AFGHANISTAN | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

AFGHANISTAN

Feb 26 07:28

Afghans—Not American Troops—Must Fix Afghanistan’s Problems

In a recent press conference, Pentagon officials signaled hesitation on the part of the United States to adhere to last year’s peace deal with the Taliban, blaming the group for Afghanistan’s recent streak of violence and saying such actions jeopardized the planned U.S. troop withdrawal. At the bottom, this signals a continued belief in Washington that Afghanistan’s internal state of affairs can justify a U.S. troop presence.

Given the failure of the U.S. war effort, however, this belief deserves closer scrutiny. Should Americans choose how other nations are governed?

For much of the foreign policy community in Washington, the answer is obviously yes. But, upon closer inspection, this “nation-building” argument fails to hold water. It follows that President Joe Biden should stay the course with the peace deal and meet the May 1 deadline of withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Feb 26 07:17

Kandahar Police Accused of Torture, Sexual Assault

A young man from the southern province of Kandahar has accused the police in the province of beating him, forcing him to make a confession, and sexually assaulting him. Others interviewed by TOLOnews also claimed they were abused by the Kandahar police department.

The young man said that the police forced him to confess to a robbery and then sexually assaulted him.

The victim is now in Kabul to demand justice.

Meanwhile, another man said he was tortured while in police custody and his teeth were broken and now he cannot hear properly.

Police in Kandahar have denied these allegations.

Feb 24 09:25

Biden Commits To Forever War On Afghanistan

The forever war on Afghanistan will continue.

The U.S. and its NATO proxy force have spent nearly 20 years and a trillion dollars to "do something" in Afghanistan. What that something was to be was never clear. There were attempts to impose some kind of enlightened model of governance on the Afghan people. But anyone with knowledge of that country knew that this would never work.

Feb 22 09:17

Weapons Biz Bankrolls Experts Pushing to Extend Afghan War

Earlier this month, a study group established by Congress recommended that President Joe Biden extend the May 1 deadline for withdrawing troops from America’s longest war. It’s a strategy that many experts say runs the risk of abrogating the U.S.-Taliban agreement and potentially setting back the potential peace process in Afghanistan — or even dooming it to failure.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a striking similarity in the backgrounds of the individuals involved in these critical recommendations, which are likely to influence whether Biden maintains a “conditions based” U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan. Two of the group’s three co-chairs and nine of the group’s 12 plenary members, comprised of what the group refers to as “members,” have current or recent financial ties to major defense contractors, an industry that soaks up more than half of the $740 billion defense budget, and stands to gain from protracted U.S. military involvement overseas.

Feb 21 08:14

Australian Spy Found Dead Reportedly Planned to Release Classified Data on Afghan 'War Crimes'

The officer was found dead in the Russell complex in Canberra just a month after the biggest scandal in the history of the Australian military. According to police reports, his death was not suspicious, as he had apparently committed suicide.

An Australian intelligence officer, who was found dead in the car park of army headquarters in December 2020, allegedly had an encrypted hard drive with him, as he was reportedly planning to release classified information on the misconduct of Australian troops in Afghanistan, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

"It is understood the intelligence officer was going to make the information public because the Brereton Report is an erroneous one-sided witchhunt against the SAS to try to appease the Afghanis", the source told the newspaper.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Suicide. Suuuuuuuure.

Feb 16 09:31

U.S. enters NATO meetings as China and Russia threats loom and war in Afghanistan drags on

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will meet with members of the world’s most powerful military alliance on Wednesday for the first time since joining the Biden administration.

NATO meets Wednesday and Thursday to discuss an array of challenges facing the 30-member group. The virtual meetings will be a glimpse into President Joe Biden’s foreign policy agenda and comes on the heels of his calls to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with America’s closest allies.

“When we strengthen our alliances we amplify our power as well as our ability to disrupt threats before they reach our shores,” Biden said during a speech at the State Department. “America cannot afford to be absent any longer on the world stage,” he added.

Biden’s message broke sharply from his predecessor’s “America First” policy, which on occasion seemed to vex NATO members.

Feb 16 07:31

Investigation Into NATO Airstrike That Killed 91 Afghan Civilians Was Valid, European Court Says

In 2009, a German Colonel in Kunduz ordered the bombing of two hijacked fuel tankers in Afghanistan, killing over 100 people, mostly civilians. The father of two pre-teen children killed by the airstrike challenged the failure of German authorities to properly investigate the incident at the European Court of Human Rights.

European Court of Human Right's Grand Chamber has dismissed a claim launched by an Afghan man, Abdul Hanan, who challenged the investigation into a NATO airstrike which killed his two sons, along with scores of others.

Feb 15 09:42

Fire 'catastrophe' destroys hundreds of fuel tankers on Afghanistan-Iran border

Hundreds of oil and gas tankers have been destroyed by fire in a "catastrophe" at Afghanistan's biggest trade crossing with Iran, causing millions of dollars of losses, officials said Sunday.

The huge blaze, which broke out Saturday afternoon at Islam Qala port 120 kilometres (75 miles) from the western city of Herat, has been contained and an investigation launched into its cause.

"We were told that 100 or 200 tankers have been destroyed, but this number could be higher," Jailani Farhad, spokesman for the governor of Herat province, said after visiting the scene.

Younus Qazi Zada, the head of the Herat Chamber of Commerce, said 500 tankers had been engulfed by flames.

Feb 15 08:05

Taliban Controls 52% of Afghanistan’s Territory

With hopes that the 2020 US peace deal and intra-Afghan peace talks might ultimately end decades of war, some uncomfortable facts remain, raising the question of who controls Afghanistan anymore.

The US would insist the Ghani government is the lawfully elected government there, but the facts on the ground show that the Taliban physically control 52% of the country, compared to only 48% in government hands.

That’s a staggering amount when one considers that the Taliban has been fighting 20 solid years of war with both the would-be government and NATO. It would be hard to imagine that people living in Taliban territory wouldn’t feel that the Taliban, who was the Afghan government before the 2001 invasion, is effectively still in charge.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

After 20 years?!?

Feb 15 07:36

There Is No Point to Extending Commitments in Afghanistan

On Jan. 22, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told his Afghan counterpart that the Biden Administration would assess whether the Taliban are living up to their commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups. While such an assessment is entirely reasonable for an incoming Administration, it must not be used as an excuse to halt the May 2021 end date of our military operations in Afghanistan, which the United States agreed to last year.

Feb 13 07:33

Blast Hits Iranian-Afghanistan Border as Dozens of Gas Tanker Trucks Reportedly Catch Fire

No casualties have been reported as yet, but the fire caused significant financial damage, according to authorities.

A gas tanker truck has exploded on the Iranian-Afghanistan border at a customs post in Herat Province, Reuters reported citing a local official.

Tolo News earlier cited witnesses as saying that a massive fire erupted at the customs post which affected dozens of trucks.

Social media users have since shared videos allegedly depicting the conflagration.

Feb 11 06:53

Why Victoria Nuland Is Dangerous and Should Not Be Confirmed

Victoria Nuland exemplifies the neocons who have led US foreign policy from one disaster to another for the past 30 years while evading accountability. It is a bad sign that President Joe Biden has nominated Victoria Nuland for the third highest position at the State Department, Under Secretary for Political Affairs.

As a top-level appointee, Victoria Nuland must be confirmed by the US Senate. There is a campaign to Stop her confirmation. The following review of her work shows why Victoria Nuland is incompetent, highly dangerous and should not be confirmed.

Afghanistan and Iraq

From 2000 to 2003, Nuland was US permanent representative to NATO as the Bush administration attacked then invaded Afghanistan. The Afghan government offered to work with the US remove Al Qaeda, but this was rejected. After Al Qaeda was defeated, the US could have left Afghanistan but instead stayed, established semi-permanent bases, split the country, and is still fighting there two decades later.

