Afghanistan, Still Losing the War, Part 10

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Even when the bombs don't fall, it's quite dangerous to be an Afghan. Journalist Jawed Ahmad was on assignment for Canadian Television in the southern city of Kandahar when American troops stopped him. In his possession, they found contact numbers to the cell phones of various Taliban fighters -- something every good journalist in the country has -- and threw him into prison, not to be heard from for almost a year. During interrogation, Ahmad says that American jailors kicked him, smashed his head into a table, and at one point prevented him from sleeping for nine days. They kept him standing on a snowy runway for six hours without shoes. Twice he fainted and twice the soldiers forced him to stand up again. After 11 months of detention, military authorities gave him a letter stating that he was not a threat to the U.S. and released him.

- [i]ibid.[/i]

Jerry West

[ 10 October 2008: Message edited by: Jerry West ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[b]Canadian blowback from Afghanistan[/b]

quote:

Canada has been ambivalent about its role in military projections by great powers. We're never sure whether we belong with the empire or the natives. Our view of our soldiers as peacekeepers was an effort to straddle that dilemma. But in the Afghan occupation, we seem to have tilted: We now identify with the big guys, against the little scumbags.

It hasn't worked well. Insecurity there has increased. Sixty per cent want foreign troops out. Social progress has been minimal. The Taliban are resurgent. But what I really want to talk about are the "blowback" effects on us, at home, from our big military adventure. Let me take one example.

Stephen Harper's view for years has been that Canada's social programs are overblown and humiliatingly socialist. (You can Google it.) Yet they're awfully popular. How do you combat that as a minority prime minister? Try this: We can't afford it. Except we seem able to. Hmm, okay. Then lower the GST a couple of points, making less money available for the programs. Not bad. But what next?

Enter the Afghan mission. The parliamentary budget office reported yesterday on its total cost: $14-billion to $18-billion, maybe more: two to three times what the government claimed.

When asked about it, Stephen Harper held his palms up and said it was all "budgeted." As in: Sorry kids, but there's no money left at the end of the month for a trip to the zoo. He'd just announced a meagre $10-million for pulmonary diseases, much like yesterday's $5-million to lure Canadian doctors home. He calls these outlays modest. How about piddling? They are pathetic compared to what's required for national child care, pharmacare, the cities or aboriginals. Then add his plan to spend $490-billion on the military in the next 20 years, anticipating future Afghanistans.


[url=http://www.rabble.ca/columnists_full.shtml?x=76474]Rick Salutin[/url]

Unionist

For the second time in a month:

[url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7674323.stm]Afghan police kills U.S. soldier[/url]

Ungrateful, aren't they? No fear, the U.S. forces returned fire and killed the bad Afghan.

Meanwhile, while some babblers call for Omar Khadr to be tried for allegedly blowing up a U.S. so-called "medic" when Khadr was 15, the foreign forces continue their glorious battle to bring freedom and democracy to the ungrateful Afghan people:

[url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7674323.stm]Air strike kills at least 18 civilians[/url]

quote:

A BBC reporter in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah saw the bodies - [b]three women and the rest children - ranging in age from six months to 15[/b].

The families brought the bodies from their village in the Nad Ali district, where they say the air strike occurred.

[b]A further nine bodies[/b] are said to be trapped under destroyed buildings.


[ 18 October 2008: Message edited by: unionist ]

Unionist

[url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7678717.stm]Taleban kill many in bus attacks[/url]

quote:

Taleban insurgents have killed at least 27 people travelling on buses in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.

A Taleban spokesman said that all those killed in the attacks on three buses were Afghan government soldiers, but officials said they were civilians. ...

A Taleban spokesman said its fighters had boarded the buses travelling on the province's main highway, removed men identified as soldiers and shot them.

Afghan officials said all the victims were civilians as soldiers travel in military convoys or by plane. ...

Stopping another bus carrying about 50 people, they killed 24 of those aboard and freed the rest, Kandahar police chief Matiullah Qateh was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency. ...

Taleban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi told AFP news agency that those killed were soldiers en route to Helmand province.

"We found government documents on them and we killed 27 of them," he said. "The rest, who were civilians, we freed."


M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/oct/20/afghanistan-taliban-transport]A project that was to bring economic prosperity has become a symbol of failure[/url]

quote:

Asadullah and his fellow 55 passengers are taking a ride along the 483-km highway that many believe is the most dangerous stretch of road on the planet. Linking Kandahar and Kabul - Afghanistan's two largest and most economically vital cities - and completed almost five years ago, the road was meant to open a gateway to economic development and improve the quality of life for Afghans.

The US state department touted the $190m (Ј110m) project as "the most visible sign of America's post-war reconstruction" in Afghanistan. But today the road is a symbol of instability across the country, the failure of government and international security forces to maintain law and order, and the increasing presence of the Taliban.

