The “big news” in the last couple of days is the American “drawdown” in Afghanistan. Yes, after nearly two decades, the US is finally pulling its troops out of one of the many countries they never had a legal right to be in.
“President” Biden re-affirmed today that the US will be pulling all its forces out of the country by August 31st, adding that the people of Afghanistan must “decide their own future”.
This is being sold all across the media as an end to the (totally illegal and obviously economically motivated) war. Not only that, but the universal message is that ending the war is a bad thing.
The Economist headlines “America’s longest war is ending in crushing defeat”, and warns that life for the Afghanistan people will be worse once NATO has left.
Politico mournfully atones that America “never understood” its war there. While the New York Times comes over all nostalgic and compares the US leaving Afghanistan to the “betrayal” at the end of the Vietnam war in 1975.
Further coverage is already trying to sell us the “cost” of the US withdrawal.
The BBC is reporting that the Taliban are making territorial gains, and the Guardian report that Iran and Russia will step into the “diplomatic vacuum” in the region.
The Evening Standard is going one better, and already priming people for the idea NATO forces will have to go back and start again: “We’ve left Afghanistan but we may well be back“.
But is all this messaging accurate? Is the fighting really over? Did Biden just end a war?
No. Absolutely not. And the official channels are being more than clear about that.
The US acting Air Force Secretary John Roth has already said they have the “Over the Horizon” plan, a 10 billion dollar scheme to fly drone strikes over Afghanistan from airbases in Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE.
On Tuesday, in a press briefing, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby was asked how the US might assist Afghan National Security Defense Forces in the future, he responded:
the way you’ve seen it being conducted in the past – through airstrikes.
Airstrikes and drone strikes will carry on, the White House and Pentagon have been completely up-front on that (The Institute for Public Accuracy has done great work collating all the quotes.)
So, the “war is over”, but the United States will continue to drop bombs on Afghanistan as and when it feels like it (each and every one of those bombs is an individual war crime, by the way).
It is not going to be limited to bombs either, more evidence of how the war in Afghanistan will continue is available right here in the pages of USA Today, which ran a story headlined: “Here’s how we can save Afghanistan from ruin even as we withdraw American troops”, and suggests:
new ways to sustain several thousand Western contractors in or near Afghanistan are needed
“New ways to sustain contractors”, loosely translated, means “more money and weapons for mercenaries”.
For those who don’t know, “contractors” is almost always media speak for “mercenaries”. And “contractors” in Afghanistan have been in the news a fair amount the last few months.
In May, when the “drawdown” was allegedly beginning, NY Magazine reported:
The US Is Leaving Afghanistan? Tell That to the Contractors. American firms capitalize on the withdrawal, moving in with hundreds of new jobs.
Going on to point out [emphasis added]:
Contractors are a force both the US and Afghan governments have become reliant on, and contracts in the country are big business for the U.S. Since 2002, the Pentagon has spent $107.9 billion on contracted services in Afghanistan, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis. The Department of Defense currently employs more than 16,000 contractors in Afghanistan, of whom 6,147 are U.S. citizens — more than double the remaining US troops.
So, even before the “drawdown”, there were more mercenaries in Afghanistan than actual troops. And they’re not leaving.
Even back in December, it was already rumoured that Blackwater “could replace US soldiers in Afghanistan”.
In short, there WILL be US and NATO ground forces in Afghanistan. They’ll just be there as “civilian contractors” or “military advisors”. Western troops will go over in a “private capacity” working for Blackwater or some other mercenary company which also happens to get contracts from the State Department or the CIA.
Meanwhile, the US forces supposedly “abandoned” a key base in Bagram just a few days ago, leaving behind weapons, “hundreds of armoured vehicles”, and over 5000 “Taliban prisoners”.
We’ve seen this before, haven’t we?
Anybody covering the conflict in Syria is more than familiar with US “private security forces” and “Western-backed militias” and all the other coded language MSM outlets use when they don’t want to say “mercenaries”.
Anyone who followed the conflicts in Ukraine and Yemen, or the sudden growth of ISIS, has seen the roundabout ways American equipment will “accidentally” find its way into the hands of “terrorists”, “insurgents” and “opposition forces”.
This is not new. This is just the way the US fights its wars now.
Honestly, to even consider that the United States would totally withdraw from Afghanistan is to live in a fantasy world.
As I wrote back in December of 2019, Afghanistan is a massive success for the Deep State, and the business opportunities alone are way too profitable to ever let go.
Firstly, the CIA didn’t spend twenty years re-building Afghan opium farming just to give it up now. Recent estimates say that Afghanistan produces 90% of global heroin, a HUGE source of dark money for the Deep State.
Secondly, Afghanistan is home to gigantic reserves of metals and minerals. In fact as much as 1 TRILLION dollars of rare-earth elements, especially lithium which is vital to producing (among other things) the batteries used in every single mobile phone, laptop and tablet on Earth.
Let’s be clear, the US as an Imperial power simply cannot afford to give up Afghanistan. And they won’t. They’ll just recalibrate their word use and carry on. They’ll use the “drawdown” to earn some good-boy points with the anti-war crowd, whilst funnelling Pentagon funds into paying mercenaries and training proxies.
They will claim to be “ending the war” and, as is the modern way, simply carry it on under a different name.
“Private security firms” will carry out “targeted anti-terrorist operations”, or “precision strikes” will take out “known international criminals”…but no one will use the word “war”.
The US troops might be leaving the borders of Afghanistan, but the Imperial influence will remain, the corporate exploitation will continue, the fire will still fall from the sky, and there will be no peace.