This article may primarily relate to a different subject, or place undue weight on a particular aspect rather than the subject as a whole. Specifically, a potential majority of quotes and sum of their text relate to global political debates of much recency. (July 2021)
Afghanistan (Pashto/Dari: افغانستان, Afġānistān), officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a country in Central and Southern Eurasia. Once a buffer state between the Russian Empire and British India, it has remained in state of civil war since 1978, when conservative Afghans rebelled against a Communist government. The rebellion prompted an invasion and occupation by the Soviet Union, which Muslim fighters defeated with international support. The Muslim fighters overthrew the Communist government in 1992 and were overthrown in 1996 by the more conservative Taliban movement. The United States led an invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 after the September 11 attacks, accompanied by a coalition of NATO members in 2003.
- Could the American prowess defeat the terrorists in Afghanistan or in other places? No, you cannot… it’s not enough to have this Apache or F-16 or F-35, whatever you want to label it, to defeat terrorists. There has to be a more comprehensive way of dealing with that complicated issue.
- Bashar al-Assad, Interview with Yahoo News, (2017)
- It is as bad as you possibly can imagine. In fact, we’re now looking at the worst humanitarian crisis on Earth. Ninety-five percent of the people don’t have enough food, and now we’re looking at 23 million people marching toward starvation. Out of that, almost 9 million are knocking on famine’s door. The winter months are coming. We’re coming out of a drought. The next six months are going to be catastrophic. It is going to be hell on Earth.
- The tragedy is that the U.S. leaving Afghanistan, for the Biden administration, is a chance to focus on what they call our main adversary, which is China. It justifies this continual, gargantuan Pentagon budget that eats up so much of our resources. And it is a delusional idea that we should be focusing on China as an enemy — it’s a country of over a billion people, it’s a nuclear country — especially at a time when we need to work with China to deal with issues like the climate, like the pandemic, like global poverty.
China is going into Afghanistan and will work with the new Afghan government to build up the infrastructure. Well, where is all that infrastructure that the U.S. didn’t do for the last 20 years? Why have they left Afghanistan, having been occupied by one of the richest countries in the world — us, the United States — to be one of the most impoverished countries in the world? The U.S. should actually learn from China that instead of going into countries with bombs and bullets, it should go into countries to figure out how to help build the infrastructure and build the economy, that would be a win-win situation.
- We feel that the U.S. owes a tremendous responsibility, not only for getting the Afghans out, as we’re trying to do now, but for the millions of Afghans who are left behind in terrible, dire situations from this 20 years of war. You had a great program on yesterday, Amy, about the humanitarian crisis. Well, we feel like the U.S. is now going to use its economic warfare against Afghanistan to increase that humanitarian crisis by withholding $9 billion that belongs to Afghanistan in U.S. banks, by working with other countries in Europe and the IMF to withhold funding. We don’t have to be friends with the Taliban, but we can’t be the enemies, either, because the victims will be the Afghan people. We need to let go of their funds. We need to provide generous humanitarian support. In fact, the U.S. should fund the entire $350 million urgent request made by the UNHCR, the refugee agency, because that’s equivalent to just one-and-a-half days of war in Afghanistan. So, we owe a lot to the people whose lives that we have helped destroy over these last 20 years.
- Our government has known for years that the war in Afghanistan is a jaw-dropping disaster... How do we know they knew? The Washington Post actually just published some impressive reporting, taking a step back from its lust for pro-war propaganda... The Post unearthed a trove of thousands of internal government documents that expose the catastrophic war. “[The document trove] reveals that senior US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable,” the paper reported. Let me translate The Washington Post’s fancy-pants language: U.S. officials didn’t “fail to tell the truth”; they f---ing lied. The phrase “failed to tell the truth” oozes around the brain’s neural pathways, strategically dodging the anger receptors... keep in mind that the U.S. military likes to categorize anyone it kills “an insurgent.” The Pentagon goes by the theory that if it kills you, then you’re an insurgent—because if you weren’t an insurgent, then why did it kill you? A great many of the 42,000 were truly innocent civilians.
- We know from long experience in Iraq and Afghanistan to take territory, hold territory, and govern territory and prevent a reemergence of a terrorist group.
- For archaeologists Afghanistan, rich in ancient treasures and once a key stop on the legendary silk road, is an "open-air museum", albeit one ravaged by war and plagued by looters.
- Anne Chaon, “Archaeologists dig Afghanistan, map its cultural heritage”, Phys.org, (September 14, 2016).
- Afghanistan's location and the variety and abundance of its bountiful mines of gold, copper and precious stones make it an archaeological holy grail. The Afghan lapis-lazuli, a brilliant blue semi-precious gemstone, was used as decoration by the Egyptian pharaohs and the great kings of Assyria and Babylon, Bendezu-Sarmiento notes.
- Anne Chaon, “Archaeologists dig Afghanistan, map its cultural heritage”, Phys.org, (September 14, 2016).
- In 2007, Afghanistan supplied approximately 93% of the global supply of heroin. The proceeds (in terms of retail value) of the Afghanistan drug trade are estimated (2017) to be in excess of 700 billion dollars a year... The proceeds of this lucrative multibillion dollar contraband are deposited in Western banks. Almost the totality of the revenues accrue to corporate interests and criminal syndicates outside Afghanistan. The laundering of drug money constitutes a multibillion dollar activity, which continues to be protected by the CIA and the ISI. In the wake of the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan. In retrospect, one of the major objectives of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was to restore the drug trade. The militarization of Pakistan serves powerful political, financial and criminal interests underlying the drug trade. US foreign policy tends to support these powerful interests. The CIA continues to protect the Golden Crescent narcotics trade. Despite his commitment to eradicating the drug trade, opium production under the regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has skyrocketed.
- The period between the Soviet withdrawal and the outbreak of civil war in 1993 represented a lost opportunity, though the political seeds of failure had probably been sown much earlier because of the greed and opportunism of the competing mujahedeen groups and the manipulations of their foreign backers.
Between 1992 and 1996, resistance factions, joined later by the Taliban, locked themselves into a kaleidoscopic power struggle that resulted in the obliteration of huge swathes of southern and eastern Kabul and considerable damage to much of the rest of the city on a scale that even Beirut and Sarajevo veterans can scarcely believe. Afghanistan’s own uncompromising leaders were primarily responsible for Kabul’s destruction, but the Soviets also laid waste to huge areas and were responsible for the millions of mines that still litter the Afghan countryside.
- Rupert Colville, “Refugees Magazine Issue 108 (Afghanistan : the unending crisis) - The biggest caseload in the world”, UNHCR, (01 June 1997)
- Humanitarian and economic conditions are rapidly deteriorating in Afghanistan, where the U.N. estimates that more than half of the population suffers from acute hunger. The country has fallen into an economic crisis after the U.S. and other Western countries cut off direct financial assistance to the government following the Taliban takeover in August. Taliban leaders are also unable to access billions of dollars in Afghan national reserves that are held in banks overseas. “Forty million civilians were left behind when the NATO countries went for the door in August,” says Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, who recently visited Afghanistan and with refugees in Iran, where as many as 5,000 Afghans are fleeing every day. “They told me very clearly, 'We believe we will starve and freeze to death this harsh winter unless there is an enormous aid operation coming through.'”
- Democracy Now!, Hell on Earth”: Millions of Afghans Face Starvation as U.S. & West Freeze Billions in Gov’t Funds, (16 November 2021)
- Well, I was myself recently also in Afghanistan, and I sat down with the mothers in these displacement camps around Kabul. And I asked them, “What about the future? What do you think of the future?” And they told me very clearly, “We believe we will starve and freeze to death this harsh winter, unless there is an enormous aid operation coming through and unless there is a public sector again that is able to provide services.” It is as acute as that. Forty million civilians were left behind when the NATO countries went for the door in August.
- Money should not go to the military political group called the Taliban that took power by force. The money should go to the people, and it is possible. So, number one, there has to be trust funds, as we call it, that is held by U.N. agencies, that funnel money directly to the hospitals, that you just showed, where people are dying at the moment. It can go straight to the teachers that were on the payroll of the World Bank previously, can go straight to them. So, the money can go through us, international organizations, straight to the people.
Secondly, unfreeze those funds that will enable banks to function again. At the moment, we cannot even buy relief items in Afghanistan. We have to ship them over, take them over from Pakistan and Iran, which means that employment is dying in Afghanistan.
And thirdly, donors, come down from the fence. See that we are there. We are reliable channels for funding. The money will go to the people. Transmit funding, not just come with pledges. This will not become Switzerland in a long time. You have to share the risk with us to save lives this winter.
- He would be surprised at the fluctuation and instability of the civil institutions. He would find it difficult to comprehend how a nation could subsist in such disorder... Opportunism prevails in Afghanistan. The changing combination of forces is not based on any principle; they simply represent the unfolding of old rivalries and new clashes of interests.
- Mountstuart Elphinstone, as quoted by Amin Saikal, in Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival (2004), p. 1
- Afghanistan was a full part of the Hindu cradle up till the year 1000, and in political unity with India until Nadir Shah separated it in the 18th century.
