U.S. generals have said in public they are making steady progress on the central plank of their strategy: to train a robust Afghan army and national police force that can defend the country without foreign help.

In the Lessons Learned interviews, however, U.S. military trainers described the Afghan security forces as incompetent, unmotivated and rife with deserters. They also accused Afghan commanders of pocketing salaries — paid by U.S. taxpayers — for tens of thousands of “ghost soldiers.” None expressed confidence that the Afghan army and police could ever fend off, much less defeat, the Taliban* on their own.

Towards Making Peaceful Future of Afghanistan under Taliban*

Taliban* has just been in Kabul for two days, and one should not expect miracles out of a systematically and politically destroyed country under NATO and American occupation for 20 years. Surely, Taliban* governance would urgently need rethinking and planning for socio-economic and political change and stability across Afghanistan. They were alleged to have mistreated women, children and other minorities in the past. Taliban* would need people of new ideas, proactive vision and planned change to avert the dark imagery of the past. Under President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, country was entrenched in mismanagement and corruption and democracy was just a ghost of the unknown. The chaos at Kabul airport is a glimpse what went wrong under the foreign occupation and exploitation. Taliban* appear to be in control of the whole of Afghanistan and will need planned efforts and a wide range of reconciliation efforts to settle-in for viable political governance. One cannot imagine law and order to come out of nowhere in a highly chaotic situation ordained by America and NATO’s absurdity and contradictions for a long time. 

Caitline Johnstone (Stop Believing that US Military Invasions had Noble Intentions, Information Clearing House: 8/16/2021) makes us believe that:  

If the US had a free press and was anything like a democracy, the government wouldn’t be getting away with squandering thousands of lives and trillions of dollars on a twenty-year war which accomplished literally nothing besides making assholes obscenely wealthy.

Thousands of human lives. Trillions of dollars. If western mass media were anything remotely resembling what they purport to be, they would be making sure the public understands how badly their government just f****d them. Instead it’s just “Oh no, those poor Afghan women.”… I am once again asking you to stop believing US military invasions have noble intentions.

War apologists talk about “doing nothing” like that’s somehow worse than creating mountains of human corpses for They had twenty years to build a stable nation in Afghanistan. Twenty years. If you believe that’s what they were really trying to do there, or that results would be any different if you gave them twenty more, you’re a fucking moron. 

America and its belligerent allies have caused havoc humanitarian, social, economic and political conditions in Afghanistan. The war and its consequences will not end with the US sudden withdrawal but will leave imprints for generations to come – the innocent men, women and children massacred and human habitats destroyed. Should America and its allies not be held accountable by the Afghan people for all the war damages?  Please see: America led-NATO forces in Afghanistan: Crimes against humanity call for accountability. Also see by Mahboob A. Khawaja – How the United States and Britain Lost the Bogus Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Would the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague initiate actions to hold the US-British and others NATO members responsible for the war damages and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan and Iraq?
  • Who would patch the wounds of torture and cold blood murdered committed at Bagram prison and Guantanamo Bay?  
  • Americans strategic psyche is desperate to be seen as a winner, not loser in Afghanistan. Would Taliban* allow the American–NATO military plans to disrupt the future of nation-rebuilding and political stability?
  • If America’s egoism turns into cancer to consume both gimmicks, where would the wounds and warriors be buried with honor – would it be the bombed graveyards of Afghanistan or the new secret sites in America?  
  • More often wars have ended on their own after exhaustion and unworthy cause with or without political dialogues to make the roadmaps for the future. Would peace and reconciliation with Taliban usher a new era for a different kind of future and co-existence to all concerned?

If mankind was looking towards ethical principles and some rational consideration to be in peace and harmony after the dreadful warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan and drone killings in Pakistan, it is utterly dismayed with the US politicians and policy makers. Time and again, they appear to be devoid of reason and any sense of humanity and accountability for their belligerent acts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Global politics is not a system of moral principles or intellectual and political values but often an absurd game – a cruel drama – a puppet show staged to appease the few bloody Draculas – a psychopath puzzle of few insane people who had nothing useful to contribute to the mankind except drudgery, deceit, lies and inborn deceptions – the net outcome of this Thinking was the bogus War on Terrorism.   It is unclear what is in-waiting for the US and NATO after shamefully leaving Afghanistan without any formal agreement or surrender to the new political realties in Kabul.

History is a weapon and tyranny is tyranny, noted late historian Howard Zinn. American intransigence in Afghanistan will not be a new exciting story in history books.


