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Posts Tagged ‘Kabul’

The military keeps finding it did nothing wrong when it investigates itself

Posted by M. C. on November 16, 2021

“The only assessment done immediately after the strike was performed by the same ground unit that ordered the strike,” according to the New York Times.

https://taskandpurpose.com/news/military-investigations-syria-airstrike/

By Jeff Schogol

In war, things inevitably go wrong and people die as a result. But as events in Syria, Kabul, Niger and elsewhere have shown, the military has a tendency to use its investigations to absolve itself rather than to hold senior leaders accountable for their mistakes.

The New York Times recently revealed that a U.S. airstrike in March 2019 may have killed dozens of civilians at Baghouz, Syria. However when an Air Force lawyer and an evaluator with the Defense Department Inspector General’s Office tried to get military leaders to investigate whether a war crime had occurred, they were reportedly thwarted at every turn.

The circumstances surrounding the incident are complicated. Making things even murkier, a secretive group known as Task Force 9 may have repeatedly bypassed the process for determining if U.S. airstrikes would kill civilians by claiming that American or allied forces were in imminent danger, New York Times reporters Dave Philipps and Eric Schmitt revealed.

On March 18, 2019, the Islamic State group was making its last stand at Baghouz, where tens of thousands of women and children were mixed in with ISIS fighters. That morning, America’s Syrian Kurdish allies reported they were under attack and a U.S. special forces officer ordered an airstrike, according to the New York Times. The officer was relying on video from a drone with a standard definition camera and he was unaware that another drone in the area with a high-definition camera revealed women and children were present.

In the resulting airstrike, an F-15E dropped three bombs that may have killed up to 64 women and children, but military officials repeatedly undermined efforts to determine if the incident rose to the level of a war crime, the New York Times reported.

The military keeps finding it did nothing wrong when it investigates itself
FILE PHOTO: Smoke after the shelling of Islamic State’s last holdout of Baghouz by Kurdish-led forces backed by US warplanes. (Getty Images.)

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Who profits from the Kabul suicide bombing? – Asia Times

Posted by M. C. on August 30, 2021

The origin of ISIS is incandescent material. ISIS was spawned in Iraq prison camps, its core made of Iraqis, their military skills derived from ex-officers in Saddam’s army, a wild bunch fired way back in 2003 by Paul Bremmer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

https://asiatimes.com/2021/08/who-profits-from-the-kabul-suicide-bombing/

by Pepe Escobar

The horrific Kabul suicide bombing introduces an extra vector in an already incandescent situation: It aims to prove, to Afghans and to the outside world, that the nascent Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is incapable of securing the capital.

As it stands, at least 103 people – 90 Afghans (including at least 28 Taliban) and 13 American servicemen – were killed and at least 1,300 injured, according to the Afghan Health Ministry.

Responsibility for the bombing came via a statement on the Telegram channel of Amaq Media, the official Islamic State (ISIS) news agency. This means it came from centralized ISIS command, even as the perpetrators were members of ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K.

Presuming to inherit the historical and cultural weight of ancient Central Asian lands that from the time of imperial Persia stretched all the way to the western Himalayas, that spin-off defiles the name of Khorasan.    

The suicide bomber who carried out “the martyrdom operation near Kabul airport” was identified as one Abdul Rahman al-Logari. That would suggest he’s an Afghan, from nearby Logar province. And that would also suggest that the bombing may have been organized by an ISIS-Khorasan sleeper cell. Sophisticated electronic analysis of their communications would be able to prove it – tools that the Taliban don’t have. 

The way social media-savvy ISIS chose to spin the carnage deserves careful scrutiny. The statement on Amaq Media blasts the Taliban for being “in a partnership” with the US military in the evacuation of “spies.”

It mocks the “security measures imposed by the American forces and the Taliban militia in the capital Kabul,” as its “martyr” was able to reach “a distance of no less than five meters from the American forces, who were supervising the procedures.”

