Yet Another Imperialist Occupation of Afghanistan Ends in Disaster 145

Every single Imperial occupation of Afghanistan since Alexander the Great has had the same justification. They were all defensive invasions, necessary to reduce the “threat” from Afghanistan to the Imperial power. As those who have read my book Sikunder Burnes will know – and if you haven’t, you should – the first British occupation of 1839 was to topple a ruler viewed as potentially likely to ally with Russia and Persia in an invasion of British India. The second and third British invasions had the same justification. The Soviet invasion was to protect the Central Asian regions of the Soviet Union from infiltration by Islamic ideals. The American invasion was to stop more attacks like 9/11, as though there was something magic in the soil of Afghanistan that had prompted Osama Bin Laden and his small band of men, who had effectively left before the invasion was well established.

There is nothing unique about Afghanistan here. Almost every Empire in history has ostensibly pushed its borders ever outwards, in order to protect those borders from the barbarians the other side. It is the “defensive” logic behind the expansion of Empires. It is of course a lie, to justify looting, seizure of resources, rape and aggression. Most Empires as they developed added further justifications of high civilising mission, forcing the barbarians to be more like themselves. Education, sanitation – you know the playbook. That is why we are being bombarded with meaningless statistics about how many pupils are at school now in Afghanistan under American occupation. The statistics on opium and heroin production, which had been reduced to virtually zero under the Taliban and boomed to highest ever levels under US occupation, peculiarly do not figure in this narrative. The US occupation depended for its physical survival on supporting local warlords who were the heroin producers.

This was not an accident. I concur with this article that increasing heroin production was actually a goal of the United States as an agent of control in a country where the wholesale application of military force on the population has never worked. There is a great deal yet to be told about CIA involvement in Afghan heroin, and I expect we will learn more in fairly short time. I recount in Murder in Samarkand the heroin convoys being waved through on the Friendship Bridge en route to the Baltic ports, which could not have happened without the connivance of the Afghan, Uzbek and US governments. I also recount the death in an aircraft accident of my friend Richard Conroy of the United Nations whilst investigating this.

It is a further remarkable consistency of history that the British, Russian and American occupiers all sought to ally with the northern Uzbek, Tajik and Hazara tribes against predominantly Pashtun opposition. To the extent that the first puppet the Americans installed, President Karzai, was a member of precisely the same branch of the Dourani royal family as the puppet Shah Shuja that the British so spectacularly unsuccessfully installed in 1839. That is not to learn from history in the most plain fashion.

The primary true motive of the occupation of Afghanistan was originally the Trans Afghan Pipeline to take Central Asia’s massive supplies of natural gas – the gas reserves of Turkmenistan alone have a higher thermal value than the oil reserves of Iraq – down to Pakistan, India and onward via the Indian Ocean. This scheme was eventually stymied by Putin through his agent Alisher Usmanov and his aggressive Gazprom diplomacy in Central Asia. I was astonished to read that the pipeline project is not quite dead in this recent article, and that the Taliban has offered to guard it.

This was how the invasion of Afghanistan all started, with discussions by Enron and Unocal (board member George Bush sr.) with the Taliban on guarding the pipeline project, discussions in which Unocal was represented by its consultant, the future President Karzai. This paragraph from the article is a fair but sparse summary:

Global energy majors have latterly shown no enthusiasm for TAPI, but that was not always the way. In 1997, a consortium comprised of six companies and the government of Turkmenistan was formed with the goal of building a 1,271-kilometer pipeline to Pakistan. India was not yet part of the plan. The largest share in that consortium, 54 percent, was held by California-based Unocal Corporation. In 1997, the American company even arranged travel to Texas for a senior Taliban delegation for negotiations. Deadly terrorist attacks in 1998 against U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya organized by Al-Qaeda, whose leader Osama bin Laden had been provided safe haven by the Taliban, put paid to all that.

This misses some vital details, like the fact that Enron organised the meeting in Texas, and that it was held in the Governor’s mansion with George W Bush, at the time Governor of Texas. I suggest younger readers google Enron, which was one of the great financial scandals. Here is the full text of the key letter:

Kenneth L. Lay
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Enron Corp.
P.O. Box 1188
Houston, TX 77251-1188
Fax 713-853-5313
April 3, 1997
Via Fax: 512/463-1849

The Honorable George W. Bush
Governor of the State of Texas
PO Box 12428
Austin, Texas

Dear George,
You will be meeting with Ambassador Sadyq Safaev, Uzbekistan’s
Ambassador to the United States, on April 8th. Ambassador Safaev has
been Foreign Minister and the senior advisor to President Karimov
before assuming his nation’s most significant foreign responsibility.
Enron has established an office in Tashkent and we are negotiating a $2
billion joint venture with Neftegas of Uzbekistan and Gazprom of Russia
to develop Uzbekistan’s natural gas and transport it to markets in
Europe, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. This project can bring significant
economic opportunities to Texas, as well as Uzbekistan. The political
benefits to the United States and to Uzbekistan are important to that
entire region.
Ambassador Safaev is one of the most effective of the Washington Corps
of Ambassadors, a man who has the attention of his president, and a
person who works daily to bring our countries together. For all these
reasons, I am delighted that the two of you are meeting.
I know you and Ambassador Safaev will have a productive meeting which
will result in a friendship between Texas and Uzbekistan.

Natural gas. Electricity. Endless possibilities.

I want you to think about this. I published detailed information about the Bush family, the gas pipeline and American motives for maintaining the invasion of Afghanistan in Murder in Samarkand, along with information about the heroin trade, information I learnt first hand as British Ambassador in Uzbekistan. The book was a bestseller. I was invited to lecture at pretty well every major university you can mention worldwide, and at most of the big influential think tanks. Yet all this real story of the occupation of Afghanistan has virtually never been aired in the mainstream media, and these facts appear to be written out of history. They feature nowhere in the numerous discussions in the last 24 hours on the announcement of American withdrawal.

