The Anatomy Of America’s Defeat In Afghanistan

The Anatomy Of America’s Defeat In Afghanistan

By Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, PhD
With the long awaited decision by the
Obama Administration in regards to the new strategy for Afghanistan,
the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated to the point that the US
commanders started using the word ‘defeat’ in their report to
Washington. The word defeat has rarely been uttered by military;
however, Afghanistan is the exception, where defeat is a realistic
outcome. There, defeat is a reality that all invaders have faced since
the beginning when Pashtuns have inhabited this region. The Pashtuns’
resistance is one of multiple factors characterizing the Anatomy of
US’s Defeat in Afghanistan, where the inevitability of defeat for the
US and NATO appears to be a certainty.

FACTORS OF DEFEAT


American Military underestimated the Afghans (Pashtuns)

When the American troops landed in
Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan, they were confident that the defeat of
the Taliban and take over of Afghanistan was inevitable. Their behavior
was typically American characterized with excessive over confidence
totally oblivious of Afghan history. Characteristically, they did not
expect to suffer significant casualties either; however, much to their
dismay, American causality has become quite apparent The overconfidence
of American military was detailed by a reporter of IWPR:
“in October when the Americans began deploying at the airport, they
were gung-ho, telling their Uzbek counterparts that it would take no
more than a month and a half to defeat the Taleban”[1]

The report continues:
“Uzbek army personnel working at the air base said scores of US
casualties have been arriving there. From November 25 to Decemeber
[sic] 2, an Uzbek orderly working with American medical staff said he
had witnessed the arrival of four to five US helicopters – carrying
between them 10-15 American casualties – each day.”

The wounded soldiers that had returned
from Afghanistan were frustrated by the sudden change in their
self-perceived invincibility. The frustrations of the wounded soldiers
on the base played out in daily occurrences of shouting and
name-callings. These were the same soldiers that had heroic mentality
before entering Afghanistan.

Similar experiences were reported in
other parts of Afghanistan. For example, during operation Anaconda in
2002, America had used massive firepower to subdue a Taliban Commander
Saifu-r-Rahman Mansoor in Shah-e-Kot in Southeastern Afghanistan. The
Americans thought they could destroy the Afghan resistance by having
superior airpower. They learned this to be more a wishful thinking. In
the days of the fighting, Pentagon made various extravagant claims of
having destroyed Mansoor’s defenses and killing more than a thousand
(1000) Taliban fighters. The facts were otherwise. The US forces went
to the battle with a heroic mind set, but they were bitterly surprised
when they sustained heavy losses and had lost 16 helicopters ranging
from apaches to Chinooks. The escalation reached a point of no return
when 22 American Special Forces were caught alive. The heavy losses
coupled with the captured soldiers started to take its toll on the US
forces until March 10, 2002 when General Tommy Frank decided to pull
back 400 troops to Bagram. The official explanation was that the
conflict had ended for the most part while media reported that the
troops suffered from battle fatigue. The truth was that the pull back
was an attempt at building confidence aimed at convincing Taliban that
American military is serious in seeking the release of the 22 Special
Forces Commandos. The Taliban Commander, Maulana Mansoor demanded the
release of all captives held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the 22
Special Forces soldiers.

Meanwhile, as the US forces encountered
stiff resistance, it claimed to be fighting against a force of 1000
fighters when in reality there were 100 Afghan fighters, 120 Uzbek, and
30 Arab fighters. The US claimed to have killed 700 of 1000
Taliban/Al-Qaida fighters:
“U.S. military spokesmen estimate 700 out of roughly 1,000 Islamic
extremists have been killed in the past nine days of fighting, which
has cost the lives of eight Americans and three allied Afghans.”[2]

The number
of Taliban and foreign fighters killed stood at 88 (mostly Uzbek
including 8 Arabs) while the number of US, British and others were much
higher. Different media sources reported different numbers in regards
to US losses. For example, the Russian online newspaper Strana.Ru on
April 8, 2002, reported that the US lost 100 Special Forces and four
Apache helicopters. However, data obtained from the battlefield put the
casualty figure at 228 killed. From this figure 186 Americans killed in
the battle, 22 prisoners executed when the US refused to release
Guantanamo prisoners and 20 British SAS were killed when their vehicles
were ambushed. The 186 killed Americans included those that were
onboard helicopters. The total number of helicopters shot was 16 out of
which two Chinook and 6 Apaches were totally destroyed and the
remaining crash landed. The Canadians and Australians killed were
reported as victims of friendly fire.

This is what happens when armed forces exhibit patronizing mentality and underestimate the enemy.

