Pepe Escobar’s new ebook: Forever Wars, recaptured in real time

October 14, 2021

Pepe Escobar’s new ebook:  Forever Wars, recaptured in real time

About 20 days ago, Pepe Escobar let us know that part 2 of his Forever Wars series is now available for purchase and download as an e-book.  I sat down to read it in order to write a book review for The Saker Blog.  It is now 20 days later and I am still in awe, comparing the historical with the recent.   It is as if the same bells are ringing once again, yet they are more muted and discordant.  So my book report is that I am still on part 1, which starts before 9/11 and to 2004.  I don’t want to miss one moment of Pepe’s evocative word sketches of the War on Terror, which he calls the War on Terra, and want to take my own sweet time to read Forever Wars I and II.  Because I am reading slowly, let us then not hold up the announcement of the new book.


It is my great pleasure and honor to announce that Pepe Escobar, our friend, our colleague, fellow warrior, and outstanding journalist, has published the second part in the series, Forever Wars.

Now Pepe will take the podium:

(Amarynth exists, stage left, spots on Pepe!)


Forever Wars, recaptured in real-time

By Pepe Escobar

The 21st century, geopolitically, so far has been shaped by the U.S.- engineered Forever Wars.

Forever Wars: Afghanistan-Iraq, part 2, ranging from 2004 to 2021, is the fourth in a series of e-books recovering the Pepe Escobar archives on Asia Times.

The archives track a period of 20 years – starting with the columns and stories published under The Roving Eye sign in the previous Asia Times Online from 2001 all the way to early 2015.

The first e-book, Shadow Play, tracked the interplay between China, Russia and the U.S. between 2017-2020.

The second, Persian Miniatures, tracked the Islamic Republic of Iran throughout the “axis of evil” era, the Ahmadinejad years, the nuclear deal, and “maximum pressure” imposed by the Trump administration.

Forever Wars is divided in two parts, closely tracking Afghanistan and Iraq.

Forever Wars, part 1 starts one month before 9/11 in the heart of Afghanistan, and goes all the way to 2004.

Part 2, edited by my Asia Times colleague Bradley Martin, starts with the Abu Ghraib scandal and the Taliban adventures in Texas and goes all the way to the “Saigon moment” and the return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The unifying idea behind this e-book series is quite a challenge: to recover the excitement of what is written as “the first draft of History”.

You may read the whole two-volume compilation chronologically, as a thriller, following in detail all the plot twists and cliffhangers.

Or you may read it in a self-service way, picking a date or a particular theme.

On part 1, you will find the last interview by commander Massoud in the Panjshir before he was killed two days before 9/11; the expansion of jihad as a “thermonuclear bomb”; life in “liberated” Kabul; life in Iraq in the last year under Saddam Hussein; on the trail of al-Qaeda in the Afghan badlands; who brought us the war on Iraq.

On part 2, you will revive, among other themes:

Abu Ghraib as an American tragedy.

Fallujah as a new Guernica.

Iraq as the new Afghanistan.

The myth of Talibanistan.

The counter-insurgency absurdities in “AfPak”.

How we all remain hostages of 9/11.

The Pipelineistan Great Game.

The failing surges – in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

How was life in Talibanistan in the year 2000.

NATO designing our future already in 2010.

Afghanistan courted as a player in Eurasian connectivity.

And since July 7, the chronicle of the astonishing end of the 20-year-long Forever War in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.

The majority of the articles, essays and interviews selected for this two-part e-book were written in Afghanistan and in Iraq and/or before and after multiple visits to both countries.

So welcome to a unique geopolitical road trip – depicting in detail the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune that will continue to shape the young 21st century.

Ride the snake.

Deer Show | How US returns Afghanistan to Taliban in 20 years’ efforts?

September 11, 2021

Deer Show | How US returns Afghanistan to Taliban in 20 years’ efforts?

When you feel life is going nowhere, just think: with 4 U.S.

presidents 20 years 2 trillion dollars 2,300 soldiers’ lives… the regime of Afghanistan changes from Taliban to… Taliban

Quds Force Commander: Iran Trying To Exclude Militarism as Solution for Afghanistan

 SEPTEMBER 8, 2021

Quds Force Commander: Iran Trying To Exclude Militarism as Solution for Afghanistan

By Staff, Agencies

A member of the Iranian Parliament reported that the Islamic Revolution Guard [IRG’s] Quds Force commander, Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, said in a closed Parliament session that Iran is trying that the resolve of the Afghan issue not to be through war.

In an interview with Mehr News Agency, MP Ahmad Alireza Beigi explained the closed session of the Parliament which was held in the presence of the IRGC Quds Force commander on Tuesday morning discussed the latest developments in neighboring Afghanistan.

“According to General Ghaani, political and military experts analyze the US defeat in Afghanistan far more importantly than the US defeat in Vietnam,” he said.

“The commander of the Quds Force believed that the incident took place after 20 years of US investment and the US presence in Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11, and Washington was determined to stay in Afghanistan after the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud,” the MP added.

Alireza Beig went on to say, “General Ghaani stressed that the Islamic Republic monitors the developments in Afghanistan with a view to its national interests and is interested in the fate of Afghanistan, and for this reason, from the beginning of the Soviet Union’s entry into Afghanistan, it [Iran] supported the people of this country as a religious duty.”

“According to the commander, the United States spent $300 million a day in Afghanistan, and as the US president said 18 soldiers returning from Afghanistan commit suicide every day,” he added.

“General Ghaani stressed that the security of Iran is important for us and the US plan is to engage Iran with the Sunni world, so the Islamic Republic must act in a way that the security of Iran is not compromised and the United States does not achieve its goals,” the MP noted.

“According to the commander of the Quds Force, the Shias of Afghanistan are very important for the Islamic Republic, and Iran is trying that the resolve of the Afghan issue not to be through war, and all the tribes of Afghanistan to participate in governing the country,” Alireza Beigi concluded.

Back to the future: Talibanistan, Year 2000

Back to the future: Talibanistan, Year 2000

August 31, 2021

by Pepe Escobar for The Saker Blog and friends

Dear reader: this is very special, a trip down memory lane like no other: back to prehistoric times – the pre-9/11, pre-YouTube, pre-social network world.

Welcome to Taliban Afghanistan – Talibanistan – in the Year 2000. This is when photographer Jason Florio and myself slowly crossed it overland from east to west, from the Pakistani border at Torkham to the Iranian border at Islam qillah. As Afghan ONG workers acknowledged, we were the first Westerners to pull this off in years.

Fatima, Maliha and Nouria, at home in Kabul

Those were the days. Bill Clinton was enjoying his last stretch at the White House. Osama bin Laden was a discreet guest of Mullah Omar – hitting the front pages only occasionally. There was no hint of 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, the “war on terror”, the perpetual financial crisis, the Russia-China strategic partnership. Globalization ruled, and the US was the undisputed global top dog. The Clinton administration and the Taliban were deep into Pipelineistan territory – arguing over the tortuous, proposed Trans-Afghan gas pipeline.

We tried everything, but we couldn’t even get a glimpse of Mullah Omar. Osama bin Laden was also nowhere to be seen. But we did experience Talibanistan in action, in close detail.

Today is a special day to revisit it. The Forever War in Afghanistan is over; from now on it will be a Hybrid mongrel, against the integration of Afghanistan into the New Silk Roads and Greater Eurasia.

In 2000 I wrote a Talibanistan road trip special for a Japanese political magazine, now extinct, and ten years later a 3-part mini-series revisiting it for Asia Times.

Part 2 of this series can be found here, and part 3 here.

