October 7, 2016
The Independent (UK)

The Invasion of Afghanistan 15 Years Ago Was an Arrogant, Wretched Adventure That Caused a Migrant Crisis

by Robert Fisk

As usual, all the warnings were there. Three Anglo-Afghan wars. Russia's Vietnam. The Graveyard of Empires. Poppy capital of the world. The most bombed, crushed, corrupted, mined nation on the globe.

So off we set in our righteous war of revenge for the Twin Towers and the dead of 9/11 to bomb Afghanistan all over again and -- a new twist, this -- to bring "democracy" to the land though which Alexander the Great passed en route to India. Osama bin Laden was our latest Hitler, although his protective screen of Salafist obscurantist Taliban legions could hardly be compared to the Wehrmacht.

Bin Laden was a Saudi -- so were 15 of the 19 hijackers who committed the international crime against humanity of 11 September 2001 -- and Saudis supported the Taliban. But, as usual, Saudi Arabia was not part of the media story. This was to be a retelling of Victorian children's books; of brave if bearded Afghan fighters struggling to take back their country, of high-altitude American bombers that killed the Taliban and wiped out a score or more of innocent villages, of US Special Forces riding bareback with Afghan horsemen to play "Bouskache" with a dead goat between battles. Carry On Up the Khyber.

The story, of course, was flawed from the start.

With what arrogance we began the whole wretched adventure 15 years ago. This time, we would not forget the brave Afghans (as we did after they drove the Russkies out of their country) and there would be freedom, aid, security and democracy. But as the years went by, the newly installed and "democratically elected" Afghan government became as wretched and corrupt as its communist predecessors.

The NGOs arrived with millions to spend -- all competing with each other and with the US military which offered even more millions in humanitarian aid in return for intelligence information. There were the usual massacres, an atrocity or two -- Afghans loyal to General Abdul-Rashid Dostum suffocated Afghan Taliban prisoners in container trucks, US jets and armed Americans liquidating prison mutineers at only occasional cost to themselves -- but Kabul was swiftly "liberated" by journalists and a clutch of tribesmen from the Panjhir Valley.

A few women were persuaded to take off the evil burqa, in which their ancestors in parts of the country had covered themselves for hundreds of years, and George W Bush and our beloved Tony Blair quickly diverted themselves to the more lucrative rewards of a not dissimilar war in Iraq.

Allegedly, we "took our eye off the ball" by abandoning Afghanistan for Mesopotamia, but contemporary documents clearly prove that Iraq was Bush's target all along. Afghanistan was never intended to be anything but a side-show. . . .


"Regime Change: 'Seven Countries in Five Years'," The Wisdom Fund, October 12, 2007

"Afghanistan: A War for Empire," The Wisdom Fund, October 17, 2008

"Afghanistan: Obama's Vietnam," The Wisdom Fund, January 9, 2009

"Massive Leak of Secret Files Exposes Truth of Occupation," The Wisdom Fund, July 25, 2010

TRANSCRIPT: So in late 2011 there is an internal document called the Libya Tick Tock that was produced for Hillary Clinton, and it's the chronological description of how she was the central figure in the destruction of the Libyan state, which resulted in around 40,000 deaths within Libya; jihadists moved in, ISIS moved in, leading to the European refugee and migrant crisis.--"Julian Assange Speaks About Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Election and the Litany of Charges Against Him,", November 5, 2016

Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne, "US drops largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan: A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB),", April 13, 2017

Vijay Prashad, "America's Afghan War: 16 Years, as Many as One Million Killed,", May 30, 2017

James Mackenzie, "Donald Trump eyes Afghanistan's $1 trillion mineral reserves to pay for reconstruction after 16 years of war,", August 21, 2017

Rod Nordland, "Bracing for Next Decade, U.S. Expands Kabul Security Zone,", September 17, 2017

[Zakaria's apologism and justification to extend America's longest war demonstrates, rather disturbingly, just how firmly entrenched the US military-industrial complex and warfare state has become.--Danny Sjursen, "What Fareed Zakaria Gets Wrong About Afghanistan: Everything,", August 19, 2019]

[If the Taliban could not be defeated by an Afghan army, built up by the U.S. for a decade and backed by 100,000 U.S. troops in 2010-2011, then are the Taliban likely to give up the struggle when the U.S. is drawing down the last 14,000 troops and heading home?--Patrick J. Buchanan, "When, If Ever, Can We Lay This Burden Down?,", August 20, 2019]

back button