After NATO withdrawal: U.S. forms regional group with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan
The U.S. State Department announced on July 16 that Washington has formed what has been characterized as a regional platform – could one be more vague? – with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
In language that could only emanate from Foggy Bottom, the American initiative intends to foster “regional connectivity” between Washington and the Central and South Asian nations. The State Department also spoke of the four nations “determin[ing] the modalities of this cooperation with mutual consensus.”
Uzbekistan is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace military program and Afghanistan and Pakistan are members of the military alliance’s Partners Across the Globe. The U.S. of course is the founder and unchallenged master of the bloc.
Pakistan has hosted U.S. military personnel, equipment and spy planes since the beginning of the Cold War, and during that period was known as “America’s most allied ally in Asia.” It is one of the U.S.’s Major non-NATO Allies and was the recipient of $12 billion in U.S. military aid from 2002-2011.
Uzbekistan hosted German military personnel assigned to NATO command at the Termez air base until 2015.
Afghanistan of course is the geopolitical chessboard used by then-National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Jimmy Carter administration to give the Soviet Union “its Vietnam” by funding, training and arming the likes of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Jalaluddin Haqqani and other Mujahideen cutthroats from 1979-1992, when they took control of and destroyed much of Afghanistan until their legitimate offspring, the Taliban, nudged them aside in 1996. Haqqani switched from the Mujahideen to the Taliban in 1995. His son Sirajuddin Haqqani is deputy leader of the Taliban.
The CIA’s founding and arming of Mujahideen factions, Operation Cyclone, is estimated by some as the longest (1979-1989) and most expensive of any covert undertaking in its history.
Twelve years ago two of the three armed formations identified by the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, as those he was waging war against were the Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Haqqani Network of Jalaluddin Haqqani : the U.S.’s own clients.
As a chastened and sobered George Kennan said toward the end of his life about the nuclear arms race, quoting Goethe, in the end we are destroyed by monsters of our own creation.
Now the State Department and its partners “consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing.”
Thirty years ago Washington’s connectivity was with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, recall. Peace and stability were the last things on its mind.
In a revelation of the true nature of the affection Washington entertains for “long-term peace and stability” in the region that its interference over 42 years has rendered the unqualified security and humanitarian catastrophe it is, the State Department acknowledged an interest in “the historic opportunity to open flourishing interregional trade routes [and in cooperating] to expand trade, build transit links, and strengthen business-to-business ties.”
If the second or third generation or fourth generation of American-sponsored armed extremists in the region permit any trade and transit, that is. And why the U.S. – given its record of subversion, war and proxy war in Afghanistan and the region (e.g., drone warfare in Pakistan) – would be permitted to organize a multilateral coalition there is a serious question to consider.