Central Asian Desk
A great song from the 60’s, Time Has Come Today by the Chambers Brothers…….and as in the song the time has come for you to face reality…..and reality is Afghanistan. Ir a better title might have been….Afghanistan: The Forgotten War.
In the year of our Lord, 2014, US troops will be leaving Afghanistan and we shall leave the country to its own devices.
Now the question is going around….will Afghanistan become the next Iraq? I am so glad you asked! Maybe not the question on your lips but international geeks like me it deserves some thought.
When the Russians pulled out in 1989 there was an immediate vacuum….and the Taleban waltzed in and took control and the rest, as they say, is history.
And now another invasion force will leave and the country once again will be to their own devices….this time the world will expect a different outcome…..for you see the US pressed for a democracy and the country has had some, well a couple of elections by now…..and almost every time they have been contentious……so what does the world expect with this withdrawal?
A former US Air Force officer, Justin Pavoni, that served two tours in country has come up with the perfect checklist for when the US finally walks away from Afghanistan……..
- Behind the scenes the United States will broker a handshake deal with the Taliban in vain hopes that they do not simply overrun the country again and uproot the Kabul government. This has been going on for years. It is also the primary motivation behind the recent Bergdahl prisoner exchange.
- An Active Duty military drawdown from theater will be followed by the eventual announcement that the “last” American boots are off the ground in Afghanistan. Instead of conventional active duty troops the United States will keep a small contingent of extra-governmental and special operations operators (CIA, private military contractors, JSOC personnel) in theater. Sorties will still be flown in country but all active duty airmen will launch from one of the permanent bases in theater (e.g. Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar). American aviators will drop bombs with “civilian” controllers (in very limited areas) but will be hesitant to do so with exclusively Afghani personnel on the mic (the vast majority of the country).
- Some of the military gear is being shipped home as part of the military’s retrograde equipment program but the much of it “in theater” is likely to stay exactly where it is. From a financial perspective it would be more efficient to let it sit in the Afghan dust forever because the cost of transportation far outweighs the value of the equipment. Eventually I suspect much of it will be turned over to the supervision of an inept Afghani government or sold to other foreign nations somewhere along the silk-road (sound familiar?). This is a real-world example of how the military industrial complex works.
- To “compensate” the United States government, Kabul is likely to “buy” some military gear at a greatly discounted rate. Considering the fact that the entire GDP of Afghanistan is less than $35 billion (much of which comes from US service-members shopping at the base bazaar), it should be obvious that Afghanistan can’t actually pay for the equipment itself. Therefore the United States is likely to “help” them through the provision of foreign aid and a fiat money loan presumably coordinated by the IMF (which of course does not expect to actually be paid back except through further fiat loans). The net effect will be an attempt by the United States to buy soft power in yet another foreign administration and to justify government spending (despite the obvious losses) as a statistical contribution to American GDP.
- A little bit of time will pass – say, for example, one or two years after the removal of ground troops. There will be small news stories along the way about a skirmish here or there. Most incidents will go unreported as most news agencies will be evacuated from large portions of the country.
- The Kabul government’s deal with the Taliban will eventually fall apart. The Afghani military (that is entirely infiltrated by Taliban) will fall apart, and the United States government will be faced with the question of whether or not they want to ramp up bombing in Afghanistan again (sound familiar?).
- Some Talibani soldier will execute a former Kabul government loyalist and will publish their video on the Internet. People will justifiably be outraged by the cruelty of such an act. There will be calls by the press for the “international community” to do something. Women are also highly likely to be oppressed in some form or another. Despite the utterly disastrous and counterproductive occupation of Afghanistan, it is a credit to the United States’ effort that the situation for women in the country has been much improved. This will not last and unfortunately, this situation creates a lot of potential danger for women in the absence of American imperial protection.
- The Taliban will take over a portion of the country – likely in the largely Pashtun areas surrounding Kandahar. They will focus their efforts on remote outposts and will start to take command of former American outposts and military weaponry (just like they did with Soviet weaponry). The ANA and/or ANP in that area will completely fold – they will either run away or surrender (sound familiar?).
