Sunday, December 15, 2019

Why the 'Afghanistan Papers' Matter

Ed.'s note: What to tell the thousands of US soldiers who went to Afghanistan over the past 17 years many who were killed? After learning of this what will these veterans think of their experiences in Afghanistan? Or the death of Pat Tillman who was killed it is alleged in a "friendly fire" incident? Knowing that most of the news we are confronted with daily coming out of the mainstream media is faked or contrived, the question should be why would The Washington Post run this news "Afghanistan Papers" on the US failure in Afghanistan in the first place? It is part of the strategy to drive the US out of the Middle East. Well, look on the bright side. Opium production in Afghanistan is breaking all production records while imperial Washington DC still treats veterans basically like shit.

News update for 27 June 2020: Afghanistan's Multibillion Dollar Opium Trade, Rising Heroin Addiction in the US

News update for 2 January 2020: After 18 Years of US Occupation, Poll Finds Zero Percent of Afghans Thriving, 85 Percent "Suffering"

News update for 23 December 2019: The revelations about Afghanistan are really about us

News update for 16 December 2019: Afghanistan War – the Crime of the Century

News update for 17 December 2019: US Is Still Lying About The Unwinnable War In Afghanistan

DC Wants Americans to Worship Servicemen and Veterans but Treats Them Like Trash Itself 

Source: FP News

Newly released interviews on the U.S. war reveal the coordinated spin effort and dodgy metrics behind a forever war.


Afghan security forces take part in an ongoing operation against Islamic State militants in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on Nov. 25. PHOTO BY NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Welcome to Foreign Policy's weekly South Asia Brief. The highlights this week: Delving into the Washington Post's bombshell "Afghanistan Papers," India moves one step closer to becoming a religion-based democracy, and e-cigarette bans spread across the region.

What to Make of the 'Afghanistan Papers'

On Monday, the Washington Post published what it calls a "secret history" of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, comprising 2,000 pages of interviews with senior U.S. officials and others directly involved in the conflict. The debriefs, part of a confidential government review on the war effort, contain candid and shocking revelations about how U.S. politicians and generals misled the world about the status of the war.

The "Afghanistan Papers," as the Post calls the report, have drawn comparisons in their scope and granular detail with the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers, published in the New York Times in 1971. In both wars, “The presidents and the generals had a pretty realistic view of what they were up against, which they did not want to admit to the American people," Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, told CNN's Brian Stelter.

Positivity bias. Michael Flynn, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor, was the director of intelligence for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. He provides just one of many disturbing takes on the U.S. war effort. "There is an inherent bias in the intel community because they want to get money, they want to exist, and they want to grow," he said in an interview.

Expanding on why field intelligence reports were more negative than the upbeat progress reports presented to the U.S. public, Flynn said that policymakers "are going to be inherently rosy” in their assessments. Later in the interview, he said, "There is a machinery that is behind what we do, and it keeps us participating in the conflict because it generates wealth."

Fuzzy metrics. Another interview with an unnamed National Security Council official reveals a clear attempt to spin the war effort as a success. "It was impossible to create good metrics," said the official. "We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture … And this went on and on for two reasons: to make everyone involved look good, and to make it look like the troops and resources were having the kind of effect where removing them would cause the country to deteriorate."

Lasting legacy. It is worth sparing a thought for the people of Afghanistan amid this new trove of information. Not only is Washington once again trying to set up peace talks with the Taliban, but democratic exercises in that country have also proved inconclusive. September's presidential elections did not yield a clear winner, and with the Afghan winter approaching, a runoff has been postponed to sometime next year. Eighteen years on from the start of the war, that is Washington's real legacy.

Please go to FP News to read the entire article.

Source: Sputnik News

US Intends to Announce Withdrawal of 4,000 Troops From Afghanistan Next Week - Reports

December 15, 2019

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Trump administration plans to announce next week a withdrawal of a total of 4,000 US servicemen from Afghanistan in the wake of the resumption of the talks between Washington and Taliban, media reported, citing US officials.

After the possible withdrawal, about 8,000-9,000 US soldiers would remain in Afghanistan, while the pullout would be phased and occur over a few months, the NBC News broadcaster stated.

Earlier, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mark Milley and Defence Secretary Mark Esper said that the US military was considering scaling down its presence in Afghanistan with increased emphasis on counterterrorism operations.

