Afghanistan: Heading Into Disaster 63

I seem unable to switch on a news channel nowadays without seeing a caption announcing the death of another poor young British soldier in Afghanistan. NATO has in June so far lost and average of precisely 3 soldiers killed every day, with a multiple of that injured.

Two events yesterday highlighted the deterioration in the NATO position. A Blackhawk helicopter was taken down, indicating that the Afghan resistance have regained access to effective missiles, while a 50 truck supply convoy was attacked and destroyed in Pakistan – not in Waziristan, but just outside Islamabad. That is perhaps the most significant news of all.

Afghans themselves are of course suffering much more than NATO,

All of this to maintain in power the fraudster Karzai and the gang of heroin warlords who make up his government, and promote the “Northern Alliance” tribes who comprise the laughably named “Afghan National Army” against the Pashtuns.

By my calculation, this month Afghanistan overtakes Vietnam as the United States’ longest running war. I haven’t seen that referenced anywhere, so grateful for views on that. The international consequences of this war are still more disastrous, while there is no reason to believe it will be militarily more succesful. The attempt to impose by brute military force an alien ideology on the Afghan people, is doomed to failure.

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63 thoughts on “Afghanistan: Heading Into Disaster

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  • JimmyGiro

    I thought the Taliban were all the Afghan religious students, that studied in Talibs provided by the Pakistani government.

    And it was Benazir Bhotto that sent them back to Afghanistan as a device to counter the effects of cultural destabilization instigated by both Washington and Moscow.

    The Talibs presumably were unleashed to take Afghanistan back to its Muslim roots, in hope of stability, without which Pakistan would suffer from mass immigration of displaced Afghans.

    I knew an old lady who swallowed a spider; she swallowed a spider to catch an oil fly… perhaps she’ll die.

  • ingo

    Who are the taliban I hear you ask.

    As I understand it, it is another aboirition of a western idea to politicise islam, initially to fight the Russians. These madrassas were paid for and instigated by the CIA in cooperation with Pakistans ISI. Today they do not have to fund it anymore, the ideologies have mushroomed, it marks essentially a shoot in the foot for western ideas of subdefuge.

    As for Shah Masoud? there are rumours and facts I’d rather not go into, the man had good ideas that did not fit into Afghan society and quiet a few enemies who were envious of his position with many Mujahedin, a natural leader. But this is not helping to fix the overall disunity amongst clan land Afghanistan.

    Trying to wrestle the Taliban in Kandahar and surrounding areas will backfire and create strife in all sorts of other places, because the Northern alliance is the majority representative in the Afghan Army and no Pashtun will accept being ruled by a Tajik or Uzbek police/soldier, it is a recipe to foster civil war imho. Pashtuns in all sorts of areas are going to create a nightmare, Taliban or not,its a family thing, and Afghanistan would be alight.

  • ingo

    Just read this missive from Mr. Gates.

    He’s niffed that Europe has rejected Turkey for its human rights record and that they hence elected a Muslim Government, indeed its all our fault that Turkey sent an aid flotilla to Gaza. Naughty Europe needs a good spanking for pushing Turkey away.

    What a cheek of the man, his country is jeopardising NATO’s doctrine with its co-belligerence towards Israels coward flagrations, together with the Netherlands and muppet Italy, I have to say.

    The man should have never got appointed by Obummer, one only has to look at what he got him into?

    How much of this predator drone agenda is promoted by the CIA I wonder.

    I think one should retaliate and shut each and every US base in Europe. Since Gates is partial to the decision of not condemning Israels despicable actions, we might as well start thinking along the lines of a European Peace and Defence Force, since NATO’s days are so obviously over.

  • Randal

    It’s one of the great ironies that two of the USA’s most pernicious and evil exports are colliding so violently in Afghanistan.

    US lawless and murderous military interventionism finds itself pitched against a persistent asymmetric opponent largely funded by wealth generated by US prohibition policies.

