Afghanistan 2001- Present
Bombings, Deaths, Destruction And Effects
"We could do a very significantly increased level of activity without going anywhere near putting combat troops on the ground. And one of the points that I make in the essay is that if you look at the average rate of international air strikes since last August into Syria and Iraq, it's about 10 per day. If you compare that to Libya in 2011, it was 45 per day. In Afghanistan in 2001, it was 83 per day. And in the Kosovo campaign, which people may remember from 1999, was 250 per day. So without even going close to putting troops on the ground, we could be doing a very significantly greater amount to deal with the Islamic State" ABC (Australia), ‘Islamic State look increasingly like a state warns expert’, 18 May 2015 David Kilcullen (Ex- US Official)
"Many of the people in the village then ran out of their homes, afraid that the bombs would fall on the homes. All witnesses stated that aircraft then returned to the area and began firing from guns. Many of the civilians were killed from the firing. The bombing and firing lasted for about one hour." HRW, 'Afghanistan; New civilian deaths due to US bombing', 30 October 2001 (At least twenty-five, and possibly as many as thirty-five, Afghan civilians died when U.S. bombs and gunfire hit their village, Chowkar-Karez)
Civilian casualties in the war in Afghanistan (2001–present)
"Behind the military jargon, the war logs are littered with accounts of civilian tragedies. The 144 entries in the logs recording some of these so-called “blue on white” events, cover a wide spectrum of day-by-day assaults on Afghans, with hundreds of casualties. They range from the shootings of individual innocents to the often massive loss of life from air strikes, which eventually led President Hamid Karzai to protest publicly that the U.S. was treating Afghan lives as “cheap.” When civilian family members are actually killed in Afghanistan, their relatives do, in fairness, get greater solatia payments than cans of beans and Hershey bars. The logs refer to sums paid of 100,000 Afghani per corpse, equivalent to about £1,500 [approximately $1,900]" Afghanistan war logs: Secret CIA paramilitaries’ role in civilian deathsInnocent Afghan men, women and children have paid the price of the Americans' rules of engagement David Leigh Sun 25 Jul 2010
"This was the hidden civilian damage from the first drone strike Barack Obama ever ordered, on 23 January 2009, the inauguration of a counter-terrorism tactic likely to define Obama’s presidency in much of the Muslim world. It was the third day of his presidency. Reportedly, the strikes did not hit the Taliban target Obama and the Central Intelligence Agency sought. Instead, they changed Qureshi’s life irrevocably." Spencer Ackerman, “Victim of Obama’s First Drone Strike: ‘I Am the Living Example of What Drones Are,’” Guardian, January 23, 2016
"A former British Army officer has claimed the Special Air Service (SAS) killed innocent Afghan civilians during night raids on their homes after ignoring warnings they were targeting the wrong people. Captain Mike Martin has told The Sunday Times how he expressed severe misgivings about the “flawed” intelligence used to justify the raids during top secret “board meetings” in which SAS targets were identified. He said: “They [the SAS] would go in and kill members of a family based on faulty intelligence. The next morning there would be people going, ‘What was going on last night? You just murdered a whole family
… ‘Army apology’ for killing of four Afghans. The British Army is said to have apologised to the family of four Afghan men who were shot dead by special forces soldiers during a night raid on their home in a village near Lashkar Gah in February 2011. Two of the victims are alleged to have been handcuffed before being killed. A family member, who found his father slumped against a wall, and a local official told The Sunday Times they were visited by British officers who they claim admitted the men had been wrongly targeted. “They just kept saying they were very, very sorry,” the official said. The Ministry of Defence declined to comment." SAS ‘Murderers’ Ignored Warning of Wrong Targets in Afghanistan,” Sunday Times, July 9, 2017
“American and Afghan officials have begun helping a number of anti-Taliban militias that have independently taken up arms against insurgents in several parts of Afghanistan… The emergence of the militias, which took some leaders in Kabul by surprise, has so encouraged the American and Afghan officials that they are planning to spur the growth of similar armed groups across the Taliban heartland… The American and Afghan officials say they are hoping the plan, called the Community Defense Initiative, will bring together thousands of gunmen to protect their neighborhoods from Taliban insurgents. Already there are hundreds of Afghans who are acting on their own against the Taliban, officials say. The endeavor represents one of the most ambitious and one of the riskiest plans for regaining the initiative against the Taliban, who are fighting more vigorously than at any time since 2001…“The idea is to get people to take responsibility for their own security,” said a senior American military official in Kabul, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “In many places they are already doing that.”Dexter Filkins, “Afghan Militias Battle Taliban with Aid of US,” New York Times, November 21, 2009 (Quote not in book)
"JSOC’s success in targeting the right homes, businesses and individuals was only ever about 50 percent, according to two senior commanders. They considered this rate a good one." Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, “‘Top Secret America’: A Look at the Military’s Joint Special Operations Command,” Washington Post, September 2, 2011
"A Times investigation suggests that Nato’s claims are either wilfully false or, at best, misleading. More than a dozen survivors, officials, police chiefs and a religious leader interviewed at and around the scene of the attack maintain that the perpetrators were US and Afghan gunmen. The identity and status of the soldiers is unknown. The raid came more than a fortnight after the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan issued new guidelines designed to limit the use of night raids. Special forces and Western intelligence agencies that run covert operations in Afghanistan have been criticised for night raids based on dubious or false intelligence leading to civilian casualties… Three women crouching in a hallway behind him were hit by the same volley of fire. Bibi Shirin, 22, had four children under the age of 5. Bibi Saleha, 37, had 11 children. Both of them, according to their relatives, were pregnant. They were killed instantly." Jerome Starkey, “Nato ‘Covered Up’ Botched Night Raid in Afghanistan That Killed Five,” Times of London, March 13, 2010 (Quote not in book)
"With an average of an assassination a day and a suicide bombing every second or third day, insurgents have greatly increased the level of violence in Afghanistan, and have become by far the biggest killers of civilians here, the United Nations said. … The most striking change has been in suicide bombings, whose numbers have tripled this year compared with 2009. Such attacks now take place an average of three times a week compared with once a week before. In addition, two of three of those suicide attacks are considered “complex,” in which attackers use a suicide bomb as well as other weapons" Rod Nordland, “Violence Up Sharply in Afghanistan,” New York Times, June 19, 2010
"The governor of Afghanistan's Kunar province said Sunday that 64 people, including some civilians, were killed in a joint operation by NATO's International Security Assistance Force and Afghan security forces over the past few days."
"According to the Washington Post, Petraeus addressed the issue during a meeting with Afghan officials Sunday at the presidential palace. The newspaper cited unnamed Afghan officials in the meeting as saying Petraeus said parents may have purposely burned their children to make it seem like they were victims of the U.S. air strikes. Petraeus said no such thing, according to a statement from the top ISAF spokesman in Afghanistan, Rear Adm. Greg Smith."At a Sunday NSC (National Security Council) meeting, General Petraeus never said children's hands and feet were purposely burned by their families in order to create a civilian casualty event. Rather, he said the injuries to the children appeared inconsistent with the types of munitions used," Smith said in a statement.
He said Petraeus did say in the meeting that he had an idea how the children were burned. "The burns to their hands and feet may have been the result of discipline sometimes handed out to Afghan children. Regrettably this is customary among some Afghan fathers as a way of dealing with children who misbehave" Tension Between Petraeus, Afghans over Airstrike, Children,” CNN, February 22, 2011
"Nine boys collecting firewood to heat their homes in the eastern Afghanistan mountains were killed by NATO helicopter gunners who mistook them for insurgents, according to a statement on Wednesday by NATO, which apologized for the mistake. The boys, who were 9 to 15 years old, were attacked on Tuesday in what amounted to one of the war’s worst cases of mistaken killings by foreign-led forces. The victims included two sets of brothers. A 10th boy survived… We were almost done collecting the wood when suddenly we saw the helicopters come,” said Hemad, who, like many Afghans, has only one name. “There were two of them. The helicopters hovered over us, scanned us and we saw a green flash from the helicopters. Then they flew back high up, and in a second round they hovered over us and started shooting. They fired a rocket which landed on a tree. The tree branches fell over me and shrapnel hit my right hand and my side.”
General Petraeus pledged to investigate the attack and to take disciplinary action if appropriate. “We are deeply sorry for this tragedy and apologize to the members of the Afghan government, the people of Afghanistan and, most importantly, the surviving family members of those killed by our actions,” he said. “These deaths should have never happened.” It was the third instance in two weeks in which the Afghan government has accused NATO of killing civilians. NATO strongly disputes one of those reports, but another the killing of an Afghan Army soldier and his family in Nangarhar Province on Feb. 20 was also described as an accident." Alissa J. Rubin and Sangar Rahimi, “Nine Afghan Boys Collecting Firewood Killed by NATO Helicopters,”New York Times, March 2, 2011 (Extended Quote)
"Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, 23, told a military court he had helped to kill three unarmed Afghans. "The plan was to kill people, sir," he told an army judge in Fort Lea, near Seattle, after his plea… This week the German magazine Der Spiegel published three pictures that showed American soldiers, including Morlock, posing with the corpse of a young Afghan boy as if it were a hunting trophy.
Some soldiers apparently kept body parts of their victims, including a skull, as souvenirs. In a statement issued in response to the publication of the photos the US army apologised to the families of the dead. "[The photos are] repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States army," the statement said. Morlock has told investigators that the murders took place between January and May last year and were instigated by an officer in his unit, Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs. He described how elaborate plans were made to pick out civilian targets, kill them and then make their deaths look like they were insurgents. In his confession Morlock described shooting a victim as Gibbs tossed a grenade at him. "We identify a guy. Gibbs makes a comment, like, you know, you guys wanna wax this guy or not," Morlock said in the confession" Paul Harris, “US Soldier Admits Killing Unarmed Afghans for Sport,” Guardian, March 23, 2011
“In one of the most serious accusations of war crimes to emerge from the Afghan conflict, Gibbs recruited other soldiers to murder civilians he called "savages" after he took over command of a US army squad in Afghanistan's Kandahar province in November 2009. Prosecutors described Gibbs as hunting innocent Afghans "for sport", a view reinforced by the staff sergeant's statement likening the amputation of body parts as trophies to collecting antlers from a deer. Gibbs and other soldiers collected fingers, teeth and other body parts as trophies. They also took photographs of themselves posing next to their dead victims. In one of the pictures Morlock is seen lifting Mudin's head by its hair for the camera and smiling. The soldiers also took ghoulish pictures of themselves with dead combatants.
