[An Afghan man accompanies a dead Afghan boy as the vehicle heads to Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009. Villagers in southern Afghanistan claimed an overnight air strike by international forces killed several civilians, including children. (AP Photo/Abdul Khaleq)]
Afghans from a tiny village in Helmand Province’s Lashkar Gah district report that at least nine civilians, three of them children, were killed last night when NATO launched rockets at a wheat field. NATO officials confirmed only a single rocket strike against the village, and said they attacked people they thought were planting a roadside bomb. They said they had no information about whether or not civilians were present at the time of the attack, but said they were “aware” of the reports and promised a full investigation.
Protesters from the village marched, bodies in tow, to the capital in Lashkar Gah, chanting “death to the governor” and “down with the government and the United States.” Village elders say the slain were harvesting wheat at the time of the attack. The provincial government initially denied that any civilians were slain but the national government condemned the attack. The Independent: Air strike kills 9 civilians. Boston.com: US strike kills 9 civilians. RAWA: The U.S. has held up a country's terrible history of poverty, repression and inequality as the pretext for a war that only aggravates poverty, repression and inequality. Reuters: FACTBOX-The worsening security picture in Afghanistan.
The public is rapidly losing confidence that the war in Afghanistan can be won, after the killing of five soldiers by a rogue Afghan policeman, a new poll showed Thursday. The YouGov poll found 57 percent of people thought British troops were not winning the conflict against Taliban insurgents, and "victory is not possible," an increase from 48 percent just two weeks ago. Thirty-three percent think the war is being won, or that victory is possible eventually. Consequently, 35 percent want troops withdrawn immediately -- compared with 25 percent two weeks ago. Another 38 percent want most troops withdrawn soon and the rest in the next 12 months or so, the poll showed. Only 20 percent think troops should stay the course, down from 29 percent two weeks ago, the poll for Channel 4 News said. TopNews: Three soldiers killed in Afghan attacks.
He said that the NATO alliance had to get behind President Hamid Karzai despite his well documented problems with corruption and questionable political allies. “Karzai is corrupt, O.K.,” Mr. Kouchner said, but corruption is endemic in Afghanistan and “he is our guy,” despite being weakened by the recent election marked by fraud. “We have to legitimize him” if NATO has any chance to consolidate Afghanistan and then leave it, Mr. Kouchner said.
betrayal raises fresh doubts about Britain's campaign in Afghanistan. The killing of five British soldiers by an Afghan policeman raised fresh doubts yesterday about Britain’s mission in Helmand. Senior political, diplomatic and military figures warned that public support for the British presence was in danger of collapse without a clear and freshly defined strategy. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan/TPV: Why the UN is so disturbed at the Murder of the Western Nationals?
Danish FM Slams Soldiers’ Call for Afghan Exit Strategy. Following an article in the Jutland Post quoting Danish soldiers in Afghanistan as calling for an exit strategy, the nation’s Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller condemned the quotes and insisted that there was no need to even discuss leaving Afghanistan.
Amid an atmosphere of increasing gloom in Afghanistan, the UN Special Representative in Kabul, Kai Eide delivered a pointed warning to the government of Hamid Karzai.
“There is a belief among some, that the international community (presence) will continue whatever happens because of the strategic importance of Afghanistan,” he told a press conference this morning. “I would like to emphasise that that’s not true.” Of the 1,100 foreign UN workers, 600 will now leave until the situation improves. The remaining UN workers are to be relocated inside Kabul from the current network of 93 different UN guesthouses, many of them privately run civilian houses, to a one large compound which is currently used for the European Union police training mission. The new arrangement will echo the ‘Green Zone’ found in Baghdad. The move follows last week’s attack on a UN guesthouse in the heart of the Afghan capital, Kabul, in which five UN international staff were killed by gunmen and suicide bombers who were disguised in police uniform. HuffPo: UN Relocating About 600 Staff After Afghan Attack.
Sean Smith spent a month embedded with the US Army's 501st Parachute Regiment in June this year. With inadequate vehicles, relations with Afghan security forces at a standstill and the constant threat of IEDs, the soldiers are losing heart for a fight they feel their presence is only prolonging.
As the bodies in Afghanistan are piling up and the number of wounded keeps escalating, while Washington is buzzing with the long-known but selectively-buried corrupt and criminal past and present of our installed government officials there, some are cashing in on both sides, and some are paving the way to the next pot(s) of gold reserved for carpetbaggers and war-profiteers in every war or conflict. In this game there are always a few known names and faces who are publicized and who draw the spotlight, and there are those who enjoy operating and profiting quietly without drawing deserved attention and needed scrutiny.
Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, who quit Afghanistan's troubled presidential election race this week, charged Wednesday that his rival Hamid Karzai's re-election had "no legal basis". Abdullah, who pulled out of a run-off poll scheduled after more than a million votes cast in the August 20 election were deemed fraudulent, said Karzai lacked legitimacy after being re-appointed by electoral commissioners. "This decision does not have a legal basis," he told reporters in his first public appearance since Karzai was declared president for another five years. "Such a government which lacks legitimacy cannot fight corruption," he said. "A government which comes to power without the people's support cannot fight phenomena of terrorism threats, unemployment, poverty and hundreds of other problems." Daily Telegraph: What a fucking joke: "West hails Hamid Karzai as 'legitimate' president". The Independent: America is performing its familiar role of propping up a dictator. The Independent: Karzai rules out sacking corrupt Afghan ministers.
soldiers have been shot dead in Helmand Province, in an attack the UK military says was carried out by a "rogue" Afghan policeman. Three of the soldiers were from the Grenadier Guards and two were from the Royal Military Police.