Yet this particular essay – part 1 – had completely disappeared from the internet (that’s a long story): I found it recently, by accident, in a hard drive. The images come from the footage I shot at the time with a Sony mini-DV: I just received the file today from Paris.

This is a glimpse of a long-lost world; call it a historical register from a time when no one would even dream of a “Saigon moment” remixed – as a rebranded umbrella of warriors conveniently labeled “Taliban”, after biding their time, Pashtun-style, for two decades, praises Allah for eventually handing them victory over yet another foreign invader.

Now let’s hit the road.

KABUL, GHAZNI – Fatima, Maliha and Nouria, who I used to call The Three Graces, must be by now 40, 39 and 35 years old, respectively. In the year 2000 they lived in an empty, bombed house next to a bullet-ridden mosque in a half-destroyed, apocalyptic theme park Kabul – by then the world capital of the discarded container (or reconstituted by a missile and reconverted into a shop); a city where 70% of the population were refugees, legions of homeless kids carried bags of cash on their backs ($1 was worth more than 60,000 Afghanis) and sheep outnumbered rattling 1960s Mercedes buses.

Under the merciless Taliban theocracy, the Three Graces suffered triple discrimination – as women, Hazaras and Shi’ites. They lived in Kardechar, a neighborhood totally destroyed in the 1990s by the war between Commander Masoud, The Lion of the Panjshir, and the Hazaras (the descendants of mixed marriages between Genghis Khan’s Mongol warriors and Turkish and Tajik peoples) before the Taliban took power in 1996. The Hazaras were always the weakest link in the Tajik-Uzbek-Hazara alliance – supported by Iran, Russia and China – confronting the Taliban.

Every dejected Kabuli intellectual I had met invariably defined the Taliban as “an occupation force of religious fanatics” – their rural medievalism totally absurd for urban Tajiks, used to a tolerant form of Islam. According to a university professor, “their jihad is not against kafirs; it’s against other Muslims who follow Islam”.

I spent a long time talking to the Dari-speaking Three Graces inside their bombed-out home – with translation provided by their brother Aloyuz, who had spent a few years in Iran supporting the family long-distance. This simple fact in itself would assure that if caught, we would all be shot dead by the Taliban V & V – the notorious Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the Taliban religious police.

This is how bombed-out Kabul looked like in 2000

The Three Graces’ dream was to live “free, not under pressure”. They had never been to a restaurant, a bar or a cinema. Fatima liked “rock” music, which in her case meant Afghan singer Natasha. She said she “liked” the Taliban, but most of all she wanted to get back to school. They never mentioned any discrimination between Sunnis and Shi’ites; they actually wanted to leave for Pakistan.

Their definition of “human rights” included priority for education, the right to work, and to get a job in the state sector; Fatima and Maliha wanted to be doctors. Perhaps they are, today, in Hazara land; 21 years ago they spent their days weaving beautiful silk shawls.

Education was terminally forbidden for girls over 12. The literacy rate among women was only 4%. Outside the Three Graces’ house, almost every woman was a “widow of war”, enveloped in dusty light blue burqas, begging to support their children. Not only this was an unbearable humiliation in the context of an ultra-rigid Islamic society, it contradicted the Taliban obsession of preserving the “honor and purity” of their women.

Kabul’s population was then 2 million; less than 10%, concentrated in the periphery, supported the Taliban. True Kabulis regarded them as barbarians. For the Taliban, Kabul was more remote than Mars. Every day at sunset the Intercontinental Hotel, by then an archeological ruin, received an inevitable Taliban sightseeing group. They’d come to ride the lift (the only one in town) and walk around the empty swimming pool and tennis court. They’d be taking a break from cruising around town in their fleet of imported-from-Dubai Toyota Hi-Lux, complete with Islamic homilies painted in the windows, Kalashnikovs on show and little whips on hand to impose on the infidels the appropriate, Islamically correct, behavior. But at least the Three Graces were safe; they never left their bombed-out shelter.

Doubt is sin, debate is heresy

Few things were more thrilling in Talibanistan 21 years ago than to alight at Pul-e-Khisshti – the fabled Blue Mosque, the largest in Afghanistan – on a Friday afternoon after Jumma prayers and confront the One Thousand and One Nights assembled cast. Any image of this apotheosis of thousands of black or white-turbaned rustic warriors, kohl in their eyes and the requisite macho-sexy stare, would be all the rage on the cover of Uomo Vogue. To even think of taking a photo was anathema; the entrance to the mosque was always swarming with V & V informants.

Finally, in one of those eventful Friday afternoons, I managed to be introduced into the Holy Grail – the secluded quarters of maulvi (priest) Noor Muhamad Qureishi, by then the Taliban Prophet in Kabul. He had never exchanged views with a Westerner. It was certainly one of the most surrealist interviews of my life.

Qureishi, like all Taliban religious leaders, was educated in a Pakistani madrassa. At first, he was your typical hardcore deobandi; the deobandis, as the West would later find out, were an initially progressive movement born in India in the mid-19th century to revive Islamic values vis-à-vis the sprawling British Empire. But they soon derailed into megalomania, discrimination against women and Shi’ite-hatred.

Most of all, Quereishi was the quintessential product of a boom – the connection between the ISI and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party during the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad, when thousands of madrassas were built in Pakistan’s Pashtun belt. Afghan refugees had the right to free education, a roof over their heads, three meals a day and military training. Their “educators” were semi-illiterate maulvis who had never known the reformist agenda of the original deobandi movement.

On the Afghanistan-Iran border at Islam qilla

Reclined on a tattered cushion over one of the mosque’s ragged carpets, Qureishi laid down the deobandi law in Pashto for hours. Among other things he said the movement was “the most popular” because its ideologues dreamed that Prophet Muhammad ordered them to build a madrassa in Deoband, India. So this was Islam’s purest form “because it came directly from Muhammad”. Despite the formidable catalogue of Taliban atrocities, he insisted on their “purity”.

Qureishi dabbled on the inferiority of Hindus because of their sacred cows (“why not dogs, at least they are faithful to their owners”). As for Buddhism, it was positively depraved (“Buddha is an idol”). He would have had a multiple heart attack with Thailand’s Buddhist go-go girls, dancing topless at night and offering incense at the temple the morning after.

Doubt is sin. Debate is heresy. “The only true knowledge is the Koran”. He insisted that all “forms of modern scientific knowledge came from the Koran”. As an example, he quoted – what else – a Koranic verse (the Koran, by the way, in its neo-deobandi, Talibanized version, forbade women to write, and allowed education only up to 10 years old). I could not help being reminded of that 18th century French anonymous – a typical product of the Enlightenment – who had written the Treaty of the Three Impostors – Moses, Jesus and Muhammad; but if I tried to insert the European Enlightenment into (his) monologue I would probably be shot dead. Basically, Qureishi finally managed to convince me that all this religious shadow play was about proving that “my sect is purer than yours”.

Village elders in Herat

Play it again, infidel

Talibanistan lived under a strict Kalashnikov culture. But the supreme anti-Taliban lethal weapon was not a gun, or even a mortar or RPG. It was a camera. I knew inevitably that day would come, and it came on Kabul stadium, built by the former USSR to extol proletarian internationalism; another Friday, at 5 pm, the weekly soccer hour – the only form of entertainment absent from the Taliban’s Index Prohibitorum apart from public executions and mango ice cream.

