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A War's Epitaph: For Two Decades, Americans Told One Lie After Another About What They Were Doing in Afghanistan

By Donna
August 29, 2021 11:45 am
Category: Crime
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Incredible piece by James Risen over at The Intercept. Link at bottom.

Just a few excerpts. It was tough to choose; Risen's article is so jammed pack of information that you aren't likely to hear from the usual sources, right or left.

***

The U.S. launched more than 13,000 drone strikes in Afghanistan between 2015 and 2020, killing up to 10,000 people, according to statistics kept by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The CIA, relying on cellphone numbers to find, fix, and finish its alleged enemies, often launched its Hellfire missiles at the wrong targets or at targets standing amid groups of civilians.

The practice devastated Afghan villages, yet the U.S. refused to keep track of civilian casualties from drone strikes. Instead, officials insisted that each strike had hit its intended target, while ignoring the claims of villagers that the missiles had killed a tribal chief or decimated a meeting of village elders.

***

Along with drone strikes came “night raids,” in which U.S. and Afghan forces would burst into a home in the middle of the night and kill or capture those inside, breeding further resentment. The raids were so deeply unpopular that they sometimes led an entire village to switch its allegiance to the Taliban. What was worse, the U.S. military and the CIA failed for years to fully grasp the degree to which their airstrikes and night raids were being manipulated by Afghans who fed them false information to convince the Americans to launch raids against their local rivals or have those rivals carted off to Guantánamo.

After the initial invasion that ousted the Taliban, the U.S. shifted most of its military and intelligence resources from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2002 and 2003. The Bush administration believed that Iraq was a more important theater of war than Afghanistan and falsely thought that the war in Afghanistan was over.

The shift of American resources by the Bush administration to Iraq in 2002 and 2003 was the greatest military miscalculation of the entire war in Afghanistan. While the U.S. was distracted by Iraq, the Taliban, which had been all but defeated and dispersed, recovered, and regained strength.

***

Another fundamental miscalculation involved Pakistan. In the 1980s, the CIA had worked with Pakistan’s intelligence service to support the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan. But following the U.S. invasion in 2001, the Taliban leadership found sanctuary in Pakistan. The Taliban were able to reorganize and recruit new forces from among the more than one million, mainly Pashtun, Afghan refugees on Pakistan’s side of the Durand Line, the boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan established by the British at the end of the 19th century.

Pakistan’s intelligence and military services played a double game with the U.S. throughout the American war in Afghanistan. For years, Pakistan provided America with logistical support, allowing supplies for U.S. forces in landlocked Afghanistan to be transported through its territory. It also sometimes provided critical intelligence on Al Qaeda and terrorism suspects believed to be traversing the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yet many officers in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence were Islamists who were sympathetic to the Pashtuns and the Taliban, and had a long history of support for related Pashtun groups like the Haqqani network, whose founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, had been on the CIA payroll during the 1980s campaign against the Soviet occupation.


Cited and related links:

  1. readersupportednews.org


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Comments:

  1. by islander on August 29, 2021 2:46 pm
    Thanks Donna. I'm going to have to think about and digest this but even if it is 100% accurate, sad to say, nothing in it surprises me !


  2. by HatetheSwamp on August 30, 2021 3:58 am

    It seems to me that the region known as the "nation" of Afghanistan, is a hotbed of chaos, terror and depravity. In the wake of the Taliban's connection to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, it was essential that the US respond forcefully, which we did.

    Certainly, errors were made and, yikes!, are being made to this very day, by the current President, his inept State Department and worthless, woke incompetent military leadership.

    But, to think that withdrawing and burying our heads in the sand, especially now that the US has armed the terrorists with more than $80 billion in state of the art weaponry is more ridiculous than all of the Afghan calamities of the past 20 years combined...

    ...in my opinion.


  3. by Donna on August 30, 2021 6:58 am
    Pulling out was always going to be a shit show, which is why Biden's predecessors avoided it. I commend Biden for his decision.


  4. by HatetheSwamp on August 30, 2021 7:28 am

    I absolutely, completely, entirely, 100% and in every possible way, totally disagree with you, Donna.

    If Joe had not removed us from the conditional withdrawal plan Trump negotiated, thus granting the Taliban free reign to do as it pleased, and if all American civilians and all of our translators and interpreters and their families had evacuated by May 1, before Taliban fighters returned to Afghanistan, no one would have been abandoned and there would have been few casualties, if any.

    I know that it's an inconvenient for you to accept that reality but, as far as I can tell, that's the reality.

    Having said that, I agree that under either Joe's way or Trump's, the Taliban, ultimately, would have prevailed.


  5. by Donna on August 30, 2021 8:05 am
    Evacuating Afghans wasn't part of Trump's deal with the Taliban. Trump's plan was to pull out militarily by May 1st and throw all those Afghans under the bus like he did with the Kurds.

    If Biden had evacuated all US military out of Afghanistan by May 1st, there would have been no military personnel left to secure the evacuation of those Afghan women and children you say you're so worried about.