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Biden’s Afghanistan fiasco: ‘We look like a deer caught in headlights’

Biden’s Afghanistan fiasco: ‘We look like a deer caught in headlights’

The chaotic scenes in Kabul are unlikely to derail his domestic agenda but undermine his promise to restore competence

Not since Major General William Elphinstone’s retreating British army was picked off in 1842, has a foreign occupier left Afghanistan under such a cloud. It took three years after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 for its Kabul ally to submit to mujahideen forces. It was two years after the US military’s exit from Vietnam before Saigon fell to the communists in 1975. On Monday Kabul folded to the Taliban almost three weeks before the official day of America’s departure. “We look like a deer caught in the headlights,” says Mathew Burrows, a former senior CIA officer now at the Atlantic Council. “It is one more chink gone in the American empire.” The scenes of chaos at the Hamid Karzai International Airport will supply anti-American propagandists with years of footage. America’s failure after two decades of fruitless nation-building has many authors, starting with George W Bush and including Barack Obama and Donald Trump. But as the president on whose watch the concluding fiasco took place, Joe Biden’s name will be indelibly linked to it. The question is whether he can extract any foreign policy gains in what one analyst described as Biden’s “Ides of August”. Since he was partly elected on a promise to restore competence to the White House, there is also concern that the fall of Kabul will wound Biden’s ability to push through his domestic agenda.  

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President Joe Biden meets with his National Security team of (L-R) secretary of state Tony Blinken, vice-president Kamala Harris, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, secretary of defence Lloyd Austin and chair of the joint chiefs General Mark Milley to discuss the situation in Afghanistan in the Situation Room of the White House last week © Adam Schultz/White House/ZUMA/dpa
Much hinges on whether in the coming days the US can evacuate the thousands of remaining American civilians and tens of thousands of Afghan interpreters, fixers and contractors from an airport surrounded by armed Islamists. The fact that it has boiled down to this — a crush of fleeing Afghans trying to get through an airport perimeter controlled by the Taliban — is reputationally damaging. Washington is awash in finger-pointing at a withdrawal plan that failed to foresee this contingency. The Bagram military base, which lies 35 miles north of Kabul and has two runways, would have been a secure point for an orderly evacuation. But the US military vacated the base on July 4. The White House did not push back on the Pentagon’s plan to extricate Americans with guns first and leave the unarmed civilians until later. “It will be hard to separate Biden’s strategic decision to leave Afghanistan, which may ultimately prove to be right, with the hasty and sloppy and panicked way in which it has been executed,” says Steve Biegun, former US deputy secretary of state. “This comes as something of a body blow to Biden’s ‘America is back’ message. Everyone thought he was going to be different to Trump.”

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A Taliban delegation led by the head of the negotiating team, Anas Haqqani (C-R), meeting with former Afghan government officials, including former president Hamid Karzai (C-L), at an unspecified location in Afghanistan last week © Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan/AFP

Biden’s Afghanistan fiasco: ‘We look like a deer caught in headlights’

The chaotic scenes in Kabul are unlikely to derail his domestic agenda but undermine his promise to restore comp…

Disputed intelligence In addition to closing Bagram first, there are three additional questions about Biden’s competence. The first is the volume of US military equipment that has been left behind for the Taliban, including aircraft, hundreds of military Humvees and tens of thousands of rifles, rockets and night vision goggles. The second is whether Biden ignored intelligence estimates suggesting the Taliban could recapture power on a far more rapid timeline than the six to 18 months the White House was saying. The third is Biden’s failure to consult fully with Nato allies about the speed and logistics of the pull out. On all three, the decision ultimately boils down to the president. “It defies belief that this withdrawal was imposed by the military,” says a former senior Pentagon official. “The US military was following civilian orders.” The official adds that it was also misleading to blame what has happened on intelligence failure. “The intelligence agencies gave a range of forecasts, including the worst,” he says.

