Dr. Najib

horiz-long grey

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. WE MUST BREAK THE IMPERIAL DISINFORMATION MACHINE.

A Sketch of A Man and A Country
IN THE CROSSHAIRS OF HISTORY


(ROME)
When in 1978 the 31-year old Afghan Communist politician-activist, Mohammad Najibullah, arrived in Tehran, “exiled” to neighboring Iran as Afghanistan’s Ambassador, I had just left Iran where I had worked throughout the year of 1977. Najibullah’s political party, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) had come to power in Kabul in April, 1978 in what is known as the Saur Revolution, the name of the month in the Afghan calendar when the Communist Revolution took place. Far from united, the PDPA was divided into two factions: the more revolutionary faction (Khalq-People’s) that first took power in Kabul in that crucial year of 1978 (crucial in both Afghanistan and Iran), preferred to have the charismatic Najibullah of the Parcham faction (Banner) of the PDPA far from the halls of power.

Moreover, the entire country was divided, much of it opposed to the Communist revolution. The chief resistance forces were also divided, the U.S.-supported Mujahideen. One might conclude that the Afghan War was a proxy war, between the USSR and the USA, the USA to control these two contiguous countries near the top of the world, Iran and Afghanistan, both bordering the Islamic part of the Soviet Union; the Soviet Union to defend itself from incursions into its Islamic republics in Central Asia. 



As subsequent history would show, Najibullah’s approach to resolving the civil war in Afghanistan was quite different from that of the PDPA faction heading the government which favored more rapid steps toward the realization of the socialist revolution. However, for the observer today, Najibullah’s more political National Reconciliation policy (which failed) between the government and the Mujahideen opposition and the clergy is a key to understanding not only contemporary Afghanistan but also Afghan-Soviet relations in general and the withdrawal of Soviet troops ordered by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989: the significance of the 10-year Soviet military presence in Afghanistan should not be underestimated.

Since 1979  the 110,000 Soviet troops had guaranteed the relative stability of the Afghan Communist PDPA government. Though the U.S.-backed Mujahideen guerrillas already controlled many parts of the country, they were unable to defeat government forces and dislodge the PDPA government in Kabul as long as Soviet troops were present. The Soviet leadership had to know that that stability would quickly break down when its last soldiers departed.

Things had begun changing with the arrival of Mikhail Gorbachev to power in Moscow in 1986. Though Soviet-controlled Afghanistan was a dangerous place to be, one of Gorbachev’s gravest mistakes was to pull his troops out of Afghanistan in 1989, leaving Najibullah and his government to face the growing firepower of the Mujahideen … and the threat of U.S. intervention. The then President Najibullah understood this quite well and did all in his power to convince Soviet authorities to leave their  troops in place.


IRAN

The Islamic Revolution in neighboring Iran—also in crucial 1978-79—resulted in the overthrow of the U.S.-supported Pahlavi dynasty at that time under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The Iranian Revolution was a violent and widely popular overthrow of a ferocious U.S.-inspired regime installed after the CIA-organized overthrow of the democratically elected government led by Premier Mohammad Mossadegh on August 19, 1953. The initial success of the leftist forces in Iran’s Islamic revolution must have been an inspiration to Najibullah.


Dr Najib trying to persuade Afghan tribal elders to join the future.

The oil boom in Iran of the 1970s had accelerated the gap between the rich and poor in both city and provinces. I had never seen such display of wealth as in the palatial mansions at the top of the city of Tehran where some the world’s richest people lived and whose excrements literally trickled down the stinking open sewage ditches running along the streets downhill to the poorest neighborhoods in the lower city … symbolic of the enormous disparity between rich and poor. To be sure, as has been said time and again, inequality truly kills. Example: life expectancy in 1970 in pre-revolutionary Iran was 58; today, 70. In neighboring Syria, it was 70 in 1970. Moreover, adding to the widespread hate for the Shahinshah’s regime (“king of kings”) was the presence of tens of thousands of unpopular skilled foreign workers and foreign entrepreneurs like the one I was associated with in search of lucrative contracts in fields ranging from infrastructure construction to heavy industry, mining and even the production of tiles at which Persians were masters. Most Iranians were angered by the fact that the Shah’s family was the foremost beneficiary of the income generated by oil so that the line between state earnings and family earnings blurred (as it has always done in Saudi Arabia and other dynasty-owned nations). No one should believe that the last Pahlavi Shah was a benefactor of the Iranian people; he was a tyrant and, in effect, a U.S. puppet, a key part of U.S. efforts to control the entire region.