So it’s clear that the newly reborn Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the former occupying power are facing the same enemy. ISIS-Khorasan comprises a bunch of fanatics, termed takfiris because they define fellow Muslims – in this case the Taliban – as “apostates.”  

Founded in 2015 by emigré jihadis dispatched to southwest Pakistan, ISIS-K is a dodgy beast. Its current head is one Shahab al-Mujahir, who was a mid-level commander of the Haqqani network headquartered in North Waziristan in the Pakistani tribal areas, itself a collection of disparate mujahideen and would-be jihadis under the family umbrella.

Washington branded the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization way back in 2010, and treats several members as global terrorists, including Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the family after the death of the founder Jalaluddin. 

Up to now, Sirajuddin was the Taliban deputy leader for the eastern provinces – on the same level with Mullah Baradar, the head of the political office in Doha, who was actually released from Guantanamo in 2014.  

Crucially, Sirajuddin’s uncle, Khalil Haqqani, formerly in charge of the network’s foreign financing,is now in charge of Kabul security and working as a diplomat 24/7.

The previous ISIS-K leaders were snuffed out by US airstrikes in 2015 and 2016. ISIS-K started to become a real destabilizing force in 2020 when the regrouped band attacked Kabul University, a Doctor Without Borders maternity ward, the Presidential palace and the airport.

NATO intel picked up by a UN report attributes a maximum of 2,200 jihadis to ISIS-K, split into small cells. Significantly, the absolute majority are non-Afghans: Iraqis, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, Uzbeks, Chechens and Uighurs.

The real danger is that ISIS-K works as a sort of magnet for all manners of disgruntled former Taliban or discombobulated regional warlords with nowhere to go.    

The perfect soft target

The civilian commotion these past few days around Kabul airport was the perfect soft target for trademark ISIS carnage. 

Zabihullah Mujahid – the new Taliban minister of information in Kabul, who in that capacity talks to global media every day – is the one who actually warned NATO members about an imminent ISIS-K suicide bombing. Brussels diplomats confirmed it.  

In parallel, it’s no secret among intel circles in Eurasia that ISIS-K has become disproportionally more powerful since 2020 because of a transportation ratline from Idlib, in Syria, to eastern Afghanistan, informally known in spook talk as Daesh Airlines.

Moscow and Tehran, even at very high diplomatic levels, have squarely blamed the US-UK axis as the key facilitators. Even the BBC reported in late 2017 on hundreds of ISIS jihadis given safe passage out of Raqqa, and out of Syria, right in front of the Americans.

The Kabul bombing took place after two very significant events.

The first one was Mujahid’s claim during an American NBC News interview earlier this week that there is “no proof” Osama bin Laden was behind 9/11 – an argument that I had already hinted was coming in this podcast the previous week.

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Réseau Voltaire-Is the defeat in Afghanistan aimed at embarrassing Russia and China?

Posted by M. C. on August 28, 2021

The mainstream media are divided between two ways of interpreting the fall of Kabul. For some, the Democrats are cowards and the departure from Afghanistan discourages the allies. For others, they have played well and placed a thorn in the side of the Russians and the Chinese. These two views correspond to the traditional paradigm of the American Empire. But for Thierry Meyssan, Washington is, since September 11, 2001, in the hands of the followers of the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine. The United States is now behaving like a racketeer. The chaos will continue in Afghanistan for a long time. Russian, Chinese and European companies who wish to do so will be able to mine in Afghanistan, but only if they entrust their security to the US forces. Those who refuse this protection will be eliminated.

https://www.voltairenet.org/article213820.html

by Thierry Meyssan

The fall of Kabul is leading to terrible scenes of flight and despair. Let’s leave aside the fact that the fleeing people are mostly not peaceful translators from Western embassies, but collaborators in the US counter-insurgency with blood dripping from their hands. What we are seeing is a debacle that should make us lose faith in the power of ’America’.

 51% of Americans disapprove of President Joe Biden’s foreign policy.
 60% particularly disapprove of his policy towards Afghanistan
 63% say the war was not worth fighting [1].
Almost all Americans who fought in Iraq are very shocked.

Yet, at worst, it is clear that Washington knew perfectly well that the Afghan army would not stand up to the Taliban, who were theoretically three times less numerous and much less well equipped. The West Point CTC published a study in January to predict this catastrophe [2]. The question was not whether the Taliban would win, but when President Biden would let them win.

The US-Taliban negotiations, which have dragged on for years and were suddenly concluded by President Biden, must be interpreted as a voluntary surrender of power to the Taliban. One wonders why it took hundreds of thousands of deaths, astronomical sums of money and the efforts of four successive presidents for Washington to drive the Taliban out of Kabul and then back in; and why President Biden decided to assume the role of the defeated.

The same misunderstanding arose when the Baker-Hamilton Commission led to the US withdrawal from Iraq and the then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, unhesitatingly assumed the role of the vanquished; a misunderstanding that still persisted three months ago when Rumsfeld died.

It is time to stop listening to the politicians and and to read the military. Politicians only tell us what we can accept to hear. We are always on the right side and we will only die for Democracy. The military, on the other hand, does not try to seduce us, but to understand what is expected of them. So they do not write to flatter our illusions, but expose the unvarnished truth.

As I have explained many times [3], in the days following the 9/11 attacks, the US Army published an article by Colonel Ralph Peters stating that the US no longer needed to win wars, but to organise instability in certain regions of the world, particularly in the ’broader Middle East’. He went on to say that states would have to be recomposed along ethnic lines, i.e. separating mixed peoples, and that this could only be done through ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity. He ended his presentation by assuring that the Pentagon could always delegate its powers to mercenaries to do the dirty work [4]. In the excitement of 9/11, no one picked up on this article openly claiming to be preparing for heinous crimes.

Five years later, Ralph Peters published the map that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were working on in 2001 [5]. A panic ensued among all the military leaderhip in the wider Middle East: no one was protected, not even the US allies. Various changes of alliance followed. But it was not until 2011 and the attack on Libya (then a US ally) that we saw what was happening.

Since then, we have seen that the war in Afghanistan, which was supposed to last until Osama bin Laden fled, has lasted for 20 years; that the war in Iraq, which was supposed to last until the fall of President Saddam Hussein, has lasted for 17 years; that the war in Libya, which was supposed to last until the fall of Muamar Gaddafi, has lasted for 10 years; that the war in Syria, which was supposed to last until the fall of President Bashar al-Assad, has lasted for 10 years. Moreover, we have seen Al Qaeda (historically a creation of the CIA) and Daesh (historically a creation of Ambassador John Negroponte) commit crimes against humanity all along the lines announced by Colonel Ralph Peters. And we know that these terrorist organisations are funded, armed and supervised by the British and the Americans.

Yes, the “endless war” declared by President George W. Bush is not about “fighting terrorism”, but about using terrorism to “destabilise” an entire region. This was the title of Colonel Peters’ article in 2001: “Stability: America’s enemy”.

This being the case, we must reinterpret the fall of Kabul in the light of this new strategy. For two years, in 2002-03, Admiral Arthur Cebrowski went to explain it in all the US military academies. He met all the current US general officers. This strategy was popularised for the general public by Cebrowski’s assistant, Thomas Barnett -although his book [6] has not been translated.

The fall of Kabul fulfils the central objective of this strategy on the condition that the Taliban do not succeed in establishing a stable regime -and without allies they will not be able to do so-. The escape of the US counterinsurgency collaborators, if they manage to pass themselves off as peaceful translators, will allow terrorism to spread in the countries that will receive them. This is already being denounced by President Vladimir Putin. The transfer of military equipment given to the Afghan army in the hands of the Taliban will allow them to attack their neighbours. Unlike Daesh, the Taliban already have a biometric file of almost their entire population and an air force with a fleet of over 200 fighter planes. The war in Central Asia will therefore be even more terrible than the war in the wider Middle East.

