Reading Through US’ Geopolitics and Its Afghanistan War Policy

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Reading Through US’ Geopolitics and Its Afghanistan War Policy

Brigadier (Retired) Dr. Ahsan ur Rahman Khan

US’ President Donald Trump’s US’ Afghanistan War Policy, announced towards

the end of August 2017, after much prolonged deliberation, basically had the following

main points (1) :-

“* The American people are weary of war without victory, and "I share the American

people's frustration". Trump said his original instinct was to pull out of Afghanistan, but

now believes a rapid exit would create a vacuum that Islamic militants would fill.

* Despite reports that Trump would announce a 4000-strong troop increase, the

president said he would not "talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further

military activities". "I will not say when we are going to attack but attack we will."

* Victory in Afghanistan will mean "attacking our enemies" and "obliterating" the Islamic

State group. Trump also vowed to crush al-Qaeda, prevent the Taliban from taking over

the country, and stop terror attacks against Americans.

* The US will continue to work with the Afghan government, "however, our commitment

is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank cheque". Trump also insisted the United

States would not engage in "nation-building". "We are killing terrorists," he said.

* The US "can no longer be silent" about terrorist safe havens in Pakistan. Trump said

Pakistan often gives sanctuary to "agents of chaos, violence and terror", the Taliban

and other groups who pose a threat to the region and beyond.

* The US wants India to help more in Afghanistan, especially in the areas of economic

assistance and development”.

When viewed critically, this supposedly ‘new’ policy appears to be the

continuation of the same old policy, which has been continuing with occasional changes

in its momentum during the last over 16 years. President Bush started with the ferocity

of spreading devastation in Afghanistan, then there was talk of nation building of

Afghans and formation of a democratic Afghan government, followed again by a ‘surge’

of US’ troops, then there was again the talk / plan of gradual withdrawal of US’ troops,

and now again there is the plan of inducting additional US’ troops with additional powers

and non-commitment for withdrawal of US’ military. For the unwary, on the face of it,

this US’ jigsaw policy ‘turn-arounds’ appear to be mind-boggling. However, a careful

understanding of certain conceptual, policy, and ground realities aspects related to the

US’ Afghanistan War Policy from the beginning till now, brings forth the required clarity

and helps in discernment of the latent actualities.

These aspects are: (a) a clear grasp of the origin of US’ concept of geopolitics

and its prevailing version, (b) a critical examination of US’ Afghanistan War objectives,

as announced and oft-amended by the successive US’ governments, (c) identification of

the real US’ Afghanistan War objectives, (d) human cost of this war, (e) the extremely

inhuman facet of US’ Drone War Strategy as part of its Afghanistan War Policy, (f)

economic cost of this war, (g) resultant emergence of ‘mass human hatred’ of the

people of targeted countries against US and its War on Terror allies, (h) US’ real

concern about stability or destability in Afghanistan, and (i) the identified related

probabilities / possibilities in the projected time-frame.

Origin of US’ Concept of Geopolitics and its Prevailing Version

A clear understanding of the concept reflected by the term ‘Geopolitics’ and its

misconstrued versions as that of US’, is essential to grasp the broader picture of the

prevailing US’ external domineering, including the military invasions or / and

interventions in different parts of the world including Afghanistan. With such clear grasp

of the broader picture it will then be easy to read through the US’ Afghanistan War

Policy, identifying its latent actualities, as also the indicated related possibilities in the

projected timeframe.

From the academic concept point of view, Geopolitics is basically considered to

be the “method of political analysis, popular in Central Europe during the first half of the

20th century that emphasized the role played by geography in international relations”.

This term was first used in 1916 by Rudolf Kjeflen, a Swedish political scientist (2).

From that stand point it was, and still remains, a beneficial field of specialised study.

However, its misconstrued versions, through which many major powers justify their

external domineering, including military action to occupy or dominate other countries to

exploit their resources, were / are certainly farcical. Factually, world history – ancient

and medieval – was almost replete with such acts. However, the phenomenon of

‘institutionalising’ such acts as national policy, which germinated the subsequent

misconstrued versions of geopolitics, commenced from 19th century. The generally

known example in that regard is that of the Nazi Germany’s concept of ‘Lebensraum’.

In the case of US, history of the official development and application of similar

misconstrued versions of geopolitics is fairly well-recorded from the early 19th century.

One such version was ‘Monroe Doctrine’. It was officially promulgated by the then

President Monroe on 2 December 1823, who declared his government’s assertion of

unilaterally expanding its ‘overlord-ship’ over both the northern and southern continents

of America, to the exclusion of all other European powers / countries. It is worth noting

that this doctrine has not yet faded out, though it has been ‘re-modeled/re- engineered’

by US’ authorities when required to serve the US’ expansionist design in the changed

circumstances. That aspect is evidently clear from the elaboration provided by Rear

Admiral Colby N. Chester, US Navy, as mentioned in the historical records (3) of

America of July 1914. He asserted: “The Monroe Doctrine is the cardinal principle of

the foreign policy of the United States. It has been so construed for nearly one hundred

years of our national history, and it so remains today, in spite of some statements that

have been made to the contrary” (4). And, in view of the changed geopolitical

environment of that time, he also propounded the ‘re-modeling’ of the original doctrine

to include US’ ‘right’ of expanding its domineering across the oceanic expanses (5).

Yet another similar concept, in tune with Monroe Doctrine, which is much more

discernible in US’ policies in the present day environment, is the theory of ‘Manifest

Destiny’. It originated in 1845, and is still operative with certain modifications and under

different names. The concept of ‘Manifest Destiny’ is considered to have initially

espoused the idea that America had to expand in the North American continent.

However, research has established that the original concept, as also it’s subsequent

‘re-modeled’ versions under different ‘slogan titles’ till the present times, clearly

included / still include the conceptual ingredients of US’ superiority notions of religion,

race, and culture, and the dominant urge of expansionism and imperialism.

