Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

There’s No Place Like CounterPunch

There's no place like CounterPunch, it's just that simple. And as the radical space within the "alternative media"(whatever that means) landscape continues to shrink, sanctuaries such as CounterPunch become all the more crucial for our political, intellectual, and moral survival. Add to that the fact that CounterPunch won't inundate you with ads and corporate propaganda. So it should be clear why CounterPunch needs your support: so it can keep doing what it's been doing for nearly 25 years. As CP Editor, Jeffrey St. Clair, succinctly explained, "We lure you in, and then punch you in the kidneys." Pleasant and true though that may be, the hard-working CP staff is more than just a few grunts greasing the gears of the status quo.

So come on, be a pal, make a tax deductible donation to CounterPunch today to support our annual fund drive, if you have already donated we thank you! If you haven't, do it because you want to. Do it because you know what CounterPunch is worth. Do it because CounterPunch needs you. Every dollar is tax-deductible. (PayPal accepted)

Thank you,
Eric Draitser

The Man Who Shouldn’t be King (of Afghanistan)


It was hoped that t he election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States would bring a change of course to the beleaguered US effort in Afghanistan. But word that representatives of the Taliban and the infamous Afghan drug trafficker and extremist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar might be on the president’s list of possible solutions, looms as a clear sign that the United States is about to step into a trap of its own making.

Employing Afghanistan’s drug-dealing warlords is nothing new for Washington. The U.S. elevated Pakistan’s drug-warlords to beltway cult status vis a vis Charlie Wilson’s War during the Soviet occupation and insisted on including them in the new Afghan government in 2002.  Numerous observers claim that Washington had a hand in the Taliban’s creation as well, standing by as they rolled over Afghanistan in league with Al Qaeda and Pakistan’s Intelligence Service (ISI) in the late 1990’s.

But should Gulbuddin Hekmatyar be allowed to make a political comeback, the new administration may find that partnering with the devil himself might be a better choice than with Afghanistan’s longest running and most notorious holy warrior.

According to a Washington Post report, Hekmatyar’s Hesb-i Islami organization is gaining support in every province in Afghanistan. This news followed a Times of London report in which the British ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles reportedly stated that the best hope for Afghanistan was to install “an acceptable dictator.”

Should the Pashtun Hekmatyar emerge as Cowper-Coles’s suitably acceptable dictator, an increasingly desperate and financially impaired U.S. could be faced with a defacto extremist victory. Or could it be that within the serpentine meanderings of Washington’s foreign policy aristocracy, a Taliban/Hekmatyar ruled Afghanistan may have been the plan all along?

America’s multitude of policy mistakes in Afghanistan have mystified many from the beginning. In a February 2, 2009 Times of London Online article, the international community’s High Representative in Bosnia, Paddy Ashdown accepted responsibility for the Afghan fiasco admitting that “We are trying to win in Afghanistan with one twenty-fifth the troops and one fiftieth of the aid per head in Bosnia… [T]he real problem is not President Karzai, it’s us.” Yet, much of the ongoing discussion continues to lay blame on beleaguered Afghans while continuing to soft-peddle the Pakistani military’s central role in Afghanistan’s instability.

Throughout the Cold War Pakistan did everything in its power to destabilize a succession of Afghan governments while dismissing Afghanistan’s legitimate grievances regarding its arbitrary 19th century boundary known as the Durand line. Yet Britain’s former secretary of state for defense, Malcolm Rifkind wrote in The Independent  in June of 2007 that the United States and Britain should pressure Afghan President Hamid Karzai to accept the Durand line. And should he not, what are the chances that an acceptable dictatorship of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar might accommodate British and Pakistani demands?

Thanks to Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson and his influential friend Joanne Herring, Hekmatyar received the bulk of U.S. and Saudi money during the 1980’s, despite dire warnings from some of Afghanistan’s most revered religious families that he was a  “monster.” According to  Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Tim Weiner even CIA and State Department officials referred to him as “‘scary,’ ‘vicious,’ ‘a fascist,’ ‘definite dictatorship material.’”

The post-9/11 American and NATO war against the Taliban was widely viewed at the time as a long overdue opportunity to correct the policy mistakes in Afghanistan embodied by the Taliban but beginning with Hekmatyar. But instead of helping Afghans rebuild their nation by providing the necessary security, the war has been turned against the Afghan people.

Today, as Pakistani Taliban, Arab Al Qaeda and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hesb-e Islami fighters once again swarm over the countryside, the western alliance that pledged itself to establishing an Afghan democracy scrambles madly to negotiate its way out of its commitment.

But in choosing his next step, President Obama should be warned that the record of decision making for American Presidents on Afghanistan is abysmal. Although those decisions presented the Soviet Union with its final test and brought it to its knees, it also planted dreams of conquest in the minds of America’s leaders that have led the United States to find itself caught in its own trap.

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story, available from City Lights Books  and



Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are authors of “Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story,” published by City Lights. They can be reached at

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation wasted $32.2 million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians