Territory in southwest central Asia, nominally ruled since 2004 by the Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jumhoryat

Reference

Afghanistan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked sovereign state located in the centre of Asia, forming part of South Asia, Central Asia and Western Asia. With an estimated population of about 29 million, it has an area of 647,500 km2, making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and the east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast. The territory of Afghanistan has been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as 50,000 BC. Urban civilization may have begun in the area as early as 3,000 to 2,000 BC. ..."

Measures of Freedom

Afghanistan | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2016
2016: Status: Not Free, Aggregate Score 24, Civil Liberties: 6, Political Rights: 6
"Afghanistan experienced high levels of violence and political gridlock in 2015, and the country was second only to Syria as a source of refugees contributing to a migration crisis in Europe during the year. The National Unity Government (NUG), formed after a disputed presidential election in 2014, survived its first year in office, though its leaders had difficulty filling key positions due to internal disagreements and resistance from the parliament."

Articles

Bush's Opium Boom, by James Bovard, 28 May 2003
Describes attempts by the Taliban, the U.S., the United Nations and the Karzai government to control opium poppy production
"In April 2002, the Karzai government offered farmers up to $600 an acre not to plant opium. Many of the farmers who accepted the government proposal got defrauded. Instead of cash, they were given a government voucher that was often very difficult to redeem. In other cases, farmers acceded to government demands to destroy their crops but were never paid anything, not even a voucher. Some farmers concluded that the government was even more devious than the people who previously bought their opium."
In Afghanistan, They Died for No Good Cause, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Dec 2013
Critiques an exchange by Richard Engel and Andrea Mitchell on the rationale for keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan
"What good is there to show for that loss and shattering of life? Nothing. Afghanistan remains a violent place, nominally ruled by a corrupt and repressive propped-up government that will remain precarious no matter how long the U.S. military stays. President Karzai regularly gets bags of CIA cash, the illegal drug trade thrives with official connivance, and stoning is about to be introduced as the penalty for adultery."
News Coverage Misinforms Americans on the Bergdahl Swap, by Sheldon Richman, 10 Jun 2014
Discusses the distorted news about the five Taliban officials released in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl
"How did these men end up in U.S. custody? The U.S. government offered attractive bounties to Afghans who turned alleged Taliban and al-Qaeda members over to American authorities. ... The U.S. invasion-occupation of Afghanistan was a war of choice not necessity. American forces made it worse by indiscriminately placing a price on the head of any Afghan whom someone else was willing to destroy."
Sgt. Bergdahl and the Fog of War, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Jun 2014
Reviews the history of U.S.-Afghanistan relationship since Reagan to the present release of Sgt. Bergdahl
"On the surface, the war in Afghanistan seems easy to understand. The Taliban government gave sanctuary to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, which attacked American targets in the 1990s and on September 11, 2001. But things are not so simple. ... When Haqqani, a celebrated freedom fighter during the Soviet war, turned down a deal from the Americans because it included detention, the U.S. military attacked his home province and other areas, killing his brother-in-law and innocent children."
The U.S. Isn't Leaving Afghanistan, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Nov 2013
Reviews the terms of a 2013 draft agreement between the U.S. and Afghan governments to maintain U.S. troops stationed indefinitely
"The Afghan government, at U.S. insistence, would waive jurisdiction over U.S. military and civilian personnel who commit war crimes. ... What's clear from the negotiations is that the United States is not close to ending combat operations in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001. ... Further U.S.-inflicted bloodshed will do nothing but make matters worse. It's time for the U.S. military to leave."
Americans Have Lost Their Country, by Paul Craig Roberts, 1 Mar 2007
Discusses the neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration and the rationale for their actions furthering wars in the Middle East
"The American oil giant, UNOCAL, had plans for an oil and gas pipeline through Afghanistan, but the Taliban were not sufficiently cooperative. The US invasion of Afghanistan was used to install Hamid Karzai, who had been on UNOCAL's payroll, as puppet prime minister. US neoconservative Zalmay Khalilzad, who also had been on UNOCAL's payroll, was installed as US ambassador to Afghanistan."
Freedom, Security, and the Roots of Terrorism against the United States, by Richard M. Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Oct 2001
Reflections on the 11 September attacks a few weeks after, discusses the reasons for the terrorist attacks and proposes certain measures to deal with the situation
"First, bombing campaigns and use of ground troops in a place like Afghanistan are not likely to produce justice or achieve victory. As a number of commentators have pointed out, Afghanistan has been destroyed already during the last 20 years comprising 10 years of Soviet occupation and another decade of a civil war that brought the Taliban to power in Kabul. Bombings would only reduce the already wretched lives of millions of innocent Afghans. ... And American ground forces could easily be drawn into a protracted campaign with success as remote as it was for the British in the 19th century and the Soviet Union in the 1980s."
Improve the CIA? Better to abolish it, by Chalmers Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Feb 2004
Lists countries where the CIA conducted subversive operations and recommends abolishing the agency.
"Since the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953, the CIA has engaged in similar disguised assaults on the governments of Guatemala (1954); the Congo (1960); Cuba (1961); Brazil (1964); Indonesia (1965); Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (1961-73); Greece (1967); Chile (1973); Afghanistan (1979 to the present); El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua (1980s); and Iraq (1991 to the present) -- to name only the most obvious cases."
The Lie Factory, by Sheldon Richman, 7 Jun 2013
Contrasts Obama's 23 May 2013 statements regarding Afghanistan vs. analysis by Conn Hallinan and other reports
"To give you an idea of how well things are going, a 16 May suicide bomb in the capital killed six Americans and 16 Afghans. As though that were not enough of a commentary on conditions there, the political wing of the group that claimed responsibility for the bombing, Hezb-i-Islami, 'is a major player in the Karzai government, with its members holding down the posts of education minister and advisor to the president.'"

Cartoons and Comic Strips

Re-invade Afghanistan!, by Ted Rall, 7 Feb 2009
The terrain is formidable ..., by Jim McCloskey, The News Leader, 23 Sep 2009
Declaration of Thingamajig, by Mark Fiore, 22 Jun 2011
On the wars ... hostilities ... thingamajigs of the U.S. empire
Related Topics: Barack Obama, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen