Sunday 21st of July 2024

the long game, the west duplicity, the trap, the naive russians and Zbigniew Brzezinski...


Iraq war criminals deserve to be prosecuted. Britain’s Chilcot report is only the most recent example of a worthy cause needing to be addressed. But in 1979, long before false intelligence was used to justify the Iraq war, a heinous war crime was committed against Afghanistan by President’s Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

It’s not just Brzezinski who is culpable. It was the Washington bureaucracy that enabled Brzezinski to activate his Machiavellian plot of intentionally drawing the Soviets into his “Afghan Trap.”

How the Washington bureaucracy enabled Brzezinski's scheme and why it's still important today

Once the Soviets took Brzezinski's bait and crossed the border into Afghanistan on December 27, 1979 the fates of both countries were doomed. As if in a trance, a complacent bureaucracy turned a blind eye to the lack of proof of the American claims that the Soviet invasion was a step towards world domination. Within days the beltway became a cheering squad, enabling Brzezinski to fulfill his imperial dream of giving the Soviets their own "Vietnam." The bureaucracy's motivation was simple. Brzezinski was winning the only game in town, the Cold War against the "Evil Empire." The fact that Brzezinski's deceitful plot could lead to the death of Afghanistan as a sovereign state did not concern Washington's elites, either from the right or the left. Predictably, Afghans' lives have been turned into an endless nightmare that festers to this day.  Not only is Brzezinski's scheme continuing to undermine Afghanistan's sovereignty, his Russophobia also drives NATO's unjustified aggression towards Russia today!

How Brzezinski activated his Russophobic Imperial Dream that now dominates Washington

In 1977 when Brzezinski stepped into the Oval office as National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, his Russophobia was a well-known fact from Washington to Moscow. It was no surprise that he was not content with the American moderates' pragmatic Cold War acceptance of coexistence with the Soviet state. The Polish born Brzezinski represented the ascendency of a radical new breed of compulsive xenophobic Eastern European intellectual bent on holding Soviet/American policy hostage to their pre-World War II world view. According to Brzezinski biographer Patrick Vaughan, Brzezinski rejected the very legitimacy of the Soviet Union itself, calling it "a cauldron of conquered nationalities brutally consolidated over centuries of Russian expansion."

Racism is not a basis for a rational foreign policy

A phobia is defined as an extreme or irrational fear. Therefore it is reasonable to define a Russophobe as one who has an irrational fear of Russians. Simply put, a Russophobe hates Russians for being Russian! That's called racism, pure and simple, not the basis of creating rational foreign policy. The Beltway should have demanded that a well-known Russophobe like Brzezinski back his claims with proof that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was the first step to taking over the world. Instead, the Washington Bureaucracy dined out on his fantasy and we have been living with the consequences ever since.

The Bureaucracy knows Brzezinski has always been a Russophobe

Paul Warnke, President Carter's SALT II negotiator put Brzezinski's racial bias this way in an interview we conducted with him in 1993. "It was almost an ethnic thing with Zbig, basically that inbred Polish attitude toward the Russians. And that of course that was what frustrated the Carter Administration. [Secretary of State] Vance felt very much the way that I did. Brzezinski felt the opposite. And Carter couldn't decide which one of them he was going to follow. So it adds up to a recipe for indecision." Warnke went on to say that he believed the Soviets would never have invaded Afghanistan in the first place if Carter had not fallen victim to Brzezinski's irrational attitude toward détente and his undermining of SALT II. In our own research into the causes of the Soviet invasion we did prove Warnke's assumption that there would have been no invasion without Brzezinski's willful use of entrapment.  

At a conference conducted by the Nobel Institute in 1995, a high-level group of former US and Soviet officials faced off over the question: Why did the Soviets invade Afghanistan? Former National Security Council staff member Dr. Gary Sick established that the US had assigned Afghanistan to the Soviet sphere of influence years before the invasion. So why did the US choose an ideologically-biased position when there were any number of verifiable fact-based explanations for why the Soviets invaded? To former CIA Director Stansfield Turner, responsibility could only be located in the personality of one specific individual. "Brzezinski's name comes up here every five minutes; but nobody has as yet mentioned that he is a Pole." Turner said. "[T]he fact that Brzezinski is a Pole, it seems to me was terribly important." What Turner was suggesting in 1995 was that Brzezinski's well-known Russophobia led him to take unjustifiable advantage of a Soviet miscalculation.

The conference revealed that "self-fulfilling prophecies," "a dubious deductive apparatus," and "decisions that provoked as often as they deterred" provided the operating system for more than a decade of Cold War policy under Presidents Carter and Reagan. Numerous scholars pondered Brzezinski's decision-making process before, during and after the Soviet invasion. Dr. Carol Saivetz of Harvard University testified, "Whether or not Zbig was from Poland or from someplace else, he had a world view, and he tended to interpret events as they unfolded in light of it. To some extent, his fears became self-fulfilling prophecies… Nobody looked at Afghanistan and what was happening there all by itself."But it wasn't until the 1998 Nouvel Observateur interview that Brzezinski boasted that he had provoked the invasion, by getting Carter to authorize a presidential finding to intentionally suck the Soviets in, six months before Moscow considered invading. Yet, despite Brzezinski's admission, Washington's entire political spectrum continued to embrace his original false narrative, that the Soviets were embarked on world conquest.

Brzezinski's Russophobia is still the basis of U.S. foreign policy towards Russia

 For Brzezinski, getting the Soviets to invade Afghanistan was an opportunity to shift Washington toward an unrelenting hard line against the Soviet Union. By using deceit combined with covert action, he created the conditions needed to provoke a Soviet defensive response, which he then used as evidence of Soviet expansion. However, after Brzezinski's exaggerations and outright lies about Soviet intentions became accepted, they found a home in America's imagination and never left. US foreign policy, since that time, has operated in a delusion of triumphalism, provoking international incidents and then capitalizing on the chaos.

Brzezinski's current status as the almost mystical "wise elder" of American foreign policy should be viewed with extreme caution given the means by which he achieved it. Today, the legacy of Brzezinski's Russophobic ideological agenda continues through many acolytes including his two sons, as they carry on the Brzezinski lineage by aggressively pushing beltway polices towards dangerous confrontations with Russia. Tragically, Brzezinski's legacy also lives on in the failed state of Afghanistan as the hated Taliban are poised to take over again. While all this horror is happening to the Afghan people, NATO forces are using Brzezinski's homeland of Poland to push provocatively against Russia's border.
The role that Brzezinski played, as well as those officials who enabled him to cause the death of Afghanistan while intentionally triggering the rise of Islamic extremism, must be examined. Building to a trial, even in absentia, will begin the desperately needed process of breaking the trance-like hold Brzezinski's Russophobia still has on Washington's foreign policy that is denying its core role in creating Islamic extremism and driving America to the brink of nuclear war with Russia.No matter whom the next president is, if we are to save America, this forty year old crime against Afghanistan must first be made right


In 1977 Afghanistan had no refugees.


Omar Mateen, the man believed to be solely responsible for the June 14 Orlando shooting massacre, was born in the United States 29 years ago, to Afghan parents who fled to the US as refugees, following the fulfillment of  a scheme by President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski to inveigle the Soviets into Afghanistan to saddle Moscow with its own Vietnam. In 1977 Afghanistan had no refugees and Brzezinski, at the time, set in motion events that have come full circle, to this tragedy, leaving Afghanistan today with the second-largest refugee population in the world.

In 1977 Afghanistan was transforming itself into an enlightened, modern and democratic society. Eyewitness accounts from the 1960s and 1970s document rapid changes embraced by Afghan men and women, across a broad spectrum of society. Despite its poverty, Afghanistan had been independent in its foreign policy and self-sufficient in many areas, including food production, in a vivid illustration of what life is like when Afghans control their own state. It was also the year that Zbigniew Brzezinski stepped into the role as National Security Advisor to US President Jimmy Carter. Brzezinski quickly inaugurated a plan to lure the Soviet Union into an invasion of Afghanistan, a plan that was fulfilled on December 27, 1979. The blowback from Brzezinski’s scheme, even after almost 40 years, has delivered another dagger into the heart of America’s soul as well as the LGBT and Muslim global community.
How Zbigniew Brzezinski did it.