Government and military officials say insurgents and bandits regularly pull travellers from their vehicles, murdering or kidnapping them for ransoms. Corrupt government security forces seek bribes and collaborate with insurgents and robbers. Roadside bombs frequently target Afghan police and military patrols, along with Nato convoys. No one in an official capacity can even quantify the violence.


Unionist

What a tragedy - do you have any idea how long it takes to train Afghan soldiers!!???

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/10/22/afghan-airstrike.html?ref=rss]C... air strike that kills 9 Afghan soldiers called a mistake[/url]

contrarianna

"Afghan student gets 20 years instead of death for blasphemy"

Yet another "triumph" for those Canadians happy to spend lives and treasure for their chosen Afghan government.

quote:

By Laura King
October 22, 2008
Reported from Kabul, Afghanistan -- In a case that has illustrated Afghanistan's drift toward a more radically conservative brand of Islam as well as the fragility of its legal system, an appeals court Tuesday overturned a death sentence for a student convicted of blasphemy but sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

The student, Parwez Kambakhsh, 24, ran afoul of Afghan authorities last year when he circulated an article about women's rights under Islam after downloading it from the Internet. He was studying at the time in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, where he also worked as a part-time journalist for local newspapers.

Arrested by security police and initially held without charges, he was eventually tried on blasphemy charges, convicted and sentenced to death.

Tuesday's ruling by a three-judge appeals court panel was a blow to human rights groups and advocates of press freedom who have championed Kambakhsh's cause.

International organizations, including New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the case pointed to a troubling lack of respect for freedom of speech and individual liberties in Afghanistan, nearly seven years after a U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban fundamentalist Islamic movement....
[url=http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghanistan22-2008oc... Times[/url]


[ 22 October 2008: Message edited by: contrarianna ]

Unionist

[url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7690509.stm]Three shot dead in Afghan capital[/url]

quote:

Unknown gunmen have killed three people in the Afghan capital, Kabul, including two foreigners, police said.

The attack took place in front of the offices of the courier company DHL in the Sher Pur area of the city, where many foreigners live.

The nationalities of the foreigners were unclear. The attack comes amid rising violence in Afghanistan.

It comes days after an aid worker with dual South African and British nationality was shot dead in Kabul. ...

There has been an upsurge in fighting between Taleban rebels and Afghan and international forces in many parts of the country over the past year.


Unionist

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/10/28/afghan-pakistan.html?ref=rss]Pa..., Afghan leaders call for talks with Taliban[/url]

quote:

Pakistani and Afghan leaders agreed Tuesday to seek dialogue with Taliban militants in an attempt to bring an end to violence in the two countries, but a Taliban spokesman was not impressed, saying the effort was worthless. ...

"This jirga was founded by the Americans. It has no power, no respect," Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told Reuters by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location.

"We will not hold any dialogue while foreign troops commanded by the Americans are in our country," he said.


Kinda obvious who's winning this war, eh?

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]
Kinda obvious who's winning this war, eh?[/b]

I'm not so sure either. Malalai Joya said it's Northern Alliance commanders in Karzai's government, and supported by the U.S., who are selling most weapons to the Taliban. Ordinary Afghans are caught in the middle. The Yanks are using Taliban insurgency to stay longer, she says. Barack Obama is down with Crazy George's phony war on terror and pledges thousands more troops to Afghanistan if elected.

Harumph

quote:


Originally posted by Jerry West:
[b]
That that probably won't work either if it involves foreign troops, and without foreign troops the Afghans get to go back to their business of having a civil war unimpeded.

What is really need in Afghanistan is a change in culture. The social and religious views of the Taliban and their supporters need to be discredited and rejected. The best way that non-Afghan countries can help in this is with soft power at arms' length.

Of course this denies a considerable profit to foreign defense industries, along with whatever other benefits the foreign powers may be pursuing.

[ 09 October 2008: Message edited by: Jerry West ][/b]


You can't change someone's mindset while there's a group of armed men in their village with the opposite mindset ready to counteract any effort you make.

The ANA/ANP are best geared to "close" interaction with the populace. The conventional forces are best geared for security and offensive operations. The idea that you can achieve any kind of change without foreign forces involved is ridiculous - the ANA is simply not up to the task of fighting the insurgents, maintaining security, etc. all at once.

It's similar to the "Pull out the military and send in NGOs/CIDA/other development agencies!!" argument. Yeah... that'll be effective for about the first 5 minutes until the insurgents walk in and execute every aid worker and collaborating native in sight. The aid work is vital but it can't take place without the military (foreign or otherwise) to provide some modicum of safety in which to conduct the work.

