tv Democracy Now LINKTV February 8, 2018 8:00am-9:01am PST
02/08/18 02/08/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, , this is democracy now! pres. trump: there is no talking to the taliban. we're going to finish what we have to finish. than 16 years of fighting, the u.s. war in afghanistan intensifying again as pulled from iraq and syria, not to mentionon the domesticc budget at home in the u.s., to expand the longest war in the
united states history. stevewe w will speak to coll, author of the new book "directorate s: the cia and america's secret wars in afghanistan and pakistan." more continuity with change with the trump administration. they have put some pressure on suspended aid. but mostly they decided to continue to warm or less along the lines of the obama administration and was it administration. they have dropped more on -- talked more bombs in 2017, trying to signal their going to be tougher and have more result. i'm afraid it is a case of doing the same thing militarily that previous a ministrations have done and expecting a different result. amy: pulitzer prize winning journalist steve coll, dean of the graduate school of columbia journalism. all of that and more, coming up.
welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. senate leaders have announced a bipartisan agreement that would set federal spending levels over the next two years, in a deal that would avert a second government shutdown. if approved, the deal would raise defense and non-defense spending by $300 billion while funding disaster relief programs for 2017's record-breaking hurricane and wildfire seasons. democratic senate minority leader chuck schumer w welcomed the deal, even thohough it fails to meet the demands of immigrants rights groups - -- ad many demococrats -- who are demanding protection for young undocumented immigrants as part of any spending agreement. in the house of representatives, minority leader, democrat nancy pelosi of california, held the floor for record-breaking eight hours wednesday to call on lawmakers to protect immigrants who were brought to the u.s. as children, the so-called dreamers. >> there is nothing partisan or
political about protecting dreamers will step if a dream act were brought to the floor, it would pass immediately with strong bipartisan support. and i commend my republican colleagues for their courage in speaking out on this. yet our dreamers hang in limbo with the cruel cloud of fear and answered the above them. the republican moral cowardice must and. amy: illinois congressmember luis gutierrez warned pelosi it would be a "complete betrayal" if she supports any spending deal that doesn't include an extension of daca -- the deferred action for childhood arrivals program -- which is due to expire in march. pelosi's eight-hour speech came after white house chief of staff general john kelly blasted young immigrants as lazy, telling reporters -- "there are 690,000 official daca registrants and the president sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million. the difference between 690,000 and 1.8 million were the people
that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn't sign up." meanwhile, capitol police arrested immigrants rights activists who held a nonviolent civil disobedience action inside the senate rotunda. members of the united we dream coalition were demanding congress pass a clean dream act -- without additional funding for president trump's expanded border wall or other anti-immigrant measures. white house staff secretary rob porter resigned wednesday, one day after both of his ex-wives publicly accused him of domestic violence. porter's first wife colbie holderness said she was kicked by porter during the couple's honeymoon in 2003, and that verbal and physical abuse continued for years. a pair of photos holderness provided to the intercept show her with a black eye. she says they were taken after porter threw her onto a bed and
punched her in the face during a trip to florence, italy, in 2005. holderness also provided the photos to fbi agents as they conducted background interviews for porter's white house security clearance. porter's second wife, jennifer willoughby, also alleged an abusive relationship in fbi interviews. even as he tendered his resignation wednesday, rob porter denied the charges in a statement readad by white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders. >> these outrageous allegations are false. i took thehe photos to thehe mea yearly 15 years ago. the realality is nowhere clear o what is in described. i haveve been transparent but ii will not engage probably with a corrugated smear campaign. amy: white house chief of staff general john kelly initially defended porter as a "man of true integrity and honor" before issuing an after-hours statement claiming he was shocked by the domestic violence claims.