Upon entering the White House in 1977, Brzezinski formed the Nationalities Working Group (NWG), dedicated to weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming ethnic tensions, especially among the Islamic populations of the region. While Brzezinski activated his scheme, former CIA operative Graham Fuller was station chief (1975-1978) in Kabul. Conveniently for Brzezinski, Fuller’s focus was on how to politicize the Islamic world on behalf of American interests. As Fuller explained his thesis: "In the West the words Islamic fundamentalism conjure up images of bearded men with turbans and women covered in black shrouds. And some Islamist movements do indeed contain reactionary and violent elements. But we should not let stereotypes blind us to the fact that there are also powerful modernising forces at work within these movements. Political Islam is about change. In this sense, modern Islamist movements may be the main vehicle for bringing about change in the Muslim world and the break-up of the old "dinosaur" regimes.”  


In 1977 Fuller was in a position to activate Brzezinski’s scheme. As CIA station chief in Kabul he was perfectly positioned to provide Brzezinski with the intelligence necessary to build a case for President Carter to sign a directive allowing him to lure the Soviets into invading Afghanistan.

As the first American TV crew, in 1981, to gain access to Kabul after the Soviet invasion, we got a close-up look at the narrative supporting President Carter's "greatest threat to peace since the second world war" and it didn't hold up. What had been presented to the public as an open-and-shut case of Soviet expansion by Harvard Professor Richard Pipes on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour could just as easily be defined as a defensive action within the Soviets' legitimate sphere of influence. Three years earlier, Pipes' Team B Strategic Objectives Panel had been accused of subverting the process of estimating national security threats by inventing threats where none existed, and intentionally skewing findings along ideological lines. In the early 1980’s that ideology was being presented as fact by America's Public Broadcasting System.
In 1983 our press team returned to Kabul with Harvard Negotiation Project Director Roger Fisher, for ABC's Nightline. Our aim was to establish the credibility of American claims. We discovered, from high-level Soviet officials, that the Kremlin wanted desperately to abandon the war, but the Reagan administration was dragging its feet. From the moment he entered office, Reagan and his administration demanded that the Soviets withdraw their forces, at the same time keeping them pinned down through covert actions that prevented them from leaving. Though lacking in facts and dripping in right wing ideology, this hypocritical foreign-policy campaign was embraced by the entire American political spectrum and continues to be willfully-unexamined by America's mainstream media.
At a conference conducted by the Nobel Institute in 1995, a high-level group of former US and Soviet officials faced off over the question: Why did the Soviets invade Afghanistan? Former National Security Council staff member Dr. Gary Sick established that the US had assigned Afghanistan to the Soviet sphere of influence years before the invasion. So why did the US choose an ideologically-biased position when there were any number of verifiable fact-based explanations for why the Soviets invaded? To former CIA Director Stansfield Turner, responsibility could only be located in the personality of one specific individual. "Brzezinski's name comes up here every five minutes; but nobody has as yet mentioned that he is a Pole." Turner said. "[T]he fact that Brzezinski is a Pole, it seems to me was terribly important."
What Turner was suggesting in 1995 was that Brzezinski's well-known Russophobia led him to take advantage of a Soviet miscalculation. But it wasn't until the 1998 Nouvel Observateur interview that Brzezinski boasted that he had provoked the invasion, by getting Carter to authorize a presidential finding to intentionally suck the Soviets in, six months before Moscow considered invading. Yet, despite Brzezinski's admission, Washington's entire political spectrum continued to embrace his original false narrative, that the Soviets were embarked on world conquest.

For Brzezinski, getting the Soviets to invade Afghanistan was an opportunity to shift Washington toward an unrelenting hard line against the Soviet Union. By using covert action, he created the conditions needed to provoke a Soviet defensive response, which he then used as evidence of Soviet expansion. However, after Brzezinski’s simple exaggerations and outright lies about Soviet intentions became accepted, they found a home in America's imagination and never left. US foreign policy, since that time, has operated in a delusion of triumphalism, provoking international incidents and then capitalizing on the chaos.

From its origins in 1977 as a covert program to destabilize the Soviet Union, through ethnic violence and radical Islam in Afghanistan, Soviet Georgia, Azerbaijan and Chechnya, a line can be drawn to the Orlando massacre shooter. The theories, practices and policies implemented by Brzezinski, prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, have found their logical evolutionary step, and the violence continues.


If it hadn’t been for Brzezinski’s scheme, Omar Mateen, the man believed to be solely responsible for the June 14 massacre, most likely would have been born in Afghanistan 29 years ago, instead of the United States. We will never know what kind of man Mateen might have become had he been born and raised in the home of his ancestors. One thing is sure; the time has come for Americans to question whether the legacy of Brzezinski’s obsession with conquering the world at any cost should continue to be an American dream as well.

The Iraq quagmire was the result of Wolfowitz pushing for war, with his mates. He should be the first one to go to prison, then Bush, Blair and Howard —followed by all the plotters from the Project for a New American Century... see also:




The cartoon at top was a difficult image to create. It was difficult to represent in a single moment the long drawn momentum as expressed in the article above. The simple synergy is that the US hates communism far more than terrorism, and the failure of the Vietnam War was a sore point. We already had mentioned that in the 1970s, Afghanistan was "modernising by itself" by becoming a socialist country. But the traditionalists (read religious extremists) were not happy and were creating mischief. The "communist" government of Afghanistan asked the Russians for help in containing the religious extremists. The Russians were reluctant but eventually "invaded" in support of the government. The US saw red. The US helped terrorism flourish in Afghanistan. The US gave cash and weapons to religious nuts then called Mudjehadeen, now morphed in the "Taliban". Years of social "progress" were wiped out. Then after the Russian retreat, came the US invasion in 2001...

The point in the cartoon was to show that the "trap" set to quagmire the Russians and to destroy communism in Afghanistan, ended up trapping the Afghan people. From this day, the Afghan people cannot trust and will not trust anyone, despite most being very good people.

This is why I used the flags as symbols of the conflicts. On one side the Americans and the Mudjehadeen (now the Taliban) — and on the other side the government of Afghanistan and the Russians. In the image, the idea of the Afghan War Lords (Not Taliban) is also expressed by the camels who run the country like a conglomerate of separate fiefdom which basically control the central government in Kabul under whatever regime (socialist, capitalist, communist) Kabul is at the time. It will take a long time to change this mindset...

wedded to the jihadi mob...


Chatting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November 2016, Barack Obama mentioned Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood back in the 1960s. The country, he noted, was a changed place. Where Muslims once adopted elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, and animism, a more austere version of Islam had taken hold once Saudi Arabia began pouring money into Wahhabist madrassas in the 1990s. Where women had formerly gone about with their heads uncovered, the hijab began to spread.

But why, Turnbull wanted to know, was this happening? “Aren’t the Saudis your friends?” To which Obama replied, “It’s complicated.”

That c-word covers a lot of territory, not only with regard to Wahhabism, the ultra-fundamentalist Saudi ideology whose impact is now felt across the globe, but also with regard to the United States, the Saudis’ chief patron, protector—and enabler—since World War II. Like any imperialist power, the United States can be a bit unscrupulous in the partners it chooses. So one might expect it to look the other way when its Saudi friends spread their militant doctrines into Indonesia, the Philippines, the Indian subcontinent, Syria, and numerous points beyond.

