AFGHANISTAN: TEN YEARS OF AIMLESS WAR

by Eric S. Margolis

NEW YORK – October 08, 2011 – Operation Enduring Freedom – the dreadfully misnamed ten-year US occupation of Afghanistan – has turned into Operation Enduring Misery.

The renowned military strategist, Maj. Gen. J.F.C Fuller, defined war’s true objective as achieving desired political results, not killing enemies.

But this is just what the US has been doing in Afghanistan. After ten years of war costing at least $450 billion, 1,600 dead and 15,000 seriously wounded soldiers, the US has achieved none of its strategic or political goals.

Each US soldier in Afghanistan costs $1 million per annum. CIA employs 80,000 mercenaries there, cost unknown. The US spends a staggering $20.2 billion alone annually air conditioning troop quarters in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The most damning assessment comes from the US-installed Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai: America’s war has been “ineffective, apart from causing civilian casualties.”

Washington’s goal was a favorable political settlement producing a pacified Afghan state run by a regime totally responsive to US political, economic and strategic interests; a native sepoy army led by white officers; and US bases that threaten Iran, watch China, and control the energy-rich Caspian Basin.

All the claims made about fighting “terrorism and al-Qaida,” liberating Afghan women and bringing democracy are pro-war window dressing. CIA chief Leon Panetta admitted there were no more than 25-50 al-Qaida members in Afghanistan. Why are there 150,000 US and NATO troops there?

Washington’s real objective was clearly defined in 2007 by US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher: to “stabilize Afghanistan so it can become a conduit and hub between South and Central Asia – so energy can flow south.”

The Turkmenistan-Afghan-Pakistan TAPI gas pipeline that the US has sought since 1998 is finally nearing completion. But whether it can operate in the face of sabotage remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Washington has been unable to create a stable government in Kabul. The primary reason: ethnic politics. Over half the population is Pashtun (or Pathan), from whose ranks come Taliban. Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara minorities fiercely oppose the Pashtun. All three collaborated with the Soviet occupation from 1979-1989; today they collaborate with the US and NATO occupation.

Most of the Afghan army and police, on which the US spends $6 billion annually, are Tajiks and Uzbek, many members of the old Afghan Communist Party. To Pashtun, they are bitter enemies. In Afghanistan, the US has built its political house on ethnic quicksands.

Worse, US-run Afghanistan now produces 93% of the world’s most dangerous narcotic, heroin. Under Taliban, drug production virtually ended, according to the UN. Today, the Afghan drug business is booming. The US tries to blame Taliban; but the real culprits are high government officials in Kabul and US-backed warlords.

A senior UN drug official recently asserted that Afghan heroin killed 10,000 people in NATO countries last year. And this does not include Russia, a primary destination for Afghan heroin.

So the United States is now the proud owner of the world’s leading narco-state and deeply involved with the Afghan Tajik drug mafia.

The US is bleeding billions in Afghanistan. Forty-four cents of every dollar spent by Washington is borrowed from China and Japan. While the US has wasted $1.283 trillion on the so-called “war on terror,” China has been busy buying up resources and making new friends and markets. The ghost of Osama bin Laden must be smiling.

The US can’t afford this endless war against the fierce Pashtun people, renowned for making Afghanistan “the Graveyard of Empires.” But the imperial establishment in Washington wants to hold on to strategic Afghanistan, particularly the ex-Soviet air bases at Bagram and Kandahar. The US is building its biggest embassy in the world in Kabul, an $800 million fortress with 1,000 personnel, protected by a small army of mercenary gunmen. So much for withdrawal plans. …

Read more » ericmargolis.com

Pakistan: An Unstable State?

Pakistan: An Unstable State? featuring Prof. Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

Event – (Two times – two locations) Thursday, October 13

1) 12-2pm at York University (HNES 140)

2) 6-8pm at the University of Toronto (Rm. 1200, Bahen Centre, 40 St. George St.)

While mainstream depictions of Pakistan are focused primarily on a narrative of war, terrorism and instability, there is much more to understand about the rich diversity of the peoples of Pakistan and their day-to-day struggles against oppression and exploitation — whether it is peasant farmers struggling against military landlords, or Baloch & Sindhi nationalists struggling against the central state for greater autonomy and independence. The Pakistani state, too, is a complex institution, with its varying mechanisms of establishing control and extending it. Join us in a discussion with Professor Aasim Sajjad Akhtar (Yale, SOAS) of Quaid-e-Azam University as he explores some of the complexities of state and society in Pakistan, and proposes lines of struggle and engagement for progressive change.

Co-sponsored by: Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians, Forum for Democracy in Pakistan, South Asian Peoples Forum, Pakistan Development Fund, OPIRG Toronto

Sindh Assembly will consider approval of dictator Musharraf era system on 20th October

– by Ali Nawaz Memon

Sindh Assembly will consider approval of dictator Musharaf era local bodies Nazim system on 20th October, 2011. Sindh Assembly rejected it a few months ago. Now our MUFAHIMAT PASAND PRESIDENT has canged his mind. Will Sindh Assembly eat crow and make a U Turn? Do people of Sindh have any voice? Time will tell.

The unspeakable horrors of Delhi, 1947

by Sohail Hashmi

Excerpt;

…. Read this book if you want to understand where we went wrong and to see the fault lines, to see how we need a secular state and not sarv dharm sambhav. Read this book also if you want to understand the falsity of the self image that we have created of ourselves and of our nation, but read it most importantly to understand the fragility of the premise upon which is built the idea of India and the need to protect and nurture this premise and to make it real. Because this premise is India and it is people like Anis Kidwai that made it possible.

(First published in The Book Review, Vol XXXV, Number 8-9 August September 2011.)

To read compete article » KAFILA

Ardeshir Cowasjee – WE are determined never to learn from history. In our universe, we are in the middle of a party celebrating our greatness and self-glorification but in the real world, Pakistan is in big trouble is unlikely to go away.

Killing the messengers

by Ardeshir Cowasjee

WE Pakistanis are determined never to learn from history. Our leaders deem ignorance to be bliss and choose to pay no attention to what the world thinks of them or of our country.

Pakistan is more isolated internationally than at any time since 1971. That year, for those of us who care to remember, the country lost its erstwhile eastern wing after a civil war and a humiliating military defeat.

Any other nation would teach its young the lessons of its greatest tragedy in the hope of avoiding it. We, on the other hand, are insistent upon re-enacting every mistake we made then as if to prove Einstein’s definition of insanity. “Insanity,” said the great scientist, is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Continue reading Ardeshir Cowasjee – WE are determined never to learn from history. In our universe, we are in the middle of a party celebrating our greatness and self-glorification but in the real world, Pakistan is in big trouble is unlikely to go away.