As a historian myself, I find the disconnect between the facts that really happened and what becomes the established narrative – and will be history – alarming. The extent to which we live in a propaganda construct in which received truth cannot always be trusted, is crystal clear to me now.

I very much hope that President Ghani and the Taliban will be able, without outside interference, to find a way to bring their devastated country together. I fear that the US, UK, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia and China will each continue to meddle in Afghan affairs in a way that will prove entirely debilitating. I had planned to journey to Kandahar in February to discuss the future with members of the Afghan community not aligned to the USA, whose view from the ground is almost never heard in the western world. I still intend to do that once Covid-19 restrictions allow.


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145 thoughts on “Yet Another Imperialist Occupation of Afghanistan Ends in Disaster

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  • M.J.

    I wonder why Alexander the Great succeeded where the Western powers did not? I wonder what he would have done, that they did not.

    • craig Post author

      He didn’t stay around that long, basically just a couple of years. The Bactrian civilisation endured a couple of centuries but that was very much just the North of Afghanistan, then across the Oxus into Central Asia.

      • Laguerre

        There were also Indo-Greeks, but like Bactria, it was very much a small ruling minority, that managed to survive for a bit, a century or so, but longer than the Greeks in Iran.

      • lysias

        Afghanistan was, I believe, under Persian Achaemenid rule for a couple of centuries, starting with either Cyrus the Great or Darius I.

    • Tom Welsh

      Another possible reason is that, by all accounts, the Afghans developed a great respect and admiration for Alexander. They put up their usual ferocious resistance to invasion, but he defeated them in every single battle and captured even the most inaccessible strongholds.

      Finally, he took an Afghan girl as his second wife, which went down very well.

      To this day the name “Sikunder” (as in “Sikunder Burnes”) is one to conjure with in all of South-West Asia. It was the closest they could get to “Alexander”.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Listening to Biden, he was extremely unequivocal about troop withdrawal before the 20th anniversary of 9/11. He’s painted himself (presumably purposefully) into one hell of a corner with the Pentagon.
    What odds Joe won’t live to see September 2021?

    • M.J.

      He’s got the best medical care in the world now. Barring sudden death (or harbingers like minor heart attacks), I wouldn’t bet on his not completing his term.

    • N_

      Biden to “cease to be US president” in 2021 was last traded at 10.0 (!) at Smarkets. Gotta be some value there. A minor scare would knock that to under 5 straightaway.

      “Devi” is Sanskrit for “goddess”.

      Strange how the only previous Catholic US president was one of the youngest.

      Ukrainian defence minister Andriy Taran seems to be cracking up. “The very presence of nuclear munitions in the [Crimean] peninsula may spark a whole array of complex political, legal and moral problems,” he says. That’s him off to see his PR agent, file a lawsuit, or confer with his priest then, or maybe hand over to someone who can cope get advice on how to handle complexity.

      How popular would dying to defend the Ukraine against Russia be in the US or British armed forces? The Budapest Memorandum would just get torn up as fast as the “guarantees” to Cyprus in 1974. A quick Russian victory followed by an armistice would probably be good for NATO in some people’s reckoning. Their problem would be that they might not be in the best position to know what’s actually going to happen from one day to the next.

    • Observer

      Now that fentanyl can be purchased so cheaply from China, opium has lost its lustre as a cash crop for the CIA. Sure Afghanistan is still a great cash-cow for the MIC to use up munitions and test new weaponry, but the Western powers are realising it’s of limited utility as a training ground now that they’ll be increasingly having to quell “terrorists” in their own densely-populated cities.

    • Wikikettle

      Tim Glover. I bought Craig’s books on I hope one day to meet Craig at his music festival and have a drink with him.

    • Observer

      Caitlyn often cuts to the heart of the matter.

      I just wish these lefties would pick up an economics textbook. Bernie Saunders is no more the average person’s friend than Maduro is.

      • glenn_uk

        Why would you say that about Sanders? I have been following him since 2005, and have the exact opposite impression. He has been fighting for economic justice his whole life.

  • Laguerre

    Reading that Eurasianet article, it seemed to me apparent that the central problem addressed there was not Afghanistan but Turkmenistan. How does Turkmenistan export its considerable wealth of natural gas, a problem they’re having trouble with? Geographically not easy. And bearing in mind that the Turkmen president Berdimukhamedov is the most absolute of absolute dictators – I’ve had experience of it there. The problem of absolute dictators being that they are exposed to madcap schemes they might take a fancy to, and there’s nothing and nobody to hold them back. Reviving the TAPI is one of those madcap schemes.

    In fact I would think the Turkmens would do better to make a deal with Iran. Iran and Iranians can be very commercial, and Iran is internally peaceful, the necessity for a pipeline, a condition which does not obtain in Afghanistan. But Iran and Turkmenistan have rather intermittent relations. Some years it goes well, and some years it doesn’t. It would be advisable for Berdimukhamedov to make an effort, which he could do, if he wanted.

    Anyway it’s not as though the Turkmens, if they sold all their gas, would spend the cash on anything useful, like the welfare of the inhabitants, who live in third-world poverty. Rather it would be spent on more grandiose capital projects for the glory of the president.

    • nevermind

      The gas should be kept in the ground, everywhere, there should be an OPEC agreed exstraction limit, not to be breached at the threat of instant global sanctions, madcap dictators or not.
      Adding more criminal intent to pollute, create waste lands a la Nigeria should result in dictators, with their swiss bank accounts sequestrated a la Ghaddafi, be tried in court for accelerated climate crimes.
      This nonchalant aspiration that all will be well as long as there is oil to zoom around the world, rather than using zoom to talk in negotiations, is an expression of lazy acceptance of the inevitable decline.
      I’m glad that the greatest heroin dealers in the world are withdrawing their protection forces from this long ravaged country. I would not go to Kandahar as long as CIA stooges are not safe behind bars in Bagram C.

