Afghanistan: The Longest Lost War

Despite almost a decade of warfare, including an invasion and occupation, the US military and its allies and client state armed forces are losing the war in Afghanistan. Outside of the central districts of a few cities and the military fortresses, the Afghan national resistance forces, in all of their complex local, regional and national alliances, are in control, of territory, people and administration.

The prolonged unending war has become a major drain on the morale of the US armed forces and undermined civilian support in the US, limiting the capacity of the White House to launch new imperial wars. The annual multi-billion dollar military expenditures, are exacerbating the out-of-control budget deficit and forcing harsh unpopular cuts on social programs, at all levels of government. There is no end in sight, as the Obama regime keeps increasing the number of troops by the tens of thousands and military expenditures by the dozens of billions but the resistance advances, both military and politically.

Faced with rising popular discontent and demands for fiscal restraint by a wide spectrum of banking and citizen groups, Obama and the general command have sought “partial exit” via the recruitment and training of a large scale long term Afghan mercenary army and police force under the direction of US and NATO officers.

The US Strategy: The Making of an Afghan Neocolony

Between 2001-2010 the US military expenditures total $428 billion dollars; the colonial occupation has led to over 7,228 dead and wounded as of June 1, 2010. As the US military situation deteriorates, the White House escalates the number of troops resulting in a greater number of killed and wounded. During the past 18 months of the Obama regime more soldiers were killed or wounded than in the previous eight years.

The White House and Pentagon strategy is premised on massive flows of money, arms and an increase in the number of surrogates, mainly subsidized warlords and puppet western educated ex-pats. The White House “development aid” involves, literally, purchasing the transient loyalties of clan leaders. The White House attempts to give a veneer of legitimacy by running elections, which enhance the corrupt image of the incumbent puppet regime in Kabul and its regional associates.

On the military front, the Pentagon launches one “offensive” after another, announcing one success after another, followed by a retreat and return of the Resistance fighters. The US campaigns disrupt trade, agricultural harvests and markets, while the air assaults targeting “Taliban” and militants, more frequently than not end up killing more civilians celebrating weddings, religious holidays and shoppers at markets than combatants. The reason for the high percentage of civilian killings is clear to everyone except the US Generals: there are no distinctions between “militants” and millions of Afghan civilians since the former are an integral part of their communities.

The key and ultimately decisive problem facing the US occupation is that it is a colonial enclave in the midst of a colonized people. The US, its local puppets and its NATO allies are a foreign colonial army and its Afghan military and police recruits are seen as mere instruments perpetuating illegitimate rule. Every action, whether violent or benign, is perceived and interpreted as transgressing the norms and historical legacies of a proud and independent people. In everyday life, every move by the occupation is disruptive; nothing moves except by command of the foreign directed military and police. Under threat of force, people fake co-operation and then provide assistance to their fathers, brothers and sons in the Resistance. The recruits take the money and turn their arms over to the Resistance. The paid village informants are double agents or identified by their neighbors and targeted by insurgents.

The Afghan collaborators, Washington’s closest allies, are seen as corrupt traitors; transient rulers who have their bags packed and US passports in hand, ready to flee when the US is forced to exit. All the programs, “reconstruction” funds, training missions and “civic programs” have failed to win the allegiance of the Afghan people, now as in the past as well as in the future, because they are seen as part of the US military occupation ultimately based on violence.

