The United States has expended massive amounts of financial resources, costing many human lives, to drag on a winless war in Afghanistan, an analyst tells Press TV.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, removing the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops. The foreign forces are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and hand over responsibility for security to the Afghan government.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Richard Becker, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, from San Francisco, to further discuss the issue. Becker is joined by Abdul Hamid Noorzad, a journalist and political commentator from Kabul, and Syed Ali Wasif, Society for International Reforms and Research, from Washington. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Mr. Becker, hopefully you just heard our package that we just broadcast. Basically, it talked about the major financial burden that it has been on the Americans and also, of course, the loss of life - the Afghanis and also the Americans and American-led troops.
Let’s look at it from your perspective as an American. Why is the United States still involved in Afghanistan 11 years later with this very, very high cost, monetarily, and more importantly lives?
This is a war that must come to an end. The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has opposed the war in Afghanistan from the very beginning. 18 days after September 11, 2001, on September 29, 2001, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, which had just been formed, held the first demonstrations against the war in Afghanistan in Washington and in San Francisco, and it’s continued to oppose the war ever since.
This is a war of empire. It’s a war for resources. It’s a war for strategic position. At the same time, when I say it’s a war for empire I mean that as the largest and most far flung empire that has ever existed, the US empire and the leaders of the US empire cannot tolerate, cannot stand for the idea of losing a war because if an empire loses one war then it’s vulnerability is exposed for all to see. They fear, the leaders of the US empire fear, that it will encourage rebellions elsewhere.
The Afghan people, first and foremost, are having to pay a price for a war that cannot be won for a continuation of war in defense of empire and also, as was mentioned, thousands of US and other troops have been killed, tens of thousands have been wounded. This doesn’t come close to the casualties on the side of the Afghan people.
This is a horrific cost in lives, in resources that continues to be paid and, as I said before, for the interest of empire.
We know that it’s 2014 but, of course, it’s being said that there will be people staying on the ground...Why would the United States want to remain on the ground even with these great losses on the surface when people are looking at it?
Well, I don’t think that the US government, the generals and the Pentagon, care about the losses of troops. They view the troops - they pretend that they support them and they honor them and so forth but really they view them as really instruments to achieve their aim.
Their central aim is defense of the power of the empire and the resources and profits of the giant corporations and banks who dominate this empire. So, that is their priority.
As I said in the first part of the show, they fear that if they appear to be defeated or are defeated in fact, in any country of the world where they have deployed troops, that this will weaken, this will prove to be a potentially fatal weakness to the empire; something that could spread to other countries which are under the domination of the United States, that they would lose their strategic position.
They view Afghanistan as occupying a very strategic position in Central Asia. They would lose access to the resources there.
Your perspective on this whole corruption issue. Our guest in Kabul [Mr. Abdul Hamid Noorzad] is saying, yes, the Americans spent a lot of money but they definitely took a lot out of it. How do you see this whole thing in the scheme of things, the importance of corruption in this 11 year - more than 11 year - occupation in Afghanistan?
The way I see it is that this is characteristic of colonial wars. Every colonial style war involves a great deal of corruption.
The Karzai government is a government that was installed by the United States. As the US-NATO occupation has become more and more unpopular, I think that Hamid Karzai is playing a kind of double game on the one hand, trying to distance himself from the occupation and from the crimes of the occupation, particularly the massacres that take place, the murder of civilians that takes place on a regular basis and which has created a great problem for him and for his government, but at the same time remains dependent on the US and NATO; and in fact, without the US and NATO, it’s very doubtful that the Karzai government can survive.
We see a great deal of corruption. In the time of the Vietnam War there was great corruption. In the wars in central America there was great corruption. In the Philippines - wherever they’ve been, these US-installed governments and where the aid comes through them, they siphon it off to a great extant.
As the previous speaker said, how has this helped the people of Afghanistan? There’s no visible way to see after 11 years that life has really improved and the fundamental industries rank Afghanistan as last in the world in many categories.
This is after 11 years of intervention and billions and hundreds of billions of dollars being expended. What we see is a thoroughly corrupt operation when it’s against the interest of the people in Afghanistan.
What does it really mean? I’d like your perspective on what Syed Wasif has said, if you agree; and if so, then what has been accomplished in more than a decade?
A great deal of death and destruction has been accomplished. That’s really what’s taken place.
The fact that the rankings of Afghanistan at the very bottom of all countries of the world after 11 years and supposedly the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars for aid and reconstruction for the country, if you put those together, you can see that nothing positive has been accomplished for the people of Afghanistan.
The future can only promise something different if there’s an end to the US-NATO occupation. The United States does not intend for that to happen, not anytime in the foreseeable future.
They want to withdraw most official troops in 2014 but have a plan to keep forces in the country, it’ll only be a partial withdrawal, to keep forces in the country to 2024. That makes very clear the intent to continue with what is a completely bankrupt and lethal policy of occupation.