US Withdrawal from Afghanistan, ‘the Graveyard of Empires’?

‘Biden announces US military withdrawal from Afghanistan’, Patrick Martin, 14 April 2021, (w/ permission to republish)

“US President Joe Biden announced Wednesday afternoon that the remaining American troops in Afghanistan would begin pulling out on May 1 and that all of them would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.

The choice of a final withdrawal date was intended to reinforce the longstanding lie by Washington that its invasion and occupation of Afghanistan were in response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. In reality, the attack on Afghanistan was in preparation well before that date, and the invasion was aimed at accomplishing long-term strategic aims for American imperialism.

The televised statement from the White House and the accompanying media buildup, however, could not dispel the atmosphere of futility and failure that surrounds the withdrawal—if, indeed, the final pullout takes place on schedule.

Biden reportedly rejected pleas by Pentagon and CIA officials that any pullout should be “conditions-based,” i.e., conditional on some sort of agreement between the Taliban insurgents and the Kabul puppet regime established by the United States. By one account, citing an unnamed “senior administration official,” Biden viewed such an approach as “a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”

While warning the Taliban not to attack American forces or their NATO allies during the withdrawal period, Biden indicated that there were no circumstances in which he would reverse his decision. He only left open the threat that US military force could be employed against any possible terrorist threat to the United States, a warning that applies to virtually every country in the world.

While there are officially 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan and another 6,500 from other NATO countries, press reports indicate that the actual number of American soldiers is 3,500. This does not count thousands of other American personnel, from CIA agents to mercenaries to Special Forces paratroopers, who are likely to continue operations in that country as long as Washington feels it necessary to prop up the Kabul regime, which has no other base of support.

Afghanistan will remain a free-fire zone for US drone missiles, like nearly all the vast swath of territory from Central Asia through the Middle East and across northern Africa.” […}

“Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani Tuesday of Biden’s decision and also relayed the proposed action to his NATO counterparts before a meeting in Brussels, which is expected to ratify similar actions by Germany and other countries with forces on the ground in Afghanistan.

Ghani, for whom the announcement is something of a political death sentence, said he would have no comment on the US withdrawal until after Biden’s official declaration.

Speaking off the record to the press, top administration officials underscored the necessity for the United States to turn away from lesser conflicts, like that in Afghanistan, to more important strategic opponents like Russia and China, as well as North Korea and Iran. “Afghanistan just does not rise to the level of those other threats at this point,” one official told the Washington Post .

In his remarks Wednesday, Biden referred to the 2,300 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan, the tens of thousands of wounded and $2 trillion expended on 20 years of war. He made no reference whatsoever to the catastrophic impact on the Afghan people and on Afghanistan as a society, one of many destroyed by American imperialism over the past two decades, along with Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and large parts of northern Africa.

Similarly, there has been virtually no mention in the US media of the damage and the colossal loss of life inflicted by American forces. Instead, there were crocodile tears about the savagery of the Taliban and the likelihood of severe setbacks for women’s rights should the fundamentalist religious group come to power again in Kabul.

One of the most cynical efforts to portray Biden’s decision as a humanitarian and even progressive action came from David Sanger, the designated recipient of leaks from the CIA and Pentagon at the New York Times. He wrote that Biden was pulling out troops at least in part because “he wants the United States focused on a transformational economic and social agenda at home,” adding that in Biden’s view “the priorities are fighting poverty and racial inequities and increasing investment in broadband, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and 5G communications—not using the military to prop up the government of President Ashraf Ghani.” He concluded, “In the end, the argument that won the day is that the future of Kenosha is more important than defending Kabul.”

‘The Empire Relents At Bagram’, July 2, 2021,  JP Sottille, the news vandal (w/ permission to repost):

“Today the US Military abandoned perhaps the most strategically located air base the United States has ever controlled. More than Guam or Diego Garcia or Al Udeid, the capture of Bagram gave the Pentagon the strategic high ground in the center of Asia and, therefore, unprecedented offensive strike capabilities.