Jason and me were lodged at the VIP tribune – less than 10 US cents for the ticket. The stadium was packed – but silent as a mosque. Two teams, the red and the blue, were playing the Islamically correct way – with extra skirts under their trunks. At half time the whole stadium – to the sound of “Allah Akbar” – run to pray by the pitch; those who didn’t were spanked or thrown in jail.

Jason had his cameras hanging from his neck but he was not using them. Yet that was more than enough for a hysteric V & V teenage informant. We are escorted out of the stands by a small army of smiling, homoerotic brotherhood, those who were then referred to as “soldiers of Allah”. Finally we are presented to a white-turbaned Talib with assassin’s eyes; he’s no one other than mullah Salimi, the vice-Minister of the religious police in Kabul – the reincarnation of The Great Inquisitor. We are finally escorted out of the stadium and thrown into a Hi-Lux, destination unknown. Suddenly we are more popular with the crowd than the soccer match itself.

At a Taliban “office” – a towel on the grass in front of a bombed-out building, decorated with a mute sat-phone – we are charged with espionage. Our backpacks are thoroughly searched. Salimi inspects two rolls of film from Jason’s cameras; no incriminating photo. It’s now the turn of my Sony mini-DV camera. We press “play”; Salimi recoils in horror. We explain nothing is recorded on the blue screen. What was really recorded – he just needed to press “rewind” – would be enough to send us to the gallows, including a lot of stuff with the Three Graces. Once again we noticed the Taliban badly needed not only art directors and PR agents but also info-tech whiz kids.

Carpet-weaving at the Herat bazaar

In Taliban anti-iconography, video, in theory, might be allowed, because the screen is a mirror. Anyway, later we would know from the lion’s mouth, that is, the Ministry of Information and Culture in Kandahar: TV and video would remain perpetually banned.

At that time, a few photo-studios survived near one of the Kabul bazaars – only churning out 3X4 photos for documents. The owners paid their bills renting their Xerox machines. The Zahir Photo Studio still had on its walls a collection of black and white and sepia photos of Kabul, Herat, minarets, nomads and caravans. Among Leicas, superb Speed Graphic 8 X 10 and dusty Russian panoramic cameras, Mr. Zahir would lament, “photography is dead in Afghanistan”. At least, that wouldn’t be for long.

The 11th century Ghazni minaret with, on the foreground, a Taliban military base

So after an interminable debate in Pashto with some Urdu and English thrown in, we are “liberated”. Some Taliban – but certainly not Salimi, still piercing us with his assassin’s eyes – try a formal apology, saying this is incompatible with the Pashtun code of hospitality. All tribal Pashtun – like the Taliban – follow the pashtunwali, the rigid code that emphasizes, among other things, hospitality, vengeance and a pious Islamic life. According to the code, it’s a council of elders that arbitrates specific disputes, applying a compendium of laws and punishments. Most cases involve murders, land disputes and trouble with women. For the Pashtun, the line between pashtunwali and Sharia was always fuzzy.

A Kuchi nomad caravan going south towards Kandahar.

The V & V obviously was not a creation of Mullah Omar, the “Leader of the Faithful”; it was based on a Saudi Arabian original. In its heyday, in the second half of the 1990s, the V & V was a formidable intelligence agency – with informers infiltrated in the Army, ministries, hospitals, UN agencies, NGOs – evoking a bizarre memory of KHAD, the enormous intel agency of the 1980’s communist regime, during the anti-USSR jihad. The difference is that the V & V only answered to orders – issued on bits and pieces of paper – of Mullah Omar himself.

Rock the base

The verdict echoed like a dagger piercing the oppressive air of the desert near Ghazni. A 360-degree panoramic shot revealed a background of mountains where the mineral had expelled all the vegetal; the silhouette of two 11th century minarets; and a foreground of tanks, helicopters and rocket launchers. The verdict, issued in Pashto and mumbled by our scared official translator imposed by Kabul, was inexorable: “You will be denounced in a military court. The investigation will be long, six months; meanwhile you will await the decision in jail”.

Once again, we were being charged with espionage, but now this was the real deal. We could be executed with a shot on the back of the neck – Khmer Rouge style. Or stoned. Or thrown into a shallow grave and buried alive by a brick wall smashed by a tractor. Brilliant Taliban methods for the final solution were myriad. And to think this was all happening because of two minarets.

To walk over a supposedly mined field trying to reach two minarets was not exactly a brilliant idea in the first place. Red Army experts, during the 1980s, buried 12 million mines in Afghanistan. They diversified like crazy; more than 50 models, from Zimbabwe’s RAP-2s to Belgium’s NR-127s. UN officials had assured us that more than half the country was mined. Afghan officials at the Mine Detention Center in Herat, with their 50 highly trained German shepherds, would later tell us that it would take 22,000 years to demine the whole country.

My objects of desire in Ghazni were two “Towers of Victory”; two circular superstructures, isolated in the middle of the desert and built by the Sassanians as minarets – commemorative, not religious; there was never a mosque in the surroundings. In the mid-19th century scholars attributed the grand minaret to Mahmud, protector of Avicenna and the great Persian poet Ferdowsi. Today it is known that the small minaret dates from 1030, and the big one, from 1099. They are like two brick rockets pointing to the sheltering sky and claiming for the attention of those travelling the by then horrific Kabul-Kandahar highway, a Via Dolorosa of multinational flat tires – Russian, Chinese, Iranian.

The problem is that, 21 years ago, right adjacent to the minarets, there was an invisible Taliban military base. At first we could see only an enormous weapons depot. We asked a sentinel to take a few pictures; he agreed. Walking around the depot – between carcasses of Russian tanks and armored cars – we found some functioning artillery pieces. And a lone, white Taliban flag. And not a living soul. This did look like an abandoned depot. But then we hit on a destroyed Russian helicopter – a prodigy of conceptual art. Too late: soon we are intercepted by a Taliban out of nowhere.

The commander of the base wanted to know “under which law” we assumed we had the right to take photos. He wanted to know which was the punishment, “in our country”, for such an act. When the going was really getting tough, everything turned Monty Python. One of the Taliban had walked back to the road to fetch our driver, Fateh. They came back two hours later. The commander talked to Fateh in Pashto. And then we were “liberated”, out of “respect for Fateh’s white beard”. But we should “confess” to our crime – which we did right away, over and over again.

The fact of the matter is that we were freed because I was carrying a precious letter hand-signed by the all-powerful Samiul Haq, the leader of Haqqania, the factory-cum-academy, Harvard and M.I.T. of Taliban in Akhora Khatak, on the Grand Trunk Road between Islamabad and Peshawar in Pakistan. Legions of Taliban ministers, province governors, military commanders, judges and bureaucrats had studied in Haqqania.

Haqqania was founded in 1947 by deobandi religious scholar Abdul Haq, the father of maulvi and former senator Samiul Haq, a wily old hand fond of brothels and as engaging as a carpet vendor in the Peshawar bazaars. He was a key educator of the first detribalized, urbanized and literate Afghan generation; “literate”, of course, in Haqqania-branded, Deobandi-style Islam. In Haqqania – where I saw hundreds of students from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan indoctrinated to later export Talibanization to Central Asia – debate was heresy, the master was infallible and Samiul Haq was almost as perfect as Allah.

He had told me – no metaphor intended – that “Allah had chosen Mullah Omar to be the leader of the Taliban”. And he was sure that when the Islamic Revolution reached Pakistan, “it will be led by a unknown rising from the masses” – like Mullah Omar. At the time Haq was Omar’s consultant on international relations and Sharia-based decisions. He bundled up both Russia and the US as “enemies of our time”; blamed the US for the Afghan tragedy; but otherwise offered to hand over Osama bin Laden to the US if Bill Clinton guaranteed no interference in Afghan affairs.