Feb 09 08:07

US Troops Will Not Leave Afghanistan in May: Graham

Graham says he is very pleased with what the Biden administration is proposing for Afghanistan.

Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham in an interview with CBS has said that the American troops will not leave Afghanistan in May, supporting the Biden administration's stance on Afghanistan and its bid to review the US-Taliban agreement.

“I'm very pleased with what the Biden administration is proposing for Afghanistan. We're going to keep troops there on a conditions-based approach,” Graham said.

In response to a question that will the US troops leave Afghanistan post may, Graham said, “I think we're not going to leave in May. We're going to leave when the conditions are right. The the Taliban have been cheating. They haven't been complying. And so I like what Secretary Blinken and the Biden administration is doing.”

Feb 08 14:09

Taliban Kills 21 Afghan Troops, Warns of 'Dangerous Escalation' if US Breaches Deal

Taliban insurgents have killed at least 21 government troops in new attacks in Afghanistan as U.S.-brokered peace talks between the two warring sides remain stalled.

The fighting comes as the United States is reviewing a February 2020 agreement with the Taliban, which required remaining American and allied forces to leave Afghanistan by May of this year.

An Afghan security officer said Friday that a major pre-dawn Taliban raid targeted in an outpost in Khan Abad district in northeastern Kunduz province. The officer, who spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity, said the attack killed 16 security force members, including their commander, and assailants also took two others hostage.

Feb 04 11:55

Don't Let Biden Sink Troops Back Into the Afghanistan Quagmire

Will we ever get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, ever? ABC News reports that President Joe Biden's administration is preparing for the likelihood that troops will remain in Afghanistan past a May deadline established in an agreement with the Taliban because of ongoing attacks and assassinations there.

During the Democratic primary debates, Biden said he wanted to end our wars in the Middle East and bring troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, but he also made it clear he does want to keep some military presence within the country for antiterrorism and intelligence purposes.

As his presidential term ended, Donald Trump pushed for a faster withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which drew criticism even though it's what Americans across the political spectrum actually want.

Feb 03 08:26

Insider attacks against US troops in Afghanistan have dropped to a historic low. Here’s why

Despite rising violence across Afghanistan amid a fraught peace process and a potential U.S. military drawdown, there’s a fresh silver lining to the ongoing war in the country: insider attacks against U.S. forces have all but evaporated in recent months.

According to the latest assessment from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) published on Monday, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) reported “no insider attacks, nor casualties resulting from insider attacks, among U.S. and Coalition forces” during the closing months of 2020.

This is a stark contrast to the “deadliest year on record” for so-called ‘green-on-blue’ attacks of 2019, which saw 172 killed and 85 wounded in 82 insider attacks carried out by both Afghan soldiers and “Taliban infiltrators,” according to a report from the lead State Department inspector general for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan published in May.

Feb 03 07:14

NATO Troops to Stay in Afghanistan Beyond May Pullout Deadline

The narrative by which the Biden Administration will ultimately keep US ground troops in Afghanistan is still being built around claims of the Taliban not meeting the February 29 deal, but seems more cemented than ever with NATO framing its own abrogation of the pullout.

NATO officials confirmed this weekend that they will not be meeting the May deadline for leaving Afghanistan. They’d previously said they couldn’t possibly stay without the US, and the Ghani government has pushed the US to stay as well.

With the Pentagon already talking up staying in Afghanistan, NATO is giving them a ready-made excuse, and officials say Biden is now “taking a hard look” at the peace deal that the US signed last year.

The Trump Administration had all but finished the pullout, but Pentagon spokeman Kirby says it is “difficult to see” how the US could even leave Afghanistan by May 1, as the deal calls for. That’s roughly the opposition the military leadership has held for a pullout for awhile.

Feb 02 14:12

ENDLESS WAR: BIDEN ADMINISTRATION CANCELS THE PLANNED REMOVAL OF TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN

President-imposed Joe Biden’s administration has announced that they are cancelling the pull back of troops from Afghanistan.

“There will be no full withdrawal by allies by April-end,” a NATO official with knowledge of the Biden’s regime foreign policy plans told Reuters.

The NATO official claims that “conditions have not been met” to justify a troop pullback, whatever that means. There will always be some convenient excuse used to justify the continual, never-ending occupation of the Middle East by US forces.

“With the new US administration, there will be tweaks in the policy, the sense of hasty withdrawal which was prevalent will be addressed and we could see a much more calculated exit strategy,” the source stated.

Feb 02 07:51

As US Looks to Stay in Afghanistan, Taliban Warns Fight Will Continue If Troops Stay

Since President Biden took office, his administration has been very hesitant on the Afghan peace deal, and is now to the point where reports say that the US is very likely to keep its troops in Afghanistan beyond May 1.

This comes just days after NATO reported that their own troops are staying in Afghanistan, and that came with calls for the US to stay for NATO. The May withdrawal of NATO and the US wasn’t some arbitrary figure, of course, and came as part of a peace deal with the Taliban.

Since the whole deal for the Taliban was getting rid of the foreign occupation, and they’re staying, the Taliban is now saying what should’ve been an obvious reaction, that if the troops don’t leave, the fight will continue.

Feb 02 07:39

Rumsfeld Lacked Intel on Who The Enemies Were Two Years After Afghanistan Invasion, Newly Published “Snowflakes” Show

On September 9, 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote to Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Steve Cambone expressing concern about information from interrogations at military sites in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Secretary wrote, “The lack of clarity as to who the enemies are, and what the problems are from an intelligence standpoint in Afghanistan and Iraq is serious.” Six weeks later, on October 23, 2003, Rumsfeld followed up: “I have no visibility into what kind of intelligence we are getting from the interrogations of the 35 or 40 of the top 55 Iraqis we have captured. Please get me some information.”

Feb 01 11:17

‘There will be no full withdrawal’: Troops to remain in Afghanistan past Trump-set deadline – report

According to a new report citing senior North American Treaty Organization (NATO) commanders, coalition forces will not be leaving Afghanistan by May, a deadline Donald Trump hoped to meet as president.

“There will be no full withdrawal by allies by April-end,” one NATO official told Reuters.

According to the source, “conditions have not been met” to justify a full-scale withdrawal, and the new administration will likely present “tweaks in policy.”

“With the new US administration, there will be tweaks in the policy, the sense of hasty withdrawal which was prevalent will be addressed and we could see a much more calculated exit strategy,” he said.

Jan 29 11:40

Pentagon Says Date for Afghan Pullout Uncertain, Is Biden Rethinking Peace?

Questions about how US foreign policy is going to shake out between President Trump and President Biden have been the subject of a lot of speculation, and Afghanistan looks to be the first place this change will be addressed.

On Thursday, the Pentagon announced that the pullout date from Afghanistan is now uncertain, and would be entirely conditional on the Taliban meeting a series of commitments. Press Secretary John Kirby insists the Taliban failed to meet a number of commitments.

They didn’t address specific grievances, but from the February 29 deal, it would be fair for either the US or Taliban to say that some of the terms were not met as expected. In general, the US and Taliban have avoided major fighting with one another, and the US pullout is at least on schedule so far.

Jan 26 06:52

A Closer Look: Why Are MPs Rejecting the Budget?

The Afghan parliament has rejected two drafts of the budget for the current fiscal year that started on December 21, 2020, and the situation is becoming a serious face-off between the two branches of the state.

This is the first time that a draft for the budget has been rejected two times by the Parliament. The Parliament this time has set some “red lines” for its stance on the budget. One of those redlines is equalizing the salaries of government employees, as MPs think the current wage scale of public servants is unjust.