- Koenraad Elst, Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society (1991)
- The war in Afghanistan was prompted more than anything by displeasure with the country’s then-PDPA general secretary, Hafizullah Amin. Although he led Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed Communist party, he had angered the Kremlin by assassinating his predecessor, Mohammed Taraki, a rival Communist. Moscow blamed Amin’s ruthlessness for a wave of rebellion in the countryside that threatened the government. By eliminating him, the Kremlin reasoned, a coup d’état would save the Communist regime that kept the Soviet Union’s southern neighbor within Moscow’s sphere of influence.
- Gregory Feifer, “The Truth About the Soviet War in Afghanistan”, The Atlantic, (January 4, 2019).
- Despite grievous mistakes in planning and execution, however, the Soviet war in Afghanistan was no unmitigated failure. Until Washington provided the rebel mujahideen with Stinger surface-to-air missiles in 1986, Moscow had the upper hand. The rub for the U.S.S.R. was that soon after the reforming Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985—but before the introduction of the Stinger missiles turned the conflict’s tide—he had already promised to withdraw Soviet troops.
- Gregory Feifer, “The Truth About the Soviet War in Afghanistan”, The Atlantic, (January 4, 2019).
- The Government of Afghanistan has asked industrialists to present plans and recommendations to revive the textile industry in the country. Around 59,000 tons of cotton is grown in Afghanistan but there are no factories to process the fibre further. In the past, there were at least seven textile manufacturing plants in the country that employed 30,000 people.
- Fibre2Fashion, “Afghanistan exploring ways to revive textile industry”, Fashion Network, (July 20, 2017)
- We are very much welcoming a new national policy on the rights of internally displaced people. This would help find solutions for the many, many displaced who were affected by conflict, natural disasters and basically gives them far more rights than they had before. And puts the onus on the different governments, ministries etc where they are located.
- Melissa Fleming, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, quoted on United Nations Radio, "Afghanistan launches new policy to improve conditions of internally displaced", (February 11, 2014).
- Afghan officials say Iran’s support of the Taliban is aimed in part at disrupting development projects that might threaten its dominance. The Iranian goal, they contend, is to keep Afghanistan supplicant.
The biggest competition is for water, and Afghans have every suspicion that Iran is working to subvert plans in Afghanistan for upstream dams that could threaten its water supply.
- Carlotta Gall, "In Afghanistan, US Exits, and Iran Comes In", The New York Times, (5 August 2017).
- Let’s look at the nature of what the imperialists and their lackeys call democracy in Afghanistan. In the Afghan government, as reflected in the constitution, political parties, freedom of expression and freedom of the press, in short all civil and individual rights are restricted by Islam and Islamic Sharia, nothing is permitted beyond that and everything is illegal. In this aspect, the main difference between the current Islamic Republic regime and the Islamic Emirate regime of the Taliban is that the current regime is a multi-party Islamic regime, while the Taleban regime was a single-party Islamic regime....As a method, democracy is utilised to dress up the anti-democratic religious Islamic nature of the regime as being modern.
- The inability of the United States to comprehend what it was becoming involved in when... it declared a Global War on Terror, has to be reckoned one of the singular failures of national security policy over the past twenty years. Not only did the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq make bad situations worse, but the fact that no one is Washington was able to define “victory” and think in terms of an exit strategy has meant that the wars and instability are still with us.... At the same time, American troops illegally present in neighboring Syria, continue to occupy that country’s oil fields to deprive the government in Damascus of much needed resources. Neither Iraq nor Syria threatens the United States in any way... US forces pulled out of their principal base in the country, Bagram Air Base, in the middle of the night without informing the incoming Afghan base commander. A frenzy of looting of the left-behind equipment followed... The U.S. clearly wants to have some ability to intervene using air resources if the Taliban take over and misbehave, but that just might be a fantasy as the door is closing on options while China is waiting for its own door to open to bring the Afghans into their New Silk Road. And there is no escaping the fact that the entire Afghan adventure was one hell of a waste of lives and resources.
- For nearly twenty years, the American occupation of Afghanistan, alongside other economic and strategic goals, attempted to undermine the social conservatism of the country. American soldiers built schools for women’s education, cultivated feminism and critical gender studies among the Afghani elite, curtailed the power of religious law, and attempted to cosmpolitanize Kabul. A new consumerist culture tried to undermine the bonds of the traditional Afghan family. Practices banned by the Taliban, such as degenerate “bacha bazi” grooming, were quietly brought back under the American occupation. Where the Taliban were once the harbingers of law and order, the American military elite allowed a culture of sexual assault, rapes, and homosexual activity to flourish among the Afghan people. Indeed, the Afghan fertility rate collapsed under the strain of war, feminization, consumerism, and liberalism. Despite this, the Taliban retained enough mass popular support to retake the country in August 2021.