The United Nations cannot account for tens of millions of dollars provided to the troubled Afghan election commission, according to two confidential U.N. audits and interviews with current and former senior diplomats.
Re-elected Afghan President Hamid Karzai has vowed to form an inclusive government after stern warnings from Western supporters that he would have to work harder to eradicate corruption. Election officials yesterday cancelled a presidential run-off vote after Mr Karzai's only rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew, citing serious concerns about the election. Truthdig: Opium, Rape and the American Way: The warlords we champion in Afghanistan are as venal, as opposed to the rights of women and basic democratic freedoms, and as heavily involved in opium trafficking as the Taliban. The moral lines we draw between us and our adversaries are fictional. AntiWar: Western Officials Laud ‘Legitimate’ Karzai: A Million Fraudulent Votes and a Default Victory in a Single Candidate Runoff. + Under US Pressure, IEC Cancels Vote: The US had reportedly expressed concern that not only would the second round of voting be expensive and dangerous, but that it might be marred with just as much fraud as the first round was. This seems incredible, however, as Karzai got over a million fraudulent votes in the first round and with his name the only one on the ballot there appears to be little need for him to repeat the wholesale manufacture of votes. PressTV: Obama congratulates Karzai on "victory". F W Engdahl: The Geopolitics behind the phoney US war in Afghanistan. WSWS: Afghan election farce ends, escalation to begin. Think Progress: Matthew Hoh: I firmly believe that we are taking part in a civil war. We are on the same side of the civil war that the Soviets intervened on.
Hamid Karzai has been declared the elected president of Afghanistan by poll officials, after they scrapped the planned second round of the vote. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) announcement comes a day after Mr Karzai's sole challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, pulled out of the race. Dr Abdullah, who had demanded key poll officials quit, said he did not think it would be a free and fair vote. The first round of the vote, in August, was marred by mass electoral fraud. TimesOnline: Karzai handed second term after Afghan election run-off cancelled. NYT: Karzai Gets New Term as Afghan Runoff Is Scrapped. The Guardian: The Afghan election: a five-star debacle: With the UN's reputation in tatters and Washington in denial over Abdullah's exit, Obama must turn this round or look like a loser.
Following the announcement that opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah has formally withdrawn from the November 7 runoff vote, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told a US-funded radio station that he hopes the election still takes place. McClatchy: Challenger's pullout leaves Afghan government of dubious legitimacy.
The Afghan minister of counter narcotics says foreign troops are earning money from drug production in Afghanistan. General Khodaidad Khodaidad said the majority of drugs are stockpiled in two provinces controlled by troops from the US, the UK, and Canada, IRNA reported on Saturday. He went on to say that NATO forces are taxing the production of opium in the regions under their control.
Afghanistan's Abdullah Abdullah says he will not take part in the upcoming run-off election, while criticizing the undemocratic electoral procedure in the country. Abdullah told reporters at a live press conference in Kabul on Sunday that he would not participate in the November 7 elections in protest at the unfair performance of the government and the Electoral Commission. "I will not take part in the election ... I have not taken this decision easily," Abdullah said, adding he had not told anyone to boycott the ballot. Al Jazeera: Karzai rival pulls out of runoff. Times Online: Afghanistan poll chaos as Abdullah quits run-off.
The reasons usually given, in passing and without scrutiny, for a continued U.S. occupation, just don't hold up. Al Qaida is not in Afghanistan. A resurgent Taliban does not threaten U.S. national security. The U.S. mission in Afghanistan is not stabilizing the situation in Pakistan. We are in the middle of someone else's civil war.
President Hamid Karzai's rival in the second round of the Afghan presidential poll says he will announce on Sunday whether he intends to quit the race. Dr Abdullah Abdullah called for the resignation of key election officials and others as a way to mitigate fraud and corruption in the vote. But those demands were rejected earlier in the week in talks with Mr Karzai. PressTV: Abdullah may boycott Afghan run-off poll. Al Jazeera: Uncertainty grows over Afghan poll. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: The Afghans’ Decision About the Runoff Elections is Unchanged.
The United Nations cannot account for tens of millions of dollars provided to the troubled Afghan election commission, according to two confidential U.N. audits and interviews with current and former senior diplomats. AntiWar: UN Documents Show Large Sums of Money Missing: ‘U.S. Taxpayers Spent Hundreds of Millions of Dollars on a Fraudulent Election’.
Following an all-out assault by several hundred insurgents on two US outposts in Nuristan earlier this month, the US quickly abandoned both sites. The Pentagon maintains that they had been planning to abandon the bases at any rate, and that it was only a coincidence they were attacked just a few days before the move. Two other US posts in Nuristan has been attacked last year, and were also abandoned.
The revelation by the New York Times Wednesday that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, has long been on the payroll of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg of heavy dependence by U.S. and NATO counterinsurgency forces on Afghan warlords for security, according to a recently published report and investigations by Australian and Canadian journalists.