Doug

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081104.wafghan1105/... is it with blowing up weddings all the time?[/url]

quote:

Dozens of Afghan civilians are dead and dozens more are wounded after a series of air strikes aimed at Taliban fighters fell short of their target and exploded in the middle of a wedding party in a mountainous region north of Kandahar city, tribal elders and wedding guests told The Globe and Mail on Tuesday.

Survivors of the attacks, which occurred in the village of Wech Baghtu in the district of Shah Wali Kowt on Monday evening, said the majority of the dead and injured were women – the bombs struck while male and female wedding guests were segregated, as is customary in Kandahar province.


martin dufresne

What a bloody shame that Western alibis for the killing of Aghan civilians are woven right in to the very first sentence of Canadian "news" items!

quote:

...after a series of air strikes aimed at Taliban fighters fell short of their target and exploded in the middle of a wedding party...

Assassins wouldn't be able to go on killing without their accomplices in the alleged liberal press!!!

martin dufresne

Letter to the Globe:
I am embarrassed to see the Globe & Mail quote as fact, in the very first sentence of its report, the usual Western invaders' alibi for massacring Afghani civilians at yet another wedding: "bombs falling short of their target" ("Air strikes kill dozens of wedding guests", G&M, Nov. 4)
None of the actual quotations from Mr. Abdul Hakim Khan vindicate the conveniently left anonymous international forces who bombed the Afghan village of Wech Baghtu for 5 hours on Monday evening, killing at least 36 women and injuring many more women and children.
Indeed, Mr. Khan makes the point that Taliban insurgents were on top of a nearby mountain, not in the village, invalidating your claim of bombs falling short of their target, shamelessly attributed by you to "tribal elders and wedding guests" .
It is time for the G&M to state unequivocally that what U.S. and Canadian forces are doing is "punishing" civilian populations for the existence of Taliban soldiers in their region, a war crime explicitly forbidden by the Geneva convention.
You are the ones falling woefully short of that target.

Martin Dufresne

Michelle

womenandchildren

womenandchildrenwomenarethesameaschildren

womenandchildren

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

So was this a drone operated remotely from the desert in America or was there a pilot killing these CIVILIANS.

martin dufresne

Drones don't bomb, especially for five hours on end. Read the story:

quote:

Wedding guests first heard shots from the mountain about 4 p.m. Air strikes followed about half an hour later and lasted about five hours, he said.(...)

The bombing wasn't the end of the ordeal, witnesses said. When the air strikes were over, they said, international troops arrived in three sand-coloured armoured vehicles.

Villagers reported they were intimidated and prevented from leaving to seek medical treatment while the soldiers took pictures.


kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]Drones don't bomb, especially for five hours on end. Read the story: [/b]

I read the story and you are wrong so maybe next time check your facts before being so quick with absolutes. I posted something on this earlier this year after seeing a show about the British squadron that is working out of the desert in Arizona basically playing video games by flying remote control drones that are very very deadly. Here is a blog with much the same story. And yup they do stay in the air for a long time it is considered one of their tactical advantages.

[url=http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/10/air-forces-new.html]Drones are bombers[/url]

quote:

Armed Predator and Reaper drones have become the primary weapons in the fight against Pakistani militants. But they can be pricey; the Reapers come in at around a hundred million dollars each. Which is why the Air Force is working on a cheaper option: killer zombies.

[ 05 November 2008: Message edited by: kropotkin1951 ][url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/10/29/asia/30pstan-diplo.php]Pakistan government urges America to stop using drones to bomb [/url]

[ 05 November 2008: Message edited by: kropotkin1951 ]

martin dufresne

Believe what you want. The promotional fluff piece you link to claims one test firing of one missile by an unmanned large aircraft. The rest of the piece is about using such unmanned large aircraft as aerial targets. I maintain that drones are primarily ultra-light surveillance devices, used to guide manned bombers but not to do it themselves.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Martin read the post I put up from the Pakistan government. Also please at least give me the courtesy of finding something that disputes what I said instead of you just shooting off your mouth remotely.

I mentioned it because I think this is an absolutely terrifying development for people around the world. I also think we may find in the future that the cross border flights that the Pakistan government is complaining about are originating from the air field in Kandahar that our Canadian troops are defending.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

[url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/23/national/main4540269.shtml]Air force recruiting new drone pilots[/url]


quote:

Scrambling to meet commanders' insatiable demands for unmanned aircraft, the Air Force is launching two new training programs, including an experimental one that would churn out up to 1,100 desperately needed pilots to fly the drones over Iraq and Afghanistan.
...

A senior Air Force officer told The Associated Press that by the end of September 2011, the goal is to have 50 unmanned combat air patrols operating 24 hours a day, largely over Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently there are 30.

Besides the new test program, Sheldon said the Air Force is planning to shift about 100 manned-aircraft pilots directly from training into jobs flying the drones. The unmanned aircraft are mostly Predators - hunter-killer planes that fly in the war zone but are operated by pilots sitting at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.
...