As previously mentioned I was in Tehran during most of 1977 as an interpreter for a newly formed Italian company before being named its Iranian representative. Though I understand zilch about the business world I came to love Iran and its people and considered the proposed job an excellent short-term opportunity to learn more about the country. In that capacity I witnessed some of the demonstrations against the Shah that commenced in October 1977 since the hotel I lived in was in the lower town near Tehran University and foreign embassies, the area where major demonstrations took place. Marxist groups, primarily the Communist Tudeh Party and Fedayeen guerrillas, had been weakened considerably by the Shah’s repression. Despite this the leftist guerrillas played an important role in the final February 1979 overthrow of the Shah, delivering the coup de grace to the U.S. installed regime. Many of the most powerful guerrilla groups—the Mujahideen—were leftist but also Islamist even though they opposed the reactionary influence of the clergy. Together with armed guerrilla of the People’s Fedayeen, remaining elements of the Tudeh Party, plus various Islamist groups and the powerful organization of the Bazaarists, the revolutionary movement developed from the general unrest in the country, widespread poverty and the terror of the notorious secret police, SAVAK (also trained by the Israeli MOSSAD).

As protests grew in intensity in late 1977  I watched as people surrounded trucks carrying young army troops some of whom threw down their guns and jumped down to join the crowds. In other places instead a more hardened military opened fire and reports circulated of thousands of victims. At that point the company I was to work for collapsed and like many foreign entrepreneurs abandoned Iran. I too returned to Rome from where I tried to follow events in Iran. The revolution itself emerged from the widespread civil resistance. Between August and December 1978 strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country. The Shah left Iran on January 16, 1979. Invited back to Iran by the transitional government, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, exiled to France, was greeted on his return to Tehran by millions of Iranians. Shortly after, the royal reign ended definitively when rebels overwhelmed troops loyal to the exiled Shah, bringing Khomeini to power. Iran voted in a national referendum to become an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979.

At that time I knew little about the events underway in neighboring Afghanistan. I first became acquainted with the name Najibullah, when he headed the Communist Party in Kabul in the 1980s. With the support of the Soviet Union, he became President of Afghanistan in 1987… by the way the only period in my memory when any semblance of order existed in chaotic Afghanistan. Dr. Najibullah must have learned much from the Iranian Islamic Revolution.


KABUL

Though divided by internal conflict among the tribal peoples and by foreign intervention for centuries, Afghanistan had made some progress toward modernization by the 1950s and 60s, toward a more liberal and westernized lifestyle, but obligated to cater to the conservative factions. Exotic and Oriental Kabul at that time was an “in” place for the international elite who frequented Afghanistan to visit the soaring mountains of the Hindi Kush, the huge central area of Afghanistan, in a way truly the top of the world. After the assassination of his father, Mohammad Zahir Shah succeeded to the throne and reigned (not ruled) as monarch from 1933 to 1973. In 1964, he had promulgated a liberal constitution that produced few lasting reforms, but instead permitted the growth of unofficial extremist parties of both left and right. Because of the turbulence at home, the king went into exile in Italy in 1973 and lived in the Rome suburbs near my residence. I tried to get an interview with him but never got past his secretary-watch dog; he had allegedly survived an assassination attempt in 1991 so was extremely stingy with interviews.


Soviet and Afghan servicemen pose in show of comradeship. (1983)

Though officially neutral during the Cold War, Afghanistan was courted by both the USA and the Soviet Union: machinery and weapons from the USSR and financial aid from the USA. Progress was halted in the 1970s by a series of bloody coups and civil wars. One will be surprised—if not shocked— that despite modernization, the average life expectancy for Afghans born in 1960 was 31. Worse than the average for most Africans.