The jury of five soldiers was shown pages of Facebook messages sent by Winfield to his parents in which he described how Gibbs led the killings. In one exchange with his father Winfield recounted Mudin's killing
"An innocent dude. They planned and went through with it. I knew about it. Didn't believe they were going to do it. Then it happened. Pretty much the whole platoon knows about it. It's OK with all of them pretty much. Except me. I want to do something about it. The only problem is I don't feel safe here telling anyone. The guy who did it is the golden boy in the company who can never do anything wrong and it's my word against theirs," Winfield wrote. Winfield later told investigators: "[Gibbs] likes to kill things. He is pretty much evil incarnate. I mean, I have never met a man who can go from one minute joking around, then mindless killings."
The court martial was told that Gibbs had six skull tattoos on his leg to mark up each of his "kills" from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.In his testimony Gibbs denied responsibility for the killings, saying the victims all died in legitimate combat. But he did admit slicing off body parts from Afghans, including the fingers of a man, and keeping them or giving them to other soldiers as trophies. In my mind I was there to take the antlers off the deer. You have to come to terms with what you're doing. Shooting people is not an easy thing to do," said Gibbs." Chris McGreal, “‘Kill Team’ US Platoon Commander Gui lty of Afghan Murders,” Guardian, November 10, 2011
"A] review of internal Army records and investigative files obtained by Rolling Stone, including dozens of interviews with members of Bravo Company compiled by military investigators, indicates that the dozen infantrymen being portrayed as members of a secretive “kill team” were operating out in the open, in plain view of the rest of the company. Far from being clandestine, as the Pentagon has implied, the murders of civilians were common knowledge among the unit and understood to be illegal by “pretty much the whole platoon,” according to one soldier who complained about them. Staged killings were an open topic of conversation, and at least one soldier from another battalion in the 3,800-man Stryker Brigade participated in attacks on unarmed civilians. “The platoon has a reputation,” a whistle-blower named Pfc. Justin Stoner told the Army Criminal Investigation Command. “They have had a lot of practice staging killings and getting away with it" Mark Boal, “The Kill Team: How US Soldiers in Afghanistan Murdered Innocent Civilians,” Rolling Stone, March 27, 2011
"KABUL — United Nations officials Thursday condemned an airstrike by an unmanned U.S. military aircraft a day earlier that they said killed 15 civilians and wounded at least 12 in the insurgent-plagued eastern Afghan province of Nangahar. They called for a complete investigation." Pamela Constable, “UN Officials Criticize Fatal US Airstrike in Afghanistan,” Washington Post, September 29, 2016
Mary Kekatos, “‘Unprecedented’ Rate of Genital Injuries Among US Soldiers: Devastating Study Reveals More Than 1,300 Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Left with Life-Changing Wounds to Sexual Organs,” Daily Mail, January 16, 2017
"The United Nations reported today that Afghan hostilities in 2015 left more than 3,500 civilians dead, including an unprecedented number of children – one in four casualties over the past year was a child – and nearly 7,500 others wounded, making this the highest number of civilian casualties recorded… Civilian deaths and injuries caused by pro-Government forces caused 17 per cent of civilian casualties – 14 per cent from Afghan security forces, two per cent from international military forces, and one per cent from pro-Government armed groups. The report documents increased civilian casualties caused by pro-Government forces, including during ground engagements, aerial operations, and the activities of pro-Government armed groups" Afghan Casualties Hit Record High 11,000 in 2015 – UN Report,” UN News Centre, February 2016
The Excuse Of 911, Al Qaeda And Lies
"A former Pakistani diplomat has told the BBC that the US was planning military action against Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban even before last week's attacks. Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October" BBC Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, US 'planned attack on Taleban
"Dr. Rice has stated that she asked the National Security Council staff in her first week in office for a new presidential initiative on al Qaeda. In early March, the staff was directed to craft a more aggressive strategy aimed at eliminating the al Qaeda threat. The first draft of that approach, in the form of a presidential directive, was circulated by the NSC staff in June of 2001, and a number of meetings were held that summer at the deputy secretary level to address the policy questions involved, such as relating an aggressive strategy against Taliban to U.S.-Pakistan relations.
"By the first week of September, the process had arrived at a strategy that was presented to principals and later became NSPD-9, the President's first major substantive national security decision directive. It was presented for a decision by principals on September 4th, 2001, seven days before the 11th, and later signed by the President, with minor changes and a preamble to reflect the events of September 11th, in October." NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES Eighth Public Hearing Tuesday, March 23, 2004 Donald Rumsfeld
"The issue was then made part of the reviews of U.S. policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan. The government developed formal policy papers that were discussed by sub-cabinet officials, the deputies, on April 30th, June 27th and 29th, July 16th, and September 10th… The Afghanistan options debated in 2001 ranged from seeking a deal with the Taliban to overthrowing the regime." NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES Eighth Public Hearing Tuesday, March 23, 2004 Michael Hurley
"imagine that we were back before September 11th, and that a U.S. president had looked at the information then available, gone before the Congress and the world and said "We need to invade Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and destroy the al Qaeda terrorist network," based on what little was known before September 11th. How many countries would have joined? Many? Any? Not likely" NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES Eighth Public Hearing Tuesday, March 23, 2004 Donald Rumsfeld
"American Airlines Flight 11
Mohamed Atta - Egypt, tactical leader of 9/11 plot and pilot
Abdul Aziz al Omari - Saudi Arabia
Wail al Shehri - Saudi Arabia
Waleed al Shehri - Saudi Arabia
Satam al Suqami - Saudi Arabia
United Airlines Flight 175
Fayez Banihammad - United Arab Emirates
Ahmed al Ghamdi - Saudi Arabia
Hamza al Ghamdi - Saudi Arabia
Marwan al Shehhi - United Arab Emirates, pilot
Mohand al Shehri - Saudi Arabia
American Airlines Flight 77
Hani Hanjour - Saudi Arabia, pilot
Nawaf al Hazmi - Saudi Arabia
Salem al Hazmi - Saudi Arabia
Khalid al Mihdhar - Saudi Arabia
Majed Moqed - Saudi Arabia
United Airlines Flight 93
Saeed al Ghamdi - Saudi Arabia
Ahmad al Haznawi - Saudi Arabia
Ziad Jarrah - Lebanon, pilot
Ahmed al Nami - Saudi Arabia" September 11th Hijackers Fast Facts,” CNN, last modified August 26, 2021
"Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated." Office of the Press Secretary September 20, 2001 Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People
"The Taliban, on the other hand, would dig in and try to stall us until the first snows of winter, which were only a month or so away. People back at headquarters had told me to expect six months of World War I–style trench warfare. And as we tried to defeat the Taliban we had the added responsibility of searching for Osama bin Laden and destroying what we could of his terrorist organization." Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA ’s Key Field Commander Page 99-100
"Letters of marque and reprisal resolve one of the most vexing problems facing the country: how do we obtain retribution against the perpetrators of the attacks without inflicting massive damage on the Middle East which could drive moderate Arabs into an allegiance with bin Laden and other terrorists. This is because using letters of marque and reprisal shows the people of the region that we are serious when we say our quarrel is not with them but with Osama bin Laden and all others who would dare commit terrorist acts against the United States." AIR PIRACY REPRISAL AND CAPTURE ACT OF 2001 HON. RON PAUL of texas in the house of representatives Wednesday, October 10, 2001
"The Taliban, on the other hand, would dig in and try to stall us until the first snows of winter, which were only a month or so away. People back at headquarters had told me to expect six months of World War I–style trench warfare. And as we tried to defeat the Taliban we had the added responsibility of searching for Osama bin Laden and destroying what we could of his terrorist organization." Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA ’s Key Field Commander Page 99-100
Question: Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part — deep in your heart, don’t you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won’t really eliminate the threat of —
Bush: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run if he’s alive at all. Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not; we haven’t heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is — really indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of the mission… So I don’t know where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. I’m more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well-supplied; that the strategy is clear; that the coalition is strong; that when we find enemy [Taliban] bunched up like we did in Shahikot Mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did. And there will be other battles in Afghanistan…
Question: But don’t you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won’t truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive…
I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban. But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became — we shoved him out more and more on the margins" George W. Bush, “The President’s News Conference,” 38 Weekly Comp. Pres. Doc. 407 (March 13, 2002
"I think at most, we’re looking at maybe 50 to 100, maybe less. There’s no question that the main location of al Qaeda is in tribal areas of Pakistan.” CIA Director Leon Panetta: Serious Problems With Afghanistan War but Progress Being Made, ABC News JACK DATE June 27, 2010
Torture And The Legal Framework
"However, the war against terrorism ushers in a new paradigm, one in which groups with broad, international reach commit horrific acts against innocent civilians, sometimes with the direct support of states. Our nation recognizes that this new paradigm – ushered in not by us, but by terrorists – requires new thinking in the law of war, but thinking that should nevertheless be consistent with the principles of Geneva…
a. I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world because, among other reasons, al Qaeda is not a High Contracting Party to Geneva.
