|Afghanistan: The Metamorphosis
|Bruce G. Richardson
In our time, political speech and writing are, largely the defense of the indefensible…George Orwell
The 1980 Summer Olympics boycott was a part of a range of active measures initiated by the United States to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The 1979 Soviet invasion spurred U.S. President Jimmy Carter to issue an ultimatum on January 20, 1980 “that the U.S. would boycott the Moscow Olympics if Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan within one month.” The U.S. would be joined by a number of countries in their solidarity with Afghanistan to include: Japan, West Germany, the Philippines, Argentina and Canada. But covert measures taken against the U.S.S.R. by the U.S. had actually begun earlier. On July 3, 1979, six-months prior to the Soviet incursion, President Jimmy Carter signed a “Presidential Finding” following the advice of his National Security Advisor, Zbignew Brzezinski, to begin covert supplies: arms, the recruitment of Jihadists from Middle East countries, finance, media, and diplomatic support and actionable-intelligence to the Afghans to “give the U.S.S.R. its own Vietnam.”
But who could have imagined that some thirty-one years later that the U.S. and Russia, as allies, would have joined forces to devastate Afghanistan? Presently, the U.S. and Russia are engaged in bombing Afghanistan and troops from both countries are actively fighting alongside the Northern Alliance against the Taliban.
While Russia, in violation of international law, has disguised its troops fighting in support of the Northern Alliance. Originating from the 201st Division based in Tajikistan, Russian soldiers are outfitted in the attire of the Northern Alliance while their aircraft presently conduct bombing missions against fixed Taliban positions and operate in unmarked aircraft… again in support of the Northern Alliance, there can be no doubt therefore of their active and direct combat support role for the Northern Alliance. (1)
In a parochial twist of irony, the U.S. justification for waging war in Afghanistan against those it supported during the Cold War was to eradicate alleged al-Qaeda training facilities and to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, the West’s alleged mastermind behind 9/11. Russia, for its part, cites the existence of Chechen terrorists among the ranks of the Taliban and a latent fear that Taliban-style fundamentalism will be exported to infect separatist movements in the Central Asian Republics. Both have gratuitously played the “international terrorist” card or label as license for unending war.
This day, however, it is common knowledge and or conventional wisdom that cited justifications were, and are… fabrications, premeditated disinformation, innuendo and parochial propaganda made possible by a compliant media. The alleged al-Qaeda training camps were discovered to be the camps of those resisting the U.S.-led invasion and occupation. Many observers find the allegation that Osama bin Laden masterminded the 9/11 attacks to be both unsubstantiated and ludicrous, and that it is currently common knowledge that the U.S. squandered a number of opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden as he lay in a hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan and while there visited by CIA officers on numerous occasions. Though unreported by the mainstream media, in addition, Taliban made numerous attempts to remand Osama bin Laden to U.S officials in Pakistan but were dismissed at each and every turn. Russia’s stated justifications were also found lacking in substance, historical context and thus corroboration as well. History affirms Russia’s brutal colonization policies in Muslim Central Asia which represent but a mirror-image of their past and current position and policies on Afghanistan. (1, 3, 5, 7)
Additionally, according to Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik, American officials warned during the summer of 2001 that “we will attack Afghanistan before the snow flies in October,” months prior to 9/11.
February 2001: When a Taliban emissary arrived in Washington with presents for the new Chief Executive… The talks were less than…cordial, and at one point during the deliberations a U.S. Representative told Sayed Hashemi, Taliban emissary, “either you accept our carpet of gold or we will bury you under a carpet of bombs.” The threat was issued to resuscitate failing negotiations mandating that an American concern (UNOCAL) would be successful in winning the contract for the proposed Trans-Afghan (TAP) Pipeline. (2, 7)
Over time, U.S. rational for attacking Afghanistan has been thoroughly discredited by a variety of academics, authors, human rights activists, investigative journalists, and the memoirs of retired intelligence personnel. The adage, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ has therefore become U.S./Russia policy in Afghanistan. Russia is the Taliban’s enemy and presently America’s friend in what can only be construed as a convoluted and warped twist of irony and betrayal. For Russia, America as an enemy of the Taliban has emerged as a new-found friend.
