By José Luis Ibáñez Santa María 

The great mystery behind the US invasion of Afghanistan!

The Soviet Union failed in its attempt to sustain the Communist Regime in Afghanistan (see video) in the 1980s. Its modern and well-equipped army with more than one hundred thousand soldiers during the entire period of its invasion, could only effectively control the urban centers which in Afghanistan means very little.  The Soviet Union had to surrender to the evidence: by force it would not change the attitude of the large Afghan peasant population. The United States stumbled over the same stone, a stone that itself helped  to make the Soviet attempt fail: a peasant guerrilla force fed by neighboring countries and with deep Islamic roots. Twenty years after invading Afghanistan, the United States withdrew from it which led to much criticism from its citizens and from the world public opinion. The withdrawal seemed like an improvisation for a professional military force such as the United States´. But worse than that is the dichotomy between the cost of the Afghanistan War to the United States and its relative low intensity. The question then arises: What did the United States spend its money on? Was there a gigantic fraud? Were there unconfessed military actions?

Clear Accounts Make Long Friendships

The cost in human lives of the invasion according to a study by the Watson Institute of Brown University universally accepted in the United States (Biden himself cited it in his conference where he explained the reasons for the abandonment of Afghanistan), reached 171,336 deceased. Afghan civilians accounted for 47,245; 7,432 were military personnel from the United States, allied countries and “contractors” employed by the United States Armed Forces; 66,000 members of the Afghan Army and Police (it is not strange then that they did not want to continue fighting) and 51,191 of Opposition combatants. The financial cost for the United States Treasury reached, according to the same study, an incredible and gigantic figure of 2.3 trillion dollars from which half a trillion dollars must be deducted as interest. The cost makes it clear that the Afghan war was not just any war. As many other media, U.S. Today confirms the validity of the Brown University study and quotes one of the authors who pointed out, in the absence of complete official information, that it should not be the task of private investigators such as its institution, to calculate the cost of a war like the one in Afghanistan. The information, it said, should naturally come from the Headquarters of the Armed Forces which has only provided partial information and uncertain accounts about the monstrous cost (past, present and future) of the twenty years of war in Afghanistan.

The number of deaths and the very high spending of the war suggest that when the United States invaded Afghanistan looking for a gang of Al Qaeda terrorists based there, it was not walking into the country following the official version the U.S. Government declared in 2001: to just punish the terrorists for the attack on the Twin Towers in New York.

Vietnam and Afghanistan

So monstrous is the expense of the “Afghan war” that it is unmatched by the Vietnam War where the spending was 1.02 trillion dollars in 2015 currency or about 1.17 trillion today.

United States expenditures in South Vietnam (SVN) (1953–1974) Direct costs only. Some estimates are higher. [337]


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Despite the fact that the Vietnam War represented only 65% of the cost of the Afghanistan War, the degree of violence it reached –judging by the number of deaths– in the absence of a better indicator, it was at least twenty-two times higher: In Vietnam there were 1.5 million military deaths and 2,300,000 civilians from both sides. In Afghanistan they totaled 171,000 deaths. Vietnam’s population at the time of the war was similar to that of Afghanistan at war: 38 million people.

In Afghanistan, the United States spent US $10.6 million for each death. A macabre indicator without a doubt and in bad taste, but necessary for comparisons. In Vietnam the U.S. spent 310,000 dollars for each death. Any serious congressman in the United States should immediately ask the Pentagon what  it did with the money for the war?

The punishment for the Twin Towers, even if it were true that those responsible for 9/11 took refuge in Afghanistan, seems infinitely disproportionate; it is the equivalent of killing a fly with an atomic bomb. Doesn’t it seem questionable spending $1.8 trillion, excluding interest, on a twenty-year-long American Afghan war military adventure? Just as it sounds: 1.8 trillion dollars! Two and a half annual U.S. Defense Budgets!

Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Taliban …

Afghanistan: It is a territory and political forces completely unknown by the citizens of the United States and by ordinary mortals. Any story can be woven on them and there is nothing left to do but accept it. Ignorance about Afghanistan and its vicissitudes is not guilty ignorance, because the ignorance that exists in the world about this country is inevitable. It is a very poor territory in the middle of Central Asia with a GDP of US $ 20,000 million. The Afghanistan that is the source of America’s uncontrolled ire is a country in which 74% of the population is rural, isolated in the middle of a nature full of mountains, lost “in the middle of nowhere.”

Afghanistan: a war and a mysterious withdrawal

For twenty years, the United States spent every year in the “punishment operation” to al Qaeda almost five times Afghanistan’s GDP. Very natural? Of course not! This figure accounts for actions in the Afghan territory that undoubtedly far exceed what required an adequate action to punish Bin Laden and his henchmen. A figure totally disproportionate to the Afghan reality! U.S. citizens should shout: Bullshit!