Donald M. Scott, Professor of History Queens College and the Graduate Center

of the City University of New York, has published his scholarly essay about the realities

of this theory and it’s ‘re-modeled’ versions. His essay is titled ‘The Religious Origins of

Manifest Destiny’. Some of the excerpts of his essay, which succinctly clarify these

mentioned aspects of the initial and subsequent ‘models’ of this US’ concept, are:-

“In 1845, an unsigned article in a popular American journal, a long standing Jacksonian

publication, the Democratic Review, issued an unmistakable call for American

expansionism. Focusing mainly on bringing the Republic of Texas into the union, it

declared that expansion represented the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to

overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly

multiplying millions.” -- -- -- - “Manifest Destiny was also clearly a racial doctrine of white

supremacy that granted no native American or nonwhite claims to any permanent

possession of the lands on the North American continent and justified white American

expropriation of Indian lands-- -”. -- -- - “It also was firmly anchored in a long standing and

deep sense of a special and unique American Destiny, the belief that in the words of

historian Conrad Cherry, “America is a nation called to a special destiny by God.” -- -- -- -

“It is also the constellation of ideas that has informed American nationalism and its

actions at home and abroad to this day. -- -- President Woodrow Wilson invoked it to call

Americans to fight to make the world “safe for democracy”, as did President Franklin

Roosevelt, when in World War II he rallied the American public behind the war against

Fascist and Nazi Europeans and imperial Japan. -- - The sense of American uniqueness

and mission also underlay John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. And President George

W. Bush, considering himself to be an agent of Divine will, has defended his policies in

Iraq by invoking the idea that it is America’s duty and destiny to conquer terrorism and

to secure democracy for Iraq and help spread it to other nations of the Middle East.” -- --

and, “Not surprisingly, however, it remained for Abraham Lincoln to provide the most

complex but nonetheless clear statement of the idea that America has a sacred duty to

itself and to the world to preserve and protect liberty and democracy.”(6)

This foregoing elaboration given by Professor Donald M. Scott suffices to

establish that all such concepts and theories of US, like ‘Monroe Doctrine’, ‘Manifest

Destiny’, etc., till the more recent concepts like ‘War on Terror’ and ‘Pivot Asia’, were /

are basically the intentionally misconstrued versions of geopolitics, with the real

ingredients as mentioned by him.

At this juncture it is also important to note that, particularly since 1990, NATO’s

formulation and application of strategic and military doctrines have mostly been

dominated by US, due to many reasons already known. Hence, for most part, these

doctrines basically remain within the framework of US’ aforementioned doctrines, thus

effectually serving US’ interests. That commonly known fact has also been highlighted

by Rick Rozoff, who reported about the strategic concerns confronting NATO, as

announced by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (7). In that context, in

his article “NATO: Global Military Bloc Finalizes 21st Century Strategic Doctrine” (8) he

also reported and commented on the proceedings of NATO’s meeting of first week of

May 2010 relating to the formulation of NATO’s strategic and military doctrines for 21 st

century. The Bloc’s Military Committee assembled the defence chiefs of 49 nations

supplying troops for the war in Afghanistan, and US’ Vice President Joseph Biden

visited the Alliance’s headquarters. Reporting about that NATO meeting, Rick Rozoff

has highlighted that despite the assurance of NATO Secretary General Rasmussen that

the Alliance’s new Strategic Concept would be finalised on the basis of the careful

examination of the report of NATO’s Group of Experts by all NATO member states, all

the important elements of the Strategic Concept were decided upon years ago in

Washington, D.C.; and that, those included a continuation and escalation of the war in

South Asia, in both Afghanistan and Pakistan; placing all NATO member states under a

joint U.S.-NATO interceptor missile shield; retaining American tactical nuclear weapons

on air bases in European nations; expanding the bloc even further into the Balkans and

nations of the former Soviet Union; extending ad infinitum naval surveillance and

interdiction operations in the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian

Ocean, encompassing many of the world’s most vital and strategic shipping lanes and

naval choke points; penetrating deeper into the Middle East and Africa through military

partnerships and training and other assistance programs.

However, in the context of the afore-mentioned NATO’s sort of subservience to

US’ geopolitical policies, the fact should also not be lost sight of that for some years

now there are also signs of gradually decreasing US’ influence on its major NATO allies

to support US’ geopolitical policies in certain cases. That factor certainly bears high

significance in any endeavour for discerning the geopolitical probabilities in the

projected timeframe.

Afghanistan War Objectives Announced by US Government

The first declaration, regarding the commencement of US’ military invasion of

Afghanistan, made by US President Mr. Bush was that this war was a ‘Crusade’ i.e. the

holy war of Christians against Muslims. That clearly reflected the religious and racial

ingredients of US’ Afghanistan War Policy. That inference is based upon two aspects;

(a) the afore-mentioned research findings of Professor Donald M. Scott of Queens

College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in his essay ‘The

Religious Origins of Manifest Destiny’; and (b) the unmistakable clarity of that

declaration of the then President of US who announced the commencement of

Afghanistan War.

However, not much later the US President changed the underlying reason of US’

Afghanistan War from ‘Crusade’ to ‘War on Terror’. It was declared by US government

that Al-Quaeda located in Afghanistan had planned the terrorist 9/11 attack on the Twin

Towers; hence the US’ military invasion of Afghanistan to conduct War on Terror with

the objectives of (a) overthrowing the Al-Quaeda- supporting Taliban government, and

(b) destruction of Al-Quaeda in Afghanistan.

This US’ contention about the basic cause of launching its War on Terror on

Afghanistan, however, has since long been challenged for its credibility due to certain

aspects. Three of those are:-

(a).The theories, usually termed conspiracy theories, still remain in media that the

Twin Towers’ collapse and complete destruction was not merely due to the two aircrafts

crashing into the towers, but basically due to the bombs planted in the towers. Just to

quote one such publication is the article titled “Was 9/11 victim blown out of tower

BEFORE collapse? Conspiracy theorists claim video ‘proves bombs were planted’ in

attack”, published by UK-based ‘Mirror’ on 11 September 2017. This article highlights

that “Conspiracy theorists claim grainy footage apparently taken during the 9/11 attacks

proves bombs were planted in the World Trade Center”; and “They claim the blast

occurred several floors below the point where a plane was smashed into the building by

hijackers. The force of the explosion propels what looks like a body out of the window”

(9).