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A US Army Chinook helicopter flight engineer sits on the ramp during a training exercise at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan © US AIr Force/Tech Sgt Gregory Brook/Reuters

Biden has repeatedly insisted that his hands were tied by Trump’s 2019 deal with the Taliban, which provided for US withdrawal in exchange for the Islamist group’s vow to forswear terrorism. But people close to Biden say that he would have pulled out of this “forever war” regardless. The president’s rationale also sits uneasily with the fact that he has undone, or is seeking to undo, so much else that he inherited from Trump, such as the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, the pull out from the Iran nuclear deal and quitting the World Health Organization. “Biden has consistently since at least 2008 believed that the US was throwing good money after bad in Afghanistan,” says Jonah Blank, who was Biden’s South Asia policy adviser when he was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee. Blank took then senator Biden to Afghanistan three times, including an infamous visit in January 2009 — just days before he was sworn in as vice-president — in which he disgustedly walked out of a dinner with Hamid Karzai, the then Afghan president.

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As vice-president in 2011, Biden visited an Afghan National Army training centre in Kabul © Shah Marai/AFP/Getty

“If Karzai had shown some gratitude for American help, and indulged in some self-criticism, it might have gone differently,” says Blank. “Biden’s mind was pretty much fixed from then on.” At home, Biden’s decision is popular, although some polls this week show a sharp negative tilt in public opinion as Americans watched the harrowing scenes from Kabul airport. In spite of having backed Trump’s deal with the Taliban, Republicans are depicting Biden as weak and hinting that he is unable because of his age to carry out his duties responsibly. This week for the first time Biden’s approval rating dropped below 50 per cent. But there is little sign the fall of Kabul will damage his chances of passing his set piece $3.5tn spending bill which will depend on razor-thin party line votes. It is rare that a foreign policy setback, however embarrassing, derails a US domestic agenda.  

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US General Kenneth F. McKenzie touring an evacuation control centre at Hamid Karzai International Airport last week © US Marine Corps/AFP/Getty
Outraged allies The bigger impact on Biden’s role is likely to be felt with America’s allies and adversaries. Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, told the European parliament that the departure was “a catastrophe for the Afghan people, for western values and credibility and for the developing of international relations”. Armin Laschet, Germany’s possible successor to Angela Merkel after September’s general election, described it as “Nato’s biggest debacle since its founding”. Even the reliably Atlanticist British failed to conceal their disappointment with an America that had failed to keep them abreast of the details of its pullout. The further the distance from Washington DC, which is split along fiercely partisan lines, the greater the blurring between Biden and Trump. “This looks like America First except that its officials can speak French,” says a former US intelligence officer. History may yet distinguish between the unseemly manner of America’s pullout and the strategic logic behind it. Biden’s thinking is that there is no elegant way to quit a war you have lost. Moreover, the sooner the US could leave Afghanistan, the more it could focus on America’s biggest strategic challenge of dealing with a rising China. Biden’s foreign policy priorities are the three Cs — China, Covid and Climate. There is concern, however, that Biden will feel so stung by the intense criticism of this week’s disarray that he will feel obliged to show that he is tough on China. “Where is the strategic gain from this loss?” asks Burrows. “There will be pressure on Biden to show the upside and change the narrative.”  
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US Marines lead an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, on Wednesday © US Marine Corps/AFP/Getty
 
Twitter was awash with Chinese “wolf warriors” crowing over the humbling of America. It may be no coincidence that Chinese aircraft breached Taiwanese airspace on Wednesday in a war game exercise it said was prompted by the island’s “provocations”. It was notable that as western countries were hurriedly abandoning their embassies in Kabul this week, those of China and Russia continued to function normally. “If Biden’s withdrawal shows that America is becoming less messianic and will focus more on looking after its people at home, then this decision will be a good one for America and China,” says Eric Li, a Shanghai-based political scientist and venture capitalist, who is a frequent defender of China’s stance to western audiences. “That is what China will be hoping for.” There is also the question of Pakistan, which has long sponsored the Taliban as its tool for creating “strategic depth” in Afghanistan. Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, this week congratulated Afghans for “breaking the mental chains of slavery”. In contrast to 1996, when it first seized power, today’s Taliban has broad international ties. For Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, this week’s rapid takeover amounts to a big strategic win.

