November 30, 2009
Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, went on Face the Nation today and talked about Afghanistan.
Levin’s Senate committee has generated a report that says Bush blew it. He let Osama bin Laden slip away at Tora Bora. Levin told Harry Smith of CBS that if the U.S. military had killed Osama, we wouldn’t be in Afghanistan now.
The invasion of Afghanistan had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden or the September 11, 2001, attack. Is it possible Levin does not know this? He is after all the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Of course he knows it. He is simply repeating the official fairy tale on Afghanistan.
Levin knows the occupation of Afghanistan has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden or the Taliban. It is about geopolitical imperatives, the maintenance of a U.S. footprint in Central Asia (as described by Zbigniew Brzezinski in The Grand Chessboard), and the oil resources of the Caspian Sea, north of Afghanistan.
On September 18, 2001, the BBC reported that the U.S. had planned to invade Afghanistan well before 9/11. Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October. The idea was to overthrow the Taliban and install a “moderate” government — a government not as intransigent as the Taliban — led by former Afghan King Zahir Shah.
Prior to this, the U.S. was chummy with the CIA-ISI created asset known as the Taliban. “Between 1994 and 1996, the USA supported the Taliban politically through its allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, essentially because Washington viewed the Taliban as anti-Iranian, anti-Shia, and pro-Western. Between 1995 and 1997, US support was even more driven because of its backing for the Unocal [pipeline] project,” writes Ahmed Rashid, a long-time expert on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In 1995, oil giant Unocal penned an $8 billion deal with Turkmenistan to construct two pipelines (one for oil, one for gas), as part of a larger plan for two pipelines intended to transport oil and gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Rockefeller minion Henry Kissinger said the impending deal was a “triumph of hope over experience.”
The criminal organization known as Enron had showered the Taliban with bribes as part of a “no-holds-barred bid to strike a deal for an energy pipeline in Afghanistan.” Enron had intimate contact with Taliban officials, according to Atul Davda, a senior director for Enron’s International Division. It was alleged Enron secretly employed CIA operatives to carry out its dealings overseas. It is more likely Enron was a CIA front organization. (There are more than a few suspicious Enron-CIA connections; see Larry Chin, Enron: ultimate agent of the American empire.)
Peace in the region had nothing to do with saving the lives of innocent Afghans. It was about ensuring stability for business interests. Robin Raphel, Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of State for South Asia, said as much. She told the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister that the U.S. “now hopes that peace in the region will facilitate US business interests,” in particular the proposed Unocal pipeline.
Part of this stabilization included the Taliban capture of Kabul. An earlier offensive on the Afghan capitol by CIA-ISI trained and armed Mujahadeen killed 25,000 civilians and one-third of the city was destroyed. Mujahadeen factions engaged in urban warfare in Kabul which led to thousands of deaths and disappearances. Mass murder, terrorism, executions, rape, and pillage created the sort of business climate Robin Raphel would later talk about.
The CIA wanted to make sure its fanatical proxy remained in control of the war-shattered country. University of Nebraska professor Thomas Gouttierre was paid by the CIA to create textbooks for Afghanistan promoting violence and jihad. Unocal invited Taliban leaders to Texas where they met with U.S. and Enron officials. According to the Daily Telegraph, “the US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban’s policies against women and children ‘despicable,’ appears anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract.”
By 1998, however, the oil and gas pipeline deal was headed for the rocks because the Taliban did not trust the U.S. and the multinational oil corporations involved in the proposed deal. Taliban intransigence irked the Americans and they began to plan an invasion of the country “before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest,” according to former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik, who was told this by U.S. officials.
The goal was to kill or capture both bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, topple the Taliban regime, and install a transitional government of moderate Afghans in its place. Uzbekistan and Russia would also participate, according to Naik.
In August of 2001, a senior official in the Taliban’s defense ministry told journalist Hamid Mir that the US would invade Afghanistan. Mir later recalled that he is told, “[W]e believe Americans are going to invade Afghanistan and they will do this before October 15, 2001, and justification for this would be either one of two options: Taliban got control of Afghanistan or a big major attack against American interests either inside America or elsewhere in the world.” (Emphasis added.)
On May 30, 2002, after the invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. installed puppet Hamid Karzai, Turkmenistan’s President Niyazov, and Pakistani President Musharraf met in Islamabad and signed a memorandum of understanding on the trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline project. In December of that year, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan reached an agreement in principle to build the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, a $3.2 billion project. Skeptics note the project will require an indefinite foreign military presence in Afghanistan.
Carl Levin is merely trumpeting the company line. The continued occupation of Afghanistan has nothing to do with the dead Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, so-called international terrorism (as designed by the CIA), or even the Taliban, who are after all a product of CIA-ISI collaboration.
The U.S. was not only not serious about capturing or killing Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora, they made sure he escaped into Pakistan (other reports indicate Bin Laden died of natural causes at Tora Bora and was buried there, see al-Wafd, December 26, 2001).
“Had the Bush administration’s priority been to capture or kill the al Qaeda leadership, it would have deployed the necessary ground troops and airlift resources in the theater over a period of months before the offensive in Afghanistan began,” Gareth Porter wrote for IPS News. Bush and his coterie of neocons were more interested in preparing the invasion of Iraq. In addition to bogus claims of weapons of mass destruction, the neocons also claimed Saddam Hussein was collaborating with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
The CIA told Gen. Tommy Franks and other military leaders at Centcom that “the back door was open” in Tora Bora and the troops should go there. Instead, U.S. troops were positioned in the Kandahar region. In early December, 2001, Brig. Gen. James N. Mattis argued to his military superiors at Centcom that his troops should fight at Tora Bora, but he was turned down. On December 10, US-allied warlord Haji Zaman Ghamsharik made radio contact with al-Qaeda commanders in Tora Bora and offered a cease-fire. Around 800 al-Qaeda fighters escaped Tora Bora during the cease fire.
According to Gary Berntsen, one of the CIA’s most important field commanders in Afghanistan, on November 23, 2001, two Pakistani planes flew several senior Taliban leaders to safety in Pakistan. “What makes this particularly interesting is that, by then, the United States controlled Afghan air space. Nothing could have moved through it without tacit American agreement,” writes Sean Naylor in a review of Berntsen’s book, Jawbreaker: The Attack on bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, A Personal Account by the CIA’s Key Field Commander.
Note: information on the Taliban, the Unocal pipeline, and events at Tora Bora taken from newspaper entries at the History Commons website.
This article was posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 at 4:18 am