Ten Reasons Why the Afghan Resistance Will Win

1. The Resistance has deep roots in the population – family community, linguistic and cultural ties which the US does not possess nor can “invent”; nor can these ties be bought, traded or replicated by their Afghan ‘collaborators’ or imposed by propaganda.
2. The Resistance has fluid borders and broad international support especially with Pakistan but also with other anti-imperialist, Islamic groups who provide arms and volunteers and who engage in actively attacking the logistical transport supply lines of US-NATO military in Pakistan. They also pressure overseas US client regimes like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia opening multiple fronts.
3. Widespread infiltration, voluntary, active and passive support of the Resistance among the US recruited and trained Afghan military and police results in crucial intelligence on troop movements. Desertions and absenteeism undermines “military competence”.
4. The scope and breadth of Resistance activity over extends the imperial armies at its current strength and causes it to rely on unreliable Afghan security, who have no stomach for killing their brethren, especially when directed against communities with relatives or ethnic kin.
5. Resistance allies are more loyal, less corrupt and reliable because of deeply shared beliefs. US allies are loyal only because of ephemeral monetary gratification and the temporary presence of US military force.
6. The Resistance appeals to the people in the name of a return to law and order in everyday life, which preceded the disruptive invasion. The US promise of positive outcomes following a successful war, have no popular resonance after a decade long destructive occupation.
7. The US has no belief system that can compete with the religious-nationalist-traditionalist appeal of the Resistance to the vast majority of village, small town and displaced rural population.
8. The Resistance’s support of Iraqi, Palestinian and other anti-imperialist forces has a positive appeal among the Afghan people who have seen the destructive results of US wars in Iraq and proxy wars in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The US backed Israeli assault of Lebanon and the humanitarian ship destined for Palestine and the highly visible presence of Zionist militants in the US government, repels the more politically aware opinion leaders in Afghanistan.
9. Afghans have, by force of circumstances, longer staying power in resisting the US military occupation, than the US people who have other, far more pressing needs and the US military with growing commitments in the Gulf.
10. The Afghan Resistance does not normally kill civilians in combat missions since the US troops and NATO are clearly identified. Whereas, the opposite is not true. The Afghans who are part of the villages in occupied communities are subject to assassinations by “Special Forces” and drone bombings. In these circumstances ordinary people suffer the same military assaults as Resistance fighters.

A Failed Mission: The Incapacity to Build a Reliable, Effective Afghan Mercenary Army

A US government audit published in late June of this year demolished the Obama regime’s claims that it is succeeding in building an effective Afghan mercenary army and police capable of buttressing the current client regime in Kabul. The Report, based on a detailed analysis and field observations argues that the Obama Pentagon relies on “standards [which are] woefully inadequate, inflating the abilities of Afghan units that Mr. Obama called “core to our mission.”1 In other words, Obama continues to play the con game, which he inaugurated during his electoral campaign with his phony promises of ‘change’ and “ending the wars”, and continued with his bail out of Wall Street in the name of ‘saving the economy’. He followed up by escalating the war in Afghanistan by sending 30,000 more troops and increasing military and police expenditures to $325.5 billion, approximately 132% higher than the last year of the Bush Administration.2

The Obama regime’s phony claims of progress were based on self-serving bureaucratic and technical criteria, rather than the actual fighting performance and behavior of the Afghan mercenary army. The military command’s reports and progress reports were based on how many courses were taught, the length and breadth of training and the amount and quality of arms and equipment supplied to the Afghan troops. As the number of Afghan units passing the “training missions” increased from zero to 22, between 2008-2009, the Pentagon claimed extraordinary progress. To correct the errors, the Pentagon has turned to “field assessments by commanders” – which is also failing, since the officials have a vested interest in inflating the performance of the Afghans mercenaries under their command in order to secure promotions and merit badges. The Obama regime plans to increase the Afghan military from 97,000 in November 2009 to 134,000 in October 2010, to 171,000 in October 2011 a 75% increase in two years.3 The same increase occurs with the police: from 93,800 in November 2009 to 134,000 in October 2011 a 43% increase.

Obama’s claim that the war is gradually being handed over to the US “trained” Afghan army is fully belied by two other basic facts. The White House has requested $1.9 billion – double the 2009 level under Bush – for military construction of new bases and installations for a “long term presence” (which the con-man Obama claims does not mean a “permanent presence”). Secondly, using the familiar double-talk of the Obama regime, Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff now argue that Obama’s campaign promise of beginning the retirement of troops in July 2010 really means “a day we start transitioning … not a date we’re leaving”, which would be based on “conditions on the ground … a several year process” (Gates Testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee, December 2, 2009). In plain English “transitioning” is not “leaving”. It means staying, fighting and occupying Afghanistan for decades. It means adding more troops, building more bases. It means spending another $400 billion over the next 5 years. And it means doubling the number of American soldiers killed and wounded over the next 3 years, from over seven thousand to fourteen thousand.

