NATO's $1 Trilion Afghan War Ends; Obama's US War Continues
December 29, 2014
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Lamiat Sabin / The Independent
NATO flags were lowered today in Afghanistan, marking what is nominally the "end" of the NATO-led occupation which has lasted over 13 years. Yet the war as such is far from over, despite officials trying to spin it as such. What is actually happening now is much less significant, a transition from the NATO-led war to a more US-dominated one, with the US planning significant troops to remain through 2024 and beyond, and already agreeing to extend combat missions beyond the "end" of the war.
NATO Touts Afghan War 'End,' With Transition to New, US-Led War
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(December 28, 2014) -- NATO flags were lowered today in Afghanistan, marking what is nominally the "end" of the NATO-led occupation which has lasted over 13 years. Yet the war as such is far from over, despite officials trying to spin it as such.
What is actually happening now is much less significant, a transition from the NATO-led war to a more US-dominated one, with the US planning significant troops to remain through 2024 and beyond, and already agreeing to extend combat missions beyond the "end" of the war.
European NATO members have been trying to spin the conflict as over, in hopes of avoiding its continued status as an unpopular war and political issue. President Obama has been trying to do the same, insisting the "longest war in US history is ending."
Yet the US involvement in the Afghan War is far from over, and not even all that changed between today and the first of 2015. The change is mostly on paper, with the shift from a UN mandate that the US and NATO ignored when it suited them to an Afghan status of forces agreement which they will similarly ignore as it suits them.
President Obama's desire to get the focus off Afghanistan is part of an effort to portray the disastrous occupation as a "success," and to get the bad taste of failed wars out of Americans' mouths as the ISIS war picks up pace.
The approximately 10,000 US troops remaining in Afghanistan likely will not notice the difference in the war, and for them, official pronouncements of the war being over must seem awfully puzzling.
Afghanistan War End for NATO and US
Marked with Switch to New American-majority Mission
Operation 'Resolute Support' claims it will assist
Afghan army in non-combat matters
Lamiat Sabin / The Independent
LONDON (December 28, 2014) -- The end of the war fought in Afghanistan by the United States and Nato forces for 13 years has been formally marked with a ceremony today at their military headquarters in Kabul.
The green-and-white flag for the US-led International Security Assistance Force was rolled up and put away in a symbolic handover to a new group named Resolute Support, which has 11,000 American soldiers out of a total of 13,500 that will start on 1 January in missions not involving combat, Nato claims.
US Army general and Isaf commander John Campbell said while paying tribute to troops who died fighting insurgents: "Today marks an end of an era and the beginning of a new one. Resolute Support will serve as the bedrock of our enduring partnership with Afghanistan".
Wounded: The Legacy of War
He added: "Together, we have lifted the Afghan people out of the darkness of despair and given them hope for the future. We're very proud of our relationship -- a relationship built on trust, friendship, and shared interests.
"That trust and a common vision for a stable, secure, and unified Afghanistan fills me with confidence that we'll continue to be successful. The road before us remains challenging, but we will triumph."
His sentiments echo that of US President Barack Obama who thanked troops in a Marine Corps base in Hawaii and claimed that the multi-trillion-dollar war has made the world "safer". The speech by the president was made a day before three Afghan villagers, who were armed but not part of the Taliban, were killed by US-led air strikes in the remote Ab Josh area.
This year has been declared the most dangerous for Afghan civilians since 2009 as the death toll for 2014 alone is expected to exceed 10,000 by the end of the month, according to United Nations as reported by Al-Jazeera.
President Ashraf Ghani, who took office in September, signed bilateral security agreements with Washington and Nato that stated he allowed the long-term military presence to continue to provide training and support to Afghanistan's military and the 350,000-strong security force established by Isaf.
"Now is the time to write the next chapter in our story," said General Hans-Lothar Domrose, Joint Force Command Brunssum Commander, referring to the launch of the new mission.
Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the Interior Minister of Afghanistan in charge of law enforcement, expressed gratitude on behalf of President Ghani and Afghan officials for the military action that claimed the lives of 2,201 US and 453 British soldiers since planes were flown into the Twin Towers in 2001.
He said: "We will never forget your sons and daughters who have died on our soil. They are now our sons and daughters.
"Afghan and Coalition personnel have spilled their blood to ensure a brighter future for our country and to bring peace to the world."
13 Years, $1 Trillion Plus Spent,
Obama Declares Afghan War a 'Success'
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(December 26, 2014) -- 13 years and, by a very conservative reckoning, $1 trillion later, the US is transitioning to a different phase of the Afghan occupation in January. President Obama insists it was all worth it.
Speaking at a Marine Corps base, Obama declared that the occupation had made the world "safer" and that Afghanistan "is not going to be the source of terrorist attacks again."
The comments must draw immediate comparisons to President Bush's ill-conceived "mission accomplished" statement, as the US is far from ending the Afghan war, and indeed is planning to escalate activities in 2015 beyond what had previously been announced.
Obama went on to brag that Afghanistan "has a chance to rebuild its own country" because of the occupation, though many billions of dollars thrown at "reconstruction" schemes by the administration have been wasted, with Afghanistan regularly showing up on the list of most dysfunctional and corrupt nations on earth.
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