Predators are playing a crucial role on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, providing real-time surveillance video to troops on the ground, targeting and firing Hellfire anti-tank missiles at militants, and homing in on enemy efforts to plant roadside bombs.

Earlier this year, for example, a Predator -probably one operated by the CIA - fired on a suspected terrorist safehouse in Pakistan's north Waziristan region, killing Abu Laith al-Libi, a key al Qaeda leader.


This is scary stuff and I wish it was propaganda.

Fidel

They extend a curt denial and odd regret for bombing families to death, and then again when they bomb the funeral. The whole world knows who the real terrorists are.

martin dufresne

Kropotkin, thanks for posting this. It is scary indeed.
As for our disagreement, it is of little importance. I maintain there seems to be a distinction between firing a missile - which a drone can do, yes - and bombing a village for five hours which seems to require manned aircraft (or ground artillery). Either way, well-paid U.S. and/or Canadian human beings are pulling the triggers in our name - and soon under direct orders from President Obama.

Fidel

[url=http://links.org.au/node/585/5184]Afghanistan: Malalai Joya versus Washington's warlords (+ video)[/url] August

Malalai says there needs to be a war crimes tribunal for Afghanistan. Her own life is in constant danger wherever she travels to because she speaks out against the U.S. puppet regime and warlords who are [b]"brothers in creed of the Taliban"[/b](RAWA)

quote:

[url=http://www.nolanchart.com/article5260.html]Did you know that?[/url]

Apparently, the U.S. troops are here to fight the Taliban, but on the other hand they are fully supporting the [b]Northern Alliance commanders, who are the main seller of weapons and ammunitions to the Taliban.[/b]


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Acid Attack Blinds Afgan Student

Quote:

Eight girls were splashed with acid near a school yesterday morning
in an attack by two men on a motorcycle. But friends of 16-year-old
Shamsia say she suffered the worst because she wasn't protected by the
enveloping burka. She was wearing only a head scarf that exposed her
face, a bold choice for a teenage girl in Kandahar.

It was a day of many tragedies in Kandahar, with a truck bombing
that killed six people, but the loss that may reverberate the most for
war-weary residents is those beautiful eyes. Female students and
teachers say they're frightened to go back to school, even though
staying away from class will signal another failure for the dream of
modernizing Afghanistan. The simple act of attending school is a
political statement for girls in a province where many families still
frown on female education.

"After we saw her eyes, nobody will go to school any more," said Safia Ibrahimi.

[...]

The Taliban denied involvement, but they often deny a role in
controversial acts. As the insurgents' power rises, the frightened
girls of Mirwais Minna say they have reached a turning point in
Afghanistan's culture war.

[...]

"This is a sophisticated, dangerous and complicated land, with some
fascinating people - some of who are not keen that we're here, but the
vast majority are delighted that we're here, trying to protect their
citizens, themselves if you would, from the type of foe who would throw
acid on young girls who are trying to get an education,"
Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, commander of Canada's land forces,
said during a visit to Kandahar Airfield. "Arguably, that's why we're
here, and that's what Canadian soldiers do," Gen. Leslie continued. "We
risk our lives to bring a certain degree of peace and security when
possible to those young schoolgirls."

But such actions by Canadian troops are not always popular. Many
people in the conservative south - especially the rural areas - have
been unsettled by the rapid cultural shift under the new government,
which has brought a dizzying array of women's initiatives, a new
bureaucracy devoted to women's rights, and a quota for women in
parliament that has exceeded the female political representation in
countries such as Canada.

 

 

Unionist

Interesting to hear these ignorant and barbaric Canadians, like Andrew Leslie, lie about Afghanistan and its women.

Women and girls (at least in urban areas) were going to school, without battery acid attacks, before the Soviet and then U.S.-Canadian-NATO invasions. Women achieved the right to vote in 1964 (by the way, they couldn't sit on juries in Québec before 1970). Before the Soviets invaded, women were employed in significant numbers in universities, private corporations, the airlines and as doctors and nurses.

Progress for Afghan women ended with the intervention of the foreign invaders. It will never resume until they have been defeated. By current trends, fortunately, they won't have long to wait.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I was struck by the logic that the acid attack justified foreign military presence, because women going to school is 'what we're there for'. Well, they're not going to school now, and you're not protecting those who are. So tell us again what 'Canadian soldiers do'?

Unionist

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/11/13/afghan-fixer.html?ref=rss]
CBC probes detainment of Afghan employees in Fung kidnapping[/url]

Quote:

The CBC has formally asked Afghan authorities for more details on
the detainment of two Afghan employees who were working with journalist
Mellissa Fung when she was abducted last month, CBC News publisher John
Cruickshank said Thursday.