The MPs have listed 19 issues in the draft budget to be fixed. They are as follows:

Jan 22 08:15

Politico: Biden's Team Kept in Dark Over Afghanistan Drawdown

The Pentagon blocked members of President Joe Biden’s incoming administration from gaining access to critical information about current operations, including the troop drawdown in Afghanistan, Politico reported on Wednesday.

Politico says the story is based on conversations with 10 Pentagon and Biden officials involved in the transition, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.

Politico reported that people involved with the transition, both on the Biden team and the Pentagon side, gave a "detailed picture" of what was denied, "saying briefings on pressing defense matters never happened, were delayed to the last minute or were controlled by overbearing minders from the Trump administration's side."

Jan 21 06:23

Over 18,000 Pentagon Contractors Remain in Afghanistan

While US troop numbers in Afghanistan are down to 2,500, a deep US presence remains in the form of contractors working for the Pentagon.

According to a report released by the US military this week, there are over 18,000 contractors in Afghanistan. The numbers mean that the Pentagon employs about seven contractors for each US service member in Afghanistan.

At the height of President Obama’s Afghanistan surge, there was about one contractor for each US soldier. As troop numbers decreased, the Pentagon increased reliance on contractors.

About 4,700 of the current contractors are Afghans that were hired locally. The remaining come from outside of the country, including about a third who are US citizens.

Dec 31 08:02

Afghan troops, police abandon nearly 200 checkpoints to Taliban

Afghan security personnel have abandoned nearly 200 checkpoints in restive Kandahar province in recent weeks, officials said Wednesday, in some cases leaving behind their weapons to be seized by the Taliban.

Kandahar provincial Governor Hayatullah Hayat and a local lawmaker separately confirmed the situation to AFP, saying commanders would be disciplined for their actions. The Defence Ministry in Kabul denied the reports, insisting government forces had been making progress in the region. Government forces and the Taliban have clashed regularly in Kandahar province since October despite peace talks between the warring sides.

"Afghan security forces have retreated from 193 checkpoints and outposts in Zharai, Maiwand, Arghandab and Panjwai districts," Kandahar provincial governor Hayatullah Hayat said. "Most of the security chiefs and officers who neglected their duties have been dismissed and referred to the judiciary."

Dec 29 07:28

The CIA Is Running Death Squads in Afghanistan

Avril Haines speaks after being introduced as President-elect Joe Biden's director of national intelligence nominee. (Mark Makela / Getty Images)

The war in Afghanistan, now in its 19th year, is the longest and most intractable of America’s forever wars. There are now American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan who were born after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the ostensible casus belli. The American public has long ago grown tired of the war. A YouGov poll conducted in July of 2020 showed that 46 percent of Americans strongly supported withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, with another 30 percent saying they “somewhat” approved of troop withdrawal.

Dec 22 08:09

In First, NATO Forces Now Outnumber US Troops in Afghanistan

As the U.S. military scrambles to meet a mid-January deadline to draw down to 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, a milestone in the conflict has passed almost unremarked: The combined NATO force on the ground now outnumbers the U.S. contingent.

About 13,000 U.S. troops were deployed to Afghanistan as of the end of February, when the U.S. government inked an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw all forces over the course of 14 months if conditions were kept.

There are now about 4,000 U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan, a senior U.S. defense official said Sunday, and the number is dropping quickly. As of late November, some 11,000 NATO troops remained from several dozen nations -- a figure that includes the U.S. contingent. The largest contingents from other nations include Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy. Each had roughly between 900 and 1,000 troops supporting the effort as of June.

Dec 21 10:39

CIA-BACKED AFGHAN DEATH SQUADS MASSACRED CHILDREN INSIDE RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS IN CAMPAIGN OF TERROR

A shocking exposé in The Intercept reveals CIA-backed death squads in Afghanistan have killed children as young as 8 years old in a series of night raids, many targeting madrassas, Islamic religious schools. In December 2018, one of the death squads attacked a madrassa in Wardak province, killing 12 boys, of whom the youngest was 9 years old. The United States played key roles in many of the raids, from picking targets to ferrying Afghan forces to the sites to providing lethal airpower during the raids. The Intercept reports this was part of a campaign of terror orchestrated by the Trump administration that included massacres, executions, mutilation, forced disappearances, attacks on medical facilities, and airstrikes targeting structures known to house civilians.

Dec 18 08:27

Pentagon lost track of over HALF of ‘sensitive’ equipment provided to Afghanistan’s military – watchdog

The US military has failed to keep track of assorted “sensitive” devices such as night-vision devices, surveillance systems, and other kit it provided to the Afghan government, a US watchdog has found.

The severe lack of accounting of the military toys provided to Kabul was exposed in a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

The Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) tasked with providing so-called end-use monitoring (EUM) needed to ensure the provided equipment was utilized exactly as agreed, but failed to track more than half of the items it should have checked on during the latest 365-day period.

“We determined that CSTC-A did not inventory 60 percent of enhanced EUM-designated defense articles – those considered to contain sensitive technology – between May 2019 and April 2020 because of security constraints and travel limitations,” the report reads.

ALSO ON RT.COM

Dec 18 08:13

Top US Gen. Milley Meets Taliban Team in Doha

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley met with Taliban negotiators in Doha on Thursday, engaging as intra-Afghan talks are on hold for consultations.

Gen. Milley emphasized the need for the Taliban to reduce violence, which is the Ghani government’s primary goal. Ghani was using the lack of violence reduction as a talking point in his own comments on the process.

Yet for all they push the Taliban, the violence is surging in both directions, and neither side is going to be able to unilaterally lower it while the other side keeps attacking. Keeping the violence level up a bit probably is in Ghani’s interest as it gives him something to complain about.

Dec 15 08:39

Afghan Govt Claims 63 Taliban Killed in Failed Kandahar Offensive

Continuing the trend of Afghan officials claiming heavy casualties inflicted on the Taliban, officials reported 63 Taliban killed over the past three days in Kandahar Province. Details of the attack conflict in different official accounts.

The National Directorate of Security claimed credit for the killings, saying that the Taliban were killed in hideouts around Kandahar. The Defense Ministry reported 51 killed, and claimed the Taliban attacked five districts before being defeated in the field.

Kandahar is the most important province for the Taliban, as the homeland of the group’s ideological leadership, and was Afghanistan’s capital before the US invasion and occupation.

Dec 08 06:25

Report: Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan Airstrikes Rose 330% From 2016 to 2019

A new report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project found that civilian deaths in airstrikes in Afghanistan dramatically rose after the Trump administration loosened the rules of engagement for the conflict in 2017.

“The number of civilians killed by international airstrikes increased about 330 percent from 2016, the last full year of the Obama Administration, to 2019, the most recent year for which there is complete data from the United Nations,” the report reads.

International military forces — the US and its allies — are responsible for the majority of civilian deaths by airstrikes. According to UN numbers, in 2016, international airstrikes killed 127 civilians. In 2019, the number grew to 546. From 2015 through 2019, 1,357 civilians were killed by international airstrikes, compared to 461 killed by the Afghan Air Force.

Dec 08 06:24

Michèle Flournoy Reveals Why US Troops May Stay in Afghanistan – Indefinitely

In this February 2020 panel on the US-Taliban agreement, prospective Biden SecDef Michèle Flournoy emphasizes the “phased, conditional” nature of the negotiated US troop withdrawal, while herself suggesting some conditions that would essentially preserve the nation-building goals long advanced by the United States. And she avers that she “would certainly not advocate a NATO or US departure short of a political settlement being in place. That would be a disaster for everyone.”(46:03)

Dec 06 08:50

NDAA Seeks To Halt Trump's Troop Withdrawals From Afghanistan & Germany

The version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) agreed to by the House and Senate, known as the compromise version, includes provisions to block President Trump's planned troop withdrawals in both Afghanistan and Germany.

