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US seeks to maintain bases in Afghanistan: Analyst

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Press TV has conducted an interview with Richard Becker, with the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition from San Francisco, about Afghan President Hamid Karzai being outraged at a controversial deal between the US and Taliban under which five Taliban leaders were released in exchange for a captured US soldier.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: First of all, isn’t it very hypocritical for the US to at the one point say that the Taliban are the very forces they are fighting against in Afghanistan while at the same time hoping for not just expressing readiness to negotiate with them in the long-run as well?

Becker: Well of course they must negotiate. There is no question about that.

The United States has been in Afghanistan this time around since 2001; they have not won the war, they were no close to winning the war, they planned most of their troops out and if they hope to retain anything which they do, they want to keep bases in the country. They want to really maintain at least something that comes out of the war. They have to negotiate because they cannot win militarily and that has been clear for a very long time.
Even though while it has been clear the lives of both Afghan people and US soldiers continue to be sacrificed in an effort that everyone in the world who pays attention to this knows cannot end in US military victory.

Press TV: But it is not a very consistent policy, is it Mr. Becker? The US is trying to militarily engage with the Taliban as well in Afghanistan, as we speak, it plans to maintain its military presence in Afghanistan under the pretext of keeping the Taliban at bay from coming back into power and also when it was handing over the Bagram Air Base to the Afghan forces it had staunchly opposed the release of prisoners there who most of them were kept without charge or trial?

Becker: Well the situation is really one for the United States in Afghanistan that while it cannot win militarily, it does wish to retain a strong position and influence in the country.

So we have President Obama saying that ten thousand troops will stay there for two years and then they will be reduced to a smaller force. We do not know if they mean to replace US official military forces with mercenary forces, with contractors who are really “former military”, they are not really former at all.

But you know the United States has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in this war. They have paid off a lot of people, they have spent enormous amounts of money, and they have not very much to show for that except terrible amounts of death and destruction in Afghanistan and death and injury for the US forces there.

You know it is really something that the conditions are the way that they are. Afghanistan ranks the last in infant mortality of all countries in the world after all these hundreds of billions of dollars that has been spent. That is not the concern of Washington. What they want is to retain some strategic position in the country.

Press TV: And before I let you go Mr. Becker, also I would like to touch upon the fact that the Afghan government was not included in this deal and as you just pointed out a final resolution of what is taking place in Afghanistan will include diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban, but shouldn’t that also include the Afghan government?

Becker: Well you would certainly think so. You know the idea that the US can negotiate with the opposition in the country and not include the government shows what the position of the government really is.

You know I think there is a tremendous worry in Washington that diminishing of the US forces in the country is going to lead or could lead to a collapse of the government. If the US withdrew its funding, the government would collapse.

So the government is an entirely dependent government, dependent on the US. Whoever wins the new election coming in is about to sign the security arrangement between the US and Afghanistan that would allow for US forces to remain in the country and not be subject to prosecution by Afghan courts no matter what they did and I think that is a clear sign of the colonial relationship that in reality exists between Washington and Kabul.

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