Turn left for the Ministry of Foreign Relations – at the time only recognized by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Back in Ghazni, the Taliban commander even invited us for some green tea. Thanks but no thanks. We thanked Allah’s mercy by visiting the tomb of sultan Mahmud in Razah, less than one kilometer from the towers. The tomb is a work of art – translucid marble engraved with Kufic lettering. Islamic Kufic lettering, if observed as pure design, reveals itself as a transposition of the verb, from the audible to the visible. So the conclusion was inevitable; the Taliban had managed to totally ignore the history of their own land, building a military base over two architectural relics and incapable of recognizing even the design of their own Islamic lettering as a form of art.


All pictures taken from The Roving Eye Video Archives. Pepe Escobar, 2000

This is what a dying empire looks like

August 30, 2021

This is what a dying empire looks like

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

These past weeks in Afghanistan have been what some would call a shit storm, in lack of better words. What is unfolding in front of our eyes is truly both a tragedy of great proportions and a spectacle of some sort I guess. After 20 years of occupation, Washington and its obedient dogs are not just retreating, they are fleeing in panic from Afghanistan. The US backed regime, just like all such puppet regimes, was fragile, corrupt and had no popular support whatsoever. This is why it collapsed after a few weeks since the start of the Taliban offensive. It was a collapse that shocked not just the Western imperialists and their propaganda tools, but even the Taliban themselves were surprised. The NATO trained and supplied Afghan Army either fled the battlefield or surrendered, often without even offering any kind of resistance.

To some of us observers, this didn’t come as a surprise at all. Those of us who have been following the war in Afghanistan for the past 2 decades are well aware of the problems that the so called Afghan armed forces have had. Rampant corruption, criminal incompetence, and drug abuse have plagued this army for as long as it has existed in its current form. It is a well-known fact that a large percentage of the Afghan armed forces were drug abusers, often getting high on heroin or opium while on duty. Furthermore, the corruption from top to bottom was unprecedented. Many police chiefs were outright rapists and pedophiles who would kidnap children to rape and kill, instead of fighting crime, and the level of turncoats who would sell arms and supplies to the Taliban was so high that most Afghan bases stood without any kind of heavy equipment or even fuel when faced against the Taliban onslaught. If you don’t believe me, then check this video: 

To say the least, morale among these soldiers and officers was at rock bottom. And why would this be a surprise? All the good fighting men had joined the Taliban or been killed in the past years. The only people left were drug abusers and opportunists. I quote a former US soldier in Afghanistan:

“By and large the Afghan National Army is recruited from the dregs of society. The good soldiers went off and joined the Taliban.

I don’t mean that lightly. I have fought the Taliban and trained and been on joint operations with ANA. The Taliban are tough, brave, well-disciplined soldiers, and frankly, I respect them. If I had been born in Afghanistan rather than America and raised with Afghan morals I likely would have joined their ranks.”

Billions of dollars were poured in by the occupying NATO powers, to prop up warlords and criminals across Afghanistan, not to create a stable society, but to buy their temporary silence and loyalty, and this is the result after twenty years. The Taliban just had to wait patiently for the occupiers to one day leave, and they even warned the NATO regimes of this inevitable reality when they said many years ago: “You have the watches, but we have the time”. Alas, the arrogant and self-worshipping West, drunk with their own imaginations of superiority based on the number of cool US warships and awesome Navy Seal gear, could not, and still cannot understand why they lost in Afghanistan.

The sheer arrogance and incompetence of those in charge over at Washington is astonishing to watch. US intelligence had at first calculated that the Kabul regime would survive months or even years, this was later revised into 30-90 days and finally, it fell in less than two weeks after the Taliban began attacking provincial capitals across the country. Kabul itself fell in less than a day! Washington’s “guy” in Kabul fled the country, reportedly taking with him millions or billions of dollars in cash to the UAE while the Taliban waltzed into the presidential palace- the same palace where Ashraf Ghani had held a speech only 48 hours earlier, vowing to “resists and push back the Taliban onslaught”.

Which takes us to the reality of today. Over the past two weeks, NATO countries and their friends have been evacuating their troops, citizens, and Afghan collaborationists in a chaotic and shameful manner reminiscent of the fall of Saigon in 1975. This is while White House fool Joe Biden and his clown Secretary of State Anthony Blinken claimed that this wouldn’t be another “Saigon moment”. Tragic scenes have since played out at Kabul airport, where people have been flocking in hopes of catching a plane to flee the country. Men who have been holding onto the side or landing gears of planes, only to fall off mid sky after take-off, stampedes and people throwing their babies off fences to US soldiers standing guard on the other side. Thousands, if not tens of thousands have been left behind as NATO forces have prioritized the evacuations of their dogs, cats, and beer kegs.

One can only help but wonder how such “sophisticated” countries with the best military forces in the galaxy can be so pathetically disorganized in their evacuations, especially since they knew they were leaving several months ago. As if the Afghan people’s misery wasn’t enough, Daesh has entered the scene now as well, and allegedly conducted a heinous terrorist attack outside the airport, killing well over 200 people in the mayhem, including 13 US soldiers. The scenes from Kabul airport on that day were the pinnacle of the misery and death that the Western imperialists have brought upon the Afghans. I say this because it is the US that has brought Daesh into Afghanistan and I believe there are several suspicious things to mention with regards to the terrorist attack of last week.

Firstly, why is it that every time that the US is withdrawing or looking to leave a conflict zone, a Daesh terrorist attack suddenly occurs against its forces. The same happened in Syria 2019, when a Daesh terrorist blew himself up in the town of Manbij, killing US troops, just as former president Donald Trump had announced his intention to withdraw US troops out of Syria. Why is Daesh, a supposed “enemy” of the US, trying its hardest to make the US continue its occupation of these countries?

Secondly, isn’t it interesting that both British and French intelligence allegedly had knowledge about an imminent terrorist attack, several hours before it took place and didn’t do anything to stop it? Isn’t it also interesting that the US who hasn’t conducted a single strike on Daesh in Afghanistan by the way, suddenly knew exactly who was behind the bombings and “took them out” with pinpoint accuracy only a day after the bombings? And thirdly, isn’t it also interesting how the Pentagon refused to even release the names and identities of the supposed “planner and facilitator” that were killed, with spokesman John Kirby holding a mock press conference and refusing to answer any question whatsoever from the multiple journalists in place?

Well, I won’t go into further speculation but I find this terrorist attack to have been plotted in one way or another by Washington itself, in order to save face in some way. Perhaps they hoped that the focus won’t be on the evacuation disaster but rather on the “strength” they showed in “confronting terrorism” even now when they are leaving.

Elsewhere, the US seems to be plotting for another civil war in Afghanistan as former Vice president Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the famous Mujahid during the Soviet-Afghan War are amassing forces in the still unconquered Panjshir province, to the east of Kabul. It is worrying that they are seemingly stupid enough, to think they actually stand a chance against the Taliban and are both pleading and hoping for Western support. Apparently, they didn’t learn a damn thing from Ashraf Ghani’s mistakes, or any other puppet that put their faith in the West’s “benevolence”. But no matter what Washington is plotting, they cannot escape the fact that this defeat has been humiliating for them and more humiliation is to come. Their days in Iraq and Syria are also numbered. The scenes at Kabul airport won’t just disappear so lightly as they tell the tale of a failure and a disaster that will have consequences for many years to come.