Next time you see a junkie sprawled at the curb in the downtown of your nearest city, or read about someone who died of a heroin overdose, just imagine a big yellow sign posted next to him or her saying: “Your Federal Tax Dollars at Work.”
While the UN presents itself as a neutral, humanitarian body, it functions as an adjunct to the US-NATO occupation in Afghanistan and is widely perceived as such by Afghans. In the name of “democracy”, the UN is helping to stage the country’s sham elections in an effort to politically bolster Washington’s puppet regime. Irish4Palestine: KARZAI DROPPED LIKE A HOT POTATO.
To talk more about Afghanistan, we are joined by Malalai Joya, one of Afghanistan’s leading democracy activists. In 2005, she became the youngest person ever elected to the Afghan parliament. She was suspended in 2007 for her denunciation of warlords and their cronies in government. She has just written her memoir, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Woman Who Dared to Speak Out. [includes rush transcript] Malalai Joya [Homepage]
The United Nations has warned Washington about indiscriminate use of drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, saying that it may be breaking humanitarian law. The UN rights investigator said the United States has done nothing to demonstrate that its not randomly killing civilians in violation of international law through the use of drones. TPV: US drone attack kills 27 in Pakistan. Empire Burlesque: Depraved Indifference: Drone Wars, Whack Jobs and Imperial Terror. Dawn: UN investigator warns US on use of drones.
Matthew Hoh, who was a key civilian representative for the US government in Afghanistan's Zabul province, said in a letter released on Tuesday that he had "lost understanding of, and confidence in, the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan". "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end," the letter, which was dated September 10, said.
September was sort of a high water mark for the war in Afghanistan, at least compared to other recent months. It was incredibly destructive, to be sure, but after the massive violence in August’s run-up to the election, it was the first month in awhile that hadn’t broken records for death toll. WSWS: October the bloodiest month for US troops since Afghan war began.
An early morning assault on a Kabul guest house by attackers armed with suicide vests and assault rifles killed six U.N. workers today, just a day after eight U.S. troops died in a pair of roadside bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan, making October the deadliest month of the eight-year war for American forces.
Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials. The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.’s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Mr. Karzai’s home. The financial ties and close working relationship between the intelligence agency and Mr. Karzai raise significant questions about America’s war strategy, which is currently under review at the White House. “Hundreds of millions of dollars drug money are flowing through the southern region, and nothing happens in southern Afghanistan without the regional leadership knowing about it,” a senior American military officer in Kabul said.
US diplomat resigns over Afghan war: "Like the Soviets, we continue to secure and bolster a failing state, while encouraging an ideology and system of government unknown and unwanted by its people"
The U.S. military suffered another day of heavy losses in Afghanistan on Tuesday as roadside bombs killed eight U.S.
service members , the U.S. military said. An Afghan civilian working with NATO troops also was killed in the attacks in southern Afghanistan, the military said. The military gave no further details about the bombings, which it said also wounded several other service members. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: American helicopter shot down: Sunday night 25-10-2009 at around 11 pm local time, Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan shot down an American invaders helicopter in near Bom Dara district headquarter of Badghis province, the helicopter was shot down during fighting with the enemy, twenty-one terrorists onboard the helicopter were killed. AntiWar: 14 Americans Killed as 3 Helicopters Downed. WSWS: US casualties rise as Obama prepares Afghan escalation. Global Research/TPV: US Poised For Most Massive War In Afghanistan's History.
Now the incumbent president is being hailed by the West as a true “statesman” for agreeing to a November 7 runoff that will supposedly lend the presidential election legitimacy. “President Karzai’s constructive actions established an important precedent for Afghanistan’s new democracy,” declared President Barack Obama. “The Afghan constitution and laws are strengthened by President Karzai’s decision, which is in the best interests of the Afghan people.” The only “precedent” established by Karzai’s acceptance of the runoff is that Washington can dictate the decisions of its puppet in Kabul, providing it exerts enough pressure.
The US military says a helicopter crash has killed 10 Americans in western Afghanistan after an earlier crash claimed lives of four US soldiers. In the second crash on Monday, seven US troopers and three US civilians working for the government died when their helicopter went down. The helicopter collapsed during an operation by Afghan and international forces in which a dozen militants were also killed, the military said in a statement.
Afghan police opened fire to "disperse" up to 1,000 protesters in Kabul on Sunday after they burned an effigy of President Barack Obama in protest at American troops allegedly desecrating a copy of the Koran.
Saturday morning 24-10-2009 at around 10 am local time, Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan ambushed a patrol of the British invader forces in Baba jee Gul ikhtiar area in Lashkargah city in Helmand province, in the ambush the Mujahideen killed three and wounded two British terrorists. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: 6 NATO terrorists killed and a tank destroyed in Paktia.
A Kandahar police official said a U.S. military convoy opened fire on a civilian vehicle, killing a child, two women and a man. A spokesman for NATO was unable to confirm the age and gender of the casualties.
A former United Nations official in Afghanistan has told Al Jazeera that the world body must act to prevent the presidential runoff election on November 7 from becoming a repeat of the "disaster" of August's first round. Peter Galbraith, who was fired from his post after speaking about the widespread fraud in the first round, said that many polling stations where fraud took place should not be reopened and many members of the Afghan election commission should be replaced. Some polling stations reported more than 100 per cent turnout while others saw ballots hugely favouring one candidate.