The criteria of ‘success’ in Afghanizing the war is belied by the growing Americanizing of the bases, combat troops and expenditures. The reason is that the Afghan army figures are as phony as Obama’s promises. The number of US personnel is growing because the Afghan political puppets are so corrupt, ineffective and despised by their people that Washington has to surround them with “monitors”, “advisers” and “operatives” who in turn are totally incapable of relating to the needs and practices of the communities. Increased US “aid” has led to greater corruption, more unfulfilled promises and greater animosity from the would be popular recipients.

The fundamental problem is that this is an American war and that is why Afghan units suffer a 50% reduction of strength due to at a minimum, a 20% desertion rate, admitted by US military officials.4 In other words, the Afghan recruits, take the money and their arms and return to their villages, neighborhoods, families, and perhaps not a few, use their military training, joining with the National Resistance. With such high levels of disaffection among Afghan recruits and even officials it is not surprising that the Resistance has such high quality intelligence on US troop movements. Given the degree of disaffection it is not surprising that some of the US intelligence collaborators are double agents or vulnerable to exposure and execution. Faced with a billion dollar recruitment program with high rates of desertion and the “turning of guns on their mentors,” the White House, Pentagon and Congress refuse to recognize the reality that the imperial occupations is the source of the resistance of almost the whole people. Instead they call for more trainees, more funds for “training programs”, more “transparent” mercenary contractors.

The reality is that with a bigger American occupation, with escalating military expenditures, the Resistance is growing, surrounding the major cities, targeting meetings in the center of Kabul and rocketing the biggest US military bases around the country. It is clear that the US has lost the war politically and is in the process of losing it militarily.

Despite the most advanced military technology, the drones, the Special Forces, the increase in the number of trainees, advisers, NGOers and the building of more military bases, the Resistance is winning. The White House by adding to the millions of displaced and murdered and maimed Afghans is increasing the hostility of the vast majority of the Afghans. Civilian killings are turning more and more of their military recruits into deserters and “unreliable” soldiers. Some of whom are ‘turned’ into committed combatants for the ‘other side’. As in Indo-China, Algeria and elsewhere, a popular, highly motivated guerrilla resistance army, deeply embedded in the national-religious culture of an oppressed population is proving more resistant, enduring and victorious over an alien high tech imperial army. Obama’s ‘rule or ruin’ Afghan War, sooner rather than later, will ruin America and end his shameful presidency.

  1. Financial Times, June 7, 2010, p1. []
  2. Congressional Research Service, FY 2010 Supplemental for Wars … June 2010. []
  3. Congressional Research Service 2010, p 13. []
  4. Congressional Research, p.14. []

10 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. MichaelKenny said on June 16th, 2010 at 8:48am #

    There’s actually a much simpler reason why the war in Afghanistan (like Iraq!) is being lost: in fourth generation warfare, the state party always loses. Thus, the war was lost before it even started and that was the lesson of Vietnam that America refused to learn. This time, the sense of defeat will be even greater, particularly without the “long-haired student” alibi of that time, and, with the cold war over, no country will want to see the US “restored” to its previous position.

  2. bozh said on June 16th, 2010 at 9:09am #

    No money, no wars. So, US either thinks or knows there are monies available to do whatever it wishes in afgh’n.
    Anid it is forever for us to guess why US is in afgh’n and for the clericy to know.
    The clericy [special knowledge of few people] must know why is it in afgh’n!

    For one thing US and/or US-nato can always make us pay for the wars by increasing prices and/or taxation.
    The chosen specialists or masters of warfare always have constant and renewable sources for soldiering; mostly thru schhooling, but also TV, movies, media.

    And wars now are not an either-or proposition; it is graded win or loss.
    but the telos remains the same; at least, by checking my own brain and protreptic value of history.
    Aah, but what is it? Fortunato, we know with absolute certainty that all wars are waged for land; ‘explanations’ for it given by thousand and one reason.

