Analysis by Joaquin Flores – Please Support his PATREON here
So it appears that US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice G. Wells, said recently that she does not exclude direct talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan. But the only realistic solutions involve an increased role for Iran.
This however comes with the pressing need to further the reorientation of Pakistan’s government, and security sector in particular.
What are we to make of this?
According to Wells, negotiations are possible only in the context of joint work with the Kabul government. In addition, the official stresses that all parties to the conflict should take part in a ‘peace settlement’. Wells, though, cannot be trusted. Setting aside her role as a functionary without a mandate of her own, her career in similar roles spans from the Bush administration, through Obama – serving under Clinton, and now in the Trump administration. As a tested and established neo-con herself, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the gulf which exists between her words and the US’s intentions expose the real axis of this question.
The secondary aim of the US in Afghanistan after Iranian containment, is to maintain its monopoly on the country’s opium production and distribution. This production point is well situated, as it enables US strategists to engage in a type of ‘war upon the population’ of Russia and China, as well as establishing and maintaining routes to Europe through the Balkans by way of Albanian-Calabrian criminal syndicates. Analysis which focus on the preponderance of domestically consumed US heroin originating in Latin America, normally fails to explain that the role of Central Asian opium production is to weaponize this, aimed at developing societies.
In Afghan-US relations and talks with the Taliban, all sides at least nominally agree on the need to re-start negotiations, because the war-torn country is in a deep crisis, one which began in the late 70’s when then US President Jimmy Carter and the CIA armed Osama bin Laden and launched US operations to undermine and overthrow the secular/progressive government backed by the Soviets. In a manner best illustrated by the US’s simulated war on ISIS, the US continues its Afghan strategy of creating and arming the armed groups which it then cites as the reason for continued occupation.
Terrorist attacks and jihadi attacks further aggravate the situation and leave no chances for the normalization of the situation. In addition, the Taliban controls vast territories and has the support of the local population, whose opinions must be considered by the government of Afghanistan in order to maintain any semblance of legitimacy. However, an increase in the American military contingent is unlikely to contribute to the peace process. But the US still plans to remain a key player in Afghanistan, which is of strategic importance for them.
On the other hand, the insurgents of the Islamic State are the source of aggravation for the governments of Afghanistan, and in there the US plays the role of concerned empathizer, masking their enabling. Despite their small numbers (in comparison with the Taliban), IS/Al Qaeda in Afghanistan are extremely active in the provinces of Jauzjan, Nangarhar, as well as in the area of Tora Bora and several others. In a recently released video, Afghan jihadists receive massive support from local residents. The video features Kari Hekmat – an ethnic Uzbek and the leader of the IS in the region. It was under his leadership that the group managed to expand its influence on the coming provinces of Sari-Pul and Faryab.
The Taliban, for whom the IS is an enemy, are forced to spend resources on fighting it and pay special attention to its containment. This state of perpetual conflict creates major obstacles and distractions from coming to a more normalized relationship with Kabul.
Solution: Iranian regional hegemony
It is unlikely that the situation in Afghanistan will change dramatically, but the crisis may change: the Kabul government, and a legalized “Taliban” can try to wipe the country clean of the Islamic State. The US can step in and play its role as arms distributor, fueling multiple sides of a complex crisis it created.
If peace talks are successful and the Taliban can be legalized, Afghanistan will still remain turbulent zone for a long time. The US shows no intention of leaving the region, and will hold to its strategy of keeping its foothold.
As the experience of the same Libya shows, the formation of various “governments of national accord / salvation / reconciliation” and the like does not guarantee an instant exit from the crisis that the US has stoked for decades. This is precisely, in turn, the rhetorical ammo that various radical religious groups use, accusing such “governments” of renouncing religious norms and betrayal.
Ultimately this problem has no end in sight, until the situation in Syria is entirely stabilized. Then, the Islamic Republic of Iran will be in a better position to begin to work with legitimate Afghan leaders at the tribal levels and also Kabul, to end the opium trade and normalize the situation in the country. Afghanistan has tremendous natural resources, and a process of stabilization and state-building will also create valuable human resources that will contribute to the regions overall development and independence from globalist power structures.
This will create for Iran both an opportunity for cooperation but also the possibility for confrontation with Pakistan, whose own ‘IS’ – Intelligence Service’ – has been critical working hand-in-hand with the CIA to produce new recruits to the Islamic State’s radical Salafist, Wahhabi influenced, ranks.
Given that the majority of Afghan opium winds up in China, Russia, and channels into Europe through Albania (supported as well by the Calabrian mafia and elements from the Vatican), this is also a popular and multi-polar question. This gives a stronger impetus to develop an ‘Afghan Salvation’ program, spearheaded by Iran and supported by Russia and China.
Op-ed by Joaquin Flores