that is despite multiple reports that general kelly and other senior white house staff have known for weeks or even months that fbi denied porter. your declarant over the allegations. -- porter full security clearance over the allegations. in syria, u.s. warplanes have carried out strikes on syrian pro-government forces in deir al-zour, over what the pentagon says was retaliation for attacks on t the u.s.-backed kurdishsh d arab rebels. syria's government says the strikes left dozens of people dead or wounded, and condemned u.s. aggression. meanwhile, the death toll in a syrian government offensive targeting rebels in the damascus suburb of eastern ghouta, and in idlib province, has risen to 180, with human rights groups saying 34 civilians, including 12 children, were killed in attacks on wednesday. in mosul, iraq, the united natitions children's fundnd unif is appealing for $17 million to rerebuild the city's healththcae
system, which was left devastated last year after the u.s.-led coalition battled for over nine months to captuture te city from the self-p-proclaimed islamic state.e. this is ununicef's iriraq representative peter hawkins. >> this isis part of the hospitl as we see it t today. it wasas completely flattened. part of the hospital that remain, more or less intact, but guguided will step nothing. no health services for the children off mozilla, publisher note probably about 1.6 million. amy: an ap investigation found as many as 11,000 civilians were killed in the u.s.-led coalition's assault on mosul. in taiwan, rescuers are continuing to search through the rubble of buildings that collapsed late tuesday is a powerful 614 magnitude earthquake struck near the coastal city of hualien. the death toll rose thursday to six, with 76 people still missing. the e quake left one multi-story
apartment leaning at a precarious angle. in britain, women employees at the nation's largest supermarket chain have filed a massive pay equity suit, alleging that for decades they've been paid less than their male counterparts for similar work. this is kim element, a longtime employee at tesco and a plaintiff in the lawsuit. >> we think we have equal rights. there are times where there are such discrepancies that you can't explain them. i think tesco is just one of addressingies really the fact that women seem to still be paid less. amy: the suit seeks to bring up to 20,000 pounds of back pay to some 200,000 current and former women employees of tesco, which is britain's biggest retailer and largest private employer. vice president mike pence has arrived in south korea where he is due to attend the opening of the winter olympics in pyeongchang on friday. pence's south korea trip comes
amid a thaw in tensions between north and south korea, as the two countries and prepare to fill a joint women's hockey team and diplomacy. ahead of his trip to south korea today, pence visited japan, where he met with prime minister shinzo abe and spoke to u.s. troops at the yokota air base. vice pres. pence: wewe are ready for anany e eventuality. the united states of america will always seek peace. we will ever strive for better fufuture. but t you do the ininstrumentntf know and let our adversaries know, all options are on the tabable. amy: vicice presidident pence is said to lead the u.s. delelegatn in friday's opopening c cemony n pyeongchang olympics. the move has been condemned by lgbtq activists, including the openly gay u.s. men's figure skater adam upon, who said "to
stand by some of the things that donald trump has said and for mike pence to say he is a devout christian man is completely contradictory. if he is ok with what is being said about people and americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called s-holes, i think you should really go to church." scott pruitt admitted this week global warming is occurring, but questioned whether climate change might be good for humans. pruitt was speaking on las vegas channel ksnv, which is owned by the sincnclair broroadcast grou. >> is it something that is a sustainable? what kind of effect or harm is this going to have? we know that humans have most floors during times of what, warming trends. so i think there is asassumptios made that because the climate is warming, that that necessarily is a bad thing. do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100?
in 2018?8? it is arrogant for us to think we know exactly what it should be in 2100. amy: researchers from north carolina have f found it will cause doing the 60,000 deaths through air pollution alone while threatening the food supply of billions of people, even a sea level rise in at its coastal cities around the planet. california officials moved wednesday to block oil from newly approved offshore oil rigs from being transported through california. in the latest move by state to resist president trump's order to vastly expand drilling in u.s. federal waters. californrnia lieutenant governor gavin newsom, who chairs the state lands commission, told reporters -- "i am resolved that not a single drop from trtrump's new oil plan ever makes landfall in california." in north dakota, a court has sentenced anti-pipeline activist michael foster to one year in prison aftfter he brokoke into n
oioil pipeline facilitity and td a mamanual safetety valve toto f the e flow of tar sands oioil cg into the uniteted states from canada. foster was one of 10 people arrested in october 2016 as part of a coordinated campaign that saw similar actions in minnesota, montana, and washington state. internet pioneer john perry barlow has died at the age of 70. he was cofounder of the electronic frontier foundation which advocates for internet users privacy and has battled the trump administration's to and landmark net neutrality rules designed to keep the internet open and free. barlow also wrote lyrics for many songs for the legendary rock group the grateful dead. and in new orleans, black lives matter activist and charleston, south carolina community organizer muhiyidin d'baha died tuesday after he was struck in
the thigh by a bullet as he rode his bicycle. police have not named any motive or suspects in the killing. d'baha made national headlines last year after he appeared in a viral video that shows him leaping over a police line in an attempt to grab a confederate flag from a white supremacist at a rally in charleston. in 2015, democracy now! spoke with muhiyidin d'baha outside the emanuel ame church, amid the funerals of nine african-american worshipers who were gunned down by white supremacist dylann roof. i asked him about the campaign to dismantle confederate monuments and to bring down the confederate battle flag from the south carolina state capitol grounds. >> it is re-examining our history and the white supremacist structures in our history, and naming them and calllling them what they a are sosomeone we talk ababout the f, we don't get to agitation ababot
rates, but states rights. this country is founded on economic capital developed from a free and cheap labor. now that that cheap labor is not used because of technological innovation, of the prison industrial complex and other ways to subsidize peoples living and housing. amy: muhiyidin d'baha was just 32 years old. his family has set up a gofundme page to raise money to bring his body home to charleston from n w orleanans. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. the u.s. is intensifying its air war in afghanistan. over a recent four-day period , u.s. air force b-52's dropped what the air force described as a rerecord-setting 24 precision guided weapons on suspected taliliban targets. the bombings took place in the northeast province of badakhshan which shares a border with pakistan, tajikistan and china.
