No, 'The Longest War'
in US History Is Not Over
What the U.S. did to Afghanistan and its people is not a series
of mistakes or good intentions gone awry, but crimes. And
there's still no end in sight.
By Brian Terrell
September 09, 2021 -- "Information
from the White House on Aug. 31, President Joe Biden lied to
the people of the U.S. and to the world: “Last night in Kabul,
the United States ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan — the
longest war in American history.” The U.S. war on Afghanistan
did not end — it has only adapted to technological advances and
morphed into a war that will be more politically sustainable,
one more intractable and more easily exportable.
As the president admitted, “We will maintain the
fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries. We
just don’t need to fight a ground war to do it. We have what’s
called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike
terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground—or
very few, if needed.”
days before, on the evening of Thursday, Aug. 26, hours after a
suicide bomb was detonated at the gate of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai
International Airport killing and wounding scores of Afghans
trying to flee their country and killing 18 U.S. soldiers,
President Biden spoke to
the world, “outraged as well as heartbroken,” he said. Many of
us listening to the president’s speech, made before the victims
could be counted and the rubble cleared, did not find comfort or
hope in his words. Instead, our heartbreak and outrage were only
amplified as Joe Biden seized the tragedy to call for more war.
“To those who carried out this attack, as well as
anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive.
We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he
threatened. “I’ve also ordered my commanders to develop
operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and
facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our
time, at the place we choose and the moment of our choosing.”
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president’s threatened “moment of our choosing” came one day
later, on Friday, Aug. 27, when the U.S. military carried out a
drone strike against what it said was an ISIS-K “planner” in
Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province. The U.S. military’s
claim that it knows of “no civilian casualties” in the attack is
contradicted by reports from
‘Rickshaws Were Burning’
saw that rickshaws were burning,” one Afghan witness said.
“Children and women were wounded and one man, one boy and one
woman had been killed on the spot.” Fear of an ISIS-K
counterattack further hampered evacuation efforts as the U.S.
embassy warned U.S.
citizens to leave the airport. “This strike was not the last,” said Biden.
On Aug. 29, another U.S. drone strike killed
a family of 10 in
drone strike in
history occurred in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, when the CIA
identified Taliban leader Mullah Omar, “or 98-percent probable
it was he,” but the Hellfire missile launched by a Predator
drone killed two unidentified men while Mullah Omar escaped.
two recent instances of “force and precision” ordered by Biden
20 years later marked the presumed end to the war there just as
it had begun. The intervening record has not been much better
and, in fact, documents exposed by whistleblower Daniel
that the U.S. government is aware that 90 percent of its drone
strike victims are not the intended targets.
Ahmadi, who was killed
in the Aug. 29 drone
strike in Kabul along with nine members of his family, seven of
them young children, had been employed by a California based
humanitarian organization and had applied for a visa to come to
the U.S., as had Ahmadi’s nephew Nasser, also killed in the same
attack. Nasser had worked with U.S. Special Forces in the Afghan
city of Herat and had also served as a guard for the U.S.
Whatever affinity the surviving members of
Ahmadi’s family and friends might have had with the U.S. went up
in smoke, that day. “America is the killer of Muslims in every
place and every time,” said one relative who attended the
funeral, “I hope that all Islamic countries unite in their view
that America is a criminal.” Another mourner, a colleague of
Ahmadi, said “We’re now much more afraid of drones than we are
of the Taliban.”
The fact that targeted killings like those
carried out in Afghanistan and other places from 2001 to the
present are counterproductive to the stated objectives of
defeating terrorism, regional stability or of winning hearts and
minds has been known by the architects of the “war on terror,”
at least since 2009.
to WikiLeaks, we have access to a CIA document from
that year, “Making High-Value Targeting Operations an Effective
Counterinsurgency Tool.” Among the “key findings” in the CIA
report, analysts warn of the negative consequences of
assassinating so-called high-level targets (HLT). “The potential
negative effect of HLT operations, include increasing the level
of insurgent support …, strengthening an armed group’s bonds
with the population, radicalizing an insurgent group’s remaining
leaders, creating a vacuum into which more radical groups can
enter, and escalating or de-escalating a conflict in ways that
favor the insurgents.”
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