(b).As well-known, Al-Quaeda was created, organised , equipped and trained by

US’ CIA to fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan; whereas Afghanistan

Taliban was an indigenously raised movement which stood up to fight the renegade

Mujahedeen groups who were making life miserable for common Afghan people

with loot, plunder, and other heinous crimes. There has never been any evidence

of Taliban government providing military support to Al-Quaeda.

(c). None of the men who were declared to be responsible for the 9/11 attack

were from Afghanistan.

This elaboration of these three aspects is certainly weighty a negation of US’

claimed basic reason for launching War on Terror on Afghanistan. Besides that,

even if the two stated US’ objectives for this war are taken into consideration, it

remains to be answered as to why US is continuing to retain its military

occupation of Afghanistan when Taliban government was quickly overthrown by

invading US / NATO military, and destruction of the US-created Al-Quaeda also

did not take long.

The next in line was the US-stated objective/concern of capturing or killing

the AL-Quaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was once considered by US as

its most respected and valued partner. Even if the US had started treating him

as an enemy due to any reason, it remained certainly un-explained as to why a

military high-tech equipped powerful military force, over 100,000 strong at certain

juncture, was required to stay in Afghanistan just to capture or kill one enemy

person. Besides that, the fact remains un-explained that even after the much

US-propagated killing of Osama bin Laden in Abotabad, the US military

occupation of Afghanistan still continues.

The other Afghanistan War objectives announced by US included such

objectives like nation building of Afghans, introduction of American values (freedom,

equality, democracy), economic development, stabilisation, and establishment of a

democratic government in Afghanistan, etc.

The fact that US did not succeed in attaining even these objectives in

Afghanistan, as also the reasons for that, are covered in many publications. However,

mention of two of the credible sources of US should suffice. One is Mr. Ed Corcoran,

who was a strategic analyst at the U.S. Army War College, where he chaired studies for

the Office of the Deputy Chief of Operations; and the other is Mr. John Sopko, the US’

Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

An article of Mr. Ed Corcoran was published in ‘Foreign Policy in Focus’, on 10

April 2016. Two of the extracts of his article are worth noting, i.e.: “The distressing

security situation in Afghanistan is a direct result of the American failure to promote

economic development and stabilization, despite 14 years of “support” and perhaps a

trillion dollars. -- -- -- -- -- In hindsight, the bias against nation-building in the aftermath of

removing the Taliban government was a strategic blunder. Instead of stabilizing

Afghanistan, the United States turned and destabilized Iraq, helping bring turmoil to the

entire region”; -- -- -- -- -- - and “The challenge of radical Islam is a direct result of the

failure to demonstrate the potential of basic American values (freedom, equality,

democracy) to lead to peaceful and prosperous lives, to inspire the youth of the region.

In fact, American involvement in Afghanistan, if anything, has demonstrated the

opposite, that American values lead to corruption, poverty, and insecurity. This failure is

not only undermining efforts in Afghanistan. It has inspired an anti-Western movement

that serves as a foundation for radical Islamic propaganda. The IS alternative rejects

Western values as hollow and empty and appeals to a regional youth bulge that is both

frustrated and adrift. This strongly anti-Western ideology gets wide support, even within

Western societies despite its extreme brutality”. (10)

Mr. John Sopko (SIGAR)’s report/ remarks have been published by Financial

Times of 14 September 2016. Two of the extracts of that report amply clarify that US

authorities factually never tried to help the Afghans to evolve and organise a

government of their own which could have at least a semblance of a democratic

government serving the Afghans with good governance. US authorities instead kept on

trying to plant a ‘pliant’ government even including the ‘power-wielding’ but unsavoury

war lords. Those extracts are: “John Sopko, the inspector-general for Afghanistan

reconstruction, said on Wednesday that the huge influx of foreign assistance since

2001, poor oversight and a willingness to work with “unsavoury” characters had created

a situation of “endemic corruption” that was an “existential threat” to the country”. -- -- -- --

“Mr. Sopko said that the US had “collaborated with abusive and corrupt warlords” who

had gained positions of authority in the Afghan government and were able to “dip their

hands into the streams of cash pouring into a small and fragile economy”. (11)

Real US’ Afghanistan War objectives

The objectives announced by US having thus been found farcical and unable to

explain the continuing US’ military occupation of Afghanistan; a careful identification of

the real US’ Afghanistan War objectives not only clarify the reason for the continuing

military occupation of the country by US, but also help in discerning certain projected-

time scenario. Three of those real objectives are identified.

First, to understand the real motive of US’ military occupation of Afghanistan right

from the beginning, a look at the following map is essential:-

(Courtesy Google Search) (12)

From this map it becomes amply evident that geographically Afghanistan is virtually a

‘strategic fulcrum’ in this region; and from the ‘politico-military stranglehold’ of this

‘strategic fulcrum’ US can geo-strategically gravitate towards Iran, Pakistan, China,

Central Asia, and Russia. Besides posing any sort of missile etc threats, US can also

utilise this Afghanistan launch pad to create internal disorder / destability through its CIA

elements in the selected areas of these countries.

Second, There are some reports that US plans to remain in Afghanistan to

exploit over a trillion USD worth of the un-explored mineral deposits in that country.

That report cannot be denied; and in that context a letter of Edwina Cloherty of

Jamestown published on 11 September 2017 by ‘Providence Journal’ conveys the

feelings of the people in this regard. The extract of that letter worth noting is:

“Candidate Trump vowed to get the U.S. out of Afghanistan. But that must have been

before he realized that the Taliban control vast areas of rare mineral wealth the West

covets. I read several different news accounts of Trump’s speech and listened to it

myself. He made clear his plan to “participate in economic development (in Afghanistan)

to help defray the costs of the war.”That, to me, tells it all — let’s gets those rare

minerals that belong to Afghanistan. After all, to the victors go the spoils. “And we will

win in the end!” said Mr. Trump. Bush’s Iraq war was for oil, yet the media went right

along with Bush’s fabrications about protecting the U.S. from Saddam Hussein’s

weapons of mass destruction. Where is the media now?”(13)

However, it should also be kept in mind that exploration and exploitation of those

mineral deposits will require huge work of development of the related infrastructure and

other facilities.