But Washington did more than just look away. It actively encouraged such activities by partnering with the Wahhabists in any number of hotspots. They include Afghanistan, where American- and Saudi-armed jihadis drove out the Soviets in the 1980s. They also include Bosnia, where the two countries reportedly teamed up in the mid-1990s to smuggle hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms into Alija Izetbegović’s Islamic republic, today a stronghold of Wahhabist Salafism. Other notable examples: Kosovo, where the United States joined forces with “Afghan Arabs” and other Saudi-backed jihadis in support of the secessionist movement of Hashim Thaçi; Chechnya, where leading neocons such as Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Midge Decter, Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen, and R. James Woolsey championed Saudi-backed Islamist rebels; Libya, where Hillary Clinton personally recruited Qatar to join the effort against Muammar Qaddafi and then said nothing as the Wahhabist kingdom funneled some $400 million to rebel groups, many of them Islamists who proceeded to turn the country upside down; and of course Syria, where Sunni head-choppers backed by the Saudis and other oil monarchies have turned the country into a charnel house.

The United States pronounces itself shocked—shocked!—at the results, while pocketing the winnings. This is evident from a famous 1998 interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, who, as Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, did as much as anyone to invent the modern phenomenon of jihad. Asked if he had any regrets, Brzezinski was unabashed:

Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap, and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war….What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?

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a continuation of conflict in various iterations...

On Tuesday night, President Trump became the third president in a row to attempt to put a positive spin on the war in Afghanistan—the longest war in U.S. history. Five years earlier, President Barack Obama predicted at his 2013 State of the Union that the war would soon be over. And back in 2006, President George W. Bush used his State of the Union to praise Afghanistan for building a “new democracy.” More than 16 years after the U.S. War in Afghanistan began, the country remains in a state of crisis. On Saturday, more than 100 people died in Kabul when an ambulance packed with explosives blew up. Then, on Monday, Islamic State militants carried out an early-morning attack on a military academy in the western outskirts of the capital of Kabul, killing at least 11 troops and wounding 16. We speak to investigative reporter May Jeong in Kabul. Her most recent piece for The Intercept is titled “Losing Sight: A 4-Year-Old Girl Was the Sole Survivor of a U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan. Then She Disappeared.”

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swallowed by the swamp...

On Monday, a number of European countries, as well as the United States and Canada, announced they were expelling Russian diplomats over the Skripal case. Radio Sputnik discussed the significance of the diplomatic response by the Western powers with Srdja Trifkovic, a US journalist and writer on international affairs.

Sputnik: What is your overall assessment about what has happened with this diplomatic response by so many countries? How significant is it?

Srdja Trifkovic: The overall impression is that rational discourse has given way to collective hysteria and that it is indeed remarkable. The extent to which the bandwagon has successfully started rolling while we don’t even have elementary answers to the questions concerning the case itself.

The second important and discouraging aspect is that continental European countries have followed the Anglo-American lead in Russophobia and this represents a further trial of the Atlanticist domination over Europe. It is indeed remarkable when both Germany and France, the putative leaders of independent European foreign policy, have been reduced to the status of automatic followers of the lead supported by Washington especially when we bear in mind that the initial round of sanctions in 2014 against Russia was dictated by the United States which had nothing to lose in the proceedings and to the detriments of Europeans’ interests.

So overall I think that, one we have the hysterical phase of Russophobic discoursein the West which is not amenable to any rational arguments and two, we have a successful degradation of European diplomacy to the status of pliant satellites comparable to East Germany and Bulgaria vis-à-vis Brezhnev.

Sputnik: Do you think there was some classified evidence that was presented that proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Russia was involved or do you think that the fact that there are 11 countries who have not joined in the protest perhaps hints at the fact that this was not the case?

Srdja Trifkovic: Well, first of all, I would say that President Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov and others would not have made such categorical denials of Russian involvement if there was any possibility of a smoking gun which could effectively show to the world that they were not telling the truth.

And secondly, it is always possible to present some equivocal evidencein the form that even if that indicates the modus operandi of intelligence agencies nevertheless does not disclose outright state secrets. In fact, we’ve seen that in the past and I don’t think that it would be possible for such confidential information to be disclosed to the diplomats and foreign ministers of EU countries as divergent as the 27 are, without risking these very sources.

So I really believe that if you look at the countries which have taken measures against Russia, they almost read like who is who of those who are prepared to follow the US lead and if you look at those reluctant to do so, including Austria, Hungary, Cyprus, Greece, we are looking at those who actually have a more independent foreign policy. So I don’t think it’s a reflection of the quality of possible intelligence, it is simply a reflection of the determination of decision-makers of those countries to preserve a modicum of independence.

Sputnik: What would you say about the level to which the actions that were actually taken by individual countries? What can you say about the numbers game that’s being played? What do you think determined the number of diplomats?

Srdja Trifkovic: Some of these countries are absolutely insignificant countries like the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which also expelled one Russian and it’s just a pathetic non country. On the other hand in the United States obviously it is a matter of regret that President Trump’s initially stated intention to have detente with Russia has been subverted by the deep state, it is a long story but now we have really reached the end of the road with the appointment of Pompeo to State Department and Bolton as the national security adviser.

So we can really look at Trump as the would-be drainer of the swamp who has been swallowed by the swamp. And I think that we are in for a long haul. I was in Moscow two weeks ago and coming again next week and sometimes I am surprised that some of my Russian interlocutors are insufficiently aware of the animosity or end of the rule Russophobic sentiment that currently prevails among the Western elites, both political and academic and media. It’s almost pathetic when some Russians still use the term “our Western partners,” because for partnership you need to have a modicum of mutual respect and trust and these people really seriously want to destroy Russia.

They want to delegitimize the Russian political system and process as we have seen with the public commentary on President Putin’s re-election and they want nothing short of regime change, which would then lead to a permanent and irreversible change of Russia’s national character and possibly the country’s partition along the lines allocated by Zbigniew Brzezinski. With these people partnership is impossible and Russia needs to be prepared for a long and sustained period of confrontation.

The views and opinions expressed by Srdja Trifkovic are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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fighters on both sides, born after the war was started...


Over the last four years the number of Taliban fighters is believed to have trebled or even quadrupled, perhaps nearing 80,000. The insurgents contest control of around 70 percent of the country and hold the most territory since their ouster in 2001. Early last year the BBC reported that Taliban fighters had “pushed beyond their traditional southern stronghold into eastern western and northern parts of the country.”

The insurgents are better equipped and more effective than ever. Reported Al Jazeera: “The scale and intensity of these attacks have not been seen since 2001. The Taliban never had the capability to launch such massive offenses and never succeeded in taking over any major cities.” In 2018 the insurgents briefly seized control of cities such as Farah and Ghazni.

Even Kabul is vulnerable. Terrorist assaults have become common; the Monday before Christmas an attack on the Public Health Ministry killed at least 43 people. American diplomatic personnel have been long barred from walking across the street between the embassy and other civilian offices. Now the U.S. takes personnel to the airport via helicopter, instead of the crowded, chaotic streets used by the military during my visit eight years ago.

Forget propagandistic pronouncements of government spokesmen. Cordesman warned that “official U.S. and Afghan data seem to sharply understate the level of growing threat presence, influence, and control,” and official claims “seem more spin than objective.” In May, the Defense Department inspector general reported “few signs of progress.”

There is little disagreement that the Afghan government is corrupt, fractured, and incompetent. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) continues to catalog the extraordinary failures of aid, with additional cases of fraud and waste joining so many others. Little of lasting benefit has been achieved. Indeed, the foreign money actually has “exacerbated conflicts, enabled corruption, and bolstered support for insurgents.”

As for the more than $8 billion spent to end Afghanistan’s narcotics trade, in October SIGAR’s latest quarterly report explained that the “opium crisis is worse than ever. The country remains the world’s leading producer of opium, with production hitting an all-time high last year.” Washington’s stabilization program, key to creating a stable, self-sufficient Afghan government, fared no better, having “mostly failed.” Concluded SIGAR: “The U.S. government greatly overestimated its ability to build and reform government institutions in Afghanistan.” Kabul remains dependent on allied forces: “successes in stabilizing Afghan districts rarely lasted longer than the physical presence of coalition troops and civilians.”