b. I accept the legal conclusion of the attorney general and the Department of Justice that I have the authority under the Constitution to suspend Geneva as between the United States and Afghanistan, but I decline to exercise that authority at this time. Accordingly, I determine that the provisions of Geneva will apply to our present conflict with the Taliban. I reserve the right to exercise the authority in this or future conflicts…
d. Based on the facts supplied by the Department of Defense and the recommendation of the Department of Justice, I determine that the Taliban detainees are unlawful combatants and, therefore, do not qualify as prisoners of war under Article 4 of Geneva. I note that, because Geneva does not apply to our conflict with al Qaeda, al Qaeda detainees also do not qualify as prisoners of war." George W. Bush, “Memorandum to National Security Council Principles’ Committee,” February 7, 2002
"Additional elements of the necessity defense are worth noting here. First, the defense is not limited to certain types of harms. Therefore, the harm inflicted by necessity may include intentional homicide, so long as the harm avoided is greater (i.e., preventing more deaths). Id. at 634. Second, it must actually be the defendant's intention to avoid the greater harm; intending to commit murder and then learning only later that the death had the fortuitous result of saving other lives will not support a necessity defense. Id. at 635. Third, if the defendant reasonably believed that the lesser harm was necessary, even if, unknown to him, it was not, he may still avail himself of the defense." Memorandum for Alberto R. Gonzales Counsel to the President: Standards of Conduct for Interrogation Under U.S.C. 2340-2340A,” Office of the Assistant Attorney General, August 1, 2002 Page 40
"On Aug. 24, 2009, based on information the Department received pertaining to alleged CIA mistreatment of detainees, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he had expanded Mr. Durham’s mandate to conduct a preliminary review into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations. Attorney General Holder made clear at that time, that the Department would not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees" Statement of Attorney General Eric Holder on Closure of Investigation into the Interrogation of Certain Detainees,” United States Department of Justice, August 30, 2012
“Colonel Wilkerson, in your prepared testimony you write that: As I compiled my dossier for Secretary Powell, and as I did further research, and as my views grew firmer and firmer, I needed frequently to reread that memo; that is to say, the memorandum of February 7, 2002. I need to balance in my own mind the overwhelming evidence that my own Government has
sanctioned abuse and torture, which, at its worst, has led to the murder of 25 detainees and a total of at least 100 detainee deaths. We had murdered 25 or more people in detention. That was the clear low point of the evidence. So your testimony is that 100 detainees have died in detention, and that you believe 25 of those were, in effect,
Colonel Wilkerson. Mr. Chairman, I think the number is actually higher than that now. The last time I checked, there was about 108. And the total number that were declared homicides by the military services or by the CIA or others doing investigation, CID and so forth, was 25, 26, 27
Mr. Nadler. Were declared homicide?
Colonel Wilkerson. Correct. Starting as early as December in Afghanistan.
Mr. Nadler. And these are homicides committed by people engaged in an interrogation?
Colonel Wilkerson. Or in guarding prisoners or something like that. People who were in detention.
Mr. Nadler. So these weren't people trying to escape or something. They were declared homicides by our own authorities?
Colonel Wilkerson. Right.
Mr. Nadler. Do you know if any were prosecuted?
Colonel Wilkerson. As far as I know, several were. And they have come to different conclusion.” From the Department of Justice to Guantánamo Bay: Administration Lawyers and Administration Interrogation Rules Part II: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, 110 Congress (2008)
"The mission found “compelling” evidence that 125 detainees, or 46 per cent, of the 273 detainees interviewed who had been in NDS detention experienced interrogation techniques at the hands of NDS officials that constituted torture, and that torture is practiced “systematically” in a number of NDS detention facilities throughout Afghanistan,” states the report" Systematic Torture in Afghan Detention Facilities – UN Report,” UN News Centre, October 10, 2001 (Quote not in book)
"In his last official act of business in 2011, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act from his vacation rental in Kailua, Hawaii. In a statement, the president said he did so with reservations about key provisions in the law - including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge." Yunji De Nies, “With Reservations, Obama Signs Act to Allow Detention of Citizens,” ABC News, December 31, 2011
The Installed Afghan State
"Mr. KUCINICH. Madam Speaker, I just would like to talk for a minute
about the mission in the context of what is going on with the government in Kabul. The Washington Post did a story on February 25 which talks about ``Officials puzzle over millions of dollars leaving Afghanistan by plane for Dubai,'' and I will include that for the Record… Previous to that, the Post did a story about money funneled through a Kabul bank and companies owned by the bank's founder to individual friends, family, and business connections of Hamid Karzai. When you consider the amount of corruption that is going on in Afghanistan, it can only be called, charitably, ``crony capitalism.'' In fact, The Washington Post printed an article on February 22, entitled ``In Afghanistan, Signs of Crony Capitalism,'' and I include this for the Record." Congressional Record Volume 156, Number 34 (Wednesday, March 10, 2010) - Andrew Higgins, “Officials Puzzle Over Millions of Dollars Leaving Afghanistan by Plane for Dubai,” Washington Post, February 25 2010
"KABUL—American officers deployed as mentors in Afghanistan's main military hospital discovered a shocking secret last year: Injured soldiers were routinely dying of simple infections and even starving to death as some corrupt doctors and nurses demanded bribes for food and the most basic of care. The discovery, which hasn't previously been reported, added new details to longstanding evidence of gross mismanagement at Dawood National Military Hospital, where most salaries and supplies are paid for by American taxpayers." Maria Abi-Habib, “At Afghan Military Hospital, Graft and Deadly Neglect,” Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2011
"As a former NATO official with years of experience in Kandahar puts it, "You have essentially a criminal enterprise in the guise of government, using us [NATO forces] as its enforcing arm." As a result, says this official, who asked not to be identified, "the people are turning to the Taliban as the only means of protection and outlet for their anger."... Antinarcotics experts in Kabul say that while they have no evidence linking the President's half brother to drug trafficking, he and his relatives have sway over top police officers in Kandahar and Helmand province who are alleged to have ensured the safe passage of drug shipments along the roads to Iran and Pakistan.
International observers and diplomats in Kabul say Wali Karzai retains close ties with units of the U.S. special forces and the CIA in Kandahar. Last October, the New York Times alleged that Wali Karzai had been on the CIA payroll for the past eight years, a charge he denied when speaking to TIME. "I see these people, I talk to them in security meetings, but I have no control," he said. But TIME's sources insist that Wali Karzai in the past has threatened to call down NATO air strikes or arrange night raids by U.S. special forces on tribal elders who defied him. Says a former NATO official: "Most of our intelligence comes directly or indirectly from him. We really didn't see this dynamic because we were so focused on the enemy." Tim McGirk, “A US Stumbling Block in Kandahar: Karzai’s Brother,” Time, March 19, 2010
"Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, a member of the Special Forces, had helped to beat up the Afghan militia commander, Abdul Rahman, in 2011 after he abducted a boy and kept him chained to his bed as a sex slave. Sergeant Martland later told Army officials that he and a Special Forces captain, Dan Quinn, “felt that morally we could no longer stand by” and allow the Afghan local police “to commit atrocities.”
After the episode, Captain Quinn was relieved of his command; he withdrew from Afghanistan and later left the military. But Sergeant Martland was put under an Army-wide review program that trims the number of its noncommissioned officers when their military records show performance or conduct that is “inconsistent” with standards. An initial decision to forcibly discharge him by Nov. 1, 2015, was delayed; in March 2016, the Army said it had postponed the discharge decision again, until May 1, to allow time for Sergeant Martland to appeal…
The beating and its effect on the two men’s Army careers brought scrutiny to a policy of instructing American soldiers and Marines not to intervene in cases of child sex abuse by their Afghan allies. In an article in The New York Times last year, the spokesman for the American command in Afghanistan, Col. Brian Tribus, said of the United States’ military policy, “Generally, allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law.” He added that “there would be no express requirement that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan report it.” An exception, he said, is when rape is being used as a weapon of war." Christine Houser, “Green Beret Who Beat Up Afghan Officer for Raping Boy Can Stay in Army,” New York Times, April 29, 2016
"Reports of “ghost” soldiers and police continue to surface. In January 2016, media reported that the price of maintaining ghost soldiers on the rolls was being paid on the battlefield, as the number of troops fighting alongside “ghost soldiers” is a fraction of the men required for the fight. In June 2016, the Helmand Province police chief claimed half of the Helmand police consisted of ghost personnel. In late July, General Nicholson sent a letter to the Minister of Interior outlining the actions required to reduce or eliminate ghost police as a condition for continued U.S. support." High-Risk List, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, January 2017 Page 18
"KABUL, Afghanistan — Mohammed Mohaqiq says he was getting ready to make his run for the Afghan presidency when U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad dropped by his campaign office and proposed a deal.“He told me to drop out of the elections, but not in a way to put pressure,” Mohaqiq said. “It was like a request.”... “He left, and then called my most loyal men, and the most educated people in my party or campaign, to the presidential palace and told them to make me -- or request me -- to resign the nomination. And he told my men to ask me what I need in return.” Paul Watson, “US Hand Seen in Afghan Election,”Los Angeles Times, September 23, 2004 (Quote not in book)
"Leaders of a south-east Afghanistan tribe have told its members they must vote for Hamid Karzai in presidential polls or their houses will be burned" Crispin Thorold, “Vote Threat to Afghan Tribesmen,” BBC News, September 24, 2004
Cost Of The War
"Still, a close look at U.S. military statistics shows that Afghan soldiers and police officers are far more expensive than you'd expect. They are paid an average of just $1,872 a year, but the overall cost of training and fielding a police officer is roughly $30,000 per year, while the cost of each soldier is nearly $46,000 per year. the United States bears virtually all of those costs, adding up to more than $3.5 billion a year." The US Spends $14K per Afghan Troop Per Year, but Each Earns $1,872,” Atlantic, April 16, 2012
"We’ve spent trillions of dollars overseas, while allowing our own infrastructure to fall into total disrepair and decay. In the Middle East, we’ve spent as of four weeks ago, $6 trillion. Think of it. And by the way, the Middle East is in … much worse shape than it was 15 years ago. If our presidents would have gone to the beach for 15 years, we would be in much better shape than we are right now, that I can tell you. Be a hell of a lot better. We could have rebuilt our country three times with that money" Donald Trump, “Remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland,” DCPD-201700137 (February 24, 2017) CNN
The Hole Of Aid Money And Contracts
"Much of the more than $115 billion the United States has committed to reconstruction projects and programs risks being wasted because the Afghans cannot sustain the investment—financially or functionally—without massive, continued donor support. Donors were expected to finance approximately 69% of Afghanistan’s $6.5 billion fiscal year (FY) 1395 national budget (December 22, 2015–December 21, 2016), mostly through grants. At 2016 conferences in Warsaw and Brussels, the United States and other donors pledged to maintain assistance to Afghanistan at or near current levels through 2020" High-Risk List, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, January 2017 Page 2
"Contracting represents a high risk to the success of Afghanistan reconstruction. The usual difficulties of contract management are magnified and aggravated by Afghanistan’s remoteness, active insurgency, widespread corruption, limited ministerial capability, difficulties in collecting and verifying data, and other issues. … SIGAR has found that challenges in Afghanistan are so widespread that sometimes there is an assumption that if you throw enough money or people at a problem, the status quo will improve. In other words, implementers sometimes think their initial objective need not be precise, because the intervention will surely do some good somewhere" High-Risk List, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, January 2017 Page 3,9
"Corruption significantly undermined the U.S. mission in Afghanistan by damaging
the legitimacy of the Afghan government, strengthening popular support for the
insurgency, and channeling material resources to insurgent groups. Surveys and anecdotal evidence indicate that corrupt officials at all levels of government
victimized and alienated the Afghan population. Substantial U.S. funds found their way to insurgent groups, some portion of which was due to corruption.
