Middle East

Jan 29, 2018

Afghanistan is no closer to peace, despite what the US claims

16 years on and despite peace talks, the corrupt Kabul government is still on the back-foot in its war with the Taliban.

Professor Damien Kingsbury

Crikey international affairs commentator

If one was to believe the US UN ambassador Nikki Haley’s latest statement on the war in Afghanistan, it is going well for the US-backed government and the Taliban is moving towards peace. The reality is somewhat different.

The weekend’s bomb blast in Kabul which killed more than 100 people and injured well over 200 came after an attack against the Save the Children's office in Kabul, and last week’s suicide attack against the city’s main five-star hotel. These are not the signs of a war going well or of an enemy ready to concede.

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9 thoughts on “Afghanistan is no closer to peace, despite what the US claims

  1. James O'Neill

    One needs to remember the original ostensible reason for the invasion of Afghanistan. The official version was that the then Taliban government refused to hand over bin Laden whom the Americans said organised the events of 9/11 from his cave in Afghanistan. Even if that were true (and it was not) then how does one justify still being in Afghanistan more than 16 years later and bin Laden long dead (on either version)?
    The truth is much closer to the geopolitical reality of (a) Afghanistan’s location viz a viz China and the “stans” plus Russia; its huge mineral wealth, especially so-called rare earths; and being the source of 95% of the world’s heroin.
    Australia, which had no business invading in the first place, is still there, and the excuses, “training (sic) the Afghans” are less plausible by the day. Just what exactly does the Australian government hope to achieve in 2018 that it was unable to achieve in the past 16 years? One waits in vain for an even remotely plausible argument.

    1. Rais

      I remember a young Afghan friend whose father had died in the fighting during the Soviet occupation saying that he did not know whether or not his father was really a “martyr.” He was relieved when the Taliban won control of most of the country, set up a relatively incorrupt government and reduced sharply the growing of opium poppies. The latter action is probably what doomed them. 9/11, allegedly committed by Saudis, provided the pretext for invasion of faraway Afghanistan and the rest is ongoing history. The drug market must be fed so the production cannot be shut down.

      1. old greybearded one

        Incorrupt bulldust. Just differently corrupt. This is the group that killed people for listening to music and bashed them for flying kites.

    2. bref

      A congressional report estimates the war in Iraq & Afghanistan has cost about $2.4 trillion since 2007. One can only imagine how different the landscape would be if the money had been spent on waging peace not war, or if they had done & spent nothing at all. Instead as usual they have acted like a bull in a china shop in a war they’re never going to win (they can barely even articulate what they’re fighting for) and they’re well on the way to sending themselves broke over it.

    3. old greybearded one

      There is little doubt that bin Laden organised 9/11, just not from a cave. He was running a camp. You have forgotten or did not know where bin Laden came from. However, I think if you look at oil, you will find that Hamad Karzai, the Yanks’ tame president was an oil pipeline negotiator pre 9/11. I have never been in any doubt that the Taliban was a creature of Pakistan’s ISI agency and paid for by Saudi businessmen, or government officials. Also remember that bin Laden was one of the Mujahedin funded by the US in the 80s.

      1. James O'Neill

        On the contrary, there is every doubt that OBL was responsible. I have certainly not forgotten his origins nor his role in Operation Cyclone, and have published several articles on precisely that issue.
        One of the great problems with addressing our role in the illegal Afghan war is the mental block people have over the real responsibility for 9/11.
        As David Griffin among a number of excellent authors has pointed out, the official 9/11 story requires a great deal more than Coleridge’s willing suspension of disbelief.

  2. Justin Thyme

    For more than a century Western powers have failed militarily in Afghanistan. Even the Americans read some history, so there must be a reason. If it was just minerals then there many easier places to get them.

  3. AR

    The Great Game goes on, for the same reasons which have been clear since Alexander sauntered by and left hellenic genes throughout Nuristan & Chitral.
    The players have changed but the tune remains.

  4. Evil Garry

    Is there anyone outside the Drumpf administration who actually believes anything that comes out of Nikki Haley’s mouth. She has even less credibility than his lickspittle of a press secretary.

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