Shakoor Firoz, a translator and "fixer" who has for some time
assisted CBC journalists in Afghanistan, and his brother Qaim Firoz, a
driver, were taken into custody shortly after informing the CBC that
Fung was kidnapped on Oct. 12 at a refugee camp outside Kabul. ...

"In addition to maintaining the salaries of both men, we have
offered to provide support for their legal representation," Cruickshank
said.

The CBC has given Afghan authorities letters of support for the men.
One of the letters is from Fung, who on Wednesday said she believes
there is "no way" her colleagues were involved in her abduction.

Very interesting.

The Canadian government and the Karzai puppet regime, in cooperation, traded imprisoned kidnappers for Mellissa Fung. Meanwhile, Karzai continues to hold two innocent Afghans, without charge, while the Canadian government doesn't give a damn.

Hopefully the CBC and Fung herself, and maybe some "opposition" parties, will speak out more loudly and publicly against this injustice.

 

 

Unionist

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/11/13/taliban-spokesman.html?ref=rss... spokesperson interviewed on As It Happens - condemns Obama, and has message for Canada[/url]

Quote:
The Taliban will never enter into peace negotiations with any Afghan or
Western authorities while foreign forces still remain in Afghanistan,
and will continue to fight for the country's "freedom," a spokesman
told CBC's As It Happens on Thursday. ...

Ahmadi also condemned U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, saying his
policies would represent a continuation of those favoured by the Bush
administration.

"He is looking as cruel as Bush was. It is not a good news for
Americans.… At least, it will not help for them, they are just crazy."

In the run-up to the election, Obama repeatedly said he would send additional troops to Afghanistan if elected.

"If [the United States] increase the soldiers in Afghanistan, the jihad against [Obama] will become serious."

When asked if he had a message for Canadians, Ahmadi called on
Canada not to "kill their sons" by sending troops to fight in
Afghanistan.

"I tell them to let Afghans to make their future by themselves and decide by themselves," he said.

"Afghanistan does not belong to America or Canada."

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I don't know if this has been posted before, it's a few months old, but it's the best analysis of Afghanistan I've read, and it's especially potent in a time when Obama is considering pulling out of Iraq (the 'bad war') and moving into Afghanistan (the 'good war')

Tariq Ali - 'Afghanistan: The Mirage of the Good War'

Quote:
Rarely has there been such an enthusiastic display of international unity as that which greeted the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Support for the war was universal in the chanceries of the West, even before its aims and parameters had been declared. NATO governments rushed to assert themselves ‘all for one’. Blair jetted round the world, proselytizing the ‘doctrine of the international community’ and the opportunities for peace-keeping and nation-building in the Hindu Kush. Putin welcomed the extension of American bases along Russia’s southern borders. Every mainstream Western party endorsed the war; every media network—with bbc World and cnn in the lead—became its megaphone. For the German Greens, as for Laura Bush and Cherie Blair, it was a war for the liberation of the women of Afghanistan. For the White House, a fight for civilization. For Iran, the impending defeat of the Wahhabi enemy.

[...]

Two principal arguments, often overlapping, are put forward as to ‘what went wrong’ in Afghanistan. For liberal imperialists, the answer can be summarized in two words: ‘not enough’. The invasion organized by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld was done on the cheap. The ‘light footprint’ demanded by the Pentagon meant that there were too few troops on the ground in 2001–02. Financial commitment to ‘state-building’ was insufficient. Though it may now be too late, the answer is to pour in more troops, more money—‘multiple billions’ over ‘multiple years’, according to the us Ambassador in Kabul. The second answer—advanced by Karzai and the White House, but propagated by the Western media generally—can be summed up in one word: Pakistan. Neither of these arguments holds water.

[...]

Also feeding the resentment is the behaviour of a new elite clustered around Karzai and the occupying forces, which has specialized in creaming off foreign aid to create its own criminal networks of graft and patronage. The corruptions of this layer grow each month like an untreated tumour. Western funds are siphoned off to build fancy homes for the native enforcers. Housing scandals erupted as early as 2002, when cabinet ministers awarded themselves and favoured cronies prime real estate in Kabul where land prices were rocketing, since the occupiers and their camp followers had to live in the style to which they were accustomed. Karzai’s colleagues, protected by isaf troops, built their large villas in full view of the mud-brick hovels of the poor. The burgeoning slum settlements of Kabul, where the population has now swollen to an estimated 3 million, are a measure of the social crisis that has engulfed the country.

[...]

Yet never have such gaping inequalities featured on this scale before. Little of the supposed $19 billion ‘aid and reconstruction’ money has reached the majority of Afghans. The mains electricity supply is worse now than five years ago, and while the rich can use private generators to power their air conditioners, hot-water heaters, computers and satellite tvs, average Kabulis ‘suffered a summer without fans and face a winter without heaters.’ As a result, hundreds of shelterless Afghans are literally freezing to death each winter.