Corruption also undermined faith in the international reconstruction effort. The
Afghan public witnessed limited oversight of lucrative reconstruction projects by
the military and aid community, leading to bribery, fraud, extortion, and nepotism,
as well as the empowerment of abusive warlords and their militias. Public trust in the U.S.-led intervention eroded, as international aid agencies, contractors, and
ISAF were seen as complicit in the corrupt behavior of the Afghan government." Corruption in Conflict: Lessons Learned from the US Experience with Corruption in Afghanistan,” Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, September 2016 Page 75-76
"Adjusted for inflation, the $115 billion in U.S. appropriations provided to reconstruct
Afghanistan exceeds the funds committed to the Marshall Plan, the U.S. aid program that, between 1948 and 1952, helped 16 West European countries recover in the aftermath of World War II. However, U.S. assistance to Afghanistan differs from the Marshall Plan in one key respect: whereas the Marshall Plan was a civilian effort operating in a post-war environment, over 60% of Afghanistan’s reconstruction funds have been spent to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in their efforts to secure a country still facing a determined insurgency. Including U.S. war funding unrelated to reconstruction, U.S. appropriations for Afghanistan now total more than three quarters of a trillion dollars—not including the $43.7 billion requested for FY 2017." High-Risk List, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, January 2017 Page 4
Together, DOD, State, and USAID spent approximately $759.6 million on 39
programs to support primary and secondary education in Afghanistan from FY 2002 to FY 2014. SIGAR’s analysis of State and USAID data showed that the agencies were able to identify the programs they implemented and the amount of funds (approximately $617.9 million) or the percentage of program funds that supported primary and secondary education. SIGAR found that DOD spent at least $141.7 million on Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) projects to support primary and secondary education. However, SIGAR found limitations in DOD’s tracking of certain CERP projects that prevented SIGAR from determining how much DOD spent on about 1,000 CERP projects related to education. Although DOD subsequently corrected the two limitations with how it tracked CERP funds, DOD spent additional money on CERP beyond the $141.7 million that SIGAR was able to identify." Primary and Secondary Education in Afghanistan: Comprehensive Assessments Needed to Determine the Progress and Effectiveness of over $759 Million in DOD, State, and USAID Programs,” Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, April 2016 Page 2
"Since 2002, USAID and DOD have spent approximately $2.8 billion to construct and repair Afghanistan’s road infrastructure, and perform capacity-building activities…
SIGAR selected and assessed the condition of 1,640 kilometers of U.S.-
funded national and regional highways, or approximately 22 percent of all paved roads in Afghanistan. The results indicate that most of these highways need repair and maintenance. For example, SIGAR performed inspections of 20 road segments and found that 19 segments had road damage ranging from deep surface cracks to roads and bridges destroyed by weather or insurgents. Moreover, 17 segments were either poorly maintained or not maintained at all, resulting in road defects that limited drivability. MOPW officials acknowledged that roads in Afghanistan are in poor condition. In August 2015, an MOPW official stated that 20 percent of the roads were destroyed and the remaining 80 percent continue to deteriorate. The official added that the Kabul to Kandahar highway is beyond repair and needs to be rebuilt. USAID estimated that unless maintained, it would cost about $8.3 billion to replace Afghanistan’s road infrastructure, and estimated that 54 percent of Afghanistan’s road infrastructure suffered from poor maintenance and required rehabilitation beyond simple repairs. Afghanistan’s Road Infrastructure: Sustainment Challenges and Lack of Repairs Put US Investment at Risk,” Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, October 29, 2016 Page 1,2
Paying Off Warlords, Contractors And Enemy
"KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, June 22, 2010 -- The United States military is helping fund both sides of the war in Afghanistan, knowingly financing a mafia-like collection of warlords and some of the very insurgents American troops are battling, according to Afghan and American officials and a new Congressional study released today.The military has turned to private trucking companies to transport the vast majority of materiel it needs to fight the war -- everything from bullets to Gatorade, gas to sandbags -- and in turn, the companies are using American money to pay, among others, the Taliban to try to guarantee the trucks' safe passage, the reports charge" Report: U.S. Bribes to Protect Convoys Are Funding Taliban Insurgents
"The findings of this report range from sobering to shocking. In short, the Department of Defense designed a contract that put responsibility for the security of vital U.S. supplies on
contractors and their unaccountable security providers. This arrangement has fueled a vast protection racket run by a shadowy network of warlords, strongmen, commanders, corrupt Afghan officials, and perhaps others. Not only does the system run afoul of the Department’s own rules and regulations mandated by Congress, it also appears to risk undermining the U.S. strategy for achieving its goals in Afghanistan" Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page II
"Security for the U.S. Supply Chain Is Principally Provided by Warlords. The
principal private security subcontractors on the HNT contract are warlords, strongmen,
commanders, and militia leaders who compete with the Afghan central government for power and authority. Providing “protection” services for the U.S. supply chain empowers these warlords with money, legitimacy, and a raison d’etre for their private armies. Although many of these warlords nominally operate under private security companies licensed by the Afghan Ministry of Interior, they thrive in a vacuum of government authority and their interests are in fundamental conflict with U.S. aims to build a strong Afghan government." Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 2
"The Highway Warlords Run a Protection Racket. The HNT contractors and their
trucking subcontractors in Afghanistan pay tens of millions of dollars annually to local
warlords across Afghanistan in exchange for “protection” for HNT supply convoys to
support U.S. troops. Although the warlords do provide guards and coordinate security,
the contractors have little choice but to use them in what amounts to a vast protection
racket. The consequences are clear: trucking companies that pay the highway warlords for security are provided protection; trucking companies that do not pay believe they are more likely to find themselves under attack. As a result, almost everyone pays. In interviews and documents, the HNT contractors frequently referred to such payments as “extortion,” “bribes,” “special security,” and/or “protection payments.” Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 3
"Protection Payments for Safe Passage Are a Significant Potential Source of
Funding for the Taliban. Within the HNT contractor community, many believe
that the highway warlords who provide security in turn make protection payments to insurgents to coordinate safe passage. This belief is evidenced in numerous documents, incident reports, and e-mails that refer to attempts at Taliban extortion along the road. The Subcommittee staff has not uncovered any direct evidence of such payments and a number of witnesses, including Ahmed Wali Karzai, all adamantly deny that any convoy security commanders pay insurgents. According to experts and public reporting, however, the Taliban regularly extort rents from a variety of licit and illicit industries, and it is plausible that the Taliban would try to extort protection payments from the coalition supply chain that runs through territory in which they freely operate." Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 3
"Unaccountable Supply Chain Security Contractors Fuel Corruption. HNT
contractors and their private security providers report widespread corruption by Afghan officials and frequent government extortion along the road. The largest private security provider for HNT trucks complained that it had to pay $1,000 to $10,000 in monthly bribes to nearly every Afghan governor, police chief, and local military unit whose territory the company passed. HNT contractors themselves reported similar corruption at a smaller scale, including significant numbers of Afghan National Police checkpoints.U.S. military officials confirmed that they were aware of these problems." Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 3
Unaccountable Supply Chain Security Contractors Undermine U.S. Counterinsurgency Strategy. While outsourcing principal responsibility for the supply chain in Afghanistan to local truckers and unknown security commanders has allowed the Department of Defense to devote a greater percentage of its force structure to priority operations, these logistics arrangements have significant unintended consequences for the overall counterinsurgency strategy. By fueling government corruption and funding parallel power structures, these logistics arrangements undercut efforts to establish popular confidence in a credible and sustainable Afghan government." Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 3
"The Department of Defense Lacks Effective Oversight of Its Supply Chain and
Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense has little to no visibility into what happens to the trucks carrying U.S. supplies between the time they leave the gate to the time they arrive at their destination. Despite serious concerns regarding operations, no military managers have ever observed truck operations on the road or met with key security providers. The Department of Defense’s regulations, promulgated in response to direction by Congress, require oversight of all private security companies working as contractors or subcontractors for the U.S government. These requirements include ensuring that all private security company personnel comply with U.S. government and local country firearm laws, that all private security company equipment be tracked, and that all incidents of death, injury, or property damage be fully investigated. The Department of Defense is grossly out of compliance with applicable regulations and has no visibility into the operations of the private security companies that are subcontractors on the HNT contract." Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 4
"HNT Contractors Warned the Department of Defense About Protection Payments
for Safe Passage to No Avail. In meetings, interviews, e-mails, white papers, and
PowerPoint presentations, many HNT prime contractors self-reported to military
officials and criminal investigators that they were being forced to make “protection
payments for safe passage” on the road. While military officials acknowledged receiving the warnings, these concerns were never appropriately addressed." Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 4
"In response to the same Department of Defense request for information on security and costs on certain routes, another HNT project manager responded: The cost of security for these vehicles is very high and absorbs most of any profit we would make. Sub Contractors and drivers request more money to operate in this area, further adding to the problems for our companies… The cost of Private Security is exceptionally high, with companies attempting to raise their prices continually. It is believed that a part of these charges are being paid as bribes to local Commanders, and therefore inevitably to the enemy… As previously stated this is one of the most volatile regions of the country. There is a continuous threat of roadside IED, and ambush. There will also be a threat, not only from enemy forces but from local commanders who have not been paid their tax." Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 32
"In an e-mail dated May 4, 2009 (within days of the beginning of the HNT contract), one HNT project manager wrote to his colleague: “the more dangerous the missions, entering areas where the Taliban controls, the more corruption we will have to deal with which for example requires an additional fee to get your trucks through without getting hit" Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 32
"Every truck costs about $200 as a bribe I pay on the route – to police or Taliban. The Taliban don’t care about small money: they ask for $10,000, $20,000 or $50,000 when they kidnap people." Haji Fata, CEO of Mirzada Transportation Company, as quoted in a November 13, 2009 Financial Times article, High Costs to Get NATO Supplies Past Taliban, by Matthew Green and Farhan Bokhari Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 33
"The PM [Project Manager] HNT from [an HNT contractor] asked LtCol Elwell
if there was any progress on the Up Arming Authority [a request to be able to use greater armaments]. It was highlighted that this authority would enable IDIQ Carriers the flexibility to choose PSC to perform convoy security. By gaining this authority IDIQ Carriers would stop funding the insurgency of what is estimated at 1.6 – 2 Million Dollars per week" Farhan Bokhari Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 35
"Contacted through the carrier by the Taliban commander that we have to pay for safe passage if we want our truck to go through the area… [W]e were informed that this was a statement from the Taliban that if we did not want our assets engaged we had to pay a protection fee." Farhan Bokhari Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 35
"Mr. Karzai argued that the increased danger on the road was partially a result of a fatwa issued by the Taliban that amounted to a “license to steal from Americans.” As a result, there is no one group that could be bought off, but “hundreds and hundreds of groups trying to steal whatever they can along the road.” Because unemployment is so high – and the fact that “an AK-47 is like a mobile phone, everyone has one” – the road has become virtual anarchy and the private security companies must fight their way through." Farhan Bokhari Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 36
