I first saw this over at my friends blog HERE
Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca in Canada.
I want to ask you some questions about the transfer of command in Afghanistan from General Petraeusto General Allen. Do you see any definitive change in the situation in the country in the near future?
No, I don’t. This is the latest in the series of rotations of the top military commanders simultaneously, of course, throughout the US’s so-called Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Two years ago, Gen. David McKinnon was ousted and replaced by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who in turn was kicked out in favour of Gen. David Petraeus. And now we have a Marine General John Allen stepping in. Throughout that succession series of top commanders, I think, have gone from bad to worse, and, with recent events in Afghanistan, there is no reason to believe anything is going to be subsequently changed and certainly not improved. We do know that each success of commanders intensified the brutality and intensity of military actions, that Petraeus most notably had increased the so-called night raids, special forces operations, which, as often as not, resulted in deaths of Afghan civilians but also in intensification of air raid. We know, for example, that, as of the end of last month, the first half of this year, almost 15,000 Afghan civilians were killed, which is the highest in the six-month period in the war and certainly higher than it was a year ago during the same period. There is also a recent report that stated that in the last two years that 250,000 – a record – of Afghan civilians have been forced to flee their towns and villages because of the intense fighting. So, if there is any index, there is no way of portraying the situation in Afghanistan as having become any better.
Why is the US in Afghanistan? Did I ask you this question?
I’ll give you my personal estimate and I think it’s the one that became apparent with the initial thrust into Afghanistan almost ten years ago, which occurred less than three months after the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the summer of 2001. My supposition is going to be – not withstanding the hunt for Osama bin Laden and whatever else was presented as the casus belli for the invasion of Afghanistan and its continuation for ten years – that, in essence, the US and its Western allies wanted to plant itself firmly at the point of confluence where Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan and other nations might be able to cooperate in building a multipolar alternative to the US-dominated unipolar world and being in Afghanistan and the environs. We have to keep in mind that the US and its NATO allies, their military facilities, are still based in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the latest of now – Pakistan, where the US has been told to leave the base, from which it was waging drone missile attacks, which have killed 2,500 or so people in Pakistan, last year was the highest with almost a thousand people killed. And they are proceeding that there is something like 714 people killed in Pakistan by US drone missile attacks and out of those 714 five are either al-Qaeda or Taliban fighters.
Five. And let’s assume, several hundred, if not a thousand or more civilians have been killed in the drone attacks, which are not, of course, being spread with increased intensity not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan and, earlier, in Iraq, but in Yemen, most recently in Somalia and, of course, with the deployment of US Predator drones in Libya, in that country. So we now have six countries, in which the US is waging drone warfare. And I think we will see the intensification of that mode of warfare under Gen. Allen as he assumes the command of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Even now the Pentagon is not responsible for those attacks. The Central Intelligence Agency is – and guess who is taking over that agency in September?
Yes. So, there will be continuity on that end that the top West military commander in Afghanistan is now in charge of the US government agency that is waging the drone attacks. So I think one will be justified in expecting an escalation of drone attacks inside Pakistan. The carnage inside Afghanistan is keeping pace with the killings by drone missile attacks, Hellfire missiles inside Pakistan.
How would you characterize the entire campaign by NATO and the US in Afghanistan? As a complete failure, or were there any gains?
There was an article recently by the US Department of Defense, Pentagon’s press agency, American Force’s press service that just happened to mention in passing that Shindand Air Base in the Herat Province has tripled in size recently to become the second largest military air base in Afghanistan next to that of Bagram. Last year, the US and its NATO allies stepped up the extension of air bases in Afghanistan – I mean in Kandhar, in Mazar a Sharif, in Jalalabad in addition to Bagram and Shindand – they are going to have air bases that control the entire region, a good deal of the Greater Middle East, if you will, in addition to continuing troop transit. They’ve also set up the northern distribution network that way. It’s an amazing access of air, ground, rail and truck transportation in the Northern Afghanistan, which now includes 13-15 former Soviet Republics, all except Moldova and Ukraine currently. Men and material are being moved in and out, and this is an amazing net work, when you look at it, including just recently the first air flight from the US over the North Pole and then over Kazakhstan into Afghanistan. So, in terms of building up a military network around the world – and we also have to remember there are troops from over 50 countries serving under NATO in Afghanistan, which is the largest amount of countries offering troops for one military commandment of one nation in world history. We also have to recall that Afghanistan has become a training ground, if you will, to place US-NATO allies and partners in real life combat situations, to integrate the militaries of at least 50 countries under, basically, US command, using English as their common language. I’m arguing that Afghanistan was a laboratory for integrating the militaries of these various countries.