meanwhile, u.s. central command has announced it is shifting military resources from iraq and syria back to afghanistan where the united states has been fighting for over 16 years in the longest war in u.s. history. u.s. air force major general james hecker recently said afghanistan has "become centcom's main effort." amy: the news comes after a particularly bloody period in afghanistan. last year, the united states said civilian casualties in 2017 had reached a record high in afghanistan. meanwhile, about 10,000 of afghanistan security forces were reportedly killed over the past year. despite the spiraling violence, president trump recently ruled out negotiations with the taliban. during a meeting of members of the united nations security council. pres. trump: we will also discuss what more we can do to defeat the taliban. i don't t see any talking taken
place. i don't think we're prepared to talk right now. whole different fight over there. they're killing people left and right, innocent people are being killed left and right. bombing in the middle of families. killing all over afghanistan. there e is no talking to the taliban. we don't wantnt to talk to the taliban. we're going to finish what nobody else has been able to finish. amy: we turn now to steve coll, a journalist who has reported on afghanistan and the region for the past three decades. in 2005, he won a pulitzer prize for his book, "ghost wars: the secret history of the cia, afghanistan, and bin laden, from the soviet invasion to september 10, 2001." well, now he has just published a sequel looking at what has happened in afghanistan since the 9/11 attacks. it is titled "directorate s: the cia and america's secret wars in afghanistan and pakistan." steve coll, who is dean of the graduate school of journalism at
columbia university and a staff writer at the new yorker, joins us now in our studio. welcome back to democracy now! ,et's start with your title "directorate s: the cia and america's secret wars in afghanistan and pakistan." s?t is directorate >> the covert arm of the pakistani intelligence service called isi. it basically has supported the taliban and other militant groups to pursue pakistan's idea that foreign-policy y interestsn its neighborhood, or at least the idea of its military, which is really in charge of isi and drudgery as, in the strongest -- directorate s, and has really country for many of its years of independence. the cia knows all about it because they worked with them during the 1980's to defeat the soviet occupation. ghost wars. the story here is after the u.s. winning to afghanistan, set up
constitutional government led by hamid karzai initially, fears after that, starting around 2005, directorate s went back into action, not to defeat the soviets, but to undermine the american project in afghanistat. nermeen: could you say a little bit more for our listeners and viewers who don't know very much about the history of afghanistan during the cold war and pakistan? give us a sense of the expansion of inter-services intelligence, the premier intelligence agency of pakistan. what was the scope? now it has come to be known as a state within the state. how did it come to have the proportions it does now and also influence over pakistan's foreign-policy? >> you start with the armies includes over pakistan's foreigign-policy which goes all the way back to the 1950's. the growth of isi really took place duduring the 1980's with funding from the cia and saudi arabia to try to help isi
support the afghan rebels against the soviet union in a cold war proxy fight. the soviets invaded afghanistan in 1979. afghans rebuild once heinously against that occupation. many of them fled to pakistan, gradually pakistan organized resistance and in the cia and saudi arabia came in with billions of dollars. essentially they contracted isi to carry out this covertrt actin wiwill stop pakistanan insisist. they so we don't want a bunch of americans running around on our frontier. you let us do the work, give us the funds, and gradually they grew to this corrosive force within packet and. beyonond into interfering in pakistani politics, trying to shape media narratives and essentially become a state within the state. amy: the u.s. and saudi arabia provovided enormous susupport fr pakistan and ultimately, the isi . >> indirectly to isi.