    We should never have collaborated in the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and we should never have allowed ourselves to be browbeaten, bullied and persuaded to go along with America’s stupid, authoritarian and self-defeating prohibitionist approach to particular recreational drugs. Anybody who doesn’t oppose the prohibition of recreational drugs hasn’t fully appreciated the harm prohibition does.

    We can solve both problems given the political will – pull our troops out of Afghanistan and declare that we will henceforth no longer engage in unilateral warfare that is not in direct defence against ongoing armed attack, and relegalise all recreational drugs in the UK subject to a more suitable and effective tax and licensing regime of the kind we use for alcohol and tobacco.

    These policies would in the long run reduce any threat of terrorism against us to virtually nothing, and, also in the long run, reduce organised crime dramatically by cutting out its main source of funding. They would also have the major beneficial effect of dramatically reducing the budget deficit almost overnight.

    Neither will happen, because our political class is mostly corrupt, incompetent, reflexively and ignorantly authoritarian, or Quisling transatlanticist dual loyalty types.

  • Randal

    ingo: “The man should have never got appointed by Obummer, one only has to look at what he got him into?”

    Obama was always America’s Blair, and more and more people are coming to see this, just as Brits’ eyes were gradually opened to Blair’s despicable nature during the years after 1997:

    ACLU chief ‘disgusted’ with Obama

    ” Asked why he’s so animated now, Romero said: “It’s 18 months and, if not now, when? … Guantanamo is still not closed. Military commissions are still a mess. The administration still uses state secrets to shield themselves from litigation. There’s no prosecution for criminal acts of the Bush administration. Surveillance powers put in place under the Patriot Act have been renewed. If there has been change in the civil liberties context, I frankly don’t see it.” ”

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    A Taliban spokesman says the deadly attack on a group of civilians at a wedding in southern Afghanistan was a US-led air strike.

    A Press TV correspondent reported that the bomb explosion in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province on Wednesday left about 40 people dead and more than 80 others injured.

    Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said on Thursday that Wednesday night’s blast was not an attack by the group, but a US-led strike.

    The spokesman also strongly rejected remarks by Kandahar officials that blamed the Taliban for the explosion.

    NATO officials have not commented on the blast.


  • Tom Welsh

    More than 200 years ago (1791 to be precise) Maximilien Robespierre – not exactly a bleeding heart liberal (more of a bloody hands radical) – eloquently admitted the obvious point that Craig makes in his post.

    “The most extravagant idea that can be born in the head of a political thinker is to believe that it suffices for people to enter, weapons in hand, among a foreign people and expect to have one’s laws and constitution embraced. It is in the nature of things that the progress of Reason is slow and no one loves armed missionaries; the first lesson of nature and prudence is to repulse them as enemies.

    “One can encourage freedom, never create it by an invading force”.

    I am sure the Founding Fathers of the USA and its government at the time completely agreed with Robespierre’s words.

    As for US foreign policy, the Monroe Doctrine was stated by the US government in 1823, warning European powers not to meddle in the affairs of the Americas (North and South). Am I alone in wondering whether it is time for the rest of the world to adopt a complementary agreement, requesting the Americans to stick to their own continent?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I agree with most of the previous comments.

    One thing.

    Who supplies the forces currently opposing NATO in Afghanistan who presumably trade heroin (as do their ‘opponents’). How do they get their weapons and ammunition? What are their supply-routes? Someone’s making a real packet. Obvious statement. But no-one’s been able to tell me as yet.

  • writerman

    i think we’ve occupied Afghanistan because of its key, strategic position, at the crossroads of Asia. Just look at the map and things become clearer.

    Also I don’t think we give a damn about what happens to the place. We’d probably prefer it passified, but if we have to destroy it, so be it. Arguably this won’t affect are overall plan to use it as a base, or potential jumping-off point.

    Whilst it’s clear by now that we will never defeat the Afghans, or the Pastuns, it’s also unlikely that they will ever have the military strength to threaten our massive bases, and that’s all we care about, our fortresses, full of heavily armed knights, bugger the peasant armies outside the walls, who needs them?

