Afghanistan: ‘White Man’s Burden’ Lifted?

English poet Rudyard Kipling’s spirit may breathe a sigh of relief now that President Joe Biden has decided to end the latest March of Folly into Afghanistan. Kipling immortalized the phrase “White Man’s Burden”, used as an excuse for European-American imperialism. (And Barbara Tuchman’s, “March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam”, published in 1984, is a well worth reading again.)

There can be many a slip between cup and lip but, for the nonce, it does seem as though the Western White (U.S. and NATO troops) will be out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11 — leaving widespread rubble for which the countries who sent them there will be responsible, yet miserly in helping repair.

Artificial ‘Light At the End of the Tunnel’

In Afghanistan, as was the case with the war in Vietnam, U.S. generals and courtier pundits lied through their teeth. They continually lied about the progress they were making, as Craig Whitlock makes clear in excruciating detail in his Dec. 2019 Washington Post report The Afghanistan Papers A secret history of the war: At war with the truth (See: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/ )

You did not have to go through the crucible of Vietnam — or wait for honest reporting from the very few like Whitlock — to discern how Americans, including some presidents, were

— source raymcgovern.com | Ray McGovern | Apr 17, 2021

Nullius in verba


Unfreeze Afghan Funds Amid Humanitarian Crisis

Afghanistan, where women have led protests in response to the Taliban’s order in March to shut down public high schools for girls. The Taliban have also issued a number of other new restrictions. Women have been barred from flying without a male companion. Men and women will no longer be allowed in public parks on the same day. All male government workers must grow beards or risk being fired.

The move prompted U.S. officials to cancel talks with Taliban leaders in Doha last month to address the economic catastrophe in Afghanistan, triggered in part by U.S. sanctions imposed after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan last August.

Meanwhile, aid groups continue to demand the Biden administration and European leaders release frozen reserves from Afghanistan’s central bank, warning, without the funds, Afghanistan faces total collapse. Last month, U.N. Secretary-General Guterres warned the nation’s already dire humanitarian situation is worsening, as a U.N. donors’ conference

— source democracynow.org | Apr 06, 2022

Nullius in verba


Someone fleeing starvation is not considered a refugee

Afghanistan has faced a looming humanitarian crisis since the Taliban took control last August, with millions on the brink of starvation. The U.N. Refugee Agency says 3.4 million Afghans are internally displaced; another 2.6 million Afghans have fled Afghanistan as refugees.

Imagine right now if Ukrainians, instead of being allowed to cross freely into neighboring countries, into the EU, where they don’t require visas — imagine if they were being forced to cross the mountains and sea with smugglers and risk their lives just to escape this war. And that, of course, is the situation for Afghans, as it was for Syrians, as it was for people in most conflicts in the world. They’re caged in by these borders. They’re not able to cross freely without visas.

And when I went to Afghanistan this summer and fall, I went to the border with Iran and witnessed a new wave of Afghans who are displaced, who are fleeing their country, and spoke to a young couple there named Jawad and Shukria, who are the subject of this article that you mentioned, and they had decided to escape the Taliban and were facing this deadly journey through the desert in order to reach safety. And that, unfortunately, is the situation for Afghans.

— source democracynow.org | Mar 18, 2022

Nullius in verba


Biden’s $7 billion Afghan heist

With his Executive Order redefining Afghanistan’s Fiscal Reserve as a slush fund to be disbursed on his whim and with the stroke of his pen, President Biden has taken what may well be the final step in an experiment gone amok. The U.S. first attempted to make Afghanistan into a Western democracy, instead installed a kleptocracy, made Afghans endure 20 years of violence and then left in a whirlwind of chaos. With Biden’s latest move to deprive Afghanistan of its monetary reserves, the nation is likely to come full circle, turning once again into a failed state that, in the absence of economic recovery, will become a breeding ground for extremism and the recruitment of terrorists.

Of the country’s reserves, $7 billion were “parked” in U.S. financial institutions. This is normal procedure for developing countries, with the, now in retrospect, very ironic purpose of keeping funds in a secure place. Watching this latest Biden debacle, Central Banks of multiple countries are now surely contemplating pulling their monies out of U.S. financial institutions to protect them against arbitrary dictatorial disposal.

After the Executive Order was issued, Da Afghanistan Bank — Afghanistan’s U.S.-built Central Bank — issued a statement that was both judicious and, to an American reader,

— source responsiblestatecraft.org | Cheryl Benard, Medea Benjamin, Masuda Sultan | Feb 14, 2022

Nullius in verba


$7 billion of Afghanistan’s federal reserves frozen in the United States

Afghanistan’s central bank is condemning President Biden’s decision to seize $7 billion of Afghan assets frozen in U.S. banks. On Friday, Biden signed an executive order to split the money between the families of 9/11 victims and humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. The United States froze the money after the Taliban seized power six months ago today. The United Nations and many aid groups had been calling on the Biden administration, as well as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to unfreeze all Afghan funds in order to stem Afghanistan’s growing economic and humanitarian catastrophe.