In short, the future looks dismal. Critics of the president complain about allowing a Taliban victory, but the only way to prevent one is for a U.S. military presence that is both larger and permanent. Earlier this year, the Director of National Intelligence warned that “The overall situation in Afghanistan probably will deteriorate modestly this year.” Cordesman predicted continuing deterioration “even if international support is sustained.”

Negotiations between the U.S. and Taliban have started. Critics complain that withdrawal will reduce Washington’s leverage. But sticking around to prove to the Taliban that Americans will stick around means essentially a permanent presence. And if a peace pact is signed premised on American backing for the Kabul government, Washington can never withdraw, a la Vietnam.

Why fight the forever war in Central Asia? Although Americans would prefer that Afghanistan end up a liberal democracy protecting Western values, it always has been ruled at the village and valley level. Washington’s commitment of lives and wealth to a failing cause cannot be infinite.

The Kabul government confidently asserts that nothing will change if the Americans leave—after all, Afghan security forces are doing most of the fighting (and dying) anyway. However, few officials or analysts are so sanguine privately. Divisions may grow in Kabul. More likely than a Taliban victory is a complicated division among competing factions and warlords. That would be unfortunate for Afghans, but frankly irrelevant to Americans.

Clifford May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, called Afghanistan “one battle in a long, world war to defend the West against the resurgent and dynamic forces of jihadism,” However, before 2001 the Taliban focused on mis-ruling their nation, not attacking anyone else. Most of the movement’s foot soldiers are motivated mostly by antagonism toward outsiders, not a commitment to international jihad. Strategically, Afghanistan just doesn’t matter to Americans.

The country is more important to China, Russia, India, and Pakistan, which should be left to reach a modus vivendi to protect their interests. They, not America, should fill any regional power vacuum. The U.S. might have interests everywhere, but few are worth war. Of course, Washington also prefers a stable Pakistan; alas, the ongoing war is deeply destabilizing.

The president’s critics implausibly contend that if we don’t fight terrorists there we will have to fight them here. Outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis claimed that America’s presence was “to prevent a bomb from going off in Times Square.” Bombastic Senator Lindsey Graham warned that withdrawal “would be paving the way for a second 9/11.” The president said his experts told him “over and over again” that “if we don’t go there, they’re going to be fighting over here.” Perhaps in the streets of Milwaukee, Dallas, Portland, and Raleigh, not to mention Washington, D.C.

This is nonsense, of course. The Taliban is an insurgency, not a terrorist group. Remnants of al-Qaeda remain, though there is substantial disagreement on the size of al-Qaeda’s following and its relationship with Taliban. But geography matters little: Osama bin Laden spent years operating from Pakistan, while Kalid Sheikh Muhammed, 9/11’s chief planner, avoided Afghanistan while moving among Bosnia, Kuwait, Pakistan, and Qatar. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is the most dangerous “franchise.” Unless Washington intends to occupy every failed and decrepit state, including Pakistan, remaining permanently at war in Afghanistan makes no sense.

No one wants to admit to failure. However, issue is not the lives and wealth invested, and wasted, so far, but whether spending more in the future can be justified. It cannot.

Donald Trump understands this issue. Even before becoming a candidate he said: “Let’s get out of Afghanistan.” As president he found himself under pressure from his gang of establishment defense thinkers. Now he might be ready to do what is right. After 17 years, America should bring its brave men and women home from Afghanistan.


Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.



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admiral arthur cebrowski's middle-east...


changing tactics...


agencies keeping us in the dark...


US war, at perpetuity... forever... non stop... continually... uninterrupted...


he “became president of the united states last night.”...


milit'ry advice...

gone to moscow...

Afghan Govt ‘Furious’ as Taliban Heads to Russia for Talks

Taliban will meet Afghan opposition figures in Moscow 

Jason Ditz


 Posted on February 4, 2019Categories 



A new round of talks involving the Taliban will begin Tuesday in Moscow, and once again Afghanistan’s Ghani government is not invited. The Ghani government is reportedly “furious” and is accusing those in attendance of trying to “gain power.”

This is not an inaccurate assessment, as the negotiations will see the Taliban meeting with dozens of Afghan opposition figures. Among them is former President Hamid Karzai, and Hanif Atmar, who is running to unseat Ghani in this year’s election. 

While Russia has agreed to try to get direct Taliban-Ghani negotiations going, as has the United States, the Taliban have been very reluctant to hold any such meetings yet, saying they view Ghani’s government as a powerless puppet who can’t negotiate on anything. 

The Taliban seems to be holding off on meeting current officials until a deal on a US pullout is already in place. That has at times been suggested to be close at hand, though US calls for a permanent presence in Afghanistan have threatened at times to derail the peace talks outright.


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a parchment of possibility...

It took gallons and flagons of blood, but it eventuated, a squeeze of history into a parchment of possibility: the Taliban eventually pushed the sole superpower on this expiring earth to a deal of some consequence. (The stress is on the some – the consequence is almost always unknown.)

In principle, on paper, yes we have reached an agreement, claimed the US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on the Afghan channel ToloNews. But it is not final until the president of the United States also agrees to it.

The agreement entails the withdrawal (the public relations feature of the exercise teasingly calls this “pulling out”) of 5,400 troops from the current complement of 14,000 within 135 days of signature. Five military bases will close or be transferred to the Afghan government. 

In return, the Taliban has given an undertaking never to host forces with the intention of attacking the US and its interests. 

Exactitude, however, is eluding the press and those keen to get to the marrow. Word on the policy grapevine is that this is part of an inexorable process that will see a full evacuation within 16 months, though this remains gossip.

The entire process has its exclusions, qualifications and mutual deceptions. In it is a concession, reluctant but ultimately accepted, that the Taliban was a credible power that could never be ignored.

To date, the US has held nine rounds of talks, a seemingly dragged out process with one ultimate outcome: a reduction, and ultimate exit of combat forces. 

The Taliban was not, as the thesis of certain US strategists, a foreign bacillus moving its way through the Afghan body politic, the imposition of a global fundamentalist corporation. Corrupt local officials of the second rank, however, were also very much part and parcel of the effort, rendering any containment strategy meaningless.

A narrative popular and equally fallacious was the notion that the Taliban had suffered defeat and would miraculously move into the back pages of history. Similar views were expressed during the failed effort by the United States to combat the Viet Cong in South Vietnam. An elaborate calculus was created, a mirage facilitated through language: the body count became a means of confusing numbers with political effect. 

Time and time again, the Taliban demonstrated that B52s, well-equipped foreign forces and cruise missiles could not extricate them from the land that has claimed so many empires. Politics can only ever be the realisation of tribes, collectives, peoples; weapons and material are unkind and useful companions, but never viable electors or officials.

Even now, the desire to remain from those in overfunded think tanks and well-furnished boardrooms, namely former diplomats engaged on the Afghan project, is stubborn and delusionary. If withdrawal is to take place, goes that tune, it should hinge on a pre-existing peace agreement.

An open letter published by the Atlantic Council by nine former US State Department officials previously connected with the country is a babbling affair. 

If a peace agreement is going to succeed, we and others need to be committed to continued support for peace consolidation. This will require monitoring compliance, tamping down of those extremists opposed to peace, and supporting good governance and economic growth with international assistance.”

The presumptuousness of this tone is remarkable, heavy with work planning jargon and spread sheet nonsense. There is no peace to keep, nor governance worth preserving. 

Instead, the authors of the note, including such failed bureaucratic luminaries as John Negroponte, Robert P. Finn and Ronald E. Neumann, opt for the imperial line: the US can afford staying in Afghanistan because the Afghans are the ones fighting and dying. (Again, this is Vietnam redux, an Afghan equivalent of Vietnamisation.) 

In their words, “US fatalities are tragic, but the number of those killed in combat make up less than 20 percent of the US troops who died in non-combat training incidents.”

All good, then.

In a sign of ruthless bargaining, the Taliban continued the bloodletting even as the deal was being ironed of evident wrinkles. This movement knows nothing of peace but all about the life of war: death is its sovereign; corpses, its crop. 