Third, for long US has been designing to remove the nuclear weapon capability

possessed by the only Muslim country, i.e. Pakistan. US’ ‘stranglehold’ on Afghanistan

provides US the geostrategic capability of launching US’ CIA-Indian RAW combine

proxy terrorists in Pakistan to spread terror-chaos in the country, with the plan of

destabilising Pakistan to the extent where US could compel Pakistan to give up its

nuclear arsenal and facilities apparently in the name of UN control. This US threat to

Pakistan has already been discussed in Pakistan’s national media.

Human Cost of US’ Afghanistan War

As mentioned earlier when, after 9/11 Twin Tower destruction, US’ President Mr.

Bush announced US’ military invasion of Afghanistan he called it the ‘Crusade’, but later

he changed that war objective as ‘War on Terror’. Factually this US’ War on Terror has

never been limited to Afghanistan; its spread also covered / still covers Iraq, Yemen,

and certain other parts of Asia and Africa. Pakistan became embroiled in this war’s

devastation when under intense US’ pressure it accepted US’ demand of providing its

air bases and other facilities to the US’ forces invading Afghanistan. That resulted in the

retaliatory terror attacks of high magnitude in Pakistan by the anti-US militant groups;

and that phenomenon still remains the serious threat to Pakistan’s internal security.

The real objective and nature of this Us’ War on Terror has amply been clarified

in one of the reviews published by Joseph Michael Gratale, PhD who is Professor at the

American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) (14). That review has been published by the

European Journal of American Studies (Reviews 2012-1 ), titled “Walberg, Eric.

 Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games”; in which Joseph Michael

Gratale asserts, “1Recent history for even the casual observer of international affairs

has been plagued by wars and conflicts in specific regions of the world.  The wars in

Central Asia and the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq respectively, seem to indicate

the latest machinations in the imperial designs of the USA”(15).

The countries targeted by US and its allies in US’ War on Terror have suffered /

are still suffering colossal human costs. Howler, this paper mainly focuses on the cases

of Afghanistan and Pakistan – the two targets of US’ Afghanistan War Policy / Strategy.

Many publications on this aspect are available; however, mention of / quotation from

just few of the more credible reports / papers would suffice to highlight the extremely

brutal and widespread massive human miseries wrought on these two countries by US

and its Afghanistan War allies. Some of those credible reports / papers, besides others,

are:-

(a). Costs of War project, based at Brown University’s Watson Institute for

International and Public Affairs, published on 9 August 2016 (16).

(b). “Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the War on Terror”, First

international edition - Washington DC, Berlin, Ottawa - March 2015 (17) released by the

Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

(IPPNW) (18), along with Physicians for Social Responsibility (19) and Physicians for

Global Survival (20).

(c). “Fatalities in Terrorist Violence in Pakistan 2003-2017, published by South

Asia Terrorism Portal, covering period up to 10 September 2017. (21)

In the case of Afghanistan, the publication dated 9 August 2916 of Brown

University’s Cost of War Project testifies that: “An estimated 31,000 Afghan civilians

have been killed in direct violence since October 2001”; -- -- -- - “Traumatic amputations

constitute a significant burden of the war for Afghan civilians, with the Red Cross and

Handicap International together assisting more than 2,600 people who had suffered

limb amputations in 2015; -- -- - and “Between January 1 and April 30, 2016, 117,976

people in 24 out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan fled their homes”. “Nearly 1 million

Afghans are internally displaced, and an additional 2.6 million Afghans are refugees in

more than 70 countries”. (22)

According to another report, “Based on the numbers below, in the Afghan

Defense and Interior Ministry section figures, by December 31, 2014,  21,008 soldiers

and policemen had been killed since the start of the war” (23).

The aforementioned publication Body Count Casualty Figures After 10 Years of

the War on Terror, mentions in the Afghanistan Summary (October 2001 until the end

of 2013); “Civilians and Combatants Directly Killed, Excess deaths incl. , Afghan

Civilians 106,000 – 170,000, Journalists 22, NGO Workers 281, Afghan Security

Forces 15,000, Private U.S. Security Forces 3,000, ISAF and OEF Soldiers 3,409,

Civilian employees of the US government 1,700, “Taliban” 55,000, Total ~

200,000”(24).

Before going further to the case of Pakistan, it may be worth quoting some

extracts of the executive summary (p. 15) of the aforementioned publication “Body

Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the War on Terror”, First international edition

- Washington DC, Berlin, Ottawa - March 2015, to highlight the extensive in-depth

research and the purpose of this publication. Some of those extracts are:

(a). “The purpose of this investigation is to provide as realistic an estimate as

possible of the total body count in the three main war zones Iraq, Afghanistan

and Pakistan during 12 years of ‘war on terrorism’. An extensive review has been

made of the major studies and data published on the numbers of victims in these

countries. This paper draws on additional information such as reports and

statistics on military offensives and examines their completeness and

plausibility”.

(b). “This investigation comes to the conclusion that the war has, directly or

indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and

80,000 in Pakistan, i.e. a total of around 1.3 million. Not included in this figure are

further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater

than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and

propagated by the media and major NGOs. And this is only a conservative

estimate. The total number of deaths in the three countries named above could

also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely

unlikely”.

(c). “Decisive for the publishers of this paper is not the exact number of victims,

but their order of magnitude. They believe it crucial from the humanitarian aspect,

as well as in the interests of peace, that the public will become aware of this

magnitude and that those responsible in governments and parliaments are held

accountable”. (25)

In the case of Pakistan, the same publication also asserts that “The war in

Pakistan is therefore a consequence of the U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan. It began in

2004 with the massive advance of the Pakistani military against Al-Qaeda hide-outs and

“Taliban” in southern Waziristan. The initial hope that this could contain the war has

turned into its opposite. The war intensified, terrorist reprisals increased, and the war

spread to other areas of Pakistan”. (26)

The publication also provides Pakistan Summary (2004 until the end of 2013)

Civilians and combatants Directly killed. Pakistani civilians 48,504, Journalists killed 45,

Civilians killed by drones 416 – 951, Pakistani security forces 5,498, Militants 26,862,

Total 81,325 – 81,860. (27)

The latest (up to 10 September 2017) fatalities in terrorist violence, spread as a

result of US’ Afghanistan War Policy, published by the aforementioned South Asia

Terrorism Portal shows that during the period 2003 – 2017, Pakistani security forces

has suffered 6,817 fatalities while the terrorist / insurgents suffered 33,733. (28).