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A US soldier points his gun at an Afghan passenger at Kabul airport on Monday as thousands of people mobbed the airport to flee the country © Wakil Kohsari/AFP/Getty

“The joke was that in 1989 the ISI defeated the Soviets with American help,” says Sarah Chayes, an Afghan expert who was a senior Pentagon adviser. “Now the ISI has defeated the United States with American help.” The regional implications of the Taliban’s return may also limit Biden’s ability to pivot to China and away from the post-9/11 era of “forever wars”. As a nuclear-armed client state of China, Pakistan is an important piece on the geopolitical chessboard. India, which is a close partner to the US, and is considered the heaviest future counterbalance to an ebullient China, is likely to feel more vulnerable after this week’s pullout. That will probably complicate Biden’s ability to convert the pullout into a strategic gain. In practice it may prove hard to neatly divide Biden’s decision to end this war with his plans to strengthen America’s focus on the Indo-Pacific. There is also the question of whether the Taliban will honour its commitment to keep groups such as al-Qaeda and Isis out of Afghanistan. In 2011, Biden, as vice-president, arranged America’s final departure from Iraq. Then, too, he spoke about cutting America’s losses from a costly failed exercise in nation building. The resulting Iraqi power vacuum led to the rise of Isis in Iraq and Syria and America being sucked back into the region. “The question is has Biden learned from that episode?” asks Chayes. “I think the answer is probably no. He made up his mind on Afghanistan long ago.”

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Why Pakistan’s Vital Role for Completion of the US-Taliban Agreement? By Sajjad Shaukat

Why Pakistan’s Vital Role for Completion of the US-Taliban Agreement?

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

In the past, the US-led Western countries which spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan held a series of international conferences in order to bring stability and peace in that war-torn country with the aim of starting withdrawal of NATO forces in 2013, which had to be completed in 2014. They had agreed that without Islamabad’s help, stability cannot be achieved there. Hence, these countries requested Pakistan to play its role for initiation of peace process in Afghanistan.

 

At the same time when the US-led NATO forces felt that they are failing in coping with the stiff resistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, they and especially America started accusing Pak Army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of supporting the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants. Their main purpose was to pacify their peoples regarding their defeatism in that country. Despite America’s false allegations, Islamabad continued reconciliation process between the US and Taliban, emphasizing that there is no military solution of the issue which needs political solution.

 

Taking cognizance of Pakistan’s key role, since the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad started his efforts to convince the Taliban to have direct talks with the US, Pakistan had been playing a major role, as Islamabad succeeded in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating Table. Zalmay Khalilzad who, repeatedly, visited Pakistan and met country’s civil and military leadership admired Pakistan’s role in the US-Taliban peace dialogue.

 

It was because of Pakistan’s major role that in Doha-the capital of Qatar on February 29, this year, the US and the Taliban signed the historical agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan. The deal was signed by Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a witness.

 

Afterwards, Pompeo said: “To Afghanistan’s neighbours, including Pakistan, we thank you for your efforts in helping reach these historic agreements and make clear our expectation that you will continue to do your part to promote a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan so that the country and region can reap the benefits of lasting peace.”

 

In the agreement, it is committed that within the first 135 days of the deal, the US will reduce its forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 from the current 13,000, working with its other NATO allies to proportionally reduce the number of coalition forces over that period. Implementing the agreement, America has started withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan.

 

The deal also provides for a prisoner swap. Some 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 Afghan security force prisoners would be exchanged by 10 March [2020], when talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government are due to start.

 

In his speech, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar also acknowledged Islamabad’s role in the peace deal and thanked Pakistan for “its efforts, work and assistance.”

Speaking about the deal, US President Donald Trump, who had promised to end the Afghan conflict, said on March 1, 2020 that it was “time to bring our people back home…5,000 US troops would leave Afghanistan by May and he would meet Taliban leaders in the near future.”

 

But, it is regrettable that less than 24 hours after the US-Taliban agreement, the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had rejected prisoner swap with Taliban.

 

In this regard, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid stated that the Taliban would not hold peace talks with the Afghan government, if 5,000 Taliban prisoners were not released.

 

Meanwhile, the political crisis in Afghanistan worsened on March 9, 2020, as Ashraf Ghani and former Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah took separate oaths as country’s president in connection with the September elections, as the latter did not recognize the election-results.

 

In the end of March, this year, US Secretary of State Pompeo’s visit to Afghanistan failed to bring the two main rival factions led by the Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah together, leading to the US decision to cut $1 billion aid. Pompeo elaborated that the inability of Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah to resolve their differences had “harmed US-Afghan relations and, sadly, dishonours those Afghan, Americans, and coalition partners who have sacrificed their lives and treasure in the struggle to build a new future for this country.”

 

In this connection, in his tweeter statement, Zalmay Khalilzad on April 26, 2020 called on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah to set their differences aside to combat the coronavirus pandemic and advance a stalled peace agreement signed with the Taliban— should “put the interest of the country ahead of their own”.

 

However, Ghani released 550 detainees based on age, vulnerability to the virus, and time served. The Taliban have freed 60 prisoners.

