USA mission in Afghanistan: Any sort of happily ever after?

The United States and NATO are formally to complete the military occupation of Afghanistan on December 31, 2014, which they began after the attacks of September 9, 2001. On Sunday, celebrations were conducted in Afghan capital Kabul, albeit secretly and modestly. They were secret, because the Americans feared "insurgent" attacks. They were modest, because, by and large, there is nothing to celebrate. Russia reinforces preventive measures in response to the withdrawal of troops.

The year 2014 was the bloodiest in terms of losses of the civilian population in Afghanistan. The number of dead and wounded reached 10,000 people, according to the UN. US President Barack Obama acknowledged that Afghanistan remained a dangerous place on the map of the world. According to Obama, about 10,000 US troops, who will continue to carry out the mission in Afghanistan, will face significant risks to their life and health. 

The last month of 2014, turned out to be an extremely restless month indeed. NATO military bases in Helmand province, in southern Afghanistan, were attacked.  A wave of suicide attacks swept across Kabul. Two American soldiers were killed in the Afghan capital last week.

Afghanistan experiences a crisis of power. Afghan President Hamid Karzai - the first US puppet - left, having quarreled with John Kerry. Two antagonist politicians replaced him - former employee of the World Bank Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, former Afghan foreign minister, who received the position of Chief Executive Officer (Prime Minister). However, these two men still have not formed the cabinet of ministers.

USA's mission in Afghanistan sows nothing but more chaos

In addition to growing mess and extremism, the volume of drug trafficking has been growing in Afghanistan steadily, officials with the Russian Federal Drug Control Service said. Afghanistan is rapidly turning into a narco-state, the director of the service, Victor Ivanov said. "In three years, the sown area have increased from 138 to 209 thousand hectares. This year, we expect the opium poppy acreage to grow up to 250,000 hectares," said Victor Ivanov in October of 2014. 

Obama's attempts to portray the operation in Afghanistan as "successful" are pointless. The power of the Islamic State has been growing in the region. According to many analysts, this group is much more dangerous than al-Qaeda. Rick Rosoff at Stop NATO website came to conclusion that the United States wanted to preserve military presence in this strategically important part of the world. Even if the number of troops is going to be reduced, the United States and its NATO allies will continue to maintain several large military bases in Afghanistan, Rosoff told Iranian broadcaster Press TV.

The New York Times wrote that US President Barack Obama signed a secret decree on the expansion of the US mission in Afghanistan after 2014. The mission will be able to take direct part in combat actions.

"In 13 years, the Americans in Afghanistan have not reached their second goal, - Vasily Kravtsov, political scientist and expert on Afghanistan told Pravda.Ru. - The first goal was a fictional and fantastic one: to destroy al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Allegedly, they have done that, because there is actually no al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The second goal was to stabilize the situation and change the socialist regime. They have changed the regime, but failed to stabilize the situation."

The expert believes that if the US had withdrawn the troops completely, then the current pro-American Afghan political regime would have not survived even three days. Therefore, "in order to retain its image and reputation, guided by regional interests associated with Iran and Central Asia, it was decided not to withdraw the troops completely, but leave a limited contingent."

First, there were 9,800 troops, of which 1,800 were special forces fighters. The rest were so-called advisors, consultants and trainers, the expert said. In six months, the Americans have changed the format. It is not only American, but also coalition troops that are going to stay in Afghanistan. For example, Lithuania is keeping 100 men. In total, 12,500 servicemen will face the task of repelling the Taliban, should the situation in the country aggravate suddenly. In a nutshell, bombs and rocket attacks will be used to suppress centers of mass resistance.

"At the same time, under the agreement between the US and Afghanistan, these units will be entitled to conduct independent combat operations without the consent from Afghan armed forces. This is a very important and delicate aspect in Afghanistan, because this kind of combat actions, as a rule, violate traditional local stereotypes. Night raids are conducted with a gross violation of Muslim traditions and customs. In addition, according to this agreement, US forces remain beyond the jurisdiction of the legal system of Afghanistan. Many Afghans are highly concerned about this detail that they find humiliating," concluded the expert.

Russia does not believe that this system will be able to guarantee security in Afghanistan and neighboring countries. President Vladimir Putin said at the meeting of the CSTO Collective Security Council on December 23 that terrorist groups of the Islamic caliphate try to extend their activity to Central Asia. Therefore, CSTO countries should be prepared to take adequate preventive measures. 

Preventive measures stipulate for the increase of combat capabilities of Russian air bases (in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) and the training of military personnel for those countries, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. In addition, a network of  humanitarian centers of the CSTO will be created. The first one of them will open next year in Armenia, and later a similar center will start working in Kyrgyzstan," Russian President Vladimir Putin said. Humanitarian Center of the CSTO serve as crisis response facilities, such as the Russian EMERCOM. They will be collecting information and transmitting it to headquarters. 

Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Uzbekistan showed that defense against the Taliban and the Islamic State would be a joint effort taken by Russia and Uzbekistan, which is not part of the CSTO. The United States, in connection with unilateral sanctions, ceased cooperation with Russia on Afghanistan. Will the US return to it? Russia will not insist.

Lyuba Lulko 


Read the original in Russian 


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov