The longest war in US history turns 15. War without end.
US troops invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, less than a month after the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington. What seemed like a quick victory over the Taliban regime turned into a bloody, endless guerrilla war that continues to this day....
Fifteen years after the invasion, there are fewer than 9,000 US troops in Afghanistan, down from the 100,000 peak in 2011. They are part of “Operation Freedom’s Sentinel,” and the Pentagon insists they are there in a solely “advise and assist” role to the Afghan military, rather than fighting the Taliban or Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). Just this week, however, Staff Sergeant Adam S. Thomas, 31, was killed in Nangarhar Province, reportedly by an improvised bomb. He was the third US soldier killed in Afghanistan in 2016.
Opium cultivation, banned under the strict Taliban interpretation of Islam, has made a roaring comeback during the war.
Over 90% of the world's heroin is produced in "liberated" Afghanistan.
Casualties of War
Over 4,000 coalition soldiers and 15,000 Afghan troops have died over the course of the Operation Enduring Freedom. US casualties over those 4,830 days were 2,356 killed and 19,950 wounded. Taliban casualties have been estimated at between 25,000 and 40,000.
Since then, in Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the US has suffered 24 killed and 124 wounded, according to the Pentagon. NATO allies lost another seven people.
Estimates of civilian deaths have ranged from 31,000 (Watson Institute for International Studies) to as high as 170,000 (“Body Count”, by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War).
By way of comparison, the Soviet-Afghan war of 1979-89 resulted in 14,000 Soviet deaths, 75-90,000 mujahideen killed, and civilian casualties estimated at between 850,000 and 2 million.
ICC Begins Hearing over Alleged U.S. Military Torture in Afghanistan
The International Criminal Court is beginning a three-day hearing today about torture in Afghanistan—including by U.S. forces. The hearing will probe allegations that members of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies tortured, raped, and sexually abused Afghan prisoners between 2003 and 2004. Prosecutors and torture survivors are hoping to overturn a previous ruling that blocked an investigation into alleged U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan. This ruling, issued in April, came only a month after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo banned visas for International Criminal Court staff seeking to investigate the allegations of U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and beyond.
Analysis: Taliban Continues to Lie About Presence of Foreign Fighters
"Most recent article on Uyghur jihadist organization Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) that fights alongside Taliban in Afghanistan. Man on the right is Abdul Haq, the head of the Turkistan Islamic Party..."
It's now 40 years since the US started arming the Islamist moujahadeen, who opposed the modernizing military republican gouvernment that had overthrown the king in 1973. Its socialist-style reforms were too radical for an Islamic society like Afghanistan. Now the US has switched sides and opposes the Islamist Taliban. Its great Harper got us out.
Scott Taylor - On Target: You Don't Need To Pay Afghan Extremists A Bounty To Kill Foreign Occupiers
"Last week the New York Times broke the story that US intelligence sources allege that Russian intelligence operatives have been paying a bounty to Afghan insurgents who target and kill US soldiers. The allegations - although unproven and based solely on unnamed intelligence sources - were quickly accepted as fact. Overnight the story angle became 'when was Donald Trump made aware of these reports and why has Trump not taken action against the Russians? For the hardcore Colonel Blimp Brigade - including the usual war-mongers here in Canada - this allegation was a Eureka moment. We didn't lose the war in Afghanistan ourselves it was Russian interference that prevented our victory! This contention defies all logic and would only be embraced by the wilfully blind..."
Afghanistan Taliban Spokesperson: Russia Paying Taliban to Kill US Soldiers is FAKE NEWS! (and vid)
"On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to Afghanistan Taliban spokesperson and US-Taliban negotiator Suhail Shaleen. He discusses the claims made in Western media that Russia has been paying the Taliban bounties to kill US soldiers and why it is false. And more!"
'Psychos Fueled by Blood Lust':
"Australian special forces tortured and executed prisoners in Afghanistan..."
One day we may finally get to hear some of Canada's dirty open secrets there too. Perhaps Minister Sajjan could lend his own counterinsurgency experience in Afghanistan to help in such an endeavour?
'Blood Lust': Inquiry Alleges Australian Troops Unlawfully Killed Afghans in War
"Australian troops are accused of murdering 39 unarmed civilians in Afghanistan. An official war crimes report describes the practices as 'blooding'..."