      Afghanistan is blessed with much resources all of the multinationals love to get their hands on and I fear that alliances are already being formed for a new Government, though civil war might be the pre requisite to get to such a moment as everyone would want to have a slice of the action. I fear for the women of Afghanistan who made big strides, inside and out of Parliament. Their actions on education and health should be an example to all the bearded factions to learn from.
      As long as arms dealers can make a buck from gun addicted males in Afghanistan, not much will change, and as long as our MIs have got no hold over their erstwhile accomplishes in the multinational Islamic terror organisations represented in Londonistan, such as LEM, HUM, the JkLF, JUNDULLAH, the Pakistan ISI who pulls strings with all of them and various other splinter groups, the neighbouring countries will try and control Afghanistan.
      Hope to see Craig one more time before his planned endeavour. Imho he will not be safe in Afghanistan.

      • Laguerre

        “Afghanistan is blessed with much resources all of the multinationals love to get their hands on”.

        Nonsense. what would they be, apart from opium poppies? That was the whole point – nobody could ever figure out what the advantage of invading Afghanistan was. Even for Craig, it was the TAPI, a pipeline across the country conveying other countries resources.

        • Sarcophilus

          Quite right Laguerre. Having been kicked out of Viet Nam and access to opium poppies in that region, particularly Laos, the CIA was looking for another place. Afghanistan it was. The CIA’s huge unaccounted for budget has been funded by the international heroin trade, which it controls, since the 1960s.

          • Muscleguy

            Agreed. Heroin is looked on as soma for the necessary unemployed. Being zonked on drugs precludes one from political agitation to change one’s life chances which the powers that be wish not to be changed.

            Structural unemployment is a most useful tool. It acts as a spur to employees lest they fall down there and it helps to keep real wages low. The whole point of UC here in the UK is to entrench the idea of ‘you don’t want to end up here’ in the minds of exploited workers.

        • Pyewacket

          Laguerre, I beg to differ that Afghanistan only has Opium production as an exploitable resource. Sometime in the late 90s, the USGS estimated the metals and minerals deposits to be worth, then $6 trillion. There is plenty of Copper, Iron, precious metals, and important these days, Rare Elements. It has large deposits of Talc, which is I believe Taliban controlled. Ironic that J&J, makers of the famous brand of Talcum Powder for babies, have to deal with a sworn enemy of the US. Who knows, perhaps that’s why they were recently found to be adding Asbestos powder into the mix. No, potentially, Afghanistan is very wealthy indeed, just underdeveloped in the extraction sectors. Unsurprising really, after a 40 year long war, and that’s just the latest one.

          • Bruce H

            I think you are mistaken on this point, the problem for Afghanistan is that it is a very poor country with little in the way of easily exploitable wealth. It is also a country with little or no industry and not a great deal of agriculture beyond subsistence farming.

            It is a very beautiful country though in a certain way, not the Cote d’Azur or Italy, but a sort of beauty which only appeals to some people, those who like wilderness, mountains and arid areas, so even tourism is probably not enough to feed them.

            Its main value is from its strategic situation and for years they managed to play East against West, obtaining aid from both, but this aid didn’t really seep down to the majority of the population apart from road building and major engineering works, such as the dams and hydroelectric East of Kabul on the road down to Pakistan, and I don’t know if even these have survived so many years of war..

            Obviously this was only true in a time of peace but US destabilisation put an end to peace. It’s hard to say how things can ever improve and I certainly doubt that the Taliban will make life for the average Afghan more pleasant, in particular the women. Any woman who has actively tried to use the situation afforded by the present outside domination to live in what we would consider to be a normal way will likely either suffer, die or be obliged to leave her country.

            It looks to me like a “lose lose” situation. Alas.

      • Laguerre

        “The gas should be kept in the ground, everywhere,”

        Thanks for the virtue-signalling. So countries should be forbidden (by someone – who?) from exploiting at all the only resource they have. Maybe they should be invaded by western powers, like Afghanistan was, and have their practices put to rights – that is the only way you can force sovereign states to abandon their economic necessities. Even if the way Turkmenistan goes about it is idiotic.

  • Carl

    Thanks for a valuable and very rare glimpse of the truth about this endless, apparently pointless farce.

  • Wally Jumblatt

    Aww, Ken Lay. Remember when it all got too hot at Enron, poor Ken upped and died.
    I hope he’s OK now, there was the suggestion that death isn’t always fatal in certain cases.

    • pretzelattack

      sometimes people actually die, instead of moving to the Lost Island. It’s much more convenient and more final. same with epstein, no need for elaborate mission impossible scenarios, just kill him by the time honored new york city method, by paying cops or other prisoners. in this case, the other prisoner was a former cop.

  • Geoff S

    “I had planned to journey to Kandahar in February to discuss the future with members of the Afghan community not aligned to the USA, whose view from the ground is almost never heard in the western world.”

    This seems like a very interesting nugget posted almost randomly as a postscript but I’m curious as to who extended this invite and what the goal is. Would this be something that Craig could discuss further?

  • Frank Owen

    The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (1973/2003) (available on Amazon UK – the thin Wikipedia article cites an online pdf of the 1973 text) is a brilliant history of the heroin trade during the 20th Century, the original title (The Politics of Heroin in SE Asia) giving away its geographical concern.

  • Mockingbird

    Craig wrote “The American invasion was to stop more attacks like 9/11, as though there was something magic in the soil of Afghanistan that had prompted Osama Bin Laden and his small band of men, who had effectively left before the invasion was well established”

    Who really was behind the 9/11 attacks? That is the question. Care to answer?

