NATO and the US Quietly Winding Down Afghanistan?
By Staff News & Analysis - April 08, 2011

AN ATOL EXCLUSIVE … "As a field commander, I can confirm three prominent things. Every year before April, NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] carries out a grand operation in Kandahar, Helmand, Urzgan and Zabul against Taliban sanctuaries. They aim to clear the Taliban's presence from around major highways and also intervene to disperse the Taliban. This year, NATO carried out no such operation, which surprised me," the Taliban commander said. "Secondly, only a few months ago there was considerable congestion on the Kandahar-Chaman highway because [of a steady stream of] NATO supplies, including fuel tankers, tanks and other war machines. In the last two months, there has been no activity on such a scale as it looks that NATO has stopped its shipments to Kandahar airfield." The commander continued, "I cannot confirm, but I have learnt from sources that Pakistan has also released eight top commanders of the Taliban, including Mansoor Dadullah [brother of slain Mullah Dadullah]. I don't know what the Taliban high command is thinking, but certainly the enemy is desperately looking for a truce with the Taliban." – Online Asian Times

Dominant Social Theme: Things are going so very well for the West in Afghanistan that NATO and America may soon disengage.

Free-Market Analysis: This is a startling article as it seems to proclaim that after nearly a decade of irradiating Afghanistan and killing women, children and elders in order to "purge" Afghanistan of its 100 or so Al Qaeda, both NATO and the US Military-Industrial Complex have had enough. The Asian Times reporting this story is no blog either, but the online successor publication to several fairly mainstream Hong Kong journals, so far as we can tell.

How much influence the Chinese government has over it is difficult to say, but nonetheless, the reporting seems fairly detailed. If it's wrong, it's wrong with precision; if it's propaganda of some sort, it's fairly persuasive (or at least noteworthy) because it appears well researched. We don't vouch for it, but we certainly thought it worth presenting within the context of elite dominant social themes that we regularly attempt to analyze.

The West's take on Afghanistan, a sub dominant social theme of sorts, is that NATO and America are "in it to win it" and that eventually the Taliban threat (which has somehow morphed out of the Al Qaeda threat) will be shattered and peace negotiations shall follow. The larger promotion of course is that the mighty Pentagon doesn't lose wars, NATO is never defeated and a puny Afghan rabble cannot stand up to the combined military might of the Western world.

This point of view is amply represented in the Western mainstream press, and even if negotiations are being seriously held between various concerned players, Western media and military spokespeople would maintain that the negotiations were the result of the degradation of Taliban military capacity. But this is why the Asian Times article is so interesting.

The author, Syed Saleem Shahzad, posting from Islamabad (Pakistan) reports this "exclusive" from the point of view of numerous sources, albeit anonymous and posits that negotiations are about to take place because the West (not the Taliban) has had enough. Of course, the characterization of the US and NATO as "desperate" is obviously not shared by Western mainstream publications and is voiced, in fact, by a Taliban regional commander. But Shahzad is the Asia Times Pakistan Bureau Chief and author of an upcoming book titled, "Inside al-Qaeda and the Taliban, beyond 9/11," published by Pluto Press, UK. We don't doubt that Shahzad has Taliban sources.

Beyond Shahzad's own apparent credibility, the article is newsworthy in our opinion because it provides a different perspective. The rest of what is reported can be found in a spate of recently written mainstream reports that have only found their way onto the Internet in the past few days. The potential for negotiations has apparently grown in ways that might have been unthinkable only a few months ago. Again, the article seems credible in part because of its sourcing and even-handedness. It reports on actions the Taliban are taking as well – suspending operations in Kandahar, Zabul, Helmand and Uruzgan, the "Taliban's spiritual heartland."

The reporter claims this latter occurrence was "confirmed by multiple sources, including the Afghan Ministry of Interior and Taliban commanders in Kandahar." He further reports that several senior Taliban in the custody of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were released this week and names at least one individual: Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, a commander of the Taliban in southwestern Afghanistan. ISI, he adds, won't verify the releases, however.

He reports that a slew of interested parties and stakeholders have agreed to hold another round of talks in Turkey, maybe as soon as next month. Previously, talks included primarily such Muslim countries as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but for this next round, he claims that the US, the UK and India will attend. He also makes some fairly radical prognostications, including positing that there are plans to hand over the security of Afghanistan to Afghans by the middle of this year.

Additionally, Western troops are to leave Taliban strongholds where they have been operating, again a Taliban demand. NATO forces would operate out of six provinces – Pansher, Bamiyan, Kabul, Laghman, Kunduz and Mazar Sharif and drones will continue to launch against insurgents on the Pakistani border. Here's a little more:

In an apparent softening of its attitude against India, Pakistan has withdrawn its opposition to New Delhi's participation in a preparatory conclave on the security and reconstruction of Afghanistan to be held in Ankara next month, the Indian newspaper the Hindu reported. "We appreciate the Taliban as the future force in the Afghan government and therefore we want to open a channel of communication with the Taliban so that Afghanistan is not used against India in the future, like happened in the past," a senior Indian security official told ATol in February …

Official Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a media release on March 30, 2010: "It's possible for the Taliban and India to reconcile with each other." … Since 2008, the reconciliation process has hit many snags because there has never been total consensus among the players on how to deal with the Taliban. This has now changed.

It is hard to see how the West can stick it out in Afghanistan, and perhaps this article is the beginning of a public acknowledgement of that fact. The financial burden of fighting in Afghanistan through 2014 is likely prohibitive; the strategy of "winning hearts and minds" is in tatters after the execution of a dozen or more UN officials in Helmland and continued, growing anti-NATO sentiment, the seemingly endless, accidental murders of civilians and recent revelations of American "kill squads" posing with dead Afghan non-combatants as if the corpses were trophies.

Peace cannot come too soon, though no doubt peace will be hard to purchase. However, if indeed the Anglosphere elite has had enough of the stiff-necked Pashtuns (as it did 100 years ago) then this year – 2011 – shall mark the turning point in elite ambitions to build a one world government. It is impossible to build a comprehensive government of this sort without dominating all corner of the globe. If there is any area where global governance does not hold sway, then the entire concept becomes somewhat inapplicable in our view.

A setback of such magnitude in Afghanistan, coupled with an unraveling of the European Union (see other article, this issue) would begin to provide significant proof that the 20th century was the high-water mark for Anglo-American elite ambitions and its ability to exercise power around the globe. In fact, the 21st century would begin to look far less hospitable. We have long held this might be the case and have postulated regularly that it is the Internet, in part, that has eroded the Anglosphere elite's money power by making its plans for world domination more obvious and thus less feasible.

The ramifications are as obvious as they are significant and would extend far beyond Afghan and EU spheres. It would have an impact on the ability of the power elite to create a global currency, to continue the phony war against terror (and Islam) and generally throw a number of other fear-based promotions (global warming and Peak Oil) into disarray. We do not predict any of this, of course, merely mention the possibility, given the trends that may now be operative in both the EU and Afghanistan.

After Thoughts

There is no way of knowing in advance what shall occur unfortunately and the trends we regularly track in these pages are not far-enough advanced for us to make any considered judgments other than that money power generally, in our view, is receiving pushback far in excess of what occurred in the 20th century. This trend itself is a positive one and its continuation will eventually allow us (and no doubt many others in the alternative news community) to come to more definitive conclusions over time.

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