We've just posted a short excerpt from our footage with the pilots who fly unmanned Predator and Reaper planes over Iraq and Afghanistan. The planes are in the war zones; the pilots are at an Air Force base in the desert north of Las Vegas. FFF: Drone Assassinations Are Only Making Things Worse. AntiWar: At Least 80 Killed as US Drones Attack South Waziristan Funeral Procession. The Guardian: US now trains more "drone operators" (assassins) than pilots.
A earthquake of magnitude 6.2 has shaken buildings across northern Afghanistan and Pakistan. The earthquake was centred in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake was felt in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, Al Jazeera's correspondents reported.
As public support for the Afghan war rapidly falls in NATO countries, the head of the alliance has stepped up efforts to keep member-states united. On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke before a meeting with alliance defense ministers in Bratislava on a "new approach" against the widening "Taliban insurgency". AP: Gates: NATO sending more troops to Afghanistan.
Runoff May Be Even Less Credible Than August Vote. With just two weeks until the planned Afghanistan runoff vote, the United Nations is scrambling to make changes in the hopes that the balloting will be at least somewhat less fraud-ridden  than the last one. The first move is to oust hundreds of top election officials that are believed to have played a role in the million plus fraudulent ballots cast in August. Other measures are expected, but time is not on their side.
Former US Vice President Dick Cheney accused the White House of dithering over the strategy for the war in Afghanistan and urged President Barack Obama to "do what it takes to win". "Make no mistake. Signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries," Mr Cheney said while accepting an award from a conservative national security group, the Centre for Security Policy. Salon: Cheney says U.S. "has never lost its moral bearings".
We Call for the United States to End Its Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan! October, 2009. This may be a turning point for the expanding U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a time when speaking out clearly and unambiguously against war can make a crucial difference. Today we see signs all too reminiscent of the step-by-step deepening of the U.S. commitment to the war in Vietnam in the 1960’s. In response, we declare ourselves firmly against military escalation in the region and for the withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Pakistan now. We also call for an end to drone attacks in both countries.
There are currently 108,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan. President Obama has authorized increasing U.S. forces by 21,000, which will mean more than 68,000 U.S. troops by the end of 2009. In view of the war’s growing unpopularity, Obama may very well abandon troop escalation. Reportedly, some in the Administration even recommended reducing U.S. forces and focusing more on strikes against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But even a scaled-back military presence constitutes an illegitimate occupation, one that wreaks havoc on the lives of innocent civilians and can only strengthen the Taliban and terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda. Please join in signing the statement below. Your support can make a difference.
President Obama cheered the move as “an important step forward” and insisted that it strengthened the Afghan government. US officials were careful not to mention that the reason for the runoff was that over a million of Karzai’s votes were found to be fraudulent. AntiWar: Early Snowfall Could Derail Afghan Runoff.
The horrors of the US Agent Orange defoliation campaign in Vietnam, about which I wrote on Oct. 15, could ultimately be dwarfed by the horrors caused by the depleted uranium weapons which the US began using in the 1991 Gulf War (300 tons), and which it has used much more extensively--and in more urban, populated areas--in the Iraq War and the now intensifying Afghanistan War + Pakistan + Iran .
Gates is urging the administration to hurry up and make its decision, insisting they can’t afford to wait for the Afghan government to become legitimate. US Seems None Too Worried About Afghan Vote Fraud: 'It's Now Up to the Afghans to Make This Legitimate'
International observers have called for an election run-off in Afghanistan after a United Nations-backed fraud watchdog invalidated tens of thousands of votes for president Hamid Karzai in the disputed first round of polling. Allegations of widespread corruption in the 20 August vote have fanned tensions between Mr Karzai and western governments, whose troops are fighting a resurgent Taleban in Afghanistan. Al Jazeera: Fraud pushes Karzai to poll runoff.
President Barack Obama's review of strategy in Afghanistan means America will end up making a deal with the Taliban, and tolerating warlords, to end the fighting. Down a rutted street in a quiet suburb of south Kabul lives a man the CIA once locked in a cage for months as an enemy combatant. Seven years later, Mullah Wakil Ahmed Mutawakkil, 38, who served as foreign minister when the Taliban ran Afghanistan, may prove to be President Barack Obama's best chance of ending the gruelling war in Afghanistan - by enabling negotiations with America's enemies. PressTV: US helpless in halting Taliban's financial network.
A panel probing fraud claims in the Afghan election has found Hamid Karzai did not gain enough valid votes for an outright win, the BBC understands. Preliminary results from August's first round had placed Mr Karzai comfortably over the 50% plus one vote threshold needed to avoid a run-off. Al Jazeera: Karzai vote 'below 50 per cent'. The Guardian: Obama's chief of staff links troop surge to 'credible Afghan partner'. AntiWar: Obama Delays Afghan Escalation Decision, Citing Election Uncertainty (US Still Hoping for 'Credible and Legitimate' Election).
Eight years. We've been in Afghanistan longer than any other war in American history. The party of the president who invaded Afghanistan has been repudiated at the polls. Yet we still haven't altered the flawed strategy that allowed uneducated tribesmen with outdated weapons to defeat us year after year. We haven't learned a thing.
