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Disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Afghan Air Force's A-29 attack aircrafts are pictured as armoured vests are lying on the ground inside a hangar at the airport in Kabul on August 31, 2021, after the US has pulled all its troops out of the country to end a brutal 20-year war -- one that started and ended with the hardline Islamist in power. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP)

The United States’ longest war has come to end, yet following a suicide attack at Kabul airport, the US launched a drone strike killing ten civilians, and ended the war in Afghanistan the same way it started; by slaughtering civilians.

How can Joe Biden speak of a successful withdrawal amidst all the carnage that has just unfolded?

On August 30 2021, just as the clock was about to strike midnight, the last remnants of the US forces departed from Kabul International Airport, Finally, bringing the war in Afghanistan, America's longest war, to an end, at least officially anyway.

Right on the cusp of the 20th anniversary of the 911 attacks, Joe Biden, declared he would not pass on the war that he voted more on to a fifth president, declaring the US counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan complete.

But how exactly can Biden talk about a successful mission, and a successful withdrawal, when the US and the Afghan forces it spent years training, were all but chased out of the country.

During the evacuation, a suicide attack ripped through Kabul airport killing 170 people. And in response, the US, of course, finished the war the same way it started the war, by massacring civilians in a deadly drone strike, which left ten Afghans dead.

This is America's longest war, only one part of the war on terror or, as it should be called, The War Of terror.

As the last C 17 cargo plane took off from Kabul International Airport on August 30th 2021, international headlines and news outlets worldwide all declared the departure of the last remaining US troops with the rest of their NATO allies, with the United Kingdom also leaving in the days just prior.

Broadcast on virtually every news network, an iconic image in infrared, shot in the dead of night, shows the last soldier, Major General Chris Donahue of the 82nd Airborne Division, climbing up the ramp of a C 17 cargo plane, the last American soldier to leave Afghanistan after a war that lasted two decades and claimed the lives of so many.

It has been said that around 50,000 Afghan civilians have died in this war, but that is just a conservative estimate. The real figure is likely in the hundreds of thousands with millions more being turned into refugees.

Last year, Afghanistan's economy ministry reported that 90% of Afghans live below the poverty line. Following the departure of the last US troops, people were in the streets celebrating and firing their guns in the air.

Well I don't think we need to look at the news wires you just have to listen to what's happening in the skies above us in Kabul, if that isn't conformation. I don't know what is just listen to the crackle of gunfire.

BBC Correspondent, Kabul

Taliban fighters quickly took over Kabul International Airport, The main site of US evacuation efforts and could be seen sweeping the hangars, inspecting the various aircraft and equipment left behind by the American troops. Gunfire continued well into the night In celebration of the Americans departure, aware that they were leaving people had desperately clung to those very same US planes taking off just a week earlier.

Just as Biden declared the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan a success, a horrific explosion, the result of a terrorist attack, ripped through the crowds of people waiting to be evacuated outside the airport, killing, 170 people and leaving 200 wounded.

In response, Biden issued a strongly worded message, and had this to say to the attackers:

To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this, we will not forgive. We will not forget, we will hunt you down. To make you pay.

US President, Joe Biden

Except, that's not what happened, The next day, the US launched a drone strike against a legend members of Daesh which Washington said was responsible for the attack, which of course is always convenient.

As soon as there's a terrorist attack, all the intelligence services in Britain and America, suddenly know exactly who is responsible and where these terrorists live and where to find them, but never before the attacks, which, coincidentally, help them advance their agendas.

Now the Pentagon announced that in this drone strike it killed two high profile targets from Daesh, and wounded another, The Pentagon also said there were no civilian casualties, which was a lie.

Yesterday, US military forces conducted an over the horizon counterterrorism operation, two high profile ISIS targets were killed, and one was wounded. And we know of zero civilian casualties.

Pentagon Spokes Person

there were indeed many civilian casualties, when Biden launched that drone strike something the Pentagon has called an "over the horizon" capability, he murdered 10 civilians and then tried to cover it up just like every other war criminal president before him.

Among the dead were seven children and three adults from the same family, the youngest being two years old.

This horrific murder of civilians, wiping out an entire family, is not some isolated incident, or an accident. It is emblematic of America's War on Terror or as it should be called The War of terror.

Some people may think that this is just an anomaly or an exception, they think that civilians being killed is just collateral damage, an acceptable price of war, However it is neither an anomaly nor acceptable.

