The Grayzone: Afghanistan War Profiteering: 90% of U.S. Spending Went To Military-Industrial Complex Contractors

The endless war and occupation of Afghanistan was one of the biggest grifts in American history and accomplished nothing but making a fortune for defense contractors and NGOs.

Note: It is worth noting that the Taliban got its start among refugees in Pakistan where millions of displaced women and children fled Afghanistan during the Soviet intervention and occupation in the 1980s. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia cultivated the jihadists with U.S. support and help.

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  1. Re: “Taliban got its start among refugees in Pakistan where millions of displaced women and children fled Afghanistan during the Soviet intervention and occupation in the 1980s. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia cultivated the jihadists”:

    No. It was the U.S. that cultivated the Pashtuns in Pakistan, and got Saudi Arabia involved and the CIA operative Osama Bin Laden to help, to create proxy forces of Al Qaeda, Mujahideen, Taliban etc. to overthrow socialism in Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries, and in the case of Afghanistan, to “draw Russia into the country to suffer a Vietnam.” The U.S. was spending nearly a billion dollars a year to arm and train the Pashtun Mujahideen proxy force with the latest ground-based equipment (the U.S. keeps its monopoly on airpower) such as Stinger antiaircraft missiles. Look up Operation Cyclone:

  2. To anonymous there. “to overthrow socialism in Afghanistan” Heh, you mean a pro-Soviet dictatorship the people hated, who then agreed to a Soviet invasion of its own country to keep the people in check. Yeah, those poor socialists!

    The U.S. supported some mujaheddin. Conveniently ignored fact: The mujaheddin were still Afghans and Arabs. They were the ones who gathered in large numbers to throw out the communists. And while the U.S. supported them, that was not the Taliban.

    The Taliban got started in Pakistan, largely. With Pakistani aid. This shouldn’t even need mentioning. The Taliban also were started in Afghanistan itself. Two warlords in Kandahar were fighting over who would get to have sex with a boy sold in the market. They started firing at each other and hit bystanders. People called for Mullah Omar, who came and freed the boy. Mullah Omar became the first leader of the Taliban, and a primary goal was to end the rape of boys, and to end the drug trade, the road blocks forcing people to pay money, and the other things the warlords were up to.

    But muh socialism.

    • President Taraki turned himself into Comrade Taraki. He cancelled all debts to landlords to curry favor with the people – which led to landlords of course not lending any more money. Afghans were used to borrowing for large weddings and funerals, and now these were made impossible. Afghans also could not borrow money to start up a business.

      A decree on land ownership made the country arid, lacking irigation. “Land reform” caused massive crop failure, and the scarcity of resources turned different ethnic communities against each other. The countryside was hurting. This is the result of those large, sweeping commands left-wing extremists love so much. People who never had any real education in economics or human behavior.

      In 1979 the country was in bad shape. The secret police arrested “capitalist” dissenters. Large protests took place in Herat, and a group of rebels assassinated some of the Soviet officers in the city. The Soviet Union already had 5,000 “advisors” in Afghanistan to exercise control, and was supplying the ruler with tanks and guns.

      Comrade Taraki and Soviet dictator Brezhnev then bombed Herat to rubble. The buildings, the bridges, the roads, everything was destroyed, and 25,000 people died. This was to teach the people a lesson.

      This led to a nationwide anti-socialist rebellion. The Mujaheddin were united by opposing the tyranny, rather than by religion. Comrade Taraki’s military soon could no longer go out in the countryside.

      Taraki had a fallout with his right-hand man, Amin. Taraki then suddenly died, and the even more brutal Amin took power, stepping up a campaign of violence.

      Brezhnew knew the puppet regime would soon fall, so he invaded, with Amin’s approval. The Soviets took over the capital and other cities, while Amin died in the regime’s infighting.

      Luckily the Mujaheddin were better armed than the Afghan regime, thanks to Saudi, Pakistani and American backing. They were also decentralized and could each quickly adapt to circumstances in their own region.

      But during this war centuries of carefully crafted institutions and agreements were destroyed, as the economy fell and people fled the Soviets. So that after the war, warlords sought to carve out their own fiefdoms, just like in Somalia. They raped women, they smuggled drugs to Europe, they set up roadblocks to extract “tolls”, they forced local businesses to pay them. And just like in Somalia a religious resistance rose to throw out the warlords.

      • Hegar, I’m familiar with all of that history. If you look at it from the other side as I do, the re-distribution of land and other reforms were all good, but the people were not expecting them, and there was no plan to support the people while the wealthy landowners were fighting back by cutting off the irrigation water, refusing to provide traditional cash loans (mostly for wedding and funerals) to the cashless serfs, and cutting off access to markets and food supplies. It was insane to proclaim these human rights as if that’s all there is to it. Not only would the propertied upper class be sure to fight back HARD, but the U.S. and other capitalist governments around the world would be sure to join in. The Afghan military was not fully prepared either. Revolution cooked up by outsiders following a universal recipe is just miserable.

  3. Hegar, in an earlier comment I noted that the socialism was mostly imposed on Afghanistan, not a natural, organic development, the people were not ready, and therefore it was failing on its own. See: It was a failure of Trotskyistic cosmopolitan “revolution by formula” imposed from outside not of genuine, organic, ethno-nationalist socialism.

    Note also that Afghan socialism was developing BEFORE the Saur revolution, under Doud Khan who ended the monarchy, but Khan later turned to the U.S. and undid some of the reforms.

  4. There’s a big surprise. The contractors and politicians are both getting rich off contracts all at the expense of the soldier.

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