The CIA’s Afghan Death Squads

Debra Sweet | December 22, 2020

To understand what the U.S. does to exert its power around the world, you have to look beyond the public words and actions, to the covert actions that are often even more decisive and revealing of U.S values than overt wars, and certainly more true than diplomacy carried out as subterfuge.  Mike Pompeo, then director of the CIA said in 2017 that it “must be aggressive, vicious, unforgiving, relentless.” That wasn't exactly news to anyone who's followed it since 1947, through its role in dozens of coups overthrowing elected governments not favored by the U.S.  The largest targeted drone killing program of the two decade "war of terror" is probably the CIA's, launched by Bush, expanded by Obama and then more so by Trump. 

On Friday December 18, The Intercept published an investigative report on "01" a CIA-supported extra-military force in Afghanistan.  "Beginning in December 2018 and continuing for at least a year, Afghan operatives believed to belong to an elite CIA-trained paramilitary unit known as 01, in partnership with U.S. special operations forces and air power, unleashed a campaign of terror against civilians."  They document night raids which killed 33 children in 10 covert actions, and speculate that the campaign was designed to pressure the Taliban and the Afghan government into a "peace" deal Trump wanted.

A few excerpts:

"As the U.S. withdraws, the unaccountable militias it has nurtured are beginning to look like a valuable proxy for regular military forces under the leadership of Joe Biden, who as vice president advocated a lighter military footprint and greater focus on counterterrorism in Afghanistan. Biden was credited in 2010 with convincing President Barack Obama to adopt a more aggressive approach in Afghanistan, doubling down on drones, intelligence operatives, and small teams of door-kicking special forces in place of the “hearts and minds” counterinsurgency approach implemented by General Stanley McChrystal and continued under his successor General David Petraeus..."

"The unchecked violence of 01 was in line with U.S. President Donald Trump’s increasing normalization of war crimes. Since late 2019, Trump has overruled senior military commanders who sought to discipline a Navy SEAL for inappropriate and criminal actions, rolled back a ban on the U.S. military’s use of land mines, and pardoned soldiers convicted or accused of murdering Afghans. In September, the U.S. sanctioned senior officials from the International Criminal Court in response to its investigations into whether U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the court’s efforts “illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction.”

We urge to you read and share the full piece, as we confront another month where Trump can do anything with his miliary/nuclear powers, apparently without opposition from leaders of either party.  If Trump does leaves office, which we do expect short of another startling escalation in fascism, take note that Biden was the guy who in 2002 wanted to divide Iraq between 3 dominant powersl who is bringing on the sorts of appointments the system is completely comfortable with, mostly veterans of the U.S. "war of terror."


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.