General Allen of the US occupation forces in Afghanistan once declared, drunk by his own arrogance, in the belief that they had succeeded in Afghanistan that “This is victory, this is what winning looks like”. I would like to revise that phrase into – this is what a dying empire looks like.

Is Afghanistan the First Domino to Fall?

War and Conflict — Strategic Culture

August 22, 2021

Tim Kirby

It certainly looks like a domino that has been put in position poised to fall waiting for others to take their places in the line.

With America withdrawing from Afghanistan abruptly after some 20 years, one big question is being discussed throughout the strategic sphere by those both in big institutions and laying on their couches – is the American loss in Afghanistan the first domino to fall in the eventual collapse of the Global Hegemon? After all, Afghanistan is the “graveyard of empires” probably because it is an expression that sounds nice and because the Soviets fell apart a few years after losing to the locals. So this must be the “beginning of the end” right?

Well, we should never be so quick as to jump onto narrow narratives without looking at the big picture. Side-by-side images of the Americans and their allies fleeing Vietnam and Afghanistan by helicopter are flooding Facebook, posted by those in the Alternative Media who take great joy in any loss by the 21st century’s “Evil Empire” but they seem to forget that just a few decades after losing in Vietnam the United States won the Cold War and took dominance over the planet.

Image: Strategic meme-of-the-year material for 2021.

No single event no matter how photogenic it is, is not going to be a sign of the grand demise of the “Sole Hyperpower”. It really took from the beginning of WWI till the end of WWII for the British to truly fall apart as a geopolitical force. The Soviet Union fell much quicker, but it is very widely believed that Perestroika (or the The Reykjavik Summit) was the real first white flag that devolved into the breakup of the union years later. The Roman Empire was a vastly slower burn than either of these two modern behemoths.

This means we should not be debating if Afghanistan is the first “domino” to fall, but instead we should really take a look at what the rest of the dominos falling would look like. At this point we can surely put together a rough picture of what the next tiles to fall would look like, i.e. what other major failures/events would really be signs of the Monopolar World meeting its demise? The following are a few humble offerings as to what these dominos could be…

Abandoning the Maidan Regime in the Ukraine

The unexpected surrender and soon to be total fall of Kabul has certainly resonated in another city that starts with the letter K. If Washington is finding it necessary to abandon a twenty-year Nation-Building project that they have invested vast sums of money and manpower into, that means that back-burner Kiev could be cut loose in the near future, putting the fate of the region in the hands of the Russians.

Image: We all know who secures Ukrainian “independence”.

The Maidan has been a major roadblock for Russia. As Brzeziński wrote, “It cannot be stressed enough that without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire” and Washington has done an absolutely fantastic job of turning the region into an “anti-Russia” as Putin recently called it.

If the Maidan project were to be abandoned, it would become another quite massive domino. Washington giving up on Kiev, resulting in that current political entity probably being divided up, mostly going to Moscow, would symbolize either the USA’s inability to stop the rise of the Russians or their begrudging acceptance of it.

Taiwan, Hong Kong and/or South Korea

The Trump-era State Department Democracy storm that was inflicted on Hong Kong has seemed to fade away, but a total abandonment of the thorns in the side of the Chinese Dragon would also result in another domino being placed into position.

Image: Not State Department = No Professional Protest Organizers in China.

Bailing on Hong Kong activists or failing to maintain Taiwan’s independence would certainly present a strong sign of weakness and inability from the standpoint of Washington. Furthermore, although China has never had a passionate love for the North Koreans, having South Korea as essentially an American beachhead right next door has been a cause of concern for decades for Beijing. The South Korean economy on paper looks amazing and their cities dazzle with progress but what would be the effects of Ameria giving up on them? Is South Korea able to stand as a great nation, or is it really only successful thanks to the American umbrella? The answer to that would reveal itself within two weeks of an America-free Korean Peninsula.

Simply put, if Washington gives up on Hong Kong, Taiwan and/or South Korea it is another sign of the end for sure as China would be more or less rid of these weak points that have been exploited against it for decades.

A Loss of Control Over the “Bigs”

Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Agro and so on, have dutifully served Washington’s interests despite their theoretically international nature. But we should never forget that large for-profit entities are quite “whoreish” and will serve whichever master they need to. If Washington cannot control the Bigs as it used to, this would be another domino.

To a small extent this is happening in Hollywood where the Chinese market’s (and its official and unofficial) demands are having a major impact. But if it comes to a point that Hollywood is only making a chunk of the world’s blockbusters rather than nearly all of them it would be the end of the total unobstructed Soft Power dominance of this American institution. Or even worse, if Hollywood can be bought out from under America then a new global narrative could be spun quite quickly.

If the Hegemon fades, the leadership of the Bigs will feel increasing pressure from the Russians, Chinese and Arabs to give up the whole “gay thing” and portray these societies in a positive light whether through bribery or threats of force. Apple may be “designed in California” but if need be they would surely bail for greener pastures rather than living a life of poverty loyal to a failed America.

Mexico, Lakotastan and African-America

The United States has done a fantastic job of fostering independence movements within its rivals while making diverse masses “American” at home. However, as with the Soviets and the British, waves of breakaway republics and successful secessionist movements would be a very big domino indeed.

The Soviets tried to create an African workers uprising in America in the 60’s and failed miserably, but BLM could get out of control, or in the case of a dying USA, could become used by foreign powers. An Afro-American Maidan would certainly be another sign of doom.

The rise of an independent Native-American state like the Lakota Indians’ lands would be yet another tile being stood into place, opening the door for further break-away attempts.

When the Mexicans lost the Mexican-American war they lost the chance to become the dominant power on the continent. Few remember, but the destiny of this New World was not just given to the Americans wrapped in a box. If the Mexicans had won the war they would be the ones with access to the Atlantic (via the Gulf of Mexico) and the Pacific simultaneously, not Washington. It would have been very possible for them to secure the entire West Coast. A Mexico that would begin to take action as an independent actor would certainly be another sign of serious trouble for Washington. Thus far, on the North American continent “there can be only one” but perhaps that isn’t necessarily going to always remain the same “one”.

The death of the Dollar or collapse of the Federal Reserve

If the dollar were to collapse, or there were serious problems at the Federal Reserve, as have been predicted for many years due to insane national debt, this would of course be the biggest domino of all. The West has been able to accumulate bafflingly massive debt with no consequences because of the dominance of Washington. It is very hard to call in a debt from the toughest kid school surrounded by his henchmen. But when the big bully stops growing, and loses his buddies, all of a sudden getting your $5 back with a few whacks from a baseball bat becomes viable.

Image: If you are powerful enough no one can call in your debts.

No one can call in the debt of a Global Hegemon, but Regional Powers have to balance their checkbook. A decrease in power could lead to the national debt prophecy coming true in our lifetimes which would be probably the largest domino of all.

In conclusion

Is Afghanistan “the first domino to fall” in the death of the American Empire? This cannot be proven, but it certainly looks like a domino that has been put in position poised to fall waiting for others to take their places in the line. Other major defeats would be required to say for sure that this “New American Century” is over, not even making it to the one-fourth mark. It is really the other potential signs of the end that are of most concern not squabbling over Afghanistan’s domino status. So the big question is, if Washington is losing its Monopolar World Order, then where will be the next grand retreats?

Nasrallah: Afghanistan is worst debacle in US history, Biden hopes for civil war

Date: 22 August 2021

RESISTANCE NEWS

Nasrallah: Afghanistan is worst debacle in US history, Biden hopes for civil war

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on August 17, 2021, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 9th night of Ashura, two days before the martyrdom of Imam Hussein.