 

Then there are the ngos who descended on the country like locusts after the occupation. As one observer reports:

A reputed 10,000 ngo staff have turned Kabul into the Klondike during the gold rush, building office blocks, driving up rents, cruising about in armoured jeeps and spending stupefying sums of other people’s money, essentially on themselves. They take orders only from some distant agency, but then the same goes for the American army, nato, the un, the eu and the supposedly sovereign Afghan government.

Even supporters of the occupation have lost patience with these bodies, and some of the most successful candidates in the 2005 National Assembly elections made an attack on them a centre-piece of their campaigns. Worse, according to one us

specialist, ‘their well-funded activities highlighted the poverty and ineffectiveness of the civil administration and discredited its local representatives in the eyes of the local populace.’Unsurprisingly, ngo employees began to be targeted by the insurgents, including in the north, and had to hire mercenary protection.

[...]

As the British and Russians discovered to their cost in the preceding two centuries, Afghans do not like being occupied. If a second-generation Taliban is now growing and creating new alliances it is not because its sectarian religious practices have become popular, but because it is the only available umbrella for national liberation. Initially, the middle-cadre Taliban who fled across the border in November 2001 and started low-level guerrilla activity the following year attracted only a trickle of new recruits from madrasas and refugee camps. From 2004 onwards, increasing numbers of young Waziris were radicalized by Pakistani military and police incursions in the tribal areas, as well as devastating attacks on villages by unmanned us ‘drones’. At the same time, the movement was starting to win active support from village mullahs in Zabul, Helmand, Ghazni, Paktika and Kandahar provinces, and then in the towns. By 2006 there were reports of Kabul mullahs who had previously supported Karzai’s allies but were now railing against the foreigners and the government; calls for jihad
against the occupiers were heard in the north-east border provinces of Takhar and Badakhshan.

[...]

The Western occupation of Afghanistan is now confronted with five seemingly intractable, interrelated problems. The systemic failures of its nation-building strategy, the corruption of its local agents, the growing alienation of large sectors of the population and the
strengthening of armed resistance are all compounded by the distortions wrought by the opium-heroin industry on the country’s economy.
According to un estimates, narcotics account for 53 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, and the poppy fields continue to spread. Some 90 per cent of the world
opium supply emanates from Afghanistan. Since 2003 the nato mission has made no serious attempt to bring about a reduction in this lucrative trade. Karzai’s own supporters would rapidly desert if their activities in this sphere were disrupted, and the amount of state help needed over many years to boost agriculture and cottage industries and reduce dependence on poppy farming would require an entirely different set of priorities. Only a surreal utopian could expect nato countries, busy privatizing and deregulating their own economies, to embark upon full-scale national-development projects abroad.

[...]

It need hardly be added that the bombardment and occupation of Afghanistan has been a disastrous—and predictable—failure in capturing the perpetrators of 9.11. This could only have been the result of effective police work; not of international war and military occupation. Everything that has happened in Afghanistan since 2001—not to mention Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon—has had the opposite effect, as the West’s own intelligence reports have repeatedly confirmed. According to the official 9.11 Commission report, Mullah Omar’s initial response to Washington’s demands that Osama Bin Laden be handed over and al-Qaeda deprived of a safe haven was ‘not negative’; he himself had opposed any al-Qaeda attack on us targets. But while the Mullah was playing for time, the White House closed down negotiations. It required a swift war of revenge. Afghanistan had been denominated the first port of call in the ‘global war on terror’, with Iraq already the Administration’s main target. The shock-and-awe six-week aerial onslaught that followed was merely a drumroll for the forthcoming intervention in Iraq, with no military rationale in Afghanistan. Predictably, it only gave al-Qaeda leaders the chance to vanish into the hills. To portray the invasion as a ‘war of self-defence’ for nato makes a mockery of international law, which was perverted to twist a flukishly successful attack by a tiny, terrorist Arab groupuscule into an excuse for an open-ended American military thrust into the Middle East and Central Eurasia.

[...]

There are at least two routes out of the Khyber impasse. The first and worst would be to Balkanize the country. This appears to be the dominant pattern of imperial hegemony at the moment, but whereas the Kurds in Iraq and the Kosovars and others in the former Yugoslavia were willing client-nationalists, the likelihood of Tajiks or Hazaras playing this role effectively is more remote in Afghanistan. Some us intelligence officers have been informally discussing the creation of a Pashtun state that unites the tribes and dissolves the Durand Line, but this would destabilize Pakistan and Afghanistan to such a degree that the consequences would be unpredictable. In any event there appear to be no takers in either country at the moment.