On Monday, the Green Village in Kabul was targeted by a truck bomb, leaving 16 dead (this toll being bound to rise).

It was a reminder that the Taliban, masters of whole swathes of the countryside, can also strike deep in the capital itself. The killings also supplied the Afghan government a salutary reminder of its impotence, underscored by the fact that President Ashraf Ghani played no role in the Qatar talks.

This leaves us with the realisation that much cruelty is on the horizon. The victory of the Taliban is an occasion to cheer the bloodying of the imperialist’s nose. But they will not leave documents of enlightenment, speeches to inspire. 

This agreement will provide little comfort for those keen to read a text unmolested or seek an education free of crippling dogma. Interior cannibalisation is assured, with civil war a distinct possibility. Tribal war is bound to continue. 

As this takes place, the hope for President Donald Trump and his officials will no doubt be similar to the British when they finally upped stakes on instruction from Prime Minister David Cameron: forget that the whole thing ever happened.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email:

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... a self-licking ice cream cone...

Thank you Rod...

Everybody’s talking about the FBI report today, but as far as I’m concerned, this long piece in the Washington Post is the real news. Here’s how it begins:


The documents include transcripts of interviews with soldiers, diplomats, and others with direct experience in the war effort. Excerpts:

“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

“If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost,” Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. “Who will say this was in vain?”


“What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?” Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, “After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan.”

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.

Look at this:

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White House — to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”

One more:

As commanders in chief, Bush, Obama and Trump all promised the public the same thing. They would avoid falling into the trap of “nation-building” in Afghanistan.

On that score, the presidents failed miserably. The United States has allocated more than $133 billion to build up Afghanistan — more than it spent, adjusted for inflation, to revive the whole of Western Europe with the Marshall Plan after World War II.

The Lessons Learned interviews show the grandiose nation-building project was marred from the start.

Read it all. 

If you can get through it all, good for you. I got so mad that I had to quit reading not long after the paragraph above. We have lost about 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, and sustained about 21,000 casualties of war. (Not to mention all the dead innocent Afghan civilians, and the dead and wounded troops of our NATO allies.) We have spent altogether almost $1 trillion on that country. The Afghan officials stole a fortune from us. We never knew what to do there. And every one of our leaders lied about it. Lied! All those brave American soldiers, dead or maimed for life, for a war that our leaders knew that we could not win, but in defense of which they lied.


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a gun shooting from both ends...

Officially the Pentagon is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, but according to the Washington Post [1], it is secretly arming them, professedly to help them fight ISIS (aka Daesh), another official enemy of the United States.

At the same time, however, numerous testimonies from several countries of the "Greater Middle East" reveal that the very same Pentagon, who is officially fighting ISIS there, is covertly arming it.

These facts prove that the Pentagon is still going after the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy: to provoke "endless wars" aiming to deprive all states in the "Greater Middle East" of the ability to stand up against financial imperialism.



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Read from top. Note: mostly presents articles and views in chronological order. Thus by reading the articles "from the top" you can relate events to events to the cascades of political decisions that were "at the start" of the crap.


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Note: it is also likely that Trump is not briefed properly about what is happening in Afghanistan... The Pentagon is an Op in itself...

using religionism as a weapon...

To stoke up separatism in Syria, on 28 October 2020, the United States illegally sent a delegation - led by Nadine Maenza, head of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and Steve Berger, pastor of a Evangelical church in Nashville - into the so-called "7 km" buffer area located in the Northern province of Deir ez-Zor, controlled by Kurdish militias serviceable to the US occupier.

These individuals conferred with the joint presidency of the militias’ General and Executive Council and held a press briefing. The next day, they travelled to the town of Tabqa (Raqqa province), to meet up with the joint presidency of the town’s Legislative Council and members of the Academy of Democratic Islam; they visited several venues and held a press briefing here too.

Let us note that the United States recognizes freedom of religion, but not freedom of conscience. Therefore, they encourage all forms of religious separatism and fight secularism, the only system of government that guarantees freedom of conscience.

Let us also note that since 2001 the Pentagon has been pursuing the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine of destruction of state structures in all the states of the “extended Middle East”. Pursuant to which, it illegally occupies part of Syria, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, arms and finances separatist militias.


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the board-game changed...


A New Memoir Reveals How Brzezinski’s Chessboard Led to U.S. Checkmate in Afghanistan





Nearly as suspenseful as the Taliban’s meteoric return to power after the final withdrawal of American armed forces from Afghanistan is the uncertainty over what will come next amid the fallout. Many have predicted that Russia and China will step in to fill the power vacuum and convince the facelift Taliban to negotiate a power-sharing agreement in exchange for political and economic support, while others fear a descent into civil war is inevitable. Although Moscow and Beijing potentially stand to gain from the humiliating U.S. retreat by pushing for an inclusive government in Kabul, the rebranded Pashtun-based group must first be removed as a designated terrorist organization. Neither wants to see Afghanistan worsen as a hotbed of jihad, as Islamist separatism already previously plagued Russia in the Caucasus and China is still in the midst of an ongoing ethnic conflict in Xinjiang with Uyghur Muslim secessionists and the Al Qaeda-linked Turkestan Islamic Party. At this point everyone recognizes the more serious extremist threat lies not with the Taliban but the emergence of ISIS Khorasan or ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate blamed for several recent terror attacks including the August 26th bombings at Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Afghan capital which killed 13 American service members and more than a 100 Afghans during the U.S. drawdown.

Three days later, American commanders ordered a retaliatory drone strike targeting a vehicle which they claimed was en route to detonate a suicide bomb at the same Kabul airport. For several days, the Pentagon falsely maintained that the aerial assault successfully took out two ISIS-K militants and a servile corporate media parroted these assertions unquestioningly, including concocting a totally fictitious report that the blast consisted of “secondary explosions” from devices already inside the car intended for use in an act of terror. Two weeks later, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) was forced to apologize and admit the strike was indeed a “tragic mistake” which errantly killed ten innocent civilians — all of whom were members of a single family including seven children — while no Daesh members were among the dead. This distortion circulated in collusion between the endless war machine and the media is perhaps only eclipsed by the alleged Russian-Taliban bounty program story in its deceitfulness.

If any Americans were aware of ISIS-K prior to the botched Kabul airstrike, they likely recall when former U.S. President Donald Trump authorized the unprecedented use of a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, informally referred to as the “Mother Of All Bombs”, on Islamic State militants in Nangarhar Province back in 2017. Reportedly, Biden’s predecessor had to be shown photos from the 1970s of Afghan girls wearing miniskirts by his National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, to renege on his campaign pledge of ending the longest war in U.S. history. As it happens, the ISIS Khorasan fighters extinguished by the MOAB were sheltered at an underground tunnel complex near the Pakistani border that was built by the C.I.A. back in the 1980s during the Afghan-Soviet war. Alas, the irony of this detail was completely lost on mainstream media whose proclivity to treat Pentagon newspeak as gospel has been characteristic of not only the last twenty years of U.S. occupation but four decades of American involvement in Afghanistan since Operation Cyclone, the covert Central Intelligence Agency plan to arm and fund the mujahideen, was launched in 1979.

Frank Wisner, the C.I.A. official who established Operation Mockingbird, the agency’s extensive clandestine program to infiltrate the news media for propaganda purposes during the the Cold War, referred to the press as it’s “Mighty Wurlitzer”, or a musical instrument played to manipulate public opinion. Langley’s recruitment of assets within the fourth estate was one of many illicit activities by the national security apparatus divulged in the limited hangout of the Church Committee during the 1970s, along with C.I.A. complicity in coups, assassinations, illegal surveillance, and drug-induced brainwashing of unwitting citizens. At bottom, it wasn’t just the minds of human guinea pigs that ‘The Company’ sought to control but the news coverage consumed by Americans as well. In his testimony before a congressional select committee, Director of Central Intelligence William Colby openly acknowledged the use of spooks in journalism, as seen in the award-winning documentary Inside the C.I.A.: On Company Business (1980). Unfortunately, the breadth of the secret project and its vetting of journalists wasn’t fully revealed until an article by Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame appeared in Rolling Stone magazine, whereas the series of official investigations only ended up salvaging the deep state by presenting such wrongdoings as rogue “abuses” rather than an intrinsic part of espionage in carrying out U.S. foreign policy.