Last Sunday, the Taliban announced that the talks with the US had resumed in Doha after a three-month hiatus. A source close to the Islamist movement said that both sides had discussed in Doha the reduction of violence and conditions that could spur intra-Afghan talks to begin.

However, on Thursday, US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad announced a "brief pause" in Taliban peace talks following an attack on Bagram airbase that killed two and wounded dozens of civilians. He said the Taliban must show willingness to respond to Afghan desire for peace.
The United States and the Taliban had for nearly a year been attempting to negotiate a peace deal that would ensure the withdrawal of foreign troops in exchange for the movement's guarantee that the country will not become a safe haven for terrorists.

The talks, however, excluded the Afghan government over the Taliban's unwillingness to talk to Kabul. The negotiations ended with no results as US President Donald Trump announced in September that the talks were "dead" after the Taliban had claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in Kabul that killed a US serviceman.

Please go to Sputnik News to read the entire article.

Source: The American Prospect

Left for Scrap at Camp Leatherneck

The U.S. war in Afghanistan has been remarkably expensive, wasteful, and destructive. As a first lieutenant, I experienced its absurdity firsthand.


On Monday, The Washington Post published a damning report about the mind-boggling dishonesty employed by the U.S. government in the service of prolonging the war in Afghanistan. The U.S.-led campaign, ridiculously named "Operation Enduring Freedom," is approaching its third decade, has cost more than $2 trillion, and has resulted in 2,400 American and over 100,000 Afghan lives lost. It is hard to conceptualize the scale of the squandered money, deception about the war's progress, and wanton destruction of that landlocked nation, but I have witnessed a sliver of this colossal waste and corruption.

In 2014, I deployed to Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province as a first lieutenant, untested by combat and enjoying the base's amenities while serving as the assistant future operations officer for Combat Logistics Battalion 1 (CLB-1). Combat logistics battalions are structured around supporting infantry units, and CLB-1 had a number of attachments to our standard transportation and maintenance capabilities, like combat engineers, Navy doctors and nurses, explosive ordnance disposal, and food service. Our mission was, simply put, a drawdown: to facilitate the redeployment of personnel and equipment before turning the base over to the Afghan National Army.

Besides the logistical convoys dismantling forward operations bases, we had the long-term task of collaborating with the other British and American units to get us all out by the closure date of October 31, 2014. I was dispatched to meetings all over the base. It was an unglamorous job, but it exposed me to the broad workings of the bases and how the withdrawal would be executed hour by hour—matching personnel requirements to essential equipment, and how functions like laundry and port-o-john servicing would be transferred from third-country nationals, the low-wage contractors from impoverished countries, to U.S. Marines.

The base was a sprawling city built with plywood, corrugated metal, and concrete—and without windows. By the time CLB-1 arrived in July 2014, many buildings that once supported the peak population of 26,000 were already knocked down. By the time we left, only half of Leatherneck's 600 or so structures remained. The wide, straight streets, C-wire topped fencing, concrete roadblocks, and barriers delineated the ten square miles of the base into sectors, most of which were vacant by the time CLB-1 arrived.

THE MARINE CORPS'S logistics doctrine is based on self-sufficiency and moving quickly. Leatherneck was built in 2008 and operated on disposables until its closure six years later. At its peak, Leatherneck had no fewer than six dining facilities, each capable of making 5,000 to 7,000 meals daily, served on throwaway trays with plastic cutlery. I don't think Marines should suffer for suffering's sake, but pre-deployment training is difficult and prepares us for half a year without garrison luxuries. Despite no operational need, at its peak Leatherneck had a juice bar, KFC, and a 10,000-square-foot PX, earning it the derisive nickname "Pleasureneck" from saltier units living austerely in remote forward operating bases. Pallet upon pallet of 12-ounce water bottles were stacked all around base under wooden awnings that resembled bus shelters and shaded the pallets part of the day, but the thin plastic started disintegrating in the brutal sun. Crinkled bottles were discarded everywhere, half full of water or dip spit. (The Washington Post reported that 420,000 of these bottles were left behind, enough to form a 50-mile line of flimsy plastic.)

