British military intervention in Afghanistan has a chequered history, making it easy to conclude that British forces will fail again
The Need To Change US Policy Toward Afghanistan
President Barack Obama and his opponent from the Republican party Governor Mitt Romney, both candidates for President in the November 2012 election largely had ignored the longest war the US has been fighting against Afghanistan going on for twelve years during most of their campaigns for election. Both the majority of the Afghan people and the American people, victimized by this illegal war, have repeatedly demanded an end to the war and end of occupation of Afghanistan. The Presidential candidates were obliged to answer the direct questions on the war in Afghanistan asked by the moderator of the third debate on October 2012. Realizing that ending the war was on the minds of the voters, both candidates stated that the US troop withdrawal will be completed by 2014, with Mitt Romney saying “we are going to be finished by 2014….” and the discussion was on how the Afghan security forces would be responsible to keep security in Afghanistan with President Obama declaring ‘ we are in a position where we can transition out’ and that ‘Afghans will be responsible for their own security’. The moderator should have asked the obvious important question on peace: “ is the US leaving behind a process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan?” and the equally important question should have been to asked “why not end the war now and work for establishing peace and offer recommitment for reconstruction to the Afghan people?” Mitt Romney repeatedly mentioned peace as a goal for his foreign policy. But, the moderator failed to pursue this line and ask him “why not begin with a peace process in Afghanistan?” The illegal war against Afghanistan has turned in to an illegal longest occupation of the country and what is worse is that all the policies that have gone wrong will be continued based on the agreement of May 1, 2012 (Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement) promising more of the same until 2024 and beyond. The people of Afghanistan have already rejected this policy otherwise the combined forces of the US and NATO along with the combined expenditures of ¾ of a trillion dollars would have brought more success than the Russians had in their war of aggression and occupation during 1979-1989. Oddly enough Vladimir Putin advocates for NATO to stay in Afghanistan as reported by Reuters August,1 2012 telling it to “finish the job”. Warmongering is nothing new against Islam and in particular against Afghanistan. In their search for building an empire the British did much warmongering against Afghanistan even after losing the first Anglo-Afghan War which lead to the Second Anglo-Afghan War with the same kind of devastating experience for the British.
Unfortunately, successful wars in favor of the Afghan people have been followed by failures in peace making at every turn, both in the war against the British and the Russians, and it seems that the present war the longest that Afghanistan has fought for its sovereignty will end up the same way, viz., failure to establish comprehensive peace. From the present US-cum-NATO policy toward Afghanistan it is clear that the choices left behind are up to the Afghan people to continue on the path of war that the US and NATO have prepared for the country by repeatedly stating that the Afghan security forces, paid and trained by the US and other foreign occupation forces, are ready to carry on the war and the US and NATO countries made sure that the sum of $4.1 billion annually would be provided to the Afghan security forces for this purpose for ten years beyond 2014 according to the Chicago summit declaration on May 20, 2012.
Alternatively, the Afghan people can take the road to peace and in fact out wit the foxes of war aimed at the continued destruction of life and property in Afghanistan by taking the peace initiative and the lead for peace we have outlined in our peace plan first formulated in May, 2008 and posted on www.Afghanrsearchsociety.org. and then revised and posted in April, 2010 on www.Afghanprm.org. US and NATO representatives are part of the Peace Commission of 33 individuals we have proposed, along with members from the UN and OIC. But, the majority will be Afghans comprising 27 members of the Peace Commission.
The deception that the Afghan people were some how responsible for the tragedy of 9/11 has gone long enough. Despite more than 11 years of war and tens of thousands of night time raids by US Special Forces in to tens of thousands of homes no evidence implicating the Afghan people has been found and neither will they find because the Afghan people were not involved in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. These illegal night raids which have killed many and imprisoned others numbering several thousands, but, have not turned up any foreign fighters among the people, or as they like to call them members of Al Qaeda. The more than 3,000 prisoners at the Parwan prison housed the victims of these night raids where they have been abused by criminal members of the regime. Individuals who argue for continued war against Afghanistan and create fear among their own people from the people of Afghanistan should read the investigative and scientific reports on dozens of web sites created by Americans from across many professions ( as part of the 9/11 Truth Movement) arguing for a new investigation of the tragedy of 9/11 by Congress with subpoena powers. The terrorist attacks did not only kill 3,000 innocent individuals in the US, but, the tragedy has victimized the Afghan people, the people of Iraq and Pakistan and in many others lands, and in fact, also victimized the American people as a whole by having been involved in the longest war in their history. The Eisenhower Project at the Brown and Boston universities estimated that by June, 2011 225,000 persons have been killed due to the wars launched by the US. And the illegal Drone attacks on the tribal areas continue apace, while the British announce that they are going to double the size of their Drones aimed at the war in Afghanistan. All those who supported the invasion of Afghanistan must look in their own conscious and ask what did they support, killing of innocent people in the name of what?