As for the miserable problem of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to

terror attacks, counter-terrorism operations of security forces, and drone attacks, etc. a

research paper published by Journal of the Research Society of Pakistan, JRSP, Vol.

53, no. 1, January-June 2016, is of note. It mentions, “Nonetheless, a major wave of

terrorism surfaced after 2002. Since then, terrorist attacks have indiscriminately

targeted places like market places, hotels, religious and social gatherings, schools,

mosques, public venues etc. As this trend has continued for well over a decade, it is

timely to access the impacts of terrorism on the country and the future generation –

youth” (29). Its Table 1: Data of IDPs (February 2015) shows the data of IDPs of FATA

area (the tribal area of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan). It shows that out of 614, 934

registered IDPs (157, 806 families) only 309, 171 could return during the period despite

the best government efforts. (30)

Inhuman Facet of US’ Drone War Strategy as Part of Its Afghanistan War Policy

It is only unfortunate that, except for Pakistan, the horrific inhuman facet of US.

‘Drone War strategy’ as part of its Afghanistan War Strategy / Policy is still not known to

the majority of the public of US, its War allies and other countries. In that context one of

my short research paper titled “The Intricate Dynamics of US’ Drone War Strategy” was

published in two installments in the Frontier Post on 17 and 18 July 2012 and in Eurasia

Review on 25 September 2012. Some extracts from that paper are given below to

testify the horrifying realities of US’ Drone War Strategy:-

(a). “However, what is of significance to note is the pattern and scale of

escalation of US’ ‘drone brutality’. In that context it is also important to note that

the casualty and destruction data given by the Western sources is usually quite

lesser as compared to the ground realities, probably due to their insufficient

access to the drone-attacked area. However, even that data presents the real

face of the ‘horrors of the US Drone War Strategy’. The data presented in the

table below is compiled from the aforementioned essay of Leila Hudson, et.al., of

Patrick Dehan and the data of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (UK). The

following table shows the number of people killed by the drones during the period

2002 – 2010. Number of people killed in drone attacks during the period 2011 –

Mid 2012 (about 18 months) is in addition to this data.

President

Bush

“Suspects” Killed “Non-

Suspects”

Killed

Ratio of Killed Suspects: Non-

Suspects

Period 2002-

2004

2 11 1.5

Period 2005-

2007

2 53 1:26

Period 2008-

2009 5 333 1:66

President

Obama

Period 2009-

2010 7 1029 1:147

(b). “The drone attacks are launched to track and extra-judicially kill those who

are ‘merely suspected’ to be working against US’ interests, on the orders of

President Obama who is US’ official approver of the target-kill list; and the ‘kill

orders’ are executed on the whims of those US’ CIA / military persons who try to

locate the ‘suspects’ on their screens sitting thousands of nautical miles away in

their country – no wonder, therefore, that many a times they have targeted and

killed scores of men, women and children even in the funeral processions,

marriage ceremonies, and the social assembly of locals in their traditional ‘Jirga’,

etc. That is the ‘system of justice of US’, collectively delivered to the innocent

Muslim men, women and children!”

(c). “The ratio of killing of the ‘merely suspected’ : ‘not even suspected’ has risen

from the initial 1 : 5 to the horrific 1 : 147 or above; that is, about 150 of those

who are not even suspected are killed by US in the kill hunt of just one suspected

person”. (31)

It is worth noting that these horrific inhuman realities about the US’ Drone War

Strategy, mentioned in my research paper in 2012, were re-confirmed in 2015 in the

aforementioned credible publication “Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of

the War on Terror”, First international edition - Washington DC, Berlin, Ottawa - March

2015”. Some of its extracts given below testify those realities:-

(a). “Under President Barack Obama the use of armed drones abroad massively

increased. Both the administration and the opposition in Washington have

worked hand in hand to block any debate about the legitimacy and the mounting

number of civilian victims of these extra-legal attacks”. (32)

(b). “In reality, the term generally used for this operation, “targeted killings,” is

already a deliberate deception: Only in a few exceptional cases are people

murdered because, according to the assessment of the U.S. administration, they

hold an important position in the hierarchy of al-Qaeda or any other group of local

insurgents. A study on Pakistan by the London-based Bureau of Investigative

Journalism published in August 2011 concluded that only around 5% of those

killed are even known by name. This means that overwhelmingly the attacks are

entirely random. In the parlance of U.S. institutions, this practice is accurately

and graphically described as “crowd killing”: People have to die because they

happen to be in the midst of a group or crowd of people whom the drone

operators consider to be a worthy target. -- -- - Festive Parties as Target. For

these “crowd killings” the CIA, which directs the attacks, prefers to exploit

collective events. These can be collective meals on festive occasions, often

during Ramadan or on other religious holidays, and also funerals”. (33)

Economic Cost of This War

In the case of Afghanistan a number of publications incorrectly assert that

Afghanistan’s economy has been improving since the military occupation of the country

by US. As an example, one of such publications asserts “According to the International

Monetary Fund, the Afghan economy grew 20% in the fiscal year ending in March 2004,

after expanding 30% in the previous 12 months (34)”; and another report by

Afghanistan Investment Support Agency dated March 2012 claims “The economy has

grown at a remarkable pace since 2003; average growth rate over the period 2003 -

2011 has been 11.2 percent. Only few countries in the region have experienced a

growth rate above 10 percent in the last decade. For Afghanistan, this is a remarkable

achievement despite the fact that serious security challenges exist in the country. Real

GDP growth is estimated at 5.7 percent in 2011/12 and is projected to increase to 7.1

percent in 2012/13. Income per capita is estimated by the World Bank at US $501,

which puts Afghanistan in the 175th position among 190 countries in the World”. (35)

It is a known fact that the economic indicators of a country’s economy – GDP,

GNP, etc – are often ‘manipulated / engineered’ to paint the ‘desired’ picture by certain

governments, organisations, etc. It is therefore better to check the social indicators of

the economy of the country, because these show the ground realities related to the

application of the ‘actual’ state of the country’s economy; and such ground realities are

hard to be ‘manipulated / engineered’.

