Sunday, August 15, 2021

The US could have admitted defeat and that the Taliban would take over the moment they left. They could have planned an exit without chaos. But of course they couldn't.

8/16/21, the twitter account @ResoluteSupport has been deleted.

repeats mostly

Gilles Dorronsoro, Revolution Unending: Afghanistan, 1979 to the Present,  trans. John King, Columbia University Press, 2005 .

The role of the loya jirga, inaugurated by the former king Zahir Shah on 11 June 2002, was the transfer of the interim administration's authority to the Afghanistan Transitional Authority. There was inevitably some confusion, but the positions of the various delegates gravitated towards the exclusion of former ‘commanders' and to support for Zahir Shah. However, the crucial decisions and in particular the choice of Hamid Karzai, had already been taken by the Americans, at whose behest Zahir Shah was obliged to step aside. Actually a majority of the delegates appeared to be prepared to cast their votes for Zahir Shah, a development which would have blocked the election of the Americans’ candidate. For his part the king let it be known that he was ready to assume any responsibility which the loya jirga might wish to confer upon him, but in spite of this, shortly after the Loya jirga opened, the US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad publicly denied that Zahir Shah intended to put himself forward, and confirmed that he would give his support to Hamid Karzai. Some hours later Zahir Shah fell into line with the US position at a press conference, where the only diplomatic observers present were Americans, and irrevocably renounced anything other than a ceremonial role. 

HRW, 2017

The US-led NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan just published a photo of Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, sharing a laugh with Kandahar strongman Gen. Abdul Raziq, long accused of forcibly disappearing detainees and having his henchman drill holes in the heads of some of them. Raziq runs secret prisons where torture is rife, and he’s also been implicated in corruption involving cross-border smuggling and unpaid custom duties. Both the United Nations and Afghan human rights activists have accused Raziq’s forces of extrajudicial killings going back at least a decade.  

Patrick Cockburn, Harpers, 2015 

It was obviously something big: although the explosion had taken place on the other side of Sher Darwaza, a mountain in the center of Kabul, McWilliams had heard it clearly. After negotiating a maze of narrow streets on the south side of the city, he found the site. A massive car bomb, designed to kill as many civilians as possible, had been detonated in a neighborhood full of Hazaras, a much-persecuted minority.

McWilliams took pictures of the devastation, headed back to the embassy, and sent a report to Washington. It was very badly received — not because someone had launched a terrorist attack against Afghan civilians, but because McWilliams had reported it. The bomb, it turned out, had been the work of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the mujahedeen commander who received more CIA money and support than any other leader of the Afghan rebellion. The attack, the first of many, was part of a CIA-blessed scheme to “put pressure” on the Soviet presence in Kabul. Informing the Washington bureaucracy that Hekmatyar’s explosives were being deployed to kill civilians was therefore entirely unwelcome.

“Those were Gulbuddin’s bombs,” McWilliams, a Rhode Islander with a gift for laconic understatement, told me recently. “He was supposed to get the credit for this.” In the meantime, the former diplomat recalled, the CIA pressured him to “report a little less specifically about the humanitarian consequences of those vehicle bombs.”

I tracked down McWilliams, now retired to the remote mountains of southern New Mexico, because the extremist Islamist groups currently operating in Syria and Iraq called to mind the extremist Islamist groups whom we lavishly supported in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Hekmatyar, with his documented fondness for throwing acid in women’s faces, would have had nothing to learn from Al Qaeda. When a courageous ABC News team led by my wife, Leslie Cockburn, interviewed him in 1993, he had beheaded half a dozen people earlier that day. Later, he killed their translator. 

 etc.

NYT 2013, With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — For more than a decade, wads of American dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, on occasion, plastic shopping bags have been dropped off every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan’s president — courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency.

All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.

“We called it ‘ghost money,’ ” said Khalil Roman, who served as Mr. Karzai’s deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005. “It came in secret, and it left in secret.”

The C.I.A., which declined to comment for this article, has long been known to support some relatives and close aides of Mr. Karzai. But the new accounts of off-the-books cash delivered directly to his office show payments on a vaster scale, and with a far greater impact on everyday governing.

Moreover, there is little evidence that the payments bought the influence the C.I.A. sought. Instead, some American officials said, the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official said, “was the United States.”...

No one mentions the agency’s money at cabinet meetings. It is handled by a small clique at the National Security Council, including its administrative chief, Mohammed Zia Salehi, Afghan officials said.

Mr. Salehi, though, is better known for being arrested in 2010 in connection with a sprawling, American-led investigation that tied together Afghan cash smuggling, Taliban finances and the opium trade. Mr. Karzai had him released within hours, and the C.I.A. then helped persuade the Obama administration to back off its anticorruption push, American officials said.

After his release, Mr. Salehi jokingly came up with a motto that succinctly summed up America’s conflicting priorities. He was, he began telling colleagues, “an enemy of the F.B.I., and a hero to the C.I.A.” 

And this of course. Maria Farrell, proper army wife, "Chicks dig the uniform", and the rest. 

"Sometime in Spring, two years ago, my brother Henry received a hand-written letter from a woman in Ireland he’d neither met nor heard of. It was a letter of introduction. The person being introduced was Edward, 'a decent, entertaining fellow. We have known him all our lives.'

...A month or two later, I phoned to say I’d be arriving that evening from L.A. for a couple of weeks in the DC office. Henry pressed the letter into my hands as I arrived on the doorstep. He was rushing to the airport and thought I might have more time to take an interest."

As I said: if the Farrells were Muslim, she'd be in hijab. If they were Iranian, she'd be a religious liberal; if they were Jewish they'd be Zionists.

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