Canadians never do such things, right?
The Forever War in Afghanistan Will Soon Re-Escalate
"Everyone wants the troops to leave Afghanistan except the Pentagon brass and the CIA. They have prevailed over two presidents and are now ready to manipulate a third into intensifying the war. Bhadrakumar thinks Biden will let the military re-escalate the war..."
Krystal & Sagar: Dem Senator's DUMBEST Defense Yet of Forever War in Afghanistan
"Krystal and Saagar react to Sen Tammy Duckworth's stance on President Trump's plan to withdraw more troops from Afghanistan and Iraq."
Democrats are the party of war. As are the faux liberal 'progressives' that can always be depended upon to minimize opposition to such schemes if they're Democrat led. Look how quickly opposition to W Bush's war in Afghanistan etc evaporated once Obama's 7 wars, kill lists, droning etc began. Watch for the same pattern to reappear.
George W. Bush was and is a Republican, not a Democrat.
George W. Bush was and is a Republican, not a Democrat.
I think I already knew that but changes made to clarify the point. Republican wars are opposed, Democrat ones much less so.
Killing Field (and vid)
"Killing Field', which evidences alleged war crimes in Afghanistan by Australia's elite forces, has won the Golden Walkly for journalism...Four Corners details explosive revelations about the conduct of Australia's elite special forces during the war in Afghanistan."
US forces accused of transporting Da'ish militants into Afghanistan
"Report: The Taliban have revealed that US forces in Afghanistan were involved in transporting ISIS militants into the country via helicopters. We've known this for years because Coalition helicopters were seen airlifting ISIS out of Deir Ezzor in Syria..."
'White Helmets for Nobel Prize!' - NDP
The report requested by Congress about the "safety" of withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan has presented, and unsurprisingly the recommendation is stay a bit longer:
"The Taliban has largely refrained from attacks on U.S. and NATO forces since signing the withdrawal agreement last year, though it has shelled some bases with U.S. forces a couple times. It has vowed to renew attacks if foreign forces do not leave by May.
Dunford acknowledged there is “not a simple answer” on how the Biden administration should extend the May deadline given the Taliban’s threats. But he said after spending “a lot of time wrestling with” it, the panel recommends a joint statement from all stakeholders, rather than a unilateral U.S. declaration, saying “it's not in anyone's best interest right now for a precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
And hey, it's no longer up to Biden, since the last defense authorization bill gave the Pentagon full autonomy in deciding when, if ever, to pull out. Y'know, to keep Trump from doing something dangerous like withdrawing.
And you certainly won't catch him signing any 'Executive Order' to reverse that overwhelmingly bipartisan agreement because Smedley Butler was right. 'War is a racket.' And so is the US duopoly.
Except that Trump had no positive intent in seeking to withdraw. Nothing he ever did in foreign policy as president can ever be taken and being meant to make life better.
We do need to get out, but it wouldn't have been anything if Trump had done it, because he was just going to send the troops into another war somewhere else- like maybe a ground invasion of China.
He was never going to just bring them home and let them live.
Ken -- To me, it doesn't matter what Trump's intent was, and I think it's obvious his intent was to say things he thought would be popular and win him votes. He was able to get the support he did on his antiwar positions because there was no equivalent postion presented elsewhere in the Democratic or Republican party, except for Ron Paul and the Republican's libertarian wing. What other politician, Democrat or Republican, was talking about getting out of NATO in 2016?
In my view the interesting part of Trump's antiwar campaigning was that it resonated with his base. The furious bipartisan media blowback it elicited was also revealing of the broad bipartisan consensus on American Empire. But Trumps success in 2016 suggests to me there is (and probably always has been) a wide swath of undecided, disaffected and disgruntled American voters who would be responsive to a principled antiwar politician. On my better days, I am be optimistic about that actually happening.
Agreed about the potential for the election of a principled antiwar candidate in the U.S.
The Killing Field (and vid)
"We investigate explosive revelations about killings and coverups by Australian special forces in Afghanistan..."
Canadians were apparently far more successful in their own coverups. But don't think such things didn't happen.