Taliban appeals to American people to ‘rationally’ rethink war effort

Taliban appeals to American people to \'rationally\' rethink war effort
North and South Korea are united in their hatred of Japan
nDirectorate S, the sequel to Ghost Wars, provides an inside look at the gradual diminution of American hopes in its longest running war, writes Heather Mallick.

The never-ending war in Afghanistan looks very much like the Vietnam War, except that the U.S. got out of Vietnam. It took them eight years but they were done.

KABUL, Afghanistan — In a rambling nearly 3,000-word letter issued Wednesday, the Taliban urged the “American people” to press their government to withdraw from Afghanistan, reminding them that the Afghan war is the longest conflict in which they have been embroiled — and at a cost of “trillions of dollars.” The letter was addressed to “the American people, officials of independent non-governmental organizations and the peace loving Congressmen.” 

I accept that all the U.S. learned from this was to make the same mistakes again. War is generational, just like child abuse, I hear.

It repeated the Taliban’s longstanding offer of direct talks with Washington, which the United States has repeatedly refused, saying peace negotiations should be between the Taliban and the Afghan government. The letter promised a more inclusive regime, education and rights for all, including women. However, it seemed to rule out power-sharing, saying they had the right to form a government. 

Taliban addresses \”the American people\” in rambling letter

Canada, canny enough to avoid the Vietnam catastrophe, stayed in the mountains of Afghanistan hunting with the U.S. and 59 NATO allies for nothing definable, permanent or even temporarily reachable. At least we left in 2014. The war has now been dragging on for 18 years.

In the letter, the Taliban railed against widespread corruption in the government and a burgeoning narcotics industry, from which officials say the insurgents make millions of dollars in taxes and tolls, charging those dealing in the drugs to move their illicit cargo to market. Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, the raw material used to make heroin. 
North and South Korea are united in their hatred of Japan
North and South Korea are united in their hatred of Japan

Taliban letter addresses ‘American people,’ urges talks

In 2004, journalist Steve Coll wrote Ghost Wars, a fine history of the CIA, Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden, right up to that last sunny day, Sept. 10, 2001. He has just published a tragic sequel, Directorate S, about what happened next, the CIA’s failure at spycraft and good sense.

The war in Afghanistan has lasted for more than 16 years, and in that time, America’s goals and strategies have changed, “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan reported last month. Mr. Trump has sent 3,000 more troops to train and assist the Afghan army. 

Taliban addresses \”the American people\” in rambling letter

The U.S. could not make things go its way in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan. Part of the reason was Directorate S, a secret covert unit within ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency that had long been backing the Taliban, though Pakistan always denied it.

The Associated PressFILE – In this Nov. 3, 2015 file photo, Afghan Taliban fighters listen to Mullah Mohammed Rasool, the newly-elected leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban, in Farah province, Afghanistan. Despite US President Donald Trump’s pronouncement that there would be no talks with the Taliban following a series of deadly attacks in Kabul, officials say talks continue, but neither side trusts the other and neither believes the other negotiates independently.(AP Photo, File) 0 Shares Email

Taliban urges Americans to pressure Trump and Congress to pull troops from Afghanistan

There was no common cause between the U.S. and Pakistan, never had been. The U.S. doesn’t actually have common cause with anyone beyond temporary self-interest. It’s not in the nature of the beast.

In the letter, the Taliban railed against widespread corruption in the government and a burgeoning narcotics industry, from which officials say the insurgents make millions of dollars in taxes and tolls, charging those dealing in the drugs to move their illicit cargo to market. Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, the raw material used to make heroin.

When Coll introduces us to the mediocre men — only five of 73 people were female — in charge of the world’s most militarized nation, it becomes clear that the CIA and the military are still in VietnamThink. They believe the world is American in its outlook and thinks in American ways. This is untrue, also dumb.

In a rambling nearly 3,000-word letter issued Wednesday, the Taliban urged the “American people” to press their government to withdraw from Afghanistan, reminding them that the Afghan war is the longest conflict in which they have been embroiled — and at a cost of “trillions of dollars.”
Taliban letter addresses 'American people,' urges talks
Taliban letter addresses ‘American people,’ urges talks

The world isn’t rooting for Americans, very much the opposite. Why had ISI — or rather, Directorate S — let bin Laden live in an Abbottabad compound since 2005? Maybe it just felt like it. Maybe it thought it would prevent al Qaeda from attacking Pakistan. Or maybe it treasured the world’s most successful terrorist.