In that context, many credible reports / research papers are available which show

that economy of Afghanistan is actually in a critically problematic state. One of the

publication of World Bank (36) highlights that “Despite 6.9% GDP growth in 2007-08 to

2011-12, 36% of Afghans remained poor in 2007-08 and one in 3 Afghans couldn't

afford to cover their basic needs in 2012; -- -- -- -- -- -- - Growth widened the gap between

the rich and the poor, as the poor saw a decline in household consumption and

continued to lack access to jobs and basic services; -- -- -- -- -- -- -- - patterns of growth in

Afghanistan widened the gap between the rich and the poor; -- -- -- -- -- -- Lack of

education, livelihoods and access to basic services contribute to Afghan poverty”.

Another publication of World Bank (37) brings to fore “Poverty increased substantially

from 36 percent in 2011-12 to 39 percent in 2013-14. As a result, 1.3 million more

Afghans were unable to satisfy their basic needs; -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Unemployment reached

22.6 percent in 2013-14 as fewer jobs were created and existing ones from the pre-

transition phase were destroyed, hitting mostly youth, rural populations, and illiterate

workers; -- -- -- -- -- -- - Progress in human development outcomes slowed down and girls’

primary school attendance declined markedly, especially in rural and conflict-affected

areas; -- -- -- -- -- -- Moreover, the diffusion and intensification of conflict helps perpetuate

poverty down to future generations as children miss school and more families flee their

homes”. Similarly a BBC report (38) also highlights that “Afghanistan's biggest export

is still opium - despite attempts to persuade farmers to diversify. 2013 was a record year

and the country produces 90% of the world's opium”.

The actual pathetic state of Afghanistan’s economy having thus been clarified, it

is also important to note that because of their military invasion and occupation of

Afghanistan, USSR and USA bear the sole responsibility of this devastation of

Afghanistan’s economy and the resultant extreme misery to Afghan masses. Factually

both the USSR and US devastated the then economy of Afghanistan which was in a

developing mode at the time of their respective militar0y invasion of that country. In that

context, quotation from two credible sources of information suffices.

One is the Encyclopaedia Iranica, Originally Published: December 15, 1997. Last

Updated: December 8, 2011. It mentions “Sustained growth in Afghanistan. From

1970 until the coup d’état in April 1978 by the combined Ḵalq and Parčam branches of

the Communist Party (see COMMUNISM iv), followed by the Soviet invasion in

December 1979, the Afghan economy experienced sustained high economic growth.

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose at a rate of 4.5 percent annually in constant

prices  (Table 1). Major structural changes also occurred, as aggregate shares of output

and employment declined in the agricultural and primary sectors and increased in

manufacturing and service industries”. (39) (The in-text references in this quoted

extract are those of Encyclopedia Iranica.)

The other is a well-researched paper titled ‘Impact of Soviet and US War on

Afghan Society with special reference to Rural Life’ of 10 November 2012 by Dr.

Imtiyaz Gul Khan history lecturer for the Dept. of Education, Govt. of J&K, which is

noteworthy. (40)

Dr. Imtiyaz Gul Khan highlights that “The infrastructural damage and human

causalities continued during the Soviet occupation and, thereafter, the situation remains

unabated in the post-9/11 scenario. In fact, its scale has widened with deployment of

additional NATO forces and direct confrontation of the Pakistani army with

the Taliban groups in Pakistan and at the Pak-Afghan borders”. He then goes on to

discuss the socio-economic devastation of Afghanistan and its masses wrought by

USSR and then by USA.

On the other hand it is also worth noting that, after discussing the socio-

economic devastation wrought on Afghanistan by USSR, Dr. Imtiyaz Gul Khan also

explains the successful manner in which the Afghanistan Taliban government revived

Afghanistan’s economy after the withdrawal of USSR from the country. In that context

he asserts “No doubt, the overall economic situation stopped deteriorating in the first

few years of the Taliban regime as inter-regional trade resumed in areas under their

domain. Agriculture recovered and cereal production rose in 1998 to levels close to

those existing prior to the outbreak of the war in 1979-80. Livestock increased due to

the presence of leftover unutilized grazing lands, and horticultural production grew due

to the restoration of orchards.[71] The Taliban announced suitable measure to improve

agriculture and revive industrial units. In sequence, cereal production increased to 3.85

million tons in 1998,[72] almost 50% more than was recorded a year before in 1997.

The improvement followed political stability and repatriation of the villagers to their farm

lands. Despite this improvement Afghanistan imported 750,000 tons of wheat to meet

the food requirements of the city-dwellers.[73] -- -- -- -- Likewise, they announced

concessions to businessmen for the promotion of trade as a boost to the

economy.[75] Moreover, they encouraged foreign investment in Afghanistan, in fact, this

was the only option to start new projects and revive unfinished ones”. (The in-text

references given in this extract are of Dr. Imtiyaz Gul’s paper.)

Incidentally the BBC’s afore-given UNODC’s chart, showing Opium cultivation in

Afghanistan 1994 - 2013, proves Dr. Imtiyaz Gul’s assertion that the Afghanistan

Taliban regime was succeeding in reviving the USSR-devastated economy of their

country when the US’ military invasion re-started the devastation. From that UNODC

chart it is evident that the Afghanistan Taliban regime had succeeded in bringing down

the opium cultivation in their country well below ten thousand hectares by the year

2001, when their regime was overthrown by US’ military invasion and occupation of the

country. Obviously that huge reduction of opium cultivation had become possible only

because the Afghanistan Taliban regime, through their economic revival measures,

provided better economic means to Afghan masses for earning their livelihood. And

then onwards, the socio-economic devastation of Afghanistan because of US’ military

occupation of the country is evident from the recorded fact that opium cultivation jumped

up again to above two hundred thousand hectares, i.e. ninety percent of world’s opium.

