July 19, 2021

The US-led war in Afghanistan looks to be ending, and not a day too soon. America’s father, Benjamin Franklin, wisely wrote: ‘No good war; no bad peace.’

Yet for 20 years, the United States waged all-out war against this small, remote, impoverished state whose only weapons were old AK47 rifles and the boundless courage of its fierce people.

In my first book about Afghanistan, ‘War at the Top of the World,’ written after being in the field with the anti-Soviet ‘mujahidin’ warriors, I called them ‘the bravest men on earth.’ Now, some 21 years later, I repeat this title.

For the past two decades, the Afghan nationalist mujahidin have faced the full might of the US empire: waves of B-1 and B-52 heavy bombers; fleets of killer drones, constant air strikes from US airbases in Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Gulf; 300,000 US-financed Afghan mercenary troops; up to 120,000 US and NATO troops and other US-paid mercenaries; the brutal Communist-run Afghan secret police, regular government police, Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek militias, hit squads sent by the US and Britain, plus famine and disease. Use of torture by western forces was rampant.

All this to defend the US-installed Afghan puppet governments whose main business was protecting the nation’s growing opium trade which made Afghanistan the world’s largest exporter of opium/morphine that was processed into heroin. Another proud moment for Washington which, in the 1970’s had been up to its ears in Indochina’s opium trade, and later in Central America’s cocaine business.

Afghanistan was a war of lies, sustained by the powerful US and British media. President George W. Bush, a man of deep ignorance, launched this war to cover being caught sleeping by the 9/11 attacks. Bush blamed Osama bin Laden, former US ally, and Afghanistan’s Taliban government for 9/11, though the Afghans were likely not involved with it.

The only proof of bin Laden’s involvement was a number of fake videos that I believe were made by Afghanistan’s Communist-run intelligence service or its former KGB bosses. When I pointed out these videos were fakes, CNN blacklisted me from further broadcasting. So too did Canada’s CBC TV and the Sun chain after I warned Canadian troops were being sent to Afghanistan under false pretenses.

Officially, the US lost 31,376 dead and seriously wounded in Afghanistan; Canada lost 158 dead; Britain 456 dead; the Afghans god knows how many. Estimates range from, 100,000 to one million. Two million Afghans reportedly died during the decade-long Soviet occupation. Almost anything that moved was bombed.

The known cost for this useless war was 2 trillion US dollars, plus hundreds of millions in secret payments to hire ‘volunteers’ from US allies to fight in Afghanistan. This was almost all borrowed money hidden in the US federal debt.

What next? The US is trying to find a way to stay engaged in Afghanistan via air attacks from its bases in the Gulf and possibly new ones in Central Asia. The world’s premier military power simply cannot endure the humiliation of defeat in Afghanistan, particularly so by a bunch of Muslim mountain warriors. All those US and British ‘experts’ who championed the Afghan war are now hiding their faces, as they did after the Iraq debacle.

America’s war party is trying to find ways to keep the conflict going by raising phony alarms about girl’s schooling, translators and woman’s rights. But we hear nothing at all from these pro-war hypocrites about the murder, rape and dowry killing of thousands of women in India each year. How many misinformed Americans know that Taliban was a religious movement formed to stop the rape of Afghan women and brigandage during the bitter 1990’s civil war? I was there and saw it.

What next? As US power wanes, CIA will try to bolster separatist movements among Afghanistan’s Tajik and Uzbek minorities. Iran will arm and finance the Shia Hazara minority. Still Communist dominated Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will support their ethnic brethren in Afghanistan. Most important, India will intensify intrigues in Afghanistan where its powerful intelligence agency, RAW, is increasingly active.

Meanwhile Pakistan quietly supports Taliban which, like a quarter of Pakistanis, is of Pashtun ethnicity. China for once does not know what to do in Afghanistan: it wants to block expansion of Indian influence in the subcontinent but deeply fears militant Islam and its rising influence in Chinese-ruled Xinjiang, formerly Turkistan.

So, Americans may have not seen the last of Afghanistan, one of the greatest follies of US foreign policy. To paraphrase the great Talleyrand, the US war in Afghanistan ‘was worse than a crime, it was a mistake.’