For Afghanistan, there is language in the bill that would block funding to reduce troop numbers in the country before the Pentagon, State Department, and the director of national intelligence assess how the drawdown would affect US security. The assessment would be required before troop numbers could drop lower than they are when the NDAA becomes law, and again if they drop below 2,000.

Dec 05 08:06

Ceasefire Will Be on Agenda in Talks: Taliban Spokesman

Amid a breakthrough in Doha talks, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem on Friday said ceasefire will be on the agenda among other topics in the negotiations.

He said in a tweet that the agenda will be made in agreement of both sides.

“A ceasefire upon which the Afghan government insists and the establishment of an Islamic system that the Taliban urge could be there (at the talks),” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.

This comes a day after the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said that he is heading back to the region to gather international support for the Afghan peace negotiations.

Dec 02 07:16

Watch: Obama Casually Admits His Drone Strikes Killed "Inordinate Amount" Of Innocent Civilians

Barack Obama is on his book tour for A Promised Land now four years after leaving office. During his latest interview days ago on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert he was asked about his vastly expanded drone strikes (setting a record far and above that of the prior Bush administration) as a preferred method of taking out America's 'enemies'. But it's very well-documented that drone strikes actually killed just as many or more civilians than terrorists in the process.

The former Democratic president still can't shake his legacy as the "drone president" given he still holds the record for number of ordered kill missions. Now it appears he's simply embracing the label. This latest interview may have sealed this legacy - indeed it could be his own Madeleine Albright "we think the price is worth it" moment.

Dec 02 07:01

Steve Chapman - Obama's memoir highlights his Afghanistan failure

Obama’s memoir highlights his Afghanistan failure

Shortly before becoming vice president, Joe Biden traveled to Afghanistan in his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. When he returned, he had a succinct assessment of the situation there: “a real mess.”

When he takes the presidential oath on Jan. 20, Biden will find not much has changed. He will find himself saddled with a host of serious problems — a raging pandemic, a struggling economy, a toxic political environment — that are largely the fault of Donald Trump. But the blame for being stuck in Afghanistan lies mostly with Barack Obama.

The first volume of his presidential memoir, “A Promised Land,” is a reminder that when it came to America’s longest war, Obama was an unequivocal failure. He expanded the war, sacrificed far more lives, spent hundreds of billions of dollars and departed with the war dragging on and with success as far away as ever.

Nov 30 07:37

Offering a ‘Return to Normalcy,’ Biden Pledges Troop Surges in Iraq and Afghanistan

After promising a return to normalcy after four turbulent years under his predecessor, President-elect Joe Biden took concrete steps in that direction today by pledging to order troop surges in both Iraq and Afghanistan on his first day in office.

“Americans today are more divided than ever before,” the former vice president said in a speech. “And those deep divisions are reflected here in Washington at the highest levels of government.”

“It seems like the last time Congress achieved a true bipartisan consensus was when we authorized the use of military force against Iraq back in 2002,” Biden said. “Those halcyon days can be ours again — and they will be, once troop levels return to 10,000 in both Iraq and Afghanistan!”

Nov 30 07:36

‘Apologize to the Afghan people’: China scoffs after Canberra demands Beijing retract poster about Aussie war-crime report

Beijing has rejected calls for an apology after a Chinese official shared a doctored poster of an Australian soldier attacking an Afghan girl, urging Canberra to instead seek forgiveness for its alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded an official apology from Beijing after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian posted a tweet calling for justice over a recent war-crimes report released in Australia – with an illustration of an Aussie soldier holding a knife to a child’s throat.

Nov 29 08:35

The War Crimes of Bush and Blair – Afghanistan and Iraq

“The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law…We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’.” (Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize for Literature Speech, 2005)

Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre Twin Towers in New York, on September 11, 2001, (known as 9/11) the US declared a global war on terror. Since then it has destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. It has supported the destruction of Yemen, and the attempted destruction of Syria. (Libya, Syria and Yemen will be discussed in a subsequent post).

Nov 28 08:21

The Pentagon Has Closed Ten Bases In Afghanistan Amid Hastened Draw Down

Amid ongoing US negotiations with the Taliban which are aimed at reaching terms that would allow for a complete American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is Washington's longest running war in history, at least ten US military bases have been closed since last February, The Washington Post reports.

This also comes after President Trump controversially ordered the Pentagon earlier this month to initiate a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq of up to 2,500 from each nation.

US military file image: small base in west-central Afghan province of Parwan.
While the military has not formally confirmed the closure of the bases, which remains classified given the sensitive security nature of troop departures, the WaPo report cited both top US and Afghan officials.

The future status of the shuttered bases remains unclear in terms whether they were handed over to Afghan national forces, or if they were simply vacated or possibly destroyed.

Nov 25 19:51

Australian Afghanistan War Crimes

Quite simply put the Defence Force members who are alleged to have committed War Crimes in Afghanistan are a disgrace to all decent War Veterans and current Defence Force members.

The suspects must be investigated by the Police in the same way ordinary suspected criminals are investigated and if the Police find admissible evidence that crimes have been committed these suspects must be taken before a duly appointed Court and publicly tried. The Australian people are mature enough to handle all the grisly details of such Court cases. If they are found guilty these former and current ADF members must be imprisoned and their Service medals taken from them. If found guilty that means they are not fit and proper Australians to wear any of Australia’s medals , including Decorations for Valour and Courage.

Nov 25 09:59

Report: Afghanistan’s Booming Meth Industry May Rival Its Heroin Trade

Afghanistan is emerging as a significant global producer of methamphetamine, according to a study published on Tuesday by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

Afghan drug traffickers have in recent years discovered that the ephedra plant — commonly found growing wild in certain parts of the country — can be used to create ephedrine, the key component of the drug methamphetamine.

Known as crystal meth, methamphetamine is a cheaper drug than heroin, which has long been at the heart of Afghanistan’s highly lucrative illegal drug trade. According to the EMCDDA report, Afghanistan’s emerging meth trade is growing rapidly, meaning it could eventually rival the country’s established heroin industry.

“The realization that you could produce methamphetamine from a wild crop in the mountains has been a fundamental gamechanger,” Dr. David Mansfield, lead author of the EMCDDA study, told the BBC on Tuesday.

Nov 23 08:47

More than 26,000 children killed or injured in Afghanistan since 2005, as ‘appalling cost’ of conflict revealed

An average of five children have been killed or injured every day in Afghanistan since 2005, according to UN data released by Save the Children.

The “appalling cost” of the conflict has resulted in the suffering of at least 26,025 children between 2005 and 2019, according to the organization.

Ahead of its donor conference in Geneva this week, Save the Children declared Afghanistan one of the world’s most dangerous countries for children and called on nations to cease using explosive weapons in populated areas.

Nov 22 09:03

Merkel’s Germany Tells Trump Not to Bring Troops Home from Afghanistan

The German government has come out in opposition to President Donald Trump’s plan to bring American troops home from Afghanistan, arguing that putting an end to America’s longest war would be too “hasty”.

Members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said that President Trump’s planned reduction of the American military presence in Afghanistan from 4,500 troops to 2,500 troops by January 15th would endanger peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: “It shouldn’t be taken for granted that these two sides, after decades of conflict, are sitting at the negotiating table to begin talking to one another in a constructive way.”

“That’s why we shouldn’t add even more hurdles, which a rash exit from Afghanistan would lead to,” he said.

Nov 20 11:05

Trump demands Afghan withdrawal and Washington panics. But it’s time to leave, now.

With metronomic regularity, Washington discovers Afghanistan and then forgets it, a pattern that has continued for over three decades since the Soviet invasion of that country in 1979. Rarely has U.S. policy there reflected a realistic appraisal of actual American interests. That pattern continues to the present day as the Trump administration, with one foot out the door, is expected to order the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan, as well as Iraq and Somalia, before he leaves office in January.

