…by Gordon Duff and New Eastern Outlook, Moscow
America’s policy toward Afghanistan and the promise of upcoming negotiations is total fakery. We begin with a simple truth. Under American rule, a unique form of corruption, crippling every region, every economic sector, invading every institution, has left that nation not just hopeless, but in total wreckage, just like the US has done to Syria, Yemen and Iraq and would do to Iran if allowed.
When the US entered Afghanistan in 2001, that nation no longer produced any opium at all. There were no addicts, no poppy growers, no heroin processing plants and no narcotics infrastructure.
Nearly two decades later, a two horned dilemma exists, weaning Afghanistan of its 5 million heroin addicts and the massive narcotics infrastructure that totally controls all American sponsored institutions there and, secondly weaning the CIA of its $60 billion in heroin distribution income worldwide that sponsors Deep State operations, everything from terrorism to regime change operations, around the world.
At the close of 2019, American President Donald Trump, has announced his intention to enter negotiations with what he believes, or may believe, not realistically of course, to be America’s adversaries in Afghanistan.
Of course, the reality is that more sham negotiations in Qatar will ensue with proxies of the Uzbek and Tajik drug lords that American turned to in 2001 who represent themselves as “Pashtun.”
You see, the majority population of Afghanistan is ethnically Pashtun as is much of the border region of Pakistan and even Pakistan’s new president, Imran Khan as well.
The US has tried to represent the Pashtun population of Afghanistan as a minority, claiming they represent 30 to 40 percent of Afghanistan and can be represented by “others” as Pashtuns are notoriously independent and “difficult,” as Alexander the Great might have testified to in 330 BC when he began his invasion from his base in what is modern day Jalalabad, now headquarters of the CIA’s drug empire in Afghanistan.
Here is some background from NPR, from 2013. Note that population figures available from Wikipedia or US State Department sources are unreliable and highly skewed or as Trump would call them, “fake.” The Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and many prominent government officials are Pashtun.
Ezedayar is a Tajik from the Panjshir Valley in the north of the country. That’s the home of the legendary mujahedeen commander Ahmad Shah Massood, who was killed in 2001, and the heart of anti-Taliban resistance. Tajiks have battled Pashtuns militarily and politically for influence in Afghanistan over the years.
Bilqees Roshan, another Afghan senator, is a Pashtun from western Farah province. Sitting in her home amid crumbling and bullet-riddled houses that used to belong to Soviet diplomats in the 1980s, she says only a handful of senators from minority groups support putting ethnicity on the card.
Saifulzul Husseini (right) works in Dashti Barchi, a Hazara neighborhood of Kabul. He believes that ethnicity should be listed on the new identity card.
“I think it’s very harmful,” she says. “In the past 30 years, ethnicity has been misused by people trying to gain more power in the government.”
In the ’90s, Afghanistan’s civil war broke down largely along ethnic lines. To this day, each ethnic group has its chief power broker: Most are former warlords, who cut deals over the distribution of government posts.
Roshan says Afghanistan needs to move beyond ethnic divisions and quota-based thinking. She says keeping ethnicity off the e-taskera is an important step in that direction.”
The real numbers can only be guessed at. First of all, the “Northern Tribes” as some call them were, until the era of Soviet involvement, both migratory and pastoral. That ended as the country was divided into military districts and heavily mined. I spent some hours discussing this effort with former Soviet airborne commander in Afghanistan, Colonel Eugene Khrushchev, now an editor with Veterans Today.
He has led efforts to reach out to his former enemies, as many Americans have done with the Vietnamese over the years, seeking a commonality in purpose to end the spiraling cycle of conflicts that now engulf the world.
I spent much of yesterday with former Mujahedeen commander, Kadir Mohmand, also an editor at Veterans Today.
Let us first deal with issues of why understanding Pashtuns is important. Some years ago, while in Pakistan, I met with military governors of Swat and the then Federally Administered Tribal Regions. I also met with Imran Khan, currently President of Pakistan, and discussed these issues at some length.
Pashtuns in Pakistan number more than 30 million, perhaps up to 40 million but many of them, at least 10 million, are long term refugees from Afghanistan.
The result is incomprehensible were one to use the framework Trump’s briefers refer to. None know the history, not remotely. Let us look at the Durand Line, another piece of diplomatic fakery, where a European power engineered out of malice, careless or both, the mayhem we see today. From National Geographic:
“The Durand Line is the 2,640-kilometer (1,640-mile) border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s the result of an agreement between Sir Mortimer Durand, a secretary of the British Indian government, and Abdur Rahman Khan, the emir, or ruler, of Afghanistan. The agreement was signed on November 12, 1893, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The Durand Line as served as the official border between the two nations for more than one hundred years, but it has caused controversy for the people who live there.