"According to U.S. officials, public reporting, and multiple experts, the Taliban regularly attempt to extort money from contractors for U.S. and coalition logistics and development work. Indeed, in December 2009, Secretary Clinton acknowledged before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban is the protection money." Farhan Bokhari Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 37
"Several recent articles have described Taliban extortion of USAID-funded reconstruction projects. According to one author, the Afghan Threat Finance Cell, along with “military and embassy officials confirmed the insurgents also use extortion of U.S. development money for their funding, citing supply convoy shakedowns, construction protection rackets, Taliban ‘taxes’ on corrupt officials, pay-offs from NGOs and skims from poorly overseen government projects of the National Solidarity Program.”143 According to a quote attributed to a former security consultant in Afghanistan, “I have yet to find a security company that doesn’t rely on payoffs to the Taliban.” Farhan Bokhari Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 38
"In another article, a journalist examined a small $200,000 dam and irrigation project: “In spite of the U.S. intervention in this Taliban-ridden region, the dam project has been counter-intuitively free of attack, leaving soldiers here suspicious. [Agri-business Development Team] commander Col. Brian Copes says: ‘The Taliban might have taken 30 or 40 percent right off the top, and now [the contractor’s] struggling to perform, because he’s got less than 100 percent of budget because the Taliban took their cut right off the top.’” Farhan Bokhari Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 38
"The Afghanistan country director for a major international NGO reported that “the Taliban and local warlords typically take between 10-20% of the value of any project as the price to provide protection. The United States and international community are unintentionally fueling a vast political economy of security corruption in Afghanistan.” Farhan Bokhari Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 38
"When asked “what is the source of the Taliban’s financing,” he responded: “[f]rom U.S. dollars from the U.S. authorities!” He further explained, “[U.S. authorities] distribute dollars to the tribal chiefs, local administrators and other concerned people for welfare projects… Not every penny, but most goes into Taliban pockets to refuel their struggle." For his video series “Talking to the Taliban,” journalist Graeme Smith conducted 42 video interviews with Taliban fighters. Mr. Smith concluded that “many kinds of negotiations with the Taliban have sprung up as the insurgents assert their presence in the outlying districts. Aid agencies and cell phone companies regularly negotiate safe passage of their workers across Taliban territory.” Farhan Bokhari Warlord, Inc. : extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan Author:John F Tierney; United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.Publisher:[Washington, DC] : [U.S. House of Representatives], 2010. Page 39
Western Calls To Keep Throwing Money In And Nation Build
“I said from the get-go that we didn’t have enough money and we didn’t have enough soldiers,” said Robert P. Finn, who was the ambassador in 2002 and 2003. “I’m saying the same thing six years later.”
Zalmay Khalilzad, who was the next ambassador and is now the American ambassador to the United Nations, said, “I do think that state-building and nation-building, we came to that reluctantly,” adding that “I think more could have been done earlier on these issues.”
And Ronald E. Neumann, who replaced Mr. Khalilzad in Kabul, said, “The idea that we could just hunt terrorists and we didn’t have to do nation-building, and we could just leave it alone, that was a large mistake.” David Rohde and David Sanger, “How a ‘Good War’ in Afghanistan Went Bad,” New York Times, August 12, 2007
"The Afghanistan surge In December 2009, President Barack Obama announces a troop surge: He will deploy 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, on top of the 70,000 that he and Bush had previously authorized. NATO and other U.S. allies will increase their forces to 50,000."A timeline of US Troops in Afghanistan The Washington Post April 14th 2021
Potential Motivations For The Invasion
"Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World [Halford Mackinder]… Geopolitics has moved from the regional to the global dimension, with preponderance over the entire Eurasian continent serving as the central basis for global primacy. The United States, a non-Eurasian power, now enjoys international primacy, with its power directly deployed on three peripheries of the Eurasian continent, from which it exercises a powerful influence on the states occupying the Eurasian hinterland. But it is on the globe’s most important playing field — Eurasia — that a potential rival to America might at some point arise. Thus, focusing on the key players and properly assessing the terrain has to be the point of departure for the formulation of American geostrategy for the long-term management of America’s Eurasian geopolitical interests. … To put it in a terminology that harkens back to a more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together." The grand chessboard by Zbigniew K. Brzezinski Page 38-40
"The basing strategy with an open-ended American military presence would ensure sufficient forces to defend important population centers, retain bases critical for counterterrorism, and maintain a U.S. foothold in Central Asia. Although little has been explicitly written, a range of arguments imply that some strategists are thinking seriously about a semi-permanent Central Asian foothold from which to counter terrorism, monitor developments ranging from increased influence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and potentially pressure the more vulnerable flanks in any future contingency with China, Iran, or Russia… The downside, of course, is that the United States would necessarily accept a state of long-term instability in Afghanistan because a permanent U.S. presence in Afghanistan will incentivize regional actors to competitively back proxies. For example, they could support new militant groups and inject new capabilities into the conflict, similar to what the United States did in the 1980s against the Soviet Union. Moreover, the Afghan government’s acquiescence to a permanent foreign occupier could very well weaken its own legitimacy in the eyes of the Afghan public. Finally, without alternative lines of communication, a sustained American presence in Afghanistan would only deepen its dependence upon Pakistan, frustrating U.S. cooperation with India as a balance against China." Sameer Lalwani, “Four Ways Forward in Afghanistan,” Foreign Affairs, May 25, 2017
The Resource, Trade And Arms Angle
"one of our goals in trying to work in Afghanistan is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south. Ideas and goods can flow to the north. People can move back and forth. Intellectual influences can move back and forth. And so that the countries of Central Asia are no longer bottled up between two enormous powers of China and Russia, but rather they have outlets to the south as well as to the north and the east and the west." Remarks to Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies Richard A. Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Washington, DC September 20, 2007
"Germany's president, Horst Köhler, resigned without warning today, after intense criticism of remarks in which he suggested military deployments were central to the country's economic interests… In a radio interview given on his return from a tour of German military bases in Afghanistan earlier this month, Köhler, a former head of the International Monetary Fund, said that the largely pacifist German public was finally coming to terms with the concept that their country could no longer avoid involvement in military missions, which helped "protect our interests, for example, free trade routes, or to prevent regional instability, which might certainly have a negative effect on our trade, jobs and income" German president Horst Köhler quits over Afghanistan gaffe Abrupt resignation over 'misunderstandings' adds to pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel, The Guardian Mon 31 May 2010
"The previously unknown deposits including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe. An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys… “There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.” James Risen, “US Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan,” New York Times, June 13, 2010
Lack of Mission, Strategy, Purpose And Winnability
"In the course of my five months of service in Afghanistan, in both Regional Commands East and South, I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan. I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end. To put simply: I fail to see the value or the worth in continued U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war." Karen DeYoung, “US Official Resigns over Afghan War,” Washington Post, October 27, 2009 Matthew Hoh Political Officer in the Foreign Office and Civilization Representative in the Zabul Province - Resignation Letter
"This fall will mark the eighth year of U.S. combat, governance and development operations within Afghanistan. Next fall, the United States’ occupation will equal in length the Soviet Union’s own physical involvement in Afghanistan. Like the Soviets, we continue to secure and bolster a failing state, while encouraging an ideology and system of government unknown and unwanted by its people. If the history of Afghanistan is one great stage play, the United States is no more than a supporting actor, among several previously, in a tragedy that not only pits tribes, valleys, clans, villages and families against one another, but, from at
least the end of King Zahir Shah’s reign, has violently and savagely pitted the illiterate and traditional." Karen DeYoung, “US Official Resigns over Afghan War,” Washington Post, October 27, 2009 Matthew Hoh Political Officer in the Foreign Office and Civilization Representative in the Zabul Province - Resignation Letter
"The Pashtun insurgency, which is composed of multiple, seemingly infinite, local groups, is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies. The U.S. and NATO presence in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified." Karen DeYoung, “US Official Resigns over Afghan War,” Washington Post, October 27, 2009 Matthew Hoh Political Officer in the Foreign Office and Civilization Representative in the Zabul Province - Resignation Letter
"In both RC East and South, I have observed that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of the Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul. The United States military presence in Afghanistan greatly contributes to the legitimacy and strategic message of the Pashtun insurgency. In a like manner our backing of the Afghan government in its current form continues to distance the government from the people. The Afghan government’s failings, particularly when weighed against the sacrifice of American lives and dollars, appear legion
and metastatic" Karen DeYoung, “US Official Resigns over Afghan War,” Washington Post, October 27, 2009 Matthew Hoh Political Officer in the Foreign Office and Civilization Representative in the Zabul Province - Resignation Letter
"The Afghan government’s failings, particularly when weighed against the sacrifice of American lives and dollars, appear legion and metastatic:
Glaring corruption and unabashed graft;
A President whose confidants and chief advisers comprise drug lords and war crimes villains, who mock our own rule of law and counternarcotics efforts:
A system of provincial and district leaders constituted of local power brokers, opportunists and strongmen allied to the United States solely for, and limited by, the value of our USAID and CERP contracts and whose own political and economic interests stand nothing to gain from any positive or genuine attempts at reconciliation; and
The recent election process dominated by fraud and discredited by low voter turnout, which has created an enormous victory for our enemy who now claims a popular boycott and will call into question worldwide our government’s military, economic and diplomatic support for an invalid and illegitimate Afghan government." Karen DeYoung, “US Official Resigns over Afghan War,” Washington Post, October 27, 2009 Matthew Hoh Political Officer in the Foreign Office and Civilization Representative in the Zabul Province - Resignation Letter
"Our support for this kind of government, coupled with a misunderstanding
of the insurgency’s true nature, reminds me horribly of our involvement with South
Vietnam; an unpopular and corrupt government we backed at the expense of our Nation’s own internal peace, against an insurgency whose nationalism we arrogantly and ignorantly mistook as a rival to our own Cold War ideology." Karen DeYoung, “US Official Resigns over Afghan War,” Washington Post, October 27, 2009 Matthew Hoh Political Officer in the Foreign Office and Civilization Representative in the Zabul Province - Resignation Letter
"Finally, if our concern is for a failed state crippled by corruption and poverty and under assault from criminal and drug lords, then if we bear our military and financial contributions to Afghanistan, we must reevaluate and increase our commitment to and involvement in Mexico." Karen DeYoung, “US Official Resigns over Afghan War,” Washington Post, October 27, 2009 Matthew Hoh Political Officer in the Foreign Office and Civilization Representative in the Zabul Province - Resignation Letter
"It hurts on a level that — three units from the Army, we all did what we did up there. And we all lost men. We all sacrificed. I was 18 years old when I got there. I really would not have expected to go through what we went through at that age. It confuses me, why it took so long for them to realize that we were not making progress up there." Alissa J. Rubin, “US Forces Close Post in Afghan ‘Valley of Death,’” New York Times, April 14, 2010
"Senator McCAIN. So in your view, if we left Afghanistan with no residual force, we could see a replay of the Iraq scenario?
