British political elites made a killing off the destruction of Afghanistan
As Afghanistan's proud people now struggle to emerge from the crater that NATO allies bombed them into, glazed and jaded eyes in Britain gaze past them. The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by the United States and its NATO allies produced 5.3 million refugees (a quarter of the entire population), left 72% of Afghans in poverty and rendered Afghans the saddest people in the world.
Following the US government’s decision to freeze $9.5 billion of assets in the Afghan Central Bank, it is predicted that the poverty rate could reach 97% in 2022. It is estimated that 95% of the population do not have enough to eat and many believe the economic war may kill more than the military war that preceded it.
The petty vindictiveness of retreating empire and disregard for the wellbeing of the Afghan people has this year alone led to 13,000 newborn babies dying from malnutrition. Even the tepid David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee and former UK Labour politician, has blamed “the starvation crisis” on “the international economic policy.”
"We are told that war has no winners, and yet several prominent British political figures were employed by, linked to, or invested in companies which directly benefited from the infrastructure of occupation lurching over Afghanistan for two bloody decades"
What has been Britain’s role in this sadistic scourging of Afghanistan and why are the British political elite so riven with conflicts of interest? We are told that war has no winners, and yet several prominent British political figures were employed by, linked to, or invested in companies which directly benefited from the infrastructure of occupation lurching over Afghanistan for two bloody decades.
Here are just a few of the most prominent profiteers:
The Prime Minister that launched the British role in Afghanistan, Tony Blair, was dutifully carrying out the fourth British invasion of the country in two centuries. Today, he pontificates with a furrowed brow, lamenting the end of the occupation. Presenters solemnly nod and listen intently to the respected oracle of foreign policy who is relentlessly marketed as a seasoned voice of reason.
What is yet to be mentioned is that Blair is paid around £1 million a year as an international advisor to the Mubadala Development Fund in the UAE. This company previously expressed its interest in mining $1 trillion worth of resources in Afghanistan. Without the occupation, it is very unlikely that Mubadala’s enterprise would be possible. Any intervention by Blair should carry with it an admission of this relationship.
As a Member of Parliament (MP), Theresa May voted in favour of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. She then served as Prime Minister for several years of the occupation. But the role and profiting of her husband Phillip May is rarely mentioned.
Tony Blair is paid around £1m a year as an international advisor to an organisation called the Mubadala Development Fund in the UAE— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) August 22, 2021
It has been reported that Mubadala has been developing a plan to mine US$1 trillion worth of resources in Afghanistan.
Skin in the game?
He is a senior executive at the Capital Group, which was the largest shareholder in the arms firm BAE Systems, and the second largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin throughout the occupation of Afghanistan. During that period, Lockheed Martin’s shares increased in value by 1,235.60%, thanks in part to its adventures in the graveyard of empires.
Writing in The Times newspaper following Britain's humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, conservative politician William Hague assured us it "must not deter us from future military interventions.” Hague, of course, served as Foreign Secretary for several years of the occupation.
He is also the Senior Vice President of the Royal United Services Institute, a defence think tank that is funded by BAE Systems, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northup Grumman. The share value of Northup Grumman increased in value by 1,196.14% across the years of scourging Afghanistan.
Current Home Secretary Priti Patel was previously employed for £1,000 an hour as a strategic advisor to ViaSat, a communications firm that works with the Ministry of Defence (MOD), while serving as an MP. Her job was to provide "strategic business advice in Asia", which presumably would include operations in Afghanistan. ViaSat obtained NATO contracts for ground stations to specifically buttress the occupation of Afghanistan.
The current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, was a partner at The Children's Investment Fund, which, despite its innocent name, was a top shareholder in Lockheed Martin during the occupation and collected biometric data on Afghans.
According to The Intercept, the Pentagon aimed to extract the biometric data of 80% of the population. This was attempted through the technology of the Safran owned SecuriMetrics, in which The Children's Investment Fund was a shareholder.
The current Defence Secretary Ben Wallace only resigned as director of arms firm QinetiQ the same month he became an MP. QinetiQ also benefited handsomely from the occupation of Afghanistan, while Wallace bewailed the withdrawal with tears and conscious theatrics, claiming his apparent sorrow was "because he's a soldier.” The Chief Executive Officer of QinetiQ, Steve Wadey, stated that several contracts were delayed or halted as a result of the withdrawal, and the company allegedly took a $20 million hit due to the exit from Afghanistan.
Rupert Soames is the grandson of the deified Winston Churchill and CEO of Serco, a company with significant links to the British establishment. During his military campaign on what is now the Afghan-Pakistan border in 1897, Churchill wrote that Pashtuns “needed to recognise the superiority of [the British] race” and that “all who resist will be killed without quarter.”
"Clearly, Britain was not merely party to the destruction of Afghanistan and the death and suffering of its people; Britain’s political elite acted in concert with key profiteers of the occupation"
Churchill gave a chilling description of genocidal violence of British forces: "We proceeded systematically, village by village, and we destroyed the houses, filled up the wells, blew down the towers, cut down the great shady trees, burned the crops and broke the reservoirs in punitive devastation…Every tribesman caught was speared or cut down at once.”
Rupert Soames is the partner of a donor to the Conservative party and the brother of former Conservative MP Nicholas Soames, who has consistently voted for military action. But Serco’s involvement doesn’t end there. The current Minister of State for the Department of Health and Social Care, Edward Argar, worked as Serco’s head of public affairs throughout the occupation of Afghanistan.
During that time, Serco provided logistics and base support services to the Australian army in Afghanistan, while also serving as a major subcontractor for the Skynet 5 programme for the UK MOD satellite communications there. Not only did Serco profit from setting up military bases in Afghanistan, it then got the contracts to plan and document the disassembling of hundreds of military bases towards the end of the occupation.
John Reid, who served as secretary of defence for a year during the occupation of Afghanistan, immediately went on from his role in government to a job as Group Consultant at outsourcing security giant G4S. Over the years, G4S has picked at the corpse of the region and sucked the bones dry, from contracts at US kidnap centre Guantanamo Bay to security contracts in Afghanistan.
G4S procured the US company ArmorGroup, which was employed to guard the US embassy in Afghanistan during the occupation. Employees were ruled to have violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act by visiting brothels in Kabul. The punishment was a $7.5 million dollar fine paid to the US government.
Since G4S left the country with the occupying forces, former Afghan employees who guarded the British embassy claim they were promised help in coming to the UK by the company, but found their numbers were blocked by the staff they had protected.
Clearly, Britain was not merely party to the destruction of Afghanistan and the death and suffering of its people; Britain’s political elite acted in concert with key profiteers of the occupation.
The occupation of Afghanistan was not a blunder of noble intentioned incompetence, it was a sweeping project with clear material beneficiaries, among them key figures in the highest echelons of power across our country.
Lowkey is a British-Iraqi hip hop artist, academic and political campaigner. He is a patron of Stop The War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Racial Justice Network and The Peace and Justice Project founded by Jeremy Corbyn. His latest album Soundtrack To The Struggle 2 featured Noam Chomsky, Frankie Boyle and Ken Loach and has been streamed millions of times.
Follow him on Twitter: @Lowkey0nline
Have questions or comments? Email us at: email@example.com
Opinions expressed here are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of their employer, or of The New Arab and its editorial board or staff.