we had a long-standing alliance with pakistan to try to provide humanitarian aid and so forth over the decade, but it was the soviet war that really change the character of the relationship by bringing isi's role in this covert war to the forefront of the alliance. quite remarkable the shift that happened in u.s. policy, vis-a-vis, precisely, isi. they used isi to funnel all of these funds and arms to the human gene -- the u.s. government described the isi as a terrorist organization on par with al qaeda and the taliban. coululd you give us a sense e of what accouounts for this massive shift? >> it was the expense of being on the receiving end of isi covert action to overthrow the taliban in 2001. the taliban fell in december
2001. the agreement established a new constitutional government in afghanistan is the hamid karzai was elected president. was elected. afghans came home from abroad. there were a couple of years of relative peace. then the war started again. initially, i think the u.s., which was distracted by iraq, had gone off and invaded iraq, was tried to -- the bush administration was tried to turn the war over the nato allies. theyey did not release the isi coming for a while. gradually, the taliban revevived anand became apparent to the u.. officials who would go over and try to study what was going wrong with the war that isi was back in action that the taliban were receiving not just physical century inside, but material support, maybe training. they started to attack afghan forces. they started to attack canadians and brits and carrying out bombings in cities.
at the end of the bush administration and the first years of the obama administration, we sent tens of thousands of u.s. combat troops back to afghanistan to try to finish the war, much as you quoted president trump saying he was going to do. "this time we're going to get it done." time, you'res quoting this document from 2011, that the taliban started to strike american soldiers, kill and wound thousands. u.s. commanders became furious. they said, we're giving all of iss aid to pakistan but isi supporting groups that are attacking and killing our own soldiers. that led to assessments like, well, they are the enemy, the terrorist organization. amy: afghanistan cannot be looked at in isolation in so many different ways, but how the u.s. engaging in the iraq war, what that meant for afghanistan -- the first bush war.
so can you talk about this moment when the u.s. is focusing on afghanistan and then donald rumsfeld, the secretary of tommye, prevailed upon franks to divert attention from that to deal with iraq. >> there's a a scene in directorate s were after the fall of the taliban, rumsfeld insists on a light footprint is of a military force there. it is peaceful. there is a task force. american generals come out to set of keys giving a maybe chase al qaeda hunting operating just outside of kabul. they're getting themselves organized and call to a conference 2002. they go to europe, this meeting, they come back and say their comrades, this war is over,, we're going to iraq. we are already going to iraq.. this w w months before even the u.s. public for start getting his this planning was underway. if you're in the military or in
the intelligence services, your career depends on being present at the next big war. so everybody's attention shifted. the u.s. basically abandoned afghanistan in o order to carry out the iraq invasion. then of course, we know how well that went and involved down the u.s. for years to come. amy: we're going to go to break and then come back to this discussion. the u.s.s. bombing afghanistan, the beginning of it, october 7, , just weeks after the september 11 attacks. many in the u.s. would think those who piloted the planes into the world trade center and the pentagon were either afghan or iraqi. and in fact, 15 of the 19 people who were in those planes were from saudi arabia. this i is democracy now! talkwe come back, we will about many issues, including what actually happened in a modified, osama bin laden, mohammed omar, and much more. stay with us.
amy: the song was cowritten by john perry barlow, who died at the age of 70. besides being a lyricist for the dead, barlow was a leading advocate for free and open internet. use the coven of the electronic frontier foundation and freedom of the press foundation. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. our guest for the hour is steve "directoratehor of s: the cia and america's secret wars in afghanistan and pakistan." trump used to state e of the union address to put a positive spin on the war in afghanistan also the longest war in u.s. history. trump: our war is in afghanistan have new rules of engagement.
along with the her wrote afghan partners, our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines and we no longer tell our enemies our plans. amy: five years earlier, president barack obama predicted in his 2013 state of the union that the war would soon be over. pres. obama: this spring our forces will move into a support role while afghan security forces take the lead. tonight i can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 american troops will come home from afghanistan. this drawdown will continue. by the end of next year, our war in afghanistan will be over. nermeen: back in 2006, president george bush used his state of the union to praise afghanistan for building "new democracy."