When the Durand Line was created in 1893, Pakistan was still a part of India. India was in turn controlled by the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom ruled India from 1858 until India’s independence in 1947. Pakistan also became a nation in 1947.
Punjabis and Pashtuns
There are two major ethnic groups near the Durand Line. Those two groups are the Punjabis and the Pashtuns. Most Punjabis and Pashtuns are Sunni Muslim. Punjabis are the largest ethnic group in Pakistan. Pashtuns are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.
There are also a lot of Pashtuns in northwestern Pakistan, where they ruled over 103,600 square kilometers (40,000 square miles) of territory, before being defeated by the British in 1847. At the time, the Pashtuns were fighting to prevent the Punjabis from expanding farther into the mountains of southeastern Afghanistan.
The British established the Durand Line after conquering the Pashtuns. Eighty-five percent of the Durand Line follows rivers and other physical features, not ethnic boundaries. It split the Pashtuns into two separate countries.
Afghanistan governs all the Pashtuns on one side of the Durand Line, while Pakistan governs all the Pashtuns on the other. The Pashtuns on the Pakistan side of the border made up more than half of the Pashtun population, but were now under the control of the Punjabis, which made them angry.
The Pashtuns were also angry at the British colonial government.
Throughout history, colonial forces like the British have set boundaries that cause great tension for people who lived in the colony. Because the officials who drew the Durand Line didn’t consider the ethnic groups that lived in the region, today there are many battles along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. On one side is the Pakistani army, made up mostly of Punjabis, and on the other is the Taliban, made up mostly of Pashtuns.”
Now we see it, a 2011 source, clearly identifying Pashtuns as a majority in Afghanistan.
Having admitted that, it is only a short trip back to another reality, that the “Taliban,” isn’t your typical terror organization but rather the military arm of the majority population in Afghanistan, seeking to regain control of their nation from foreign occupation using minority populations as ruling surrogates.
We have, of course, just described the British occupation of India, one that lasted centuries.
We have also described, and no surprise to anyone, how America ended up in its most disastrous military conflict, one I had the misfortune to take part in, that being Vietnam. There, the US “engineered,” through sham and fakery, a “communist rebellion” out of what was the National Liberation Front, a generalized pro-democracy movement opposed to the government emplaced by the US made up of a single Catholic minority family from the North tied to international banking and oil interests aligned with the Eisenhower administration in Washington.
I had some occasion to discuss that failed American effort with Professor Wesley Fischel of Michigan State University, a longtime friend and advisor to onetime Vietnamese President Diem, we might add “ill fated.”
Fischel and a group from East Lansing, called MSUG, were tasked with setting up the South Vietnamese government on behalf of the US.
The reason we are looking at this deeply parallel effort is that it represents forgotten or rather “once forgotten” history that has led America to disaster. However, in 2018, Politico published the following:
“A little over 50 years ago, another national scandal overtook Michigan State University, an academic and political cause célèbre that seemed to leave the school indelibly associated with—even, in some quarters, blamed for—nothing less than America’s war in Vietnam. Today the fateful exercise in nation-building and government-and-gown cooperation known as the Michigan State University Advisory Group rates but a footnote in popular histories of the war, if that. Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick’s recent 18-hour documentary series The Vietnam War does not mention it at all.
In 1966, when news of the MSU project broke widely, it became notorious thanks to the exposé-packaging skills of a San Francisco editor named Warren Hinckle and his muckraking magazine, Ramparts. The cover of Ramparts’ April 1966 issue was one of the era’s definitive magazine images: a buxom caricature of Madame Nhu, the sister-in-law of South Vietnamese president Ngô Đình Diệm and the most visible and provocative voice of his regime, as a sweatshirt-clad MSU cheerleader.
The story inside, “The University on the Make,” was co-written by Hinckle and two other Ramparts editors, Robert Scheer and Sol Stern. It featured a confessional-but-accusatory introduction by an apostate ex-MSU political scientist named Stanley Sheinbaum. The main article recounted, in tones by turns gossipy and denunciatory, how an overambitious university had sold its soul, become a shameless CIA front, and helped launch a ruthless dictatorship and wasteful war by miring itself in a self-serving “Vietnam Adventure,” complete with the servants, spacious villas, free-flowing booze and other perks of the neocolonial elite.