Congressmember Ilhan Omar blasted Biden’s decision. She tweeted, “There wasn’t a single Afghan among the hijackers. Meanwhile, we are giving BILLIONS of dollars to the governments of Saudi Arabia & Egypt who have direct ties to the 9/11 terrorists. Even if this weren’t the case, punishing millions of starving ppl for these crimes is

— source democracynow.org | Feb 15, 2022

Nullius in verba


Afghanistan Faces “Tsunami of Hunger”

The World Food Program is warning Afghanistan is facing a “tsunami of hunger.” The group estimates 23 million Afghans face acute food shortages, including nearly 9 million who are close to starvation. Afghanistan’s economy collapsed after the U.S. and international financial organizations froze Afghan assets after the fall of Kabul.

Earlier this week, Senator Bernie Sanders urged President Biden to take immediate action. Sanders wrote, quote, “Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian catastrophe. I urge the Biden administration to immediately release billions in frozen Afghan government funds to help avert this crisis, and prevent the death of millions of people.”

— source democracynow.org | Jan 21, 2022

Nullius in verba


Britain supported Pakistan as it helped the Taliban kill UK troops

Britain has long trained and supported Pakistan’s military intelligence establishment despite Islamabad aiding Taliban operations in Afghanistan – where 457 British soldiers were killed

Last week, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab made his first trip to Pakistan after the botched withdrawal of troops and civilians from neighbouring Afghanistan in August.

Raab described Pakistan as a “vital partner” as he sought with his Pakistani counterpart to “prevent Afghanistan becoming a hub for terrorist groups.”

Yet known to the British Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence and intelligence services, is that Pakistan has been the leading external backer of the Taliban for several decades.

Former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove has said the Taliban could not have completed its takeover of Afghanistan “without Pakistani backing”.

— source declassifieduk.org | Matt Kennard, Mark Curtis | Jan 3, 2022

Nullius in verba


The Secret History of the U.S. Diplomatic Failure in Afghanistan

On April 14th, President Joe Biden ended the longest war in United States history, announcing that the last remaining American troops in Afghanistan would leave by September 11th. In the following weeks, the Taliban conquered dozens of rural districts and closed in on major cities. By mid-June, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan—the brittle democratic state built by Afghan modernizers, NATO soldiers, and American taxpayers after the 9/11 attacks—appeared to be in a death spiral. Yet its President, Ashraf Ghani, insisted to his cabinet that the Republic would endure. In every meeting, “he assured us, and encouraged us,” Rangina Hamidi, the acting minister of education, said. Ghani reminded them, “America didn’t make a promise that they would be here forever.”

On June 23rd, Ghani and his advisers boarded a chartered Kam Air jet that would take them from Kabul to Washington, D.C., to meet with Biden. As the plane flew above the Atlantic, they sat on the cabin floor reviewing talking points for the meeting. The Afghan officials knew that Biden regarded their government as hopelessly fractious and ineffective. Still, Ghani recommended that they present “one message to the Americans” of resilient unity, which might persuade the U.S. to give them more support in their

— source newyorker.com | Steve Coll, Adam Entous | Dec 20, 2021

Nullius in verba


The people they were at war with, they are still ruling right now

Afghanistan under the new Taliban government faces a humanitarian catastrophe this winter as the United States and other donors have cut off financial aid. The United Nations warns nearly 23 million people in Afghanistan — or more than half the population — face potentially life-threatening food shortages, with nearly 9 million already on the brink of famine. In addition, people face lack of proper healthcare, unemployment and housing shortages.

Then what made them at war in the first place? I mean, like, if they — the people they were at war with, they are still ruling right now. How come they forgive them in 20 years? If that’s the scale of how you forgive people, then they might be willing to forgive Daesh in the 20 years. That’s the first thing that you need to understand. And how did they justify for the past 20 years that taking taxpayers’ money to pay for the school and hospitals in Afghanistan, and now somehow that is not relative, now somehow that is not important? They went in 2001 to justify women’s rights and used that to get into Afghanistan and said that women were being abused. Right now women are not being abused? Women are not starving? Children are not starving? How come they are justifying it right now? How come they are so OK with it right now, now that the same people are ruling the country?

— source democracynow.org | Dec 16, 2021

Nullius in verba