 

In a recent statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed stated that the Taliban group was living up to its side of the agreement, and that it was willing to negotiate a countrywide cease-fire, including intra-Afghan talks, which have to begin within 10 days of the February 29 deal, but are still on hold because of the political bickering in Kabul.

 

Besides, the Taliban have carried out 2,804 attacks since the agreement was signed. Nevertheless, Taliban have not attacked the US or NATO troops.

 

Earlier, in his meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad and Resolute Support Mission Commander General Austin Scott Miller at Islamabad, Pakistan’s Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa reaffirmed country’s support for US efforts and renewed commitment to advance a political settlement to the Afghan conflict.

 

Meanwhile, Taliban stated that Afghan president is delaying the exchange of prisoners “under one pretext or another.”

In fact, Indian and Afghan rulers who are feeling the pinch of the US-Taliban peace agreement are trying to sabotage it for their collective interests at the cost of Afghan people, Pakistan and regional stability.

 

New Delhi which has already invested billions of dollars in Afghanistan, also signed a wide-ranging strategic agreement with that country on October 5, 2011. And, the then Afghan President Hamid Karzai had also signed another agreement with India to obtain Indian arms and weapons. Thus, India has strengthened its grip in Afghanistan.

 

While, Indian RAW which is in connivance with Israeli Mossad and Afghanistan’s intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS) has well-established its network in Afghanistan and has been fully assisting cross-border incursions and terror-activities in various regions of Pakistan through Baloch separatist elements and anti-Pakistan groups like Jundullah and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including their affiliated outfits.

 

It is noteworthy that Pakistan’s Armed Forces and particularly Army have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad, while ISI has broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants and thwarting a number of terror attempts. So, peace was restored in various regions of the country, especially in Balaochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces.

 

But, in the recent past, some terror-attacks in Pakistan and Balochistan show that New Delhi is trying to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

 

Indian desperation in Afghanistan was increasing in the backdrop of growing engagements of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and US.

 

It is misfortune that on direction of New Delhi, in the recent past, President Ghani accused Islamabad for terror attacks in Afghanistan.

 

In this respect, New Delhi and Kabul which want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan are exploiting the dual policy of America against Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran.

 

Afghan rulers think that in case, the US-led NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan, their regime will fall like a house of cards owing to the assaults of the Taliban. Even, India would not be in a position to maintain its network in wake of the successful guerrilla warfare of the Taliban. So, both the countries want NATO’s permanent entanglement in the Afghan conflict.

 

Notably, regarding Indian activities in Afghanistan the then NATO commander, Gen. McChrystal had pointed out: “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan…is likely to exacerbate regional tensions.”

 

And the US-Taliban peace deal is likely to render Indian proxy support against Pakistan ineffective. It will suit Indian designs, if Afghanistan does not move towards peace and keeps simmering. So, Afghan people need to realize that Indian and Afghan governments which have sponsored trained and propagated all anti-Afghanistan and anti-Pakistan elements to destabilize both Afghanistan and Pakistan are attempting to thwart the US-Taliban peace agreement.

 

It is mentionable that after the end of the Cold War, America left both Pakistan and Afghanistan to face the fallout of the Afghan war 1.

 

After the 9/11 tragedy, President George W. Bush insisted upon Islamabad to join the US global war on terror. Pakistan was also granted the status of non-NATO ally by America due to the early successes, achieved by Pakistan Army and ISI against the Al-Qaeda militants.

 

Nonetheless, Washington must be aware of the coming negative developments, which could create misunderstanding between America and the Taliban, as RAW and NDS can use some terror outfits like TTP for targeting the military installations of the US and its allies to shift the blame game towards those Taliban whose leader has signed the peace deal. New Delhi and Kabul could also accuse Islamabad for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan like the past approach, because the US and Pakistan have been promoting cordial relations owing to President Trump’s positive approach towards the latter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US should also note that Pakistan shares common geographical, historical, religious and cultural bonds with Afghanistan. There is a co-relationship of stability and peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is also essential for American global and regional interests. Therefore, Pakistan is playing a vital role for completion of the US-Taliban agreement.

