Updated July 2, 2005








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By John Tiffany

The U.S. petro-military empire is metastasizing like an uncontrollable cancer. In Afghanistan, Washington is now building nine new bases, in the provinces of Helmand, Herat, Nimruz, Balkh, Khowst and Paktika, in the wake of a visit to Kabul last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. These may well be permanent.

Says the Federation of American Scientists: “The United States is also building four bases for the Afghan National Army, according to U.S. officials. The bases are in Herat, Gardez, Qandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif. U.S. officials confirmed the base building in the course of denying allegations in the Afghan and Iranian press that the United States was constructing bases in Afghanistan for exclusive U.S. permanent use.”

According to globalsecurity.org, a web-based clearing house for military information, senior U.S. defense officials say America has a major commitment to maintain not just air operations over Afghanistan for the foreseeable future but also a robust military presence in the region, well after the war. Just how long the United States plans to remain is anyone’s guess.

According to a spokesman for the Jamestown Foundation:

“There are increasingly strong indications that the United States and Afghanistan are considering a long-term U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. The hints have come from both sides. . . . U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Afghanistan [in April]. In a joint press conference with Secretary Rumsfeld, Afghan President Hamid Karzai revealed he is working on a request from Washington to establish a strategic military partnership with the United States that would ‘include a permanent U.S. military presence’ in Afghanistan.”

The new bases seem designed to encircle Iran and are also aimed at China, Russia and India. Washington’s strategic plans under Bush are clear: the United States must be the only and supreme global power.

Evidently, with its own troops, accompanied in some cases by allies, and with organized and trained native sepoy armies, the U.S. government hopes to achieve universal rule, most particularly in areas rich in oil.

Unfortunately, the neoconservatives have failed to learn from history that sepoys sometimes revolt.

The growing resistance of the Afghans and Iraqis is putting obstacles in the way of Bush’s triumphal march. Four years after the initial aggression against Afghanistan, there is still no stability there. The parliamentary elections that were to have been held in 2004 were put off until May of this
year, and then put off again. Now it is hoped to hold them in September.

Supposedly, an Afghan parliament has to “approve” the planned military bases, because an image of “sovereignty” is very important in the propaganda that Bush is spreading “liberty and democracy” throughout the world. Instead, it may be the beginning of a new world war.

According to observers, the base expansion could be part of a U.S. global military plan calling for small but flexible bases that make it easy to ferry supplies and can be used as a springboard to assert a presence well beyond Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, contrary to official expectations, the Taliban led insurgency is widening in Afghanistan as 40 more suspected Taliban militias and a national police officer were killed in fresh fighting flaring up in southern Zabul province recently.

In the gun battle, which involved U.S. troops and lasted seven hours, according to a U.S. military statement, five American servicemen were wounded.

At least 400 people, including civilians, Afghans, foreign aid workers, and U.S. troops, have been killed in the Taliban-led guerrilla war against the occupation forces this year.

With media and congressional attention focused on Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo in Cuba, the problems in Afghanistan seem to be continuing. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has collected a total of 120 reports of abuse by coalition forces; 50 of them were made since last May. Some of the complaints come from former detainees who say soldiers stripped and sexually abused them.

The Afghan commission and Human Rights Watch, as well as a smaller group, the Washington, D.C.-based Crimes of War Project, have gathered evidence on detainee abuse at U.S. “forward operating bases” near Kandahar, Gardez, Khowst, Orgun, Ghazni and Jalalabad. It is true things have been relatively quiet in Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion. Abdulkader Sinno, a native of Lebanon, who is a professor of political science at Indiana University, thinks it is perhaps too quiet. “There is a veneer of stability that will not last,” he recently said.

As the brutal weather in Afghanistan begins to improve with spring and summer, people are expecting more attacks and car bombs.

Sinno contends there is less of democracy than there appears in Afghan elections. In the October 2004 vote, he said, “There was voter intimidation by the warlords in all regions. Many warlords traded voter intimidation for Karzai in exchange for material support.” In Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, Sinno said, “170 percent signed up to vote.”

Americans should be aware that Bush administration’s actions in Iraq and elsewhere have made our world a much more dangerous place, with possible tripwires for a nuclear World War III located in Iran, in the South China Sea and in Central Asia, where new U.S. military bases on the border of still powerfully nuclear armed Russia are part of the new Great Game for oil.

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