bush: we remain on the offensive in afghanistan. president a n national symbol are fighting terror while building institutions of a new democracy. nermeen: that is president george w. bush speaking in 2006. we're speaking with steve coll, author of "directorate s: the cia and america's secret wars in afghanistan and pakistan." the sequel to his pulitzer prize winning book "ghost wars: the secret history of the cia, afghanistan, and bin laden, from the soviet invasion to september 10, 2001." steve coll, we spoke earlier in impact of thee u.s. decision to invade iraq on what happened in afghanistan. orthat is one could say to one of the failures of the bush administration. as you point out in your book, president obama made a shift in policy, first of all, by appointing a special office within the state department to deal with afghanistan special
representative richard holbrook. in this people thought would be a significant shift from bush's policy. you reveal in the book that in 2010, the obama administration also established a secret cell in the white house called the conflict resolution cell, w whih was for negotiations with the taliban. why did those negotiations never mertnywhere? you also say ol wrote a letter to obama making it clear that he would be open to negotiations with the americans. so what happened with negotiations, american negotiations? to negotiations with taliban lasted about two and a half years, all must entirely in secret. there were occasional reports about what was going on. most of f what was really happening was kept secret. they fell apart for a variety of reasons. i would name to really important factors. one was the obama administration
was really divided about the strategy. the military wanted to keep fighting the war. the cia more or less was supportive of the military's position, skeptical that negotiations with the taliban would leaead anywhere. you have this kind of government that was running throughgh policies at the same time. they rationalized it by saying our policy is fight and talk. so that confused everyone out in the region, but it was at least a way to describe what was going on accurately. they were fighting and talking. another factor was hamid karzai had lost trust in the united states. after all of t these y years --e kept asking the united states, why are you doing more to pressure pakistan? why are you sending troops into my villages? why are you creating celine cap shanties -- civilian casualties? amererican dipiplomats would sa, mr. president, it is conspiracy
theory. let it go. he was a, i can't understand why you're conducting the war this way. karzai,ately, undermined the negotiations with the taliban. you just out like this was somehow out to get him so he kind of blew up the talks in 2013. since then, the u.s., and the obama years and possibly into the first part of the trump administration, has probed for another way forward with accident or otherwise. we're the president in his clip say "i will never talk to the taliban." but the trouble administration is saying with the two previous ministrationons that, which is we're not never going to talk to them, but we're going to bomb them to the negotiatiting table. we're g going to defeat them on the battlefield to the point they will have no choice but to talk to us. this is what t the military was arguing during the obama years. it is not that we are against any settlement eventually, but we need to make more progress on the battlefield d before we can force them to the negotiating
table. remember vietnam? that was pretty much the theme of the johnson administration and then it in years. amy: the room major protests, not only against the iraq war before the iraq war began, but even before the u.s. bombing afghanistan. talk about the u.s. doing that on october 7, 2001 and then what happened immediately with omar and then your very detailed a fresh reporting on what happened with osama bin laden, how he was -- what happened him and ultimately being caught in abbottabad with or without pakistani knowledge. that is very interesting how you write about it. >> after september 11, the bush blindstration really was about where these attacks had come from. they know a lot of al qaeda leaders were in afghanistan so they quickckly came up with this plan to trtry to disrupt them ad maybe to destroyoy al q qaeda bombing.
in that plan there were targets of leadership. one was omar and the other was osama bin ladin. they essentially knew were omar wawas but not bin laden. omar had a house on the outskirts of kandahar that osama bin laden had built for him and the cia had these predator drones that arose circling over it. on the night of october 7 when the war began, they sent a predator with missiles t to tryo strike omar. the book describes this keystone cop evening where they lost tracack of him, argued about whether they should shoot at him or not. amy: explain why mohammed omar was so important. folks he was the american televangelist of the end quesestion leader -- ,lose he was the emir taliban the unquestioned leader. it was the government of afghanistan. ire,e,'s authority was
absolute with the ministers that he consulted with, but it was ultimately his decision. the bush administration told him, we're notot necessarily determined to go to war with you . if you will give us osama bin laden, maybe we can work with you about other arrangements. and some of omar's advisers said, look, it is not worth going to war with the united states over osama bin laden. they certainly were not involved with the september 11 attacks and the operational sense. they had this a debate of what to do. ultimately, omar said, you know, it is god's will. i cannot turn a fellow muslim over to american justice. if god wantsts us to suffer andd lose our government, it means we were not doing a very good job
in the first place and we will just have to learn our lessons and find our way back. that is s what he ulultimately decided toto do. amy:y: how did he escape? >> after escaping that night through these poor decisions by the americans, he survived in kandahar for another two months and then as his government fell, he got on a motorcycle and rode into pakistan where he lived until he died in a hospital in karachi in 2013. one of the themes of this whole that, are the taliban independent or are they just a creature of directorate s or isi ? when the negotiations occur with the taliban, they want to be independent, negotiate on their on behalf of the point omar ultimately dies in this hospital, nobody knows he's there, the leader of the pakiststan army talks with the
american presenting statements that supposesedly have been written by omar. the pakistanis did act as the agent of the taliban and these negotiation's, even while keeping secret the true circumstances s of the taliban's leadership. you can't make this stuff up. he asked about osama bin laden. he escaped around the same time omar got on his motorcycle. that was a missed opportunity to maybe end al qaeda's were with the united states and the bush demonstrations were with osama bin laden. the main missed opportunity was that he was clear, upon this mountain, being bombed. but the door to pakistan was wide open. the americans debated, should we put troops up there to stop him and to finish this? they decided not to because they were afraid it would provoke an uprising among local people if they put troops up on that mountain.