Last but not least. Some commentators believe that Washington has abandoned Afghanistan in order to create problems for Russia and China. This is not the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy at all. According to the latter, we should not fight these great powers, but rather turn them into clients. They should be helped to exploit Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and many others, but only under the protection of the US army.

Understand, Washington no longer thinks like a rival of the Roman Empire, but like a racketeer. It does not build triumphal arches to its glory anywhere and even accepts that its president, Joe Biden, is defeated in Afghanistan. He seeks to dominate the world in the shadows and to make as much money as possible.

You think I’m imagining a doomsday scenario? Then tell me where the flaw is in my argument!Thierry Meyssan Translation
Roger Lagassé

The articles on Voltaire Network may be freely reproduced provided the source is cited, their integrity is respected and they are not used for commercial purposes (license CC BY-NC-ND).

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US Warns American Citizens To Avoid Kabul Airport One Day After Biden Reassures That All Is Well | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on August 23, 2021

Alas, even that was news to the US president – at least until he is replaced by Kamala Harris in a few weeks – who was shocked when confronted about criticism over the planning for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

“I have seen no question of our credibility from our allies,” Biden told reporters after a speech from the White House on Friday. “As a matter of fact, the exact opposite … we’re acting with dispatch, we’re acting, committing to what we said we would do.”

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/us-warns-american-citizens-avoid-kabul-airport-one-day-after-biden-reassures-all-well

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler Durden

One day after the dementia-ridden president lied to Americans and billions watching around the world that he has “no indication that [Americans] haven’t been able to get, in Kabul, through the airport,” when asked about evacuating Americans who were unable to reach the only safe place in the Taliban-overrun caliphate…

… just 12 hours later (or 2-3 days in Biden time) on Saturday the US embassy in Kabul, or rather what’s left of it as it is now officially located at the airport having handed over the actual embassy building to the millitant Suunis, advised Americans in Afghanistan to avoid traveling to Kabul airport, adding that authorities will contact all registered U.S. citizens with further instructions as the situation updates.

“Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” the embassy posted Saturday morning.

To the thousands of desperate US citizens gathered trying to flee the country the instructions to wait – perhaps until General Milley is finished reading the collected works of Mao Zedong – will come as merely the latest slap in the face by an administration that has rightfully earned international scorn and mockery for its unprecedented botching of the Afghan withdrawal.

The scene at Kabul airport several hours ago per source from an NGO who is trying to get people out. Main problem is that it’s impossible to pass the gates and get to the planes even if you are on an evacuees list pic.twitter.com/b3bZn5B34Z — Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) August 21, 2021

Images circulated on social media this week of Afghans rushing towards a U.S. C-17 transport plane and clinging to its side. A separate video showed what appeared to be two people falling from a military plane as it flew out of Kabul. Since then, crowds have grown at the airport where armed Taliban have urged those without travel documents to go home. At least 12 people have been killed in and around the single runway airfield since Sunday, NATO and Taliban officials said.

The chaos was not the responsibility of the Taliban, an official of the group told Reuters. “The West could have had a better plan to evacuate.”

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Despair in the Empire of Graveyards – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 22, 2021

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/08/fred-reed/despair-in-the-empire-of-graveyards/

Fred Reed

Forty-six years ago in a previous comedy I was in Saigon, recently having been evacuated from Phnom Penh in an Air America—CIA—Caribou carrying, in addition to me, several ARVN junior officers and perhaps a dozen BUFEs (Big Ugly Fucking Elephants, the ceramic pachyderms much beloved of GIs). America had already embarked on its currently standard policy of forcing small countries into wars and then leaving them in the lurch. In Cambodia this led to the reign of Pol Pot, the ghastly torture operation at Toul Sleng, and a million or so dead. In the unending fight for democracy, casualties are inevitable.