American Brutality-Excessive Use of Force and Racist View

The sheer use of excessive force
coupled with individual cases of callous murder and torture could be
viewed in the dichotomy of intention and reaction. The aspect of
intentionality points to the way the military views the targeted
population. The US military as an institution and their personnel must
consider the people they bomb or murder perhaps less human, otherwise,
the excessive use of force, committing murder and tortures would not be
wide spread in their ranks. For example, by October 2002, the first
anniversary of US invasion of Afghanistan, more than 10000 tons of
bombs dropped on Afghan soil. (Socialist Worker Online, October 11,
2002) Imagine the magnitude of carnage and contamination caused by such
massacre. While another report by Kate Randall on December 2001, put
the number of US bombed dropped at 12000:

“Since the US launched the war on
Afghanistan October 7, more than 12,000 US bombs have been dropped on
the country. According to the Pentagon, about 60 percent of these bombs
have been precision-guided by satellite or laser technology. However,
many of these bombs-dropped by B-52s and other aircraft from tens of
thousands of feet in the air-have strayed off course, hitting civilian
targets.” (WSWS, December 29, 2001)

In another report, a year after
September 11, 2001, Matt Kelley of the Associated Press put the US
munitions statistics as follows:
“U.S. and coalition airplanes have conducted more than 21,000 flights
over Afghanistan, dropping more than 20,000 munitions. About 60 percent
of the ordnance dropped on Afghanistan has been precision guided, the
highest percentage in any conflict.”

Similarly the Guardian reported on April 10, 2002:
“More than 22,000 weapons – ranging from cruise missiles to heavy
fuel-air bombs – have been dropped on the country over the past six
months. US pilots dropped more than 6,600 joint direct attack munitions
(J-dams), the satellite-guided bombs One in four bombs and missiles
dropped by the US on Afghanistan may have missed its target”
The new generations of hard target weapons whose warheads are made of
uranium have contributed to the heavy contamination of land, water and
general population. The carnage brought upon by the usage of these
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) would remain essentially forever.
Depleted Uranium has a half-life of 4.5 Billion years. This means
Afghans would be dying from cancers and other diseases for generations.
For the past several years, the rate of various cancers have risen all
over Afghanistan, however, the rate of this menace has been highest
among the Pashtun people since they are on the receiving end of bombing
raids. Imagine the magnitude of carnage and contamination caused by
such barbarism.

The individual cases of slaughter are
too many to list. However, I need to point out that American military
shoots first and asks questions later. Many Afghans are shot on mere
suspicion. In many cases, the person would be either going to work or
coming from work.

The most serious of all the behaviors
of the US military is their disregard for the privacy, dignity and
lives of the Pashtun People. The behavior of the US military is similar
to the South African police of the apartheid era entering Black African
and Indian homes with no regard to their privacy. Similarly, American
Soldiers enter Pashtun homes without any regard for their privacy and
dignity. Moreover, they behave like thieves in the way they attack a
residence at night when families are deep asleep. The entrances to
peoples’ houses are blown with explosives and then men and boys are
dragged from bed in full view of their children and wives. More often,
before they could drag anyone from bed, they order their attack dogs to
attack these families before they could leave their bedrooms.
Consequently, many children are bitten to death. In many instances,
after the inhabitants are bitten, the soldiers have shot
indiscriminately. In Laghman Province, a man recalled the following
event:

“At night, the Americans entered our
homes, commandeered their attack dogs and then shot my son and my
brother. I was asleep; when I woke up; a dog was standing next to me
and bit me. Subsequent to that, the dogs pulled the corpse of my
brother and son to the ally. We were terrified and abandoned our
village.”

In another case in Khost, in
mid-December of 2008, the home of Dr. Bilal was raided by the US
forces. The US forces mistaken believed he was linked to Al-Qaida
network while he worked for the province public health department. The
AFP reported the following:

“The Americans entered without warning.
They first killed one of my nephews, Amin, who was 14 years old, who
was sleeping next to a rifle,” says Bilal Hassan, who works for the
provincial department of health.

“My brother went out with a gun. He was shot down, like his wife who followed him,” he says.

A sister-in-law was hit in the spinal cord and paralysed [sic].

“Then they released their dogs,” the
doctor remembers. The dogs attacked the bodies and bit off some of the
fingers, he says. Then they bit the wounded woman and a child of five.
“They took our savings, all our guns, used for self-defence [sic], and
even papers for some of our properties…. Why did they do all that?”[3]

The question is why are Pashtuns
specifically targeted? One of the answers could be the racist mentality
of the American military. However, the most likely explanation is that
Pashtuns are the custodians of Afghanistan and they have defended
Afghan independence throughout history. As long as the Pashtuns remain
a potent force, US-NATO alliance would not only succeed but also face a
realistic prospect of utter defeat.

