by Batko Milacic for the Saker Blog
The United States invested $83 billion in arming the Afghan army. Having lost there, the Americans abandoned all their weapons and they fell into the hands of terrorists, criminal elements, drug dealers, which led to an acceleration of destabilization in the Central Asian region. That’s the price of “planting“ US democracy in Afghanistan.
Built and trained for two decades, Afghan security forces collapsed so quickly and completely — in some cases without a shot fired — that the ultimate beneficiary of the American investment turned out to be the Taliban. They grabbed not only political power but also U.S.-supplied firepower — guns, ammunition, helicopters and more.
The Taliban captured an array of modern military equipment when they overran Afghan forces who failed to defend its territory. Bigger gains followed, including combat aircraft, when the Taliban rolled up provincial capitals and military bases with stunning speed.
Taliban’s accumulation of U.S.-supplied Afghan equipment was enormous. The reversal is an embarrassing consequence of misjudging the viability of Afghan government forces — by the U.S. military as well as intelligence agencies — which in some cases chose to surrender their vehicles and weapons rather than fight.
The U.S. failure to produce a sustainable Afghan army and police force, and the reasons for their collapse, will be studied for years by military analysts. The basic dimensions, however, are clear and are not unlike what happened in Iraq. The forces turned out to be hollow, equipped with superior arms but largely missing the crucial ingredient of combat motivation.
The principle of war stands — moral factors dominate material factors. Morale, discipline, leadership, unit cohesion are more decisive than numbers of forces and equipment. This was shown by the war in Kosovo, where the Serbian army, even if technologically incomparably weaker than NATO, led NATO to give up the original plan.
In Afganistan , Americans provided materiel, but only Afghans could provide the intangible moral factors.
Taliban insurgents, with smaller numbers, less sophisticated weaponry and no air power, proved a superior force. U.S. intelligence agencies largely underestimated the scope of that superiority, and even after President Joe Biden announced in April he was withdrawing all U.S. troops, the intelligence agencies did not foresee a Taliban final offensive that would succeed so spectacularly.
Some elements of the Afghan army did fight hard, including commandos whose heroic efforts are yet to be fully documented. But as a whole the security forces created by the United States and its NATO allies amounted to a “house of cards” whose collapse was driven as much by failures of U.S. civilian leaders as their military partners.
The Afghan force-building exercise was so completely dependent on American largesse that the Pentagon even paid the Afghan troops’ salaries. Too often that money, and untold amounts of fuel, were siphoned off by corrupt officers and government overseers who cooked the books, creating “ghost soldiers” to keep the misspent dollars coming.
Of the approximately $145 billion the U.S. government spent trying to rebuild Afghanistan, about $83 billion went to developing and sustaining its army and police forces, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a congressionally created watchdog that has tracked the war since 2008. The $145 billion is in addition to $837 billion the United States spent fighting the war, which began with an invasion in October 2001.
The $83 billion invested in Afghan forces over 20 years is nearly double last year’s budget for the entire U.S. Marine Corps and is slightly more than what Washington budgeted last year for food stamp assistance for about 40 million Americans.
And despite all these catastrophic mistakes, Americans are repeating the same story in Europe. The United States pumped Ukraine with weapons and pushed it into war with Russia. In addition, the Kyiv regime, in the throes of its defeat, distributed more than 240,000 small arms into the hands of prison-released gangsters and fanatical mentally ill nationalists. In the near future, Russian troops will defeat the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and at the same time they will squeeze out armed radicals from Ukraine, who will end up in Europe and significantly change the crime situation there, plunge calm European cities into chaos. As always, only Washington, which does not need a calm and well-fed Europe, will win.
Washington will fight Russia to the last Ukrainian.
Ukraine is a proxy fighter for Washington DC. I wonder how many Ukrainians have grasped this.
The motto of America is “there is a sucker born every minute”
“As always, only Washington, which does not need a calm and well-fed Europe, will win.” – except when the dollar dies.
Hasnt russia just announced gold backed currency and no vat tax. Thats yet to sink in. If i heard wrong happy to be corrected
In Afghanistan the US tried, foolishly, to create an Afghan army that would fight the Taliban for Americas geopolitical interests. However, they failed to grasp that It was unimportant if Afghans loved or hated the Taliban. They were being asked to fight fellow Afghans, and of course the bulk of the Afghan Army refused, collapsing in the process. As for all those weapons the Americans left behind, I am wondering if that was done on purpose, the aim being to arm the radical elements who would inflame that part of Asia.
