July 30, 2006

War Sabotage Report

Shadow Boxing in the Caves of Tora Bora

Part 1: A Deadly Trap

President George Bush at the Council on Foreign Relations
U.S. State Dept.
The Taliban’s fifth column in the U.S.: President George Bush discusses his no-win strategy in the war on terror before the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. (Dec. 7, 2005).
With the sudden end of Afghanistan’s Taliban regime in November of 2001, the Communist Bloc lost its first chance to draw America into a quagmire, no-win conflict that would drain American resources and morale.

But Afghanistan remained safely in Communist hands; the Taliban, supported openly by Red China and covertly by Soviet Russia, had merged itself into the Soviet-controlled forces of the Northern Alliance, which now effectively ruled most of the country. The presence of American troops amidst the confusion was an open invitation to try again. Several key ingredients were needed to revive the Afghan War as a Vietnam-style trap, carefully maintaining the delicate balance between enticing Americans to fight without allowing them to unleash their full, victorious military strength:

  • A fifth column of traitors in full command of U.S. forces, able to restrain American troops from fighting effectively and winning.
  • Unclear military objectives and an undefined, hidden enemy.
  • A complex, unfamiliar battlefield with terrain unsuitable for large, heavily armored forces but ideal for planting booby traps and snipers and for hiding guerrillas from air assault.
  • “Rules of engagement” to restrict American soldiers from effective combat.
  • Treacherous Afghan “allies” who would be able to maintain a steady supply line to the enemy and stall for time while betraying the Americans at every turn.
  • Some tantalizing bait to lure the Americans into the trap.

A sufficient number of fifth columnists populated the Bush Administration to ensure defeat. Virtually every key figure involved in strategic decision-making was a member of the Fabian Socialist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.1 Admiral Vernon Clark, Chief of Naval Operations, and thus in charge of the aircraft carriers supplying planes for bombing missions, was already so intertwined with the Fabian Socialists that he later joined the CFR formally.2 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was meanwhile a member of the CFR-allied Project for the New American Century (PNAC), together with Cheney, Wolfowitz, and a number of National Security, Defense, and State Department officials.3 And President Bush himself, the son of the elder George H.W. Bush who had long been a CFR director, remained solidly enough entrenched in his family’s traditional Fabian connections to be invited to speak to the CFR and to fill his administration with CFR members — while cautiously avoiding the controversy of formal membership.4

The American war effort had already been crippled for nearly two months, since the war’s start, by Bush Administration rules that prevented bombing of strategic targets or launching ground offensives against the enemy.5 Once the Taliban troops switched flags to join their unofficial allies of the Northern Alliance, they, too, suddenly became off limits and protected as non-enemies.6 With U.S. forces allowed to control no cities or strategic territory in Afghanistan, and with the Bush cabinet having limited the scope of war to certain remnants of the Taliban and what he called “Al Qaeda,” a shifting label then being applied to any non-Afghan enemy fighter in Afghanistan, American troops no longer faced a clear war against an identifiable enemy.

The Northern Alliance, for its part, was headed by Abdul Rashid Dostum, a Soviet general who had previously helped the Taliban come to power.7 The Alliance was financed and heavily armed with tanks and other weapons by Soviet Russia, both directly and through Soviet-controlled Iran.8 Yet the Bush Administration was forcing U.S. troops to trust and work closely with these Communists, to the point of relying on them as a cornerstone of American strategy in fighting other Taliban forces of unknown strength and composition.

The ideal setup for deception having been put in place, the Communists began dangling the bait before the Americans: Usama bin Laden. Reports began flowing in from areas under the control of Northern Alliance or parallel militias that the hunted bin Laden and his “Al Qaeda” associates had fled south-east, toward the Pakistani border. Dozens of titillating stories from anonymous or unreliable Afghan sources described sightings of convoys of Arab foreigners or of bin Laden himself, or reported hearing his voice in radio transmissions.9 Photographs of caves poured in with tales of fortified “Al Qaeda” bunkers behind those entrances.10 Iran, eager to downplay its own ties with bin Laden, broadcast a radio report saying the fugitive was already across the border with Pakistan.11

Several weeks earlier, intelligence data indicated bin Laden had already fled Afghanistan before the war began, moving to Red China or Soviet Russia, or at least that he had relocated to the opposite end of the country from Pakistan — the north-west, near the Soviet and Iranian borders.12 Pentagon officials did admit they couldn’t be sure bin Laden had not traveled north into Soviet Uzbekistan or Soviet Tajikistan, where Russian troops stood ready to protect him, or alternatively, west into Iran, his sponsoring government.13 Both options were far more likely than bin Laden’s fleeing to Pakistan, a non-Communist country with which he had few connections.

But the Bush Administration insisted on taking the bait, and U.S. forces moved south-east. Soon the reported sightings of Taliban and non-Afghan fighters led Americans to the mountainous region of Tora Bora, laced with hundreds or thousands of caves, underground bunkers, and narrow, winding valleys nestled among scraggly cliffs. It was perfect territory for guerrilla warfare against U.S. soldiers, easy to defend and to rig with explosive booby traps while preventing the deployment of heavy armor and large ground forces. Guerrillas could hide inside mountains from aerial bombardment while re-emerging to snipe at Americans, the complex web of reinforced caves dug into hard rock presenting too many hard targets for American bombs to eliminate. Moreover, the U.S. was helplessly dependent on Northern Alliance reports to estimate what kind of enemy soldiers, and how many, they would face in Tora Bora.

The trap was set, and the Communists only had to wait for the Americans to arrive.

– Continued in Part 2 –


1. Annual Report, 1999-2000, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 2000.

2. Annual Report, 2004-2005, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 2005.

3. “Project for the New American Century,” Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org.

4. White House Office of the Press Secretary, “President Bush addresses the Council on Foreign Relations,” U.S. Dept. of State, www.state.gov, Dec. 7, 2005.

5. See other War Sabotage Reports on ATTAC Report.

6. Watson, P., “Defections just a fact of Afghan War,” Los Angeles Times, Nov. 13, 2001, pp. A1, A5; Dixon, R., “Generals and defectors alike revel in booty left in wake of the Taliban,” Los Angeles Times, Nov. 25, 2001, p. A3; Cummins, C., “Arrest reported of leader tied to bin Laden,” Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2001, pp. A3, A12.

7. Chazan, G., “Karzai gives key critic a government job,” Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2001, p. A7.

8. Pyes, C. & Rempel, W.C., “Slowly stalking an Afghan ‘lion’,” Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2002, pp. A1, A26-A28; Watson, P., “Afghan Alliance banking on new airstrip,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 20, 2001, pp. A1, A14.

9. Stack, M.K., “U.S. enlists tribal warriors to comb mountains for bin Laden,” Los Angeles Times, Nov. 29, 2001, p. A22; Drogin, B. & Richter, P., “Bin Laden hunt enters Pakistan,” Los Angeles Times, Dec. 19, 2001, pp. A1, A15.

10. Hendren, J., “Search for bin Laden will use U.S. gadgetry, Afghan hunters,” Los Angeles Times, Nov. 20, 2001, A1, A9.

11. “Bin Laden may have fled Afghanistan,” TCM Breaking News, Ireland, archives.tcm.ie/breakingnews, Nov. 16, 2001.

12. Ahmed, K., Beaumont, P., & Vulliamy, E., “Revealed: British plan for Afghan onslaught,” The Observer, The Guardian, England, observer.guardian.co.uk, Sept. 23, 2001.

13. “Pentagon says no evidence bin Laden fled Afghanistan,” CNN, transcripts.cnn.com, Nov. 17, 2001.