they also the later, well, we did not have enough helicopters. in the u.s. military, it is seen as a huge missed opportunity to have into this whole story about the u.s. being at war with enlightened tenures before -- with bin laden tenures before. amy: and abbottabad and what happened? >> i s spent a lotot of time trg to figure out pretty positive on the record evidence that the pakikistanis knew he was there. i'm entirely prepared to believe that pakistanis had a cell that was supporting him or that set him up there. i feel as a kind of evidence-based person that we don't have positive on the record evidence e to confirm th. journalistsother ha quoted anonymous sours yingng, ah, that w the ce. i did not find anyone who could demonstrate to me. you look at the letters that came out of the compound where he hid foror a few years and hes always wririting to his sonsns coming to vivisit him and say, watch overer the pakistatanis,'t
talk to any policeman or security services. hand, there's testimony from one of his wives that once when they moved houses, there was a policeman in the vehicle with them. how do you explain that? it is likely that he has some support, but it is also likely the pakistanis really did not want to get caught and probably minimized their support for him and told him, don't call us, we will call you. nermeen: let's go back to what you're talking about earlier president hamid karzai and a falling out with the u.s.. one can say that is one of the definitive reasons that no political negotiation has been possible. one of the things your book does that isves an account not representative of a lot of u.s. writing on karzai were he a scene more or less a conspiracy theorist, opposed to u.s. interests. and you say in the book when he first became the leader of
afghanistatan in december 2001,e was celebrated here in the u.s. as an afghan mandella. but by the time he left office 13 years later, he was viewed more as an afghan mugabe. could youu explain what accounts for that quite radical shift in perspective on karzai? >> several things. the first was that he just could not understand what he was was doing with pakistan. i had interviewed him, covered the story is sort of a magazine writer and honest as a beat reporter. but when i went back and tried to dig out the records and interview peoplele and found nos of all of the conversations with karzai over the years, itit waso striking that almost every time an american came to visit himim, he said, what arare you doing about isi? what are you doing about directorate s? the real war is to try to change pakistan's conduct. say, yes,ans would
mr. president, we understand. pakistan is also an important ally. they are doing their bit. over the years, he just could not understand what the u.s. was doing. he finally concluded that they were deliberately collaborating with pakistan in order to undermine afghanistan's independence and security in order to establish a long-term u.s. military presence in the country. he really lost faith. the second reason was because of the way the u.s. conducted the war. he was the sovereign leader of afghanistan. he did not support the counterinsurgency campaign that involved ending u.s. troops and afghan villages, breaking down doors, rounding up people, putting them in detention. he wanted a war that was focused on the border, to try to secure the pakistan border to prevent militants from coming into afghanistan. he wanted a war that was about the basic security of afghanistan, the cities. the american troops on bases supporting afghan forces.
he did not believe the taliban and were in insurgency. and when the americans would come in and show these long powerpoint presentations about how they were going to use counterinsurgency doctrine to win the hearts and minds of the afghan peoplple, president karzi would say, that is not the war i want to fight. at the americans went ahead anyway. essentially, he was not in a position to stop them. he resented being their vassal. the more he felt like he was not in control, the angrier and the more defiant he got about the united states. amy: and the more he was made out to be a madman, , even by te u.s. media. >> in fairness, he was untethered as he felt like he had lost his position, lost control of his own office. and he was not a madman. he was just confused and angry and also trying to demonstrate his independence. sometimes that was interpreted by thehe u.s. media, western mea as, oh, he is off his meds.