    I don’t know why i am saying this? Every govt knows this? But not its people!
    And this post wld never appear in nyt! So, only ten people wld read this post? tnx

  3. duaner said on June 16th, 2010 at 11:21am #

    Well bozh, I read your post, so that’s one at least. I’ve read many of your posts, and find them all to be very insightful – although at times they are a bit impenetrable.

    Allow me a suggestion: try to eliminate the use of obscure foreign words in your posts (ex: telos, protreptic). In your post for this article, both of those words could have been replaced by more accessible words, without any loss of meaning. I like to think I have an extensive vocabulary, but I admit I had to look those two up. I suppose I should thank you for expanding my vocabulary.

    Why worry about grammar and word choice? I suppose it depends on your purpose when posting. If you are actually trying to communicate your obviously extensive knowledge to readers of this site, then I think you need to try a little harder to be clear. If you are simply venting via ranting, by all means carry on. Some will need no help understanding you, some will have to crack open a dictionary, and others will simply not bother to try – more’s the pity, because this particular swine knows a pearl when it sees one.

  4. mary said on June 16th, 2010 at 12:36pm #

    The psychopathic killers have their weapons of war on show in Paris until 18th June.

    http://www.eurosatory.com/#/videos/

    (you need a Flash plug in)

    and Israhell have their own page to entice the buyers

    (www.prweb.com/releases/2010/06imi_eurosatory2010/prweb4123994.htm)

  5. bozh said on June 16th, 2010 at 1:11pm #

    Duaner, thanks for ur remarks. I often give english word for foreign words that the ruling class avoids to use; thus my use of protreptic and telos. In this post i didn’t, because i have at least few times given the english words for most of the words i use and which are routinely shunned by the ruling class.

    At other times, i try to use english that my wife understands. And i have suggested to others to avoid use of foreign words because, in my knowledge, germanic english suffices almost always.

    Protreptic history is shorter than the instructive value of history. And i have to s’mtime hit the dictionary to understand apocryphal, apothegm, exemplar, habeas corpus, tu quo que, antigen, etc.

    I few people have pointed out that they don’t understand me. But if they don’t point which saying[s] they don’t understand, i can’t then explain.
    I do at times say the things the wrong way, but nobody has pointed that to me. I do express my ideas the wrong way, but notice it 2 or 3 days later. By that time it is to late edit the sentences in question.

    But, most of our ideas [i was gonna say mine, but that wld be lying]; as i array them, are understood by most readers.
    Btw, i reread my post to which u replied and found it quite clear!
    But i tell u, it is much easier to ‘teach’ others than first to teach self.

    Most or ?all ‘jews’ understand me quite well. I know that by their reactions: namecalling mostly and some insults.
    On this site;for months now, all ‘jews’t avoid tangling with me! tnx

  6. mary said on June 17th, 2010 at 1:04am #

    WikiLeaks to release video of deadly US Afghan attack

    Whistleblowing website says it is still working to prepare the film of the bombing of the Afghan village of Garani in May 2009

    The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks says it plans to release a secret military video of one of the deadliest US air strikes in Afghanistan in which scores of children are believed to have been killed.

    WikiLeaks announced the move in an email to supporters. It said it fears it is under attack after the US authorities said they were searching for the site’s founder, Julian Assange, following the arrest of a US soldier accused of leaking the Afghanistan video and another of a US attack in Baghdad in which civilians were killed.

    WikiLeaks released the Baghdad video in April, prompting considerable criticism of the US military. It says it is still working to prepare the film of the bombing of the Afghan village of Garani in May 2009.

    The Afghan government said about 140 civilians were killed in Garani, including 92 children. The US military initially said that up to 95 people died, of which about 65 were insurgents. However, American officials have since wavered on that claim and a subsequent investigation admitted mistakes were made during the attack.

    The video could prove to be extremely embarrassing to the US military and risks weakening Afghan support. The US said it was targeting Taliban positions when it used weapons that create casualties over a wide area, including one-tonne bombs and others that burst in the air. But two US military officials told a newspaper last year that no one checked to see whether there were women and children in the buildings.