“Our preference is to solve the Afghan issue through peaceful dialogue,” the letter said. “America must end her occupation and must accept all our legitimate rights, including the right to form a government consistent with the beliefs of our people.”

The CIA’s parallel to ISI, a counterterrorism centre known as CTC, was not a desirable place to work until 9-11 made it so. It was like any bureaucracy forced to adapt fast: as Coll writes in his deadpan way, it was mismanaged, underpaid, overworked, filled with rivalries, couldn’t run terror watchlists, didn’t get along with the FBI, just your standard workplace really.

According to research from the Council on Foreign Relations, when women participate in a peace process, the resulting agreement is 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years. Fifteen years after the UN adopted Security Council resolution 1325 in 2000, which called for women’s full participation in peace talks, in 2015 the government of Afghanistan presented its own National Action Plan to implement Resolution 1325, with the broad goal of ensuring women’s effective political participation including in the peace process. However, implementation of the plan has been slow, and women are still underrepresented in peace processes, government institutions, and the workplace.

Taliban extend olive branch to American people

The Americans misunderstood Afghan tribalism, just as they didn’t grasp the difference between Sunni and Shiite when they invaded Iraq. “All you have to do is win,” a general was told by the Obama White House, meaning, one supposes, erase the Taliban. It was a comedy of errors, minus the comedy.

While the reasons for the rise in pessimism range, they can likely be attributed to the drawdown of foreign troops, and with it, a greater sense of insecurity, and the simultaneous resurgence of Taliban power across the country. A recent BBC study found that Taliban fighters now threaten 70 percent of the country. When the Northern Province of Kunduz fell to the Taliban in 2015, they made a point of destroying women’s services like shelters for the abused and women-run radio stations. There were also allegations of rape at the women’s prison and university dormitory.

Taliban reaches out to US with offer of talks

Coll gives us an inside look at the gradual diminution of American hopes. Be like us, they said as they gave Afghans lessons in democracy, a supreme irony now that American democracy seems to be getting distinctly wobbly.

The exemplar of failure, Coll writes, was an investigation into an extraordinary phenomenon on the battlefield: insider murders. U.S.-led forces were being shot by their fellow Afghan soldiers. The 2009 slaughter of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood by Major Nidal Hasan was just the start.

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and the billions spent by the international community on advancing women’s rights, women’s lives in Afghanistan have changed dramatically. Women have gone back to work again, families send their daughters back to school, and today millions of girls attend schools and universities across the country. They hold positions as cabinet ministers and members of parliament-women now make up 28 percent of parliament.

US Intel Community: Afghan Security Will only ‘Deteriorate Modestly This Year’

In 2012, a quarter of all fatalities were in-house. It was unique in warfare and could not be explained. The Americans had to hire armed guards as “guardian angels” to surveil its own army, effectively creating a ludicrous double army to stand and stare at itself.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – as representatives of the will of Afghan nation – asks the American people and the peace loving Congressmen to put pressure on your authorities and demand an end to the occupation of Afghanistan because stubbornly seeking the protraction of this war and existence of a corrupt and ineffective regime here in Kabul will have dreadful consequences for the region and particularly for the stability of America herself,” the letter says.

How the US Benefits From Foreign Aid to Afghanistan

Investigators found that the Afghan killer soldiers weren’t just reacting to cultural outrages like Qu’ran burning. It was more than that.

In a lengthy rebuke of America’s long engagement in Afghanistan, the Taliban letter argued that Mr Trump’s decision to “continue the illegal 17 year old war in Afghanistan” despite America having already incurred “huge casualties and financial losses” would continue an exercise in futility, lambasting the “inexperienced policies of president Trump and his war-monger advisors”.

They had simply changed their minds about which side they were on. It often happened during Ramadan when Afghans expiated religious guilt by shooting Americans in the head.

“In theory, cultural misunderstanding might be overcome through training,” Coll wrote. But if the “broad, fertile belief” was that American soldiers were enemy occupiers, the only answer to that was for the Americans to give up and go home.

Afghan security forces at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul REUTERS/Omar Sobhani The Taliban has released an open letter seeking “peaceful dialogues” and urging Americans to pressure their government to withdraw troops from their nearly two-decade entanglement in Afghanistan.

Daily journalism isn’t sufficient. One must read books like this — by Coll, Jane Mayer, Jeremy Scahill, Masha Gessen — thick with money and disgrace. As nations crash and stumble, I hope there are always subterranean writers like these laying down the history — both the detail and the overview — of what is really going on.

What is going on is terrible, but at least we find out later how truly terrible it was. Then, I take it, the process repeats itself.

