Friday, November 21, 2014

Wonder What Would Have Happened in Unicol Agreed to Pay a Bit More

Ted Rall.After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back as Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan. New York: Hill and Wang, 2014.

The author Ted Rall notes the war against Afghanistan has led to tens if not hundreds of thousands of Afghan deaths. The book observes that the more the U.S. attacks and kills civilians, the stronger recruitment is for anti-American fighters.

In 2001, the Islamic State of Afghanistan , aka United Front or Northern Alliance, was the government recognized by the United Nations. It held about 10% of Afghanistan, Most of the country was controlled by the Taliban. The Taliban was funded by Pakistani Intelligence which itself was financed and trained by the CIA.

Union Oil of California (Unicol) sought to construct a pipeline through Afghanistan that would deliver an estimated 9 to 16 billion barrels of oil. In 1997, the Taliban and Unicol could not agree on what the transit fee should be. In 2001, the Bush Administration provided $43 million to the Taliban to destroy poppy fields. The Taliban and Unicol continued their disagreement on what pipeline transit fees should be.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S. began attacking the Taliban. 14,00 tons of bombs were dropped on Afghanistan by 2009.

U.S. Special Forces and Northern Alliance forces captured 7,500 prisoners and massacred them.

The U.S. helped install Hamid Karzai as Afghan President. His authority is mostly limited to the city of Kabul.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) of the United Nations, half of whose soldiers are from the U.S., entered Afghanistan in 2002. ISAF was supposed to rebuild Afghanistan. Yet little has been build despite several billions of U.S. funds being spent. Whatever the money was spent on is not publicly known.

President Obama sent 33,000 extra troops to Afghanistan in hopes of turning the government over to Kurzai. General Stanley McChrystal stated the Taliban was winning. Wikileaks showed Karzai’s army was ineffective. Wikileaks also showed Pakistan was supporting the neo-Taliban even though the U,S. supported Pakistan.

NATO in 2001 to 2005 paved some highways and built some schools. Afghans may generally have not been satisfied with these efforts as they expected much more.

Rall writes of reporting in Afghanistan in 2001 as “you can’t get the truth, But you can get an impression.”

Local Afghans lose every fight with U.S, troops. Yet they are winning because of civilian deaths which creates more people who join the neo-Taliban for revenge, They fight guerrilla style and they choose when they wish to fight.

Rall observes that neo-Taliban “understand the simple truth: the live there, and we don’t. Time is on their side.”

Rall nots since World War II “when the United States invades, it often fails to occupy, much less annex. When it occupied it does so with fewer soldiers than necessary to control its newly occupied territory.”

Afghan roads deteriorate rapidly due to heavy military vehicles, The U.S. Agency for International Development estimates it costs about $200 million per year to maintain these roads. The Afghan annual federal budget is $7 billion.

Rall visited Afghan cities where foreigners never visit. He found all women wear burqas, in contrast to U.S. news reports. Bribes are common and expected. There is a city with no mail delivery and no street addresses. U.S. carpet bombing has caused much destruction in many cities. The Taliban usually attack at night. There are Taliban biker gangs. The biker gangs could easily be destroyed but they are not. U.S. and NATO efforts are not designed to provide security for the Afghan people.

The Afghan central government governs Kabul and to some degree Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, and to an even less extent Kandahar. The Taliban controls the rest of the country.

The National Police are corrupt and ineffective.

Afghanistan is the longest lasting U.S. war. It costs a million dollars annually for one soldier to be there. Rall concludes “invading other countries, whether to steal their land or poach their natural resources or pressure their neighbors or exert regional influence is an enterprise with a cost-to-benefit ratio that simply doesn’t work.”


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