Source: video.moqawama.org

Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

[…] My last point is Afghanistan, which I quickly mentioned before. What is happening in Afghanistan right now is an emergency situation that is grabbing the attention of the whole world. Inside the United States, this is the main event all are talking about, and of course everyone blames each other, just like in Lebanon, people are all the same: the Republican Party blames the Democrat Party, blames Biden, and describes the scene as a humiliation for the United States, (a proof of) weakness, helplessness, failure, historic defeat, shame, disgrace, etc. If we want to faithfully describe (the political situation in the United States), we can say that they are tearing each other apart. The same goes for the position of European countries, of the leaders of certain European countries [United Kingdom, France, Germany…], who speak with very strong and very negative words to assess the situation in Afghanistan.

It is indeed a striking and vitally important spectacle, filled with lessons to be learned, and we all must… It is not something that one or two speeches is enough to describe, for the situation continues to develop, and deserves everyone to watch it carefully and think about it seriously, very seriously. This should not simply be of interest to (pseudo-)experts (in) strategic (issues), who are very numerous today, ma sha Allah, experts, analysts, no: all men and women (must feel) that what is currently happening in Afghanistan (is their concern), and all that has been said so far remains little in the face of the importance and consequences of what is happening in Afghanistan, at the historical, strategic, ideological, cultural, political, psychological and moral levels. And those who must be the most assiduous in the reading (and the interpretation) of this (considerable) event to draw the strategic and historical consequences from it are the peoples of this region. Yes, the people of the Middle East must be the first to care about what is happening. Because what is happening in Afghanistan is a very big and even masterful lesson.

The images that you see and have all seen on TV screens speak for themselves… and all the media around the world (follow and broadcast what is happening), because however strong the censorship system of the United States may be, (it is powerless to prevent the mass distribution of these images). On the subject of social networks and the Internet, which the United States has opened up and spread around the world to instrumentalize them in color revolutions here and there, they find themselves caught in their own trap, because even inside the United States, the Biden government can certainly influence such newspapers or such television channels (to dissuade them from broadcasting these humiliating images), but how could it prevent millions and tens of millions of users of social networks to share these images? And glory to God, these are exactly the same images as in Vietnam! Just like in Saigon! The (American nationals) climbed stairs to access a helicopter on a roof (and escape), and we see exactly the same thing happening at Kabul airport! It’s extraordinary ! A real photocopy! Can we believe that this is just a coincidence?

Either way, the images of Afghanistan and the fall of Afghanistan into the hands of the very movement that the United States fought for 20 years and expelled (from power), before handing the country over to them on a silver platter… The Taliban flag flies over Kabul airport. I have already mentioned Afghanistan in my previous speech [cf. below], and today Biden took the floor to try to defend himself… I said before that instead of rushing to achieve the withdrawal of his troops, as long as the American forces were present, and since the Afghan forces (formed by the USA) have 300,000 to 400,000 members —between soldiers and police forces— he should have cut a deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban, in favor of the formation of a transitional government, which would have avoided everything that happened, allowing the United States to withdraw with dignity. Why didn’t he do this? Because he couldn’t bear to stay any longer (in Afghanistan). Honestly! It was not out of respect that Biden did not do this. And don’t take my word for it, listen to what Biden himself said! Listen to Biden, listen to his Secretary of State and his National Security Advisor… Because now they are forced to explain themselves to the American people… They do not explain themselves to the peoples of the world, but to the American people who is amazed at these humiliating images of defeat and failure. Listen to his explanations, and you will understand the American point of view. I’m not going to make you a (full) TV report, but I hope everyone will listen carefully to what Biden said yesterday, what he said today, and what American (authorities) will say in the days to come. Give seriously some time to their statements, as this will give a good understanding of the historical and strategic consequences of the (humiliating) defeat and (monumental) failure of the United States and NATO in Afghanistan. It is a matter of concern to us as peoples of the region, and gives us lessons that we can use for our present and our future.

I’m going to stop on two points (of Biden’s speech). In his speech today, he said “We have spent over a trillion dollars“, that is over a thousand billion dollars! They spent a trillion dollars in Afghanistan! And they left crestfallen, empty-handed, with Honaïn’s shoes as the Arabic saying goes, humiliated, defeated, ashamed, in disgrace. And this according to the admission of their own media, and Western media. What does this prove? That they have failed (miserably), that they have been routed, that they are helpless, ignorant and stupid. Biden himself said that the US did not foresee that the Afghan government and forces would collapse so quickly, and was surprised that they neither fought nor resisted. The Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor said the same thing. What does this indicate? People imagine the United States to be a demigod, omniscient, analyzing and mastering everything at their fingertips, knowledgeable about everything, able to plan everything through its state-of-the-art study and planning centers with top notch skill and technology, with huge & masterful plans, etc. But the reality is far from all that! In our region, the United States is ignorant, unable to understand anything! For decades, they have been repeating the same mistakes, deploying the same (failed) experiments and the same (wrong) calculations! This is one of the lessons to be learned!

Biden says it is not the fault of the United States, but the fault of the Afghan forces who did not fight. But my dear, these Afghan forces, you left them without air force, because the air force is in your hands, (and you did not allow them to develop it), while claiming that you spent a trillion dollars. This is the first point. Second, these Afghan forces were led by your generals, who prepared doomed (war) plans for them! What (war) plans did you concoct, what (military) advice did you provide to these Afghan forces? Third, what did Biden want (ultimately)? What does his confession reveal? Because he did not know how to hold his tongue, too entangled in his (clumsy) defense (and he unmasked himself). He wanted a civil war! He wanted the Afghan forces to wage war on the Taliban, a war between hundreds of thousands (of fighters) against hundreds of thousands (of fighters), and he would just have to sit down and enjoy the bloody spectacle in Afghanistan.

Whereas if he had humanity, and cared (for the well-being) of people as he claims, he would have presided over an agreement and a settlement of the conflict before withdrawing from Afghanistan. (This contempt for the lives of Afghans) is an ethical and moral downfall of the American administration! This moral degradation is emphasized even by leading politicians and commentators in the United States and elsewhere. This is why Biden says today that he wanted a political solution (between the Afghan government and the Taliban), but that Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan President, did not want it. You see? Biden pins the blame on him, and claims to be faultless!

These words reminded me of those verses of the Qur’an which speak about the devil: « [And Satan will say when the matter is decided: “It was God Who gave you a promise of truth: I too promised but I failed in my promise to you. I had no authority over you except to call you but ye listened to me.] Then reproach not me but reproach your own souls.” » [Quran, 14, 22] (The damned) are invited not to impute to the devil (their bad actions which will lead them to Hell), but to only blame themselves!

It was you (pro-US Afghans) who put yourselves at the service of the Americans, who listened to them and obeyed them, who placed your hopes in them and bet on them, but they got to the point where they told you (quite simply) fare well,  « Bye-bye » [Nasrallah says it in English]. And what kind of « Bye-bye » are we talking about? What is happening at Kabul airport is incredible, it is heartbreaking and sad. Because in the end (these Afghans who want to flee) are human beings. We have all seen this (American military) plane advance with dozens of people around it, without worrying about them, without the pilot stopping, while he could have run over them!

And he saw that people had clung to the plane, but took off anyway! Whether they fall and crash (horribly to the ground) or not, that’s not his problem!

This is the United States! What I’m telling you is all over the media, I’m not inventing anything! They embarked police dogs, but did not embark the Afghans who collaborated with them!

They embarked equipment which costs only money, but did not embark human beings, who are human beings, men, with human rights! Such is the United States, (this is their true face)!

