April 5, 2014

Afghanistan’s national election held this week is a sham. A group of candidates, handpicked by the US, will pretend to compete in an election whose outcome has already been determined – by Washington.

The candidates include US groomed politicians, and drug-dealing warlords from the Tajik and Uzbek north. Chief among them, Rashid Dostam, a major war criminal and principal CIA ally who ordered the massacre of over 2,000 Taliban prisoners.

Such is the rotten foundation on which Washington is hoping to build a compliant Afghan “democracy” that will continue to offer bases to US troops and warplanes. Afghanistan’s majority, the Pashtun tribes, have little voice in the election charade.

The largest, most popular party in Afghanistan, Taliban, and its smaller ally, Hisbi-Islami, have been excluded as “terrorists” from the current and past elections. They are boycotting the vote, rightly claiming it will be rigged and run by the western powers and their local collaborators. We see this same pattern of faux democracy across the Mideast.

If an open vote was held today, Taliban would probably win. Americans have no problem it seems working with Afghan Communists, war criminals, and drug kingpins. In fact, under American rule, opium, morphine and heroin production in Afghanistan has surged to all-time record highs. This is called “nation-building.”

After 12 years of using everything in its arsenal short of nuclear weapons, the mighty US military has failed to defeat lightly-armed Taliban forces. The Pashtun tribes are almost certain to keep on fighting indefinitely. A favorite Taliban saying: “the Americans have watches; we have time.” The Pashtun defeated four British attempts to colonize Afghanistan, the Soviet effort in the 1980’s, and now the US occupation.

Afghanistan has proved the longest war in America’s history. As US troops and heavy bombers attacked Taliban position, I wrote in the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers that invading Afghanistan was a terrible mistake, a war that would not be won. Not surprisingly, I was widely denounced.

My column of 26-years was blacklisted by a major newspaper chain after I dared to say the war was lost and a waste of blood and money.

I knew this having been in the field with the Afghan mujahidin during the 1980’s Great Jihad (holy war) against Afghanistan’s Soviet occupiers – recounted in my “War at the Top of the World.”

A few years later, I was present at the birth of Taliban. The Pashtun movement arose during the early 1990’s Afghan civil war to fight the mass rape of Afghan women, and combat foreign-backed Afghan Tajik and Uzbek Communists.

Washington’s current plan is to install a new, post-Karzai Afghan client regime in Kabul, and keep control of the 400,000-man Afghan police and army who fight for US dollars. The tame Afghan regime will then “invite” some 16,000 US soldiers and airmen, plus large numbers of tribal mercenaries, to stay on and keep Taliban at bay.

The key to ongoing US control of Afghanistan is airbases at Bagram, Kandahar, Herat, and Shindand, supported by bases in Central Asia, Pakistan and the Gulf. The US and its allies could not retain their bases across Afghanistan without mounting hugely expensive 24-hour combat air patrols that respond within minutes to any Taliban attacks. Without constant resupply and support from the air, western forces would be quickly cut off and defeated.

This is one big reason why the war in Afghanistan has so far cost the US $1 trillion dollars. Billions have disappeared due to massive corruption. Without a steady stream of US dollars, the Afghan regime in Kabul would collapse. Pakistan has been paid over $18 billion since 2001 to fight its own Taliban and allow US military operations.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s efforts to cut US occupation forces in Afghanistan are being openly and brazenly challenged by his own insubordinate military commanders who cannot face admitting defeat at the hands of Taliban – the ultimate humiliation for the high-tech US forces.

But now that China and Russia have challenged the US, the Pentagon has found a new foe and reasons for ever-bigger budgets. So it may reluctantly abandon the Afghan misadventure. After all, who remembers the Vietnam War and the disgraceful flight from Saigon?


copyright Eric S. Margolis 2014

For German translation of above article please go to


This post is in: Afghanistan, History, Mideast, Taliban, USA


  1. George Rizk says:

    If the US did not get too crazy about the USSR invasion of Afghanistan a few decades ago, the Afghanis would never have discovered Arab Islamic terrorism, the West would not discovered the padding and removal of shoes to ride on a plane, the US treasury would have been 3 trillion richer, the Arab nations would not have lost millions in the gulf war, and Iraq war. All said, the empowerment of crazy hate theology to a bunch of misfit thugs from the slums of Arab cities has created a cancer that is very hard to treat. Especially if the CIA, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia are feeding that cancer.

  2. philmar says:

    “My column of 26-years was blacklisted by a major newspaper chain after I dared to say the war was lost and a waste of blood and money.”
    This pretty much shows our press is anything but ‘free’. Yes, it is a free press for those rich enough to start up their own paper or TV network. But establishment vested interests will use their money and power to ensure their message dominates. I would like to thank you for not letting a pay cheque influence printing what you observe and believe. I fret where we will get our balanced information from when you decide to retire. Please give thought to giving us a list of trusted news sites or columnists some day.
    As usual you have my sincerest thanks for being the most truthful and unbiased voice on the important geopolitical issues of the day.

  3. solum temptare possumus says:

    The question is, which President will put the pullout from Afghanistan into his Legacy pouch.
    Nixon and Ford imploded (for various reasons), partly due to the retreat to and pullout from Saigon.
    Far easier to be convinced by the behind the scenes Neocons, to throw ‘fiat’ US greenbacks at the problem and pass it on the the next Administration.
    The only decision President Obama has made morally, in this matter, is to spare American soldier’s lives by using UAVs. Far better to keep American workers building UAVs at about 1 million apiece and continue to cut off the heads of the belligerents with precision strikes; civilian casualties be damned.
    After all, they are not American casualties, one can rationalize.
    The President’s Director of Communications/Press Secretary has a most important job. Keeping the American people oblivious of all the ‘collateral damage’. No wonder they burn out after a few years.
    ad iudicium

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