 

Now, coronavirus which has affected almost every country has also enveloped Afghanistan which has reported more than 2,894 cases infected by this deadly virus and more than 90 deaths. In America, more than 2.1 million cases have been recorded with more than 67,686 deaths. By availing this golden opportunity, Afghan rulers have delayed the implementation of the US-Taliban agreement and Washington is also not taking much interest in this respect. So, completion of the agreement could be delayed, which may create more complications.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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US QUAGMIRE IN AFGHANISTAN: The US  is Reviving Talks with the Afghan Taliban without Pre-conditions By Sajjad Shaukat

The US  is Reviving Talks with the Afghan Taliban without Pre-conditions

By

Sajjad Shaukat

When first time the US decided talks with the Afghan Taliban in 2012, the same was conditional, as America had demanded that before any deal, violence against Afghan people must stop and the Taliban must cut ties to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. She seeks to distinguish between Al-Qaeda-related fighters and Afghan insurgents—good and bad Taliban.

 

Afterwards, with the backing of the US, an office of the Taliban was opened in Qatar. After the Tokyo conference on Afghanistan, held in earlier July 2012, efforts to convince the Taliban for talks with the Kabul government had been expedited and Pakistan was requested to play an important task. In this regard, during the tripartite meeting in Kabul on July 19, 2012, the then British Prime Minister David Cameron and the former Afghan President Hamid Karzai met Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and reiterated Islamabad’s assistance for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. They fully backed Pakistan to help arrange meetings between Afghan officials and Taliban representatives.

 

 

 

 

There were also reports that the US and the national security adviser to the Afghan President Karzai contacted the Taliban and had a secret dialogue with them. However, in a bid to win Taliban’s support for reconciliation, President Karzai had called upon their leader Mullah Omer to take part in the elections. On the other side, the Taliban were willing to resume talks with America but had refused dialogue with Karzai whom they consider colonial puppet.

 

Earlier, the Qatar-based talks with America were suspended because the ex-US President Barack Obama did not release five Taliban detainees to participate in peace negotiations as a pre-condition by the Taliban.

 

However, America along with other Western countries was fully supporting Karzai-led regime to commence peace deal with the Afghan Taliban with the help of Pakistan. While on the other side, top officials of America, Afghanistan and India, including their media continued blame game against Pakistan by accusing its security agencies of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan—and support to the Taliban. They set aside the fact that US-led NATO forces had failed in coping with the resistance of the Afghan Taliban who is fighting a war of liberation against the occupying forces. In fact, America and other NATO countries wanted to make Pakistan a scapegoat of their defeat in Afghanistan.

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, when any terror attack occurs in Afghanistan, America, India and puppet rulers of Afghanistan shift the blame game towards Pakistan. The US has also accused Iran and Russia of assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Particularly, the main purpose of Washington was not only to pacify their people and justify the unending war in Afghanistan but also to fulfil the secret strategic designs against Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran.

 

Notably, on May 31, 2017, a massive truck bombing of the Afghan capital’s diplomatic section killed more than 150 people and injured hundreds of others, including foreigners. Taliban denied responsibility for the terror attack. But, Afghanistan’s intelligence service accused the Haqqani network by saying that a Taliban-affiliated group in Pakistan, carried out the attack. Addressing the conference-the “Kabul Process on Peace and Security Cooperation”, held in Kabul on June 6, 2017, which was attended by representatives from 26 countries and international organizations, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani criticized Pakistan for a lack of cooperation in promoting Afghan peace and alleged that Taliban insurgents are using sanctuaries on Pakistani soil to wage the insurgency in Afghanistan.

 

In the same speech, President Ghani offered peace talks to the Afghan Taliban by reiterating his preconditions such as recognition of the Afghan constitution, continuity of the reforms of educating and advancing the rights of women, and renunciation of violence and linkages with terrorist groups.

 

A Taliban spokesman rejected Ghani’s offer of a peace dialogue by stating that it is another attempt to endorse and prolong the foreign occupation of Afghanistan.

 

In the recent past, when the US-led NATO forces failed in coping with the stiff resistance of the Afghan Taliban in wake of the continued attack on their installations and Afghan forces, they have decided to revive peace talks with the Taliban without pre-conditions.

 

At present, the Afghan situation is witnessing new trend as all sides favour dialogue option and agree that there is no military solution. Pakistan has long been insisting on dialogue as only viable option to end Afghan quagmire.

 

In this respect, the US State Department has recently appointed experienced statesman Ambassador Khalilzad as an adviser for Afghanistan. During the recent visit of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to America, Zalmay Khalilzad has also held a meeting with him. Both the leaders expressed positivity about a dialogue based Afghan peace process.