Image

Everything that is happening in Afghanistan, even if in Lebanon we are absorbed by our daily problems, I hope that we will pay attention to it and will consider it as the pivotal moment that it is, because for 50 or 60 years, there was nothing like it. And this will have a great impact on international policies, international relations, international alliances. And today, those who observe and comment on these events most attentively are the Israelis!

Because when Biden said, and this is a message to all of America’s allies in the region (including Israel), when Biden was defending himself, he said something very, very, very, very, very, very, very… (repeat it until you lose your breath) important, and I hope America’s “friends” in Lebanon and the region will read this very carefully. Biden said “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war in the place of anyone else.“ If anyone expects the Americans to come and fight for them, this is what Biden says! And in order not to fight for anyone else, he is ready to endure a historic and humiliating defeat in Afghanistan! When we talk about Lebanon or whatever, in comparison, it is only an (insignificant) detail (in the eyes of the Americans).

In conclusion, in what is happening in Afghanistan, are very big and very important lessons, and we must take advantage of them and act accordingly, at the cultural, ideological & emotional levels, at the level of our choices, of our hopes, of our our reading (of events), of our alliances, of our infrastructure, at the economic, political, military, security levels, etc. This was my conclusion during my last speech, when I said that we must only rely on God and on ourselves! We must not wait for the United States, nor their training, nor their advice, nor their support, nor their false promises, nor their plots! We do not want their good nor their evil. Of course no good can come from them. The good resides in our people, in our (Arab-Muslim) Community, in our region, in the Arab-Muslim peoples. It is on them that we must rely. Because we have all these possibilities and capacities.

I am done on this subject. I will meet you tomorrow, for the 10th night (of the month of Muharram, the eve of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein), the night of the last meeting, and of the big fare well.

Peace be upon you, O my master Aba ‘Abdillah al-Hussein, and on the souls who dwell in your court! On you, from me, the Peace of God, forever, as long as I exist and as long as night and day last! May God not make this the last time I am visiting you! Peace be upon Hussein, upon ‘Ali son of Hussein, upon the children of Hussein and upon the companions of Hussein!

Peace be upon you, as well as the Mercy of God and His blessings.

Kabul & Saigon: A Tale of Two US Failures

August 18, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Ali Hamouch

Each time the US decides to invade a country, it starts with a poorly thought-out mass mobilization and ends up dealing with disgraceful consequences.

Visual search query image
Kabul & Saigon: A Tale of Two US Failures

A new dawn is embracing Kabul today – a dawn that bears with it a load of uncertainty, bewilderment, and curiosity. What some have deemed as the fall of Kabul is seen as a rise by others, though what is certain is the massive failure of US foreign policy.

But, the real failure did not begin on the 15th of August 2021, but on the 30th of April 1975, the day the Americans lost control of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam after 17 years of invasion, intervention, and genocides. 

Despite the constant reassurance of top US officials that the Kabul retreat would not resemble that of Saigon 46 years earlier, the opposite turned out to be true.

Indeed, both scenarios bear a lot of resemblance in time and context, offering a great history lesson for those willing to learn. 

The Big Bad Wolf 

Vietnam

Each era leading to a US invasion was shaped or contained by an internal US policy which dictated the direction of the narrative. It stresses the view of different cultures or ideologies as an “other,” always opposed to the American Dream and its (ill-defined) values. 

In the ‘50s, McCarthyism shaped the populace’s view of communism as anti-American: Named after Senator Joseph McCarthy, this strategy was the political equivalent of witch-hunting in the US. It relied on spreading terror in the hearts of those who were deemed to have communist leanings and ousting them, going as far as accusing economics professors of being communists and questioning them for the simple act of teaching Marxist economic theory. 

The FBI led much of the maligned campaign, earning the title of “the single most important component of the anti-communist crusade” by historian Ellen Schrecker. The term “crusade” will be further used to justify an unjust invasion albeit half a century later.

The employment of the “Red Scare” within the US prepared the soil for any invasion as long as it pertained to “fighting communism,” which is the reason why the Vietnam War, pre-civil rights movement, was not contested much. 

The Vietnam invasion occurred in 1958 at the height of the Cold War, where the US was determined to push back any attempt by the USSR to expand even on an ideological level. 

This approach was backed by the Truman Doctrine, named after the 33d US President Harry Truman, which stated that “The United States would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces.” In reality, this doctrine was a political frontline weapon to ensure that the US would be able to expand its military influence in any region of the world without receiving much backlash from within its apparatuses.

The war was waged against the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, commonly known as the Viet Cong, in an attempt to control the policymaking of the country.

The war went on to become the longest in the US history at the time; it was massively contested by Americans during the civil rights era, and was even challenged by the likes of Mohammad Ali who refused to enlist for the Vietnam War, voicing his rejection by saying “No Vietnamese ever called me nigger!” Simultaneously, the human and economic cost of the war kept growing at an alarming rate.

The image of the US as a liberator came to an end during the revelation of the My Lai Massacre in 1968 in which an army unit killed large numbers of unarmed civilians after raping them. 

In hindsight, the US wanted to spread “democracy” using universal values of respect and freedom as a pretext for amassing further geopolitical control of the world. All of this was planned in order to cement itself as the “Leader of the Free World.”

Afghanistan

Through what Noam Chomsky labeled as “Systematic Propaganda,” the US eventually had to change the labels of its reasons to go to war. “Anti-communism,” after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, became “The War on Terror.” Now, every group which espoused seemingly Islamic beliefs and did not see eye to eye with the US was deemed as “terrorist.”

But, what was peculiar about this approach and the new labeling of Taliban was the US’ support of Islamic movements from 1978 up until the end of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan – they were seen as a powerful tool in the defeat of the USSR. Afghan Islamic fighters were a powerful ally in the US war against communism, which was eventually concluded by the collapse of the Union a few years after it retreated from Afghanistan. 

Bin Laden: Once labeled as a
Bin Laden: Once a “freedom fighter,” later labeled a “terrorist.”

So what happened to this alliance? Was the US in need of a new enemy to present itself as the gatekeeper of the new century?

The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 took place after the occurrence of the 9/11 attacks. The shock of the Twin Towers falling signaled the end of the US’ impenetrable fort and the unipolarity of the world. In an attempt to preserve the last remnants of its power status, the US announced the “War on Terror” which would begin by invading Afghanistan and destroying the Taliban, who were accused of shielding Osama Bin Laden and other key members of Al-Qaeda.

The US decision was highly questionable, notably as most of the involved in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis and not Afghans, yet Saudi Arabia was never officially investigated or pointed at as a possible associate. The victims’ families are still demanding the release of FBI documents detailing the Saudi government’s involvement in the attacks.

Furthermore, the only nations to ever consider the Taliban as a legitimate party in power were Pakistan, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia – the latter two being close allies to the US. It now becomes clear that the invasion of Afghanistan was merely a thesis statement of sorts, a declaration of hegemonic persistence despite the severity of the attack. 

However, this time, the US needed wider support to perform its next step: It forcefully enlisted the assistance of the NATO as it provided a large portion of the funding. Subsequently, the UK, Japan, and a large part of the European Union became embroiled in a war they did not comprehend. 

In an infamous speech by then-President George W. Bush, he described his country’s upcoming response as a “crusade against terrorism,” voicing similar rhetoric as the one adopted during the Cold War: That of American exceptionalism and its divine right to shape the world in its image. Only this time, it did not want to shape anything, it simply wanted to preserve the shadow of its deflating empire.