Veteran combat journalists Robert Pelton and Carlotta Gall, both with extensive Afghanistan and Chechnya experience ventured to Afghanistan in search of Chechen fighters and came away empty handed. Regarding U.S. and Russian claims of Afghanistan being the “hub of international terrorism,” David Koltz, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst had this to say:
There are reasons to be wary of the newly developed relationship between the Putin and Bush Administration and the tactical importance of Russia’s help for the administration’s war in Afghanistan has led to Bush to soft-peddle any criticism of the brutal Russian military tactics in Chechnya. This reinforces in presence that American criticism of “evil” in the world depends strongly on context…that is, or whether the perpetrator is a government that the U.S. desires to befriend or to oppose. Even worse, implicit American acceptance of Russia’s brutality in Muslim Chechnya lends support to the charge that the U.S. is leading a war against Islam. (3)
This acceptance of Russia’s stance regards Chechnya by the Obama Administration has led to a trade-off, with Russia to actively deploy its military in cadence with and support of U.S. anti-Taliban operations in Afghanistan and consigning a multi-billion arms deal underwritten by both the U.K. and the U.S. to the Northern Alliance in exchange for America’s posting of Chechen Resistance members to their list of terrorists and blocking foreign aid. (4)
Much of the intelligence citing the presence of Chechen fighters is based on statements by Northern Alliance commanders who obviously benefit from increased military pressure on the Taliban by combined U.S. and Russian forces. Muhammad Qasim Fahim, for example, regularly comments on the existence of Chechens in the ranks of the Taliban. (5)
While overlooked by most Americans, the continual bloodshed in Afghanistan and Chechnya is widely followed in the Muslim World. The present lack of concern on the part of the U.S. and Russia for the plight of the Muslims in Afghanistan and Chechnya feed into claims that America and Russia are engaged in a joint crusade against Muslims.
December 2011, marks the 10-year anniversary of the massacre of four or more thousands of Taliban prisoners in Dasht-i-Leili by Rashid Dostum’s Uzbek militia. To mark the event, Physicians for Human Rights have petitioned President Obama to investigate this atrocity. Two years ago, President Obama pledged to “collect the facts and make a decision as to how to approach it” yet no investigation thus far has been forthcoming. Dostum, it must be understood, is an ally of the U.S.-led war against the Taliban… and as have many before, been immunized against prosecution for war crimes. (6)
This day, we note that the U.S. underwrites genocide in both Chechnya and Afghanistan based on fabrications and blatant propaganda, and have joined forces with the Northern Alliance, an assortment of war criminals, pro-Russia collaborators and drug traffickers, who are being presently being groomed by the U.S. as heir-apparent to head up the next government. As they prosecute their so-called “war on terror” they have committed “crimes against peace,” are cited for using weapons of mass destruction such as white phosphorous, unmanned drones, depleted uranium and conducting massive air bombardment proximate to densely populated areas, all serious breaches and or excesses in violation of numerous international statutes and treaties for human rights. The presence of disguised Russian military forces is also in violation of international law as well. In short, the combined U.S./Russia assault on the tiny Afghan and Chechen populations are a moral and unlawful abomination. Those whom America once supported against Soviet aggression are today… the victims of joint U.S. and Russian aggression. (7)
- ‘Shattering the al-Qaeda Myth’, (part 1), Chechnya Weekly, 4.35, Jamestown Foundation Monitor, 2/10/03
- ‘Western Leaders Re-Evaluate Their Stance on the Chechen War’, Jamestown Foundation Monitor, 10/27/01
- ‘Putin and Bush Below the Surface’, Institute for Public Accuracy, 11/13/01
- ‘America’s Hunt for Chechens in Afghanistan’, AFP, Chris Otton, 3/22/11
- ‘Restrain the Northern Alliance’, The World at War, Frederick Starr, 10/24/01
- Afghanistan, a Search for Truth, Bruce G. Richardson, 2009, p.187