25,000 Full Time "Insurgents" Fighting in Afghanistan. The intelligence community now believes that the Taliban has 25,000 full time fighters on its side, an increase of 5,000 over the estimate from the previous year and quite a hike considering the the large numbers of Taliban the US claims to have killed on a fairly regular basis.
UK media: McChrystal will get his troop surge. Despite a vehement denial from the White House, another British news source is claiming the Obama administration has decided in favor of a significant troop increase for Afghanistan. AntiWar: Report: Obama Poised to Announce 45,000 Troop Escalation in Afghanistan. + Backdoor Escalation: Obama is smooth-talking his way into the Afghan quagmire.
When ten French soldiers were killed last year in an ambush by Afghan insurgents in what had seemed a relatively peaceful area, the French public were horrified. Their revulsion increased with the news that many of the dead soldiers had been mutilated — and with the publication of photographs showing the militants triumphantly sporting their victims’ flak jackets and weapons. The French had been in charge of the Sarobi area, east of Kabul, for only a month, taking over from the Italians; it was one of the biggest single losses of life by Nato forces in Afghanistan. BBC: Afghan ambush kills French troops.
Tuesday night 13-10-2009 at around 11 pm local time, Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with rocket shot down an American invaders army helicopter killing all onboard in Tangi area in Ghorak district of Kandahar province. Mujahideen in the region said: the helicopter caught fire after being hit by the rocket in the air, and fell to the ground after a few minutes. The copter was hit when the American invaders were getting ready to launch an operation against the Mujahideen.
“Make no mistake, we are experts in the application of violence.” This statement, delivered by a US Marine commander to troops going into Afghanistan’s Helmand province, serves as the suitably sober beginning of “Obama’s War,” an hour-long documentary aired by the Public Broadcasting System’s “Frontline” Tuesday night. Not considered in the film are underlying strategic objectives: “[We are] there”—in a war prepared well before 9/11—in pursuit of US hegemony in Central Asia, one of the principal sources of energy on the planet. Nor does the film have much use for history. Unmentioned is the fact that US military involvement in Afghanistan began 30 years ago, with Washington providing billions of dollars in arms and funding to provoke and sustain a protracted war against a Soviet-backed government in Kabul. This history is not merely ignored; it is falsified.
Yahya was killed in a raid by U.S. and Afghan forces on Oct. 8. For the past year he had been the target of numerous American efforts to neutralize him and his fighters, who, by most accounts, never numbered more than 200. “Ghulam Yahya was against the murdering foreigners who have occupied our country,” said Amrullah, a young resident of Siyawooshan, while tears streamed down his face. “They promised prosperity, but all they did was set Afghans fighting each other.”
The combined US troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have now reached a higher level than existed at any time under the presidency of George W. Bush. This surge past the record set by its predecessor marks another grim milestone in the Obama administration’s escalation of American militarism. In addition to the 21,000 US soldiers and Marines that Obama ordered deployed to Afghanistan as part of the escalation he unveiled last March, another 13,000 “support” troops are being quietly sent to the country with no official announcement, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. This stealth buildup is a replay of the methods used by the Bush administration in its Iraq surge, when it announced the deployment of an additional 20,000 combat troops while saying nothing about the 8,000 support troops sent with them. AntiWar: Report: Obama Poised to Announce 45,000 Troop Escalation in Afghanistan. + Backdoor Escalation: Obama is smooth-talking his way into the Afghan quagmire.
Tortured Law, a new 10-minute documentary by Alliance for Justice, examines the role U.S. lawyers played in authorizing torture. Join those calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to release the report of the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility, and hold accountable those who ordered, designed, and justified torture. You can join the call by signing Alliance for Justice's petition: http://ga1.org/campaign/release_torture_memos
The additional forces are primarily support forces -- such as engineers, medical personnel, intelligence experts and military police -- the Post said, bringing the total buildup Obama has approved for the war-torn nation to 34,000. "Obama authorized the whole thing. The only thing you saw announced in a press release was the 21,000," a defense official familiar with the troop-approval process told the daily. PressTV: US mulling Chaosistan plan for Afghanistan. The Guardian: Obama quietly deploying 13,000 more US troops to Afghanistan. Online Journal: McChrystal demands bloodshed. PressTV: Brown to announce Afghan troop surge.
As the Obama administration considers a request for the deployment of as many as 60,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, the current 100,000-strong US and NATO occupation force is continuing to suffer casualties at an unprecedented rate.
An Afghan member of a UN-backed panel investigating fraud in the presidential election has resigned saying foreigners are "interfering" in its work. Mustafa Barakzai was one of two Afghans on the five-member Electoral Complaints Commission. He said Afghans had little input in the body's key decisions. The commission is due to rule this week on the outcome of its investigations. Google/AP: Afghan member of panel investigating vote resigns. Time.com: How the Afghan Election Was Rigged. RAWA: UN official says ‘widespread fraud’ in Afghan vote. + The time to leave Afghanistan is now. Metro: 'White House will pick Afghan leader': [August 18, 2009] Are you hopeful about tomorrow’s elections? The election is a showcase of the US government. We have a famous saying that it’s not important who is voting, it’s important who is counting. The next president of Afghanistan will be selected behind the closed doors of the White House.
