Gareth Porter writes: The optics surrounding the Barack Obama administration’s “Enduring Strategic Partnership” agreement with Afghanistan and the Memorandums of Understanding accompanying it emphasise transition to Afghan responsibility and an end to U.S. war.
But the only substantive agreement reached between the U.S. and Afghanistan – well hidden in the agreements – has been to allow powerful U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) to continue to carry out the unilateral night raids on private homes that are universally hated in the Pashtun zones of Afghanistan.
The presentation of the new agreement on a surprise trip by President Obama to Afghanistan, with a prime time presidential address and repeated briefings for the press, allows Obama to go into a tight presidential election campaign on a platform of ending an unpopular U.S. war in Afghanistan.
It also allows President Hamid Karzai to claim he has gotten control over the SOF night raids while getting a 10-year commitment of U.S. economic support.
But the actual text of the agreement and of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on night raids included in it by reference will not end the U.S. war in Afghanistan, nor will they give Karzai control over night raids.
The Obama administration’s success in obscuring those facts is the real story behind the ostensible story of the agreement. [Continue reading…]