General DUNFORD. Senator If we leave at the end of 2014, the Afghan security forces will begin to deteriorate. The security environment will begin to deteriorate, and I think the only debate is the pace of that deterioration.” The Situation in Afghanistan: Hearing Before the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, Second Session, March 12, 2014 Page 19
"The ANDSF [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] has not yet been capable of securing all of Afghanistan and has lost territory to the insurgency. As of August 28, 2016, USFOR-A [U.S. Forces-Afghanistan] reported that only 63.4% of the country’s districts were under Afghan government control or influence a reduction from the 72% as of November 27, 2015" High-Risk List, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, January 2017 Page 2
"According to the United Nations, the war-torn nation provides 90 percent of the world's supply of opium poppy, the bright, flowery crop that transforms into one of the most addictive drugs in existence… The U.S. has spent $8.4 billion in counternarcotics programs in Afghanistan. But opium output keeps rising: Fifteen years ago, Afghanistan accounted for just 70 percent of global illicit opium production" Elizabeth Chuck, “As Heroin Use Grows in US, Poppy Crops Thrive in Afghanistan,” NBC News, July 7, 2015
"Certain reconstruction projects such as improved irrigation, roads, and agricultural assistance can actually lead to increased opium cultivation. SIGAR found that affordable deep-well technology turned 200,000 hectares of desert in southwestern Afghanistan into arable land over the past decade. Due to relatively high opium prices and the rise of an inexpensive, skilled, and mobile labor force, much of this newly arable land is dedicated to opium cultivation. Poppy-growing provinces that were once declared “poppy free” have seen a resurgence in cultivation" High Risk List,” Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, December 2014
"More than ever, Afghan government officials have become directly involved in the opium trade, expanding their competition with the Taliban beyond politics and into a struggle for control of the drug traffic and revenue. At the local level, the fight itself can often look like a turf war between drug gangs, even as American troops are being pulled back into the battle on the government’s behalf, particularly in Helmand, in southern Afghanistan."There are phases of government complicity, starting with accommodation of the farmers and then on to cooperation with them,” said David Mansfield, a researcher who conducted more than 15 years of fieldwork on Afghan opium. “The last is predation, where the government essentially takes over the business entirely.”... “Over the years, I have seen the central government, the local government and the foreigners all talk very seriously about poppy,” said Hakim Angar, a former two-time police chief of Helmand Province. “In practice, they do nothing, and behind the scenes, the government makes secret deals to enrich themselves.” Azam Ahmed, “Tasked with Combating Opium, Afghan Officials Profit from It,” New York Times, February 15, 2016
"VIENNA, 21 June (UN Information Service) - A survey on Drug Use in Afghanistan, issued today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), shows that around one million Afghans (age 15-64) suffer from drug addiction. At eight per cent of the population, this rate is twice the global average "After three decades of war-related trauma, unlimited availability of cheap narcotics and limited access to treatment have created a major, and growing, addiction problem in Afghanistan," said UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa. "The human face of Afghanistan's drug problem is not only seen on the streets of Moscow, London or Paris. It is in the eyes of its own citizens, dependent on a daily dose of opium and heroin above all - but also cannabis, painkillers and tranquilizers," said Mr. Costa. "Many Afghans are taking drugs as a kind of self-medication against the hardships of life. Significantly, many of them began taking drugs as migrants or refugees in camps in Iran and Pakistan," UNODC Reports Major, and Growing, Drug Abuse in Afghanistan,” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, June 21, 2010
Foreign Support For Insurgents And The Taliban
The Growth Of Terrorism And Terrorist Organisations
"Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians" Robin Cook, ‘The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means’, Guardian, 8 July 2005, Foreign Secetary 1997-2001 Head of House of Commons 2001-2003
"Osama bin Laden, the United States' prime suspect in last week's attacks on New York and Washington, could escape an American revenge mission in Afghanistan by hiding in tunnels that he built with funds from the CIA. At the height of the Afghan mojahedin's war against the Soviet invaders, the CIA provided money for a very ambitious project. A series of defence tunnels was built in 1986 near the town of Khost in the mountains of Paktiya province, a few miles from the border with Pakistan. The aim was to store weapons and create an underground field hospital as well as to provide shelter against Russian air attack." Bin Laden may flee in tunnels: underground escape routes funded by CIA’, 18 September 2001.
"While I was deployed, I went to bed at night believing that I was protecting the homeland because coming after me and my fellow Marines was a much easier commute for those so hell-bent on killing Americans. But that argument no longer makes sense if my war has inspired enemies at home." I could justify fighting in Afghanistan — until the Boston bombing The Washington Post April 26th 2013
"Enter Qatar, a tiny but wealthy Gulf state with a penchant for coddling up to Islamist movements from Palestinian Hamas and Libyan Islamist militias to the Afghan Taliban. In March, Department of the Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen singled out Qatar as an especially "permissive jurisdiction" for terrorist financing. Qatari oversight is so lax, Cohen noted, that "several major Qatar-based fundraisers act as local representatives for larger terrorist fundraising networks that are based in Kuwait." Not wanting to expose sensitive intelligence, Cohen pointed to press reports that Qatar not only supports Hamas but also extremist groups operating in Syria. "To say the least," he concluded, "this threatens to aggravate an already volatile situation in a particularly dangerous and unwelcome manner." The Hill , ‘Qatar’s not-so-charitable record on terror finance’, 24 September 2014
"I told them [MI5] Hamza was brainwashing people and sending them to al-Qaeda terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, that he was preaching jihad and murder and that he was involved in the provision of false passports. I told them he was a chief terrorist… His MI5 handler did not appear unduly worried " Richard Woods and David Leppard, ‘Focus: How liberal Britain let hate flourish’, Sunday Times , 12 February 2006, Reda Hassaine ( Ex MI5)
Daniel McGrory and Richard Ford, ‘AlQaeda cleric exposed as an MI5 double agent’, Times , 25 March 2004
"told The Observer that MI5 approached intermediaries to offer him a passport and an Iranian visa so he could leave the country."
Antony Barnett, Martin Bright and Nick Paton-Walsh, ‘MI5 wanted me to escape, claims cleric’, Observer , 21 October 2001
Profile: General Pervez Musharraf, 24 September 2001,
"Guantánamo Bay has often been the focus of jihadist media and propaganda. Just recently, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan — the mouthpiece of the Taliban — put out a statement calling attention to the ongoing hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay. … In 2010, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released the first issue of Inspire, their English language recruitment magazine. … The plight of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay has been featured prominently in several issues. In the 2010 inaugural issue of Inspire, an essay by Osama bin Laden mentions “the crimes at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo . . . which shook the conscience of humanity.” Tellingly, bin Laden points out that “there has been no mentionable change” at Guantánamo and the prison is noted again later in the issue. … The essays of Abu Sufyan al-Azdi and Uthman al-Gamidi, two former
detainees who returned to AQAP upon their release, call new individuals to join the jihad, whether at home or abroad. In Issue 7, Yahya Ibrahim notes that Guantánamo Bay “exposed the West for what it really is” and “showed the world the American understanding of human rights.” Thérèse Postel, “How Guantanamo Bay’s Existence Helps Al-Qaeda Recruit More Terrorists,” Atlantic, April 12, 2013
"S]ome of the consequences of Washington’s anti-terrorism policies had galvanized the Taliban. Commanders fixated on the deaths of Afghan, Iraqi and Palestinian civilians in military airstrikes, as well as the American detention of Muslim prisoners who had been held for years without being charged. America, Europe and Israel preached democracy, human rights and impartial justice to the Muslim world, they said, but failed to follow those principles themselves" David Rhode, “7 Months, 10 Days in Captivity,” New York Times, October 17, 2009
"The … inescapable truth asserts that merely killing insurgents usually serves to multiply enemies rather than subtract them. This counterintuitive dynamic is common in many guerrilla conflicts and is especially relevant in the revenge-prone Pashtun communities whose cooperation military forces seek to earn and maintain. The Soviets experienced this reality in the 1980s, when despite killing hundreds of thousands of Afghans, they faced a larger insurgency near the end of the war than they did at the beginning." Michael T. Flynn et al., “Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan,” Center for a New American Security, January 4, 2010 Page 8
"Well, the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don’t see children, they don’t see anybody. They kill women, children, they kill everybody. It’s a war, and in war, they kill people. They’re killing all Muslims.
Judge: Now we're not talking about them; we’re talking about you. Shahzad: Well, I am part of that. I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people. And, on behalf of that, I’m avenging the attack. Living in the United States, Americans only care about their own people, but they don’t care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die. Similarly, in Gaza Strip, somebody has to go and live with the family whose house is bulldozed by the Israeli bulldozer. There’s a lot of aggression…
Judge: I see.