According to the New York Times on Monday, the number of troops in Afghanistan would be halved from its current level of 4,500.

Nov 20 10:57

Why Trump Has Been Unable to End Endless Wars. US Troop Withdrawals from Afghanistan?

The Times of London reported, on November 16, that Trump’s recent installation of loyalists in top Pentagon jobs is likely to be for the purpose of fulfilling his long-term pledge to bring an end to the U.S.’ “endless wars”. It is expected that Trump will order the withdrawal of 4,500 troops from Afghanistan and so end 19 years of occupation.

There are two prominent objections to Trump’s likely proposal. Firstly, a swift withdrawal of U.S. forces, that would have to take place before January, will bring logistical chaos. However, the daily state of chaos which occupation brings to the lives of millions is barely considered.

Nov 20 08:17

The New Ruling Coalition: Opposition To Afghanistan Withdrawal Shows Its Key Factions: Greenwald

The Trump era has engendered numerous fractures, one might say realignments, in the political order. Long-time ideological allies are now adversaries, and long-time political enemies are now in full-fledged coalitions. These shifts are not temporary or Trump-dependent but enduring, because they are grounded in shared core beliefs about the defining debates shaping our new politics and how to consolidate real power: call it the Lincoln Project Syndrome.

Nov 18 08:45

Promises Kept: Trump To Withdraw Troops From Afghanistan And Iraq

According to media reports, President Trump is set to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq before January next year.

The move would be another promise kept by the President, who has long been a critic of both the Iraq War and the 19-years-running War in Afghanistan.

Thousands Of Troops To Leave Afghanistan And Iraq
US officials told the Associated Press that President Trump would take thousands of troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, mostly from the former.

Nov 17 13:38

Pentagon announces partial withdrawal from Afghanistan – 2,500 troops to remain

The US will withdraw 500 troops from Iraq and thousands from Afghanistan - leaving around 2,500 soldiers in each country - before President Donald Trump leaves office, Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller has announced.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Miller said the troop withdrawals will take place before January 15, 2021.

"I celebrate this day as we continue the president's consistent progress in completing the mission we began two decades ago," Miller told reporters, adding that the withdrawal decision was a "collaborative" one between Trump and senior US military leaders.

Nov 17 08:38

Trump Cements America First Legacy With Massive Troop Withdrawal and Deals Crushing Blow to War-Loving Left

America’s longest war is coming to an end. And it is entirely thanks to the commitment of President Trump.

Multiple news outlets reported Monday afternoon that the Trump administration plans to order another 2,000 U.S. troops home from Afghanistan by January 15, before a Biden administration can arrive and keep them deployed for another four years.

Nov 04 06:57

Toll Rises in ISIS Attack on Kabul University, Students Protest

Monday’s attack by ISIS gunmen on Kabul University continues to dominate the Afghan capital, with the death toll rising to at least 35 killed, and students holding protests over the attack on the educational institution.

The attack was quickly claimed by ISIS, though some Afghan officials are still attempting to blame the Taliban. The Taliban disavowed that almost immediately Monday, and criticized attacks on the school.

This was the second attack in Kabul in less than two weeks, both claimed by ISIS. In both cases, the attack appeared to be related to Kabul’s Shi’ite minority, with Shi’ites the target for the first, and Iranian visitors present for Monday’s attack.

Nov 03 07:19

ISIS Storms Kabul University, Killing at Least 22

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced a day of mourning after a terrorist attack against Kabul University. At least 22 students were killed when gunmen forced their way into the site.

The attack has been claimed by ISIS, and officials say they killed the gunmen. Signs are that the gunmen shot every student they could, including those who were fleeing, despite ISIS saying the target was a specific graduation.

This is the second strike on a Kabul education center in just two weeks, with both claimed by ISIS. The previous attack killed 24 people at an education center in a Shi’ite part of the city. In both situations, the Taliban disavowed the attacks and were critical of them.

Oct 29 07:23

‘Psychos’ fueled by ‘blood lust,’ Australian special forces tortured and executed prisoners in Afghanistan - report

A disturbing new report blows the lid on the shameful conduct of Australian special forces soldiers in Afghanistan, accusing them of waging a campaign of torture and murder across the war-torn country, and hiding the evidence.
When Australia’s elite SAS soldiers would raid villages in Afghanistan, they brought terror and death with them, a report seen by Melbourne newspaper The Age alleges. The special forces “would take the men and boys to these guest houses and interrogate them, meaning tie them up and torture them,” the report states.

By the time the SAS units left, “the men and boys would be found dead, shot in the head, sometimes blindfolded and throats slit. These are corroborated accounts,” it continues, comparing the alleged war crimes to the My Lai massacre of the Vietnam War, and to the US’ mistreatment of detainees in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

Oct 26 06:16

Video shows SAS soldiers discussing a fellow operator apparently killing a 'compliant' prisoner in Afghanistan

Video footage obtained by ABC Investigations shows members of an SAS patrol in Afghanistan talking about the apparent execution of a "totally compliant" prisoner by one of their comrades.

The patrol commander describes the incident as "f***ing bullshit".

"I'm not happy with it," he says in the footage.

The metadata of the footage, taken from the helmet camera of one of the SAS soldiers, reveals the conversation took place a day after an operation in the village of Shina in Uruzgan Province in mid-May 2012.

During that raid, by members of 3 Squadron SAS, three Afghans were killed.

Oct 25 07:01

Afghan Security Forces Announce Killing of 'Al-Qaeda Key Member' Abu Muhsin al-Masri

Al-Qaeda leader Abu Muhsin al-Masri, also known as Husam Abd-al-Ra'uf and originally from Egypt, was wanted by the FBI for conspiracy to aid foreign terrorist organisations and for killing US nationals.

On Saturday, Afghan security forces claimed to have killed a leading al-Qaeda commander in the Indian sub-continent.

The Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) tweeted on Saturday that its troops had killed Egyptian-born Abu Muhsin al-Masri, listed as Husam Abd-al-Ra'uf on the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) website, during an arrest operation in the Andar district of Ghazni province.

Oct 25 06:58

Australian special forces allegedly EXECUTED hog-tied Afghan prisoner because there was no space for him in helicopter

Australian special forces have been accused of killing an unarmed, bound prisoner in cold blood, as a four-year probe into alleged war crimes committed by Aussie troops in Afghanistan nears its end.

A US Marine helicopter crew chief told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that a group of Australian soldiers shot and killed an Afghan prisoner as they were preparing to be airlifted after a raid.

According to the marine, identified only as Josh, the Aussie commandos radioed his helicopter to tell them they needed transportation for seven prisoners captured during the operation.

“And you just heard this silence, and then we heard a pop. And then they said, ‘OK, we have six prisoners’,” Josh told the Australian outlet.

The US marine said it was the first time he had seen something he couldn’t “morally justify,” as the prisoner had already been detained and posed no threat to the Aussie forces.

Oct 25 06:10

At least 18 killed, 57 wounded in Afghanistan suicide attack

At least 18 people were killed and 17 wounded in a suicide attack Saturday in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul, the interior ministry said.

The explosion struck outside an education center in a heavily Shiite neighborhood of western Kabul, Dasht-e-Barchi.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian says that the attacker was trying to enter the center when he was stopped by security guards.

According to Arian, the casualty toll may rise further, as family members of victims of the suicide bombing are still searching the several different hospitals where the wounded have been taken.

Oct 24 07:54

Two Decades After 9/11, Pentagon Is Providing Covert Air Support To The Taliban

Nearly two decades following 9/11 and the initial invasion of Afghanistan which ostensibly had as its objective the removal and destruction of the hardline Islamist Taliban government, the United States military is providing covert support to the same "outlawed" Taliban with the latest aim of booting ISIS from the country.