    Yes, this was just an excuse to carpet bomb Afghanistan with cluster bombs, the remnants of which kill and maim innocent Afghans today. Afghanistan has one of the worst rates of life expectancy today coupled with an opioid crisis supported by the West for their users. And then Iraq. We had the war on terror, then the financial scam of 2008 and now a medical scam with Covid. These Corporations who control Governments all work together.

    It was also reported CIA personnel who died on Pan Am over Lockerbie were involved in the drug cartels.

    • Stevie Boy

      Robert Fisk has covered the issue of western meddling and expected consequences. 9/11 wasn’t really a surprise it was more of a ‘when rather than an if’. And, we might surmise today that at some point in the future there will be reckoning for the west for the meddling they have carried out in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

      • Mockingbird

        I didn’t know until now the journalist Robert Fisk died last year. May he RIP

        No poppy for me. Don’t die for Freemasonry. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is no coincidence.

        “….as the years passed, old Bill Fisk became very ruminative about the Great War. He learned that Haig had lied, that he himself had fought for a world that betrayed him, that 20,000 British dead on the first day of the Somme – which he mercifully avoided because his first regiment, the Cheshires, sent him to Dublin and Cork to deal with another 1916 “problem” – was a trashing of human life. In hospital and recovering from cancer, I asked him once why the Great War was fought. “All I can tell you, fellah,” he said, “was that it was a great waste.” And he swept his hand from left to right. Then he stopped wearing his poppy. I asked him why, and he said that he didn’t want to see “so many damn fools” wearing it – he was a provocative man and, sadly, I fell out with him in his old age. What he meant was that all kinds of people who had no idea of the suffering of the Great War – or the Second, for that matter – were now ostentatiously wearing a poppy for social or work-related reasons, to look patriotic and British when it suited them, to keep in with their friends and betters and employers. These people, he said to me once, had no idea what the trenches of France were like, what it felt like to have your friends die beside you and then to confront their brothers and wives and lovers and parents. At home, I still have a box of photographs of his mates, all of them killed in 1918.

        So like my Dad, I stopped wearing the poppy on the week before Remembrance Day, 11 November, when on the 11th hour of the 11 month of 1918, the armistice ended the war called Great. I didn’t feel I deserved to wear it and I didn’t think it represented my thoughts. The original idea came, of course, from the Toronto military surgeon and poet John McCrae and was inspired by the death of his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, killed on 3 May 1915. “In Flanders fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses, row on row.” But it’s a propaganda poem, urging readers to “take up the quarrel with the foe”. Bill Fisk eventually understood this and turned against it. He was right.”

        • Squeeth

          It seems as though Fisk followed the English Lit. version of the Great War (good entertainment for hereditary middle-class dullards from the south-east of England) rather than the real history of it. Trench warfare was much safer than open warfare. On 21 (or 22) August 1914, the French Army suffered 27,000 dead and kept fighting, while the British pretty much dropped out from November 1914 until 1 July 1916. If the 19,800-odd British dead on 1 July was too many, what number wouldn’t have been?

          Disowning the Great War became much easier after the Second World War, despite the boss class joining in for reasons of great power rivalry both times. The working class participated to justify a claim for a better place in society afterwards, which it achieved until 1929 and then again until the early 70s.

          I’m glad he didn’t like poppies, because these have become an attempt to juxtapose the suffering of the citizen armies of the C20 with those of the mercenary rabbles doing boss class dirty work since 1963.

        • Johny Conspiranoid

          Durring WW1 the oil bearing lands of west asia passed from the Ottoman Empire into the hands of the Western Alies, mainly Britain, and their local allies. Russia did not get a share of the victor’s spoils due to the revolution there. This was convenient for the rest of the victors so perhaps they helped things along there. Anyway, then as now it looks as if all those people died for oil. Iused to wear a poppy because I believe in remembering the dead but now it is too obviously being used to promote war.

      • Goose

        If half the stuff Fisk reported on, is true, it must be incredibly frustrating working for western intel agencies. Knowing that framing others and deceit is the order of the day, with fellow citizens fed a totally false picture of world events. Basically all to suit a evil, greedy political elite, whose motives and plotting remain wholly opaque to their citizenry.

        Look how the UK media talk of ‘Russia amassing troops on Ukraine’s borders’, failing to mention they’re inside their own borders. Imagine the Russians telling the US or UK where we can station troops inside our borders! Moreover, I seriously doubt the notion Russia has any intention of marching on Kiev, as suggested; they’re surely there to dissuade a Zelensky-ordered all-out offensive against ethic Russians in Ukraine’s east. You can only assume the US has given Zelensky the green-light, given all the heavy military equipment they’re moving eastwards, presumably it’s a deliberate effort to provoke such Russian intervention? The thinking likely being, Russia intervenes and Nord Stream 2 is finally scuppered?

        • Goose

          Both the US (LNG) and Ukraine(transit costs) have a intense interest in NS2 being scuppered. Hence, I do think there will be some sort of Spring offensive.

          Hawkish Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s behaviour has been deeply depressing in all this. Germany and France appear to want a peaceful resolution and both sides to abide by the Minsk agreements, whereas Stoltenberg seems to be taking orders from Washington. Today, the US has sanctioned Russia after attributing the Solarwinds hack. Europeans really do need to separate themselves from the gung-ho US, screaming for war in Europe, safely across the ocean.

        • Tatyana

          when you say Zelensky ordered, you mean the United States ordered.
          If you’ve seen a video like this

          then it’s extremely difficult for you to imagine that this comedian was really the best of all candidates for Ukrainian presidency!

          • Goose

            He’s certainly the joker.