The official explanation sounds more absurd when the United States authorities periodically report punitive operations that they carry out, according to them, with surgical precision and at low cost. Although the damned “collateral damage” almost always appears, the death of innocents, an unwanted consequence that inevitably stains the hands of the “great surgeon”. On some occasions these operations miss the target. A very recent case was the murder –there is no other word to describe it– of an entire family, made up of ten people, seven of whom were children, and which was recently announced after taking place in August of this year, as the “right-on-target blow!” that prevented a new terrorist act at the Kabul airport! This was proclaimed by neither more nor less than General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who, later in September, had to back down and present his condolences to their relatives.

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They are low-cost “surgical operations” but, apart from the “collateral damage”, they do achieve their objective such as the death, at the hands of a group of commandos, of Bin Laden (if his death is true) in Pakistan, or the assassination of the Iranian General Soleimani in 2020 in Iraq, from a drone shot, or the shameful assassination of Gaddafi, in Libya, carried out by a group of guerrillas allied to NATO. Daniel Hale, who participated in drone operations in Northeast Afghanistan, today imprisoned for the charges brought against him as a whistleblower, said that “they killed more than 200 people despite the fact that only 35 were the targets they were looking for. In a period of five months, about 90% of the dead were not the people they wanted to kill.”

The following table shows that civilian deaths in the last 11 years of the War reached 35,518, an annual average of 3,229 deaths. How many of them does the United States call “collateral damage”, that aseptic expression that refers to the murder of innocent civilians in military operations?

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Mexico is more dangerous than Afghanistan at war

In Mexico, the annual “intentional homicides” reach 11,020 per 38 million inhabitants, which is the population of Afghanistan. In this country, the number of civilian and military deaths due to the “Afghan War”, the yearly average for the twenty years that it lasted, reached 8,500 deaths. So, was life in Afghanistan at war worse than everyday life in Mexico? Why did the United States spend so recklessly in Afghanistan where spending did not glare militarily like it did in the Vietnam War with twenty-two times more deaths?

Why was the 2001 punishment of Al Qaeda the beginning of a much larger US military adventure than the Vietnam War, of enormous magnitude judging by the dollars spent?

The Critical Spirit of Democracy in the United States

Who in Congress in Washington D.C. has raised his voice claiming the due accountability of the nonsense it was spending 1.8 trillion dollars in Afghanistan, for twenty years, to punish Bin Laden and his squads?

Only once in twenty years was the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq mentioned in the Finance Committee of the United States Senate! In the same 20 years it was mentioned 5 times in the Subcommittee on Appropriations for Defense of the United States Senate, while in the Vietnam War it was mentioned 42 times.

Why was it so? Did the attack on Afghanistan seek a different purpose than the official one reported by the United States? Can a country indebted to intolerable levels –intolerable if the US Treasury bond market is freed from the intervention of the Federal Reserve– spend so generously on a War that was not a War?

The very high cost and the 20 years that the United States spent in Afghanistan suggest that, indeed, the United States pursued a different objective than the punishment of the terrorist gang of Al Qaeda. What could the real purpose be then?

What can 9/11 explain if the United States in the Afghanistan War used Al Qaeda as a pretext?

Can the 9/11 version be accepted without further explanation as proclaimed urbe et orbi by the Media? The media! Can the media be believed? Judging by the dollars spent, the gigantic scale that the Afghanistan campaign reached bears no relation to the official explanation for the punishment to Al Qaeda. If it is not true that the real purpose of the United States was to punish the gang of terrorists that Al Qaeda is, then it must have been a scapegoat. Could Al Qaeda be paying to hide other motives that would have led the United States to Afghanistan? If punishment is a fiction, then 9/11 must have a culprit other than Al Qaeda. Therefore 9/11 would not be as the authorities of the United States present it.

If the United States is not able to reasonably prove that the cost of the Afghan War makes sense, there is no more remedy but to believe that the rabbit the hunter was after was someone else. The matter would be very serious as it leads to doubt that the 9/11 attacks were the work of Islamic terrorists. Who then is accountable for the three thousand deaths of 9/11?

The entire history of the invasion of Afghanistan casts doubts not only on the war but also on the tragic events of 9/11. Too much spending for twenty years to simply execute the gang of terrorists blamed for the attack. The official explanation for the destruction of the Twin Towers smells bad. The Italian expression Se non e vero e ben trovato does not work in this case.

José Luis Ibáñez Santa María Analyses of Current International Problems, Politics and Economic His website is: and his substack (from which this article is republished) is here.


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