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2021

Dedicated to my dear friend and warrior for the truth, Countess Pamela de Maigret, passed away on July 12, 2021.

This post is in: Afghanistan, USA


  1. Ever since I read Noam Chomsky’s argument in Hegemony or Survival, America’s Quest for Global Dominance, I have a better understanding of America’s goal in Afghanistan. When you look at the series of events on the world stage and US foreign policies from the last 40 years to present day, everything makes sense. According to Chomsky, « the US reserved the right to act “unilaterally when necessary,” including the “unilateral use of military power” to defend such vital interests as “ensuring uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources. » Securing Afghanistan to transport oil for the Caspian Sea region is far too important. Getting access to opium is great but I don’t think it was the main reason. The day US assets in Afghanistan are in jeopardy, I swear the military power will be back and it ain’t going to be pretty. You will see the full extend of air power.

  2. Normy. Y says:

    I hope the U.S. and its vassals find a home for and evacuate their Afghan interpreters (collaborators). That would be rotten to leave them to the Talaban’s revenge. But now the focus is on instigating a conflict with Iran. So the world will have to see if they are forgotten in the frenzy for Iran.

  3. Eastern Rebellion says:

    It is unlikely we will ever know the complete truth about the 9/11 terrorist attacks until all of the classified documents held by both the Americans and the Saudis are released (however I’m not holding my breath). Once the attacks occurred however, no American president could remain in office unless retaliation was undertaken. Serious diplomatic negotiations, conducted in good faith, should have been entered into in order to have Bin Laden taken into custody by a third party, and a trial could then have been held and all of the pertinent evidence provided, to confirm his guilt or innocence. Instead Afghanistan was invaded, hundreds of thousands of people killed, trillions of dollars wasted, and more hatred of America in particular (and the West in general) was generated in the Middle East. Bin Laden’s killing was also a fiasco, and was IMHO primarily done for domestic political reasons. The arrogance and hubris in mounting a military operation in a foreign country (without that country’s knowledge) with which you are supposedly allied is appalling.

    • Joshua Crosby says:

      According to Scott Horton’s book “Fools Errand”, negotiations to give up bin Laden were undertaken prior to the invasion. Taliban wanted to get him out of their hair but knew his history in the 80’s had created a lot of respect among people and they couldn’t just hand him over directly. The US insisted that’s exactly what they do. Even to the point where the Taliban offered to hand him over to Qatar where he would then obviously be taken by the US. The US refused. Kinda odd, right? Almost like they wanted a pretense for invasion. But that can’t be right, the US is all about self-determination and altruism.

  4. Gordon W says:

    I knew it was all manufactured consent when I saw live coverage of the US tanks rolling into Baghdad, and an Iraqi soldier jumped out of a ditch and threw a grenade against a US tank.
    Futile effort, David vs Goliath, but the CNN reporter who was covering the incident live, called the now dead grenade thrower a cowardly terrorist.

    When you were shadow banned from various MSM outlets, I assumed that you knew, Mr Margolis, that you would one day be vindicated.
    I may not agree with you on many topics, but I read you because I have always considered you to be a good faith actor.
    And I am glad to see that you have been vindicated(although a lot of the villains of these wars have as of late, been accepted back into “liberal” polite company, because they are against the bad Orange man).

  5. peter mcloughlin says:

    The graveyard is the destination of all empires. Yet modern powers do not heed the warnings of history. America’s biggest mistake will be its hegemonic struggle with China (and Russia). The Cold War should have taught everyone that humanity can no longer fight world wars.

  6. Steve_M. says:

    I recall that not long after the 9/11 attacks and after the US invaded Afghanistan in pursuit of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden said in one of his videos that killing him wouldn’t solve the Americans’ problems with Afghanistan. He was so right!

  7. They once did a hypothetical documentary on how people would fight an invasion of a super advanced alien civilization and I wonder if the makers knew that all of the tactics suggested in it were taken from the Taliban playbook. At one point they held out against American forces had them outnumbered by over 20 to 1 with vastly superior weapons and still never controlled any more than the ground under their feet.
    But then the American Corporate Empire was not there to win they were there to profit off of the war and the opium trade. Over 2 trillion dollars worth. Before the invasion there was an opium shortage six months later, the start of the opium crisis.

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