            But the situation most certainly isn’t a joke, and our MSM aren’t even attempting any sort of balance in reporting the fears of those in eastern Ukraine. I don’t get why anyone would encourage Ukraine’s Nato membership at this point either. Not when they know, regardless of Russia, that country is in a state of near civil war. Why would Nato take sides in a civil war?

          • N_

            The way the British MSM refer to Crimea is mental, e.g. “Russian-occupied Crimea”, as if it’s akin to the German-occupied Channel Islands in 1941-45.

          • John O'Dowd

            e.g. “Russian-occupied Crimea”, as if it’s akin to the German-occupied Channel Islands in 1941-45.

            Actually, the ‘Channel Islands’ are actually Normandy – i.e. France – so they are in fact French territory under English occupation!

          • Mr Shigemitsu

            Normandy, in the form of W the C, invaded England, claimed the English crown, and brought the Channel Islands (as well as the rest of Normandy) along with him, so to speak.

            That his great, great, etc… Granddaughter still owns the Channel Islands is only to be expected, though the rest of Normandy is long gone. Didn’t stop the French from attempting to invade them, unsuccessfully, several times over the centuries.

            Don’t forget, the Normans weren’t exactly the cheese-eating surrender monkeys that we are familiar with today; they were Norsemen, and well ‘ard!

    • Pyewacket

      Mockingbird, re: the Lockerbie angle. In Lester Coleman’s account, the Trail of the Octopus, there were regular shipments of Heroin crossing the Atlantic as part of an operation conducted by the DEA. This was usually packed in a brown Samsonite suitcase, which was of the type that contained a bomb. Whether a fanciful tale or not, some quite important people died on that flight, who took their secrets with them.

  • Antonym

    Heroin is out these days: fentanyl is stronger, can be synthesized anywhere in stead of grown and is thus the better criminal ATM.
    Your list of countries meddling in Afghanistan contains a huge spectrum on the scale of malignity.

    • DunGroanin

      I believe much new production has been set up in Tasmania in recent years.
      Much the same as Marijuana growing in the U.K. has made us the largest exporter of its derivatives whilst we are forbidden from its benefits because of the Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex’s captive and profitable government funded markets.

  • Carrots

    The only time women have had equal rights in Afghanistan was under the PDPA which the CIA worked with Bin Laden to topple. During their occupation of Afghanistan American soldiers were told to turn a blind eye to the culture of boy rape called Bacha bazi which the Taliban suppressed. The Taliban also suppressed opium production. An invasion for nothing except the satisfaction of American blood lust… when there wasn’t a single Afghan involved in 9/11 and the Taliban Foreign Minister learning of the attack from an external source had tried to warn the Americans.

      • Carrots

        Theophilus – I read the article, I’m one of those people who posts here occasionally and who doesn’t take everything Craig says as the gospel truth. I was also around in 2001 and the invasion wouldn’t have happened without 9/11 and the invasion happened because of 9/11. The all-about-oil argument gets made for invasion of Iraq as well. Both invasions together cost $trillions and the US doesn’t control Iraq’s oil and there isn’t a pipeline. At best oil was an ulterior motive and not the primary one for the invasion of Afghanistan. That was 9/11 and satisfying American blood lust.

        • Kempe

          After 9/11 Americans, well not just them, were looking for revenge. Afghanistan was sheltering Bin Laden and refusing to hand him over so that was going to have to do. Looking at the earlier Russian and British experiences in the country and what happened in Vietnam it was obvious how it would end. Same applied to Iraq.

          • Wikikettle

            Kempe. Is this our “Rules based order”? Hand over Blair and Bush or we bomb you back to the stoneage.

          • lysias

            The Taliban were not refusing to hand over bin Laden. They publicly stated that, if the U.S. provided evidence of bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11, they would hand him over to another Muslim state to be tried. The U.S. refused to provide evidence. Probably because they did not have it.

        • lysias

          9/11 was the pretext that the U.S. government needed to arouse Americans’ blood lust so that they could go ahead with their invasion.

    • Kempe

      Well they certainly won’t get any rights once the Taliban have taken back control. Once again the real losers here will be the ordinary Afghans who just want to live in peace, maybe enjoy a bit of music and send their daughters to school. Let’s not get too carried away in thinking the Taliban are the ‘good guys’, they control much of the rural areas of Afghanistan including a lot of best poppy growing areas but don’t seem to have done much to limit heroin production. They suppressed it in 2001 principally because the UN paid them to, not for any idealogical reasons.

      • Carrots

        Kempe – I suggest you read this article…

        The Washington Post aren’t known as a propaganda tool for the Taliban but they write,

        ” In July 2000, when the Taliban controlled most of the country, its reclusive one-eyed leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, declared that opium was un-Islamic and imposed a ban on growing poppies. Much to the surprise of the rest of the world, the ban worked”

        It doesn’t say ‘the Taliban are the good guys’ – nor did what I wrote.

        • Kempe

          In the year prior to the ban the Taliban oversaw a bumper crop of 4,500 tonnes of heroin. Whilst they may have banned the growing of a new crop they did nothing to destroy the thousands of tonnes already produced and in storage. It’s possible that part of their motivation may have been to increase the price by restricting supply.

          Actions speak loader than words and heroin is big earner for the Taliban.

      • SA

        What rights have you to impose what rights may be given to anybody? This is the kind of benevolent orientalism, the white man burden type of do gooders that imperialism and colonialism depends on.
        The only way human rights can be observed throughout the world is by a process of consensus not coercion. Societies such as Afghanistan cannot be forced to comply with what is perceived to be western approved norms by force, it is a process of assimilation education and integration.

        • Kempe

          Imposing human rights by force… well that’s a novel approach.

          What rights do you have to challenge my rights to state that everyone has rights to aspire to the rights of western approved norms? It’s the suppression of rights by force by the Taliban (well documented) we need to be concerned about.

