Afghanistan might be about to get much worse

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently said, “We do look toward a victory in Afghanistan.”
Last week's official report says the opposite.

The Afghan economy — measured in GDP — stopped growing in 2012 and has since retrenched.

The number of bombs dropped by the Western coalition in Afghanistan in early 2018 was the highest it's been since 2013.
Suicide attacks in Afghanistan, like those on Monday, went up 50% in 2017. Casualties from complex attacks and suicide bombings are steadily rising. Sectarian attacks tripled in 2017.

America has spent $8.78 billion since 2002 to reduce narcotics production in Afghanistan. But opium growing has steadily increased, with a 63% jump in 2017 alone.

Only 65% of the population presently lives under Afghan government control, after direct US expenditures to Afghan security forces of $78 billion. "The overall trend for the insurgency is rising control over the population," the report states.

So far, 20,318 Defense Department personnel have been wounded in Afghanistan. The number in 2017 was higher than in 2016 and 2015. At present, there are roughly 14,000 US military personnel in Afghanistan, a number slated to increase.

The number of serving Afghan military and police, meanwhile, experienced "a sharp decline" last year. Insider attacks by Afghan soldiers are rising.

There is simply no measurement of this war that isn't going from bad to worse.
Trump is merely the third president to lie to the American people about our failure.

And then this happened.

Rockets and heavy machine guns fired from Afghan government helicopters killed and wounded at least 107 boys and men attending a religious ceremony near the northern city of Kunduz last month, according to a UN report.
“A key finding of this report is that the government used rockets and heavy machine gun fire on a religious gathering, resulting in high numbers of child casualties,” the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said.

According to the report, at least 36 people, including 30 children, were killed and 71 wounded, leading to questions “as to the government’s respect of the rules of precaution and proportionality under international humanitarian law”.

As you might imagine, the mass slaughter of children tends to cause negative responses from armed insurgents.

The Taliban killed at least 41 policemen and soldiers after overrunning two police outposts in the western province of Farah on May 10. Security in Farah province has steadily degraded after NATO turned over control of security to Afghan forces in 2014.

Into this unholy slaughter steps President Trump, who decided that now would be a good time to prepare for war against Iran.
What does this have to do with Afghanistan?
From 1998 to 2001, Iran was at war with al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Then our late 2001 invasion swept away Iran's hated enemy.
Slowly, gradually, Iran's interests in Afghanistan changed.

Today, as Washington looks to exit Afghanistan, Tehran has performed a diplomatic pirouette by providing backing to the Taliban, in order to speed up the American departure and maximize Iranian influence.

Iran's support for the Taliban is currently limited, but that could easily change now.

I know that Washington thinks that it knows what it is doing, but it's record of complete and total failure is hard to ignore.

In summary, the United States has a consistent tendency to aid its supposed nemesis. For two decades, the United States poured treasure into the Middle East and Iran cashed the checks. Washington removed enemies on Iran’s eastern and then western borders. Tehran’s forces can now cross a “land bridge” from Tehran to Beirut, which Washington helped to build.

The explanation for American generosity is that Washington pursued a short-term strategy to remove bad guys and ignored the broader political consequences. Time and again, battlefield success created a power vacuum—into which Iran eagerly stepped.

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The 63% jump in opium production is a 'feature', not a bug.
We ARE keeping the poppy fields safe..
US military admits to guarding, assisting lucrative opium trade.

(NaturalNews, from November 16 2011)

Afghanistan is, by far, the largest grower and exporter of opium in the world today, cultivating a 92 percent market share of the global opium trade. But what may shock many is the fact that the US military has been specifically tasked with guarding Afghan poppy fields, from which opium is derived, in order to protect this multibillion dollar industry that enriches Wall Street, the CIA, MI6, and various other groups that profit big time from this illicit drug trade scheme.

Prior to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Afghanistan was hardly even a world player in growing poppy, which is used to produce both illegal heroin and pharmaceutical-grade morphine. In fact, the Taliban had been actively destroying poppy fields as part of an effort to rid the country of this harmful plant, as was reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on February 16, 2001, in a piece entitled Nation's opium production virtually wiped out (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=gL9scS...).

But after 9/11, the US military-industrial complex quickly invaded Afghanistan and began facilitating the reinstatement of the country's poppy industry. According to the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP), opium cultivation increased by 657 percent in 2002 after the US military invaded the country under the direction of then-President George W. Bush (http://www.infowars.com/fox-news-makes-excus...).

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Mike Taylor

@Mike Taylor
The Gina Haspel CIA director hearing focus on torture torture torture seemed like an easy way to use up all the media space and never ask about anything else the CIA might be doing.

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bygorry

The Aspie Corner's picture

and their Democrat enablers never wanted victory. They wanted money. And they're going to get it, one way or another.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Moon of Alabama has this history of John Bolton and how he has silenced nuclear inspectors

They are running a similar playbook that got us into the Iraq war

And as things get worse elsewhere, like this article points out about Afghanistan, they will possible, or probably, double down and make things worse.

Excellent article. Not that long.

Countdown To War On Iran

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13 users have voted.

@DonMidwest
Which reduced the number of nuclear weapons in the world, that's all. What the f**k is wrong with that? I think Trump is going to have a much harder time, politically, with this one than Dubya had with starting our endless war.

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8 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

earthling1's picture

our rulers have performed admirably feeding the MIC more money and the war machine more American blood.
We trade young lives for fossil fuels, minerals and empire.
The American people don't gain anything.
Corporate America profits handsomely.

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detroitmechworks's picture

That's really what we are obsessed with. Oil, sure, but if they don't have oil, they will be set to work at whatever will create the greatest profit margin.

If we banned Chocolate, You know for a fact that we'd suddenly discover that we absolutely have to Openly invade south America and Equatorial Africa...

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Strife Delivery's picture

@detroitmechworks

If we banned Chocolate

Wow, hey, don't even joke about something like that.

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@Strife Delivery
With ruthless gangsters protecting their supply chains.

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Beware the bullshit factories.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@detroitmechworks

If we banned Chocolate, You know for a fact that we'd suddenly discover that we absolutely have to Openly invade south America and Equatorial Africa...

Capitalization matters.

Un-capitalized, chocolate is that marvelous, theobromine-rich substance without which many of us cannot live.

Capitalized, that makes Chocolate a proper noun, i.e., someone's name. In this case, the name of "The World's Spoiledest Domesticated Cat" ™, who is of course my cat.

In either case, any ban would have the same effect on me:

Wink

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

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What is "victory"? I thought the whole point was to get Bin Laden and that was done a while ago. The conspiracist in me wants to think that there is a connection to the "opioid crisis".

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6 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.