The alternative would require a withdrawal of all us forces, either preceded or followed by a regional pact to guarantee Afghan stability for the next ten years. Pakistan, Iran, India, Russia and, possibly, China could guarantee and support a functioning national government, pledged to preserve the ethnic and religious diversity of Afghanistan and create a space in which all its citizens can breathe, think and eat every day. It would need a serious social and economic plan to rebuild the country and provide the basic necessities for its people. This would not only be in the interests of Afghanistan, it would be seen as such by its people—physically, politically and morally exhausted by decades of war and two occupations. Violence, arbitrary or deliberate, has been their fate for too long. They want the nightmare to end and not be replaced with horrors of a different kind. Religious
extremists would get short shrift from the people if they disrupted an agreed peace and began a jihad to recreate the Taliban Emirate of Mullah Omar.

 

Unionist

Karzai has offered to protect Mullah Omar if he wants to come and negotiate "peace". The U.S., of course, has a multi-million bounty on Omar's head. Karzai says that if the U.S. and NATO don't agree with his overture, they can either leave Afghanistan or remove him from power - "and both are good".

Source.

Fidel

War in Afghanistan a global capitalist conspiracy, Loney says

Asks local audience not to flatly believe what they are told about Canada's role, purpose in region

Quote:

James Loney says it's hard to be sure where Barack Obama will take the world, given that in the U. S. it would be all but impossible to be elected president without espousing "a commitment to military dominance and superiority."

"That's part of the American ethos, and I think people don't want to have a weak president; they want to know it's going to be someone who is going to be strong, who is going to stand up to our enemies, and I think, 'Is that what he really believes? Is that how he'll approach things?' I don't know," said Loney, the Canadian peace activist who spent 118 days captive in Iraq in 2005 and 2006. . .

He described the situation in Afghanistan as a global capitalist conspiracy to control oil resources in the region by violence, and he questioned government assertions that the intervention is about aiding a failed nation, protecting the rights of women, or restoring the rule of law. . .

Loney was the final speaker in a three-week series of free peace seminars held by Emmanuel United in support of that denomination's United for Peace campaign.

Phony war pigs reign merrily

mimeguy

http://tinyurl.com/6cebsk (Friday Nov. 21/08)

In conversation with Allan Gregg, Lewis MacKenzie condemns NATO's effort in Afghanistan.  In referring to a question on the 2011 deadline to withdraw Canadian troops he says he would have criticized the PM previously but not now.  He states that NATO has botched the mission.  He goes on to say that not all troops would return thinking that the reconstruction team, security for that team plus trainers, including police trainers will stay.  He estimates that to be around 400 - 500 soldiers.

Then link above goes to the four minute segment discussing Afghanistan but the whole program was good to listen to.  There is also a bonus clip where they discuss the concept of leadership in comparison to MacKenzie's style and Dallaire's effort in Rwanda.     

remind remind's picture

Quote:
Violations of children's rights are increasing in Afghanistan with more attacks
against schools, more children killed and more evidence of child sexual abuse,
the United Nations said on Sunday.

The report was conducted using a combination of data from agencies working
across Afghanistan and anecdotal reports or allegations of violations against
children.

"The report really shows how difficult the situation is and to some degree it
is worsening," Hilde F. Johnson, deputy executive director of the UNICEF agency,
told Reuters.

"This goes for several of the violations in particular attacks against
schools and health centers, killing and maiming and grave sexual violence and to
some degree recruitment of children (to armed groups)," Johnson said.

"UNICEF also said Western military operations were killing more children, and
pointed to an air strike in July in which 30 of the 47 civilians killed were
children."

h/t NSpectator

 

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Fidel

[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v697/rabblerabble/peacewalker.gif[/IMG]

Hey this is cool. This guy is walking around the world for peace by email. It's a little early for John Lennon Xmas lyrics, I know. But let's do the butterfly effect and pass him on.

A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

Unionist

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/11/26/embassy-attack-kabul.html?ref=rss]
1 dead, 6 injured in bomb attack outside U.S. Embassy in Kabul[/url]

Getting closer!

 

Unionist

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/12/05/afghan-soldiers.html?ref=rss]3 more Canadian soldiers killed - just broke the 100 milestone[/url]

 

Webgear

I am going to speculate the Afghanistan will be the topic of the week for the politicians and their respectable parties and then by next weekend the issue will be on the backburner once again.

 

Afghanistan only makes national headlines and political press releases if there is only bad new to be reported.

Slumberjack

Webgear wrote:
Afghanistan only makes national headlines and political press releases if there is only bad new to be reported.

With all the imbedded media, you'd think at least a couple of good news stories here and there, manufactured or otherwise, would be worthwhile to make it on the newscasts.  Perhaps it's because things like fixing a bridge, school, drinking well, etc doesn't rise to the level of a 'good news' story, because really, it's not.  Which surprisingly, could mean that even embeds and editors can tell the difference between news and propaganda, although it's hard to tell some days on CBC and CTV.