In all fairness, other militaries
exhibit dreadful behaviors as well. However, the US military appears to
be one of the worst violators among the so-called democratic societies.

American over Reliance on Tajiks and Other Minorities

In the aftermath of 911, the Afghan
Tajiks who were affiliated with the brutal and rapist organization of
Northern Alliance[4] or were supporters of these criminals stepped
forward to the Bush Administration to accomplish two things. First, it
was an opportunity for them to undermine the Pashtun (Afghan) majority
of the country. These Northern Alliance elements were toppled by
Taliban in 1996 after they carried out some of the most gruesome
atrocities ever committed in Afghan history. The Northern Alliance was
formed from war criminals, rapist and human rights violators. Thousands
of women disappeared during the reign of the Northern Alliance. Second,
by offering their services as mercenaries, the Northern Alliance wanted
to take advantage of the situation to control the post-Taliban regime.
Despite the massive air power and indiscriminate usage of wide array of
bombs, the Northern Alliance failed to break through Taliban defenses
situated 90 miles north of the Capital Kabul. After 45 days of bombing,
Taliban decided to retreat to the countryside.

With the Taliban’s retreat, the
Northern Alliance forces entered Kabul. The first task on their agenda
was the firing of most civil servants that spoke Pashto. The imposition
of minorities that constitute roughly 37% of the population on 63%
Pashtun created resentment among the Pashtuns. It is worth mentioning
that the CIA World Facts Book is grossly inaccurate when it comes to
the percentage of Pashtuns in Afghanistan. Dr Zirakyar has traced the
pattern of false statistics in this book and presented his analysis as
follows:

“Until 1991, this type of “finished
intelligence” registered Pashtuns as majority of the Afghan population
(50% as ethnic group and as language group). Almost a year later in
April 1992, the Northern Alliance (Masood-Rabani group) took over the
power in Kabul. The World Factbook 1992, considerably lowered the
statistical significance of the Pashtun ethnic group and their language
(Pashto): 38% as ethnic group, and 35% as language group. In World
Factbook 2009, statistical data for Pashtuns shows improvement as
ethnic group (42%) but remained the same as language group (35%).”

He established the true number
representing the percentage of Pashtuns in Afghanistan by tapping into
the research of Wak Foundation:

“For the record, a six-year survey and
research project (1991-1996) was conducted by WAK-Foundation for
Afghanistan, the results of which was published in 1998 (1377 A.H.).
According to this source, from the total population of Afghanistan,
Pashtuns make up 62.73 percent as ethnic group and 55 percent as
language group.”[5]
Based on the pattern of falsehood illustrated in the CIA World Facts
Book and consistently presenting false information about the Pashtuns,
it would not be far fetched to state that there is an international
conspiracy against the Pashtuns. That is why; Pashtuns are killed in
Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

In the post US invasion, Pashtuns were
cleansed from many areas in Northern Afghanistan, where majority of the
minority Tajik population is living. Pashtun lands were confiscated,
forcing more than 300,000 Pashtuns to become refugees to neighboring
Pakistan. This group of people formed the backbone of Taliban
insurgency against the US and their mercenaries of the Northern
Alliance.

Incidentally, the Afghan Tajiks and
other minorities were lining up to become translators and falsely
claiming to speak Pashto. These individuals intentionally while others
due to ignorance of Pashto language labeled every Pashtun the Americans
arrested as member of Taliban and Al Qaida. That is why; the youngest
inmate in Guantanamo Bay was 11 years old. The unfair mentality of the
American military and the animosity of the Tajiks and other minorities
toward the Pashtuns resulted in many tragedies. Many innocent Pashtun
men were tortured and killed in Bagram.

The reader might ask as to why Tajiks
have this type of animosity toward the Pashtuns. The answer is Tajiks
were mostly artisans, musicians-entertainers and refugees from Central
Asia ungrateful for the life they had in Afghanistan. Similar to most
minorities in different parts of the world, they also wanted to occupy
the power in the country. However, they desired power at the expense of
Pashtun majority.

Consequently, Pashtuns whether they
agreed with Taliban or not joined Taliban led insurgency to secure
their rights. To this end, both Americans and their mercenaries have
become their targets. Meanwhile, the Afghan National Army (ANA), which
hardly has a national character, is dominated by Tajiks. Majority of
the commanders of the ANA are Tajiks.[6] Equally, the current
President, who is from Kandahar, is more than eager to please these
criminal elements of the Northern Alliance by instituting their
language as the administrative language ignoring Pashto and Pashtuns.
It is speculated that Karzai is half-Pashtun, hence, the influence of
his maternal uncles, who are qazelbash, on him drew him away from his
own language. At this point it is purely speculative; however, Pashtuns
are trying to rationalize the indifference of Karzai by presenting
various explanations.

