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Common Dreams - August 18, 2021

... Anand Gopal, an American journalist, tells the story with unusual authority. He moved to Afghanistan in 2008, learned the language, and for four years he traveled the country freely.

His book appeared in 2014: No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes. 


It relates the Taliban's surrender:

His back to the wall, Mullah Omar [leader of the Taliban] drew up a letter to Hamid Karzai, acknowledging his selection as interim president. The letter also granted Omar's ministers, deputies, and aides the right to surrender.

On December 5 [2001] a Taliban delegation arrived at the US special forces camp north of Kandahar city to officially relinquish power...[The Taliban]...pledged to retire from politics and return to their home villages. Crucially, they also agreed that their movement would surrender arms, effectively ensuring the Taliban could no longer function as a military entity. There would be no jihad, no resistance from the Taliban to the new order.

Another description of the surrender, differing little, appeared seven years later:

It took barely two months after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 for the United States mission to point itself toward defeat.

"Tomorrow the Taliban will start surrendering their weapons," the Taliban's spokesman Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef announced on December 7, 2001. "I think we should go home." But the United States refused the group's surrender, vowing to fight on to shatter the Taliban's influence in every corner of the country.

Accepting the surrender would have denoted a great victory in the "war on terrorism." But George Bush was fighting a war for oil and empire, and victory would pose a huge tactical difficulty: with no enemy to fight he would have to demobilize his forces in the Mideast and bring them home. That he could not tolerate: the great prize, the Iraqi oil, had yet to be won, so the fighting in the Mideast would have to be sustained—as a "war on terrorism"—until the invasion of Iraq could be planned, authorized by Congress, and sold to the American people. The Taliban's offer was simply dismissed, and the fighting continued—for twenty years.

And now President Biden has called a halt in Afghanistan, in humiliating defeat. The Taliban, who once offered to disarm and disband, have taken control of Afghanistan. The national media acknowledge the defeat, but trumpet "the end of America's longest war" as recompense. That is grossly misleading: American military violence rages on in the "war on terrorism." U.S. combat troops remain stationed in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen, Jordan, Kuwait, Djibouti, Qatar, the UAE, Turkey, the Philippines, and Cyprus, and we conduct counterterrorism operations in 61 additional countries around the world.

This madness is the legacy of the Bush Administration, and successive presidents have done nothing to end it. Withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is a no-brainer tactical retreat, but George Bush's bogus war plunges mindlessly ahead.

President Biden, carpe diem. Call the "war on terrorism" for the fraud it is and end it. Bring all the troops home, from everywhere. ...
Read full report at Common Dreams