Saturday, 31 January 2009
An Afghan village elder rages and points his walking stick, as he berates US soldiers who have come to pay money for repairing of the homes which were destroyed during the recent US raids in Inzeri village of Tagab Valley in Kapisa province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009. An angry Afghan man with a thick black beard and one eye ranted wildly at the U.S. officials, shouting about how their raid had killed 16 civilians in his village. An Afghan elder cried out in grief that his son and four grandsons were killed.
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday accused his Western allies of not doing enough to stop civilian deaths in the "war on terror" and failing to cut opium production in areas patrolled by foreign troops.
Addressing the opening session of parliament, Karzai called for a rethink in the international strategy aimed at rooting out extremists and cracking down on drug farming in Afghanistan, and in the way billions of dollars in reconstruction aid are spent.
"We don't accept civilian casualties in our land in the war on terrorism," Karzai told about 300 parliamentarians and guests, including representatives of the United Nations, embassies and foreign military forces.
"We have never complained about our police being martyred - thousands of our police have been martyred. We have never complained about the deaths of our soldiers - hundreds have died," the president said.
"If thousands are killed in the war on terrorism... we will accept that. But we don't and will never accept civilian casualties in our land," he said, to shouts "Allah Akbar" (God is the greatest) from parliamentarians expressing approval.
Civilian casualties from international military operations against Taliban and other insurgents have strained relations between Kabul and its backers
The United Nations says roughly 2,000 civilians were killed in 2008, with more than half in insurgent attacks, implying that several hundreds died during foreign and Afghan troop operations.
Karzai and other critics say civilian deaths risk turning Afghans against international intervention in their country.
"We want our allies to rethink their military operations... We want change in military operations, we want effectiveness in the 'war on terror'," he said.
His criticism comes just two days after the head of NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, charged that the current Afghan authorities were almost as much to blame for the country's dire straits as the resurgent Taliban.
Karzai also accused his international allies of not doing enough to curb the drugs trade. Afghanistan produces more than 90% of the world's illegal opium and uses most of it to make heroin destined for Europe and elsewhere.
The president said that opium poppy production was highest in areas with heavy deployments of international troops. 'Where the government of Afghanistan has no authority, poppy cultivation is high," he said.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
The USAF Report by Brig. Gen. Michael Callan 'exonerates' the US Air Force. A bit like Israeli spokesmen exonerating their bombers for their handiwork in Gaza. After a U.S. air strike in Azizabad in August, U.S. forces reported five to seven civilian deaths. Both the Afghan government and the United Nations said more than 90 civilians had been killed(see previous posts).
The U.S. military reopened its investigation after a video emerged showing bodies of victims. The second inquiry, led by U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Michael Callan, found 33 civilians had been killed.
Human Rights Watch have criticized the way it was conducted and questioned the U.S. army's pledge to protect civilians in military operations.
"The U.S. military's investigation into deadly and controversial air strikes in Azizabad in Afghanistan in August 2008 was deeply flawed," the New York-based HRW said. The weaknesses in the Callan Report Summary call into question the depth of the Defense Department's commitment to institute reforms that would reduce civilian casualties," it said in a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates Thursday.
WITC says: The U.S. military has failed to admit making any mistakes in its initial assessments and "exonerated" U.S. forces of any wrongdoing. No change there, then.
Thursday, 8 January 2009
This incident was reported across the world as 'X (Place Number Here)Taliban Killed'. You would think the international press, even the US poodles, would know that NATO press releases are never true.
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
In an analysis in The New York Times last month, Michael Gordon noted that “Afghanistan presents a unique set of problems: a rural-based insurgency, an enemy sanctuary in neighboring Pakistan, the chronic weakness of the Afghan government, a thriving narcotics trade, poorly developed infrastructure, and forbidding terrain.”
The U.S. military is worn out from years of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their troops are stressed from multiple deployments. Equipment is in disrepair. Budgets are beyond strained. Sending thousands of additional troops on a fool's errand in the rural, mountainous guerrilla paradise of Afghanistan would be further madness.
With no military background and a reputation as a liberal, Obama Barack may feel he has to demonstrate toughness, and that Afghanistan is the place to do it. What would really show toughness would be an assertion by Obama as commander in chief that the era of mindless military misadventures is over.
”I hate war,” said Dwight Eisenhower, “as only a soldier who has lived it can, as only one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”
What's the upside to the United States, a nation in dire economic distress, of an escalation in Afghanistan? The chief effect of military operations in Afghanistan so far has been to push radical Islamists across the Pakistani border. As a result, efforts to stabilize Afghanistan are contributing to the destabilization of Pakistan, with potentially grim implications for the West.
No country poses a greater potential threat to western security than Pakistan. To risk the stability of that nuclear-armed state in the vain hope of salvaging Afghanistan would be a terrible mistake to match Bush's worst excesses.
A wholesale occupation is unnecessary. The United States is falling apart before our eyes. The government they and we are supporting in Afghanistan is a fetid hothouse of corruption, a government of gangsters and weasels kept afloat by billions in foreign aid. It is shot through with corruption and graft. From the lowliest traffic policeman to the family of President Hamid Karzai himself, the state built on the ruins of the Taliban government seven years ago now often seems to exist for little more than the enrichment of those who run it.If Obama does send more troops to Afghanistan, he should go on television and tell the world in the clearest possible language, what he is trying to achieve. He should spell out the mission's goals, and lay out an exit strategy. Otherwise it will become Barack Obama's war.
Sunday, 4 January 2009
First Post of 2009. Happy New Year to all readers and those of Wolves In The City.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has publicly lambasted the West on many occasions, saying it is not doing enough to prevent civilian casualties. It even got to the point where he and his government were talking about changing the status of forces agreement to restrict what the west does in Afghanistan on the ground in their fight against 'terror'.
This audio clip is courtesy of NPR.