A real pullout or a shell game?

 Afghanistan strategy in a prime-time address lastweek, with no late surprises on the numbers:As expected, the US will bring home 10,000 troops by the end of 2011 and rest of the “surge” force (about 23,000 troops) by the end of next summer, reports MSNBC. That will leave 70,000 American troops in Afghanistan, and they will “continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move into the lead,” a process he said should be complete by 2014.



by Eric Margolis


“Far-called our navies melt away — On dune and headland sinks the fire — Lo, all our pomp of yesterday — Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!” Rudyard Kipling “Recessional”

War is waged to achieve political objectives, not to kill enemies.   In this sense, the United States has lost the ten-year Afghan conflict, its longest war. 

Afghanistan remains the “graveyard of empires.”

The US has failed to install an obedient regime in Kabul that controls Afghanistan. It has made foes of the Pashtun majority, and, in pursuing this war, gravely undermined Pakistan. Claims that US forces were in Afghanistan to hunt the late Osama bin Laden were widely disbelieved. (more…)


The great escape – Taliban style

Of course the escape was an inside job. Afghan resistance forces that we collectively call Taliban know just about everything that goes on in the US-installed Afghan government, military and police.  




by Eric Margolis


Sequels are rarely as good as the original, but last week’s Great Escape from Kandahar Prison II was almost as exciting as the 2008 original in which 800 Taliban prisoners were busted out of Afghanistan’s Sorpoza Prison.

This time around, 541 prisoners, including 106 Taliban commanders, tunneled their way out of the notorious maximum security prison.

 Great Escape II was a humiliating blow to American occupation forces garrisoning Kandahar, and to Canada, which spent over $4 million two years ago further fortifying the prison. There were red faces and finger-pointing all around. The US claimed Afghan prison official were incompetent, corrupt, and in cahoots with Taliban.

 Of course the escape was an inside job. Afghan resistance forces that we collectively call Taliban know just about everything that goes on in the US-installed Afghan government, military and police.  

 As I saw during the 1980’s anti-Soviet struggle, every military offensive by the Soviets and their puppet Afghan regime was telegraphed to the Mujahideen resistance days in advance.

 The Afghan Communist forces were filled with Mujahideen informers and sympathizers. Since many Afghans knew the Soviets were losing, regime supporters began hedging their bets by informing and making side deals with the resistance.

 The same process is afoot today in Afghanistan.   The 150,000 western troops occupying that nation have lost the military, political and psychological initiative. 

 Each US soldier in Afghanistan costs a minimum of $1 million annually. Western forces are on the defensive, in spite of all the ludicrously cheery war bulletins – shades of Good Morning Vietnam – from NATO public relations officers.  

 No less an authority than Afghan president Hamid Karzai recently called the ten-year US-led war, “ineffective, apart from causing civilian casualties.” Ouch!

 Washington seems to be concluding it cannot defeat the national resistance militarily. Its Tajik, Uzbek and Communist allies lack the power to combat Taliban outside of their ethnic territories. 

 The US is spending $6 billion annually training Afghan government troops and police. Even so, Afghan government forces are unreliable and incompetent. They are mostly Tajik and Uzbek, who are hated by the Pashtun majority.  

 The feared, Communist-dominated Afghan intelligence service NDI – son of the old Soviet-run KHAD – is efficient. It continues to brutally torture, abuse, and execute suspects. The US and Canada have routinely turned over Taliban suspects to NDI for torture; Britain and Holland refused to do so.

 The International Criminal Court just announced it may investigate Canada for war crimes for handing Afghan prisoners NDI for torture. This is a disgrace for Canada, formerly admired around the globe for its legal rectitude and adherence to international law.

 Canada may be investigated, said the Court, because its government had blocked and stonewalled all efforts to investigate these crimes. George W. Bush did the same thing. The admiring Harper government apparently followed Bush’s lead.

 The latest American plan for Afghanistan is to hold key urban areas using a somewhat reduced US garrison backed by a new army of mercenaries run by the US Embassy in Kabul which is being expanded to 1,000 personal – the world’s largest. CIA paramilitary forces will play an ever larger role in Afghanistan. Canadian forces will stay on in reduced numbers by trying to avoid danger.

 In line with Washington’s new policy, the current US commander in Afghanistan, the politically savvy Gen. David Petraeus, was just named CIA director. He is detested by Pakistan’s leadership and military.