Dr. Najib as Najibullah was called because he had a degree in medicine from Kabul University became the President of Afghanistan in 1987 at the age of 40.  Born in 1947 in Gardiz, the son of a prominent Pashtun family, he joined the Parcham faction of the PDPA in 1965 at the age of 18, became an activist and was twice jailed for his militancy. His faction of the Communist PDPA was in disagreement with the Khalq over the proper path to Communism in Afghanistan, the Khalq favoring more rapid steps toward the realization of Socialism than the Parcham.

Since his return from exile in 1980, the longest and most important part of which was in Moscow, Dr. Najib headed the dreaded Khad, the secret police, during which time he personally acquired a reputation for brutality: torture and execution of the opposition was the norm, as it was in Iran (under the Shah, particularly), as in most of the world today. He had the close support—if not control—of the KGB. His Khad was modeled on the Soviet Committee of State Security (KGB), was militarized, grew in size to the point it allegedly had 300,000 troops, and was considered effective in the pacification of wide parts of the country.


MOSCOW

In an attempt to give the Afghan story a personal touch, I have added this curious historical coincidence. I moved to The Netherlands in 1978 where I broke into Dutch journalism with articles about Iran. As a result of published articles in the press and my stay in Tehran I somehow became an advisor to a prominent TV producer who at the time was working on a series of specials on Iran. Since I had studied Turkish at Munich University and had become interested in the Soviet Central Asian republics, the former Russian Turkestan, especially Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan which border northern Afghanistan, I proposed a series of colorful reportages on landmarks in the Central Asian republics such as Samarkand and Bokhara. So in late spring of 1978, armed with a stack of Dutch TV credentials I set out for Moscow. The plan was to interest Soviet television in a cooperative effort.

I finally met with a person at the Ostankino TV center and presented the idea of a cooperative production of Soviet and Dutch television about Soviet Central Asia. In retrospect I came to understand that Moscow TV people must have thought I was insane: an American representing Dutch television proposes a joint TV production about the vast area bordering with Afghanistan and the Soviet-backed Communist government in Kabul in a struggle with a U.S.-backed opposition. Ludicrous. Moreover, and unbeknownst to me, Najibullah was also present in Moscow lobbying for a Soviet intervention in his country to bolster the Communist government in Kabul while I was proposing a TV production about areas between Moscow and Afghanistan. Soviet TV people were not interested and I instead cut a ridiculous figure, while Dr. Najib’s contacts were extremely interested in his proposals and in him personally. His major sponsor was the powerful KGB, a relationship which lasted until the bitter end of his life. The documentary series I proposed was about the lands over which Soviet tanks and armored cars would pass not many months ahead on their way to Afghanistan, accompanied also by the young Afghan political figure, Mohammad Najibullah.


KABUL

Dr Najibullah decorating a Soviet serviceman. The country could have been stabilised to allow badly needed modernisation reforms to take root, but for the American support of the most reactionary sectors of Afghan society.

Once back in Kabul, Dr. Najib became the director of Khad, the secret police, which operated under Soviet control. Not only an intelligence organization, it was a military force. It had tanks, armored vehicles and helicopters. A state within the state, Khad was charged with both counter-intelligence activities and intelligence gathering to eliminate active and potential opponents and counterrevolutionaries. Dr. Najib might have taken his cue from Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet Cheka, the predecessor of the KGB. On how to combat counter-revolutionaries, Dzerzhinsky said in 1918:  “Don’t think that I seek forms of revolutionary justice; we are not now in need of justice. It is war now—face to face, a fight to the finish. Life or death.” That was also the belief of Che Guevara decades later. And that must have been the guideline for Mohammad Najibullah, who ruled with an iron fist over Khad from 1980 until he became head of the party and President of Afghanistan in 1987.

Once in power, Dr. Najib undertook his National Reconciliation policies. He eliminated the word Communist and references to Marxism from a new Constitution in 1990, labeled Afghanistan an Islamic Republic (as in Iran), introduced a multiparty system, freedom of speech and an independent judiciary. Yet the Mujahideen—which controlled wide parts of the country—refused to join in. With U.S. and western support the fanatical Taliban (religious students) emerged and conquered the country. When in 1992 they took Kabul, Dr. Najib found refuge in the United Nations compound where he lived until 1996. On September 27 the Taliban took Najibullah from his refuge, castrated him, dragged him behind a car over Kabul streets, finished him with a gunshot and hung his body from a traffic post.