- Henry Hogan, Liberalism’s Sandy Tomb, The American Sun, 31 August 2021
- The absence of resistance to the Taliban’s conquest is of great consequence: after being unimpressed by decades of liberalization, most Afghans still preferred to be ruled under a traditionalist order. Liberalism’s foundational source of power comes from its capacity for violence and bribery, both of which are now absent in Afghanistan.
- Henry Hogan, Liberalism’s Sandy Tomb, The American Sun, 31 August 2021
- Two months ago (... 12/21/21), I noted the striking contrast between vocal media outrage—ostensibly grounded in concern for Afghan people—over President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, and the relative silence over the growing humanitarian crisis in that country, which threatens millions with life-threatening levels of famine. While influenced by drought and Taliban policies, the current crisis is primarily driven by the US decisions to freeze the assets of the country’s central bank and maintain economic sanctions, which have destabilized the banking system and sent the economy into a tailspin. Last Friday, Biden announced his intention to take the $7 billion in frozen funds currently held in US banks and use them as he sees fit, giving half to a humanitarian aid trust fund for Afghans and half to families of 9/11 victims. Lest anyone imagine this to be generous in any way, note that the $7 billion—most of which originated as international aid, and representing the vast majority of the central bank’s assets—belongs to the Afghan people, not to Biden. And the Afghan people bear zero responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. On the contrary, they are also its victims, because of the subsequent US decision to invade and occupy their country. Beyond that, giving them back half of the money that is rightfully theirs in the form of “aid”—instead of returning it to the banking system—is not only a band-aid that doesn’t solve the country’s liquidity problem, it’s nearly impossible to do anyway, given the sanctions still in place (...2/12/21).
- Biden’s Multi-Billion Afghan Theft Gets Scant Mention on TV News Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, Julie Hollar, 15 Feburary 2022
- In Afghan society, parents play a central role in the lives of their children; the parent-child relationship is fundamental to who you are and what you become and how you perceive yourself, and it is laden with contradictions, with tension, with anger, with love, with loathing, with angst.
- Pakistan has a history of military support for different factions within Afghanistan, extending at least as far back as the early 1970s. During the 1980s, Pakistan, which was host to more than two million Afghan refugees, was the most significant front-line state serving as a secure base for the mujahidin fighting against the Soviet intervention. Pakistan also served, in the 1980s, as a U.S. stalking horse: the U.S., through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), granted Pakistan wide discretion in channeling some U.S.$2-3 billion worth of covert assistance to the mujahidin, training over 80,000 of them. Even after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, serving and former Pakistani military officers continued to provide training and advisory services in training camps within Afghanistan and eventually to Taliban forces in combat.
- Human Rights Watch, "III. PAKISTAN'S SUPPORT OF THE TALIBAN", 2000.
- The International Criminal Court (ICC's) mandate to investigate war crimes has thus been hampered by the unwillingness of the world’s sole superpower to commit to the organization.... Recent statements...suggest that the United States is now preparing to go to war against the ICC itself, motivated largely by an effort to silence investigations into alleged American war crimes committed in Afghanistan, as well as alleged crimes committed by Israel during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip...
- Murtaza Hussain, The U.S. Goes To War Against the ICC to Cover Up Alleged War Crimes in Afghanistan, The Intercept, (12 September 2018).
- Kabul has a castle celebrated for its strength, accessible only by one road. In it there are Musulmans, and it has a town in which are infidels from Hind.
- Istakhri, quoted in Elliot and Dowson Vol 2. 412.
- The contracts, the subcontracts, the blind contracts given to people, money thrown around to buy loyalties, money thrown around to buy submissiveness of Afghan government officials, to policies and designs that the Afghans would not agree to. That was the major part of corruption.
- Hamid Karzai, quoted on BBC News, "Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai says Nato caused 'great suffering'", (October 7, 2013).
- The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted more than nine years. It was a cauldron that took the lives of 15,000 Soviet soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians, and turned millions of Afghans into refugees.
- Lucian Kim, “Many Russians Today Take Pride In Afghan War That Foretold Soviet Demise”, (February 21, 2019).
- Some of the wars America fought were "simply for profit" and the sanctions it has imposed on certain countries have been as destructive as wars... The American people have virtually no say over when we go to war. These decisions are made in back rooms somewhere...The American people continue to be lied to about why we go to war, because again, one of the big reasons is simply for profit, and that's always been true to some extent, but now it is in a very naked way.
