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Reader's View: And the Taliban got its pipeline built, too

The future of the pipeline is now uncertain, as Afghanistan once again lives up to its reputation as the “graveyard of empires.”

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The war in Afghanistan has been a smashing success in transferring many billions of taxpayer dollars to arms merchants, stock market speculators, and various camp followers. Mission accomplished!

Osama bin Laden, a one-time U.S. ally and the ostensible reason for the invasion of Afghanistan, was eventually found living in Pakistan, half a mile from the headquarters of Pakistani intelligence services. What a small world.

Though considered a pariah state when in power, and recognized by only three other countries, the Taliban nonetheless met with the American energy company Unocal in Texas in 1997, for negotiations regarding a proposed pipeline across Afghanistan, as RadioFreeEurope RadioLiberty reported in March 2020. Unocal eventually dropped its pipeline plans, but its former consultant, Hamid Karzai, became president of Afghanistan in 2002, and another former Unocal consultant, Zalmay Khalilzad, became America’s special envoy to Afghanistan. It’s a small world, indeed.

Construction of the Afghan section of what is now known as the TAPI pipeline finally began in 2018. Though not a U.S. project, it was strongly supported by the U.S. because of its potential to export energy to western markets without passing through hostile countries. The future of the pipeline is now uncertain, as Afghanistan once again lives up to its reputation as the “graveyard of empires.”

When will they ever learn?

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David A. Sorensen

Duluth


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