While 79% of the American people according to the latest CNN poll and many members of US Congress support the full and complete withdrawal of US military from Afghanistan sooner than 2014 policy makers in the Administration have not caught up with their demands. Neither has the Congress stepped up to the demands of millions of American for a new investigation of the 9/11 tragedy that changed world history and has cost the US up to $4.4 trillion according to the recent research on the cost of wars launched by the US. Humanity demands more answers than have been forthcoming from politicians. Humanity does not need more warmongers, it needs more thoughtful individuals who want to be leaders.
The US Congress has authorized $88.4 billion during 2002-2012 for Afghanistan and it will be $100 billion with President Obama’s request for 2013 in what is called ‘reconstruction’ that include funding the security forces. But, as the April 30, 2012 report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) and the latest one in July, 2012 show mismanagement, poor planning and corruption have brought little results meeting the stated official goals.
War has lead to crimes and corruption in Afghanistan and the policy to continue the war seem to be ambivalent to these facts. The present outside structured governance is too corrupt, fractured, and inept. No amount of outside money will cure the problems and in fact the reason the problems have become more severe is precisely due to the free flow of funds mismanaged by foreign and Afghan entities. The evidence is overwhelming; two among countless cases are the land grab by the officials of the Kabul regime at Sher Poor in Kabul and the fraud and scandal at the Kabul Bank where $850 million deposits were directed to personal use by individuals connected to the regime. On the foreign side of the problem the USAID mismanagement of the power plant at Tarakhail costing $350 million and staying idle due to costs of operation per unit of output of power.
The NATO summit in Chicago during May 20-21, 2012 promising $ 4.1 billion annually for security forces in Afghanistan and the Tokyo donors conference during the first week in July, 2012 promising $4 billion annually are clear reflections of the mind set that simply wishes things would get better in Afghanistan, while the realities on the ground reflect the very opposite. Both the taxpayer peoples of the international community contributing to these funds totaling to some 45-50% of the GDP of Afghanistan on an annual basis for the next 4-10 years and the people of Afghanistan are being victimized by the policies of the politicians in North America and Europe and else where who are supporting the status quo in Afghanistan. Crimes and corruption at the Dawood Military Hospital in Kabul described by the media as “Auschwitz like” where patients are totally neglected, and are operated on without anesthesia and others are seen with open wounds and still for attending to others patients demands are made for bribes to attend to them are covered up by a high ranking US military officer while the Minister of Defense in Kabul is blind to the whole affair.
The 800 page report on the war crimes and discovery of 180 mass graves in Afghanistan with 13 of them around Mazar-i-Sharif alone in a six year ( 2005-2011) research effort by a team of 40 individuals from the Human Rights Commission and foreign forensic experts is prevented from being released to the public due to the pressure of the same ones named in the report for war crimes holding high offices in Kabul. Many of these are the same that the US allied with in invading Afghanistan when the records of their crimes were well known by the US and UN officials.
The official claims of having done so much for the Afghan women during the occupation for the past eleven years become clear when one visits Kabul finding the streets of Kabul full of women covered with Chaderi begging for help to survive while in other parts of Kabul some 300,000 Afghan women among the half a million internally displaced refugees escaping the imposed war against their home areas in Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and other provinces languish without humanitarian assistance. Still more than three million Afghan refugees suffer in Pakistan and Iran with little hope of returning home to peace and genuine international help to rebuild their lives.
The time for establishing full and comprehensive peace, complete withdrawal of all foreign military and their spy agencies, and the establishment of a new order for governance free from corruption, not to abuse the promised funds by the tax payers of the international community is well passed. If the US wishes to lead the international community for a better future for Afghanistan policy makers must change their course. Ad hoc changes with continuation of the status quo in present day Afghanistan, or its repeat through another fraudulent election in 2014, are unacceptable to the Afghan people, and probably unacceptable to the taxpayers of the international community if they knew the full set of facts. This change in policy has to begin at the White House. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney his Republican opponent in the forthcoming election in November 2012 agreeing to the time table already set for withdrawal of US troops by the end of 2014 from Afghanistan and continuation of unknown but large military presence to 2024 and beyond only repeat the same policies leading to the prevailing conditions seen at the present with loss of lives and waist of resources without positive end results that will satisfy the demands of the Afghan and the American people. Learning from past and from repeated mistakes must be easier by now than has been observed in Afghanistan. The need for change in policy toward Afghanistan ending the war and bringing justice, and economic development for the benefit of all is paramount. The Afghan people will not accept any thing less.