no, he was try to demonstrate to his own people he was not a lackey of the united states. those words were hard for americans to hear. amy: your chapter on torture begins with the "his rules were different than our rules" as you talk about somehow the bush winnistration wanting to the hearts and minds of the people of afghanistan, which would make most laugh if they were not crying in bitterness and horror and pain. what about what happened in afghanistan, the torture cells, the prisons? important toit was write a version of the torture history set in afghanistan. otherof what investigative reporters uncovered a decade ago about the secret prisons in the enhanced interrogation techniques against al qaeda prisoners, offshore in places like thailand and morocco oneso forth, that was
version of torture. what happened in afghanistan was like a much more thuggish and politically consequential version of the same regime. so that chapter, that quotation comes from the case of an afghan the u.s.urdered on military and cia base by a cia contractor. it tells the full story of how he was brought in as a suspect, just minor local rocketing. then beaten over a period of days by this expert lease and who was drunk some of the time that he was beating him. ce who was strong some of the time that he was beating him. rulese bright lights, the the interrogators were following. andas much more brutal neglected system.
it affected the american position in afghanistan because over time, hundreds and hundreds of detainees come afghan detainees brought in virtually no evidence, subjected to these harsh conditions, when homes and said, you know, this is who the americans are. amy: were they wrong? >> know, of course. amy: the torture chambers they built and set up. >> there's a whole archipelago by 2005 of detention facilities, some run by the afghan security service, some run by the americans, some run by the military come some run by the cia. there were a couple of documented cases of either murder or death by neglect in the cia facilities. but, youou k know, a lotot of te afghans would say, i would rather be put in the american facilities for all of the trouble i will get them be in the afghan ones. the afghans who were detained under suspicion, they understood
the afghan security service was essentially a client of the united states. so it all had the same kind of effect. it was a time when the cia officers in the field, to some extent, the special forces officers -- though they still were subject to the uniformed code of military justice and were a little more cautious -- they felt a sense of impunity. that is what his rulelewere differenent than our rules. that is a quopte from military sergeant who watched the murder of the man in my book, testifying and the accused murder trial. well, whahatr sayays, did you ththink was goining on s you u stood outside this height and listened to dust outside the hut and listen to the man being beaten to death. he told us israel's were different than our rules. that was a metaphor for what happened in the ears between
200202 and 2007 7 or so. nermeen: can we just talk about who constitutes the taliban? there was at a point, in which the talibaban and al qaeda s sow became conflated but obviously they were quite different. also the relationship to the regime. the michigan who fought the soviets during the occupation were not just afghan nationals. there were lots of arabs and other muslims who came from across the world to fight the soviets in afghanistan. many have questioned where they went afterwards and how many of them c came to constitute al qaa or the taliban. the taliban are afghans. they come from afghanistan. they formed in afghan villages in southern afghan. --you know, the afghanistan afghanistan's ethnicity is polyglot but one of the largest groups of the e posh tunes stica
distinctive language and the ashtunn emerged from p areas. especially refugee camps that also the tribal areas. taliban.o they were indigenous. they were not international terrorists or militants. among them were the uzbek's andd the arabs and the other groups thatat migrated to afghanistan n order to participate in an international uprising against the united states and its allies. the relationship between the telegram and al qaeda was never clearly understood. there was no agreement and the u.s. system about how to understand that relationship. there were some, and this is a recurring theme in directorate s
, you get in the situation room and that all of the intelligence on the t table. they have e these long argument. is the taliban the same as al qaeda? they go to these education sessions. ns of,s where the pashtuyn these are the arabs. substantive arguments. they are not the same, but they have sometimes accommodating relations with one another. the big difference is the taliban are not going anywhere and the taliban have never declared war onn the united states, even after september 11. even after the u.s. overthrew to taliban regime, except liberate afghanistan. the taliban did not conspire with al qaeda to attack london or spain or attacked new york. they were very clear they did not -- if they gave active power, they did not want to be a rogue state again.
