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Is an Afghan Warlord who Received Billions in U.S. Aid Behind the Deadly Attack on the American Bases in Afghanistan?

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10/06/2009 04:40 AM
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Is an Afghan Warlord who Received Billions in U.S. Aid Behind the Deadly Attack on the American Bases in Afghanistan?
link to original article: [link to www.gather.com]

October 05, 2009 12:54 AM EDT (Updated: October 05, 2009 07:26 PM EDT)
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From GovIntegrity.com:

The Washington Post reports that the attack that killed eight U.S. soldiers on Saturday in Kamdesh "appeared to be led by a local commander of the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin insurgent group, which is run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar." Similarly, an AP story on the attack calls Nuristan (on the rugged northeastern border of Afghanistan and Pakistan) home to "wanted terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar."

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar may have started out as just another warlord in Afghanistan's modern version of feudalism and ended up as just another "wanted terrorist" in his own country, but he was, at one time, America's warlord. It appears that this former Afghan Prime Minister and America go way back.

In Charlie Wilson's War (published 2003), George Crile recounted a warning from a Muslim academic and intellectual about Hekmatyar:

The meek-looking professor [Mojadeddi]...began, in a most remarkable fashion, to denounce Gulbuddin as a true monster and an enemy of Afghanistan. He accused Gulbuddin of being a dangerous fundamentalist, busy assassinating moderate Afghans, a man no self-respecting nation should support


America would be sorry one day if it didn't stop favoring him, [Mojadeddi] warned.

The chilling warning was given during the CIA's covert war in Afghanistan against the Soviets, when Hekmatyar became a beneficiary of the weapons and funding the U.S. provided. Hekmatyar was not just another Mujahideen, however, he reportedly received the lion's share (although Hekmatyar apparently is prone to feeding his captured enemies to zoo lions, no pun was intended here) of the billions of dollars shoveled out by the U.S. and its Middle Eastern allies to Afghan Mujahideen warlords during the Soviet occupation (from Gary Leupp's 2003 article in Counterpunch):

During the 1980s, [Hekmatyar] received fully 90% the CIA-supplied funds doled out via Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) to the Mujahadeen Islamic warriors (see Ahmed Rashid, Taliban [Yale University Press, 2000], p. 91). These funds amounted to some half-billion dollars per year throughout the 1980s, matched by equal sums from that other enthusiastic Mujahadeen patron, acting in close cooperation with the US: Saudi Arabia.

So, it appears that some undetermined billions (in 1980s dollars) of taxpayer funds were expended to train, feed, and equip an Afghan force that now has American blood on its hands. To which, our government's response will undoubtedly be to expend billions more in an attempt to hunt down Hekmatyar, our former ally in another war.

If dollars were to grow on trees, this approach to conducting foreign policy wouldn't be any less of a farce than it appears today. For now, our government's deficit spending budget can be cultivated from our "allies" (the Chinese, Russians, and Arab states for example) in a seemingly endless supply of debt and loan instruments, money that they know will go to fund misbegotten ventures such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

With the trillions of dollars our creditor allies reap from selling us consumer goods (China) and energy (oil/gas from the Middle East and Russia), what better investment can they make on their own economic future than to accomodate the burn-rate of our military adventurism around the globe?

But that is another article for another day. Back in Afghanistan, as more details come out about the attacks on the Kamdesh combat outposts over the next few days, I suspect that Camp Keating will be mentioned as one of those attacked. A February 2007 Salon article described a remote base in Kamdesh this way:

Feb. 27, 2007 | At 9 p.m. on my first night at the U.S. Army base in Kamdesh, I was shaken awake by a 105 mm howitzer round. Then a symphony of incoming and outgoing fire sounded. BO-OM! BO-OM! BO-OM! Tat! Tat! Tat! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! From the pine- and cedar-lined mountain slope that loomed over the base, several insurgents were firing down on us with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s.


The Kamdesh base is the northernmost American outpost in Afghanistan, in an area of Nuristan so remote that local villagers asked American troops in August, when they arrived, if they were Russian. The base itself is not more than a quarter-mile wide, on a valley floor, next to a clear, trout-filled river. Three-thousand-foot mountains rise above the base on both sides of the river.

In the same article, the Salon reporter described his meeting with a young Lieutenant:

Showing me around the Kamdesh base was Ben Keating, a blue-eyed tree trunk of a young lieutenant on his first foreign deployment. Keating was proud of the 3-71's mission, but thought time was not on the Americans' side. "We've been up here for less than seven months," he told me. He held up a thick book on Alexander the Great's travails in the Hindu Kush mountains. "We have a couple of thousand years of history against us. You do the math." Keating was a history and political science major in college. "I'm not saying we're not doing any good -- we are -- but how long do we plan on staying?

For Lieutenant Keating, "the math" on an American victory in the "graveyard of empires" didn't quite add up from a strategic perspective. "The math" on the economics of "persistent conflict" (from the 2008 U.S. Army Posture Statement) is much more tennuous.

That remote outpost mentioned in the the Salon piece was later renamed Camp Keating in honor of Lieutenant Keating after the truck he was riding in toppled over a cliff near Kamdesh during a night operation.

May the souls of the brave Americans who fought and died in Afghanistan rest in peace
User ID: 455005
10/06/2009 05:10 AM
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Re: Is an Afghan Warlord who Received Billions in U.S. Aid Behind the Deadly Attack on the American Bases in Afghanistan?
Depending on the winds of war afghans will either sell you there sister or slit your throat and they'll always take your money.

User ID: 760354
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10/06/2009 05:17 AM
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Re: Is an Afghan Warlord who Received Billions in U.S. Aid Behind the Deadly Attack on the American Bases in Afghanistan?
of course!