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The Art of War

Blood red dawn in Kabul

The allies will be able to pull out of Afghanistan; it’s mission accomplished. On the pretext of fighting terrorism, the colonial powers were able to establish a government under their thumb. But such an operation is too expensive: the Afghan regime is protected by 120,000 soldiers, two-thirds of whom are from the U.S. The time has come for this illegitimate political system to maintain itself in power under its own steam. Henceforth, the United States will simply administer their military bases and get their European "allies" to foot the police costs.

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Now that the black war clouds have rolled away, the light of a new day can be seen on the horizon: it is with this rhetorical platitude that President Obama announced the agreement with President Karzai. The pens that write his speeches are, obviously, tired.

The same cannot be said about the strategists who drafted the "Strategic Partnership Agreement" with Afghanistan. This document ensures that after the withdrawal of troops in 2014, the U.S. will continue to protect Afghanistan, designating it as the "major non-NATO ally." Within the framework of a new "bilateral security agreement," the U.S. will seek funds so that Afghanistan "can defend itself from internal and external threats." Therefore, it is not the U.S. who is allocating the funds, but who will "look" for them by involving NATO allies (including Italy) [1] in the payment of the bulk of at least $ 4 billion required annually to train and arm the "security forces" in Afghanistan, according to "NATO standards," in order to render them "inter-operational" with NATO forces.

For its part, Kabul "shall provide US forces continued access to and use of Afghan facilities through 2014, and beyond." What the agreement fails to say is that the main "bases in Afghanistan," which will be used by U.S. forces, are those already being used today (Bagram, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and others): the only difference is that instead of the U.S. flag, they will fly the Afghan one.

The agreement also omits to say that, even more than today, U.S. and NATO special operations forces will be deployed in Afghanistan, flanked by private military companies. The United States have pledged that they will not use the bases against other countries but that, in case of "external aggression against Afghanistan," they will deliver an "appropriate response" including resorting to "military measures." The agreement, specified Ambassador Ryan Crocker, does not prevent the United States from continuing to launch attacks from Afghanistan, with UAVs, the insurgents in Pakistan, since "it does not exclude the right to self-defense."

But the pillars underpinning the "long-term strategic partnership" will not only be military. Washington will promote "the involvement of the U.S. private sector in Afghanistan," especially for the exploitation of the "mineral wealth, of which the Afghan people should be the primary beneficiaries." The Afghan people may rest assured: it was a team of Pentagon geologists who discovered vast deposits of lithium, cobalt, gold and other metals in Afghanistan’s subsoil. Afghanistan, stated a Pentagon memorandum, could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium," a prized metal used for manufacturing batteries [2]

But there is, above all, one more resource to be exploited: Afghanistan’s geographical position itself, which is of primary importance both militarily and economically. It is no coincidence that, in the agreement, the United States is committed to "restoring Afghanistan’s historic role as a bridge connecting Central and South Asia and the Middle East," by developing transport infrastructure, in particularly "energy networks." A clear allusion is being made to the Turkmenistan-India gas pipeline running through Afghanistan and Pakistan, on which Washington is betting in the Gas Pipeline Battle pitting it against Iran, Russia and China. Which will, needless to say, be controlled by U.S. special forces and drones in the name of the "right to self-defense."

[1] As well as other European NATO member states.

[2] Translator’s note: And in the pharmaceutical industry.

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