 CIA boss Leon Panetta, a wily Washington insider and budget expert, will become Defense Secretary.

 Petraeus’ new role confirms CIA is fast becoming militarized as an active combat arm of the US government. CIA is slated to deploy more paramilitary units, mercenary forces and drones in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 The Pentagon is also fast expanding its intelligence role. The Pentagon’s shadowy Special Forces HQ, the Joint Special Operations Command, has just been given the green light to conduct top secret “intelligence gathering” and “anti-terrorism” missions across the Muslim world from Morocco to Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, with a special focus on the Mideast. These forces will answer only to the Pentagon.

 Veteran intelligence professionals lament CIA’s “going cowboy.”  They say the agency’s primary goal is providing the White House with facts and balanced analysis, not indulging in gunplay. Getting involved in fighting overseas will inevitably corrupt CIA, they warn, and bias its judgment. We have already seen this happen in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 Washington just named a new ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, an ardent Bush neocon who was ambassador to Iraq, where he was widely mocked for his absurd rosy pronouncements. Crocker replaces the gruff, able ex-general, Karl Eikenberry who kept telling Washington what it did not want to hear. Yes-man Crocker can be counted on to issue politically positive reports on how well the war is going as the US heads into an election year.

 But the war is not going well. Worse, by waging war in Afghanistan, the US is relentlessly undermining and destabilizing Pakistan, an infinitely more important nation.

 US-Pakistani relations have hit a new low as Washington keeps arm-twisting the Islamabad government it finances to follow policies contrary to Pakistan’s interests and public opinion and to attack its own citizens.

 WikiLeaks just published documents showing the US deems Pakistan’s crack intelligence service ISI a “terrorist group.” Washington has clearly gone terrorism bonkers. What next? Terrorist camels, terrorist dogs, terrorist babies, terrorist UFOs?  

 I call this new form of dementia, AfPak brain fever.

 copyright Eric S. Margolis 2011

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New U.S. Study – The Taliban have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda 2/4

The aberrant conduct of this war on terror rests on one basic error: either with Petraeus or his successor, a premise that creates more Taliban instead of reducing them.

by Agora Vox


It’s indeed an incredible conclusion reached by the US researchers. A lengthy study shown here, reveals the U.S. commitment in the field is ultimately a result of errors. The study says the Taliban had no connection originally with Al Qaeda, and have been consistently kicking the pile by the intensive bombing in particular. All the aberrant conduct of this war rests on this basic error: either with General McCrystal Petraeus or his successor, and this has created more Taliban instead of reducing their number and influence in Afghanistan.


To achieve targets envisaged through this strategy is a disastrous course. Petraeus, the main cause of unfair decisions that will never take the trouble to reassess, prefers covering the breastplate decorations, to the point of looking like a Christmas tree on a spree. Donald Rumsfeld, his principal not worth much better, in his book that comes out does not regret his part. For him, it’s the fault of Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and GW Bush …

The U.S. military and political leaders were so wrong about the whole line on the subject of Afghanistan, as McNamara was wrong all along the line in the Vietnamese case, explain the authors Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, of the Center on International Cooperation “. The researchers find the erroneous strategy which has been pushing these general brainless guys to replicate such obvious failings and this is what this amazing study precisely reveals. The same failures, but similar attempts to destabilize the opponent by “special” operations spy characterized like in Viet Nam, that jewel was in Air America, about which I will hereby soon deliberate. This is what’s happening in particular for years in the borderlands of Pakistan, adjoining Afghanistan.

“When the U.S. launched its offensive October 7, 2001, the Taliban disintegrated under the pressure of the military campaign. Many of them returned to their villages and waited to see what would happen next. Soon they were themselves the targets of American Special Forces and the new Afghan elite. These actions were dictated by a policy adopted by President Bush, and they made no distinction between members of the Taliban, whose regime had harbored al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda itself and the other ones who had nothing to do with al-Qaeda and its masterminds. Those who escaped death or capture and detention in Guantanamo or Bagram, fled to Pakistan.


We know that al-Qaida and the Taliban do not spin the perfect love … because for a lot of Taliban, Bin Laden was also sent from the CIA that the Bush administration consistently downplayed, through a strict control of the media. According to the authors, for example, the Taliban had known nothing of preparations for the Sept. 11, which has surprised many.