- [On the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan] From a strategic point of view, it has to be seen as a complete failure, and yet it went on for 20 years, why did it go on for 20 years? Because the defense industry companies that make the bombs, that make the planes, that make the vehicles, and also the private military contractors that now are fighting the wars in lieu of public military personnel, they made trillions of dollars as long as the war continued. So they didn't care if the war was ever won, the goal was for the war to simply continue forever... the point is not to win the war, but to make sure it never ends because you're going to keep making profits.
- For archaeologists, Afghanistan is virtually off-limits for fieldwork, as Taliban forces battle the Kabul government in far-flung provinces and security remains tenuous even in the capital. Yet U.S. and Afghan researchers are now finding thousands of never-before-cataloged ancient sites in the country, which for more than a millennium served as a crucial crossroads linking East and West. The discoveries promise to expand scholars’ view of long-vanished empires while giving the battered nation a desperately needed chance to protect its trove of cultural heritage.
- Andrew Lawler, “Spy satellites are revealing Afghanistan’s lost empires”, Science, (December 13, 2017).
- The main scourge of our country is perennial foreign intervention... Only final cessation of foreign aggression will allow us to start solving all other problems of Afghanistan, economic and political.
- Ahmad Shah Massoud, as quoted by Amin Saikal, in Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival (2004), p. 7
- We will never be a pawn in someone else's game. We will always be Afghanistan.
- Ahmad Shah Massoud, in Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda (2005) by Gary Berntsen and Ralph Pezzullo.
- Afghanistan is important enough – largely because of its strategic location – to try to influence, but it is not valuable enough to risk dominating.
- Richard Newell, as quoted by Amin Saikal in Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival (2004), p. 7
- Most Afghans still live in rural areas, where poverty, conflict and conservative attitudes are more likely to keep girls and women at home.
Of the 4.2 million Afghan children not getting any education, Unicef estimates 60% are girls - and most live in rural districts and the southern and eastern provinces where Nato-Taliban clashes have been most fierce.
These are also the heartlands of the Pashtuns, the ethnic group from which the Taliban emerged and who have always had the most conservative views of a woman's role.
More schools are being built outside Afghan cities - but far less in this conflict belt. Even then, the Taliban have forced many to close again.
It's dangerous trying to be a teacher in southern Afghanistan.
- Andrew North, and challenges in Afghan girls' education”, BBC News. 11 October 2012. (Archived 23 November 2018 at the Wayback Machine).
- Afghanistan is becoming the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. The Food and Agricultural Organization said that 18.8 million Afghans are unable to feed themselves every day. This number is set to rise to nearly 23 million by the end of the year. Nearly nine million people are close to starvation. At least one million children under five with severe acute malnutrition and 2.2 million children under five with moderate acute malnutrition need malnutrition treatment services. However, starvation is not the only issue faced by children. As UNICEF warns “Afghanistan was already one of the toughest places on earth to be a child. Right now, the situation is desperate.” The situation deteriorates quickly as the country is on a brink of famine.
Recent weeks have seen yet another trend: families selling their children, and mostly girls, so that families could buy food. In one of reported cases, a six-year-old girl and 18-month-old toddler were sold for $3,350 and $2,800 respectively. In another reporting, a 9-year-old girl was sold for about $2,200 in the form of sheep, land and cash. There are many more such stories.
- Afghan Girls Being Exchanged For Food As Famine Nears, Ewelina U. Ochab, Forbes November 25, 2021
- For over a decade after the fall of the Taliban regime in December 2001, China preferred to be a mere spectator of the dramatic events unfolding in Afghanistan. Unlike other countries, which sent troops to participate in counterinsurgency operations and contributed financial and other support for reconstruction of the war-ravaged country, Beijing maintained a low profile.
China did not send troops to Afghanistan as it was not interested in being a “subordinate partner” of the U.S.-led alliance in that country. Besides, its goals in Afghanistan were “limited,” Zhao Huasheng, a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai pointed out. Unlike the Western powers, China was not interested in “rebuilding Afghanistan politically” or in altering its “political structures, social patterns or ideological orientations.”
While China avoided participating in multilateral efforts in Afghanistan in the 2002-12 period, it maintained close ties with the Afghan government. It signed the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Good Neighborly Relations with Kabul in 2006. Two years later, Chinese companies won a $3 billion contract to extract copper from the Mes Aynak mines in Logar province.
It was in the context of the U.S. drawdown of troops from Afghanistan and the possibility of the country descending into chaos that China began stepping up its involvement in Afghan affairs in 2012.