A report in The Washington Post on Thursday details that this secret assistance focuses on the Pentagon providing air power to the Taliban as the group wars against against ISIS in Afghanistan’s northeastern Kunar Province.

Oct 24 07:07

20 ANA Personnel Killed in Taliban Attack in Nimroz: Official

At least 20 members of the Afghan Narrational Army (ANA) were killed in a Taliban attack on their outpost in Khashrod district, Nimroz province, on Thursday evening, said Jalil Ahmad Watandost, the district governor of Khashrod.

The district governor said that six others were taken hostage by the Taliban.

The official did not provide further details on the attack. Photos on social media show some of the soldiers who were reportedly taken hostage by the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry has not commented on the incident so far.

This comes amidst a sharp increase in violence across the country despite ongoing peace negotiations in Doha.

Oct 22 06:05

NATO Chief Dismisses Idea of US Afghanistan Withdrawal By Christmas

At a press conference on Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was asked about President Trump’s recent Tweet that said all US troops would be home from Afghanistan by Christmas. Stoltenberg dismissed the idea of an imminent US withdrawal and said all NATO allies would withdraw from Afghanistan together when “the time is right,” reiterating comments he made earlier this month.

“In Afghanistan, NATO has around 12,000 troops in the Alliance’s biggest mission,” Stoltenberg said. “As part of the peace process, we have adjusted our presence. Any further adjustments remain conditions-based.”

Oct 21 06:26

US Wasted Billions of Taxpayer Dollars in Afghanistan From 2018 to 2019

The 19-year-old war in Afghanistan continues to be a huge sinkhole for US taxpayer dollars. The US government’s oversight authority that monitors waste in Washington’s Afghanistan reconstruction effort released a report this month updating its findings.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found that as of December 31st, 2019, Congress appropriated almost $134 billion to Afghanistan reconstruction since the 2002 fiscal year. Of that amount, SIGAR reviewed about $63 billion and found approximately $19 billion or 30 percent was lost to waste, fraud, and abuse.

Between January 1st, 2018, and December 31st, 2019, SIGAR found an additional $3.4 billion was lost to waste, fraud, and abuse. Of that total, SIGAR identified $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds that were lost to waste, $300 million lost to fraud, and $34 million lost to abuse. The remaining $1.6 billion was allocated to counter-narcotics, which SIGAR believes was also wasted.

Oct 19 06:12

Taliban: US Violating Signed Peace Deal With Recent Airstrikes in Afghanistan

The February 29 Doha Agreement between the US and Taliban was meant to end the war in Afghanistan, and yet might. The deal had a number of provisions, including for the US and Taliban to not fight one another during the process.

It’s not surprising, then, that the Taliban is angry at a recent surge of US airstrikes, mostly in Helmand Province, where the Taliban was fighting the Afghan government, or airstrikes elsewhere in Afghanistan.

This is a recurring issue with the deal, as the Taliban and Afghan government have yet to reach a peace deal, and the US is using supporting the government as an excuse for strikes. Again today, spokesmen denied that they were violating the Doha Agreement with the airstrikes.

Oct 18 06:27

In Afghanistan, American Troops Patrol the Same Routes Their Fathers Did

Thousands of US soldiers continue to pace and patrol exactly the same routes as their predecessors did in 2001, fighting a seemingly endless conflict that both the American and Afghan public have long since soured on.

***

Nineteen years ago last week the United States invaded Afghanistan, a country halfway around the world that few in America had heard of and even fewer knew anything about. Today, thousands of U.S. soldiers and many more private military contractors continue to pace and patrol exactly the same routes as their predecessors did in 2001, fighting a seemingly endless and pointless conflict that both the American and Afghan public have long since soured on.

Oct 17 08:28

Afghanistan-Bound Convoy Attacked In Northwest Pakistan, NATO Armored Vehicles Torched

Pakistani officials say several armed men have attacked a convoy transporting four armored vehicles for the NATO forces in Afghanistan and set them alight.

The October 16 attack happened on the outskirts of the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, police official Zaheer Afridi told RFE/RL.

Afridi said the attackers opened fire at the convoy to stop it, ordered the drivers to step away, and doused gasoline on the military vehicles.

The four armored vehicles were destroyed while the two trailers on which they were transported were also damaged, he added.

The fire was later put out by firefighters.

Oct 15 05:32

Thousands flee amid fighting between Taliban and Afghan forces

Tens of thousands of people in southern Afghanistan have fled their homes following days of heavy fighting between the Taliban and government forces, officials said, as violence continues to soar despite ongoing peace talks.

Taliban fighters launched a series of attacks on the city of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province over the weekend, prompting the United States to call in air raids in support of the government forces.

Oct 14 05:53

Tens Of Thousands Flee Latest Taliban Offensive, And Afghan Civilian Casualties Rise

As the Taliban launched an offensive over the weekend to take areas of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, there were hundreds of casualties amid some of the most intense urban fighting since Afghan peace talks began last month.

Among the victims was a pregnant woman struck by a stray bullet. She survived but her fetus died in utero, apparently the result of the bullet's impact, Doctors Without Borders says.

The woman was among the Afghan civilians who appeared to have been caught in crossfire while fleeing villages near the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, says Karsten Noko, the humanitarian affairs officer for Doctors Without Borders.

The Taliban launched coordinated attacks in different parts of Helmand, says Omer Zwak, the provincial governor's spokesperson. Local authorities estimate that some 35,000 people have been displaced in the fighting, which intensified around Lashkar Gah on Sunday.

Oct 10 06:51

NATO Chief: We Will Leave Afghanistan ‘When the Time Is Right’

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg commented on the alliance’s plans in Afghanistan after President Trump declared on Twitter that US troops will be home from the country by Christmas. Stoltenberg insisted that NATO members will consult with each other and decide together when to leave Afghanistan.

“We decided to go into Afghanistan together, we will make decisions on future adjustments together, and when the time is right, we will leave together,” Stoltenberg said on Thursday. The NATO chief also hinted at a longer presence in Afghanistan, saying the alliance is “committed” to the country’s future.

“We will make decisions based on the conditions on the ground, because we think it is extremely important to continue to be committed to the future of Afghanistan, because it is in our interest to preserve the long term security of Afghanistan,” he said.

Oct 09 11:56

Trump Doubles Down on Military Out of Afghanistan by Christmas

President Trump reiterated a surprise declaration he made via Twitter on Wednesday night. In Wednesday’s tweet, the president said all US troops in Afghanistan should be home by Christmas.

Speaking to Fox Business on Thursday, Trump reinforced his desire for the Christmas deadline. “We’re down to 4,000 troops in Afghanistan. I’ll have them home by the end of the year. They’re coming home, you know, as we speak. Nineteen years is enough. They’re acting as policemen, OK? They’re not acting as troops,” he said.

President Trump’s tweet on Wednesday came just hours after National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said there would be about 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan by early 2021. The withdrawal is scheduled to be completed by May 2021 as per the US-Taliban peace deal that was signed in February.

Oct 08 06:38

Report: 3.7 million Afghan children don't attend school

Principal Fazel Rahim says the 1,700 students in grades 1-6 at his Allah Gul Mujahid primary school just east of the Afghan capital have no proper classrooms, safe drinking water or sanitary restrooms.

Oct 08 06:10

Trump: All US Troops in Afghanistan Should Be ‘Home by Christmas’

On Wednesday, President Trump made a new comment on the pullout of Afghanistan, saying that it is now his intention to have all remaining US troops out of Afghanistan by Christmas. That’s substantially sooner than previous statements on the matter.

This seems to be a very recent policy change. Just hours before Trump’s comments, the national security adviser said that there would still be 2,500 US troops left in Afghanistan by early 2021. This is roughly in line with previous comments on the matter.