The corrupt institution of Western media also punishes anyone within its ranks who dares to swim against the current. The husband and wife duo of Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, authors of a new memoir which illuminates the real story of Afghanistan, were two such journalists who learned just how the sausage is made in the nation’s capital with the connivance of the yellow press. Both veterans of the peace movement, Paul and Liz were initially among those who naively believed that America’s humiliation in Vietnam and the well-publicized hearings which discredited the intelligence community might lead to a sea change in Washington with the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976. In hindsight, there was actually good reason for optimism regarding the prospect for world peace in light of the arms reduction treaties and talks between the U.S. and Moscow during the Nixon and Ford administrations, a silver lining to Henry Kissinger’s ‘realist’ doctrine of statecraft. However, any glimmer of hope in easing strained relations between the West and the Soviet Union was short-lived, as the few voices of reason inside the Beltway presuming good faith on the part of Moscow toward détente and nuclear proliferation were soon challenged by a new bellicose faction of D.C. think tank ghouls who argued that diplomacy jeopardized America’s strategic position and that the USSR sought global dominion.


Since intelligence assessments inconveniently contradicted the claims of Soviet aspirations for strategic superiority, C.I.A. Director George H.W. Bush consulted the purported expertise of a competitive group of intellectual warmongers known as ‘Team B’ which featured many of the same names later synonymous with the neoconservative movement, including Richard Pipes, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. Bush, Sr. had replaced the aforementioned Bill Colby following the notorious “Halloween Massacre” firings in the Gerald Ford White House, a political shakeup which also included Kissinger’s ouster as National Security Advisor and the promotion of a young Donald Rumsfeld to Secretary of Defense with his pupil, one Richard B. Cheney, named Chief of Staff. This proto-neocon soft coup allowed Team B and its manipulated estimates of the Soviet nuclear arsenal to undermine the ongoing Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between Washington and the Kremlin until Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev finally signed a second comprehensive non-proliferation treaty in June 1979.

The behind-the-scenes split within the foreign policy establishment over which dogma would set external policymaking continued wrestling for power before the unipolarity of Team B prevailed thanks to the machinations of Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. If intel appraisals of Moscow’s intentions and military capabilities didn’t match the Team B thesis, the Polish-American strategist devised a scheme to lure the USSR into a trap in Afghanistan to give the appearance of Soviet expansionism in order to convince Carter to withdraw from SALT II the following year and sabotage rapprochement. By the time it surfaced that the C.I.A. was supplying weapons to Islamist insurgents in the Central Asian country, the official narrative dispensed by Washington was that it was aiding the Afghan people fight back against an “invasion” by the Red Army. Ironically, this was the justification for a proxy conflict which resulted in the deaths of at least 2 million civilians and eventually collapsed the socialist government in Kabul, setting off a bloody civil war and the emergence of the Taliban.

Even so, it was the media which helped manage the perception that the C.I.A.’s covert war began only after the Soviets had intervened. Meanwhile, the few honest reporters who tried to unveil the truth about what was happening were silenced and relegated to the periphery. Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould were the first two American journalists permitted entry into the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in 1981 by the Moscow-friendly government since Western correspondents had been barred from the country. What they witnessed firsthand on the ground could not have contrasted more sharply from the accepted tale of freedom fighters resisting a communist “occupation” disseminated by propaganda rags. Instead, what they discovered was an army of feudal tribesman and fanatical jihadists who blew up schools and doused women with acid as they waged a holy war against an autonomous, albeit flawed, progressive government in Kabul enacting land reforms and providing education for girls. In addition, they learned the Soviet military presence was being deliberately exaggerated by major outlets who either outright censored or selectively edited their exclusive accounts, beginning with CBS Evening News and later ABC’s Nightline.

Not long after the Taliban established an Islamic emirate for the first time in the late 1990s, Brzezinski himself would shamelessly boast that Operation Cyclone had actually started in mid-1979 nearly six months prior to the deployment of Soviet troops later that year. Fresh off the publication of his book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, the Russophobic Warsaw-native told the French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998:

“Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs that the American intelligence services began to aid the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. Is this period, you were the National Security Advisor to President Carter. You therefore played a key role in this affair. Is this correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujaheddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into the war and looked for a way to provoke it?

B: It wasn’t quite like that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q : When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against secret US involvement in Afghanistan , nobody believed them . However, there was an element of truth in this. You don’t regret any of this today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.” Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime , a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B : What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”


[Gus: see on 3 july 1979, the CIA...]


If this stunning admission straight from the horse’s mouth is too candid to believe, Fitzgerald and Gould obtain confirmation of Brzezinski’s Machiavellian confession from one of their own skeptics. Never mind that Moscow’s help had been requested by the legitimate Afghan government to defend itself against the U.S. dirty war, a harbinger of the Syrian conflict more than three decades later when Damascus appealed to Russia in 2015 for military aid to combat Western-backed “rebel” groups. Paul and Liz also uncover C.I.A. fingerprints all over the suspicious February 1979 assassination of Adolph Dubs, the American Ambassador to Afghanistan, whose negotiation attempts may have inadvertently thrown a wrench into Brzezinski’s ploy to draw the USSR into a quagmire. Spurring Carter to give his foreign policy tutor the green light to finance the Islamist proxies, the timely kidnapping and murder of the U.S. diplomat at a Kabul hotel would be pinned on the KGB and the rest was history. The journo couple even go as far as to imply the branch of Western intelligence likely responsible for his murder was an agent from the Safari Club, an unofficial network between the security services of a select group of European and Middle Eastern countries which carried out covert operations during the Cold War across several continents with ties to the worldwide drug trade and Brzezinski.

Although he was considered to be of the ‘realist’ school of international relations like Kissinger, Brzezinski’s plot to engineer a Russian equivalent of Vietnam in Afghanistan increased the clout of neoconservatism in Washington, a persuasion that would later reach its peak of influence in the George W. Bush administration. In retrospect, the need for a massive military buildup to achieve Pax Americana promoted by the war hawks in Team B was a precursor to the influential “Rebuilding America’s Defensesmanifesto by the Project for the New American Century cabal preceding 9/11 and the ensuing U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Fitzgerald and Gould also historically trace the ideological roots of neoconservatism to its intellectual foundations in the American Trotskyist movement during the 1930s. If a deviated branch of Marxism seems like an unlikely origin source for the right-wing interventionist foreign policy of the Bush administration, its basis is not as unexpected as it may appear. In fact, one of the main reasons behind the division between the Fourth International and the Comintern was over the national question, since Trotsky’s theory of “permanent revolution” called for expansion to impose global revolution unlike Stalin’s “socialism in one country” position which respected the sovereignty and self-determination of nation states while still giving support to national liberation movements.

The authors conclude by highlighting how the military overhaul successfully championed by the neoconservatives marked the beginning of the end for U.S. infrastructure maintenance as well. With public attention currently focused on the pending Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to repair decaying industry at home just as the disastrous Afghan pullout has put President Joe Biden’s favorability at an all-time low, Fitzgerald and Gould truly connect all the dots between the decline of America as a superpower with Brzezinski and Team B. Even recent statements by Jimmy Carter himself were tantamount when he spoke with Trump about China’s economic success which he attributed to Beijing’s lack of wasteful spending on military adventures, an incredible irony given the groundwork for the defense budget escalation begun under Ronald Reagan was laid by Carter’s own foreign policy. Looking back, the spousal team note that the ex-Georgia governor did not need much coaxing after all to betray his promises as a candidate, considering his rise to the presidency was facilitated by his membership alongside Brzezinski in the Trilateral Commission, an elite Rockefeller-funded think tank. What is certain is that Paul and Liz have written an indispensable book that gives a level of insight into the Afghan story only attainable from their four decades of scholarly work on the subject. The Valediction: Three Nights of Desmond is now available from Trine Day Press and the timing of its release could not offer better context to recent world events.