- Sudha Ramachandran, "Is China Bringing Peace to Afghanistan?" The Diplomat, (06/2018).
- Afghanistan never has had, and never can have, the cohesion and consistency of a regular monarchical government. The nation consists of a mere collection of tribes, of unequal power and with divergent habits, which are held together, more or less closely, according to the personal character of the chief who rules them. The feeling of patriotism, as known in Europe, cannot exist among the Afghans, for there is no common country... There is no natural or ethnical reason why Herat and Candahar should be attached to Cabul. Herat is inhabited by races entirely alien to the Afghans, by Jamshidis, Eymaks, and Hazrehs; while at Candahar, though the lands were parcelled out by Nadir Shah in the middle of the last century among the Durrani aristocracy, and their descendants still exist as a privileged class, the peasantry are everywhere of Persian, or Tajik, or Turkish descent, and have no community of felling with the northern and eastern Afghans.
- Henry Rawlinson, as quoted by Amin Saikal in Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival (2004) p. 30
- A retired army colonel commissioned by the Pentagon to examine the war in Afghanistan concluded the conflict created conditions that have given "warlordism, banditry and opium production a new lease on life," The New Yorker reported on Sunday.
- Hy Rothstein, The New Yorker, (Sunday, 3 April 2004); as quoted in Channel news Asia archived from the original on (2004-04-05).
- Capitalism’s gratuitous wars and sanctioned greed have jeopardized the planet and filled it with refugees. Much of the blame for this rests squarely on the shoulders of the government of the United States. Seventeen years after invading Afghanistan, after bombing it into the ‘stone age’ with the sole aim of toppling the Taliban, the US government is back in talks with the very same Taliban. In the interim it has destroyed Iraq, Libya and Syria. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives to war and sanctions, a whole region has descended into chaos, ancient cities—pounded into dust. Amidst the desolation and the rubble, a monstrosity called Daesh (ISIS) has been spawned. It has spread across the world, indiscriminately murdering ordinary people who had absolutely nothing to do with America’s wars. Over these last few years, given the wars it has waged, and the international treaties it has arbitrarily reneged on, the US Government perfectly fits its own definition of a rogue state.
- I think you could say it’s a good thing that Joe Biden did this, and that is the withdrawal from Afghanistan... Certainly, there are serious questions about the tactical withdrawal and the bloodshed that was witnessed and the scene at the Kabul Airport. Congress is going to spend endless time looking at that span of a few days. In fact, I will predict they are going to spend more time looking at Biden’s withdrawal than they are going to spend looking at the catastrophic 20-year policy in Afghanistan.
- There was an enormous amount of pressure on Joe Biden to keep the war in Afghanistan going from within his own party, certainly from the military brass. I think Biden deserves credit for standing up to them. I am not sure that if Barack Obama had been the commander-in-chief during this period he actually would have followed through as Biden did on a total withdrawal of conventional American forces. I do think someone who is this career politician specializing in foreign policy, I think Joe Biden knew the history well enough to know that he would have been taking a catastrophic gamble by keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
- Joe Biden made clear when he announced his withdrawal from Afghanistan that the United States was going to still have the capability to strike remotely. It is a harrowing grotesque flashback to many of the incidents we saw during the Obama era where the Biden administration authorized a drone strike on what they claimed was a vehicle carrying ISIS operatives. And you just recently had this terrorist attack at the Kabul Airport during the withdrawal. On the surveillance feed that the drone operators were looking at, we now know that they saw clearly at least one child and still went forward with the strike. Seven of the ten people killed in that strike were children. Ten of the ten people were civilians.
- We regard the Afghan jihăd as the mother of jihăd. Many jihăd movements in the ummah have sprung from it.