 

Pakistan has assured the US of its full support for peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, as this was in line with the policy of the government and in the best interest of Islamabad. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was addressing a news conference after having talks with the US delegation which was led by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

 

In this connection, the State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on October 3, this year: “US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Afghanistan’s Taliban to come to the table to end the long-running war as he called on Pakistan to play a supportive role. Pompeo met in Washington with the foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, in the latest US outreach to the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, a longtime advocate of a negotiated settlement with insurgents. Pompeo appreciated Pakistan’s support for political reconciliation in Afghanistan and for peace in the neighbourhood…The top US diplomat, who met PM Imran last month in Islamabad, “emphasised the important role Pakistan could play in bringing about a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan Pompeo “agreed that there was momentum to advance the Afghan peace process and that the Afghan Taliban should seize the opportunity for dialogue”.

 

On the other hand, there are also reports that the Taliban have held talks with the Afghan Government in Saudi Arabia. Reported talks were related to a ceasefire during upcoming parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, to be held on October 20, this year. It is considered that the peaceful elections cannot be conducted in Afghanistan without the Taliban’s cooperation. Taliban have refuted the talks. Saudi Arabia is seeking a role to replace Qatar where the Taliban hold a political office. Russia has also emphasized for an Afghan solution based on negotiations between all sides.

 

Again, it is notable that Islamabad has long been insisting on talks to end the Afghan crisis through dialogue. All the regional players including Russia, Iran and even China have also been favouring this approach. In these terms, the visit of the Foreign Minister Qureshi to the US has been a success in which he has assured the international community about Pakistan’s pragmatic and positive support on all issues including that of Afghanistan. The visit has also resulted in melting the ice between Washington and Islamabad.

 

In this context, under the caption, “Study Finds Americans Feel U.S’s Involvement Has ‘Failed’, Afghan-based website Tolonews said on October 7, 2018: “A Washington-based research centre Pew has found that most American’s feel that the US’s second longest war–Afghanistan, after 17 years has failed…On the 17th anniversary of the US’s involvement in Afghanistan, 49% of Americans say their country has failed to win the war. The report is an eye-opener for those who have been supporting Trump’s policy of increasing military pressure to win the war in Afghanistan. In fact, the policy has resulted in a huge spike in losses of both Afghan defence forces as well as in the civilian causalities. The reverses in battleground have forced Trump administration to pursue the option of dialogue with Taliban which was advocated since long by Pakistan….Pakistan has given clear stance in recent days declaring an Afghan-led dialogue as the only option to bring peace in the region. Pakistan has offered its fullest cooperation in pursuance of peace. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has strongly rejected the military option and advocated dialogue to end the Afghan quagmire. A new survey by Pew also supports Pakistan’s stance for a durable solution. New development has once again indicated about positive Pakistani role” (Afghanistan Times and other news agencies also reported).

 

Reuters reported on October 8, 2018, “The Taliban directed Afghans to boycott upcoming parliamentary elections and demanded a complete withdrawal of foreign forces as the only solution to end the 17-year-old war as they ramped up attacks in strategic provinces. The statement from the hardline Islamic militant group coincided with the visit of top U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad {Rabidly anti-Pakistan}, who has been appointed to lead peace efforts with the Taliban. Khalilzad met President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul to discuss ways to hold Afghan-led peace talks with the Taliban…With less than two weeks to go before the long-delayed elections, the Taliban and Islamic State have stepped up attacks across the country…“Peace is a holy process, and the U.S. government and people are united with the Afghan government and people in this process,” Khalilzad was quoted by Ghani’s office in a statement as saying. Khalilzad is scheduled to visit Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week as he seeks to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.”

 

Nevertheless, in the recent past, after the visit of the US Secretary of State Pompeo to Islamabad and visit of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi to America, positive change has occurred between the strained relations of the US and Pakistan. Now, ties between the two countries are improving rapidly. Positive change in Pak-US relationship has resulted in positive change between Afghan-Pakistan ties. Therefore, Kabul has re-opened Pakistan consulate in Jalalabad.

 

These developments clearly show that now the US has realized that without Islamabad’s help, she cannot achieve durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. Otherwise, the US-led NATO forces will remain entangled in that war-torn country. Hence, with the support of Pakistan, unlike the previous conditional dialogue, the US is reviving talks with the Afghan Taliban without pre-conditions.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is the author of the book: the US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

                          

 

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Afghanistan: The War That Shames America By Eric Margolis

Afghanistan: The War That Shames America

By Eric Margolis

August 20, 2018

 After 17 bloody years, the longest war in US history continues without relent or purpose in Afghanistan.