Max Parry is an independent journalist and geopolitical analyst. His writing has appeared widely in alternative media. Max may be reached at


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"fishy sanctions"....







Jeffrey Sachs Interview - The Consequences of Mishandling the Ukraine Crisis











it became a trap....

On February 15, 1989, Lieutenant General Boris Gromov crossed the bridge over the Amu Darya River between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, which was then part of the USSR. While crossing the river, Gromov uttered the historic phrase: “There is not a single Soviet soldier left behind me.”

That marked the end of the nine-year Soviet-Afghan War. This conflict is often considered part of the Cold War between the USSR and the US. However, the Soviet intervention cannot be properly assessed without understanding the political situation in the Central Asian country, at the time. 

 Prerequisites for the invasion

For a long time, Afghanistan had been an afterthought. In the 1970s, however, the political situation became troublesome. In 1973, the monarchy collapsed as a result of a coup, and was replaced by a short-lived republic. The Soviet Union initially had friendly relations with local elites, but then, Moscow got involved in their politics. Two political sides fought for power in Afghanistan: the leftist parties – supported by the Soviet Union – and the Islamic fundamentalists. 

In 1978, dictator Mohammad Daoud Khan was removed from power during a coup d’état. He was overthrown by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) – a Marxist-Leninist political party that was oriented towards the Soviet Union.

Officially, the USSR supported the revolution, but in reality Moscow had mixed feelings about the situation in Afghanistan. Even Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev was caught off-guard by the coup. Moreover, the PDPA split into several factions which fought against each other, and its members treated the teachings of Karl Marx with the fervor of neophytes.

Afghanistan was one of the poorest and most archaic nations in the world. The PDPA's leaders were enthusiastic about implementing reforms and changing this situation. However, even the most reasonable reforms were carried out in an aggressive and uncompromising manner, and the party made many enemies. Anyone who disagreed with them was imprisoned. 

As a result, by 1979, a civil war had broken out. The government asked the USSR to provide a small army contingent to help maintain security in the capital city, Kabul. The KGB's “Zenit” special forces unit and a paratrooper battalion were sent to Afghanistan. But soon, the situation in the country escalated further. The leader of the PDPA party, Nur Muhammad Taraki, and his confidant Hafizullah Amin got into a conflict that ended in another coup. Amin overthrew Taraki, killed him, and declared himself the head of Afghanistan and chairman of the PDPA.

Moscow’s reaction to this radical step was highly negative. Taraki was a personal friend of Brezhnev. Moreover, Amin did not want to “put all the eggs in one basket,” and started negotiations with the US.

The Soviet leaders saw this as betrayal. According to Cold War logic, if Afghanistan were to join the camp of US allies, that would pose a threat to the Soviet Union. Moreover, Amin purposefully made unfriendly remarks about the country's Soviet partners, and the armed opposition gradually expanded its area of control in the country. 

 Big mistake

In December 1979, Moscow made one of the worst decisions in the history of the USSR: it decided to send troops into Afghanistan and eliminate Amin. The Soviet Union had already carried out successful military interventions, which weren’t met with serious local resistance. The difficulties of the operation in Afghanistan were underestimated. It was assumed that the Soviet troops would help overthrow the government and replace it with a more reliable and friendly one, and then would help the Afghan army stabilize the situation in the country.

On December 27, 1979, a daring military operation was carried out in Kabul. KGB special forces units, a detachment of airborne troops, and a special forces battalion of the Soviet army made up of fighters from the Central Asian republics of the USSR broke into Amin’s residence, neutralized his armed guards, and killed him. At the same time, Kabul was seized. At the time, the Afghans didn’t pay much attention to what was happening – for them, it was just another coup. 

Babrak Karmal, a former leftist student activist, was appointed the General Secretary of the PDPA and became the country’s leader. Under Amin, he had been forced to emigrate. Now, he returned home – a decision which did not bring him much luck. 

The Soviet army entered Afghanistan. It seized control of the country’s key facilities and garrisoned without encountering much resistance.

The group that entered Afghanistan was formed from the 40th Army of the USSR. Additional forces were attached to it, including GRU special forces units, KGB special forces, border units, etc. This formation was known by the lengthy name “The Limited Contingent of Soviet troops in Afghanistan” (LCSA).

The military operations that took place during the Afghan War are a separate and lengthy subject; what is more interesting is how the situation on the ground changed as a result of the war, and what conclusions the leaders came to.

Afghanistan’s new leader, Babrak Karmal, understood that the country’s troubles wouldn’t end with the entry of Soviet troops – on the contrary, it signified the start of a major conflict. As President, Karmal released the country’s political prisoners – a total of over 15,000 people – implemented social measures, provided assistance to peasants, and so on. However, the civil war in Afghanistan continued and took a new turn – it became a national and religious war against foreign invaders.

However, the Soviet Union didn’t just enter Afghanistan with weapons in hand. Apart from military personnel, many technical specialists and people who were supposed to help with local management were sent to the country. 

However, Soviet people did not understand the local culture. For example, Mikhail Anisimov was appointed an adviser to the administration of Baghlan province. Anisimov was a military man, but he had to deal with civilian issues. In the province which he was supposed to manage, there was almost no civil infrastructure, and there were problems with the supply of clean water. He didn’t know the language – a problem which his enthusiasm and energy couldn’t make up for. Naturally, before learning to do things the right way, Anisimov made many mistakes. For example, as a Soviet man, Anisimov was raised an atheist – but it turned out that the most authoritative people in Afghanistan were mullahs [Muslim clergy]; when he tried to carry out land reforms, the peasants didn’t even want to cultivate the land which they were given, since they were used to feudalism; and when a local worker got an apartment, he did not move into it, because the neighbor’s wife did not cover her face, and the devout Muslim could not bear to look at such sacrilege.

In short, even at a basic level, there were many misunderstandings.

Swamp of War

Meanwhile, the army continued fighting. At first, Soviet troops were only supposed to support Afghan government forces. However, reality forced them to adapt to the circumstances. 

During the Cold War, the Soviet army was preparing to fight NATO in a hypothetical World War Three. But in Afghanistan, Soviet troops were attacked by guerrilla groups which posed a threat to supply columns that traveled slowly along the roads. The “limited contingent” was too small to control the country’s entire territory, and the Afghan government forces were not strong enough to help. As a result, Soviet units controlled large cities and the main roads, but everywhere in between, the militants reigned. At first, Islamic guerrillas were simply called bandits, but over time, they became known as “dushmans”(“enemies” or “opponents” in the local dialect), or respectfully as “Mujahideens” – i.e. “warriors for the faith”. The word “dushman” was often shortened to “dukh” – a similar-sounding Russian word meaning “spirit, ghost.” 

The war with the “spirits” soon spun out of control. Battles intensified, and the roads were strewn with landmines. To solve this problem, Soviet troops carried out large-scale operations in the course of which they cleared large parts of the territory. However, such campaigns were not very successful.

For example, the Soviet army would drive Islamic guerrillas out of a particular village, but since there weren’t enough Soviet troops maintain control and the official Afghan army had limited combat capacity, the militants would return immediately. Moreover, many civilians died as a result of bombing and attacks, and locals would then be motivated to join the militants to avenge their deaths. 

Almost the entire world supported the guerrilla groups. The US, China, Pakistan, Iran, as well as European NATO and Arab countries all supported the “dushmans” in some way. There was a constant flow of weapons across the Pakistani border. Under the guise of fighting against Soviet troops, new local field commanders came to power– such as Ahmad Shah Massoud, who fought in the Panjshir Valley. In 1982, the major field commanders formed the “Peshawar Seven”, also known as the “Afghan Mujahideen” – an alliance of political, military and religious leaders.