- Mujăhid Syed Íală˙uddin, the Óizb Amir, or Amir of the mujăhidin, in Kăshmir, 1995 quoted from Richard Bonney (auth.) - Jihād_ From Qur’ān to bin Laden-Palgrave Macmillan UK (2004) page 320
- Yes, Afghanistan is composed of 18 different communities marked by ethnic, linguistic and religious differences. But ask any Afghan who he is, and he won’t hesitate to reply: an Afghan! The national identity has taken shape over 300 years — after all, as a state, Afghanistan is older than America, Germany and Italy. It is also one of the oldest Muslim nation-states... From 1860 to 1977, a string of Afghan monarchs imposed effective rule throughout their realm. But the monarchy was never absolute, if only because the loya jigrah, a high assembly of tribal and religious leaders, would restrain a despotic king or help a weak one... Until the “time of troubles” starting in the late ’70s, Afghans were proverbial in their hospitality and readiness to welcome foreigners. Over two decades, an estimated 1.2 million young Westerners traveled there in search of the mythical east — without facing any hostility. As for misogyny, Afghanistan was among the first Muslim countries to declare education compulsory for both boys and girls. From the ’60s, it had women doctors, professors, parliamentarians and even Cabinet ministers... The Pakistani military created the Taliban in 1995 — six years after the Red Army left Afghanistan. Al Qaeda funneled money to some mujahedeen, but never played a role in the fighting. Even the mujahedeen couldn’t claim to have driven out the Red Army — which left as part of Mikhail Gorbachev’s strategic retreat. And the Communist regime remained for three years after the Soviets left, collapsing only when its Uzbek militia switched sides and, forging an alliance with Tajik fighters under Ahmad Shah Massoud, captured Kabul. The massive aid for the mujahedeen from America and allies proved a crucial factor in forcing the Soviet withdrawal. The claim that a handful of Pushtun, on their own, defeated the Red Army is laughable... Modern ideas have had a home in Afghanistan since the 19th century. Several Islamist reformist movements started in Afghanistan before spreading to Central Asia and beyond. Afghanistan’s social- democratic, liberal, nationalist, Marxist, Maoist and Islamist parties provided a rich tapestry of ideologies until the ’70s... Eight years ago, no Afghan girls could go to school. Now, a third attend school. Although corruption is rife in the new ruling elite, hundreds of construction projects have finished, with hundreds more under way. More important, perhaps, the vast majority of Afghans think that they’re better off under President Hamid Karzai’s administration — inefficient, arrogant and possibly corrupt as it may be — than under the murderous rule of Mullah Muhammad Omar.
- Nearly twenty-five years ago, the Soviet Union pulled its last troops out of Afghanistan, ending more than nine years of direct involvement and occupation. The USSR entered neighboring Afghanistan in 1979, attempting to shore up the newly-established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. In short order, nearly 100,000 Soviet soldiers took control of major cities and highways. Rebellion was swift and broad, and the Soviets dealt harshly with the Mujahideen rebels and those who supported them, leveling entire villages to deny safe havens to their enemy. Foreign support propped up the diverse group of rebels, pouring in from Iran, Pakistan, China, and the United States. In the brutal nine-year conflict, an estimated one million civilians were killed, as well as 90,000 Mujahideen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers. Civil war raged after the withdrawal, setting the stage for the Taliban's takeover of the country in 1996.
- Alan Taylor, “The Soviet War in Afghanistan, 1979 – 1989”, The Atlantic, (Aug 4, 2014).
- UN Human Rights Council has appealed to increase humanitarian support to 3.5 million people including 700,000 from 2021 alone who were displaced due to the conflict in Afghanistan, the United Nations body said in a statement. Spokesperson of UNHCR... said... that around 23 million people, or 55 per cent of the population, are facing extreme levels of hunger - nearly nine million of whom are at risk of famine. UNHCR has assisted some 700,000 displaced people across the country in 2021, the majority since mid-August. Every week, the agency is helping nearly 60,000 people, according to the statement. "But as we reach thousands of people, we find thousands more people who are in need of humanitarian assistance", Baloch said, appealing for "further resources for the most vulnerable". He noted that "single mothers with no shelter or food for their children", displaced older persons left to care for orphaned grandchildren, and people taking care of loved ones with special needs.
- Times of India, ANI UNHRC calls for humanitarian aid for 3.5 million Afghans to avoid starvation December 4, 2021
- The most explicit mentioning of the Afghans appears in Al- Baruni’s Tarikh Al-Hind (eleventh century AD). Here it is said that various tribes of Afghans lived in the mountains in the west of India. Al Baruni adds that they were savage people and he describes them as Hindus.
- Afghanistan's rugged terrain is honeycombed with natural caverns and man-made tunnels. The Hindu Kush mountains are pocked with caves scooped out of limestone by melting snow. In the sandstone foothills of the southeastern part of the country, everyone from warriors to farmers has carved tunnels that provide ideal hiding places for fighters and ammunition. The hideouts also include caves dug deep into the granite bedrock during the war with the Soviets in the 1980s. This underground warren is connected by crisscrossing passageways, and is equipped with escape tunnels. Some of these massive caves are large enough to drive a truck into, or to house a few tanks and a fighter jet.
- The Week, “The Caves of Afghanistan”, (January 1, 2007).