We were leaving the base to the Afghan National Army to continue fighting the Taliban, who were waiting for us to leave. It was widely understood the Taliban would ramp up their operations and take Leatherneck for themselves as soon as we departed. Locals who had allied with us feared for their lives. The offensive patrols outside the perimeter were routinely engaged in combat until our withdrawal, but the last attack on the base entailed an inconsequential shipping container blown up by a rocket, in early summer of 2014.

A Marine's bag upon returning from Camp Leatherneck, 2011

I'm not sure what equipment the Afghan army already had on Shorabak, their base adjacent to Leatherneck, but the equipment list we left them with was farcical. Afghan soldiers were hastily trained, but top Marines said they would be incapable of even maintaining generators or fueling heavy armored vehicles.

We left them instead with a fleet of John Deere Gators, outfitting them with the tactical equivalent of golf carts. We left them weight-lifting equipment and thousands of televisions, but the world’s biggest arms exporter left the Afghan army zero bullets. Despite leaving them desperately unprepared to face the Taliban, pointless tasks were prioritized. The ranking supply officer catalogued hundreds of desks and chairs in the remaining buildings, not a single one of which would have a computer. The Afghan army was left the landfill, wastewater pond, and garbage we couldn't incinerate in time. Actually, "landfill" is a bit of a misnomer, as the trash was left directly on the ground. About the size of a soccer field, it was haphazardly piled with building materials, paper, plastic furniture from Marines’ barracks, canvas linings from tents and Hesco barriers, untouched crates of food, bicycles, garbage from the dining facilities, and those ubiquitous water bottles. Being on the periphery of the base, it was a security vulnerability, as Afghans would sneak over the dirt embankments to salvage the useful items. They did the same with the on-base ranges, collecting the brass for scrap.

Please go to The American Prospect to read the entire article.

Source: FARS News Agency

Official: Cultivation of Opium in Afghanistan 50-Folded since US Invasion

December 11, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary General of Iran's Drug Control Headquarters Brigadier General Eskandar Momeni said that opium production in Afghanistan has undergone a 50-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

"Production of opium in Afghanistan has 50-folded since the US occupation of the country and it has increased from 200 tons to 9,000 tons," General Momeni said in the Central city of Qom on Tuesday.

He described cultivation of opium in Afghanistan as one of the most important reasons for drug addiction in Iran, saying, "650 tons of narcotics have been discovered in Iran since the start of the current year (March 21)."

General Momeni had earlier announced that 800 tons of trafficked narcotics were annually discovered and seized in the country, adding that a major portion of these cargoes were destined for Europe.

"Annually, over 800 tons of drugs are discovered in Iran a major part of which is due to be used (by traffickers) for transit towards Europe," General Momeni told reporters in Alborz province near Tehran.

He added that Iran spent over 11% of its gross national product for direct and indirect expenses on campaign against illicit drugs, and expressed concern that the US sanctions against Iran which pressure the country economically would leave negative impacts on Tehran's anti-narcotics efforts.

General Momeni said that international meetings and forums held to increase fight against drugs would not resolve any problems, noting, "As we fight, the world should also play its role in this regard because the young Iranians fight (drugs) to protect the life of other countries' youth but other countries do not help this fight and rather rock the boat."

Iran is in the forefront of the fight against drug trafficking and thousands of Iranian police forces have been so far martyred to protect the world from the danger of drugs.

U.S. Marines in Combat with Insurgents - Heavy Firefight in Afghanistan near Sangin 

US Marines in Afghanistan Combat Footage 1080p Intense Firefights Against Taliban 

Here's an image of the corporate energy resource storm trooper recruited and dispatched under "freedom", "patriotism", "democracy" and "fighting terrorism" against the all powerful ever threatening omnipotent Al Qaeda organization. Education level about 9th grade. A non-sentient android-like automaton used as corporate canon fodder and absolutely no different in principle to the canon fodder foreign Islamic Jihadis launched at Syria out of Tunisia, Chechnya, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and many other countries. So here is what the corporate backing does for the Pentagon and their nexus of corporate soldier breeders. This guy here is the result: A Monsanto-created bovine somatotropin synthetic hormone-induced Nazi storm trooper. This isn't really surprising considering America today: it provides the corporate slave labor pool and weaponry for corporate energy cartels.

"We're building gas pipelines and protecting the opium trade and I'm the American corporate contractor to make sure it gets built; if you don't like it take it up with Israel and Merhav."

Related news:

What is that big US military for, anyhow?

Scores wounded in attack near U.S. Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan

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