Pablo Jofre Leal
An old Russian folk tale tells the story of Peter and the Wolf. Peter, a shepherd who when tending his sheep liked to play jokes on the villagers, used to cry “The wolf is coming, the wolf is coming!!!” making the villagers run to stop him from killing their sheep. But it was not true and the mischievous Pedro smiled at his joke. So, every day, the wolf comes, the wolf comes!!! and nothing, angering the villagers tired of these jokes. Until one day, indeed, a big and ferocious wolf began to devour the sheep cared for by Pedrito. He cried out more than ever, the wolf is coming, the wolf is coming!!! but this time no one answered his call.
A similar situation occurs with the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan and the news that these troops are going to be withdrawn after 20 years of occupation. Once again it is announced Urbi et Orbe, from the White House, that after two decades, the largest economic and military power in the world is preparing to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Announcements that we heard from former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, who had even set a date of May 1, 2021, according to the talks held in Doha in 2020, between Washington and the Taliban, which never materialized.
The date foreseen for the withdrawal of troops as announced by Joe Biden is September 11 and will commence on May 11. A symbolic date, no doubt, which marks the deadliest terrorist attack ever carried out on U.S. territory and whose date marked as the end of the presence of troops in the Asian country will also mark one of the greatest political-military failures in the history of this country.
This Afghanistan, a country in Central Asia, which the United States invaded in October 2001 under pretexts that at this point do not hold up in any of their variants: To bring democracy by overthrowing the Taliban government but, above all, to add this country to Bush Jr.’s so-called war on terror. To capture and eliminate Osama Bin Laden who was in that country. A Bin Laden who, at the end of 2001, moved through Afghan territory and crossed into Pakistan where he would remain until the time of his assassination at the hands of the United States, in May 2011, in the city of Abbottabad, 120 kilometers north of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
Let us add other peregrine objectives mentioned by the Bush junior government. Like that of invading Afghanistan to liberate women, establish a government that would favor the development of Afghanistan and put an end to the cultivation and smuggling of heroin. And let us not forget the more geopolitical ones, such as pressuring the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation, both bordering countries and which, in the middle of Barack Obama’s Administration, had 120,000 US soldiers and tens of thousands of mercenaries, security companies and military personnel from allied countries such as Great Britain on their borders.
The exact words of the former occupant of the White House, George W. Bush, to justify the invasion on October 7, 2001. “These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a base for terrorist operations and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime.”
20 years later the words of Joe Biden smack of defeat as he noted, “We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan in the hope of creating the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, hoping for a different outcome. I am now the fourth U.S. president to preside over a U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats… I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth… Keeping thousands of troops in one country at a cost of billions of dollars a year makes no sense (…) It is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for U.S. troops to come home” (1). Wishes that had already been expressed, as had the cries of Peter the Shepherd.
Considering the geopolitical interests of the military industrial complex and the contractors who have become multimillionaires with this endless war, this is a valid question. Let us remember that under the Hollywood name of “Enduring Freedom”, the filibustering decision of a government anxious to seek new enemies, as was that of George W. Bush, in his two terms, ended up generating in truth, a “Perpetual War”. After 20 years, it has meant 2.26 trillion dollars of expenses (110 billion dollars on average per year) for the American taxpayers, 3 thousand dead in its military forces, 30 thousand wounded and the failure of the longest war in which the American regime has been involved; 150,000 dead in the Afghan population, among them 45,000 members of the military forces supported by the United States; 1.2 million displaced persons and millions of refugees (2), most of them in neighboring countries, including Iran, which has about three million Afghans, one million of them considered refugees.
A paradox, since the US army’s actions, together with partners such as Great Britain, were allegedly aimed at fighting terror, but what they achieved was a policy of more terror, scorched earth, bombing of the civilian population, selective assassinations, arrests and kidnapping of hundreds of people, locked up in the Guantanamo Prison – in the territory usurped from Cuba – (a great part of those detainees without any charges and who underwent sessions of torture which have been denounced and that could constitute one of the points for the United States to answer before the International Criminal Court. Hundreds of prisoners locked up in extreme conditions with extremely high temperatures and treated outside of any international legislation for the protection of political prisoners.
A United States that in these 20 years what it has done is to intensify the division of the country, to stress the area of Central Asia, to increase of the production of drugs such as heroin and ultimately to end up making use of mercenaries, security companies, granting millionaire contracts to companies linked to the high positions of American politics and the aforementioned military-industrial complex. Without having achieved any of their planned objectives. Therefore, Joe Biden’s words are not credible when he recalled his time as vice president of the Obama administration and his trip to Afghanistan, “I was convinced that only the Afghans had the right and the responsibility to manage their country”.
The U.S. president’s inconsistencies are evident when he says, “I believe that our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place: to ensure that Afghanistan is not used as a base to attack our homeland. We accomplished that objective.” Inconsistency and a bigger lie than the new U.S. aircraft carriers for when did Afghanistan ever attack the U.S. or serve as a base to attack the U.S.?
Let us remember that 15 of the 19 attackers of the twin towers and the Pentagon were Saudi nationals. American judges even ruled that Saudi Arabia should financially compensate the families of the victims, generating the indignation of the Saudi House and the threat of withdrawing its investment funds in the United States if the judicial process continued. So much for the investigation of this country’s justice system, which protects Saudi Arabia even if it means not investigating the deaths of the 2,966 victims, the 24 missing and the 25,000 wounded. So Biden, as well as Obama and Bush have not fulfilled any of the proposed objectives. And that is failure.
Failure glimpsed by the US media such as The New York Times which in its world view speaks that “in Afghanistan’s cities, the new middle-class society that emerged under the US security blanket over the past 20 years fears the return of the Taliban…moreover, and perhaps more importantly, there are too many potential centers of armed resistance that will not quietly disappear. That, in turn, would lead to an escalation of the civil war already consuming much of the country” (3).
From the US authorities, politicians and military we can expect nothing positive, not even to doubt such decisions. Their purposes are always an accumulation of falsehoods, inventions and intelligence reports that favor aggression and rapacious wars. The Afghanistan Papers, from 2015 which was uncovered and published by The Washington Post in 2019 argues that pro-war Americans have long misled the American people about what could be accomplished in Afghanistan. U.S. military commanders have said privately and publicly that U.S. governments were unprepared for Afghanistan and that the American people did not know the “magnitude of the dysfunction” in conducting the war.
The American people are not only unaware of the magnitude of the dysfunction but are completely ignorant of the consequences of their country’s interventions in the world (which does not exculpate them from supporting warmongering government administrations) with totalitarian, hegemonic thinking and utter disregard for the rest of the world. With a president like Joe Biden who affirms that “in the last 20 years the terrorist threat has become more dispersed, it has metastasized in the world”, referring to the terrorism entrenched in Central and Western Asia, in the Maghreb and the African Sahel, as if the United States, France, Great Britain, together with Saudi Arabia and Zionism, their great allies in Western Asia were unaware of the birth and development of extremist groups, which devastate the peoples of those regions.
Afghanistan is proof that the United States is stumbling over and over again upon the same stone and will continue to do so, for at its core, its essence, is its aggressive behavior, and the idea of itself as a country with a divine mandate to impose its vision of the world. While it is hoped that the United States will leave through the back door, with its tail between its legs, Afghanistan’s neighboring countries are talking about the need to rebuild this country, to advance in peace dialogues between the Taliban and the Government.
Translation by Internationalist 360°