Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Piping Up about the Pipeline War in Afghanistan.

Ten years on from the Bonn conference in 2001, with so many mistakes made, the basic questions only pile up.

States an editorial in The Guardian today. In fact, it's the mistakes that pile up and the basic question "Why are we there? " that is never made. NATO will be there until the TAPI pipeline, a vital geopolitical aim, is completed. The sheer inability of even radical critics of this futile war to fathom what it is actually about is also odd.

Writing in the New Statesman, Mehdi Hasan stated,

The biggest issue with Afghanistan, of course, is how you define victory. Is it the obliteration of the Taliban? An end to the threat from Al Qaeda in Afghanistan? The protection of women's rights? The elimination of the drug trade? Liberal democracy from Kabul to Kandahar?

No mention of the TAPI pipeline. Without knowing what the central objective is, without politicians and Parliament actually discussing this openly, as should happen with a truly free media in an open society, the public is still in left the dark as regards the fact that the end game of victory is to get a pipeline under construction.

You'd think Hasan, a critic of US led Wars, would at least be able to tell people why the war is continuing to be fought. It is unlikely to finish by 2014 because work on the TAPI pipeline has not even started yet. It has to be understood just how important this pipeline is to strategy.

It isn't about "profiteers" really, but partly of plan to encircle Iran from all sides and ratchet up the pressure for regime change and control of it's oil and gas. If Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India are linked by this pipeline, then they will have common interests and Iran's and China's influence in Central Asia curtailed.

Having spent a decade in Afghanistan, this remains the final objective of NATO in Afghanistan. The other pretexts such as Women's rights and liberal democracy " may have been believed to have been positive beneficial spin offs from intervention.

Yet they were secondary to the initial aim of defeating terrorism, without grasping that AQ was not a centralised hierarchy like SPECTRE in James Bond but a network of networks that was spread globally. The Bush regime wanted to rid Afghanistan of those who attacked the Twin Towers,

However, more to the point, it was the pipeline strategy is the one key and continuous objective from the 1990s through to the present. Again and again it has been mentioned by Hilary Clinton as a Us interest to see the TAPI as a part of a New Silk Road.

There is no excuse for ignorance nor specious drivel about the TAPI pipeline being a "conspiracy theory". It's a documented fact and history books will record that later as standard information in understanding the origins and course of the Fourth Afghan War.

The end to the war is hardly in sight now in late 2011. The pipeline will go through Helmland where most British casualties have been inflicted by the Taliban. Yet the Taliban cannot be defeated as they do not have a stake in government. The contending factions are jockeying for the transit fees.

The Afghan War also fits into a broader regional struggle for energy and hegemony in Central Asia-the New Great Game. The reason relations with Pakistan have deteriorated is because the TAPI pipeline is only being favoured over the rival IP pipeline due to US diplomatic pressure.

This is precisely why when NATO bombed the checkpoint in Pakistan, certain opponents of the regime, itself double dealing and exploiting its strategical position to exact money and support from rival powers, attempted to exploit anti-American sentiments.

China will support Pakistan as, if it rejects US influence, it can persuade sections of Pakistan's corrupt elite to back the rival IP pipeline rather than the TAPI pipeline which would benefit NATO and the West's energy interests in Central Asia. This is why the Afghan War drags on.

The reality is that Pakistan needs gas urgently and it is four times cheaper to get it from Iran than from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan.

Unsurprisingly,as soon as Pakistani elites tried to advocate the IP, the US ambassador Mr Munter piped up to warn business management students, and those who matter,that closer relations with Iran via the IP pipeline would be "unreliable".

Which means that not backing a more expensive TAPI project in Afghanistan, increasing Taliban activity across the border in their own country , violence in Balochistan and welcoming drone bombers killing their own people is a sure reliable strategy

So reliable, that in September 2011, "the US went so far as to table the possibility of sanctions if Pakistan struck significant energy deals with Iran". This is one reason why events in Pakistan and Afghanistan are ratcheting up tensions between NATO and Iran.

As usual, the reality behind events in Afghanistan is just not going to be mentioned openly in the British media. I have requested to write for The Guardian's "Comment is Free"site several times on this and nothing has come of it. So I'm writing a book on this subject called A Pipeline Too Far: The Truth Behind the War in Afghanistan.

It is absurd that people are routinely denied access to the truth of this war in Britain.


  1. Very interesting post as always, Karl. You mention a book you're writing about Afghanistan, but I remember you mentioning another book you're writing called "Fools Paradise: An Anatomy of Britain in Decline".

    How's that coming along? Any idea when it will be released? Will it be an online release or are you going to get it published?

    Keep up the great blog posts! (p.s. I'm from Aberystwyth - and funnily enough I discovered your blog after seeing that film about Poland in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre cinema!)

  2. Most of Fool's Paradise is actually completed. The pipeline book is also mostly finished. I just have to organise the material and pay rigorous attention to the style and precision of the finished products before I send them off. To be honest, I have little idea about the practicalities of publishing. But the pipeline book I want out no matter if publishers want it. It'll be "samizdat" if necessary. These blogs are merely updates on such issues as Afghanistan. I can't put too much on here for obvious reasons.

  3. The pipeline book will be first out in 2012. Eventually, I want to expand it into a broader look at resource wars and the pathological competition for pipeline routes, a world in which the Great Powers are set to have their interests at variance and potentially collide and clash in various theatres in Central Asia and the Near East. If good journalism is the first draft of history, then the fact that Afghanistan is not even set in the context of the New Great Game is a striking omission. Some have dealt with it e.g Lutz Klevemann. Yet the war in Afghanistan remains wrapped up in half truth and propaganda at variance with the facts....