In conclusion, some results of the Thirty Years War in Afghanistan are clear: the USA dream of control of these lands at the top of the world, in Afghanistan and Iran, was shattered. I tend to think of Iran and Afghanistan together. Twenty-five years of oppression and exploitation were too much for Iranians who rose up, made a revolution, and ousted America. Russia too lost something in Iran while Ayatollah Khomeini ruled; now that has been overcome and Russia and Iran are today allies … against aggressive Yankee imperialism. Iran was thus lost to the USA but Afghanistan seemed and perhaps in the minds of some Neocons continues to be a promising alternative. No oil but lots of poppies and valuable land and geostrategic real estate location. Soviet Russia had dreamed of a Soviet-friendly progressive Afghanistan to protect and secure its vast Islamic regions extending from the Caucuses to the Far East. It failed to quell the unruly, untamable Afghans as Americans cannot still today. Though U.S.-supported Mujahideen could not defeat in battle the Soviet-supported government in Kabul in the 1980s, it at least convinced the Russians to abandon a lost mission and to leave, a lesson that the USA has continued to learn and unlearn for 16 years. On the flimsiest of excuses it too invaded indomitable Afghanistan in 2001 after 11 September … and is still there flailing at windmills, unable to completely abandon another lost war.

Dr. Najib is gone. The dream of a Communist Afghanistan is gone. The Soviet Union itself is gone. But a defeated America still hangs on in a tiny portion of the complex and long-tormented country of Afghanistan.


—GS


End of the journey, it’s September 1996. Dr Najibullah is taken from the UN compound, mutilated and hanged with his brother and bodyguards. The forces of brutal backwardism triumph, with generous help from America. The Taliban rejoices. The country enters a new phase of torment and chaos. His lynching—replicated on Gaddaffi years later—bears the signature of the West. None of this is ever explained to the American public.

POSTSCRIPT

The Heartland lies at the center of the world island of Eurasia reaching from the Volga River in East Russia, through Siberia and Central Asia to China. Most of that area was controlled by the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union. The central position and spread of the Heartland make it a key to controlling the World-Island including Europe of both East and West which once controlled over half the world’s resources. I see the Heartland as Siberia and Central Asia, “the top of the world”, near the center of which are also Iran and contiguous Afghanistan. In 1904 Halford John Mackinder proposed his Heartland Theory which I summarize as: .
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“Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the world.”
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The struggle for control of the Heartland has a long history and continuous today, a key factor in assessing the battles for control of it, as seen in the conspiracies, wars and occupations against Iran and Afghanistan. I have concluded that U.S. geopolitical policies are also influenced by jealousy of Russian Siberia: Why should Russia have all this wealth? U.S. planners ask. Those rich resources under the earth in Eurasia must have long fired the rage of frustration of frothing-at-the mouth American policy makers. Thwarted by those nasty Shiites and Communists who ousted their submissive Shah and their well-trained SAVAK secret service and the Middle East’s most powerful army, they turned their attention to Sunni Afghanistan that the evil Russian Communists had invaded and occupied. Russia was in fact close to domination of the entire Heartland, alone. The USA had lost on both fronts. U.S. planners hardly knew where to turn … not until September 11, 2001 after which they began a quagmire war lost from the very start. The U.S has never been able to control even Kabul as Russians once did.

 


GAITHER STEWART—Dr. Najib as Najibullah was called because he had a degree in medicine from Kabul University became the President of Afghanistan in 1987 at the age of 40.  Born in 1947 in Gardiz, the son of a prominent Pashtun family, he joined the Parcham faction of the PDPA in 1965 at the age of 18, became an activist and was twice jailed for his militancy. His faction of the Communist PDPA was in disagreement with the Khalq over the proper path to Communism in Afghanistan, the Khalq favoring more rapid steps toward the realization of Socialism than the Parcham.