The Soviet military was brave and skilled. Raids on the rear positions of the Mujahideen were extremely effective operations in terms of military art, but they did not change the course of war. 

After Brezhnev’s death, Yuri Andropov came to power in the Soviet Union. He believed that the war was merely a another footnote in Afghan history –and that sooner or later, economic and social development as well as military efforts would put an end to the resistance.

This would have probably been the best scenario for Afghanistan, which was torn apart by internal contradictions. But this view was overly optimistic. Negotiations with other countries were unsuccessful. The US considered it a brilliant trap for the USSR. The leaders of the Islamic opposition wanted to overthrow the government in Kabul. The war continued and became increasingly violent. With the help of special forces, Soviet troops tried to carry out Operation Zavesa (“Veil”) to prevent weapons from entering Afghanistan. This time too, the operation was a brilliant tactical success, soldiers and officers performed remarkable feats, the army acquired war trophies, many enemies were killed ... but all of that didn’t change the course of history.

The second half of the ‘80s was marked by discussions on how to put an end to the intervention. The USSR’s new Secretary General, Mikhail Gorbachev, was determined to end the conflict. Mujahideen fighters also faced problems. Soviet military and civilian leaders had adapted to the terrain and the local culture, young Afghans traveled to the Soviet Union to study, and the local army had been restructured and reinforced. The aforementioned administrator of Baghlan province, Mikhail Anisimov, spoke with irony about the new “kissing policy”: he had to individually negotiate with field commanders in Baghlan, and in the course of these agreements, had to “kiss a lot of bandits.” However, the strategy worked –the implementation of peaceful economic policy in his province yielded real results. Some proposals were quite peculiar: for example, mullahs were simultaneously appointed as communist secretaries of party organizations. Orthodox Marxists would have had a heart attack if they found out about this, but the strategy worked.

However, the right approach was found too late. In the Soviet Union, the war was very unpopular and caused many disputes in society. People did not understand why their friends and relatives were sent to fight in a foreign country and returned home crippled or dead. The Afghan war gave rise to the darkest term of the late Soviet era – “Cargo 200”. That is what coffins with the bodies of the dead soldiers were called since the coffin, transport box, and body itself were assumed to weigh a total of 200 kg. To this day, the Russian word “dvuhsoty” (“two hundredth”) implies a person who died at war.

Around this time, President Babrak Karmal started to neglect his duties, became an alcoholic, and left office in 1986. He was succeeded by Mohammad Najibullah, who tried to pursue a policy of national reconciliation. Najibullah was a determined and intelligent man, and he tried to stop the war. Refugees returned to their homes, and many militant groups laid down their arms as a result of the truce announced by Najibullah. Elections were announced and he became President in 1987.

However, these measures were implemented too late. If the right strategy had been found earlier, the USSR and the pro-Soviet Afghan government could have been victorious. But by that time, the political damage was so great that all Gorbachev wanted to do was get out of the situation. 

By 1987, the frequency of Soviet military operations steadily declined and the army was gradually being withdrawn from Afghanistan. 

However, it was very difficult to resolve the political conflict. No one knew what Afghanistan’s future would look like – the only thing that Gorbachev could do was offer to withdraw the troops. 

Soviet forces started leaving Afghanistan in 1988, and withdrew completely in 1989. In April 1988, a political settlement agreement was concluded in Geneva, and obligations were imposed on the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the USSR and the US. The key point of these agreements was the official timetable established for the withdrawal of Soviet troops. Back then, these were called “breakthrough” agreements, but in reality it was like “a wedding without a bride” since the leaders of the guerilla groups did not participate in the negotiations and had no intention of fulfilling the agreements. Pakistan and the US didn’t come good on their obligations either, but Gorbachev was determined to disengage. 

Eventually, Soviet troops were withdrawn completely. Just as Soviet soldiers could not defeat the Mujahideen, likewise the guerilla groups were not able to conquer the Soviet army. 

On February 15, the last columns of armored personnel carriers crossed the river on the border between Afghanistan and the Uzbek SSR. 100,000 Soviet soldiers had left Afghanistan. It did not look like the retreat of a defeated army. The fighters left with a strange mix of feelings: relief, a sense of having fulfilled their duty, and ... nostalgia.

For Soviet society, “Afghan” (as the country was often called in the USSR), became synonymous with collective trauma, similar to what the Vietnam War meant for Americans. The life of the war veterans – “Afghans,” as they were called – became a popular theme in Russian popular culture. Many novels, movies, and songs were devoted to the “Afghan” theme, and it even gave rise to a new music genre. Sometimes, the songs crossed country borders in a surprising way. For example, an amateur music video made to the song “I am too young to die” by the pop duo Modern Talking became very popular in Russia. The song was combined with video footage of an armored personnel carrier rushing along an Afghan road (this song was actually playing in the cabin of the vehicle when the video was shot). And in 2000, a US soldier used the song “Caravan” by the Soviet bard Alexander Rosenbaum as the background music for a video of his travels along the same Afghan roads that Soviet soldiers had crossed in the ‘80s. 

The USSR collapsed in 1991, but the veterans of the Afghan war formed an informal “brotherhood” that existed for several decades. However, confrontations arose when new wars sprang up on the ruins of the USSR, and many comrades-in-arms were forced to fight again – this time, on different sides of the barricades. 

The war was over and Soviet troops had withdrawn from Afghanistan. However, peace did not return to the country. The civil war continued.

The internal conflict had started before the Soviet intervention, and didn’t end with it. The civil war turned out to be both longer and bloodier than Moscow's invasion.

In 1989, many people thought that Mohammad Najibullah’s pro-Soviet government wouldn’t be able to cope with the situation in Afghanistan. In fact, the USSR continued to supply weapons, and “Najib”, as he was called in the Soviet Union, managed to keep up the resistance. In 1989, the Mujahideen attempted to occupy the city of Jalalabad, but their plan failed – Najibullah’s army repelled the offensive on its own, without the help of Soviet troops.

However, in 1991, the USSR collapsed, and Najibullah lost the support on which he depended. In 1992, another coup took place, and his regime, which had existed for three years, collapsed.

As so often happens, the “victorious” side immediately started to fight amongst itself. Former Mujahideen commanders Ahmad Shah Massoud, Abdul Rashid Dostum, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar turned against each other. Against this background, the Taliban, a religious and political movement, came to the forefront. Its members are generally viewed as terrorists. However, at the time, many Afghans saw them as a renewal force. The chaos empowered any political force that was able to dictate clear rules of the game and control the territory.


The Taliban advanced slowly but surely towards Kabul, and defeated several commanders. The fight against the Taliban was headed by Ahmad Shah Massoud, an ethnic Tajik field commander. Paradoxically, the new Russian state supported Massoud (who had been an implacable enemy of the Soviet troops during the Afghan war) since it didn't want religious radicals to come to power in Central Asia. Massoud met with many officers of the old Soviet army, against whom he had once fought. The former opponents recalled the Afghan war almost nostalgically and looked at each other sympathetically. 

Meanwhile, the Taliban managed to occupy almost all of Afghanistan, and seized Kabul. President Najibullah, who was hiding in the building of the UN mission, was hanged. By then, only Massoud’s united opposition forces were still fighting against the Taliban in northeastern Afghanistan. The insurgents slowly advanced to the north and by 2001 controlled over 90% of Afghanistan’s territory.

In 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York, and the US invaded Afghanistan. Massoud was killed by terrorists just a day before the September 11 attacks, and the new war took place without him.

US soldiers quickly crossed the territory of Afghanistan... and fell into the same trap as the USSR. The 2001-2021 Afghan war is another story. It lasted for 20 years, and ended with the retreat of all US and allied forces.

Presently, Afghanistan is once again under the control of the Taliban. Fighting continues – this time the Taliban is up against ISIS terrorists. The war that deeply shook Soviet society was for Afghanistan only another part of its history, a lot of which has been filled with violence and blood. 

By Roman Shumov, a Russian historian focused on conflicts and international politics