          • SA

            Very very western style arrogant attitude I am afraid. You do not seem to understand what I have said but reinforced your own god’s given right to western superiority to impose what is right.

  • John O'Dowd

    We knew it was always about hydrocarbons: The lies, deceit, murder and pillage.

    Thanks for providing more of the details.

    I must re-read ‘Murder in Samarkand’ – and get a hold of Sikunder Burnes, which I’m sorry to say I haven’t yet read.

    • Josh R

      Remember seeing the pipeline map in those early days & how closely bases & deployments matched its route, being able to predict the spread of foreign aggressions all the way south through Waziristan to the coast based on those industry maps.
      All so blatant that it doesn’t even merit the headline “exposé”, & utterly horrifying just how easily we let them get away with it……again & again, getting wrapped up & distracted with whatever razzamatazz the MS throws at us…..
      …..sorry, no idea if I’ve got any point worth making, just struggling to get my head round the decades of bloodshed emanating from our shores & the corridors of Whitehall & Washington….
      Ho hum, wonder what’s on the telly.

  • Josh R

    Am a little sceptical about Biden’s “withdrawal” crowd pleaser, especially after the MENA troop shuffles, ’90 day deployment’ stats fudging & curiously absent reporting of special ops, ‘advisers’ & mercenary numbers over the past years.

    This article is an interesting read wrt Turkey, which has proved to be an increasingly potent ingredient in the ‘noxious’ mix recently:

    • Giyane

      Josh R

      Often US troop withdrawals mean troop relocation, for example to Myanmar where the massive deployment of troops from.the US might have consequences.

      Tell Taliban they can assist in the revenge against Buddhist pillage of the Rohinga Muslims, with US backup, and you have a deal.

      Perhaps that’s why Putin has lined his troops up outside Ukraine. The Democrats have had 4 years to plan their next world catastrophe. It’s boring being scared of germs all the time.

  • Moon River

    Craig says “Yet Another Imperialist Occupation of Afghanistan Ends in Disaster”

    For those who launched the war, and their owners, it’s been very profitable.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Dear Craig Murray,.
    My mind is fully engaged with your factual and logical commentary on the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
    This sentence made my mind roam wild and free:-

    “ As a historian myself, I find the disconnect between the facts that really happened and what becomes the established narrative – and will be history – alarming.”

    In my reflections on the deeper meaning of that sentence, I thought about the history of Jamaica (where I was born) and which had been Britain’s most important slave colony during the days of slave colonies under the British Empire. The ‘disconnect’ observation which you made, is as pertinent and relevant to me when observing contemporary Britain as is the accuracy of the statement when applied to the current situation in Afghanistan.
    A good thing when one can paint with a broad brush while simultaneously detailing the specifics within the wider picture which one paints.
    Suffice to say that I was enlightened by your commentary.

    • Wikikettle

      Courtenay Barnett. Indeed, we lost the great Robert Fisk who has left for us his books. Craig, luckily for us, continues.

      • Courtenay Barnett


        Indeed Fisk was deeply critical of US Middle East policies and also critical of Israel – and – it seems so is Craig Murray.


    • Giyane

      Courtenay Barnett

      I was thinking the same thing about the disconnect between the reality of the Slave Trade and what people were told at the time. In effect the persecution of Julian Assange is an attempt to castrate the reality of all the shameful last 40 years of Crusader War on Islam. The Slave Trade itself was one of many former Wars on Islam.

      Assange only exposed Iraq, but the Yugoslavia was 20 years befure 2003 , and we are now nearly 20 years after it. Throughout the last 40 years the continuous live commentary on USUKIS crimes has taught us the reality of the Slave Trade crimes. The collaboration between white Arab possibly Muslim, possibly not Muslim, Christian and Jew, against the black African Muslim is repeated now with Usama bin Laden waging war against the African Sudanese, Somali , Mali black Muslims as well as the Afghani and Pakistani Muslims, followed by the Iraqi , Libyan, Syrian, Yemeni Muslims.

      So far as I can tell, the USUKIS plan after deleting The work of Assange is to.progress to destroy the Muslims of the former Soviet sphere. Peace with the Taliban is the start of a new era of absolute destruction, WW3, by the zombies of globalist hegemony.

      In fact yesterday I was browsing the history of Bactria , Greek Thugs dressed in miniskirts on all the coins.Parthia, Scythia, Ptolemy, Antiochus. The ghost of the Soviet Union is sitting on the lid of so.much awful history, like Saddam sitting on the lid of Iraq.
      What will happen if that lid is removed by Russophobic USUKIS and its Islamist proxies?

      Yes. Really. They want to torch Asia in the same way they have torched the Middle East, and torched Africa 500 years ago. It bodes something. The Crusaders see rape profit and destruction of Islam. the Islamists, freedom from Communism and power transferred to themselves. Both equally deluded, which is why they have to together tamper with the history they made

  • lysias

    Craig, since you’re now stating that the true reason for the occupation of Afghanistan was the pipeline, are you now willing to reconsider your rejection of conspiracy theories about 9/11?

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Reply ↓

      You took the question out of my mind.

      No rational person can explain the collapse of building 7 – without – well – without what? How do you do it and still stick to official script?

      That is the question – at least part of it anyway.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “No rational person can explain the collapse of building 7”

        The same terrorists who flew planes into the WTC also collapsed building 7 as a controlled demolition with explosives as a secondary terrorist attack about twenty minutes after the first one. The previous failed attempt to bomb the WTO a few years before had attempted to do it this way.
        If the US gov. wanted it to happen they would just have got Al-Quida to do it anyway.

    • lysias

      Your comment presupposes that there’s something wrong with being a conspiracy theorist.