Troop cuts in October and November are intended to get troop levels to around 4,500 in November, a goal that the Trump Administration has pushed for some time. With troop cuts ahead of schedule, even more cuts were possible.

Oct 08 06:09

US Pushes Afghanistan to Make Side Deal With Pakistan

US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad spoke at a forum on Wednesday, calling on the Afghan government to attempt to make a side deal with Pakistan on the Taliban war, saying he believes such a deal would be important to an internal peace in Afghanistan.

The Afghan government has long had a big problem with the Pakistani government, and the US regularly blamed Pakistan for times that the Afghan War went poorly, which was most of the past 19 years.

Khalilzad, however, credited the Pakistani government and military leadership, saying they’d been “helpful” in recent Afghan diplomacy. Indeed so, as Pakistan has facilitated Taliban negotiators time and again, including lead negotiator Mullah Baradar, who was held at US behest by Pakistani forces, and released to participate in talks.

Oct 04 07:02

Evidence demands America end the Afghan war and withdraw now

In a preview of his forthcoming book “Battlegrounds,” former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made the sensational claim Sunday on a “60 Minutes” segment that President Trump was effectively partnering with our enemy in Afghanistan and had “cheapened the sacrifice of the 2,300 Americans” who have died in the war. Rather than cast shade on the president, however, Gen. McMaster’s claims do more to expose the bankrupt nature of establishment thinking in Washington on matters of war and peace.

Sep 29 07:50

Army Announces Fall Deployments to Afghanistan and Korea

The Army announced that a combat brigade from the 10th Mountain Division will deploy this fall to Afghanistan for a rotation to support Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, based in Fort Drum, New York, will replace the 10th Mountain's 1st Brigade Combat Team and participate in the U.S. counterterrorism mission against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, according to an Army news release.

Sep 29 07:30

Trump's envoy grilled by lawmakers over women's rights in Afghanistan

President Donald Trump’s envoy to Afghanistan faced tough questioning on Tuesday by Democratic lawmakers who accused the administration of jeopardizing the rights of Afghan women in pursuit of a peace deal.

The grilling of U.S. special representative Zalmay Khalilzad came days after the Taliban and the Afghan government entered into peace talks for the first time, a breakthrough that followed a months-long diplomatic push by the Trump administration.

But Rep. Stephen Lynch, chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, and other Democrats said they feared for the future of Afghan women without a firm guarantee from Washington to safeguard their rights.

Sep 28 06:04

US Envoy: Taliban Withholding Ceasefire Pending Political Settlement

US envoy and negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad says that the Taliban is not prepared to accept any ceasefires for Afghanistan right now, because they want a political settlement first. Khalilzad suggested that proposing a mutual reduction in violence would be more realistic in the near-term.

Khalilzad said the current approach of settlement then ceasefire is “not unprecedented in similar conflicts” and that the US was willing to work with both sides on agreeing to a reduction in violence.

Mutual reductions in violence have been supported by multiple sides before, but usually give way to attacks and retaliation, ending with violence actually slightly increasing. All told, violence is still down from levels before the US-Taliban deal, but still higher than anyone wants.

Sep 24 06:16

Pentagon Informs Congress It's Preparing To Have "Zero" US Troops In Afghanistan By Spring

With the Pentagon expected to reduce troops levels in Afghanistan down to 4,500 by the November elections, and with the still negotiated US-Taliban peace deal facilitating this, on Tuesday a Pentagon official told Congress it can expect American presence there to be completely ended by May 2021.

Sep 22 10:27

Now for the Real Killer: Lockdown Hunger

Long before the pandemic swept into her village in the rugged southeast of Afghanistan, Halima Bibi knew the gnawing fear of hunger. It was an omnipresent force, an unrelenting source of anxiety as she struggled to nourish her four children.

Her husband earned about $5 a day, hauling produce by wheelbarrow from a local market to surrounding homes. Most days, he brought home a loaf of bread, potatoes and beans for an evening meal.

But when the coronavirus arrived in March, taking the lives of her neighbors and shutting down the market, her husband’s earnings plunged to about $1 a day. Most evenings, he brought home only bread. Some nights, he returned with nothing.

Sep 22 06:16

Afghanistan: Over 100 Killed in Deadliest Clashes Since Intra-Afghan Talks Began

The Afghan government said on Monday that at least 57 Afghan soldiers were killed in overnight clashes with the Taliban, the bloodiest day of fighting since intra-Afghan talks began in Doha earlier this month.

The Taliban has not confirmed any casualties, but an Afghan military spokesman said 54 Taliban fighters were killed in Kunduz, Takhar, and Baghlan provinces. A spokesman from the local government of Maidan Ward Province said 26 Taliban members were killed there, bringing the total to 80.

The Afghan government took the heaviest casualties in the central province of Uruzgan, where at least 24 Afghan soldiers were killed after the Taliban attacked security checkpoints.

Sep 20 05:18

Britain, France, and Germany Spurn US Plan for Iran Sanctions

Trump Administration officials have been saying this for weeks, but on Friday reiterated their intentions to try to enforce a UN Security Council resolution that includes broad sanctions against Iran. Officials say they expect every nation to comply.

The glaring problem with this is that the resolution doesn’t exist, at least not as an active resolution the US wants. The P5+1 nuclear deal gave the US the authority to reimpose sanctions on Iran, but the US had withdrawn from that pact years ago. Though the Trump Administration argued that didn’t matter, the UN has virtually unanimously rejected their interpretation, and rejected the UN Security Council resolution. The US believes the resolution becomes active Sunday, but the reality is it just doesn’t exist legally.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

These actions spell desperation on the cusp of madness, and the world is not following suit; so, what is next here, an invasion of Iran?!?

Considering just how "brilliantly" the other US occupations around the world are going, you might imagine it might just be time for a "re-think" on this; but of course, Israel's Bibi Netanyahu will not allow that to happen; he wants the US waging war against Iran, so Israel will not have to.

Sep 15 06:45

As Afghanistan Peace Talks Begin, Mish Asks "Why Bother? Just Leave!"

Of course the Taliban will not honor the deal.

So what?

They will not honor it if we stay another 20 years and waste another $10 trillion in the process.

Sep 09 03:18

Afghan assassination bid: Vice president survives attack which kills, wounds 2 dozen

Afghanistan’s First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh has been lightly injured in a bomb attack targeting his convoy in the capital, Kabul, but two dozen other people have been killed and wounded.

The bomb attack targeted Saleh’s convoy as he left his home and was heading to work in Kabul on Wednesday.

A video was released on Facebook soon after the attack, showing Saleh, with bandages on his left hand.

“I am fine but some of my guards have been wounded. My son, who was in the car with me, and I are both fine,” Saleh said.

“I have some burns on my face and hand. The blast was strong,” he added.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

America's failed effort at regime change in Afghanistan has to stop; it is insanely immoral to begin with, and bankrupting this country.

And please remember; since 9/11, there has not been a day that an American kid has known as a day without wars/asymmetric attacks and regime changes perpetrated by their country on others which are much weaker, and smaller, than is the Unhinged, Surveilled, State of Amerika.

Sep 03 05:18

Global Shock After US Sanctions Top International Court Prosecutor Over Afghan Probe

It's not just so-called "rogue states" apparently, but no one is immune from coming under Washington's cross hairs and wrath in the form of economic sanctions and travel restrictions.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just announced sanctions on Fatou Bensouda, the head prosecutor of The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), after the ICC previously opened a formal probe into US soldiers committing war crimes in Afghanistan.

This is after already revoking visas and placing travel bans into the US of other ICC personnel and their families. "Today we take the next step, because the ICC continues to target Americans, sadly," Pompeo said Wednesday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This shouldn't "shock" anyone; this is how the Unhinged Surveilled State of Amerika rolls in the 21st century; and Mikey, Americans are being targeted because of torture and war crime accusations.