As for Ukraine, both the US and EU were arming it. The Russian military has already captured NATO armaments. Washington again failed to grasp that it was unimportant if Ukrainians loved or hated Russians. Both are Orthodox Christians, having lived in the same country right until the end of World War One. The only Ukrainians who are eager to fight Russia are neo-Nazis from Western Ukraine, the former Galicia. The Ukrainian military is being encircled in the Donbass, and no doubt the bulk of the encircled troops will be all to willing to surrender, nationalists excluded.
America does not have too much history and tradition behind it. In Europe, and other parts of the world, it is the opposite, where both history and tradition play an important role. This is the reason why Washington makes strategic blunders. For example, it lost the Korean and Vietnam wars, while it’s attempts to internally subvert Russia, China, Venezuela and a few others, failed. I don’t think Washington will ever learn.
weapons dump all over – ergo:
“And despite all these catastrophic mistakes, Americans are repeating the same story in Europe”
Back when, I warned, against the jubilation over the US evac from the Stan, that it was not to be celebrated, laughed over, that that hardware is gonna b put to use some form or another.
Do you still think it was a “mistake” – from the point of view, who desire the outcomes that we are witnessing?
Or was/is it deliberate?
And this question comes from a gun-nut, 2nd amendment bro that I am.
The moral fiber of the US has been completely rotten and became a substrate for the cancerous metastatic growth within the US. – The country has been degenerating.
The EU and US are owned by supranational fascist corporations, Bankers, who need non-stop wars for ‘free’ resources (looting the defenseless nations), and the MIC of mega war profiteers. There is not a single moral person among the Owners and their servile servants like Bidet, Soltz, Johson, Stoltenberg, van Leyen, and similar scum.
By the way, where are the US/EU/UK Jewish Communities to stop the zionized US & EU governments from supporting the Nazified Ukraine infected with the self-proclaimed Nazi formations and “White Führers” (who sold Ukraine to Ziocons)…
NATO darling Zelinsky doubtlessly belongs to the cesspool of US/EU “liberalism,” along with the badly-aged PussyRiot ‘ladies.’ Zelensky is dancing in heels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv_WWzjrUrI
“By the way, where are the US/EU/UK Jewish Communities to stop the zionized US & EU governments from supporting the Nazified Ukraine …”.
You seem to forget who financed Lenin in 1917 and Hitler in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Zionist bakers financed both communists and Nazis, and old tactic of financing both sides.
Once you study the facts of America’s retreat, you will note that actions that could only have been planned suggest that the outcome was what was desired. In simple terms, the retreat was no ‘mistake’.
And I hope you have read my works on the Port Arthur Massacre.
Just make certain that Russia doesn’t make the same mistake in Ukraine.
Govts installed by U.S. after a military conquest … 1. Iraq, 2. Afghanistan, 3. Libya, 4. Panama, only #4 did not result in long term chaos. Russia should deal with ‘Z’ and not try to install a ‘Y’.
The US defense contractors, the Pentagon, and the Congress critters that hold defense contractor stock will all benefit from any loss of US military hardware. Afterall, this matériel must be replaced at some point, for insertion in some other global hotspot, so defense spending and contractor profits will be upheld. The Pentagon will therefore continue to be allowed to receive its massive budget allocation in order to purchase the new matériel.
The financing of this merry-go-round swells the US National Debt fiscal-year after fiscal-year. The US Federal Reserve banks (privately owned financial institutions) issue digital money from “thin air” to buy the US Treasury bills that are issued to finance US government spending, and are then added to the debt. Currently at $30 trillion and rising, with a current average interest rate of 1.6%, this mountain of debt will probably never, ever be repaid but the financing will require some $480 billion per year in interest payments and, believe me, that IS paid. The banks who created this currency with a magic wand will continue to receive the interest every fiscal year, extracted from US tax collections and other government revenue sources.
US hegemony comes at a huge cost to the US government. I still vividly remember seeing a photo of a multitude of palletized, shrink-wrapped blocks of US $100 bills arriving on the tarmac of Baghdad’s airport. This was in aid of colonial governor Paul Bremner’s rule of Iraq, following that country’s military defeat, and after the civilian infrastructure had been totally destroyed. Even the Iraqi National Museum had been looted. Fortunately, Big Oil was able to rescue the massive Iraqi oil reserves.
FDR said, regarding politics:
when something happens it is because it was planned that way
Could it have been a deliberate failure?
Sure, but look at how much money they made dumping those weapons in Afghanistan. And that’s just the stuff that got left behind. Trillions were spent – generating huge profits for the MIC, energy complex (trans Afghan pipeline), and the finacial complex that ties them all together (Michael Hudson’s three oligarchies).
Just cynical enough to think maybe arming the Taliban was part of the plan. Hell look how well they took care of all the moderate terrorists in Syria. Didn’t they pretty much invent ISIS. Bail out and leave them to spread their ‘religion’. Only now with relatively fancy gear. As far as the aircraft go will the US be subcontracting maintenance?