For the last 20 years, innocent civilians have been killed by NATO forces and their deaths covered up. Half the time the US was not even sure who it is killing and then covers up the deaths.

For example, before Chelsea Manning leaked evidence of war crimes to WikiLeaks, there were 15,000 deaths in Iraq, that were previously unknown, that were kept secret by the US military.

Daniel Hail, a whistleblower who is now in prison, leaked information about the US drone programme and showed that under Obama during a five month period 90% of all the people killed by US drones were not even the intended targets they were civilians.

This was covered up and kept hidden in order to avoid embarrassing the United States and exposing Washington's criminal behaviour.

For the last two decades, since George Bush began the war on terror by invading Afghanistan, an imperialist project that has been continued by every president since, we have been told, the world has been told, that America and its allies are fighting global terrorism.

They claim that they are making the world safer. But if you just look at the data you can see that this is simply not true. Ever since the start of America's War on Terror in 2001, the number of suicide attacks increased with more suicide attacks worldwide than ever before and after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the number of global deaths from terrorism didn't decrease, it increased dramatically.

The war on terror has made the world less safe and more violent; such is the reality of America's war, not just in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq and so on.

On the eve of the withdrawal Biden gave a speech marking the end of the 20 year occupation of Afghanistan, America's longest war in its short history.

Biden talked about the dead Marines that were killed in the attack at Kabul airport, several times, but didn't even once mention the Afghan family that he murdered just the day before in a lethal drone strike.

He didn't even mention the 170 Afghans who were also killed in the same blast.

American exceptionalism: disregard the value and the lives of others

Biden started out by praising the withdrawal, praising himself, saying that 120,000 People, including 6000 US citizens, have been successfully airlifted, he also said that he disagreed with critics, who asked why the withdrawal couldn't have been done earlier, or in a more orderly fashion.

However, his response didn't address the fact that the US abandoned the Bagram Air Base last month, its largest Air Base in Afghanistan, in the middle of the night without even telling its allies, or telling the Afghan security forces who are supposed to take over.

And this begs the question, how can Biden call the withdrawal a success after creating such a security issue at Kabul International Airport?

Why was the more capable, more secure, Bagram Air Base simply abandoned when it could have expedited things and perhaps helped to avoid such an atrocity?

It simply doesn't make any sense

Biden, then concluded his speech without taking any questions, but not before puffing his chest and making sure to issue menacing words towards Russia and China, he even dubbed them threats that the US would have to contend with and reckon with, at the same time as global terrorism.

CNN apparently did an interview with a Daesh commander just two weeks before this attack on Kabul airport. And of course, no opportunity was wasted by Clarissa Ward of CNN to make the issue about Sharia law, and stoning people, trying of course to paint Muslims in a bad light as Western media often does, instead of asking in depth and pertinently provocative questions about international relations, geopolitics.

We were operating in Taliban ranks; however, these people are not aligned with us in terms of belief. So we went to ISIS.

Daesh Member

Do you think they're not strict enough with their implementation of Sharia?.

CNN Correspondent

They cannot present one example where they have enforced fixed Islamic law punishments, where they have cut off a thief's hand, have stoned to death an adulterer, have stoned to death a murderer.

Daesh Member

What are your thoughts on this latest terrific US drone strike, killing 10 Afghan civilians and basically wiping out an entire family?

Well it tells you the story of Afghanistan; this is what the US has been doing for the past 20 years. It’s very funny in this country how Afghanistan has kind of disappeared. You didn't hear about it very often, but this is what the US was doing, killing civilians, but all the while, when they did talk about it, propaganda about keeping women safe and the Taliban were going to be so evil, But meanwhile the drone strikes destroying... I remember when Obama was president and the US killed people in a hospital.

... this is what the US has done so they decide to leave, I'm glad they're leaving, it is a good thing.

But, of course, they can't even can't even manage to do so in a way that's efficient and humane, so they make a mess of their departure, having apparently planned very little, cause a bombing to take place as soon as Biden was taking criticism that, magically, there's the suicide bombing and of course they vow revenge but kill a family with little kids.

So, Afghanistan, which was a huge scam, over $2 trillion spent going straight to the military industrial complex, propping up puppet governments with the phony army, and we saw how phony it was towards the end. And so that's how America leaves; the same way, it, it entered

Margaret Kimberly, Co-founder, Black Agenda Report

In his speech Biden referred to China and Russia, as competition, and new threats,  what does it mean when as Biden is ending the war in Afghanistan, he's calling Russia and China new threat?.

