Afghanistan: What did you expect?

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Taliban at Jadi Maiwand, Kabul in 1997. — Courtesy Ed Grazda

To the Editor:
America entered Afghanistan in November 2001 to avenge the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. However, there was never any real attempt to finish off the Taliban. The U.S. media, government, and military never really cared to go after them. 

In November 2001, I offered the New York Times the only known photo of the Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Their reporter in Pakistan, John Burns, wrote a story about the photo, but Times editor Howell Raines killed the story. (The Times never ran the photo, but published many wrong photos of Omar over the years. The U.S. government took five years to put the correct photo on their wanted posters). 

In November 2001, Hamid Karzai let Omar escape from Kandahar; probably because he did not want to upset the large Pashtun population in Afghanistan (and being Pashtun himself). 

I was at Tora Bora when Afghan troops were trying to capture Osama Bin Laden. U.S. General Tommy Franks refused to let U.S. Army Rangers go in too close to his escape route. (He was already thinking of Iraq.) The Afghan troops left the battlefield each afternoon to go back and break their Ramadan fast. Osama escaped. 

In November 2001, the Taliban left Kandahar to neighboring provinces — Helmand and Farah — but no one went after them.

The mission of the U.S. troops in Afghanistan was an exercise that was never intended to succeed; it was designed to make money for military suppliers, contractors, and mercenaries. It was a convenient way to recruit American youths who had no hope for a job at home (except at McDonald’s) to join the military and become a “hero.” As soon as the Taliban left, ex-U.S. military people were in Kabul making money as “security advisors.”

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc., never had any interest in Afghanistan; it was all about Iraq. The generals and Congress went along with the show. There was plenty of money to be made, and generals always like a never-ending war. More money, more promotions, more medals. 

The soldiers who served in Afghanistan were sold a bill of goods. The American people were sold a bill of goods. 

It was all lies. 

I was at the reopening of the U.S.Embassy in Kabul on Dec. 17, 2001; 20 years later and billions of dollars spent, the U.S. Embassy will close again. 

Edward Grazda
Chilmark