American interest in Afghanistan: Drone attacks: The??United States government, led by the??Central Intelligence Agency’s??Special Activities Division, has made a series of attacks on targets in northwest??Pakistan??since 2004 using drones (unmanned aerial vehicles). Under the??George W. Bush administration, these controversial attacks were called a part of the US’ “War on Terrorism” and sought to defeat the??Taliban??and??Al-Qaeda??militants who were thought to have found a safe haven in Pakistan. Most of these attacks are on targets in the??Federally Administered Tribal Areas??along the??Afghan border??in Northwest Pakistan.
These strikes are mostly carried out by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operated remotely from??Creech Air Force Base??and have continued under the??Presidency of Barack Obama. Generally the UAVs used are??MQ-1 Predator??and more recently??MQ-9 Reaper??firing??AGM-114 Hellfire??missiles. The drones have become a weapon of choice for the United States in the fight against al-Qaeda. Some media refer to the series of attacks as a??”drone war”. Pakistan’s government publicly condemns these attacks but has secretly shared intelligence with Americans??and also allowed the drones to operate from??Shamsi airfield??in Pakistan.
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Washington officials say drone strikes are highly effective in the war against al-Qaeda and have killed a number of high-value targets, including Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban’s founding father. But the policy is deeply unpopular among the Pakistani public, who see military action on Pakistani soil as a breach of national sovereignty. Involvement of America: United States was actively involved in Afghanistan during the 1950s through the 1970s. The U. S. presence in Afghanistan ended in 1979 with the assassination of the U. S. mbassador Adolph Dubs in Kabul on 14 February 1979 and with the Soviet invasion the following December. Subsequently, U. S. involvement was indirect, primarily the provision of military aid to the Afghan resistance through the 1980s. After 11 September 2001, U. S. interest in Afghanistan was renewed as it became apparent that al-Qa? ida, the group responsible for the terrorist attack on the United States, was based in Afghanistan and was supported by the Taliban government in Kabul. On 14 September 2001 the U. S. Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing President George W.
Bush to engage in a military response to the 11 September attacks. Following unsuccessful political attempts to force the Taliban government to expel Osama bin Ladin and his group, the United States began a bombing campaign on 7 October 2001, directed at Taliban military and political installations. By 13 November 2001 the Taliban government had fallen, and a U. S. – backed Afghan interim government was formed in December at a meeting sponsored by the United Nations in Bonn, Germany. By early 2002 the United States had moved to restore political, military, and economic ties with Afghanistan.
The U. S. Embassy in Kabul reopened on 17 January 2002, and the Afghan Embassy in Washington, D. C. , opened that same month. U. S. military forces in Afghanistan grew to more than 8,000 troops as the U. S. military undertook the major task of finding and eliminating remnants of the Taliban and al-Qa? ida. The U. S. military rebuilt the former Soviet air base at Bagram, north of Kabul, as its headquarters and established smaller military bases in Kandahar, Mazar-e Sharif, and Farah. US Aid for Afghanistan: U. S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan were led by the U.
S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which focused on rebuilding Afghanistan’s infrastructure and dealing with immediate emergency needs. In addition to providing food and shelter for displaced persons, returning refugees, and widows, the U. S. reconstruction effort aimed to rebuild the Afghan educational system, restore agricultural productivity, and rebuild the Afghan transportation system, especially the Interurban highways. The Kabul-Kandahar road, which was originally constructed by Americans during the 1950s and 1960s, became an important symbol of U.
S. involvement in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Political Involvement: On the political side, U. S. involvement in Afghanistan since 11 September 2001 has focused on providing support to the Afghan Transitional Administration, particularly to President Hamid Karzai, and on supporting the process of constitutional reform aimed at creating a representative government in a parliamentary system. The United States supported and financed the Emergency Loya Jerga in June of 2002 and exerted pressure on he ex-king, Zahir Shah, to withdraw from active political leadership. U. S. officials have been placed in the major Afghan ministries to oversee daily operations of the Afghan government. Despite political, military, and financial support from the United States, a number of problems remain. The Afghan Transitional Administration has been slow to gain credibility in Afghanistan, in part because many Afghans believe this government to have been externally imposed by the Americans without a natural constituency in Afghanistan.
Weaknesses of the Afghan government are blamed on the United States; for example, the United States has received criticism over the ethnic composition of the Karzai government, since ethnic Tajiks dominate major cabinet positions, alienating the Pushtun tribes. Human rights groups have cited widespread extortion, lawlessness, and kidnapping by Afghan police and intelligence officials. These groups accuse the United States of supporting some of the worst offenders and for not doing more to stop the abuses.
U. S. involvement in Afghanistan is also complicated by Afghanistan’s large opium production. Afghanistan grows more than 70 percent of the world’s opium, and the U. S. – backed government has had little success in stopping its cultivation or halting its illegal smuggling to neighboring countries. Military involvement: U. S. military efforts in Afghanistan also have faced problems. In attempting to capture or kill alQa? ida or Taliban forces, the U. S. ilitary inadvertently has caused a number of civilian deaths and dropped bombs on the wrong targets, including as a Red Cross warehouse and a United Nations mine-removal office. It is estimated that as many as 20,000 Afghans have died as the direct or indirect results of U. S. bombing, creating animosity toward the U. S. presence. The U. S. military also has been inadvertently involved in regional conflicts between contentious warlords, some of whom have induced the U. S. military to attack rival warlords by claiming that they are Taliban members. After several years, the U. S. ilitary has largely failed to accomplish its major goals: The United States has been unable to pacify or bring security to much of Afghanistan; it has been unable to find bin Ladin or Muhammad (Mullah) Omar, head of the Taliban; it has been unable to eliminate the Taliban, which is regrouping; and it has alienated a growing number of Afghans, who are becoming impatient with the U. S. military presence. U. S. reconstruction efforts also have come under criticism. Despite some progress, poverty remains, many children are still not able to go to school, and women still find their lives constrained and must veil when they are in public.