The Taliban regularly claims to be undefeatable in Afghanistan, and the letter continues that theme. It says that “3,546 American and foreign soldiers” have been killed in the country and brags that its heroin production, one of its key streams of revenue, has almost doubled.

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Thousands of troops have poured into Afghanistan since Trump announced there would be a broader U.S. role in the country. The increase came at the request of General John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and the leader of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.

Despite their sultry routine and years-long partnership, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir say they’re not together.

The never-ending war in Afghanistan looks very much like the Vietnam War, except that the U.S. got out of Vietnam. It took them eight years but they were done.

I accept that all the U.S. learned from this was to make the same mistakes again. War is generational, just like child abuse, I hear.

Canada, canny enough to avoid the Vietnam catastrophe, stayed in the mountains of Afghanistan hunting with the U.S. and 59 NATO allies for nothing definable, permanent or even temporarily reachable. At least we left in 2014. The war has now been dragging on for 18 years.

They continue: “No matter what title or justification is presented by your undiscerning authorities for the war in Afghanistan, the reality is that tens of thousands of helpless Afghans including women and children were martyred by your forces, hundreds of thousands were injured and thousands more were incarcerated in Guantanamo, Bagram and various other secret jails…

In 2004, journalist Steve Coll wrote Ghost Wars, a fine history of the CIA, Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden, right up to that last sunny day, Sept. 10, 2001. He has just published a tragic sequel, Directorate S, about what happened next, the CIA’s failure at spycraft and good sense.

The U.S. could not make things go its way in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan. Part of the reason was Directorate S, a secret covert unit within ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency that had long been backing the Taliban, though Pakistan always denied it.

There was no common cause between the U.S. and Pakistan, never had been. The U.S. doesn’t actually have common cause with anyone beyond temporary self-interest. It’s not in the nature of the beast.

When Coll introduces us to the mediocre men — only five of 73 people were female — in charge of the world’s most militarized nation, it becomes clear that the CIA and the military are still in VietnamThink. They believe the world is American in its outlook and thinks in American ways. This is untrue, also dumb.

The world isn’t rooting for Americans, very much the opposite. Why had ISI — or rather, Directorate S — let bin Laden live in an Abbottabad compound since 2005? Maybe it just felt like it. Maybe it thought it would prevent al Qaeda from attacking Pakistan. Or maybe it treasured the world’s most successful terrorist.

The CIA’s parallel to ISI, a counterterrorism centre known as CTC, was not a desirable place to work until 9-11 made it so. It was like any bureaucracy forced to adapt fast: as Coll writes in his deadpan way, it was mismanaged, underpaid, overworked, filled with rivalries, couldn’t run terror watchlists, didn’t get along with the FBI, just your standard workplace really.

The Americans misunderstood Afghan tribalism, just as they didn’t grasp the difference between Sunni and Shiite when they invaded Iraq. “All you have to do is win,” a general was told by the Obama White House, meaning, one supposes, erase the Taliban. It was a comedy of errors, minus the comedy.

Coll gives us an inside look at the gradual diminution of American hopes. Be like us, they said as they gave Afghans lessons in democracy, a supreme irony now that American democracy seems to be getting distinctly wobbly.

The exemplar of failure, Coll writes, was an investigation into an extraordinary phenomenon on the battlefield: insider murders. U.S.-led forces were being shot by their fellow Afghan soldiers. The 2009 slaughter of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood by Major Nidal Hasan was just the start.

In 2012, a quarter of all fatalities were in-house. It was unique in warfare and could not be explained. The Americans had to hire armed guards as “guardian angels” to surveil its own army, effectively creating a ludicrous double army to stand and stare at itself.

Investigators found that the Afghan killer soldiers weren’t just reacting to cultural outrages like Qu’ran burning. It was more than that.

They had simply changed their minds about which side they were on. It often happened during Ramadan when Afghans expiated religious guilt by shooting Americans in the head.

“In theory, cultural misunderstanding might be overcome through training,” Coll wrote. But if the “broad, fertile belief” was that American soldiers were enemy occupiers, the only answer to that was for the Americans to give up and go home.

Daily journalism isn’t sufficient. One must read books like this — by Coll, Jane Mayer, Jeremy Scahill, Masha Gessen — thick with money and disgrace. As nations crash and stumble, I hope there are always subterranean writers like these laying down the history — both the detail and the overview — of what is really going on.

What is going on is terrible, but at least we find out later how truly terrible it was. Then, I take it, the process repeats itself.


Posted in World