Afghanistan, the US plan for a new catastrophe

US soldiers aboard a plane bound for Afghanistan (2010)
US soldiers aboard a plane bound for Afghanistan (2010)

Manlio Dinucci (Il Manifesto, 27 April 2021)

General Scott Miller, commander of US and allied forces in Afghanistan, announced the 25 April the beginning of the withdrawal of foreign troops that, as decided by President Biden, should be completed by 11 September. Thus the US ends the war waged for almost twenty years? To understand it, first of all we need to take stock of the results of the war.  

 The toll in human lives is largely unquantifiable: the "direct deaths" among the US military would amount to about 2.500, and the seriously injured beyond 20.000. I contractor (the mercenaries of the USA) killed would be approx 4.000, plus an unknown number of injured. Losses among the Afghan military would amount to approximately 60.000. Civilian deaths are virtually incalculable: according to the United Nations, they would have been about 100.000 in just ten years. Impossible to determine the "indirect deaths" from poverty and disease, caused by the social and economic consequences of the war.

 The economic balance is relatively quantifiable. For the war - documents the New York Times according to data processed by Brown University - the US has spent more 2.000 billions of dollars, to which more are added 500 for medical assistance to veterans. The war operations have cost 1.500 billions of dollars, but the exact amount remains "opaque". The training and arming of the Afghan government forces (beyond 300 thousand men), they cost 87 billions.

 They have been spent on "economic aid and reconstruction" 54 billions of dollars, largely wasted due to corruption and inefficiency, to «build hospitals that have treated no patients and schools that have not educated any students, and that sometimes they didn't even exist ". They have been spent on the fight against drugs 10 billions of dollars, with the following result: the acreage planted with opium has quadrupled, so much so that it has become Afghanistan's main economic activity, which today supplies 80% of the opium produced illegally in the world.

 To finance the war in Afghanistan, the United States got heavily in debt: they have therefore had to pay so far, always with public money, 500 billions of dollars, than in 2023 they will rise further 600. Furthermore, for the US military who sustained serious injuries and disabilities in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, have been spent so far 350 billions, which will rise in the next decades a 1.000 billions, more than half of which for the consequences of the war in Afghanistan.

 The politico-military balance sheet of this war, that shed rivers of blood and burned enormous resources, it is catastrophic for the US, except for the military-industrial complex which has made enormous profits with it. «And talebani, become stronger and stronger, control or contend a large part of the country ", writes the New York Times.

 At this point, Secretary of State Blinken and others propose that the United States officially recognize and finance the Taliban, since thus “after taking power, partially or fully, they could govern less harshly to gain recognition and financial support from world powers ".

 At the same time, reports the New York Times, «The Pentagon, the American spy agencies, and the Western Allies are devising plans to deploy a less visible but still powerful force in the region, including drones, long-range bombers and spy networks ". According to Biden's order, always reports the New York Times, the US is withdrawing theirs 2.500 soldiers, «But the Pentagon currently has about Afghanistan 1.000 military more than those publicly recognized, belonging to special forces under the orders of both the Pentagon and the CIA ", to which are added further 16.000 US contractors that could be used to train Afghan government forces.

 The official purpose of the new strategic plan is "to prevent Afghanistan from re-emerging as a terrorist base to threaten the United States". The real purpose remains that of twenty years ago: have a strong military presence in this area at the crossroads of the Middle East, Central Asia, southern and eastern, of primary strategic importance especially towards Russia and China.

(Il Manifesto, 27 April 2021)

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