that did not work out well the first time. amy: if any leader wanted to end this war, they would have to negotiate with the taliban, the indigenous leadership of afghanistan. >> yes. andd also the neighbors. afghanistan has a was been shaped by interference from outside countries, at least since the soviet invasion. so you have to deal with the taliban, pakistan, china, russia, iran. amy: we will talk about that in a minute. our guest is steve coll who is just written a sequel to his kilis prize-winning book "ghost wars," called "directorate s: the cia and america's secret wars in afghanistan and pakistan." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
leonard cohen. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. is steve coll, author of "directorate s: the cia and america's secret wars in afghanistan and pakistan." break, thatt music because it is the epigraph of this book. why did you start with this? greatly, but the reason is because there's a character in the book, a scholar of afghanistan who try to advise the obama adadministration about negotiations witith the taliban and region governments. i was interviewing him at one point and i said, what were you doing on the day that bin laden was killed in abbottabad? he said, i was in a meeting in kabul. i was listening to the bririefes
drone on. i was writing in my notebook and i just wrote down these leonard cohen lyrics. this was the day before may 1. that scene of this kind of bearded scholars writing down leonard cohen note in a meeting just seemed like a pretty good -- it stayed with me, so then i chose thohose lyrics. nermeen: that scholar was earning ruben -- was barney rubin. earlier you were talking about why it is so important that afghanistan -- the country's running afghanistan are crucial to any kind of settlement. and one of the key things in your book, after all, taken from the title, taken from a brananch with an inter-services intelligence, the intelligence service of pakistan. it has long been clear to the americans that pakistan is absolutely central to any resolution of the conflict in
multiple american ministrations, admdministration, obama ministrations, and reasonably the trumump administration. but in 2008 to go back to the bush administration early on, the bush administration signed a nuclear agreement with india, the historic enemy of pakistan. given the fact the americans were aware that pakistan's participation was absolutely crucial to reaching peace in afghanistan, why do you think the bush administration is such a provocative decision? >> i don't think they thought through the consequences for the afghan war. in hindsight we can see they were significant because as you say, it is important to remind your viewers and listeners from pakistan's point of view, is all about india, right? they fought three wars with india. the reason there supporting me keepan primarily is to
india's influence in afghanistsn in check. theyey really see the worldld ia zero-sum way in regard to india's influence in the neighborhood. so when the united states embraced india in this strategic nuclear deal, which essentially for game and never breaking the nonproliferation treaty and developing an atomic weapons such a pakistan simultaneously, by the way, we are giving us we heard till to india and not you because you don't have the record that would justify us doing this. well, the pakistani high command looked at that and said, ok, you made ourselves p playing. you are a close ally of our we should get, and ready to defend our own interest in this neighborhood. i think -- it was a factor in shifting sentiment within isi
particularly in the army high command. the combination of the india nuclear deal and the u.s. essentially pulling out of a commitment to the afghan war because of the quagmire in iraq, turning ththe war overer to nato lookeked at thati and said, we should start prpreparing for a post-american afghanistan. we are already there will stop for them, historically, that meant the taliban had to have a role. amy: i want to ask you about the enormous impact of the war. we keep talking about the longest war in u.s. history, the number of u.s. soldiers lost. the toll on the people of afghananistan? if you could talk about this and the devastation of this country. and also, this remarkable story you tell about 2012 of the cia officer mark sage men carrying out investigation into murders in afghanistan and what this
told the united states. >> when you go back to all of this into one kind of volume of istory, one thing that really s striking that i had not thought abobout until i got to e end of f the projecect, the war really stabilized all three countrtries -- destabilized all three countries. it destabilized the u.s., afghanistan, andnd devastatitiny destabilized pakistan. pakistan had the worst years of terrorism the countrtry's ever known. why? al qaeda fled over the border during the u.s. bombing into pakistan, collaboratated with local radicals, and then ultimately turned against the pakistani state. tens of thousands of pakistanis died in the mid--- after 2007 to about 2012. car bombs in major cities. if you're pakistani and you look at this and say,y, why is this happening? .e can blame isi but also, the american war spilled into this country.
they did not invite the american war. they advised against it in afghanistan. hamid karzai says, take a lighter footprint. stay on your base. stop dropping so many bombs indiscriminately. we're not going to win hearts and minds that we a are fighting this war. the americans go about it their way. and thousands and thousands of afghan civilians died, tens of thousands of security forces died. war is a stalemate. the cia draws of these maps every six months with a color the district's of afghanistan to say whether the government controls and or the taliban controls it wewere it is contested. over the course of a decade, despite the presencece of 150,00 first-rate international combat inops fighting the taliban afghanistan, the colors essentially do not change. they're not much different today. if anything, the telegram have probably come back a little in the countryside. there are reasons why the war is a stalemate from the military perspective. since,a bigger picture
it i is a grinding price e that afghan c civilians are paying fr this. look, the afghans have been brought together in a kind of nationalist way by pakistan's interferenence in the war. and there are some afghans who say, well, we will fight to the end because the taliban are extremists and it will never reconcilen terms wewe find acceptabable. the only know one thing, which is victory. afghans have to find a space where theyey can figure out howo -- the political solomon. they have in some small instances figured out how to bring some element to the taliban in from the cold. extremist have given u up arms d sitting of parliament. amy: in the u.s., trump? >> trump is not interested in to close a missing -- trump is the interested in diplomacy. amy: we will leave it there. people can pick up the book and find out the other remarkable stories that this work is full of. "directorate s: the cia and america's secret wars in afghanistan and pakistan."
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