There, a valiant, fiercely-independent people, the Pashtun (Pathan) mountain tribes, have battled the full might of the US Empire to a stalemate that has so far cost American taxpayers $4 trillion, and 2,371 dead and 20,320 wounded soldiers. No one knows how many Afghans have died. The number is kept secret.

Pashtun tribesmen in the Taliban alliance and their allies are fighting to oust all foreign troops from Afghanistan and evict the western-imposed and backed puppet regime in Kabul that pretends to be the nation’s legitimate government. Withdraw foreign troops and the Kabul regime would last for only days.

The whole thing smells of the Vietnam War. Lessons so painfully learned by America in that conflict have been completely forgotten and the same mistakes repeated. The lies and happy talk from politicians, generals and media continue apace.

This week, Taliban forces occupied the important strategic city of Ghazni on the road from Peshawar to Kabul. It took three days and massive air attacks by US B-1 heavy bombers, Apache helicopter gunships, A-10 ground attack aircraft, and massed warplanes from US bases in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar and the 5th US Fleet to finally drive back the Taliban assault. Taliban also overran key military targets in Kabul and the countryside, killing hundreds of government troops in a sort of Afghan Tet offensive.

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Afghan regime police and army units put up feeble resistance or ran away. Parts of Ghazni were left in ruins. It was a huge embarrassment to the US imperial generals and their Afghan satraps who had claimed ‘the corner in Afghanistan has finally been turned.’

Efforts by the Trump administration to bomb the Taliban into submission have clearly failed. US commanders fear using American ground troops in battle lest they suffer serious casualties. Meanwhile, the US is running low on bombs.

Roads are now so dangerous for the occupiers that most movement must be by air. Taliban is estimated to permanently control almost 50% of Afghanistan. That number would rise to 100% were it not for omnipresent US air power. Taliban rules the night.

Taliban are not and never were ‘terrorists’ as Washington’s war propaganda falsely claimed. I was there at the creation of the movement – a group of Afghan religious students armed by Pakistan whose goal was to stop post-civil war banditry, the mass rape of women, and to fight the Afghan Communists. When the Taliban gained power, it eliminated 95% of the rampant Afghanistan opium-heroin trade. After the US invaded, allied to the old Afghan Communists and northern Tajik tribes, opium-heroin production soared to record levels. Today, US-occupied Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, morphine and heroin.

US occupation authorities claim drug production is run by the Taliban. This is another big lie. The Afghan warlords who support the regime of President Ashraf Ghani entirely control the production and export of drugs. The army and secret police get a big cut. How else would trucks packed with drugs get across the border into Pakistan and Central Asia?

The United States has inadvertently become one of the world’s leading drug dealers. This is one of the most shameful legacies of the Afghan War. But just one. Watching the world’s greatest powerbomb and ravage little Afghanistan, a nation so poor that some of its people can’t afford sandals, is a huge dishonour for Americans.

Even so, the Pashtun defeated the invading armies of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, the Mogul Emperors and the mighty British Raj. The US looks to be next in the Graveyard of Empires.

Nobody in Washington can enunciate a good reason for continuing the colonial war in Afghanistan. One hears talk of minerals, women’s rights and democracy as a pretext for keeping US forces in Afghanistan. All nonsense. A possible real reason is to deny influence over Afghanistan, though the Chinese are too smart to grab this poisoned cup. They have more than enough with their rebellious Uighur Muslims.

Interestingly, the so-called ‘terrorist training camps’ supposedly found in Afghanistan in 2001 were actually guerilla training camps run by Pakistani intelligence to train Kashmiri rebels and CIA-run camps for exiled Uighur fighters from China.

The canard that the US had to invade Afghanistan to get at Osama bin Laden, alleged author of the 9/11 attacks, is untrue. The attacks were made by Saudis and mounted from Hamburg and Madrid, not Afghanistan. I’m not even sure bin Laden was behind the attacks.

My late friend and journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave shared my doubts and insisted that the Taliban leader Mullah Omar offered to turn bin Laden over to a court in a Muslim nation to prove his guilt or innocence.

President George Bush, caught sleeping on guard duty and humiliated, had to find an easy target for revenge – and that was Afghanistan.

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun-Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia. ericmargolis.com

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