At the time Saigon was tense because Ban Me Thuot had fallen and the NVA roared down Route One toward Saigon. To anyone with the brains of a doorknob, the American adventure in Vietnam was coming to an end, but the embassy was studiedly unconcerned. Embassies do not have the brains of a doorknob, but are keenly aware of public relations. Acknowledging the inescapable is not their way. As usual, Washington would rather lie than breathe, and did. As in Cambodia, so in Nam, and so later in Afghanistan.

Apparently a genius at State realized that a lot of gringo expats lived in Nam—the number six thousand comes to mind, but may be wrong—and that six thousand hostages taken when Saigon fell would be bad PR. So the embassy in Kabul—Saigon, I meant to say, Saigon—quietly announced that expats could fly out on military aircraft from Ton Son Nhut. They didn’t, or at least many didn’t. The NVA continued its rush toward Saigon.

The expats didn’t fly out because they had Vietnamese wives and families and were not going to leave them, period. These wives may not have had the trappings of pieces of paper and stamps and maybe snippets of ribbon. These things do not seem important in Asian war zones. But the expats regarded them as wives. Period. The family went, or nobody did. Period.

The embassy didn’t understand this because embassies are staffed by people from Princeton with names like Derek who wear pink shirts and don’t know where they are. The ambassador is usually a political appointee being rewarded for campaign contributions and probably doesn’t speak the language as few gringos spikka da Pushto or Vietnamese or Farsi or Khmer. For example, nobody at all in the embassy in Cambodia spoke Khmer. The rank and file of State are better suited to a high-end Rotarian barbecue than a Third World city teeming with strange people in funny clothes eating God knows what horrible things in winding frightening alleys. And so the State people could not understand why an American would marry one “of them,” as in the embassy I once heard a gringa put it. It was a good question. Why would a man marry a pretty, sleek, smart, self-reliant woman who wanted family and children? It was a great mystery.

The Taliban—NVA, I mean–NVA kept coming closer. A PR disaster loomed.

Meanwhile the PR apparatus insisted that the sky wasn’t really falling even as it did and no, no, no the US had not gotten its sit-down royally kicked by a ratpack of rice-propelled paddy maggots, as GIs described the opposition. Many in government seemed to believe this. This was an early instance, to be repeated in another part of Asia, of inventing a fairyland world and then trying to move into it.

Finally State faced reality, a novel concept. It allowed quietly that expats and their families could fly out, military. It was getting late, but better than nothing.

The comedic value of this goat rope grew, becoming more amusing by the hour. I was trying to get a young Vietnamese woman out as she had worked for the embassy and we suspected things might not go well with her under the NVA. Call her Linda. Linda and I took the bus to Tan Son Nhut. The Viet gate guards gave her a hard time, envying her for getting out while they could not, but we got in. I was going to tell the State people that we were married but that while I was in Can Tho, by then in VC hands, see, the marriage papers had slipped from my carrying case. This was obvious bullshit, but I guessed that if I made a huge issue of it they would bend rather than get in a megillah with a reporter, no matter how unimportant.

We found ourselves in a long line of expats with their families leading to the door of a Quonset hut, inside of which a State official was checking papers. Some of the expats had around them what appeared to be small villages of in-laws, brothers of wives, sisters, everything but the family dog. An official with a bull horn told us to write down all their names and the relationships on clipboards being passed around. Tran Thi Tuyet Lan, sister, for example.

Then a genius at the embassy or Foggy Bottom realized that something resembling a third of Viet Nam was about to come out, listed as in-laws. Policy changed, at least in Washington which was as usual blankly ignorant of reality on the ground. At Tan Son Nhut this meant telling men that they had to leave parts of their families behind, which they weren’t going to do. This would not look good above the fold in the Washington Post. Dozens of Americans taken captive because the State Department would not let their families out.” All was confusion because the US had spent years telling itself that the disaster couldn’t happen. What to do?