  • Brian Barder

    Every announcement of another British casualty in Afghamnistan reduces me to incoherent anger — which doesn’t mean that I’m indifferent to Afghan deaths, either. As far as I’m concerned, all British forces should be withdrawn from this benighted country tomorrow; their presence is achieving nothing and the western presence as a whole is doing more harm than good. But there are two points on which I have reservations about some of the preceding comments:

    (1) I don’t condemn the original military intervention in Afghanistan against al-Qaeda and their Taliban hosts. It seems obvious that 9/11 made this inevitable and it was right that Britain and other countries allied with the US also took part in support. The operation had UN Security Council support and was entirely legal and justified. But it largely failed in its original purpose and has now lost its way.

    (2) Those of us who advocate UK withdrawal as soon as logistically possible will make no impression on either government or Labour party policy or on public opinion if the basis of our demand is a root-and-branch denunciation of the whole Afghanistan enterprise. Not only is that historically mistaken (see (1) above): worse, many decent people won’t accept it, and will be repelled by the implication that British men and women killed and maimed in Afghanistan, and their families, have suffered in vain. We’ll be much more effective if we say that whatever the rights and wrongs of the original intervention and even of the current NATO operation, Britain has made a more than adequate contribution, second only to the Americans: we have done our bit, and more: it’s now time for others, if they believe that the operation can eventually ‘succeed’, to replace the UK contingent, or else for NATO strategy to be adapted to our very early withdrawal. (This is the line I have suggested in my “open letter to Harriet Harman, Part 2”, kindly referred to above by Iain Orr, and to be found at and also at It’s not as satisfying as letting off an angry rant about the whole misconceived, doomed, muddled misadventure that it has now become, but I believe it stands a far better chance of getting a hearing from the decision-makers. And Diane Abbott’s acquisition of her 33 nominations should help to ensure that the whole thing is properly and openly debated.


  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq


    According to a British close protection contractor in Afghanistan some elements of the Taliban are being offered large sums of money to attack (as part of a mixed group with special forces) certain targets across the border in Pakistan.

    Let me make this crystal clear – the Taliban are paid to strike targets in Pakistan and those targets seem to be the result of drone intelligence or actual drone attacks over the border.

    I now actually understand this is an AfPac war.

    Pure speculation, but I believe this insane activity is a prelude to a similar attack on Iran given time for the recent UN sanctions to confirm failure.

    America I believe are going all out for regime change in Iran without even considering the disastrous back-lash.

    Without a doubt, non-violent activists will morph into soldiers.

  • writerman

    Using a broad brush, I think we have a, mostly, unspoken attitude to many countries outside our sphere of influence, or empire. We want to destroy them and create chaos, so that they remain backward areas. But why? Well, weak countries pose no real threat to us, or competition. Secondly, and this might even be more important, weak and under-developed countries don’t use ‘our’ raw materials, leaving more, and cheaper supplies for us.

    Africa is probably the best example of this longterm strategy; keep them poor, keep them weal, keep them dependent.

    If this is an accurate analysis, then we don’t seem like very nice people at all.

  • Richard

    I went to a talk by Col Tim Collins the other night – he had a lot of interesting things to say about Afghanistan, and I think many, though not all, of his views would chime with most people on here. Besides calling the Afghan government just a system of “organised robbery” and the police “generally a disgrace” he also mentioned that the bomb makers there are have nearly reached a Northern Irish proficiency in the art of making home-made explosives (he reckoned about 97% the potency of commercially available explosives). He also spoke at length about the necessity for a trustworthy police force and justice system that is acceptable to everyone, and stressed that effecting arrests, not killing people, is key to defeating an insurgency. Even taking NATO at face value and accepting their motives as to help the Afghans build a stable country I find it very difficult to see how this can come about, if the country is split down the division as Craig suggests of Pathans in the south against the northern tribes. I have an aversion in general to the imposition of western power and values onto Afghanistan, and don’t think history bodes well for achieving this in the long run. But I also feel a dilemma about going in a stirring up a hornets nest and then buggering off. What do people think is the best way to leave Afghanistan, not for our interests, but for the interests of the Afghans?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    So, Mark, if I’ve got this correctly, you’re saying that NATO/ the US/ UK Special Forces are paying some groups in the Taliban in Afghanistan to attack other groups in the Taliban situated in Pakistan.