Well, my only concern about the US withdrawing from Afghanistan is that they plan to concentrate their efforts somewhere else, and Russia and China, especially China, now were two adversaries, the word they love to use, they're an adversary of the US and the US has some right, just as it had the right to enter Afghanistan [it] has the right to confront China in its region of the world, because China has dared to be an economic rival of the US,.

so we hear constant propaganda, that is to say lies, about the Chinese government, about their people, about their infrastructure, everything and anything about China's, you know "China Bad", you can just shorten it to that.

So I am concerned about this withdrawal being part of a larger effort to confront other countries and that is something we really have to keep an eye on.

Margaret Kimberly, Co-founder, Black Agenda Report

Some people in the media are visibly upset that the war is over as if they'd like it to continue, what is your take on how the mainstream media is reporting on the issue and Biden's handling of it?

Well, everybody's performance has been abysmal. The corporate media in this country, basically, are mouthpieces for the state, mouthpieces for imperialism, and ... It's a funny thing because I think if it were up to most people here, the US would have left Afghanistan long ago.

There was support for it in the wake of 911, that was the pretext for doing it, so there was very little opposition at the time, but there are many people, I'd say most people, who see no reason for the US to be in Afghanistan after 20 years.

So I think withdrawal is something that, in the abstract had popular support. But Americans like to think of their country as being good and efficient and doing things the right way. So I think there was frankly embarrassment, I think there was more concern about those first scenes we saw of people hanging on to aeroplanes, that was not the image that Americans have of themselves and have of their government, so it's easy for people who, in fact may support the overall decision, to be whipped up into a frenzy about America, looking bad.

And these so called journalists are just a disgrace. I mean I thought he was gonna cry ... this is not how America is supposed to be, and this is not how we are, and nothing, no mention, by the way, of the family that was wiped out in that last drone attack. Nothing! Apparently, that is how America is supposed to be.

So, it's really been terrible, once again we see [that] if you want to know what's happening in the world, the last thing you should do is to consume the information given by corporate media in this country.

 Margaret Kimberly, Co-founder, Black Agenda Report

A lot of people say that the war in Afghanistan is about resources and of course it is, in part, but could you explain perhaps how this war and in fact, imperialism, in general, is also linked to racism?

It seems that the global south is always the target for plunder, for control, for propping up presidents; the president of Afghanistan left town with $170 million. But apparently he left some of it behind, he was stuffing his airplane so full of stuff that some of it got left behind, But they have these leaders, "who are trained by the US", go to US universities, etc, and then go back to their countries to help the US and NATO do whatever they want and it usually is the Global South that is seen as being incapable of carrying on their own affairs and needing to be controlled, the White Man's Burden still, here we are in the 21st century, that's essentially what it is, but I tell [ask] everyone who should run Afghanistan except Afghans, and I want to point out something else it's, you know this interference is 40 years old.

It started when Carter was president, so this has been going on for a very long time, and the Taliban who were first the friends of the Mujahidin and the US was giving them money and weapons and they met with Reagan; every president from Carter onward.

This is a very long story and people wringing their hands [saying] oh my god the Taliban will run Afghanistan! Well they're Afghans, let people in Afghanistan figure it out, it's not our business who runs that country, but it's not our business, who, who runs any country, frankly.

Margaret Kimberly, Co-founder, Black Agenda Report

What do you make of these people who are trying to you know use women's rights as a pretext to continue occupying a sovereign country to stay in Afghanistan, and keep the war going?

It's the last refuge of scoundrels, I'm sorry, I don't see any other way to look at it, nobody talks about the Afghan women who were killed in drone strikes, and nobody seems to care about that. Nobody seems to, you know there's amnesia about how as I as I just said these interventions have gotten rid of governments that would be friendlier to women and to their human rights.

So that to me is very strange, but it just, it just shows you how untrustworthy liberals are when you're talking about imperialism, this is not the time for this reformist nonsense. This is a time to really be serious and to look at the impact that the United States has around the world and to question all of it, to question the 800 military bases around the world, to question the defense budget, it's 60% of the discretionary budget in the United States,  that's why we don't have the things that we need.

So, all of it, this perceived right to intervene, the amount of money spent, the US being all over the world. The biggest producer of fossil fuels in the world is the US military. So people who claim to be concerned about climate change, they need to chime in here.

Margaret Kimberly, Co-founder, Black Agenda Report

And when you have people in the media or you know just pro war people in general imperialists saying that the US is abandoning its allies. What does that mean what are they referring to exactly?