My closest Afghan friend held out his Taliban-era photo. A decade younger, he had a thick black beard that the oppressive regime forced men to grow. My friend won't grow one again. He is already thinking about when to flee. As generals, politicians and pundits in Washington debate the next best step for America's eight-year war in Afghanistan, the Taliban takes new territory by the day, despite the record 64,000 U.S. troops here.
As Afghanistan's eight-year-old war is claiming countless lives, a new report says that the United States has not reached its civilian goals in the war-ravaged country. The New York Times reported on Sunday that Washington was falling far short of its goals in fighting Afghanistan's endemic corruption, creating a functioning government and legal system and training a police force.
President Obama is coming under attack from the Right for his reluctance to grant the request of General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, for more U.S. troops. On the other side of the equation sits the majority of the American people, who are against sending more troops and in fact oppose this seemingly endless war that has now entered year nine. Obama should go with the people and set a timetable to get our troops out of Afghanistan as soon as is practically possible, which should be less than one year. Their presence cannot contribute to bringing peace and security to that country, nor does it contribute to the security of the United States. In fact, the occupation of Afghanistan is making things worse on both counts.
Ajmal Khan, 55, could not believe his ears when he heard about US President Barack Obama’s surprise win of the Nobel Peace Prize. "I don't think he deserves the peace prize," Khan, a Pakistani mechanical engineer, told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, October 10. "Has he done anything special to bring peace in the world? Killing goes on in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in other countries. Obama was granted the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 on Friday, for his "extraordinary" efforts in international diplomacy and hastening nuclear disarmament. "If the category is peace, he doesn't deserve the peace prize," said Nadeem Umtaz, 49, a salesman in Islamabad. "The situation keeps getting worse in Pakistan and Afghanistan. "I think he got the prize because he's a powerful man, that's all," he said.
McChrystal has presented Obama with three scenarios for troop deployments in Afghanistan. In one, the US would commit 60,000 more soldiers. In the second—that for which McChrystal has publicly campaigned—the US would deploy 40,000 additional troops. In the third scenario, Obama would send only marginally more soldiers than the 68,000 who will occupy Afghanistan by January 1. McChrystal says that this choice would lead to “mission failure”—i.e., defeat. Uruknet: Where Truth is the Target Eight Years of Big Lies on Afghanistan.
U.N. special representative Kai Eide has been accused of favouring Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the recent elections. The increasingly deadly battle between Western military forces and Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan is on the verge of being upstaged by a growing political brawl between two senior U.N. officials overseeing the battle-ravaged South Asian nation.
In 1967 Norman Mailer released a novel titled Why Are We In Vietnam? This exercise by Mailer is the story of a couple 18 year-old Texans off on a hunting trip with their wealthy fathers. The quartet are consumed with an overload of braggadocio and testosterone. The story of the trip, which is full of whiskey and tales of past sexual conquests, racial slurs and assumptions of American exceptionalism, is told through the eyes of one of the younger men.
KABUL — The U.S. military says American and Afghan forces accidentally killed a child during a raid on a Taliban compound in eastern Afghanistan. Civilian deaths threaten to undermine Afghan support for international forces, and the U.S. commander in Afghanistan has made protecting innocent Afghans a priority. Wednesday night's incident in Logar province is a reminder of how difficult the task can be.
American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taleban. Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, the chaplains told The Times in their makeshift chapel on this fortress-like base in a dusty, brown valley southwest of Kabul.
The United Nations has again been forced to defend its role in Afghan presidential elections after a US newspaper published voter turnout data. The data showed evidence of electoral fraud and had been kept confidential by the UN's chief envoy, Kai Eide. His deputy, Peter Galbraith, has accused him of refusing to reveal the data because it reflects poorly on President Hamid Karzai. The information was gathered by UN field staff, but their boss, Mr Eide, did not hand it over to the bodies investigating fraud. Mr Galbraith has accused his boss of backing Mr Karzai (), while the UN officials said Mr Galbraith has a personal agenda ().
Mr. Obama held a 90-minute meeting with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders at the White House Tuesday to discuss Afghanistan. A senior administration official said the president assured lawmakers the policy review would be rigorous and deliberate, but move forward with a sense of urgency. The U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army General Stanley McChrystal, has warned the U.S. could lose the conflict if more troops are not deployed to Afghanistan. He is expected to ask for an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to fight Taliban insurgents. Scoop: Just Say "NO" to the War in Afghanistan.
The men of Bravo Company have a bitter description for the irrigated swath of land along the Arghandab River where 10 members of their battalion have been killed and 30 have been wounded since the beginning of August. "Like Vietnam without the napalm," said Spc. Nicholas Gojekian, 21, of Katy, Texas.
Defence chief resigns but political storm continues to rage over bogus Arabic translation of ‘war book’. The country’s top military officer, Admiral Tim Sloth Jørgensen, has quit but more heads could roll as the controversy over a former soldier’s book unfolds.
It began before dawn — a devastating, well-planned attack. About 300 insurgents swarmed out of a village and mosque and attacked a pair of isolated American outposts in a remote mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan with machineguns, rockets and grenades. They first stormed the Afghan police post at the foot of the hill in the province of Nuristan, a Taleban and al-Qaeda stronghold on the lawless Pakistan border. They then swept up to the Nato post. The battle lasted all day. American and Afghan soldiers finally repelled them, with the help of US helicopters and warplanes — but at heavy cost.