    Interesting and eminently feasible.

    And you see as being a blueprint for a destabilsation of the eastern border or Iran, guided by drones. Have I got that right?

    Who is supplying the Taliban(s) with their weapons now? What’s your view, Mark?

    Thanks again.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Does anyone know a guy called, Mao Chapman? Just wondered. He was a British journalist I once met (2004)in Pakistan and he wrote a nice article about my work in one of the English-language ‘papers there. I wondered whether or not he was still there.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Seems to me there can be more than one reason.

    Obviously to facilitate the Trans Afghan pipeline.

    But also geo-strategic encirclement of Russia and China.

    As for drugs, I thought the point was $800 million of money from narcotics worldwide, hard cash, gets laundered through Wall Street every year and the whole thing would seize up if it stopped coming.

    It might be about all of the above. The one thing it is definitely not about is ‘making us safe on the streets of London.’

  • Steelback

    Geo-strategy,oil,gas,and drugs are in a nutshell the chief motivation for the war-mongers in Afghanistan.

    The Anglo-US financial empire has been addicted to the narco-traffic for centuries.(see DOPE INC.on-line for detail on its organization)

    The multi-billion dollar black budget from the Afghan trade which supplies 90% of the world’s heroin finances the empire’s “soft genocides” against states it wants to weaken and undermine.You might call it the “China syndrome” and lest we forget one of the great ironies of history is that communist China was cut into the Anglo-US Golden Triangle trade not long after WW2.

    Astronomical profits from the trade finance the empire’s assassination teams,false-flag terror attacks,its friends as well as its enemies-both sides of the war-can be financed out of these profits in perpetuity.

    It’s a complex form of domination but it boils down to judicious use of military might supplemented by intelligence and off-shore banking assets.

    It’s not just in the longevity of the war in Vietnam being surpassed by the current Afghan campaign where grounds for comparison lie.The US in both conflicts engaged knowing they were both unwinnable.The US Defence establishment orthodoxy that US involvement in an Asian land war was anathema went back to McArthur days when the US ended up in an humiliating stalemate on the Korean peninsula.

    The US knows now that such conflicts can be dragged out interminably if need be.

    The other main point of comparison between S.E.Asia and Afghanistan is the narco-traffic.Like the various US proxy regimes succoured by the US in S.Vietnam the Karzai government is dependent on the drug trade for its revenue.The trade has increased exponentially in scope since the occupation began especially in Helmand,the British zone.

    Again don’t overlook the fact that like Vietnam Afghanistan shares a border with China and this may not be coincidental.The role of the superstate in the Afghna trade is probably vastly understated.

    Like all wars in history a small elite enriches itself at vast human cost to the ordinary soldiers and civilians on the front-line.

  • writerman

    Our western leaders, including Obama and all the rest, don’t give a damn about the Afghan people, they are expendable, merely pawns on the great, and very bloody, international chessboard.

    Christ, we ‘kill’ somewhere between 2 and 3 million Iraqis, over a couple of decades, rape the country, smash it to pieces; and then we are supposed to accept that our leaders… care?

    They only care about themselves and the circles they represent and serve so passionately. Social climbers, like Blair and Obama, though not born into spectactular wealth and power, show what can be achieved and gained, a lesson to us all.

    I think I finally accept that we live in something close to ‘terrorist states’ and that our leaders are very smartly dressed, articulate, seemingly charming… terrorists. Only we are so used to our style of terrorism, groomed over centuries, that we, mostly, don’t even see it for what it really is. It’s almost invisible, benevolent, terror. Terror that’s sold as a helping hand to the weak, instead of an axe of evil cutting them and their children in half.

  • chris, glasgow


    Your comment about Afghanistan against Pakistan is a load of crap. Whoever is telling you that is talking shit! The main reason is that the Pakistan special forces are secretly in Afghanistan aiding the Taleban not the US, especially in Helmand. This is what I was told from an intellegence officer for the army when I was working in Helmand.