Maybe this is part of the plan in Ukraine too. I can only hope the Russians have figured out how exactly so many moderate folks wind up so damn brainwashed they would kill people who speak their native language and indeed are blood relatives, if as the US claims, that is happening at all.
I suppose most of the true Nazis have always been that way. In which case the question why are we training and arming Nazis is the question I don’t really enjoy contemplating. After observing Freeland at a news conference, my skin crawled as it has when feeling vulnerable in rough neighborhoods. Fight or Flight?
Indeed my relatives have become increasingly belligerent towards their fellow Americans. If the US separate their armed forces along political lines it is not hard to imagine the friendly flag incidents going right off the charts.
If there was any real representation of the tazpayers in Congress, then every ‘military training’ program should be seriously questioned as a complete waste of taxpayer money.
Consider that before Afghanistan, we had the Americans also invest huge sums of taxpayer dollars into ‘training’ the Iraqi Army. Which then promptly threw down their weapons and ran at that first sign of a white Toyota pickup truck.
Its funny how being an invader and occupier and trying to find quislings to form an army doesn’t seem to work out very well. But some oligarchs are getting very, very rich selling the weapons and providing the ‘trainers’.
that one was all planned and predicted in advance by stormscloudgathering
its been a while, but if i recall correctly 150 state department bought pickups and light arms conquered a 1 000 000 population town with 2 military bases without a shot.
as a bonus, the fleing military left the doors open and the keys on the ignition of all heavy weaponry and bases.
no way that could have happened withouth being aggreed by the parts beforehand, usofa in particular
“The principle of war stands — moral factors dominate material factors,” by 10:1, Napoleon said.
““The principle of war stands — moral factors dominate material factors,” by 10:1, Napoleon said.”
Whate ever happened to Mr. Napoleon, or Mr. Bandera ?
The Ukrainian people have been plundered by a corrupt Government and thoroughly unpleasant oligarchs for many years, which has produced a society which relieves the “haves” of their possessions as a matter of routine.
A Ukrainian friend said, “The Government steals off the people, the people steal off the Government.”
A Ukrainian staple is cheap sausage, the meat was stolen and pink toilet paper substituted for it.
Twenty years ago it was known that Ukrainian Army conscripts died of starvation because the Officers stole the money for the soldiers food.
A family member got a job with a new business which quickly folded because every item for the new office was stolen before it could be used. Professional criminals, of which there are many use the same methods as the Nazis, in many cases, they are likely the same people.
It is a way of life that has been forced on people; they do what they need to survive. Most of the Ukrainians I met are a warm, friendly and generous people. One of my happiest memory is of a picnic / fishing trip to river and forest near Chernigo, a civilised picnic, with a folding table, chairs, a white tablecloth, glasses, two or three bottles of vodka and plenty of food. I saw water snakes for the first time.
The author is right, those donated weapons will be sold to criminals and terrorists across the whole of Europe, and the European people will pay the price for the politicians stupidity.
“A family member got a job with a new business which quickly folded because every item for the new office was stolen before it could be used.”
Some Ukrainians were prone to premature ejaculations, and some prone to limited imagination.
From 1994 to 1998 some Russians set up long firms with the aid of funds supplied by EBRD who had little if any practices of validation/credit worthiness except BLAT/Poltical convenience, so “lost” in excess of $ 30 billion on the Russian secondary banking default of 1998.
A long firm is where you set up a company, order goods, pay for them with increasing loans thereby building up “credit history”, negotiate bigger orders with extended terms, pay part of the invoices by receiving extended terms from both the creditor and debtor, liquidate the long firm when appropriate, iterate the process until bank default – it has some popularity with firms registered in Delaware and elsewhere – Mr. Marx calling this primary accumulation which in the published English version was interpreted as primative accumulation.
This was emulated by an increasing sum of some in Ukraine from 2008 onwards, liquidations increasing from 2013 until 2021 (2022 data not yet being available for this force multiplier).
Donated items through USAID could be found in markets world-wide since at least 1962 – that being part of allowable “slippage” negotiated to facilitate the giving and the receiving of aid, and over time contributed to the need for the alchemy of the 1970’s of turning gold into paper.
However this practice has a long pedigree at least since feudalism to 1989, as illustrated by the observation from Soviet times:
100 make the law and 100 million find ways round it.
It also has initial utility in colour revolutions such as in Chile 1971-73, whilst the polarity of these utilities tends to reverse over time, as in sanctions.
“their weapons and they fell into the hands of terrorists, criminal elements, drug dealers, which led to an acceleration of destabilization in the Central Asian region. ”
Assume this to be intentional.