Illegal ammunition found in possession of Danish soldiers in Afghanistan – accused face severe penalties. Three Danish soldiers have been sent home from Afghanistan and accused of possessing illegal ammunition by the military’s Judge Advocate General (JAG). Two privates and an officer have been charged with having 20 rounds of hollow point bullets, also known as dum-dums, in their pistols. Dum-dum bullets expand on impact, causing much more damage than conventional ammunition, and have been banned for use in military operations since the 1899 Hague Convention.
"To create and deepen ethnic divisions in Afghanistan may well be the real American strategy. If the Afghans can be made to fight among themselves, it is hoped this will reduce attacks against foreign occupation troops. Regardless of how long the Americans and their NATO allies stay, ultimately they will have to leave. The civil war will then begin in earnest."
As the eighth anniversary of the US-led bombing of Afghanistan draws closer, the Obama administration continues to debate the best way to fight this ongoing war. Senate Democrats voted Thursday to delay a congressional briefing by General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, a NATO air strike on a compound in southern Afghanistan has reportedly killed a family of six. As the civilian death toll in Afghanistan continues to rise, we turn now to an excerpt from a new documentary by filmmaker Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films. It’s called Rethink Afghanistan and premieres today in New York.
Three American troops have died in two separate incidents in southern and eastern Afghanistan, says the US-led coalition force in the conflict-torn country. One soldier was killed in a grenade attack in eastern Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a Friday statement, AFP reported. The agency also quoted an ISAF media officer as saying that two other American troops were killed in 'an incident' west of Kandahar on Friday.
[Rising number of civilians' deaths in airstrikes has sparked outrage in Afghanistan.] At least nine people have been killed in an airstrike on a compound in southwestern Afghanistan, says a local tribal leader. Ghulam Mohammad Khan said on Thursday that a farmer, his wife and four children were among those killed in the Wednesday evening airstrike in Helmand province. Three guests at the compound also died, he added.
In the eastern province of Logar, a spokesman for the governor said villagers claimed that a US operation overnight killed an innocent shopkeeper. The villagers also complained that American forces had wrongly detained three civilians, the Associated Press reported. Din Mohammad Darwesh, the spokesman, said villagers refused to bury the shopkeeper's body, in order to prove his innocence, and demanded the release of the three men. Since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, there have been plenty of fatalities and casualties among Afghan people.
THE US design to destabilize Pakistan is becoming clearer by the day, even for the most blinkered Pakistani. As the US continues to be stalemated in Afghanistan, it has sought to move the centre of gravity of the "war on terror" to Pakistan.
A young Afghan girl died after a box of public information leaflets, dropped by a British Royal Air Force plane over Afghanistan, landed on her, a newspaper said. Britain's Ministry of Defence said it was investigating the accident which it described as "highly regrettable," The Times said. The drop occurred over a rural area of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province on June 23 as part of an information campaign, the newspaper said. TimesOnline: Young girl is killed by RAF leaflet drop in Afghanistan.
The US and NATO countries involved in the occupation of Afghanistan have signaled their willingness to recognize the re-election of Afghan President Hamid Karzai despite evidence of massive ballot-stuffing and fraud in the August 20 elections. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and NATO foreign ministers met with their Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta at a so-called “Friends of Afghanistan” meeting in New York last Friday. According to the Washington Post, the US and NATO foreign ministers “told President Hamid Karzai’s government that they expect him to remain in office for another five-year term.” Nothing could more clearly expose the neo-colonial character of the war and the cynicism behind the pretense that the bloodletting is motivated by concern for “democracy” and the “sovereignty” of Afghanistan.
The United Nations mission in Afghanistan recorded about 1,500 civilian deaths in the first six months of 2009, a 24 percent increase over the previous year and a record in the eight-year-old war. August witnessed the most civilian killings, largely due to violence associated with that month’s elections, the report said. It provided no figure for the August death toll.
Cautions 'Overwhelming Firepower' Won't Win War. Though it seems hard to imagine given how much violence in Afghanistan has already risen over the course of the year, top US commander General Stanley McChrystal insists that the situation is still getting worse, and the spread of violence is “more than I would have gathered.” AntiWar: 5 US troops killed as debate grows over Afghan war.
Its time for you to help build the momentum to stop the war. Get the full DVD. Host a screening with neighbors.
Congress Should Hold Hearings on Alternatives to Major Escalation. Embedded in General Stanley McChrystal's classified assessment of the war in Afghanistan is his conclusion that a successful counterinsurgency strategy will require 500,000 troops over five years. This bombshell was dropped by NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday:
The numbers are really pretty horrifying. What they say, embedded in this report by McChrystal, is they would need 500,000 troops - boots on the ground - and five years to do the job. No one expects that the Afghan Army could step up to that. Are we gonna put even half that of U.S. troops there, and NATO forces? No way. [Morning Joe, September 23, 2009]
Mitchell got the figure from an independent source. It was not revealed in the redacted version of the once classified report released by the Pentagon earlier this week. McChrystal has warned the administration that without an infusion of more troops the eight-year war in Afghanistan "will likely result in failure." Zimbio: Taliban is Winning in Afghanistan: Gen. McChrystal TomDispatch / Uruknet: How to Trap a President in a Losing War.