The reason is obvious, i.e. the socio-economic devastation of Afghanistan,

caused by US’ military occupation of the country has again deprived the Afghan masses

of any other economic means for sustaining their livelihood – no wonder that the

World Bank publication also highlights “Afghanistan’s biggest economic challenge is

finding sustainable sources of growth”. (41)

In the case of Pakistan as quoted earlier in this paper the earlier-mentioned

publication, “Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the War on Terror”, First

international edition - Washington DC, Berlin, Ottawa - March 2015, asserted “The war

in Pakistan is therefore a consequence of the U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan. It began

in 2004 with the massive advance of the Pakistani military against Al-Qaeda hide-outs

and “Taliban” in southern Waziristan. The initial hope that this could contain the war has

turned into its opposite. The war intensified, terrorist reprisals increased, and the war

spread to other areas of Pakistan”. (42)

Much has been published about the colossal economic losses suffered / being

suffered by Pakistan due the US’ War on Terror. In that context two of the survey

reports published by Ministry of Finance Pakistan should suffice.

One is ‘Cost of War on Terror for Pakistan Economy – Ministry of finance’. It

highlights “Pakistan’s economy is under pressure of the War on Terror intensifying for

last four years in Afghanistan. Since 2006, the War has spread like a contagion into

settled areas of Pakistan that has so far, cost the country more than 35,000 citizens,

3500 security personnel, destruction of infrastructure, internal migration of millions of

people from parts of northwestern Pakistan, erosions of investment climate, nose diving

of production and growing unemployment and above all brought economic activity to a

virtual standstill in many part of the country. Pakistan had never witnessed such

devastating social and economic upheaval in its industry, even after dismemberment of

the country by direct war”. (43)

The other is ‘Impact of War in Afghanistan and Ensuing Terrorism on Pakistan’s

Economy’. It mentions “During the last 14 years, the direct and indirect cost incurred by

Pakistan due to incidents of terrorism amounted to US$ 118.31billion equivalent to Rs.

9869.16 billion. Detail is given in Table 2”. Data of that Table 2 is given below:-

Table 2 Estimated Losses (2001 – 2016)

Years Billion $ Billion Rs.

2001-02 2.67 163.90

2002-03 2.75 160.80

2003-04 2.93 168.80

2004-05 3.41 202.40

2005-06 3.99 238.60

2006-07 4.67 283.20

2007-08 6.94 434.10

2008-09 9.18 720.60

2009-10 13.56 1136.40

2010-11 23.77 2037.33

2011-12 11.98 1052.77

2012-13 9.97 964.24

2013-14 7.70 791.52

2014-15 9.24 936.30

2015-16* 5.55 578.20

Total 118.32 9869.16

(* Estimated on the basis of 9 months actual data. Source: M/o Finance, M/o Interior,

M/o Commerce, M/o Foreign Affairs Joint Ministerial Group) (44)

It is also worth noting that an AFP report published by Dawn on 19 November

2016 quoting a report by the State Bank of Pakistan about this amount of “$118.3 bn in

direct and indirect losses” suffered by Pakistan in US’ War on Terror, also mentions that

“A Coalition Support Fund was approved by the US to support Pakistan in the war, with

an annual release of around $1bn since 2002. By last year Pakistan had received a total

of $14bn”! (45)

Resultant Emergence of ‘Mass Human Hatred’ Against US and its War on Terror

Allies

Much published material is available relating to the phenomenon of growing anti-

US sentiments in different parts of the world. It is mostly titled as ‘Anti-Americanism’;

and there are varying theories about the causes of this phenomenon – including

historical background, cultural differences, US’ foreign policy impinging upon other

countries, etc. However, there is certainly a significant difference in the causes and the

gravity of such anti-US sentiments prevailing in Europe and those countries which have

not been subject to US’ militarism, as compared to those countries which have suffered

/ are suffering from the brutality of US’ militarism. In the latter case US’ militarism

includes US’ covert actions for regime change or destablisation of the target country for

its political subjugation, or / and US’ military invasion(s) of such countries.

In the case of Europe, the causes of Anti-Americanism have been amply

summreised by Alida Tomja, University “Aleksandër Moisiu”, Durrës, Albani, in the

article titled “Anti-Americanism in Europe: Causes and Consequences”. The author

highlights “Andrew Kohut, based on the data of "Pew Global Attitudes Project," found

four aspects, which are the central reasons that have led to grow anti-Americanism

worldwide and specifically in Europe (Kohut 2007: 5-7):

a. A general perception that the U.S. acts unilaterally in the international arena,

failing to take into account the interests of other countries when it makes foreign

policy decisions;

b. A broad discomfort with unrivaled American power;

c. A perceived disproportionate willingness to use military force, and especially

preemptive force;

d. A rejection of “Americanization” – the wide diffusion of American ideas and

customs fueled by globalization”. (46)

In the case of those countries which have been / are being targeted by US’

militarism, the over-riding aspect is the frustrated reaction of the people who have been

/ are being subjected to the extremely inhuman brutality wrought by US’ militarism; and

the gravity of the anti-US sentiments in the public in such countries is in the mode of

mass human hatred for US and its war allies. In the context of this over-riding cause just

few of the quotations from credible publications would suffice.

The paper titled ‘Excessive U.S. Military Action Overseas Breeds Anti-U.S.

Terrorism’, by Ivan Eland, Director of Defense Policy Studies, Cato Institute

(Massachusetts) (47), asserts “According to the U.S. State Department’s Patterns of

Global Terrorism, since the end of the Cold War, by far the most incidents (565) of

international terrorism occurred in 1991 7 (48). Not coincidentally, that was the year of the

Gulf War. And a substantial number of the terrorist attacks that year (120) occurred from

mid-January to late February during which the war was fought (compared to only 17

during the same period the year before) 8 (49). Analysts of terrorism have noted that

those incidents were “freelance” operations in solidarity with Iraq, but not sponsored by

it”.