APPENDIX—click on the bar below for additional insights on the life and times of Dr Najibullah

Dr Najib: Martyred Revolutionary

Obama, the Karzai Brothers and the Ghost of Najibullah


It’s said that you can buy photos of Najibullah on the streets of Kabul these days and even cassettes of speeches he made in the 1980s when he was president of Afghanistan. Najibullah’s name evokes controversy. Always cited are the condemnation by some Afghans for his ties to the Soviet Union and his previous role as chief of the country’s internal security apparatus.
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However, it is impossible not to acknowledge the country’s social gains made during his time in leadership. As soon as his government was overthrown the victors wiped out land reform programs, instituted Sharia or Islamic religious law, cut women off from education, athletics and the professions and banned things like movies, television, videos, dancing, kite flying, and beard trimming.
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Quiet as it’s kept, for many in the Afghan capital, the Najibullah years were a time of great promise.
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But also of great danger. Outside forces were plotting and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was spurring reactionary groups – trained and equipped by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and others – to overthrow the Afghan government. Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, in the words of former CIA analyst Ray McGoverrn, “thought it a good idea to mousetrap the Soviets into their own Vietnam debacle by baiting them into invading Afghanistan in 1979, the war which was the precursor to the great-power Afghan quagmire three decades later.” In 1979, Soviet troops entered the country to defend the Afghan government and remained there nine years. The effort was pre-doomed; the USSR leadership had ignored warnings, coming from even its own military strategists, that history had shown the fiercely independent and resourceful Afghan would never be subdued by the military might of foreign forces.
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On March 10, 1992, the New York Times reported that with the Soviet troops having left the country, “Afghanistan’s President made an impassioned appeal to the United States today to help his country become a bulwark against the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia.” In an interview with correspondent Edward A. Gargan, Najibullah “also pleaded for immediate economic and humanitarian assistance from Washington,” which long backed the Afghan fundamentalist guerrillas fighting his Government. He also promised that he would release four Afghans who worked in the United States Embassy and were convicted of espionage in 1983. “The Afghan President’s praise for the United States and his attempt to enlist Washington in common cause against fundamentalism marked the sharpest departure yet from the open hostility that has characterized relations between Kabul and Washington since Afghanistan’s leftist coup of 1978,” wrote Gargan.
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“We have a common task, Afghanistan, the United States of America, and the civilized world, to launch a joint struggle against fundamentalism,” Najibullah told the Times, and “described what he thought would happen to his country if Islamic extremists took power in Kabul.”
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“If fundamentalism comes to Afghanistan, war will continue for many more years,” Najibullah said. “Afghanistan will turn into a center of world smuggling for narcotic drugs. Afghanistan will be turned into a center for terrorism.”
Well, all that has come to pass.
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I was in Kabul February 15, 1989 when the final withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan took place; they had been in the country since December 1979. Most of the other reporters traveled to Jalalabad for the start of the final retreat, moving with the departing forces back to Kabul on their way out of the country. I remained in the capital and on that day a few of us were taken by our guides from the government to a shop that had been demolished by a bomb attack the previous day. It wasn’t a big terrorist attack but the message was clear: this is what is in store for Kabul now.
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That, too, came to pass.
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Gargan attributed Najibullah’s appeal to Washington to his having been “Abandoned by his former benefactors in Moscow and cast somewhat adrift in the new politics of the region.” That’s one way of putting it, but he really had no other choice. The USSR couldn’t restrain the Taliban and the various mujahedeen factions and besides it was in the midst of a political upheaval that would about two years hence bring down the ruling Communist Party.
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Najibullah had expressed support for a United Nations plan to summon – in Gargan’s words “a wide spectrum of Afghans – including the Islamic fundamentalist guerrillas – to a gathering that would lead to a political accord to end Afghanistan’s years of civil conflict.” There is no question that he persistently pursued a campaign for national reconciliation and reached out repeatedly to tribal and religious leaders across the country and the region. On the eve of the final stage of the Soviet withdrawal, Najibullah repeated his call for compromise and national unity before a large audience of notables and foreigners. But the Mujahedeen “freedom fighters” (as they were then called by the U.S. media and politicians at the time) and their benefactors in the region and Washington weren’t interested. The Times noted that the State Department refused to even comment on the Gargan interview.
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And so the attacks continued. Najibullah and his Watan (Homeland) Party remained in office until April 1992 when a major warlord, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, decided to switch sides and the government – affected by severe economic difficulties (made worse by punitive sanctions undertaken by the Russian Government of Boris Yeltsin) – fell to the combined forces of mujahedeen and various tribal groups (“warlords”). But that hardly ended the country’s travails. The victorious groups soon began to fight each other over the spoils. The greatest damage to the country’s infrastructure and the city of Kabul came not from the Soviet invasion but from the internecine rocket attacks following the government’s ouster. In 1994, the recently organized Taliban made its appearance on the scene.
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Last week’s attack by the Taliban on targets in Kabul carried with them a grave symbolism. After Najibullah’s overthrow his family was able to flee the country but he refused to leave, choosing instead to take refuge in the United Nations compound where he remained for four years. In September 1996 the Taliban took control of Kabul from the Mujahedeen and began to bombard the UN facility. Najibullah was taken from the compound along with his brother, his secretary and his bodyguards. They were all hanged. The bloody body of the deposed president was hung from a lamp post, his severed private parts stuck in his mouth.



