The deadliest single attack since 2011 has rocked Kabul just a week after the Taliban launched their spring offensive. The battle against the Taliban has been going on since 2001. Even US Secretary of State John Kerry became a target of rocket strikes carried out by the Taliban in the Afghan capital on Saturday. However, the US said the latest attack doesn’t mean efforts to establish peace talks should be abandoned.
RT: Despite the recent carnage witnessed in Kabul, the US State Department is willing to include the Taliban in the peace process. Isn’t it contradicting Washington’s supposed refusal to negotiate with terrorists?
Karen Kwiatkowski: Well, to some extent it is… Some of the Taliban is actually working with ISIS in Afghanistan, so it’s both literally true and figuratively true. The US government itself behaves in many ways like a terrorist organization. When we say we don’t negotiate with terrorists that is really more like rhetoric for television shows in the evening for people watching. In real life, in real negotiations I honestly don’t think that it matters. If the terrorists are on the US side, we not only negotiate with them, we support them. So I don’t buy that argument that it is part of US foreign policy that we don’t negotiate with terrorists. We fund terrorists, if those terrorists serve our purposes. That has been very well shown in the past 15 years – at least.
RT: The Taliban has openly made attempts on John Kerry’s life. What does it say about the US position that he still wants to talk to them?
KK: I know recently, when John Kerry came to Kabul the Taliban claimed to make an attempt on his life. If you look at why Kerry was there – he was trying to resolve problems in a US propped-up, US-facilitated government in Kabul, which is not a real people’s government; it can’t be… It is never going to be accepted, it is an external enforced artificial government and it’s struggling of course. The whole story reeks of failed US foreign policy, which most people in this country recognize. But what I can’t understand is why Ash Carter, Kerry and Obama don’t recognize it. The people in this country understand that we have no clue as to what we’re doing in most of the countries in the Middle East. Certainly not in Afghanistan, certainly not in Syria and certainly not in Iraq.
RT: The Taliban must be aware of Washington’s willingness. Are attacks like today’s basically telling America, “No thanks, we’re not interested!”?
KK: I think the Taliban explained very well what their objective was in the article that I saw on CNN. They had published the interview with the Taliban. The Taliban said: “We are planning to wear down the enemy. We’re going to make this a long slog, which is what we knew it was anyway. And we’re going to demoralize the Americans.” In particular the Americans, because the US is mainly the one supporting this government that they have created in this nation-state that they think they’ve constructed, which they haven’t in Kabul.
So the Taliban has been very clear with what their objectives are. They are planning to demoralize and to basically defeat over time the occupiers, who they consider to be the occupiers, and the ‘Vichy’ government in Kabul, which is, as they see it, certainly not a legitimate government.
RT:Why doesn’t the US government understand then that what they are doing isn’t working, and instead of it do something different to solve the problems in Afghanistan?
KK: … Clearly, Washington DC has no real understanding either of the ground situation and the political situation in Afghanistan, nor do they have an understanding of what might work. The US government solution is that we will transplant a government that is loyal to us, that is a pseudo-democracy that operates in some sort of democratic fashion on the surface and that it would stay there – static. That is utterly insane.
… I can give you some reasons why I think they are holding to that. I think you know what these reasons are. There is money being made. Carter wants more troops to go into Afghanistan; he wants more troops in Iraq, he wants more troops in Syria; he wants a bigger budget to face down terrorism such as what the Taliban is conducting with these attacks. The bureaucracy in Washington D.C. benefits from continued problems around the world – they justify the budgets; they justify their missions.
We’re selling arms to just about everyone on the planet. The more conflict, the more insecurity –the bigger the market place for arms. And certainly I don’t think there is any interest in the US government whatsoever to reduce the opium crop that comes out of Afghanistan every year. That money from the sale of drugs, from the sale of opiates, particularly out of that part of the world, is eventually laundered and entered into the system and becomes legitimate. There are many governments on the planet, including the US, that benefit from those deposits once they are cleaned, so to speak…
What they are doing is continuing the gravy train for many Washington bureaucracies and it increases insecurity around the world… Fundamentally for the US there has been a great deal of benefit for people in government over the last 15 years based on what we have done in Afghanistan: people have gotten rich, companies have made a lot of money, the Pentagon budget has never been larger, and there are no questions in Congress. Congress rubber stamps every budget request that they ask for. These are government benefits, and of course the cost is paid by people in Afghanistan and the people around the world, who suffer insecurity as a result of our policies. I don’t mean to make a judgment here, but this is how I see it.