The Journalist’s Resource, based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media,

Politics and Public Policy, in its publication titled ‘Anti-Americanism in the Middle East:

Evidence from a Field Experiment in Lebanon’, mentions “Ironically, a 2003 report by

the Pew Research Center states that–at that time–anti-American sentiment was on the

rise not just in the Middle East but around the world, largely due to America’s invasion

of Iraq”. (50)

Murtaza Hussain, a Toronto-based writer and analyst, in his article ‘The roots of

global anti-Americanism’, published by Aljazeera dated 11 December 2012, has brought

forth “While an incredible amount of research has gone into formulating complex

theories to explain this widespread disdain for the US, Occam's Razor, the logical

principle that the simplest explanation is most often the correct one suggests that the

American militarism which once ravaged Korea and which has now been set upon the

Muslim world is the cause of this growing antipathy”; and “By starting a massive war

and occupation in Afghanistan which caused widespread destabilisation and social

chaos in Pakistan, a country which shares deep ethnic and religious bonds with its

neighbour, the US has helped turn a once reasonably benign relationship into an

increasingly dangerous one which has fuelled virulent anti-Americanism even

among liberal and secular Pakistanis”. (51)

No wonder therefore that the Pew Survey of 27 June 2012 reported that

“Roughly three-in- four Pakistanis (74%) consider the U.S. an enemy, up from 69% last

year and 64% three years ago”. (52) That adverse feeling has certainly grown further by

now.

Further publications show similar animosity feelings in all of the countries which

have faced / are facing US’ militarism atrocities. That eruption of ‘Mass Human Hatred’

against US and its war allies is certainly as dangerous as the ‘Weapons of Mass

Destruction’ for peace in the world.

US’ Real Concern about Stability or Destability in Afghanistan

US’ governments have always claimed that the objective in each case of their

overseas militarism was / is to bring in the target country peace and stability, regime

change for establishing democracy, nation-building, etc. However, the undeniable facts

of ground realities in each case prove that all such US’ claims were / are false being the

farcical camouflage of US’ latent geopolitical/ geostrategic/ geo-economic objectives.

In actual fact US’ overseas war policy in each case has always been hinged only

to the US’ actual objectives, i.e. geopolitical, or geostrategic, or geo-economic, or a

combination of these objectives. The otherwise pronounced afore-mentioned objectives,

like bringing stability, establishing democracy through regime change, nation-building,

etc in the target country have never been at priority in US’ war policy.

That fact is amply clarified by the stark ground reality of the trail of immense

human and societal devastation and destability wrought by US’ military intervention in

each of the target country – splitting of Korea and the resultant emergence of a nuclear-

armed North Korea; disintegration of the government authority in Iraq, the resultant civil

war and creation of ISIS; destruction of central government in Afghanistan, continuing

bloodshed for more than 16 years now and civil war with no end in sight; chaotic civil

war in Syria, with no end in sight; and disintegration of Libya in different parts controlled

by Libyan National Army, UN-backed government and allies, Government of National

Salvation and certain armed militias.

That fact has also been highlighted in many publications; quotations from just

three should suffice.

One such publication is an article titled ‘Regime Change Doesn’t Work’,

published by Boston Review dated 01 September 2011, by Alexander B. Downes, who

is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at The George

Washington University. The author highlights: “Since the defeat of Napoleon in 1815,

the United States has become the world’s foremost practitioner of regime change”; -- -- --

and “Despite what interveners hope, regime change implemented by outsiders is not a

force for stability. More than 40 percent of states that experience foreign-imposed

regime change have a civil war within the next ten years”. (53)

The other is the article titled ‘ISIS: The “unintended consequences” of the US-

led war on Iraq’, published by Foreign Policy Journal dated 23 March 2015. This

journal is an online publication dedicated to providing news, critical analysis, and

commentary on US foreign policy and international affairs. The author Dilly Hussain is

the deputy editor of British Muslim news, a political blogger for the Huffington Post, a

features writer for Al Jazeera English specializing in human rights. He regularly appears

on Islam Channel, Russia Today, BBC One, BBC Look East, BBC South and BBC radio

stations discussing Middle East and North African politics, as well as domestic stories

concerning British foreign policy, Islamophobia and the war on terror. Some extracts of

his article are: The author mentions: “In a recent interview with Shane Smith, the

founder of VICE News, President Barack Obama said: “ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al

Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion, which is an example of unintended

consequences.” This admission is evidence of the general causality between Western

military interventionism in the Muslim world, and the rise of reactionary armed militia

groups. In this particular case, the US-led invasion of Iraq undoubtedly paved the way

for the rise of the self-professed ‘Islamic State’, better known as ISIS”; -- -- - “Prior to the

war in Afghanistan, there was no Taliban in Pakistan. The group known as Tehrik-e-

Taliban Pakistan (TTP) formed in 2007 as a response to NATO’s presence in the

region. Likewise, Al Shabaab did not exist before the Western backed African Union

(AU) forces and the Kenyan army entered Somalia. Same can be said about

the guerrilla groups that arose as a result of US interference in South America.

Evidently, there seems to be a reoccurring pattern whenever Western states, namely

the US, attempts to meddle in the affairs of other sovereign states, either through

military intervention, regional proxies or subservient dictators. In most cases, American

intrusion in other countries is to protect their economic interests or to make geopolitical

advancements, and Iraq was no exception to this rule”; -- -- -- -- -- and “What the US

tends to forget, or intentionally ignores, is that armed reactionary groups like ISIS are

born out of the destabilization created by Western military intervention”. (54)

Another article titled ‘The Legacy of Obama’s ‘Worst Mistake’ There’s a problem

with the American way of war', was published by The Atlantic on 15 April 2016. Its

author Dominic Tierney is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and an associate

professor of political science at Swarthmore College. The authors brings to fore: “The

Libya intervention marked the third time in a decade that Washington embraced regime

change and then failed to plan for the consequences. In 2001, the United States toppled

the Taliban in Afghanistan but gave little thought about how to stabilize the country. In a

memo to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld early in that campaign, Under

Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith argued that Washington “should not

allow concerns about stability to paralyze U.S. efforts to oust the Taliban leadership. ...

Nation-building is not our key strategic goal”; -- -- -- -- “Two years later, in 2003,

Washington again failed to prepare for the day after, or post-conflict stabilization. The

Bush administration was eager to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and equally determined

to avoid getting bogged down in a prolonged nation-building mission in Iraq. The result

was a “small-footprint” invasion plan aimed at leaving as quickly as possible. There

was little or no preparation for the possible collapse of Iraqi institutions, widespread

looting, or an organized insurgency”; -- -- -- -- - and “In Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya,

Washington toppled