  6. by HatetheSwamp on August 30, 2021 8:08 am

    Donna,

    All the people from Trump's administration who have spoken have been clear.

    The final phase of his plan was to withdraw the troops. Everything else, including destroying the weaponry came first.


  7. by Ponderer on August 30, 2021 8:47 am
    So then why did Trump's administation not only never start evacuating any Afghans, but actively put impediments in the way of the next administration being able to do it?

    If withdrawing the troops was the final phase, why did Trump start with that and ignore everything else?


  8. by HatetheSwamp on August 30, 2021 11:26 am

    I don't know, po. Trump would still have had six months after the election to get it done.

    Joe apparently has you convinced that he can do it in what?, two?, three?, weeks!!!!!?

    I want you to recall, though, that I've been disagreeing with Trump on Afghanistan from the beginning. On this one, you are the Trumper! How's THAT feel?


  9. by Ponderer on August 30, 2021 12:24 pm
    "Trump would still have had six months after the election to get it done." -pb

    Yeah, but then with his hectic schedule so overwhelmed in those last months by having to make all those calls to state attorneys general and election officials and governors and such, trying to goad and threaten them to lie for him and overturn their elections to give him a majority he never had, there just wasn't any time left for him to have paid any attention to doing the actual job he still had.


    "Joe apparently has you convinced that he can do it in what?, two?, three?, weeks!!!!!?" -pb

    This from a hypocritical clown who has presented his case as though Joe should have been able to accomplish a near impossible job with no problems in like two or three weeks.



  10. by Donna on August 30, 2021 2:07 pm
    Me:

    Evacuating Afghans wasn't part of Trump's deal with the Taliban. Trump's plan was to pull out militarily by May 1st and throw all those Afghans under the bus like he did with the Kurds.

    If Biden had evacuated all US military out of Afghanistan by May 1st, there would have been no military personnel left to secure the evacuation of those Afghan women and children you say you're so worried about.

    HatetheSwamp:

    Donna,

    All the people from Trump's administration who have spoken have been clear.

    The final phase of his plan was to withdraw the troops. Everything else, including destroying the weaponry came first.

    ***

    What did I say that refutes what you just said? It was as if you were refuting some other comment.

    But I WILL comment on what you just posted: "Everything else" did not include rescuing Afghans.



  11. by HatetheSwamp on August 31, 2021 6:31 am

    Donna,

    From what former Trump Administration officials, what you've written is entirely untrue.

    That notwithstanding, Joe has superintended what is now one of the most shameful chapters in American history.

    I opposed what Trump did from the beginning, but it doesn't matter what Trump did or didn't do. Joe, ultimately did this.

    It's long past time for po and Curt, isle and you to stop already with the, "But Trump! But Trump! But Trump!" insanity.

    You shut down as soon as I bring up TDS. Fine. I just described it. And, you have it.


  12. by Donna on August 31, 2021 6:37 am
    Which former Trump officials said that Trump planned to evacuate Afghans, what did they say, and where did they say it?

    Under Biden, 122,000 people have been evacuated including many Afghans.


  13. by HatetheSwamp on August 31, 2021 7:09 am

    Donna,

    I watch a lot of Fox and Newsmax. I can't tell you how many Trumpsters have detailed Trump's plan, but several. My guess is that the Trump team sent his people out to flood the sympathetic press with his message.

    I watch Fox's OUTNUMBERED a few times in a typical week, which features Kayleigh McEnany as one of its hosts. She's preached the Trump gospel nearly every day and, of course, Trump described his plan at his Alabama rally, which I quoted at the time.

    Trump made it clear that he would have gotten the people out before he'd have removed the troops and, then, destroyed the weaponry.

    Joe, that "feckless dementia-ridden piece of crap," did just the opposite.


  14. by Donna on August 31, 2021 7:49 am
    "Trump made it clear that he would have gotten the people out before he'd have removed the troops and, then, destroyed the weaponry."

    Right - "the people".

    Which people?



  15. by HatetheSwamp on August 31, 2021 7:54 am

    They're saying all of the SIV holders and their families and American citizens. The Trump gang is kicking and screaming about all of our friends Joe's gang left behind.


  16. by Donna on August 31, 2021 8:05 am
    Since you won't answer that, I will.

    From the text of the 2/29/20 agreement between the US and the Taliban:

    The United States is committed to withdraw from Afghanistan all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel within fourteen (14) months following announcement of this agreement..

    ***

    No mention of those Afghan civilians you're so worried about.

    state.gov


  17. by HatetheSwamp on August 31, 2021 8:22 am

    Donna,

    Did you see the effin words, ITS ALLIES!!!!!!!!!!!??!!!!!???


  18. by Donna on August 31, 2021 10:37 am
    Of course I saw that. "Allies" isn't in reference to the regular Afghan citizens who want to flee the country - the people the Taliban are trying to prevent from leaving - the people Trump and Stephen Miller were trying to prevent from coming here. Those people are refugees, and many have been able to leave as part of the evacuation that's being carried out under Biden.




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