    The US commander, General David Petraeus, said a year ago that the military’s video of the attack would be made public as evidence that the US assault on Garani was justified. But it was not released.

    In an email to supporters, Assange said WikiLeaks has the Garani video and “a lot of other material that exposes human rights abuses by the US government”.

    Last week, it was revealed that US authorities are trying to make contact with Assange to press him not to publish information the Pentagon says could endanger national security. Assange cancelled an appearance in Las Vegas last Friday.

    In his email, Assange also calls on supporters to protect the website from “attack” by the authorities following the detention of a US soldier, Bradley Manning, who was arrested in Iraq after admitting to a former hacker that he leaked the Garani and Baghdad videos to WikiLeaks.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jun/16/wikileaks-us-military-afghanistan-garani
    ~~~~~~~~~
    My PS >If ‘they’ don’t shut down Assange first in whichever way is decided upon.

  7. Rehmat said on June 17th, 2010 at 3:56am #

    Well – according to Israel War Party, the Islamic Republic is gaining from Washington’s wars.

    The con-journalists at Foreign Policy Journal (FPJ) always get upset whenever something happens which is not in the interest of the US-Israel-EU axis of evil. On June 15, 2010 – the FPJ published an article by some Afghan-Australian ‘Middle East expert, Dr. Ehsan Azari, who is very upset that Iran Gains From American Strategic Errors. I agree with the end result of his reported American “errors”, which he should have called “blunders”, because when someone keeps repeating the same mistakes under the pressure of hostile pro-Israel lobby groups, those should be called “blunders’ and not “errors”…….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/tehran-gains-from-washingtons-wars-for-israel/

  8. Tfoetoo said on June 17th, 2010 at 11:58am #

    Reading Bozh is not quite like reading Chas Olsen but getting there.

    More proprioseptic than proprioceptic but still entertaining. Dunno how much it does to advance the cause, when compared with Wikileaks…

    Thanks Mary, Assange must be a really great guy. Bradley Manning is hero. Wonder what they’re doing to him, how he’s doing?

  9. bozh said on June 17th, 2010 at 2:25pm #

    Tfoetoo, u another ‘jew’?
    It is awful easy to ‘teach’ others or get personal, but nigh impossible to teach self.
    one of the things u cld learn is to learn to be civil. But u already know ur’ not civil, but why inform me ab it? Beats me!

  10. mary said on June 21st, 2010 at 11:00am #

    A lot of crocodile tears and hypocrisy in the UK today as the death of the 300th soldier is reported. He was blown up in the Helmand province on June 12th and died today in hospital in Birmingham. A long and horrible lingering death.

    300TH BRITISH SOLDIER KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN

    Another tragic landmark has been passed with the 300th British soldier do be killed in Afghanistan. They are now dying at a rate of one every two days in a war which is clearly aimless and unwinnable.

    The average age of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan is 22. Two hundred
    soldiers have been killed in their twenties and 31 teenagers are among the
    death toll.

    David Cameron says he wants the troops to return home from Afghanistan “with heads held high”. His present war policies means an increasing number will only return in a coffin or with missing limbs.

    ********************************
    2) BUDGET DAY STOP THE WAR/CND PROTEST AT PARLIAMENT

    Chancellor George Osborne has forewarned of a slash and burn attack on all public services in his budget, with the exception of defence expenditure, which will be “protected”.

    The Afghan War has cost £11 billion so far, and this year will waste another
    £4 billion. Trident renewal will cost an astronomical £70 billion, more than the total amount the government wants to cut from its budget deficit in the next five years.

    It is the war budget that should be slashed, rather than public services. And all the troops should be brought home to help end the spiral of violence in Afghanistan. The United Nations reported recently that the presence of the British army has only worsened security in the country.

    Join the budget day protest at Parliament, called by Stop the War and CND:

    CUT THE WAR, SCRAP TRIDENT, BRING THE TROOPS HOME
    TUESDAY 22 JUNE 4.30PM – 6.30PM
    PARLIAMENT SQUARE, LONDON