The war on terrorism: U. S. military efforts in Afghanistan also have faced problems. In attempting to capture or kill alQa? ida or Taliban forces, the U. S. military inadvertently has caused a number of civilian deaths and dropped bombs on the wrong targets, including as a Red Cross warehouse and a United Nations mine-removal office. It is estimated that as many as 20,000 Afghans have died as the direct or indirect results of U. S. bombing, creating animosity toward the U. S. presence. The U. S. ilitary also has been inadvertently involved in regional conflicts between contentious warlords, some of whom have induced the U. S. military to attack rival warlords by claiming that they are Taliban members. After several years, the U. S. military has largely failed to accomplish its major goals: The United States has been unable to pacify or bring security to much of Afghanistan; it has been unable to find bin Ladin or Muhammad (Mullah) Omar, head of the Taliban; it has been unable to eliminate the Taliban, which is regrouping; and it has alienated a growing number of Afghans, who are becoming impatient with the U.
S. military presence. U. S. reconstruction efforts also have come under criticism. Despite some progress, poverty remains, many children are still not able to go to school, and women still find their lives constrained and must veil when they are in public. Opposition to the war: Opposition to the nearly decade-long Afghanistan war stems from numerous factors – these include the view that the U. S. nvasion of Afghanistan was illegal under international law and constituted an unjustified aggression, the view that the continued military presence constitutes a foreign military occupation, the view that the war does little to prevent terrorism but increases its likelihood, and views on the involvement of geo-political and corporate interests. Also giving rise to oppposition to the war are the high level of civilian casualties, the cost to taxpayers, the decades of war inflicted on Afghans, the length of the war to date, and the estimates by many that it could last for many more decades By one estimate, around 5,000
Afghan civilians had been killed within just the first three months of the U. S. invasion.  Involvement in an Afghan civil war: Opposition also stems from the view that the U. S. -led military forces are taking sides in an ongoing civil war in Afghanistan between its ethnic groups, backing minority Tajiks and Uzbeks against the Pashtun majority of Afghanistan. Osama death: Bin Laden was buried at sea after a Muslim funeral on board an aircraft carrier, Pentagon officials said. Announcing the success of the operation, Mr Obama said it was “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaeda.
US officials said Bin Laden was shot in the head after resisting. Oil gas interest: Oil and gas are not the reason the US has attacked Afghanistan, but Afghanistan has long had a key place in US plans to secure control of the vast but landlocked oil and gas reserves of Central Asia. Though the primary US motivation is to destroy Osama bin Laden’s sanctuary in Afghanistan, another, rather more pecuniary objective is also on the agenda, particularly in the search for an alternative government in Kabul.
With the Taliban out of Kabul and the search for a new Afghan government on center stage, one criterion on Washington’s mind will be how best to make Afghanistan safe for a couple of billion-dollar pipeline investments. In the case of the great natural gas and oil fields of Turkmenistan, immediately north of Afghanistan, the US government has for a decade strongly supported plans by US-led business groups for both an oil pipeline from Turkmenistan to the Arabian sea via Afghanistan and a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.
Such pipelines would serve important US interests in a number of ways: * Drawing the Central Asian oil states away from the Russian sphere of influence and establishing the foundation for a strong US position * Thwarting the development of Iranian regional influence by limiting Turkmenistan-Iranian gas links and thwarting a plan for a Turkmenistan-Iran oil pipeline to the Arabian Sea. * Diversify US sources of oil and gas, and, by increasing production sources, help keep rices low * Benefiting US oil and construction companies with growing interests in the region * Providing a basis for much-needed economic prosperity in the region, which might provide a basis for political stability. For much of the 1990s the United States supported the Taliban’s rise to power, both by encouraging the involvement of US oil companies, and by implicitly tolerating Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, two of its key regional allies, in their direct financial and military support for the Taliban.
The Taliban, which is committed to a particularly primitive vision of Sunni Islam, had the added advantage for the US of being deeply hostile to Shia Muslims in neighboring Iran (as well as within Afghanistan). HOW OIL INTERESTS PLAY OUT IN US BOMBING OF AFGHANISTAN: We have synthesized a number of current analyses into some key facts about how oil ties into the US government’s long time involvement in Central Asia and its hopes of accessing the oil and gas riches of the area.
Oil is clearly not the only force operating, and this is not a comprehensive analysis, but it is an important piece of a complicated political and economic struggle. The United States has yet to provide concrete evidence that Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks, but has pursued a bombing campaign anyway against the Taliban and bin Laden with millions of innocent Afghanis caught in the middle. Some analysts are projecting a post-war Afghanistan where the US military is used as “pipeline police. CENTRAL ASIA includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, parts of India and China. American oil pipeline approach through Afghanistan: “Those who control the oil routes out of Central Asia will impact all future direction and quantities of flow and the distribution of revenues from new production,” said energy expert James Dorian in Oil ; Gas Journal on September 10, 2001.
The only existing export routes from the Caspian Basin lead through Russia. Investors in Caspian oil and gas are interested in building alternative pipelines to Turkey, Europe and Asia (6). Afghanistan occupies a strategic position between the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent and lies squarely between Turkmenistan and the lucrative, desirable and growing markets of India, China and Japan. .