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‘Kabul Has Fallen – But Don’t Blame Biden’ – Ron Paul’s 16 August Column

Posted by M. C. on August 18, 2021

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/kabul-115602?e=ff526b933a

Ron Paul

Kabul Has Fallen – But Don’t Blame Biden

Aug 16 – This weekend the US experienced another “Saigon moment,” this time in Afghanistan. After a 20 year war that drained trillions from Americans’ pockets, the capital of Afghanistan fell without a fight. The corrupt Potemkin regime that the US had been propping up for two decades and the Afghan military that we had spent billions training just melted away.

The rush is on now to find somebody to blame for the chaos in Afghanistan. Many of the “experts” doing the finger-pointing are the ones most to blame. Politicians and pundits who played cheerleader for this war for two decades are now rushing to blame President Biden for finally getting the US out. Where were they when succeeding presidents continued to add troops and expand the mission in Afghanistan?

The US war on Afghanistan was not lost yesterday in Kabul. It was lost the moment it shifted from a limited mission to apprehend those who planned the attack on 9/11 to an exercise in regime change and nation-building.

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks I proposed that we issue letters of marque and reprisal to bring those responsible to justice. But such a limited and targeted response to the attack was ridiculed at the time. How could the US war machine and all its allied profiteers make their billions if we didn’t put on a massive war?

So who is to blame for the scenes from Afghanistan this weekend? There is plenty to go around.

Congress has kicked the can down the road for 20 years, continuing to fund the Afghan war long after even they understood that there was no point to the US occupation. There were some efforts by some Members to end the war, but most, on a bipartisan basis, just went along to get along.

The generals and other high-ranking military officers lied to their commander-in-chief and to the American people for years about progress in Afghanistan. The same is true for the US intelligence agencies. Unless there is a major purge of those who lied and misled, we can count on these disasters to continue until the last US dollar goes up in smoke.

The military industrial complex spent 20 years on the gravy train with the Afghanistan war. They built missiles, they built tanks, they built aircraft and helicopters. They hired armies of lobbyists and think tank writers to continue the lie that was making them rich. They wrapped their graft up in the American flag, but they are the opposite of patriots.

The mainstream media has uncritically repeated the propaganda of the military and political leaders about Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and all the other pointless US interventions. Many of these outlets are owned by defense industry-connected companies. The corruption is deep.

American citizens must also share some blame. Until more Americans rise up and demand a pro-America, non-interventionist foreign policy they will continue to get fleeced by war profiteers.

Political control in Afghanistan has returned to the people who fought against those they viewed as occupiers and for what they viewed as their homeland. That is the real lesson, but don’t expect it to be understood in Washington. War is too profitable and political leaders are too cowardly to go against the tide. But the lesson is clear for anyone wishing to see it: the US global military empire is a grave threat to the United States and its future.



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Copyright © 2021 by Ron Paul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-More Marines in Kabul to aid airlift

Posted by M. C. on August 15, 2021

Saigon deja vu all over again. The war machine hasn’t learned much in 50 years.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=14b0777eb_1345ea3

Robert Burns and Ellen Knickmeyer

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON – A fresh contingent of Marines arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday as part of a 3,000troop force intended to secure an airlift of U.S. Embassy personnel and Afghan allies as Taliban insurgents approach the outskirts of the capital.

The last-minute decision to re-insert thousands of U.S. troops into Afghanistan reflects the dire state of security and calls into question whether President Joe Biden will meet his Aug. 31 deadline for fully withdrawing combat forces.

After an advance group of Marines arrived on Friday, more flowed into the Kabul international airport on Saturday, said Navy Capt. William Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. The Pentagon said on Friday that the bulk of the 3,000 – comprising two battalions of Marines and one of Army soldiers – are due by the end of the weekend.

Officials have stressed that the newly arriving troops’ mission is limited to assisting the airlift of embassy personnel and Afghan allies, and they expect to complete it by month’s end. But they might have to stay longer if the embassy is threatened by a Taliban takeover of Kabul by then.

“Clearly from their actions, it appears as if they are trying to get Kabul isolated,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said, referring to the Taliban’s speedy and efficient takedown of major provincial capitals this past week.