- Afghanistan's populated plains have a very arid climate, and rivers dry up for months at a time. Farmers built the first tunnels, called karez, to transport water from the mountains to their crops. The tunnels typically begin at the foot of mountainous areas, where the initial well is dug down to the water table. The channels then follow a gentle slope to the population centers they support. Some historians believe the underground irrigation system was already in place when Alexander the Great conquered present-day Afghanistan on his way to India in 328 B.C.
- The Week, “The Caves of Afghanistan”, (January 1, 2007).
“How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan” (9 Jan 2018)Edit
Alfred W McCoy, “How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan”, The Guardian, (9 Jan 2018).
- The CIA looked the other way while Afghanistan’s opium production grew from about 100 tonnes annually in the 1970s to 2,000 tonnes by 1991. In 1979 and 1980, just as the CIA effort was beginning to ramp up, a network of heroin laboratories opened along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier. That region soon became the world’s largest heroin producer. By 1984, it supplied a staggering 60% of the US market and 80% of the European. Inside Pakistan, the number of heroin addicts surged from near zero (yes, zero) in 1979 to 5,000 in 1980, and 1.3 million by 1985 – a rate of addiction so high the UN termed it “particularly shocking”.
- By 2007, the UN’s Afghanistan Opium Survey found that the country’s then-record opium harvest of approximately 8,200 tonnes provided 93% of the world’s illicit heroin supply. Significantly, the UN stated that Taliban guerrillas have “started to extract from the drug economy resources for arms, logistics, and militia pay”. In 2008, the rebels reportedly collected $425m in “taxes” levied on the opium traffic, and with every harvest they made enough funds to recruit a new crop of young fighters from the villages. Each of those prospective guerrillas could count on monthly payments of $300 – far above the wages they would have made as agricultural laborers.
- For most people worldwide, economic activity, the production and exchange of goods, is the prime point of contact with their government. When, however, a country’s most significant commodity is illegal, then political loyalties naturally shift to the economic networks that move that product safely and secretly from fields to foreign markets, providing protection, finance and employment at every stage. “The narcotics trade poisons the Afghan financial sector and fuels a growing illicit economy,” John Sopko explained in 2014. “This, in turn, undermines the Afghan state’s legitimacy by stoking corruption, nourishing criminal networks and providing significant financial support to the Taliban and other insurgent groups.”
“Americans could owe $6.5 trillion for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and that's just the interest” (August 18, 2021)Edit
Rachel Layne, “Americans could owe $6.5 trillion for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and that's just the interest”, CBS News, (August 18, 2021)
- The ultimate cost of the nation's engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, on top of the incalculable personal toll on combatants and civilians, reflects a shift in how war has typically been financed. From the American Civil War through the Korean War, the U.S. government has mostly paid for its conflicts through taxes and war bonds. But in the post-September 11 era, U.S. military spending has been financed almost entirely through debt.
- Since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. government has spent $2.2 trillion to finance the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to figures from Brown University's Costs of War Project. Yet that sum — which amounts to roughly 10% of the the country's total gross domestic product — only reflects upfront costs.
Including the cost of interest on those wars will add an additional $2.1 trillion by 2030. And through 2050, the interest alone is forecast to top $6.5 trillion — even if war spending had theoretically stopped in 2019, according to research published last year from Heidi Peltier, director of the "20 Years of War" Project at Boston University's Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future.
Such borrowing leads to larger total costs because interest must be paid as long as the debt is owed. That pushes the "true cost of war out to future generations," Peltier told CBS MoneyWatch.
"What that does is shield the American public from the costs currently," she said. "So, Americans don't realize that they're paying for the cost, because their taxes are not increased. And they're not buying more [war] bonds, they're not in any way feeling the [financial] effects currently."
- Previous wars were largely paid for by taxes. For example, President Harry Truman temporarily raised the top tax rate on the richest Americans to 92% to help pay for the Korean War. And President Lyndon Johnson temporarily raised the top rate to 77% to fund the Vietnam War.
At the outset of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq under President George W. Bush, however, Congress cut taxes by roughly 8% for the wealthiest Americans. Since then, war costs haven't been included in the regular defense budget, experts have noted.
"In every previous major war, the war budget was integrated into the regular defense budget after the initial period. This meant that Congress and the Pentagon had to make trade-offs within the defense budget," Linda Bilmes, a lecturer in public policy and finance at Harvard's Kennedy School said told Congress in 2017. "By contrast, the post-9/11 wars have been funded mostly by supplemental appropriations."
- Another hidden cost: military personnel. The U.S. has committed to pay the health care, disability, burial and other costs for about 4 million Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans, which are projected to amount to more than $2 trillion. Those costs will peak after 2048, according to the Associated Press.