With Iran and the Middle East to the West, Russia to the North, China to the East and Pakistan to the South, American control over Bagram Air Base may be seen in retrospect as the high-water mark for US Empire. The retreat from that long sought-after catbird’s seat may eventually be seen as the beginning of the end of US hegemony.

Whether this turns out to be more like the evacuation of Saigon than the empire-ending exit of the British from India, today’s move represents a HUGE loss for America’s world-dwarfing military. Uncle Sam got his ass kicked, and it’s the second such ass-whooping since we started the Global War On Terror in the wake of a shocking, awful attack by the one country we did not bomb or invade … our oily allies in Saudi Arabia.

The murderous, torturous global war we unleashed in the wake of the Saudis’ attack did lead to a rapid expansion of US Empire … but the inherent immorality of the predicate for that expansion ultimately made the empire abroad untenable and the society at home ever-more manic and disjointed. And now we’re mired in a deep, soul-rotting denialism that’s turned our political culture into a macabre reality show.

The bloodlust, hubris and stupidity that led to wars on a failed state we helped to create (Afghanistan) and a bystander nation that posed NO THREAT (Iraq) feels today like a chicken that’s come home to roost. Sadly, that will be no consolation to the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who died over there while we here at home went to Home Depot to buy ready-to-install bathroom vanities.

The crass vanity revealed by that stark divide should force us to take a minute today to step back and look in the mirror, for our future as a polity depends upon finally seeing ourselves as the world sees us … and for who we really are. We are a decaying empire with a long ledger of unpaid debts fueled by our self-serving Exceptionalism.”

‘The War On Afghanistan Is Lost But The U.S. Still Tries To Keep A Foot In Its Door’ bernhard at MOA,  June 21, 2021  (a few brief excerpts from a longish read)

“During the last week President Biden visited NATO and had a meeting with Erdogan. He gave the plan a go:

‘US President Joe Biden agreed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s requests to support Ankara’s forces as they retain control of Kabul International Airport after American and NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan this summer, a senior US official said Thursday.

“President Biden committed that that support would be forthcoming” during their meeting in Brussels on Monday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on a briefing call today.

“President Erdogan expressed satisfaction with that, and the two of them tasked their teams just to work out the final details,” Sullivan said.

US officials “are putting together a detailed and effective security plan” to assist the Turkish security plan, which Western officials see as vital to protecting diplomatic missions to the Afghan government as the Taliban makes gains in various parts of the country.’

One does not protect diplomatic missions by holding the main airport of a foreign country. There must be other reasons why this was put on the table.

“The CIA has tried to get drone-bases in countries neighboring Afghanistan to continue its drug smuggling business  fight against al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

guarding afghan poppies

Negotiations were held with Pakistan but Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan publicly rejected the plan:

‘In an interview with Axios HBO, Imran Khan categorically stated that he would not allow the US to use Pakistan as a base for its Afghan operations.

Mr Khan told the interviewer, Jonathan Swan, that he would “absolutely not” allow the US to have the CIA in Pakistan to conduct cross border counter-terrorism missions against al-Qaeda, the Islamic State group, and the Taliban.

Pakistan‘s cooperation is seen as critical to US President Joe Biden’s plans to completely withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by September.

Mr Khan has always been opposed to the US using Pakistan as a base from which to launch operations, and his comments follow similar remarks made by Pakistani government officials.

This stance won a lot of praise in Pakistan with the term #AbsolutelyNot trending in the country.’

‘US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan to be complete by ‘end of August’ – White House’, 2 Jul, 2021,

“Former President Donald Trump had previously made a deal to leave Afghanistan by May, though this deadline was pushed back by the Biden administration, which set a goal of having troops gone by September.

As he was hammered with questions on Afghanistan from the press before Psaki’s briefing, Biden grew visibly frustrated, citing the “holiday weekend” as his reason for not wanting to focus on “negative” stories.

“I’m not going to answer any more questions on Afghanistan,” he told reporters, throwing his hands up. “Look, it’s Fourth of July … I’m concerned that you guys are asking me questions that I’ll answer next week.” 

(cross-posted at

One response to “US Withdrawal from Afghanistan, ‘the Graveyard of Empires’?

  1. oopsie; i’d forgotten to add this other biden shit-storm:

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