This unnatural arrangement and
oppression of the Pashtuns inspired Pashtuns to fight against Americans
and their installed regime in Kabul.

Americans Lack of knowledge of the Pashtun Culture

Lack of knowledge of Pashtun culture is
another important factor ensuring US’s defeat in Afghanistan. There are
two sources wherein this lack contributes to the permanence of
hostility of Pashtuns toward the US and her allies. The first issue is
the tribal structure and the cohesion within the tribes in matters of
self-defense. When a member of the tribe or sub-tribe is killed, the
killer is not only the enemy of the family whose member he has killed,
but rather he has gained the enmity of the tribe whose member he has
murdered. Thus, the US forces have turned tribes, sub-tribes and
villages against them by slaughtering their members in the hundreds and
thousands. The second source is a tenet of the Pashtunwali-the Pashtun
Code of Honor. This tenet is that of revenge, which goes hand in hand
with tribal cohesion. A Pashtun father, brother, and son and tribesmen
have to avenge the death of their relative. There is an old saying that
after a Pashtun took his revenge after100 years, he said, “I think I
rushed it.” This points to the permanence of hostility.

Surge or the Final Nails in the Coffin of US’s Defeat

With the hoopla of surge and new
strategy, the US politicians and military leaders lack complete
awareness of the Afghan society, especially the Pashtun culture. To the
Pashtun people surge means continuation of the indignity imposed on
them by the US and her allies. This means more Afghan civilians would
die. This also means the continuation of the same pattern of disregard
to the privacy of Pashtuns’ homes. In essence, Pashtuns view this as
affirmation by the part of the political and military leaders that the
crimes they have committed for the past 8 years are not crimes, but
rather righteousness which adds insult to injury.

Furthermore, this would increase the
resolve of the Afghan insurgency and their supporters. Meanwhile, the
insurgents are working on obtaining modern Russian Rocket Propelled
Grenade launchers. In the past, Afghan Mujahideen used RPG7; however,
RPG7 is not effective against NATO armor. Hence, the most effective
weapon would be RPG32, which penetrates all NATO and US armor vehicles
and tanks. Furthermore, insurgents are also working on obtaining modern
version of SAM7 anti aircraft shoulder-held missiles. This would be the
final nails in the coffin of US’s defeat in Afghanistan.

I have tried in vain to get the
attention of the US political and military leaders with my peace
proposal to institute permanent peace in Afghanistan. But
unfortunately, they showed no interest for the most part. My proposal
‘White Paper for Permanent Peace in Afghanistan’[7] is a comprehensive
approach to a long lasting peace for Afghanistan.
After receiving cold shoulders from political and military leadership,
I came to hypothesize that they must be gaining financial benefits in
the form of contracts or perhaps even kickbacks. Otherwise, it would be
natural to seek peace than war especially when the insurgency has
gained a lot of momentum.

Conclusion

The above-mentioned factors outline a
pattern of hatred and killing. This pattern contributed to the
permanence of hatred and enmity of Americans and their allies. The
violations outlined depict acts of righteousness on the part of the
American forces and points to strong conviction on the part of the
US-NATO forces to continue committing atrocities.
Finally, President Obama’s speech in Norway by referring to the
genocide in Afghanistan as a ‘just war’ is adding insult to injury. The
award of the Nobel Prize to the President of a country that is actively
murdering Afghans and turning their environment uninhabitable with the
continued usage of uranium munitions is a travesty of justice and an
abomination that should be condemned worldwide. Moreover, the award of
the Nobel Prize is affirmation of support on the part of the Western
establishment that the murder and genocide of the Pashtun people is
acceptable, and it strengthens the hypothesis that the war on terror is
in part an international conspiracy against the Pashtun Nation.

[1] Afghanistan: US Casualty Spiral http://www.iwpr.net/?p=rca&s=f&o=162298&apc_state=henirca2001
[2] http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=80079&page=1
[3] Similar events happened one too many times http://www.afghanistannewscenter.com/news/2009/february/feb22009.html#3
[4] Anti-Taliban alliance composed of Afghan minorities
[5] http://www.sabawoon.com/articles/index.php?page=kite_runner
[6] http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KL01Df02.html
[7] http://www.sabawoon.com/articles/index.php?page=home and http://www.rense.com/general88/whitep.htm

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