Biden had given the Pentagon until Aug. 31 to complete the withdrawal of the 2,500 to 3,000 troops that were in Afghanistan when he announced in April that he was ending U.S. involvement in the war. That number has dropped to just under 1,000, and all but about 650 are scheduled to be gone by the end of the month; the 650 are to remain to help protect the U.S. diplomatic presence, including with aircraft and defensive weapons at the Kabul airport. But Thursday’s decision to dispatch 3,000 fresh troops to the airport adds a new twist to the U.S. withdrawal.

There is no discussion of rejoining the war, but the number of troops needed for security will depend on decisions about keeping the embassy open and the extent of a Taliban threat to the capital in coming days.

Having the Aug. 31 deadline pass with thousands of U.S. troops in the country would be awkward for Biden given his insistence on ending the 20year U.S. war by that date. Republicans have already criticized the withdrawal as a mistake and ill-planned, though there’s little political appetite by either party to send fresh troops to fight the Taliban.

Kirby declined on Friday to discuss any assessment of whether the Taliban are likely soon to converge on Kabul, but the urgent movement of extra U.S. troops into Afghanistan to assist the embassy drawdown is clear evidence of Washington’s concernafter the rapid fall of major cities.

The Biden administration has asserted that Afghan security forces have tangible advantages over the insurgents, including a viable air force and superior numbers. The statement serves to highlight the fact that what the Afghan forces lack is motivation to fight in a circumstance where the Taliban seem to have decisive momentum.

“It appears as if they are trying to get Kabul isolated,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said of the Taliban as they continued to take over more cities in Afghanistan. SUSAN WALSH/AP

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Sewage from US Embassy, NATO headquarters dumped into Kabul River due to aging infrastructure

Posted by M. C. on September 14, 2020

Articles like this is likely the reason the Pentagram wants to “save money” by de-funding Stars and Stripes.

Note that infrastructure gets bombed first. Then is usually left to rot while frozen chicken plants are built where there is no electricity nor refrigerators.

The biggest polluter is government.

http://www.stripes.com/news/sewage-from-us-embassy-nato-headquarters-dumped-into-kabul-river-due-to-aging-infrastructure-1.644860

By J.P. LAWRENCE AND ZUBAIR BABAKARKHAIL | STARS AND STRIPES

KABUL, Afghanistan — Raw sewage pours into the fetid waters of Kabul River each day, including some of what comes from the U.S. Embassy and the military headquarters for Resolute Support NATO.

The only public facility in Kabul for sewage treatment hasn’t worked for almost two years because of poor maintenance, leading to untreated wastewater being dumped into the river and endangering the health of thousands of families, Afghan officials said.

At least 21,000 gallons of raw sewage from portable toilets at the U.S. Embassy are unloaded each month at the aging Makroyan Waste Water Treatment Plant, which pipes the untreated sewage into the river, according to Afghan officials and a representative for the contractor Oryx-Afghanistan, who handles waste for the compound.

About 12,000 gallons of sewage from U.S. and coalition troops also go into the river each month, according to Malika and Refa Environmental Solutions, which services the U.S.-led NATO headquarters in Kabul and Bagram Airfield.

These numbers are a small percentage of the untreated sewage that comes to the Makroyan plant from homes and businesses throughout the city, Afghan officials said. The plant is the only legal public dumping site in Kabul.

The plant was heavily damaged in a flash flood in March 2019, said Mohammad Eshaq Yadgari, vice president of the facility, located near Kabul’s airport and built in the 1970s by engineers from the Soviet Union.

Visits to the facility revealed dormant machinery and heavy damage to the pipes and canals used to transport wastewater.

“Since the wastewater treatment plant does not function and its canals are damaged, the sewage from Makroyan dumping site directly goes into the Kabul River,” Yadgari said.

A statement by the U.S. Embassy said most of its wastewater is treated onsite, except for “a small amount of wastewater from our portable toilets” that is processed by local subcontractors.