Realigned

Slumberjack wrote:

 Perhaps it's because things like fixing a bridge, school, drinking well, etc doesn't rise to the level of a 'good news' story, because really, it's not.

 

100% True.

Soldiers building a school doesn't catch headlines like soldiers acidentally damaging a school.

Unionist

Webgear wrote:

Afghanistan only makes national headlines and political press releases if there is only bad new to be reported.

That's so true.

Why this discriminatory treatment of Afghanistan?

How come we don't see feel-good stories, as we used to from Viet Nam in the 60s and early 70s; or Kosovo; or Gaza and the West Bank; or  Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China?

I mean, sheesh, eh?

Webgear

Slumberjack  

I am going to have to disagree with you, there has been a lacking reporting by all media groups linked to all spectrums of political ideology.

The last major story on Afghanistan was the total cost of the war and that story was nearly 3 months ago. 

Afghanistan is being used a political tool by all parties to divided and conquer the Canadian population.

 

 

There's another old saying, Senator: Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining.

Webgear

Unionist

It is about power, you are either trying to get into or remain in power. Politicians and their supporters are willing to sell their souls in order to get that power.

Lets not talk about the issue, because if we do not talk about it, then the opposing parties can not use it against us.

 

 

There's another old saying, Senator: Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining.

Jingles

Quote:
Soldiers building a school doesn't catch headlines like soldiers acidentally damaging a school.

 

First; soldiers don't build schools, construction workers do. And construction work is far more dangerous than soldiering.

Second; soldiers don't "accidentally" damage a school. There are no accidents in war. "Accidentally" damaging a school in war is like saying a rape accidentally causes pregnancy.

Slumberjack

Jingles wrote:

Quote:
Soldiers building a school doesn't catch headlines like soldiers acidentally damaging a school.

First; soldiers don't build schools, construction workers do. And construction work is far more dangerous than soldiering.

Actually, in war zones, personnel attached to military combat engineer units are usually involved with the planning of construction projects, although they do utilize local labour.

Fidel

Webgear wrote:

Unionist

It is about power, you are either trying to get into or remain in power. Politicians and their supporters are willing to sell their souls in order to get that power.

And the more Hitlerian types will even quit on Canadians and shutdown parliament for two months sooner than relinquish power to the majority.

And their slavish supporters shamelessly make up wild excuses for their dictatorial maneuvering to hang on to power sooner than get down to work just weeks after taxpayers spend $300 million bucks on an election.

I think the longer Canadians think about how their phony minority government refuses to show up at work while tens of thousands are thrown out of work, the more discontented Canadians will be and decide against the men of leisure in Ottawa 

Slumberjack

Webgear wrote:
Slumberjack I am going to have to disagree with you, there has been a lacking reporting by all media groups linked to all spectrums of political ideology. The last major story on Afghanistan was the total cost of the war and that story was nearly 3 months ago.  Afghanistan is being used a political tool by all parties to divided and conquer the Canadian population.

Media in general have short attention spans.  If it isn't dramatic and exciting enough, they tend to move on to something else.  They'll take a glance back once in awhile when Canadian deaths occur, run with it for a few days until the bodies are back and buried, and move on once again to the next newsworthy endeavor.  As for the political class, the lack of real discussion might have a little something to do with the dismal polling results on public satisfaction levels with the war.  Why indeed would those who orchestrated and sustained our involvement there want to remind people of such unpleasant distractions?  Now that the NDP has removed the war as a topic of discussion from the cold backburner position it enjoyed on their pre-coalition agenda, we're now in position in this country, unique among the western non-US coalition of the willing partners, of having no political party to debate or question our involvement in this atrocity.

Fidel

Slumberjack wrote:
   Now that the NDP has removed the war as a topic of discussion from the cold backburner position it enjoyed on their pre-coalition agenda, we're now in position in this country, unique among the western non-US coalition of the willing partners, of having no political party to debate or question our involvement in this atrocity.

And that's because the Harpers refuse to show up for work. They're afraid to!  Steve "I'm a lap poodle for Crazy George II" Harper has an aversion to work and democracy in general.

 

Slumberjack

Fidel wrote:
Slumberjack wrote:
   Now that the NDP has removed the war as a topic of discussion from the cold backburner position it enjoyed on their pre-coalition agenda....

And that's because the Harpers refuse to show up for work. They're afraid to!  Steve "I'm a lap poodle for Crazy George II" Harper has an aversion to work and democracy in general.

Keep knitting the wool, just don't expect anyone with a clue of their own to pull it down for you.  Try repeating this phrase a few times, spoken by Jack Layton on 3 December, in the context of the war in Afghanistan, to see if it means anything to you..."For the first time, the majority of parties chosen by the people have put aside their differences. For the good of the people."

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