The invasion of Afghanistan came just three weeks before the implementation of the Patriot Act, which legitimizes the Orwellian surveillance state. This comes in parallel with convincing a majority of Americans about the need for relinquishing their personal data to fight terrorism. Suddenly, the safety of the US became equivalent to a complete absence of privacy and personal thoughts. Through this tactic, fending off Islamic extremism just became the most radical objective of the nation, subsequently turning it into the boogeyman of the century.

Now the US was not vying to spread its value but to simply, and bluntly, preserve its interests.

A Fall from Grace

And now to the outcome of each invasion – the fall of Saigon and the fall of Kabul – not only do they bear narrative similitudes, but also picturesque ones: People being lifted from embassy rooftops, associate workers being left behind, journalists promised a safe flight back home left stranded, and a local government backed by Washington left to collapse.

But which country does the aforementioned scenery ascribe to?

Both actually, which goes to showcase how the US has learned nothing from its mistakes in Vietnam. The US should have learned its lesson by now: Guns and funds do not fundamentally alter the social structure of a country. 

People lifted off the US embassy in Kabul (2021) and Saigon (1975).
People lifted off the US embassy in Kabul (2021) and Saigon (1975).

The Viet Cong were insurgents in the US-dominated part of Vietnam yet they persisted despite all of their enemies’ wealth and military power. The Taliban, mostly formed of Pashto groups, remained an integral part of Afghanistan’s social and political life despite attempts to uproot it and the formation of a US-backed government. 

Foreign invaders will always be seen as “others” in the same way the invader describes his victims as an “other.” The dynamic is violent, with each party trying to impose its presence through all means necessary. Yet, one of them inherently adheres to the social and cultural components of the country, and the other cannot begin to comprehend it. 

But, perhaps the worst outcome of these wars is that the mere talk about both countries becomes constantly entangled with the talk about the US invasion. In the collective mindset of the world, these nations are only defined through their years of war with the US troops and not through their culture, their aspirations, or heritage.

Both countries have been scarred, left to fend off for themselves; their resources depleted and their economy suffering.

On the other hand, the US’ retreat in both cases was a crystal clear humiliation, an inadvertent announcement of their foreign policy and military strategy failure. In Saigon, it erased the image of America as the defender of liberties, and in Kabul, it drew the picture of a nation in shambles that leaves its allies behind.

Regarding the US retreat from Afghanistan, Joe Biden said that they aimed “to deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden.” But, given that the US has assassinated him in 2011, what was the aim of remaining there for an additional 10 years?

Biden follows up with the following remark: “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build,” which showcases a clear dissociation with the “democracy spreading” discourse used decades earlier.

The head of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, Armin Laschet, called the retreat “the biggest debacle the NATO has suffered since its founding.” British paper Daily Mail asked on its front page “What the hell did they all die for?”, showing a casket of a British soldier who died in Afghanistan.

So, after 20 years of endless battles in Afghanistan, what did they die for?

If the Viet Cong ruled all of Vietnam and the Taliban took Kabul in a matter of days, what was the point of wasting all of these taxpayers’ money, civilian lives, and the lives of soldiers on both sides?

A recent poll showcased that the US is mostly disapproving of Biden’s withdrawal strategy from Afghanistan….Though in reality, is there a best way to retreat from a country you have invaded after losing the longest war in your nation’s history? 

Afghan Lesson For Uncle Sam’s Running Dogs

August 15, 2021

Finian Cunningham

Afghanistan is the most glaring proof of the American treachery. It’s a cautionary tale for others who incredibly still seem trusting in hitching their wagon to a U.S. alliance.

U.S. President Joe Biden said this week that he has “no regrets” about pulling American forces out of Afghanistan as the Taliban militants look set to over-run the entire Central Asian country. The lesson here is: anyone acting as a running dog for Washington does so at the peril of ultimate U.S. betrayal.

The U.S.-backed puppet regime in Kabul has done Washington’s bidding for nearly two decades. After 20 years of futile war at the cost of hundreds of thousands of Afghan lives and trillions of dollars, Uncle Sam has decided to pack up, get out and leave the Afghans to their miserable fate. As the Taliban take over one provincial capital after another, the U.S. intelligence agencies are warning that the Kabul regime could fall within a month. And callously, Biden this week told the Afghans they have to do their own fighting.

Whatever happened to lofty American vows of “nation-building”? Or “fighting terrorism”, “defending democracy”, “protecting women’s rights”?

It’s a sordid story with much historical precedent illustrating how at the drop of a hat Uncle Sam is liable to hang erstwhile “allies” out to dry. As American elder statesman Henry Kissinger once noted, the U.S. doesn’t have permanent allies, it only has interests.

Some 46 years ago, the Fall of Saigon saw the United States scurry away from a corrupt puppet regime it had propped up in South Vietnam as the North Vietnamese communists finally routed the redundant American pawns.

A more recent example of callous betrayal by Washington was the throwing of Kurdish militants to the mercy of Turkey when the latter invaded northern Syria during the Trump presidency. Anyone who accepts American patronage must know that the small print in the contract always reads: to be dumped at any time of Uncle Sam’s choosing and convenience.

Afghanistan is the most glaring proof perhaps since the Fall of Saigon in 1975 of that American treachery.

It’s a cautionary tale for others who incredibly still seem trusting in hitching their wagon to a U.S. alliance.

Ukraine, run by a venal regime in Kiev, appears slavishly willing to place all its fate under Washington’s whim. Centuries of common history with Russia are being sacrificed by the regime in Kiev all for the gain of Washington’s military benevolence. A seven-year civil war bankrolled by $2 billion in American military aid has destroyed the peace and prosperity of Ukraine as well as damage neighborly relations with Russia. We can be sure that when the imperial planners in Washington realize that their use of Ukraine as a pawn against Russia has become futile, then the people of Ukraine will be dropped to sort out the chronic mess.

Likewise the American lackeys in the Baltic states. They act as running dogs for Washington to spoil relations between Russia and the European Union. For years, the Baltic countries have objected to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, appealing instead for more expensive and environmentally dirty U.S. gas exports. Overnight, Washington has decided such a policy is untenable and not worth antagonizing Germany and the rest of the EU. And just like that, the Baltic lackeys are left out in the cold looking like fools.

They never seem to learn though. This week Lithuania did Uncle Sam’s bidding to provoke China by announcing it would recognize Taiwan. That move infuriated Beijing because it undercuts the international One China Policy of accepting Taiwan as under Beijing’s sovereignty. China recalled its envoy from Vilnius and it has threatened punitive economic measures. As the EU’s top trading partner, it is reckless and self-defeating to incur China’s wrath. Lithuania and the rest of the EU could potentially be hit with economic losses – all for the sake of following Washington’s geopolitical agenda of hostility towards China.

Currently, the biggest caution of U.S. treachery must surely go to the renegade Chinese island territory of Taiwan. Beijing has warned that Washington’s provocative arms sales are fomenting separatist factions on the island. China has declared the right to invade Taiwan militarily and take back control by force. Such a move could ignite a war between the United States and China since Washington has repeatedly vowed to “defend” Taiwan.

But as the Afghan debacle reminds us, the chances are that Washington will leave the Taiwanese to their fate in a military confrontation with mainland China. There would be Chinese blood spilled on both sides before Beijing asserts its authority.

Afghanistan demonstrates with brutal clarity that there is not an iota of principle in Washington’s foreign policy and its military interventions. The lives of ordinary U.S. citizens are as expendable as those of foreign people as long as Washington’s interests of serving its corporate profits are deemed to be met. When those interests stop then the lives lost are flushed down the toilet like a nasty turd.

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