Two boys walk past a pipe where untreated sewage pours into the Kabul River near the Makroyan Waste Water Treatment Plant in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2020.
J.P. LAWRENCE/STARS AND STRIPES

That adds up to 21,000 gallons of sewage from the compound each month, said Shafiqullah Saify, waste operation manager for Oryx-Afghanistan, which shared its embassy contract with Stars and Stripes.

Sewage from U.S. and coalition troops is treated at a private wastewater treatment plant built by contractor Malika and Refa Environmental Solutions, or M&R, about 10 miles outside of Kabul.

Still, a small percentage of wastewater from Resolute Support NATO headquarters in downtown Kabul winds up in the river, an M&R representative said.

About three M&R trucks a month carrying about 4,000 gallons of sewage each must dump at the Makroyan plant due to road closures that prevent vehicles from leaving Kabul, said Omid Sadat, project manager for M&R’s treatment plant.

Officials with the Afghan National Environmental Protection Agency who visited the Makroyan plant confirmed that untreated sewage is going into the Kabul River. This wastewater seeps into underground aquifers that locals use for drinking water, said Ezatullah Sediqi, deputy director general of NEPA.

“It is very clear, it is creating health problems,” Sediqi said.

About 3,000 families live near Makroyan. Some told Stars and Stripes that they suffer from persistent gastrointestinal issues.

Kamal, a 7-year-old boy playing along the river with his father and brother, said he often suffers from diarrhea.

“It hurts my stomach,” he said of the water.

Qiyamuddin, 28, said he has recently suffered from typhoid, a disease linked to contaminated drinking water, and that three members of his immediate family have also fallen sick.

DynCorp International in McLean, Va., subcontracts sewage services at the embassy to Oryx and another company, ACCL International. DynCorp said in a statement that both companies are acting in accordance with Afghan laws and regulations.

Oryx, M&R and the U.S. Embassy issued similar statements. The Resolute Support NATO press office declined to respond on the record to questions.

“The wastewater plant is the only option provided by the Afghanistan government to allow contractors to dispose wastewater,” Suliman Khill, an Oryx representative, said in an email. “What happens after that is not in our control.”

He said the company was unaware the Makroyan plant was not working and called on the Afghan government, which receives fees each time contractors unload trucks at the non-functioning plant, to ensure the system works.

In the long term, the Afghanistan Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Corp. is developing a plan to build wastewater treatment sites throughout Kabul. But these efforts are years from fruition, said Sayed Nawid Saeedi, spokesman for the city agency.

Repairs to the Makroyan facility have been delayed due to land disputes and the difficulty of replacing decades-old parts, said Yadgari, vice president of the plant.

Plans are being made to rebuild the facility, at a cost of about $5 million, but a timeline has not been determined, Yadgari said, adding that “all the wastewater will go into the Kabul River until a new treatment center is built.”

Some contractors are finding alternatives to Makroyan. A few are dumping waste directly into the river, NEPA officials said. M&R built its own facility four years ago for about $150,000 as part of an effort to meet licensing requirements with NEPA, said Alex Momand, co-founder of the company.

While the international community is not solely responsible for sewage entering the Kabul River, they should hold contractors to higher standards and demand they build their own facilities, even if that means higher costs, said Schah-Zaman Maiwandi, director general of NEPA.

“We want these companies that can easily build treatment plants, and we want them to build the treatment plants and manage the waste properly,” Maiwandi said.

lawrence.jp@stripes.com
Twitter: @jplawrence3

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The War That Time Forgot

Posted by M. C. on August 27, 2017

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/25/the-war-that-time-forgot/

If it’s Independence Day, then you can count on John McCain to be bunkered down in a remote outpost of the Empire growling for the Pentagon to unleash airstrikes on some unruly nation, tribe or gang. This July the Fourth found McCain making a return engagement to Kabul, an arrival that must have prompted many Afghans to scramble for the nearest air raid shelter. Read the rest of this entry »

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