This indictment has been taken up lately by Jeremy Kuzmarov, a history professor at the University of Tulsa, who denounced MSU’s role in “the making of a police state in South Vietnam” in his 2012 book Modernizing Repression and in a critique of the Burns/Novick documentary for HuffPost. It’s an appealing narrative, especially in light of the blunders and tragedies that ensued in Vietnam. But the full story is more complicated, interesting and, perhaps, instructive.
The differences are those of both the times and methodologies. In 2001, Afghanistan was invaded to find a dozen alleged al Qaeda operatives inside that nation and a series of imaginary underground military fortresses housing tens of thousands of trained terrorists, as reported by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. From the archives of the US Department of Defense, dated December 2, 2001, an interview between “journalist” Tim Russert and Rumsfeld, one where fantasy ran “hog wild:”
“Russert: The search for Osama bin Laden. There is constant discussion about him hiding out in caves, and I think many times the American people have a perception that it’s a little hole dug out of a side of a mountain.
Rumsfeld: Oh, no.
Russert: The Times of London did a graphic, which I want to put on the screen for you and our viewers. This is it. This is a fortress. This is a very much a complex, multi-tiered, bedrooms and offices on the top, as you can see, secret exits on the side and on the bottom, cut deep to avoid thermal detection so when our planes fly to try to determine if any human beings are in there, it’s built so deeply down and embedded in the mountain and the rock it’s hard to detect. And over here, valleys guarded, as you can see, by some Taliban soldiers. A ventilation system to allow people to breathe and to carry on. An arms and ammunition depot. And you can see here the exits leading into it and the entrances large enough to drive trucks and cars and even tanks. And its own hydroelectric power to help keep lights on, even computer systems and telephone systems. It’s a very sophisticated operation.
Rumsfeld: Oh, you bet. This is serious business. And there’s not one of those. There are many of those. And they have been used very effectively. And I might add, Afghanistan is not the only country that has gone underground. Any number of countries have gone underground. The tunneling equipment that exists today is very powerful. It’s dual use. It’s available across the globe. And people have recognized the advantages of using underground protection for themselves.
Russert: It may take us going from cave to cave with a great group of men I know in the United States military, the tunnel rats, to try to flush out Osama bin Laden.”
Of course, two decades later none of this was ever found and the US now publicly backs al Qaeda in Yemen, Syria and across the Sahel as a Saudi financed “proxy force” for regime change, exactly what it was in 2001 and years before as well.
Returning to the Pashtun issue, the heart of the upcoming “soon to fail” negotiations, we recognize that we have a majority ethnic group, highly militarized, with an extremely strong identity, whose population numbers not 50 million in the region but closer to 70 million with a probable 10 million or more who would return to Afghanistan from Pakistan, or so Imran Khan, now President of Pakistan, has predicted, were American to finally withdraw.
The broader challenge, one resembling that Turkey and other nations face some hundreds of kilometers as well east, parallels the fate of the Kurds, who seek a nation as well but were denied due to European “line drawing” efforts, now clearly seen as malicious in nature.
Trump, most probably misled and woefully ignorant, may well have some knowledge that his proposed drawdown of troops in Afghanistan will run into problems.
He is assuming that the tens of thousands of private contractors under CIA, State Department, USAID and other, unnamed “black entities” will be capable of maintaining not just heroin production but domestic chaos as well, the real purpose of America’s occupation.
However, the Taliban has other ideas and the military might and will to weigh in, despite two decades of drone assassinations and a US occupation that is now largely a few thousand terrified troops huddled in makeshift “fortresses” of their own, albeit largely above ground.
Their position is clear:
- America’s drug operations must end
- All opium production must halt, and the US must take financial responsibility in transitioning Afghanistan from a narco-state to a non-criminal economy
- Programs to provide hope for 5 million heroin addicts, “hooked” by a US backed narcotics industry, will require financing as well
America has created an economic environment in Afghanistan, which will, as intended, cripple Afghanistan for a century. Gems and rare earth elements, other undiscovered resources, are open for plunder and are likely to remain so.
Regional political discord, threats against Iran, CIA plots in the “stans” and America’s Cold War on Pakistan, are Trump’s additions to a failed policy left over from Bush (43).
Factually, there will be no “light at the end of the tunnel” as long as America denies culpability in war crimes, responsibility for engineered mayhem on a global scale and for a worldview steeped in delusion.
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”