      • UWS

        Yes, there is – conspiracy theorists are lunatics who are wrong 99/100 times and look for fixes to their issues in completely wrong places. In fact, it’s how fascists enslave gullible today – dangle stupid non-issue in front of them and they will be too busy opposing vaccines or attacking pizzeria to notice creeping authoritarian takeover. It’s the same trick as convincing idiots “all politicians lie” because it makes you accept liars and ignore the honest ones who want to fix things (like Corbyn or Sanders)…

    • lysias

      I’d say that it’s the U.S. government’s alleged failures on 9/11 that walk and talk like ducks.

    • pretzelattack

      are you willing to consider that they had warning but let it happen? no need for hollywood drama, no holographic planes, no disappearing planes, no missle attack on the pentagon. ever so much simpler.

      • lysias

        Certainly I’m willing to consider that possibility. I don’t know exactly what happened that day. I think the powers that be left enough red herrings to make it virtually impossible to determine exactly what happened.

      • Giyane


        When you say ‘ they’ had warning, I wonder who they is. Cui bono the destruction of the Middle East that followed? Oh yes, Zionists, Islamists, US Puritans and UK weirdly called Christians.

        BTW, Genel , in Kurdistan , owns the majority of Kurdish oil rights. 100,000 barrells per day.
        So somebody got lucky by getting their fingers sticky, didn’t they?

  • Athanasius

    I would have agreed with you once. Then I read about the central Asian Khanates. Whatever about the British, the Russians were certainly well within their rights dropping the hammer on them.

  • wiggins

    As the Duke of Wellington pointed out 200 years ago, fielding an Army in Afghanistan large enough to avoid defeat would cost more than the Country is worth.
    The West is proving that contention true in the 21st Century.

  • Xavi

    Even when the warmongers and imperialists are proved disastrously wrong they remain correct and respectable, and vice versa. That will never change in British media and politics.

  • David

    The governments we vote for are the governments we get. They are, often and currently, not great governments but at least we have the luxury of not being governed by the Taliban.

    Sorry Afghanistan, we leave you once again to your own devices. I will follow, probably with sizeable measures of discomfort, grief and anger, whatever news we get coming our way from your revived medieval regime.

    I expect you don’t have terribly long before an external power or alliance of foreign powers takes back control.

    • Xavi

      Our governments sustain brutal medieval theocracies and inflict murderous sanctions and wars across the globe.

    • Squeeth

      Britain and the US are not democracies, the governments are most certainly not the ones people vote for.

  • Proxy war

    The Sunni wahabi talibans (Qatar is wahabi too) have a track record of lying in bed with the USrael great satan eg Anbar, Yemen, Syria, golan field hospitals. This blinken harping over no alqaeda support by the talibans is a cover, Afghanistan will now be turned into a Yemen type proxy war battleground with Iran sucked onto supporting Shia on one side. The cunning and deceit of the US Pentagon wasp is only surpassed by a groves/oppenheimer combination. Victoria Nudel may be back at State but USblinken is conniving to return Ukraine to Russian orbit in return for russki help against Iran (a la Medvedev in its killing of gaddafy). A huge civil war may be coming with US/Pakistan now supplying the talibans, business as usual after all these years.

  • David Schmudde

    > That is why we are being bombarded with meaningless statistics about how many pupils are at school now in Afghanistan under American occupation.

    > The statistics on opium and heroin production, which had been reduced to virtually zero under the Taliban and boomed to highest ever levels under US occupation, peculiarly do not figure in this narrative.

    Actually, the education statistics are very meaningful. So are the statistics on opium production.

    But I have not been bombarded by the former and I’m regularly reminded of the latter. I’m not sure what your sources of information are. I suspect you’re attempting to paint an incomplete picture to make your point. There is no need. The Afghanistan invasion can be a farce and a failure and still have some positive outcomes. Such acknowledgement doesn’t encourage the imperialists – their mind is made up – but it can inform our understanding of the efficacy of liberal principles (education for all, women’s rights, etc…) in nations outside of the West.

    • Giyane

      David Schmudde

      If this country was in a continuous state of war, I wonder how many females would be allowed to walk to school or office every day. Many children in England don’t walk to school any more. Just suppose one criticised HMG for keeping adults and children at home, without mentioning the circumstances.
      The Afgan listening to the BBC might have some thoughts about UK corruption in government, but nobody thinks it would be a useful excuse to invade us. Scraping the bottom.of the barrel imho.

  • Tone

    IIRC Blair’s ‘job’ was to find alternative markets for the Afghan farmers, by e.g. flying early roses, etc. to London, in competition with Kenya. At the time there was a world shortage of morphine, and so the UK could have bought up the whole of the farm-gate output for peanuts, (and incidentally wrecked the supply-chain) and shipped it to the UK for processing.

    Didn’t happen, though. What was surprising was to see fields and fields of opium poppies springing up all over Dorset and the south east for a few years, presumably heavily subsidised ….. must have made our returning soldiers feel quite at home.

  • UWS

    “Soviet invasion”? Why are you repeating usual western lies/smears, Craig? Last time I checked, Soviet intervention was helping Afghan government (you know, the legitimate, internationally recognized one) under attack by extreme fundamentalist fighters sent by CIA/Saudis/Pakistan. Since when helping friendly government is an “invasion”? It’s as much of an “invasion” as people wanting Scottish independence being KGB paid puppets and terrorists – funnily enough, lie invented by the same three letter organization. Either both are true or neither is, how about apology for the former?

    And Soviets were 200% right in the defence – when you read today women in 80s Afghanistan had full rights and there were female ministers in government, it reads like a fantasy, despite 45 years of progress. Which is why US claims of “fighting for women rights” are so laughable – if they cared about them, they could have not destroyed the country in the first place. Reagan was really the most vile, destructive scumbag on Earth in the second half of XX century if we measure by the amount of lives he destroyed down the line…

    • Kempe

      You ought to read more widely.

