Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) again called for the United States to end its involvement in Afghanistan after it was revealed that NATO officials were duped into holding negotiations with a man posing as a senior member of the Taliban.
“The war in Afghanistan is taking place in a netherworld where facts and common sense have no place,” Kucinich said Tuesday. “Elections are fake. Our deadline to withdraw is a fake. Now, we learn that a fake Taliban leader has been leading us to believe that NATO was facilitating high-level talks between Taliban leadership and the corrupt Afghan central government we’re propping up.”
“The only real thing about this war is the dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, the wasted tax dollars and the mounting evidence telling us to get out,” he added.
A man posing as Mullah Akthar Mohammad Mansour, a senior leader of the Taliban, was flown on British military aircraft to Kabul to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and NATO officials, according to the Washington Post.
“It’s not him,” a diplomat told the New York Times. “And we gave him a lot of money.”
Rep. Kucinich was also highly critical of US-supported President Karzai, saying his regime was “among the most corrupt in the world.”
“President Karzai rules through crony capitalism,” he said. “He works to protect his cronies rather than the Afghan people. Our tax dollars are going to the Karzai family and its supporters to buy villas in Dubai.”
Private security companies with ties to President Karzai and other Afghan officials have come under investigation for possibly using American money to bribe the Taliban, the New York Times reported in June.
“People think the insurgency and the government are separate, and that is just not always the case,” a NATO official in Kabul told the New York Times. “What we are finding is that they are often bound up together.”
Rep. Kucinich blasted recent comments by a NATO official, who said children may be safer growing up in Kabul than London or Glasgow.
“NATO officials have become so skilled in self-deception that a senior NATO official recently claimed that Kabul is safer for children than most western cities. Meanwhile those who continue to advocate for the war apply the dark arts of public relations to manufacture support for a war which is neither winnable, nor moral nor sane.”
Last year, President Barack Obama announced July 2011 as the date the United States would begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, but according to administration and military officials, the Obama administration has now decided to de-emphasize its plans to begin withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan in 2011, instead focusing on a 2014 withdrawal date.
“The War in Afghanistan is longer than any other war America has ever fought,” Kucinich said. “It has cost U.S. taxpayers more than a trillion dollars. More than 1300 Americans have died, thousands more wounded. Countless innocent Afghan civilians have died.”
Rep. Kucinich plans to enter a privileged resolution to force Congress to vote on withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan when the new 112th Congress convenes in January, but the resolution is unlikely to be passed, since the majority of those in Congress still support the war.
Sixty-one members of the House of Representatives, including Rep. Kucinich, have signed a bipartisan letter to President Barack Obama opposing the presence of US troops in Afghanistan through 2014.