Shahzad: We Muslims are one community. We’re not divided.
Judge: Well, I don’t want to get drawn into a discussion of the Qur’an."Lorraine Adams and Ayesha Nasir, “Inside the Mind of the Times Square Bomber,” Guardian, September 18, 2010
"This past week, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly told investigators that he and his brother set off bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in part because of their opposition to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a Marine who fought in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2010, the news made me wonder: Had my war brought the horrors of battle home?... I deployed to Afghanistan believing my presence in that country would help stop attacks such as Boston’s from happening. But instead, my war has spilled over, striking the city where my 22-year-old brother goes to school and where my mom, until recently, felt perfectly safe eating lunch outdoors.
The Tsarnaev brothers aren’t the first alleged terrorists to cite U.S. military intervention in other countries as a reason for targeting civilians, and they won’t be the last. Despite our best efforts and valor, I wonder, have America’s wars made the homeland less safe? Sure, we’ve killed and captured thousands of radicals who wanted to harm Americans. But in doing so, have we created more?... While I was deployed, I went to bed at night believing that I was protecting the homeland because coming after me and my fellow Marines was a much easier commute for those so hell-bent on killing Americans. But that argument no longer makes sense if my war has inspired enemies at home." Thomas Gibbons-Neff, “I Could Justify Fighting in Afghanistan — Until the Boston Bombing,” Washington Post, April 26, 2013
"The 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack, according to U.S. officials familiar with the interviews." Scott Wilson et al., “Boston Bombing Suspect Cites US Wars as Motivation, Officials Say,” Washington Post, April 23, 2013
"Everybody who was in the bathroom who survived could hear him talking to 911, saying the reason why he's doing this is because he wanted America to stop bombing his country," she said… "The motive is very clear to us who are laying in our own blood and other people's blood, who are injured, who were shot," Ms Carter said. "He wasn't going to stop killing people until he was killed, until he felt like his message got out there." Orlando Shooting: Omar Mateen ‘Wanted US to Stop Bombing Afghanistan,’ Survivor Says,” ABC News (Australia), June 14, 2016
"You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance.” Brian Bennett and Del Quentin Wilber, “Orlando Gunman, During Pause in His Rampage, Searched Social Media for News of It,” Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2016
"SUSPECT: No. Because you have to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. They are killing a lot of innocent people. What am I to do here when my people are getting killed over there. You get what I'm saying?
NEGOTIATOR: I do. I completely get what you're saying. What I'm trying to do is prevent anybody else from getting -
SUSPECT: You need to stop the U.S. air strikes. They need to stop the U.S. air strikes, okay?
NEGOTIATOR: I understand.
SUSPECT: They need to stop the U.S. air strikes. You have to tell the U.S. government to stop bombing. They are killing too many children, they are killing too many women, okay?
NEGOTIATOR: I understand that. Here is why I'm here right now. I'm with the Orlando police. Can you tell me what you know about what's going on tonight?
SUSPECT: What's going on is that I feel the pain of the people getting killed in Syria and Iraq and all over the Muslim" Omar Mateen blamed Pentagon air strike which killed Iraqi ISIS leader for 'triggering' his Orlando terror attack during calls with police negotiator By Hannah For Dailymail 28 Sep 2016
"We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times. We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote." Statement by the President on the Terrorist Attacks in Iran,” June 7, 2017
Anger Against The Invasion And Lack Of Awareness Of 911 Even Happening
"[Religious] radicals refused to defend violent jihad in the West as religiously obligatory, acceptable or permitted. The same was true of the young Muslim sample. Young Muslims rejected al Qaeda’s message and often use simple, catchy sayings from the Qur’an or Hadith to express that rejection. However, there was widespread support among radicals and young Muslims for Iraqi and Afghan people “defending themselves” from “invaders,” framed in the language of self-defense, just war and state sovereignty." Demos 2010 Report, The Edge of Violence Page 16
"The report by The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) policy think-tank showed 92 percent of 1,000 Afghan men surveyed in Helmand and Kandahar know nothing of the hijacked airliner attacks on U.S. targets in 2001.
“The lack of awareness of why we are there contributes to the high levels of negativity toward the NATO military operations and made the job of the Taliban easier,” ICOS President Norine MacDonald told Reuters from Washington" Paul Tait, “Few Afghans Know Reason for War, New Study Shows,” Reuters, November 19, 2010
The Suspicious Failure To Capture Bin Laden
"But the Al Qaeda leader would live to fight another day. Fewer than 100 American commandos were on the scene with their Afghan allies, and calls for reinforcements to launch an assault were rejected. Requests were also turned down for U.S. troops to block the mountain paths leading to sanctuary a few miles away in Pakistan. The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the Marine Corps and the Army, was kept on the sidelines. Instead, the U.S. command chose to rely on airstrikes and untrained Afghan militias to attack bin Laden and on Pakistan's loosely organized Frontier Corps to seal his escape routes. On or around December 16, two days after writing his will, bin Laden and an entourage of bodyguards walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan's unregulated tribal area. Most analysts say he is still there today.
The decision not to deploy American forces to go after bin Laden or block his escape was made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, the architects of the unconventional Afghan battle plan known as Operation Enduring Freedom. Rumsfeld said at the time that he was concerned that too many U.S. troops in Afghanistan would create an anti-American backlash and fuel a widespread insurgency... Even when his own commanders and senior intelligence officials in Afghanistan and Washington argued for dispatching more U.S. troops, Franks refused to deviate from the plan.
There were enough U.S. troops in or near Afghanistan to execute the classic sweep-and-block maneuver required to attack bin Laden and try to prevent his escape. It would have been a dangerous fight across treacherous terrain, and the injection of more U.S. troops and the resulting casualties would have contradicted the risk-averse...
After bin Laden's escape, some military and intelligence analysts and the press criticized the Pentagon's failure to mount a full-scale attack despite the tough rhetoric by President Bush. Franks, Vice President Dick Cheney and others defended the decision, arguing that the intelligence was inconclusive about the Al Qaeda leader's location. But the review of existing literature, unclassified government records and interviews with central participants underlying this report removes any lingering doubts and makes it clear that Osama bin Laden was within our grasp at Tora Bora.
For example, the CIA and Delta Force commanders who spent three weeks at Tora Bora as well as other intelligence and military sources are certain he was there." TORA BORA REVISITED: HOW WE FAILED TO GET BIN LADEN AND WHY IT MATTERS TODAY A Report To Members OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS UNITED STATES SENATE John F. Kerry, Chairman One Hundred Eleventh Congress First Session November 30, 2009
I quickly called CENTCOM and spoke to our Agency rep. “I have al-Qaeda trying to draw our Afghan allies into negotiations. I have refused. You need to talk to CENTCOM and throw as much air power at them as quickly as possible. Guys who fly airliners into skyscrapers don’t negotiate. They’re trying to reduce the intensity of our attacks so they can slip out."...
I’d learned that Afghans love to negotiate. I also knew that as far as our Eastern Alliance allies were concerned, they would be happy to take our money and let al-Qaeda slip away. The next eight hours were extremely dangerous for Team Juliet and the handful of U.S. soldiers in Tora Bora, since they weren’t sure if our Eastern Alliance allies had sided with the enemy. Day and night, I kept thinking, We needed U.S. soldiers on the ground! We need them to do the fighting! We need them to block a possible al-Qaeda escape into Pakistan! I’d sent my request for 800 U.S. Army Rangers and was still waiting for a response. I repeated to anyone at headquarters who would listen: “We need Rangers now! The opportunity to get bin Laden and his men is slipping away!!”
Apparently, the U.S. Rangers weren’t coming. CENTCOM commander General Tommy Franks later explained to Frontline: “The Afghans themselves wanted to get into Tora Bora. They wanted to do it very quickly. At that time, our Special Forces troopers were not yet in large numbers, even with those forces that we were providing support to. So rather than taking a decision that said: Let’s take a break for some prolonged period of time and try to introduce large numbers of non-Afghan coalition forces, the determination was made. I made it, and I think it was a pretty good determination, to provide support to that operation, and to work with the Pakistanis along the Pakistani border to bring it to conclusion.”
He was either badly misinformed by his own people or blinded by the fog of war. I’d made it clear in my reports that our Afghan allies were hardly anxious to get at al-Qaeda in Tora Bora. So why was the U.S. military looking for excuses not to act decisively? Why would they want to leave something that was so important to an unreliable Afghan army that’d been cobbled together at the last minute? This was the opportunity we’d hoped for when we launched this mission. Our advantage was quickly slipping away." Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA ’s Key Field Commander Page 290-291
"Even though the JSOC commander was directing the battlefield in Tora Bora, George and I were still very much involved. I spoke again with Hank at CTC/ and asked one more time for the U.S. military to deploy ground troops to trap bin Laden and the remnants of his force in the White Mountains. Hank assured me that my request had been forwarded to CENTCOM and the seventh floor. He explained: “Unfortunately, it’s not my call.” Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA ’s Key Field Commander Page 305
"The man you are about to meet was the officer in command, leading a team from the U.S. Army's mysterious Delta Force - a unit so secret, it's often said Delta doesn't exist. But you are about to see Delta's operators in action… "We want to come in on the back door," Fury explains. "The original plan that we sent up through our higher headquarters, Delta Force wants to come in over the mountain with oxygen, coming from the Pakistan side, over the mountains and come in and get a drop on bin Laden from behind."
But they didn't take that route, because Fury says they didn't get approval from a higher level. "Whether that was Central Command all the way up to the president of the United States, I'm not sure," he says… The next option that Delta wanted to employ was to drop hundreds of landmines in the mountain passes that led to Pakistan, which was bin Laden's escape route.
"First guy blows his leg off, everybody else stops. That allows aircraft overhead to find them. They see all these heat sources out there. Okay, there a big large group of Al Qaeda moving south. They can engage that," Fury explains.
But they didn't do that either, because Fury says that plan was also disapproved. He says he has "no idea" why.
"How often does Delta come up with a tactical plan that's disapproved by higher headquarters?" Pelley asks.
"In my experience, in my five years at Delta, never before," Fury says.