Well, leaving its puppets behind but that's what they do, we're talking about people who are scoundrels, so no,  they don't care if the translators or whomever else helped them during your occupation get left behind. They don't care. They are used, chewed up and then spat out. But, but because Americans believe in exceptionalism and believe their country is so good, and so even in their criticism, it's, it's a kind of criticism that is more about imagery, frankly, so we can't leave our friends behind.

Well, you know, I, and this also this idea of using the first person when talking about the country, we and us, when we talk about our government.

I don't say we or us.  I say them or they, but Americans can very easily fall into that that we left our allies behind, well, they are collaborators in the eyes of people there and that's what happens in wars, but during 20 years I'm sure there are thousands of Afghans who decided to survive by working with the Americans in some capacity.

Margaret Kimberly, Co-founder, Black Agenda Report

After Vietnam, which was also humiliating, people thought there would never be another war like it. But then the war on terror happened which is arguably even worse.

Some are saying the same thing now when they're talking about the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Do you think the Empire is in fact shrinking as some say or there's yet worse to come?

Well, there could be, considering these people who run our country, there could be something worse coming. You know the current Defence Secretary Mr Austin came straight from Raytheon, to the Pentagon, I mean they're not even trying to hide it anymore.

There is  supposed to be, There's supposed to be some period of time, you can't go from a defense contractor to a position in the defense department, [you are] supposed to wait a couple of years and they had this waiver, he went straight from Raytheon, to the Pentagon, and that tells you all you need to know about how this all works.

Margaret Kimberly, Co-founder, Black Agenda Report

As far as withdrawals go, what we've seen so far only deals with America's uniformed troops. However, if we look back at 2001, the first Americans on the ground in Afghanistan were CIA paramilitary.

And earlier this year in April of 2021 CIA director William Burns said that the CIA would actually not be withdrawing, but in fact, staying in Afghanistan, as we talked about previously, here on the programme. CIA director Burns held a secret meeting recently with the Taliban, as did the head of Britain's MI6.

It's also been reported in the media that members of Britain Special Forces, the Special Air Service, the SAS, have even asked to remain in Afghanistan and potentially establish a covert base on the border with Pakistan, which would of course, require the approval of the Taliban, but it's been discussed under the pretext of fighting Daesh.

What will happen when the dust settles remains to be seen, but indications seem to suggest the operations won't come to a full halt as many have suggested.

Despite US and NATO troops departure from Afghanistan, there's definitely reason enough to exercise some caution.

In the past we've seen how George W Bush declared mission accomplished barely two months after invading Iraq.

in 2011 Obama said he was withdrawing from Iraq and then in 2014 he was sending troops back in, and to this day, Iraq, still has US bases, occupying it, like Ain Al Assad and many others, and after Trump murdered General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Muhandis Al Mahdi in January 2020.

 Consequently the Iraqi parliament voted to expel all foreign troops, this was ignored and US forces continued occupying the country.

The United States has been at war with Syria for the last 10 years, along with its NATO allies, they've been funding terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, in an attempt to overthrow the Syrian government.

According to the Syrian Oil Minister, Suleiman al-Abbas, around 90% of Syria's oil is in areas under US occupation. But if you ask the United States they say they don't have any boots on the ground.

So if that's their idea of a counterterrorism mission in Iraq or limited strikes in Syria, which they have no permission to carry out, or no boots on the ground, when they most certainly have boots on the ground, then what kind of withdrawal are we talking about from Afghanistan?

After 911 when the US Congress passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in 2001 to give George Bush permission at home to go abroad and bomb Afghanistan. This AUMF never even specified that it was for Afghanistan or even for al Qaeda.

It was always abstract on purpose, hence why it has been used since in order to bomb 19 countries; that AUMF is still in place. And if history has taught us anything, we won't be the last we see of it. Afghanistan is just one part of the War On Terror, or as it should rightfully be called, The War Of Terror. So just because the US is supposedly leaving does not mean it's no longer an imperial power.

Iraq is still under occupation, Syria is still under occupation, and Palestine is also still under occupation.

The War on Terror waged at the behest of arms manufacturers and private contractors is still in motion. The United States is not able to nation build, It is not able to impose democracy, It is not able to conduct counterterrorism missions, there is more terrorism today than there ever was before 2001.

The United States and its allies have made the world less safe and more violent so they could make their empire bigger and their corporations, richer.

 


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