One Afghan writer suggested Najibullah deserved his fate having been naïve enough to think the Taliban would recognize the UN center as out of bounds. Last week’s attack lay to rest that notion once again.

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And so it came to pass that from that time forward to the Al Qaeda attack on the United States September 11, 2001 and beyond, Afghanistan has been and continues to be “a center of world smuggling for narcotic drugs” and “a center for terrorism.”
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Over the years, the Left in that part of the world (and a lot of other places) has made a many mistakes that contributed to the advance of rightwing reactionary movements and forces. However, the biggest culprits have been the U.S. and its Western allies. In their zeal to crush communist, socialist and left movements and parties and a desire to control petroleum resources, they have anointed and fostered the fundamentalists over the secular and democratic, and taken advantage of religious, ethnic and sectarian divisions, stirring pots where they could find them from Central Europe to Iraq.
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Oh, and that narcotics thing. What short memories we sometime have. Yes, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency sometime cavorts with drug dealers. It did it in the war in South East Asia a few decades ago. Remember the Golden Triangle? “If it sounds a lot like Vietnam when Vietnam started to really come apart, it is — President Diem’s grotesquely corrupt brother was a CIA source and a noxious agent of influence,” writes Robert Baer, a former Middle East CIA field office, in Time magazine.
“We came into Afghanistan in October 2001 with the same willful blindness. The CIA knew that its ally, the Tajik Northern Alliance, was a paid-up proxy of Iran, just as it was fully aware that another ally, Uzbek General Dostum, was one of Afghanistan’s great butchers (though Dostum has always denied the widespread allegations of his brutality). When it came to finding crucial partners on the ground, there were simply no alternatives.”
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According to Time, “From December 2001 through 2002, according to a former Drug Enforcement Administration official speaking on condition of anonymity, ‘the CIA and the military turned a blind eye to drug traffickers if they thought they could help them against Taliban and al-Qaeda.’”
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“We had no problem dealing with Afghan Islamic fundamentalists, terrorists, drug dealers and thugs when the Carter and Reagan White Houses waged a proxy war against the Soviet Union in the ‘80s,” writes Baer. “The CIA and the White House turned a blind eye to our proxies’ faults because the fundamentalists were the best fighters and happy to take down our Cold War enemy.
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“The claim that Ahmed Wali Karzai has been on the payroll of the CIA for the past eight years, as reported in today’s New York Times, won’t come as a surprise to most Afghans, who have long considered his brother, Afghan president Hamid Karzai, to be an American puppet,” wrote Aryn Baker in Time on October 28. “The revamped allegations that Karzai frère is deeply involved in Afghanistan’s annual $4-billion drug industry isn’t much of a shocker either – on the streets of Kabul and Kandahar the name ‘Wali’ has long been synonymous with someone who can get away with a crime because he has friends in the right places.
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Diplomats, counter-narcotics officials and commanders from the International Security Assistance Force, NATO’s military wing in Afghanistan, have all privately (and not so privately) expressed frustration with President Karzai for not reining in his brother. In fact, the people most likely to be shocked by the revelations are Americans back at home, who are already wondering why we should be sending more soldiers and money to a country whose leadership has rarely proved an adequate partner.”
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As it turns out there are more than two Karzai brothers. Citing recent study published by the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, investigative reporter Gareth Porter Writes:
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“The report suggests that the U.S. and NATO contingents are spending hundreds of millions of dollars annually on contracts with Afghan security providers, most of which are local power brokers guilty of human rights abuses.”
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“In addition to Ahmed Wali Karzai, it names Hashmat Karzai, another brother of President Karzai, and Hamid Wardak, the son of Defence Minister Rahim Wardak, as powerful figures who control private security firms that have gotten security contracts without registering with the government.”
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The allegation of drug dealing and CIA payoff to Ahmed Wali Karzai” throws into sharp relief the most crucial question the administration now faces in Afghanistan,” wrote Mark Sappenfield in the Christian Science Monitor last Wednesday. “Should America continue its policy of working with warlords and disreputable power-brokers in an attempt to use their influence to advance US interests? Or should it instead focus on protecting the Afghan people – in many cases from the very warlords the US has supported in the past?”
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I was sitting around the other day with a group of people whose views, one might say, ranged from center to left. On Afghanistan they appeared to be of the unanimous opinion that U.S. policy had to make a sharp departure from the past. The best option for the Obama Administration is neither “counterinsurgency” nor “counterterrorism.” Nor is total disengagement desired, they agreed. The answer lies in development. A “Marshall Plan” sized program to tackle poverty and illiteracy in the region could improve the situation. Military escalation will only make matters worse.
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Of course, launching such en effort would require an end to the fighting and the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops.. A path to that would likely lay in a proposal widely broached in Europe and hardly mentioned in this country for an international conference involving; first and foremost, all Afghanistan’s neighboring states and each of the warring parties in the country with the aim of arriving at a security agreement. It might come through the United Nations like the plan that Najibullah was entertaining back in 1998 – long before September 11. Only this way can the conditions arise for the Afghan people to decide their own destiny free of dictates and intrigues from abroad. In any case, the proper path for the U.S. must not involve continuing to bed down with the feudal warlords and the likes of the Karzai brothers. That puts us on the wrong side of history and decency.
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Reprinted with permission from The Black Commentator.
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member Carl Bloice is a writer in San Francisco, a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and formerly worked for a healthcare union. Click here to contact Mr. Bloice.