The military wouldn't tell 60 Minutes who rejected the plans or why. Fury wasn't happy about it but he pressed on with the only option he had left, a frontal assault on bin Laden's dug-in al Qaeda fighters" "Elite Officer Recalls Bin Laden Hunt,” 60 Minutes, CBS News, October 2, 2008
"For Dalton Fury, the reward would have been worth the risk. ``In general, I definitely think it was worth the risk to the force to assault Tora Bora for Osama bin Laden,'' he told the committee staff. ``What other target out there, then or now, could be more important to our nation's struggle in the global war on terror?'' TORA BORA REVISITED: HOW WE FAILED TO GET BIN LADEN AND WHY IT MATTERS TODAY A Report To Members OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS UNITED STATES SENATE John F. Kerry, Chairman One Hundred Eleventh Congress First Session November 30, 2009
Taliban Assistance During The War
“I’m in San Francisco at the moment, sitting in the office of the FBI’s Special Agent in Charge. Believe it or not, they have an Afghan contact here who says his brother is on the front lines as a commander with the Taliban opposing you but would like to cut a deal.”... As she read the number I marveled at how globally connected even a Taliban commander in a backwater like Afghanistan could be with the right piece of technology. “Mary, give me your number and have the FBI keep their Afghan contact on a short leash in case I have problems contacting his brother, the commander.”... Mohammad says he has almost a thousand men under his command,” Aref* reported. Then he walked over to a map and pointed to a position northeast of Kabul. “He’s defending this position on the Shomali Plains and says he wants a half a million dollars to surrender all his forces, which he says he can arrange within a week… “Mohammad has twenty al-Qaeda fighters with him and wants to know what to do with the Arabs,” Engineer Aref* said. “Tell him to kill them all… The next morning, November 7, at 1100 hours gunfire could be heard from Mohammad’s position on the front. Thirty minutes later 730 soldiers crossed from the Taliban side in three single file lines with their hands up. Majid oversaw the quick bloodless transition, which lasted less than fifteen minutes. The Taliban soldiers simply marched into the Panshir and joined our side. They explained that the gunfire we heard was the sound of them killing the al-Qaeda fighters attached to their unit." Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA ’s Key Field Commander Page 158-160
External Pressure On The President
"The president had put all of us on notice in the late fall of 2010 that, while he wanted a low-key and swift review of the Afghan strategy in December...The key subjects were the troop drawdowns in July and determining what our presence should be in Afghanistan after 2014. Did we want bases? Would we continue to conduct counterterrorism operations? What is “Afghan good enough”? How big should the Afghan national security forces be? How much would they cost, and who would pay for them? Petraeus and the Defense Department were proposing an Afghan force level between 352,000 and 378,000. The president expressed his displeasure that those numbers had leaked, again making it look like the military was trying to “jam” him… "He concluded [Obama], "If I believe I am being gamed ..."and left the sentence hanging there with the clear implication the consequences would be dire. I was pretty upset myself. I thought implicitly accusing Petraeus (and perhaps Mullen and me) of gaming him in front of thirty people in the Situation Room was inappropriate, not to mention highly disrespectful of Petraeus. As I sat there, I thought: The president doesn't trust his commander, can't stand Karzai, doesn't believe in his own strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his. For him, it's all about getting out. Biden continued to egg him on, and his staff missed no opportunity to pass him inflammatory news clips and other information raising questions about Petraeus and the senior military leaders.
I called Donilon two days later to express my concern that the vice president was poisoning the well with the president with regard to Petraeus and Afghanistan. I said I thought Biden was subjecting Obama to Chinese water torture, every day saying, “the military can't be trusted,” "the strategy can't work,” “it's all failing,” “the military is trying to game you, to screw you." Robert M. Gates, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, (New York: Knopf, 2014) Page 557
"Obama also shared with McDonough a long-standing resentment: He was tired of watching Washington unthinkingly drift toward war in Muslim countries. Four years earlier, the president believed, the Pentagon had “jammed” him on a troop surge for Afghanistan. Now, on Syria, he was beginning to feel jammed again" Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Obama Doctrine,” Atlantic, April 2016
"The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable," McChrystal said in a statement. He added that progress will demand a revised strategy, greater "resolve" and a "unity of effort" by the NATO-led multinational force… The appraisal comes amid declining U.S. public support for the war and growing tension between U.S. commanders in need of resources and a White House wary of committing to fresh troops. It echoes recent gloomy statements by top military officials such as Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the conflict is "deteriorating" and that the Taliban is far more sophisticated than it was just a few years ago. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Monday called Afghanistan "a mixed picture" and said "a very tough fight" lies ahead." Ann Scott Tyson, “US Commander in Afghanistan Calls Situation ‘Serious,’” Washington Post, September 1, 2009
“For all his innovations, McChrystal still is hostage to geography: Afghanistan is bigger than Iraq, yet he has only half as many troops. He plans to double the size of Afghan forces to 400,000, but that will take years. The only place he can get the troops he needs now is from the United States. Asked if he's confident he'll get what he is asking for, McChrystal said, "I'm confident that I will have an absolute chance to provide my assessment and to make my recommendations." But you're already under pressure not to ask for more. I mean, how's that affect what you do?" Martin asked. "Doesn't affect me at all. And David, I take this extraordinarily seriously. I believe that what I am responsible to do is to give my best assessment," McChrystal said."David Martin, “McChrystal’s Frank Talk on Afghanistan,” 60 Minutes, CBS News, September 24, 2009
"Biden argued throughout the process, and would continue to argue, that the war was politically unsustainable at home. I thought he was wrong and that if the president remained steadfast and played his cards carefully, he could sustain even an unpopular war. Bush had done that with a far more unpopular war in Iraq and with both houses of Congress in the hands of the Democrats. The key was showing that we were being successful militarily, at some point announcing a drawdown of forces and being able to show that the end was in sight" Robert M. Gates, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, (New York: Knopf, 2014)
Opposition To The War
"A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Tuesday morning indicates that 39 percent of Americans favor the war in Afghanistan, with 58 percent opposed to the mission. Support is down from 53 percent in April, marking the lowest level since the start of the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks." Steinhauser, “Poll: Support for Afghan War at All-time Low,” CNN Politics, September 15, 2009
"In 1996, approximately 40 percent of Afghans were Pashtun, 11.4 of whom are of the Durrani tribal group and 13.8 percent of the Ghilzai group. Tajiks make up the second largest ethnic group with 25.3 percent of the population, followed by Hazaras, 18 percent; Uzbeks, 6.3 percent; Turkmen, 2.5 percent; Qizilbash, 1.0; 6.9 percent other." US State Department, “Afghanistan,” Country Studies
"Despite ethnic quotas and recruiting drives, the Afghan army is still dominated by northern minorities who were oppressed by the Taliban. Nearly all Taliban are ethnic Pashtuns. Although many Pashtuns, the country's biggest ethnic community, are not connected to the Taliban, the rift between northerners and the southern Pashtuns runs deep. Now this ethnically skewed army is pouring into southern Afghanistan as part of an operation to squeeze the Taliban out of strongholds here and win the loyalty of the main prize — the Afghan people" Heidi Vogt, “Ethnic Divisions Plague Afghan Army,” NBC News, July 28, 2010
"DARNA, Libya—Two former Afghan Mujahedeen and a six-year detainee at Guantanamo Bay have stepped to the fore of this city's military campaign, training new recruits for the front and to protect the city from infiltrators loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi. The presence of Islamists like these amid the opposition has raised concerns, among some fellow rebels as well as their Western allies, that the goal of some Libyan fighters in battling Col. Gadhafi is to propagate Islamist extremism." Wall Street Journal , ‘Ex-Mujahedeen Help Lead Libyan Rebels’, 2 April 2011
"Now we have the full story of the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamist groups from the Middle East designed to assist the Bosnian Muslims - some of the same groups that the Pentagon is now fighting in "the war against terrorism". Pentagon operations in Bosnia have delivered their own "blowback"... The result was a vast secret conduit of weapons smuggling though Croatia. This was arranged by the clandestine agencies of the US, Turkey and Iran, together with a range of radical Islamist groups, including Afghan mojahedin and the pro-Iranian Hizbullah. Wiebes reveals that the British intelligence services obtained documents early on in the Bosnian war proving that Iran was making direct deliveries.
Arms purchased by Iran and Turkey with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia made their way by night from the Middle East. Initially aircraft from Iran Air were used, but as the volume increased they were joined by a mysterious fleet of black C-130 Hercules aircraft. The report stresses that the US was "very closely involved" in the airlift. Mojahedin fighters were also flown in, but they were reserved as shock troops for especially hazardous operations." Guardian , ‘America used Islamists to arm the Bosnian Muslims’, 22 April 2002.
"Intelligence on the extent to which extremist militant Islamist elements were involved
in the anti-Gaddafi rebellion was inadequate. Former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord
Richards of Herstmonceux confirmed that intelligence on the composition of the rebel
militias was not “as good as one would wish.” He observed that “We found it quite difficult to get the sort of information you would expect us to get.”We asked Lord Richards
whether he knew that Abdelhakim Belhadj and other members of the al-Qaeda affiliated
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were participating in the rebellion in March 2011. He replied that that “was a grey area. He added that “a quorum of respectable Libyans
were assuring the Foreign Office” that militant Islamist militias would not benefit from the rebellion. He acknowledged that “with the benefit of hindsight, that was wishful
thinking at best.”
28. The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from
the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight. Libyan connections
with transnational militant extremist groups were known before 2011, because many
Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda" House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options Third Report of Session 2016–17 Page 12-13
"This is a time for Trump to be Trump — utterly cynical and unpredictable. ISIS right now is the biggest threat to Iran, Hezbollah, Russia and pro-Shiite Iranian militias — because ISIS is a Sunni terrorist group that plays as dirty as Iran and Russia. Trump should want to defeat ISIS in Iraq. But in Syria? Not for free, not now. In Syria, Trump should let ISIS be Assad’s, Iran’s, Hezbollah’s and Russia’s headache — the same way we encouraged the mujahedeen fighters to bleed Russia in Afghanistan." Why Is Trump Fighting ISIS in Syria? Thomas L Freidman April 12th 2017 NYT
"The al Qaeda membership that was distinguished by having trained in Afghanistan will gradually dissipate, to be replaced in part by the dispersion of the experienced survivors of the conflict in Iraq.” BBC 14 January, 2005, National Intelligence Council report Mapping the Global Future