"It is wonderful to hear the birds, who are singing about the beautiful day here in Kabul." With these romantic words Hillary Clinton opened the official ceremony among the trees of the uber-armored presidential palace in the Afghan capital.

As she spoke, other birds with stars and stripes on their tails plied the Afghan sky: F/A18s taking off from aircraft carrier Stennis in the Arabian Sea. After selecting their prey, these devices attack with missiles, laser-guided bombs and 20 mm cannons capable of firing bursts of 200 rounds of depleted uranium. These aircraft, and others, are each worth more than $ 100 million and cost $ 20 000 per flight hour. As each mission lasts about 8 hours, spending rises to more than $ 150 000 plus the price of arms and ammunition used.

Last year, according to official figures, the U.S. and NATO conducted 35 000 strike missions in Afghanistan. It is therefore not surprising that the U.S. alone has so far spent 550 billion in that war. A true bottomless pit, which will continue swallowing billions of dollars and euros.

In Kabul, Hillary Clinton announced the good news: "I have the pleasure to announce that President Obama has officially designated Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally." That means that Afghanistan falls in the same category as Israel and according to the "Strategic Partnership Agreement," the United States is committed to ensuring the "security" of that country. According to Administration officials, the U.S. will keep 10 000 to 30 000 men in Afghanistan, mainly special forces, backed by private military companies. And in Afghanistan the U.S. will continue using its own air force, including attack drones (pilotless aircraft).

The "largest non-NATO ally" will receive NATO military aid amounting to over 4 billion a year. Italy, which is committed to deliver 120 million a year, will continue to provide, in the words of Defense Minister Di Paola, "aid and support for Afghan security forces." The Afghan government will also receive, as decided at the ’donors’ conference meeting in Tokyo, some 4 billion for "civil requirements." Also in this context, said Foreign Minister Terzi, "Italy will do its part." According to the official explanation, this will aid "Afghan civil society." Which really means that every dollar and euro, officially spent for civilian purposes, will be used to strengthen U.S. / NATO rule in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a country whose geographical position is strategically of prime importance for the Western powers and for their transnational corporations as they advance eastward, challenging Russia and China. To convince Americans and Europeans, already severely affected by cuts in social spending, that it is necessary to remove from public funds more billions of dollars and euros to spend in Afghanistan, they are told that these amounts serve to improve the lives of the Afghan people, especially their women and children. That is the fairy tale told by Hillary Clinton, accompanied by the sound of birds in Kabul and by the chorus of those who benefit from these funds.

Roger Lagassé
Il Manifesto (Italy)