US-UK set to leave Afghanistan in shame

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THE US is set to leave Afghanistan with its tail between its legs like a beaten dog, after Afghan officials said yesterday that the US had offered to send a letter, signed by President Obama, admitting past American ‘mistakes’, ie the slaughter of thousands of Afghans in their homes by US-UK forces.

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice rushed to say that no such letter existed, and insisted that there was no question of a letter of apology being signed by President Obama.

Afghan President Karzai’s office has issued a statement spelling out the points of contention between the US and Afghanistan, including the Afghan government’s opposition to raids ‘on any Afghan homes by US forces’. Washington wants to be able to conduct such operations ‘in exceptional circumstances’.

According to the statement, Karzai proposed two alternatives. One was that Secretary of State Kerry should himself make the case for military raids when the Loya Jirga meeting of 3,000 tribal leaders convenes today.

The other was that no bilateral security agreement between Afghanistan and the US would be signed until a new Afghan government takes shape after the presidential election, set for next April. Mr Karzai is barred by the constitution from seeking a third term. There would be a new government, probably including the Taleban!

The statement from Karzai’s office said Kerry had asked the president to allow US troops on counter-terrorism missions to conduct operations that might require entering Afghan homes in ‘exceptional’ circumstances.

Karzai agreed to include the wording if Kerry defended it at the Loya Jirga debate.

Several military and Pentagon officials have said that they want a total NATO force of 8,000 to 12,000 troops to stay in Afghanistan, with 3,000 to 4,000 coming from NATO countries, and the United States providing the balance.

However, the prospect is that today’s meeting of 3,000 Afghan tribal leaders will, over a number of days, discuss and issue terms to the US that will be unacceptable, namely that there should be no more attacks on Afghan homes, and that all US troops accused of committing crimes should appear before Afghan courts and not be subject to US law.

It was Iraq’s refusal to give US troops immunity from prosecution that forced the US army out of Iraq.

Now the same fate awaits the US in Afghanistan, emphasising that the Afghan war has been well and truly lost by the US, the UK and their allies.

The US is being utterly humiliated. On Tuesday night, President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman said US Secretary of State John Kerry had offered to send a letter admitting past mistakes, and explaining why in certain circumstances, US military personnel should be able to force their way into Afghan homes.

President Karzai is said to have responded that if the letter was sent by US President Barack Obama himself, then there would be a deal.

Rice, for Obama, put a stop to this with her declaration that, ‘There is no need for the United States to apologise to Afghanistan . . . We have sacrificed and supported them in their democratic progress and in tackling the insurgency and al-Qaeda.’

President Karzai’s spokesman Faizi says Kerry agreed to a letter of apology.

Faizi however insists that a letter from Obama is required, that could be read out to the Loya Jurga would greatly help progress to an agreement.

Faizi made it clear that the Afghans had a very detailed understanding of what they expected a letter from Obama to say, and that without that there would be no deal.

The Afghans are demanding that the US, through its president Obama, humbles itself in front of 3,000 Afghan tribal leaders.

Meanwhile, the true scale of the Afghan debacle continues to emerge. Helmand province, run by the UK for the last period, was going to be heroin-free according to the UK government. Opium production has surged to record levels threatening to cause a glut of cheap heroin pouring into countries such as the UK.

There was no opium trade under the Taleban!

There is not the slightest doubt that the eviction of the US-UK forces from Afghanistan represents progress, as will the formation of a Taleban-led government.