- The Taliban, although presently weakened, will eventually start to gain momentum in the country. They will also garner support from foreign fighters who will flood the country. At this point the neo-conservative and neo-liberal war maniacs in D.C. will start to bang the drums for more American intervention in the region (sound familiar?). Eventually the president, whoever it is at the time, will concede. An increased bombing campaign will be authorized and the president will claim that it’s a limited action in that no “boots are on the ground.” This of course means no conventional active duty soldiers. The Special Forces and paramilitary types will have never left but they will be ill-equipped to fight the larger Taliban on their own. The war authorization will not be debated and the new war will not be declared. The president will act unilaterally using either the War Powers Resolution or a United Nations declaration and international consensus (which has no legal relevance) to lawfully protect him or herself. Congress will ignore the situation (being conveniently relieved of their responsibility to commit to a “yea” or “nay” vote and thus subject themselves to public scrutiny). Moral authority for such action will remain vague and most people will refuse to take any responsibility for their individual actions.
- Soldiers will pretend they’re defending the Constitution or will be entirely ignorant to the fact that such a document holds zero legal authority with regards to war in the modern American government. As such they will do exactly as they are ordered or they will be sent to prison.
- The Supreme Court will ignore any cases brought before it. Any alleged standing in court will be dismissed as irrelevant under the “political question” doctrine.
- The increased war spending will be monetized as required by the Federal Reserve System.
- Most Americans will continue to vote for their local zombie. They will be entirely unsatisfied with the Congress but will support their district’s incumbent nonetheless – it is the other ones that are the problem after all. Those who care enough to speak out will largely continue to pay their taxes because the IRS backlash will be individually devastating if they try to withhold their finances from perpetual war. Feeding their children will understandably take precedence in their mind and the war machine will carry on.
The future does not look bright for the country with our departure……if one wants a good look at the future then look to Iraq. But there is one saving grace….the US will have about 10,000 troops in the country……and just how is that a positive sign?
The last election showed the deep divisions in the country and the ideology……..those divisions can only get deeper and more violent with the departure of the only thing keeping the country together…….the good old U S of A…..
Look for the Northern Alliance to walk away from the power sharing deal the US helped broker……in case you are not sure who the NA is let me assist…..they are the ones that did the most to defeat the Russians….they are the ones that fought the Taleban…..they are the ones that helped the US when we invaded in 2001…..in short they are the only people in Afghanistan that we can trust…..they will be waiting for Ghani to screw up and they will rise in revolt.
America’s grand experiment of democracy will most likely break down as one warlord against another and the Taleban as the thief in the woodpile…..waiting for the best moment to strike. Afghanistan will return to the days of yore….the days of constant fighting and destruction and democracy will be the final victim of this American experiment.
The Us has signed a deal for Afghanistan……….
Afghanistan and the United States signed a long-awaited security pact today that will allow US forces to remain in the country past the end of the year. At a ceremony held at the presidential palace in Kabul, newly appointed national security adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar signed the document along with US Ambassador James Cunningham. The deal will allow about 10,000 American troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends Dec. 31. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai had refused to sign it despite US threats of a full withdrawal in the absence of legal protections for American forces. US officials have said that the delay in the deal’s signing does not affect plans for next year.
A second agreement allowing NATO troops to stay in the country was also signed between Afghanistan and NATO during the same ceremony. President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who was sworn into office a day earlier, told the assembled crowd that the agreement signaled a fundamental shift in the country’s relations with the world. “This agreement is only for Afghan security and stability,” he said. “These agreements are in our national interest. The Bilateral Security Agreement will pave the ground for Afghanistan to take control.” Government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also welcomed the agreement as beneficial to the country. “It has been signed after very careful considerations,” he said, adding that “the BSA is not a threat to our neighbors. It will help strengthen peace and stability in the region.”
Let’s be honest….Afghanistan signed this deal as a way for the government to hold onto power….they will use the presence of troops to control the situation…….the Afghan army is no better prepared to help the country as the Iraqi army was……
In short even with the departure of the bulk of American forces….this war is far from over.