by Dean Henderson, Left Hook:
With Afghan warehouses brimming with opium, the US bombing of Afghanistan commenced in October 2001. While the US media turned the event into a JDAM video-game hunt for Osama bin Laden, thousands of Afghan civilians were killed, maimed or forced to leave their homes.
A Hampshire College professor, relying on news reports from around the world, estimated 3,700 to 5,000 deaths from the US bombing as of December 10, 2001. Journalist Robert Fisk of the London Independent, who was in Afghanistan during the bombing, corroborated these estimates.
The US paid several Afghan warlords $200,000 each and gave them satellite phones to lead a surrogate army Northern Alliance-led ground assault on the Taliban. Over $7 million was spent buying off these warlords.  One of the warlords was the notorious Uzbek butcher Rashid Dostum.
Amnesty International and UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson called for an investigation of an incident at Mazar-i-Sharif where Dostum oversaw the surrender of hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters who were then massacred in a bombing raid by US aircraft during in an alleged prison uprising. The “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh was among the few survivors. The prisoners had come from Konduz where, according to investigative journalist Seymour Hirsch of The New Yorker, the White House had ordered US Special Forces to create an evacuation corridor whereby Pakistani military aircraft were allowed to fly no less than 2,500 al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, along with their ISI advisers and at least two Pakistani generals, to safety in Pakistan. There they reconstituted as a fighting force in the Pakistani tribal areas and Kashmir.
UN Commissioner Robinson later joined Human Rights Watch, the International Red Cross and the European Union in criticizing US detention camps for al Qaeda prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where prisoners were held in 8’x8’ wire cages.  The US refused to classify the detainees as prisoners of war, a classification which would have afforded them protection under the Geneva Convention. Instead, the US termed the prisoners “illegal combatants” and prepared to try them before Nazi-style military tribunals. While the Bush Administration used an alleged al Qaeda/Saddam Hussein alliance as a pretext to turn its guns towards oil-rich Iraq, the al Qaedaleadership remained unharmed in US-allied Pakistan.
In Afghanistan US envoy and former Unocal executive Zalmay Khalilzad was busy paving the way for the construction of the Centgas pipeline. Later Khalilzad became US Ambassador to Iraq. US Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlain huddled with Pakistan Oil Minister Usman Aminuddin and the Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan to plan the pipeline, which would run next to Khandahar, home of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.
Omar had favored the Centgas consortium and remains mysteriously at large. Meanwhile Northern Alliance leader Rabbani was once again quietly dealt out of the new Kabul government, ostensibly for his favoring the Argentine-led Bridas pipeline consortium.  The World Bank and IMF set up shop in Kabul after a 25 year hiatus. Brown & Root and other post-war “reconstruction specialists” lined up for contracts. On December 27, 2002, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan signed a deal paving the way for the Centgas pipeline.
The US-handpicked Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai emerged after the assassination of Abdul Haq, who walked into a trap inside Afghanistan while supposedly under CIA protection. Haq’s handler was Robert “Bud” McFarlane, Reagan’s NSA who now runs a K Street oil consulting firm. Haq had no ties to the oil industry and was considered by the CIA to be too cozy with Iran and Russia. Haq was eliminated, Rabbani dealt out and Rabbani’s military commander Sheik Massoud assassinated just two days before the 911 attacks on New York and Washington.
According to Iranian, Afghan and Turkish government sources, Hamid Karzai was a top adviser to Unocal during their negotiations with the Taliban. He was also a CIA contact during the Company’s decade-long Afghan War. Bill Casey made sure Karzai’s family was moved safely to the US after anarchy took over in Kabul.  Karzai is close to King Zaher Shah, who convened the loya jerga in July 2002. When all other Presidential candidates mysteriously dropped out of the race 24 hours before the election, Karzai got the nod as head of state. His people then shut down debate at the conference, stonewalled on the formation of parliament and refused to appoint a cabinet. Karzai secret police roamed the grounds of the conference looking for dissenters to jail. According to tribal representative Hassan Kakar, delegates disagreeing with Karzai were not even allowed to speak.