The Danish Military tries to stop elite soldier's autobiography, and fail. Then they try to stir up a controversy by leaking a "discovered" Arabic translation to the press. A translated version into Arabic of a controversial book about Danish commandos, appears to have been collated by the military. Denmark was awash yesterday with reports of an Arabic translation of a controversial book about Danish commandos that the defence forces have unsuccessfully attempted to win an injunction against. The translation, however, was later shown by the tabloid B.T. to be an automatic, on-line translation of the book and largely unreadable.
Over the past week U.S. newspapers and television networks have been abuzz with reports that Washington and its NATO allies are planning an unprecedented increase of troops for the war in Afghanistan, even in addition to the 17,000 new American and several thousand NATO forces that have been committed to the war so far this year.
Uruknet: The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking the disclosure of documents related to the detention and treatment of prisoners at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. According to the complaint, the government should promptly make public the Bagram records, including a list of vital information about detainees being held there, the rules that govern the facility and documents pertaining to the conditions of confinement and status review process afforded prisoners.
[20 August 2009] Like millions of Afghans, I have no hope in the results of today's election. In a country ruled by warlords, occupation forces, Taliban terrorists, drug money and guns, no one can expect a legitimate or fair vote. Even international observers have been speaking about widespread fraud and intimidation and, among the people on the street, there is a common refrain: the real winner has already been picked by the White House. + Defense Committee for Malalai Joya
Army Spc. Corey Kowall, 20, of Murfreesboro TN was killed in a crash after serving in Afghanistan for nearly five weeks. No, you don't want to hear it. This young man was not a hero. It was not sacrifice for our country or our freedoms. It was nothing but a wasted life for lies. -You don't want to hear it.
Still busy fighting growing questions about his government’s legitimacy in the wake of massive voter fraud in last month’s election, Afghan President Hamid Karzai today embraced US General Stanley McChrystal’s request for up to 45,000 more troops for the ongoing conflict, saying it was “the right approach.” Karzai’s comments were in direct conflict with those made by top members of the Afghan police force, who insist that the further escalation by the United States is only going to add to the perception that the nation is engaged in an occupation, not a nation-building exercise. AntiWar: House Democrat urges White House to send more troops, remain focused on Afghanistan. AntiWar: Gen. McChrystal: Pakistani Govt Aiding Taliban US Commander Accuses ISI of 'Undermining US Interests'. TimesOnline: Britain: Army draws up plan to send 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan.
[The] publication of the 66-page (redacted) document this week by the Washington Post has whipped the frenzy into near-hysteria, with a stampede of politicians and talking heads shouting in effect that "Something must be done!'' and predicting dire consequences if something isn't. Perhaps that's understandable, given the commander's grim assessment of how the war inside Afghanistan is going: The enemy is gaining, the current strategy is failing, the United States could lose the war without more resources. Not just that, but the U.S. and its allies must change their entire war-fighting culture "profoundly.'' Oddly, though, the McChrystal memo doesn't raise or answer this question: Why are we doing this?
With the release of a declassified version of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s recommendations for a change of course in Afghanistan, the Pentagon command is pushing President Barack Obama to quickly approve another major escalation of the US-led war. Uruknet: Pakistan: Threat from America. "The single greatest threat to (Pakistan)", Obama said recently, "comes from Al Qaeda and their extremists allies". This is not true. All our major problems, including terrorism, stem from the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. It has turned our tribal area into a protracted ulcer, a quagmire – a place where Pakistan is spending blood and treasure to protect American interests.
In a throwback to Bushisms, the Obama administration justified denying prisoners access to legal counsel by pointing out that they were captured in a battlefield and were being held in a war zone. Government officials also highlighted the importance of Bagram as a holding pen for terror suspects captured outside Iraq and Afghanistan now that Guantanamo was being closed and the CIA’s secret prisons had become inoperative. The fact is, there is nothing new about Obama’s revised rules for Bagram. Without access to lawyers, the prisoners in Afghanistan remain beyond the reach of any legitimate system of justice and, therefore, vulnerable to the US military’s transgressions of its own rules (for example, in the form of torture). And having a place to keep prisoners without filing charges against them will help sustain the widely derided practice of rendition.
The CIA is deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence "surge" that will make its station there among the largest in the agency's history, U.S. officials say. When complete, the CIA's presence in the country is expected to rival the size of its massive stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars. Precise numbers are classified, but one U.S. official said the agency already has nearly 700 employees in Afghanistan. BearCave: Interview with Alfred McCoy: The Politics of Heroin; CIA Complicity In The Global Drug Trade. Global Research: Afghanistan: Drug Addiction Lucrative for Neolib Banksters, CIA. Antifascist Calling/TPV: The Secret and Profitable World of Intelligence and Narcotrafficking.
President Insists He's 'Not Interested in Just Being in Afghanistan'. Between the failed election, the record violence and an impatient military, President Barack Obama is under more pressure than ever to make a move on Afghanistan. Yet not only is he not making any decision on the further escalation of the war, he won’t even speculate on when he might make that decision. WaPo: McChrystal: More Forces or 'Mission Failure'.
Nearly one in four votes in last month’s Afghan presidential elections were cast at polling stations now subject to a recount and audit for possible fraud, a huge number that underscores the possibility that President Hamid Karzai could face a runoff, according to an analysis of Afghan national election commission data by The New York Times.
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