    The Taleban are not a force that people think they are in afghanistan. There are not many of the actual taleban and many local warlords are sometimes considered taleban by the british media. But a lot of the people that are “resistance fighters” are only there because they need to make a living and there are not many jobs going in Helmand. Also the government in afghanistan are so corrupt that they are only concerned with making millions for themselves in Kabul and don’t really give a shit about the rest of the country.

    There are many construction jobs waiting to go ahead in Helmand which will bring thousands of jobs to the area and reduce the people flocking towards the Taleban but the afghan government isn’t bothering to get off it’s arse and start them. Craig is right they don’t care about the people in Helmand and are happy for that area to be in conflict so that they can get rich elsewhere.

  • chris, glasgow

    Also if you want to know where the taleban get a lot of their weapons from you only have to look at a small high pass along the border of China where the chinese are happy to leave unguarded so that chinese arms dealers can sell weapons there to the taleban.

  • Alfred

    Re: “I think I finally accept that we live in something close to ‘terrorist states’ and that our leaders are very smartly dressed, articulate, seemingly charming… terrorists.”

    I would omit the qualifications.

    Here’s a vid. providing a short primer on Western state terrorism. No doubt Larry will critique it:

  • Tony

    Shifting the camera angle a few degrees.

    Does anyone think the current attacks on BP by the Obama administration could have any political motivation against the UK because we look a bit wobbly about Afghanistan and made a fuss about the Israeli butchery on the boat to Gaza?

  • glenn

    It might not have been officially a “war”, but it any case, the longest running campaign in US history surely has to be that against the Native Americans, running as it did from 1492 until about 1910.

  • avatar singh

    bruan barder said “many decent people won’t accept it, and will be repelled by the implication that British men and women killed and maimed in Afghanistan, and their families, have suffered in vain. We’ll be much more effective if we say that whatever the rights and wrongs of the original intervention and even of the current NATO operation, Britain has made a more than adequate contribution,”

    what contribution?

    you british thought you could latch on to the loot which american forces are going to get in and after afgansitan. when not successful you british are paying Taliban and begging Taliban not to shoot at rbitish forces and for that you pay them a good sum of money by afghasn standard. you are not only immoral and evil you are also coward. No wonder the last time britian won any war agasint anyone otn its own was Boer war in 1899.=that too with all resources of empire. and no you didn to win falkand war without american help.

  • Apostate

    The real hidden dimension to wars that mainstream coverage never mentions is the role played by secret societies.For those willing to suspend their disbelief and corporate media programming will discover that fringe masonry has played decisive roles in all conflicts since the French Revolution.

    Why should we assume Afghanistan is any different? If an aspect of any phenomenon registers highly on the corporate media’s “absentometer” then it’s likely crucial to our understanding.Moreover it will be detectable to those willing to look hard enough below the surface establishment narrative.

    Given the knee-jerk aversion for “conspiracy theory” which is really a cover for intellectual laziness that allows elites off the hook all too often it’s no surprise that the fact that Afghanistan is the very cradle of secret societies has been utterly overlooked here.

    The Roshiniya sect dates from the seventeenth century and shares organizational features with the Bavarian Illuminati.From Germany this fringe-freemasonry spread to France and the US.

    The common Sufic thread that runs through such groups has its origins in Afghanistan.

    On the links between Afghan and European freemasonry:

    Many UN delegates have expressed surprise when they first arrive in NY to discover that the organization has its very own Sufi reading room!

    The Roshaniya were simultaneously a mystery school,political movement and army.

    Now do they sound like the Taliban or the Northern Alliance?

    You pays yer money and take your choice-but it bears considering that the Afghan conflict may be mutually orchestrated by two sides linked by fringe freemasonic connections who had the pieces on the Grand Chessboard in place long before this phase in the Afghan war started in 2001.

    This may also be the case in Iran where the ruling elite was helped to power by Britain and the US at the very same time as the Soviets were being enticed into Afghanistan.

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