      The ruling party, the PDPA, grabbed power through a Soviet backed coup. Their reforms were opposed by many of the more conservative Afghans, opposition they put down violently. The Soviets invaded after the second in command, Hafizullah Amin, took power by assassinating the president and they feared he was going to switch allegiance to the US. One of their first acts was to murder him and most of his male relatives.

      • Sarcophilus

        Nice try Kempe. Brzezinski’s support, under Carter, for the mujahedin pre-dated the Soviets arriving. In fact, it was that support that compelled the government in Afghanistan to invite the Soviets in. The Soviets were invited. They did not invade.

        • Kempe

          Just like they were ‘invited’ in to East Germany, Hungary and Czechoslovakia I suppose.

          • lysias

            The Russians didn’t need to be invited into East Germany. The German invasion of the USSR gave them the right to invade and occupy part of Germany.

            The same reason the U.S. had to have troops in West Berlin when I was part of the occupying force there.

  • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    The following is from a 1979 Gaelic biography of Sir Hector MacDonald (Eachann MacDhòmhnaill — “Eachann nan Cath”, 1853-1903). Born near Dingwall on a croft in (at that time Gaelic-speaking) Rootfield on the Black Isle. He became a veteran of the Afghanistan War and the Boer War etc, being promoted up through the ranks. [Quick English translation below Gaelic text] —

    Cò, mar sin, aig an robh a’ bhuaidh sa chogadh seo? Na h-Afganaich? Na Breatannaich? Chaidh na h-Afganaich a ruaig air na raoin-chatha. Chan eil teagamh sam bith air sin. Chaidh mòran mhìltean dhe na fir-shabaid a b’fheàrr a bh’aca mharbhadh anns a’ chogadh fad an dà bhliadhna. Ach, air an taobh eile, cha robh crìoch sam bith air a’ chogadh sin ach gun do chuir e aon liùdhag riaghladair ann an àite liùdhag eile. Tha aon rud cinnteach, co-dhiubh; cha robh a’ bhuaidh leis na Sasannaich! Fo cheannard às Eirinn, sann le dà rèiseamaid Ghàidhealach, leis na Gurkhas agus na Sikhs, bha a’ bhuaidh an aghaidh nan Afganach ann am mòran chatha. Agus, as eugmhais nan Albannach, nan Gurkhas agus nan Sikhs, math dh’fhaoite, bha truaighe air a bhith ann a bheireadh barr air Maiwand. Gu dearbh, fad a’ chogaidh bha na Gòrdanaich agus na Sìophortaich air an dara taobh, na Gurkhas agus na Sikhs air an taobh eile a’ sparradh càch-a-chèile feuch cò a bhiodh air thoiseach a’ dol am badaibh an nàmhaid. Ach, ann an Lunnainn, bha buaidh-chaithream agus glòir iongantach aca man bhuaidh agus man cheumach a rinn an Seanailear Roberts agus an t-Arm “Sasannach!” Dhìochuimhnich a’ Chuigse gu h-iomlan na gnìomhan uamhasach a bha iad ag ràdh a rinn e. Dh’èirich Ridire Frederick Roberts gu inbhe Mormhair — “Lord Roberts of Kandahar”.” Ach mura robh mòran dhan t-sabaid aig na Sasannaich, gu dearbh bha an t-airgead aca! Gach oidhche nuair a bha na saighdearan Gàidhealach nan seasamh coltach ri bodaich-shneachda a’ dìon Sherpur, bha grunnan dhan Fhreacaidean Rìoghail a’ ceumach air an socair do Bhanca Shasainn ann an Lunnainn, nan geàrd air an òr a bh’ann. »

    (‘EACHANN NAN CATH: Eachdraidh-beatha An Ridire Eachann MacDhòmhnaill’, le Ailean Friseal, GAIRM, Glaschu, 1979, ISBN 901771 62 7)

    [« KABUL TO KANDAHAR: 1880
    Who, then, had the victory in this war? The Afghans? The British? The Afghans were repulsed on the battlefields. No doubt about that. Many thousands of their best fighters were killed in the war over the two years. But, on the other hand, the only result of the war was the replacement of one puppet-ruler with another. One thing for sure, though; it wasn’t the English who won it! Under a commander from Ireland, many battles were won by two Highland regiments, by Gurkhas, and by Sikhs. And without the Scots, the calamity might well have surpassed that of Maiwand. Indeed, throughout the war the Gordons and Seaforths were in competition with the Gurkhas and Sikhs as to who would be first to engage the enemy. But, in London, the triumphal boast was of the victory and advance of General Roberts and the “English” Army! The Whigs duly forgot all the awful misdeeds of which they had accused him. Sir Frederick Roberts was elevated to the Lords — “Lord Roberts of Kandahar”. But if the English missed out on much of the fighting, they certainly did not miss out on the money! Every night as Highland soldiers stood like snowmen defending Sherpur, a detachment of the Royal Guards was strolling to the Bank of England in London, protecting the shipment of gold. »]

  • Alan Kinsella

    Ahmed Rashid’s book Taliban has a chapter on the TAPI also. A fine complement to Craig’s Samarkand.

  • Louis Celine

    The extent to which we live in a propaganda construct in which received truth cannot always be trusted, is crystal clear to me now.
    Craig, what is crystal clear for you now, it is what US is doing for decades. Supporting genocides (Argentina- 30,000 death, Chile- Pinochet, etc etc, etc). Lawfare everywhere, creating stories, supporting criminals. Pure propaganda. Here is not different. Ask the BBTorie about propaganda.

  • lysias

    I am unable to connect to Craig’s twitter feed. I wonder if twitter has cut him off, and I wonder if what he had to say here about the true reason for the occupation of Afghanistan might have something to do with that.

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