Post 9/11 the country was left in the hands of rival factions:  “the political vacuum that followed the overthrow of the Taliban offered enough room for the old and new conflicts to erupt and erupt did they indeed. In Kandahar, Shir-zai, an ally of the United States moved to consolidate power and to settle old and new scores.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, has established his power base to counter influence of rival tribes, using brutal, coercive and corrupt methods drawing much public criticism. In the ensuing imbroglio, the US has become an instrument of local disputes and power struggles, at times with misleading information manipulated by Afghan intelligence provided by external partners.

Then president’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, established his power base to counter influence of their rival tribes, using same methods, but drawing much public criticism. In the ensuing imbroglio, the United States became the instrument of local disputes and power struggles, at times with misleading information manipulated by Afghan intelligence provided by external partners (one dream course at the CIA!).

Whole tribes – the Eshaq-zais of Maiwand, for example, in the west district of the city of Kandahar, were systematically targeted and denounced as Taliban. The family and tribal members of senior Taliban leaders were harassed and denied access to government, and have been marginalized. Noor-zai tribe, whose members had already held positions in many governments in the border district of Spin Boldak was completely sidelined by another tribe – that of Achek-zai – with the help of Shir-zai, leading to the rise of Colonel Raziq, commander of border police.

Col. Abdul Raziq, the border police commander for southern Afghanistan, center, walks next to U.S. Lt. Col. William Clark

Raziq now leads a militia that’s partner of important international forces in the campaign to wrest the province of Kandahar out of Taliban control ” say the authors: we also know that gold is Raziq, the biggest opium dealer in the country!

Better still very early, the Taliban, according to both authors had made contact with the new winners …. to participate in reconciliation talks! “In November 2002, the key Taliban figures in Pakistan assembled together to discuss the possibility of engaging in a policy of reconciliation with the new Afghan government. One participant later described the meeting: “Mullah Mohammad Omar was not there, but everybody went there, all senior ministers and cabinet members of the Taliban. We discussed whether or not to join the political process in Afghanistan and we took a decision that said yes, we’re meant to join the process, ” citing the report . But everything was done so that it does not happen. Who could derail the project? Al-Qaeda … and of course the Pakistani ISI, said our mainstream media.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.+

US bends to Pakistan and Turkey’s wish…..





By M K Bhadrakumar


The unscheduled visit by United States Vice President Joe Biden to Islamabad underscores Washington’s embarrassment and anxiety that it stands excluded from a regional initiative on Afghan peace process that could be about to take off…. The rapid sequence of events over the past fortnight has taken Washington by surprise….

There have been so many difficult moments in the US-Pakistani relationship through the past nine years since the US invasion of Afghanistan. But Biden’s mission can only be compared with the visit to Islamabad by the then-US secretary of state Colin Powell in mid-October 2001, right after the Barbaric inside job of 9/11…. If the Powell mission was seminal to the US invasion of Afghanistan, Biden’s mission may well turn out to be formative in sowing the germane seeds of peace/American style….meaning Endless War…..

The trail leading Biden to Islamabad began in Istanbul on Christmas Eve when, as part of Ankara’s three-year old initiative, Turkish President Abdullah Gul hosted a fifth summit meeting of the trilateral forum comprising his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts Asif Zardari and Hamid Karzai. The Turks take their mediatory role very seriously and have indeed met with some measure of success in bringing Kabul and Islamabad closer together as neighbors – an endeavor in which the US has repeatedly failed. But then, Turkey’s credentials cannot be easily matched. (more…)

The Afghanistan Circus, McChrystal Leaves the Central Ring

Above: Pat Tillman,an amazing man, a top professional footballer who left a multi-million dollar career to become an Army Ranger.  Far from being a typical “dumb jock,” Tillman was a brilliant scholar and student of philosophy.  On April 22, 2004, Tillman was killed in Afghanistan.  He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart.



by Gordon Duff


Why would a general want to leave a command, especially one as challenging as Afghanistan?  Think of it, no more meetings with President Karzai.  Picture yourself, sitting in Kabul.  Still in Kabul, looking south at failure.  Long ago, when Paul Wolfowitz and Karl Rove, called “Dog Boy and Turd Blossom” by President Bush,  were selecting the worst possible weaklings and con men to act as American puppets, the new governments of, first Afghanistan and then Iraq, the names Hamid Karzai and Ahmed Chalibi were, not just the short list, they were the only list. (more…)

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