Afghanistan: The Great Game Continues

By Carlos Fazio on August 28, 2021

photo: Bill Hackwell

The media lies of Western propaganda about the fall of Kabul and the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan, far from reflecting the definitive crumbling of the empire of chaos could mean a repositioning -with new elements of military privatization via sophisticated technologies, drones, long-range bombers, mercenaries and espionage networks- that obeys a geopolitical reconfiguration, where the main mission of the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is to protect Afghanistan, mercenaries and espionage networks. It will no longer be the war against terrorism, but rather to try to isolate Russia, a regional energy power, and to harass China by all means in the expansion of the new Silk Roads.

The Bush Jr. administration’s war on terrorism was a fallacy. It has been widely documented that the pretext for waging  was a fabrication. The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was not a response to 9/11: it had been planned since the previous July. And Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda network were not a threat to the Anglo-Saxons, but their instrument. Nor was it a humanitarian intervention to restore democracy, as US President Joe Biden has just reconfirmed.

Now, as then, the Western hegemonic media pretend to ignore the support of the CIA and the Pentagon to international terrorist organizations. When in July 1979 the Sandinista insurrection triumphed in Nicaragua and the following December the Soviet Union intervened in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan at the invitation of the socialist government of Nur Muhammad Taraki, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and the head of the CIA and the Pentagon were the only ones to support international terrorist organizations. Reagan and CIA director George Bush Sr. created, armed, trained, supplied and co-financed (together with Saudi Arabia) the Nicaraguan Contras and the Afghan mujahideen (soon after the Taliban) and called them freedom fighters. Bin Laden himself admitted to the New York Times that the Tora Bora compound, where Al-Qaeda members were hiding, had been created with the help of the CIA and functioned as a base for Afghans and volunteers coming from Arab and Muslim countries to fight against the Soviets and the government of the time, where they were trained by American and Pakistani officers.

Another source of financing for the terrorist actions of the Nicaraguan Contras and the Afghan Taliban was drug trafficking. During the U.S. occupation, the area under poppy cultivation in Afghanistan quadrupled and opium became the main economic activity in the country. And it is no secret that Afghan heroin served to finance the CIA’s covert activities.

The military invasion of Afghanistan by the US and its NATO partners responded to the interests of the Anglo-American oil giants (Unocal, Chevron, British Petroleum), allied with the big five arms manufacturers: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics. Afghanistan is strategic, not only because it borders the Silk Road corridor linking the Caucasus to China’s western border, but also because it lies at the center of five nuclear powers: Russia, China, Pakistan, India and Kazakhstan. The Eurasian corridor has oil and natural gas reserves similar to those of the Persian Gulf, making Afghanistan a key territory for crossing transportation routes and pipelines, and a logical land bridge for pipelines going south from the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan to the Arabian Sea via Pakistan.

As CIA policy expert Graham Fuller said in 1997, whoever controls certain types of pipelines and investments in the Eurasian region has some geopolitical strength even if he does not have physical control of the oil. Hence the invasion was to establish an essential foothold through a network of military bases at the strategic intersection of Central and South Asia, later complemented by the occupation of Iraq. The Clinton and Bush Jr. administrations’ ties with fundamentalist Islamic organizations also date back to that time, and continued under Obama, Trump and Biden.

After the US exit from Kabul, negotiated in Doha by the Tump Administration and the Taliban in February 2020, the great geopolitical game, which incorporates China and Russia as regional players, resumes. Moscow could help Afghanistan rebuild the Naghlu hydropower plant and cooperate in laying gas pipelines and building oil facilities. In turn, Beijing wants to extend the China-Pakistan economic corridor, one of the flagship projects of the Belt and Road Initiative, to Afghanistan. And it is offering the Taliban infrastructure, energy and mining projects, with emphasis on the exploitation of lithium and rare earth minerals, essential for new military, computer and space technologies. According to Thierry Meyssan, the US did not lose Afghanistan, it wants that area to remain unstable. Washington’s objective is that companies from any country, including China, will have to accept US protection in order to exploit Afghan wealth.

The empire of chaos – as Alain Joxe called the US 20 years ago – can continue to create conflicts in the shadows and use its clandestine special forces, private contractors (mercenaries) taking orders from the Pentagon and the CIA and terrorist groups of Islamic fundamentalists to destroy all forms of political organization in the region. He will even be able to supervise a variety of bombings in Afghanistan from his Centcom base in Qatar and other military bases installed by Biden in neighboring countries.

As pointed out by analyst Pepe Escobar, the loss of Afghanistan can be interpreted as a repositioning of the US. It fits in with the new geopolitical reconfiguration where the new missions of the CIA and the Pentagon will be to isolate Russia and harass China. For this it needs a new scapegoat; a new axis of evil. The axis is Taliban-Pakistan-China.

Carlos Fazio is a Uruguayan journalist based in Mexico. He is a member of the editorial staff of  La Jornada and collaborates with the weekly Brecha, in Uruguay.

Source: Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English