About the Author
GAITHER STEWART Senior Editor, European Correspondent Gaither Stewart serves as The Greanville Post  European correspondent, Special Editor for Eastern European developments, and general literary and cultural affairs correspondent. A retired journalist, his latest book is the essay asnthology BABYLON FALLING (Punto Press, 2017). He’s also the author of several other books, including the celebrated Europe Trilogy (The Trojan Spy, Lily Pad Roll and Time of Exile), all of which have also been published by Punto Press. These are thrillers that have been compared to the best of John le Carré, focusing on the work of Western intelligence services, the stealthy strategy of tension, and the gradual encirclement of Russia, a topic of compelling relevance in our time. He makes his home in Rome, with wife Milena. Gaither can be contacted at gaithers@greanvillepost.com. His latest assignment is as Counseling Editor with the Russia Desk. His articles on TGP can be found here.

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Parting shot—a word from the editors
The Best Definition of Donald Trump We Have Found

In his zeal to prove to his antagonists in the War Party that he is as bloodthirsty as their champion, Hillary Clinton, and more manly than Barack Obama, Trump seems to have gone “play-crazy” — acting like an unpredictable maniac in order to terrorize the Russians into forcing some kind of dramatic concessions from their Syrian allies, or risk Armageddon.However, the “play-crazy” gambit can only work when the leader is, in real life, a disciplined and intelligent actor, who knows precisely what actual boundaries must not be crossed. That ain’t Donald Trump — a pitifully shallow and ill-disciplined man, emotionally handicapped by obscene privilege and cognitively crippled by white American chauvinism. By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a “puppet” and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all. Glen Ford, Editor in Chief, Black Agenda Report 

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