If they are utterly innocent, should they not have the opportunity to clear their names?!?

Or are you so utterly sure of their complicity, that you are attempting to NOT get these cases heard at the ICC?!? Mikey, you cannot have this both ways.

Aug 29 00:28

"Terminate Bush's War": Trump To Reduce Troops In Iraq By One-Third Just Ahead Of Election

Republican leadership at the RNC Convention this week talked a big game when it comes to "bringing the troops home" - something Trump has been promising since 2016 - but which has not yet ultimately been realized. But can he deliver now as part of a pre-election promise? It looks like the wheels are finally in motion.

Multiple reports citing Pentagon officials on Friday say up to one-third of all American soldiers will permanently return from Iraq over the next two to three months.

This would bring numbers down from 5,200 to about 3,500 according to Pentagon officials. Trump is in the meantime expected to tout an Iraq withdrawal as a success in ending the wasteful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Aug 25 07:45

Iran’s Drug Control Chief: US Aircraft Smuggling Narcotics Out of Afghanistan

Eskandar Momeni, director general of Iran Drug Control Headquarters, said Monday that not only has the US war in Afghanistan caused an explosion in poppy cultivation, but also that US military aircraft are smuggling drugs out of the country.

Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported Monday that Momeni blamed the US for the explosion of the Afghan drug trade over the last 20 years.

“In the year 2000, the total production of narcotics in Afghanistan stood at about 200 tons, which rose to over 9,000 tons in 2017, an increase of about 50 times,” Momeni said during a Monday video conference with national anti-drug coordination councils, ISNA reported.

"Based on reliable information, planes operated by NATO and the United States transport these illicit drugs in our neighboring country," he added.

Aug 20 04:37

Afghan Army Tells Personnel to Be Ready to Return Fire Against Pakistan

Constant tensions along the ill-defined Afghan-Pakistan border look to be coming to a head again, with the Afghan Army issuing a statement in which they instruct personnel to prepare for retaliatory fire against the Pakistani military in case they cross the border.

This comes after an overnight incident in Kandahar, in which Pakistani artillery fired across the border, killing nine civilians and wounding scores of others in a residential area. Details on this attack are still not entirely clear.

The incidents are not clear, but not unusual, as the Durand Line border tends to be contested by both sides, and cross-border fire happens, often without a solid explanation.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Would this continue to be happening, had the US not invaded Afghanistan all those years ago?!? I would suspect, most probably not.

Aug 16 05:12

Video appearing to show Afghan troops brutality sparks outrage

Authorities order an investigation into a video that shows gov't forces desecrating the bodies of Taliban fighters.

Aug 04 04:29

Afghan Warlord’s Promotion Highlights the Bankruptcy of America’s Longest War

When Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, his main political opponent, signed a power-sharing deal in May, it ended eight months of bitter post-election dispute. It also came with a disturbing price tag, one hashed out among rounds of backroom deals, tense negotiations, and desperate U.S. attempts to keep the government from imploding. Abdul Rashid Dostum, Ghani’s vice president until last year and one of the country’s most notorious warlords, demanded a promotion to the rank of marshal, only awarded twice before in Afghan history. Ghani, who’d long vowed to clean out the warlords, complied.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Color me completely unsurprised by these developments; the US presence in Afghanistan, was never about strengthening the government in Kabul; it was all about the pipelines and leasing them, and who controlled those activities.

Jul 30 18:20

Operation Burnham: What happened with the NZ SAS during a deadly incursion in Afghanistan

A civilian child was killed during Operation Burnham in 2010, but an inquiry has found their death was justified under international law.

Four others died, but the Burnham Inquiry couldn't determine if they were civilians or insurgents.

The long-awaited inquiry into the actions of New Zealand SAS troops during Operation Burnham in Afghanistan has been released today.

The Burnham Inquiry has also found New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) officials did not plot to cover-up the casualties, as claimed in the book Hit and Run by investigative journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson.

*Think about it..'but an inquiry has found their death was justified under international law'.*

Jul 28 04:33

UN says thousands of anti-Pakistan militants in Afghanistan

A U.N. report says more than 6,000 Pakistani insurgents are hiding in Afghanistan, most belonging to the outlawed Pakistani Taliban group responsible for attacking Pakistani military and civilian targets.

The report released this week said the group, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), has linked up with the Afghan-based affiliate of the Islamic State group. Some of TTP's members have even joined the IS affiliate, which has its headquarters in eastern Afghanistan.

The Afghan government did not respond Sunday to requests by The Associated Press for comment.

Jul 23 04:24

Bipartisan torpedo against withdrawal from Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan was officially launched to avenge the attacks of September 11, 2001. However, it had been prepared beforehand. For two decades, we have been explaining in these columns that it is the first in a long series of wars aimed at destroying all state structures in the broader Middle East (Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy) in order to control the exploitation of natural resources. The war, which was supposed to last two weeks, has been going on for 19 years. It is planned to last as long as possible. Today, personalities linked to the Pentagon are sabotaging President Trump’s partial withdrawal.

Jul 15 11:27

US Troops Withdraw From Five Bases in Afghanistan as Part of Taliban Deal

Since the United States first began its occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, remaining troops have had to aid the Kabul government in its fight against the Taliban regime. Washington is now prioritising an agreement with the Islamist group in an effort to end ongoing violence.

The US has closed down five military bases in Afghanistan as part of a deal with the Taliban agreed to more than four months ago, a White House representative revealed on Tuesday.

The agreement committed to the removal of US forces from bases within the first 135 days, said US President Donald Trump’s special representative to the talks, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Jul 08 08:14

US created, nurtured Taliban in decade-long covert op: Russia’s top security official

Russia’s top security official says the United States created and nurtured the Taliban militant group in Afghanistan in a decade-long covert operation.

“Frankly speaking, it was the United States that laid the foundation for the Taliban movement,” Head of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Argumenty i Fakty weekly on Tuesday.

The Taliban militant group, Patrushev said, is the result of “Operation Cyclone… one of the longest and most expensive operations in the history of the CIA,” which was carried out by the US spy agency in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989.

The operation “was aimed at financially and militarily supporting Afghan mujahedeen, who later formed the backbone of terrorist forces not only in Afghanistan but throughout the region,” Patrushev added.

The so-called mujahedeen fought the former Soviet Union forces in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

Jul 06 08:00

Seriously, Get The Hell Out Of Afghanistan

With overwhelming bipartisan support, the House Armed Services Committee has added a Liz Cheney-spearheaded amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which throws severe roadblocks in the Trump administration’s proposed scale-down of US military presence in Afghanistan and Germany.

As The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald notes, both parties advancing the amendment cited in their arguments the completely unsubstantiated intelligence leak that was recently published by credulous mass media reporters alleging that Russia has paid bounties to Taliban fighters for killing the occupying forces in Afghanistan. Yet another western imperialist agenda once again facilitated by unforgivably egregious journalistic malpractice in the mass media.

Jul 06 07:55

BOUNTYGATE: Scapegoating Systemic Military Failure in Afghanistan

On the morning of Feb. 27, Beth Sanner, the deputy director of national intelligence for mission integration, arrived at the White House carrying a copy of the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), a document which, in one form or another, has been made available to every president of the United States since Harry Truman first received what was then known as the “Daily Summary” in February 1946.

The sensitivity of the PDB is without dispute; former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer once called the PBD “the most highly sensitized classified document in the government,”while former Vice President Dick Cheney referred to it as “the family jewels.”

The contents of the PDB are rarely shared with the public, not only because of the highly classified nature of the information it contains, but also because of the intimacy it reveals about the relationship between the nation’s chief executive and the intelligence community.

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