With the Republicans frothing at the mouth that they can use the Afghanistan withdrawal as a way to clobber Biden in the lead up to the midterms-- all kinds of dumb as rock Democrats (like Seth Moulton and Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts) have joined in the let's-kick-the-president-moment to show how independent and bipartisan they are. The ugly transpartisan support for the occupation of Afghanistan, and the destruction of that country, is something that rests with the 3 presidents at whose desks the buck stopped: Bush II, Obama and Trump. The 3 let the military industrial complex have its way and the media and public looked the other way. Biden finally did the right thing. It's messy but it's the right thing. Most Americans see beyond the right-wing propaganda and agree:
The brand new Data for Progress poll among likely voters that was released this morning show that most Americans (51%)-- including most Democrats (69%) and most independents (51%)-- agree, while just 31% of Republicans agree. This morning, The Intercept published a crucial, outside the box report by Tabitha Spence and Ammar Ali Jan, The US Is To Blame For The Destruction Of Afghanistan. "After twenty years of destructive occupation," they wrote, "the United States is now officially abandoning Afghanistan to its fate. This is not a victory for the antiwar movement but the latest shameful display of Washington’s lack of concern for the fallout of its own disastrous actions."
After the U.S. ran the Taliban out of Afghanistan, the new government, continued Spence and Jan "was an awkwardly woven coalition of warlords, émigré elites, and technocrats from different parts of the world. In 2003, women’s rights activist Malalai Joya made headlines when she publicly challenged the new rulers of the country, calling them out for their 'crimes against Afghans' in a Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly of Elders). In 2005, Joya was elected as a parliamentarian from the Farah province, and she used her platform to highlight the corruption and violence facilitated by the NATO forces. Unfortunately, critical voices like hers were ignored in discussions on the future of the country, as they contradicted the celebratory tone that came to dominate descriptions of the 'Good War.' Yet the corruption of Afghan elites who had been brought back into power started percolating through international media. In 2012, Afghanistan was ranked at the bottom of Transparency International’s 'Corruption Perception Index.' President Karzai and his family were accused of being involved in murky, corrupt deals with international organizations... In other parts of Afghanistan, reports of extortion and drug trafficking by warlords was common, as the international aid entering Afghanistan hardly trickled down to the country’s poor."
Today, the other former president, Ashraf Ghani-- who made a televised speech over the weekend promising the Afghan people he would protect them while his henchmen were stuffing millions of dollars-- $169 million-- in American aid into 4 vehicles and then resigned and flew off to Tajikistan-- surfaced with his retinue in one of the counties in the region as corrupt as Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates. Spence and Jan pointed out that "corruption was not merely an Afghan problem-- it was part of the design formulated by the occupying forces. A 2013 New York Times report exposed how the CIA was bribing the Karzai government to win favors for its short-term goals. The report revealed that the occupying forces were fueling corrupt practices rather than fighting them. The Obama administration remained mum on these explosive allegations, revealing its disregard for economic reconstruction in the country. In 2014, Karzai blamed the United States for facilitating corruption in Afghanistan-- claiming that the majority of corruption took place through formal contracts, mainly issued by US officials."
This morning Alan Grayson, in an e-mail, said to me that "It’s being reported that the Taliban bribed some local warlords to stand down. That’s actually a trick that they learned from us." Point taken... although no Afghan needs training in corruption from a Westerner.
The cowardly manner in which the United States [Gracias, SEÑOR TRUMPANZEE] chose to withdraw from Afghanistan can only be termed a shameful flight. In 2020, the United States invited the Taliban for a round of negotiations in Doha, bypassing the Afghan government-- a move that lent unprecedented legitimacy to the terrorist group.
As part of the peace deal signed in Doha, the US government directed the Afghan government to release five thousand captive Taliban soldiers, many of whom soon returned to the front lines. The Taliban was represented in the Doha negotiations by its cofounder Mullah Baradar, an earlier captive in a Pakistani prison. He was released at the United States’ request in 2018 in order to make the Taliban “partners in peace.” The United States then announced an abrupt troop pullout, put into effect by the end of July 2021 as the emboldened Taliban were attacking provincial capitals across Afghanistan. Today, Baradar is touted as the most likely leader of a Taliban-led government.
Despite the long-standing instability of the Afghan government, women and minorities took multiple grassroots initiatives to institutionalize their role in the public sphere. Yet the now supposedly “reformed Taliban” swiftly reversed those gains as it conquered various parts of Afghanistan. Women from the Hazara ethnic group are reporting forced marriages of young Hazara women to Taliban commanders. There are widespread reports of extrajudicial killings of soldiers and government officials captured by the militant group. Civil society activists and journalists have fled Afghanistan’s largest city in one of the most depressing exoduses by a country’s intelligentsia.
The Doha agreement in effect emboldened the Taliban and created a wave of demoralization and defections within the Afghan state. The only military intervention the United States made during the Taliban’s assault was geared toward evacuating its embassy staff in Kabul-- cementing this withdrawal as one of the most dishonorable exits in modern history. Hundreds of young people were left thronging the airports in a last desperate bid to leave the country. A viral video showed two men who were clinging to a US plane falling from the sky as it took off-- a first sign of the tragic refugee crisis about to explode at a global scale.
The United States created a state to meet its counterinsurgency needs rather than to serve the interests of the people, which hastened the collapse of the security forces. Not only did it fuel warlordism and systemic corruption, the United States also used the region as a testing ground for weapons and surveillance.
“Af-Pak” became the first site for the illegal drone warfare that killed thousands of civilians in the region and fueled anti-American sentiment. Incidents of civilian casualties, such as the killing of fifty-one civilians (including twelve children) in a US-led bombing campaign in Herat in 2007, intensified popular anger against the occupying forces.
...The deteriorating situation points to a new phase of imperialism in which any pretense to development or reconstruction has been wholly discarded. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen are emblematic of how contemporary Western interventions are geared toward creating zones of imperialist control in order to pursue short-term goals.
Once these tasks are fulfilled, the country is abandoned-- the promise of democracy and state-building proving to be mere slogans. The veneer of humanitarianism has given way to a logic of terror and destruction imposed upon “enemy states.” The United States today heads this global demolition squad.