Immunity for US troops in Afghanistan reveals colonial nature of Security Pact
RT: Based on your US military experience, how capable is America of policing its troops without the involvement of local courts, something it plans to do in Afghanistan?
Michael Prysner: There is no real plan to police troops and make sure that crimes aren’t committed in Afghanistan because that’s really been status quo for the war there and the war in Iraq. So it’s not to say it is all, because we won’t let Afghan courts try and punish soldiers for committing actual crimes in this country, but no one is going to be held accountable at all, there are multiple cases in the Iraq war we can point to, even in the Afghanistan war. What was in the recently released WikiLeaks documents were actual crimes against civilians going completely unpunished. But there is a big deal behind the Security Pact. President Obama gave a speech in December 2009, there was one point when he said, “We want to end this war, we know the American people want to end this war and so all we are going to do is just triple the size of the war for a little while and then we are going to make sure that all soldiers come home.” And we know soldiers and their families were promised this 2014 withdrawal deadline. As the deadline approached, we saw the Obama administration go to Afghanistan, essentially trying all they can to sign an agreement to extend troops in that country until at least 2024.
RT: More than 2,000 Afghan leaders will meet on Thursday to discuss this draft security deal. Will there be changes to it?
MP: There may be minor changes, but of course, the big thing is that US is holding on to its arms and ability to have US military bases in the country with the ability to raid Afghan villages, carry out operations where so-called “lives are in danger,” essentially anywhere they want in the country, and of course complete immunity from any crimes committed by any US troops or by the US military. And this alone highlights the real colonial nature of the relationship between the US and the Afghan government. They won’t agree to any pact that doesn’t include immunity for the criminal acts that are committed. And this is why they withdrew from Iraq – because they refused to give up on this one point of immunity. And this actually has some historical significance, as what is known as extra-territoriality, which is a fundamental foundational feature of colonialism, where indigenous colonized people have no right or authority whatsoever to hold accountable those who occupy [their country].
RT: Do you think the US troops could be in the country for another 10 years?
MP: That’s of course what the United States government wants. They want troops, military bases in the country permanently as long as possible. And the things that we are fed by the administration, by the US government, by the Pentagon is that we want to stay in Afghanistan just because we want to provide security for the Afghan people and just because we are going to continue fighting Al-Qaeda, otherwise, there will be another terrorist attack on the United States. Both of those reasons are completely false and have no basis in reality whatsoever. The only reason why the US wants to maintain a permanent military presence in the region is to maintain a geostrategic military presence, one with which it can exert its influence through brute force and intimidation of the entire region and of course, to continue having leverage on whatever new Afghan government takes its place.
RT: How do you think the Taliban would react?
MP: The White House spokesperson has just said, and this is a lie coming from the Obama administration, that regardless of what happened with the troops staying and bases staying, the war is going to end and its combat is going to be over by the 2014, so that promise is going to be kept. But the war and combat is not going to be over, those US soldiers who remain on the bases will be bombarded with attacks, no doubt, on a regular basis. And we are going to see US troops still dying in this country if this continues. So all they are going to do is just to change the language, saying: “This is not a combat mission anymore, we ended the war.” But soldiers are still going to die, and are still going to leave their families.
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