Wednesday, 27 February 2013

20 Police Killed in Insider Attack

The attacks were just the latest in a series of such insider attacks, often involving the use of poisons or drugs to subdue other policemen, who are then shot while unconscious. Typically, rat poison is used but the victims are shot as well because the poison is not always fatal when delivered in food.
“This type of attack is so deadly and disastrous, both in terms of loss of human life and in critically undermining trust and confidence among the Afghan national security forces and in particular the A.L.P.,” said retired Gen. Atiqullah Amarkhel, an Afghan military analyst. “We have a large number of cases similar to last night’s attack in Ghazni.” MORE

Attack on Afghan police post leaves 17 dead

BBC News - Attack on Afghan police post leaves 17 dead: "Eleven of the dead were police officers, while the rest may have been visiting friends, Mr Akbarzada said.All were shot while they slept at the base, he said.
He added that the Ghazni chief of police had been sent to the area to investigate the incident.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan on Wednesday, a suicide bomber in Kabul blew himself up after crawling under a bus carrying army personnel, injuring six soldiers and four civilians."

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Afghans hold anti-U.S. rally following abuse claims

Afghans hold anti-U.S. rally following abuse claims - AlertNet:
"The peaceful two-hour protest began on Tuesday at the offices of the Wardak provincial council shortly after it held a meeting."If the situation remains like this, this province will collapse very soon," said protester Haji Abdul Qadim. "People will join the insurgency very soon because of the abuses of these forces."
In another incident that could feed local hostility to the American forces in Wardak, a Swedish organisation which runs health clinics across Afghanistan accused the U.S. military on Tuesday of occupying and damaging one of its facilities."

Incidents Like This Explain Karzai's Exasperation

This report is from 2010 but these night raids have been common for many years. The few reports on fatalities, when reported at all, are the tip of a dark, dark iceberg:
U.S. Admits Role in February Killing of Afghan Women - "The admission immediately raised questions about what really happened during the Feb. 12 operation — and what falsehoods followed — including a new report that Special Operations forces dug bullets out of the bodies of the women to hide the true nature of their deaths."

Monday, 25 February 2013

Afghan governor details abuses by U.S. special forces

Afghan gov. details abuses by U.S. special forces -
"For the past three months, Khogyani said, he has received complaints from tribal elders, religious leaders and others about the behavior of U.S. Special Operations troops, including allegations that nine people were arrested and have disappeared.''When I spoke with various U.S. forces in the province they did not tell us anything about the fate of the nine -- whether they are alive, in prison or dead," Khogyani told the Post. "People want to know what has happened to them.""

The Liar, Liar Oscars - Ben and Michelle Zap the Bad Guys

Ben Affleck's Argo, another Hurt Locker/Zero Dark Thirty-style mythology of noble, brave Americans fighting the good fight against 'bad guys' wins Best Film. Michelle Obama announces the result by link from the White House (not kidding). What if, conversely, Hollywood was obliged to tell the truth irrespective of their irresistible urge to continue to cascade agitprop on behalf of the US  establishment? What type of films might come out? Films that actually, you know, told the truth. Maybe a film about THIS or THIS or THIS or THIS?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Pan-Asian Anchor: Balkanization of Afghanistan beckons

The Pan-Asian Anchor: Balkanization of Afghanistan beckons By Derek Henry Flood:

Afghan government accuses US special forces of civilian death and torture | World news |

Afghan government accuses US special forces of civilian death and torture | World news |
"These individuals in the US special forces, who are behind these crimes like murdering and torturing people and harassing people, this is in itself an elemental factor in the deteriorating security situation"

Karzai Orders US Forces Out of Wardak Over Torture

The Afghan president's office said the decision to order the expulsionof US special forces had been taken at a meeting of the National Security Council."After a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as US special force[s] stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people," it said. MORE

Taliban Attacks - Winter Lull Over?

Afghan insurgents launch 4 attacks - World News | IOL News |
"The attacks were a reminder that insurgents are still going on the offensive even as U.S. and other international forces draw down. All four attacks Sunday appeared to target Afghan forces, who have been suffering higher casualties this year. Afghan soldiers and police are easier targets than their NATO allies because their checkpoints and bases are less fortified."

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Mystery Of The Afghanistan 'Strategy'

"That the Obama administration desires a post-2014 military presence (U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta uses the phrase "enduring presence") in Afghanistan is no secret. Having watched Iraq regress into political deadlock and asymmetric warfare following the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces, the White House and Pentagon presumably realize that the scope of Afghanistan's challenges exceed its sister war and will not bow easily. They will push Karzai or his replacement to the limit of their political influence. Assuming they comply, the only certainty of a post-2014 force is a number higher than zero." LINK

Bahrain Opposition Meeting at Frontline Club

Craig Murray » Blog Archive » Bahrain Opposition Meeting at Frontline Club:

"The video in question is poor quality because someone taped it from the screening shown at the meeting. I had asked for the original but was told they are updating it. On the meeting itself, the accounts from Bahrainis are fascinating. There were three Bahraini ex-MPs in the audience who had not only been expelled from parliament but stripped of their Bahraini nationality for supporting the majority of Bahrainis against the despot."

Justifying Murder

Two marines cleared of murdering Afghan captive - UK -
"The show of support was organised by former Royal Highland fusilier Brian Coutts. He said: “This is the first time I can remember, certainly in my lifetime, where a soldier has been arrested for the murder of someone who was known to be an enemy. These guys have been asked to do a job – how can you do it with one hand tied behind your back?
“It’s going to come to a stage where a soldier there in conflict is going to wonder, ‘should I pull the trigger and risk my life and the life of my comrades?’ That hesitation could cost them or other people their lives.”"

Friday, 22 February 2013

Obama deploys drones, US military personnel to Niger

Obama deploys drones, US military personnel to Niger - U.S. News
The president notified Congress on Friday under the War Powers Act, which requires him to tell Congress when heavily armed U.S. military personnel are newly deployed to a region or nation.
Obama told Congress that the U.S. military presence was under the consent of the government of Niger, and that they would “facilitate intelligence-sharing” with the French. He said that the American military personnel were armed 'for their own protection and security'.

Karzai Sometimes Acts Like a Sovereign State Leader Should

Mark Jacobson pissed that Karzai's a real boy after all - Snarkistan, snark without borders: "Jacobson begins by painting a picture of an ungrateful, recalcitrant child, who should really be more understanding when NATO aircraft turn Afghan civilians into red mist. Karzai’s crime here is that he has “unforgivingly attacked NATO over the issue of civilian casualties.” Because the man should comprehend the fact that we’re really here to help, and dead civilians, well, who’s ever made an omelet? Am I right?"

Cameron With His 'Hope this doesn't go out' Smile On

US Army general facing sex charges

US Army general facing sex charges adding lawyers - "Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair appeared in court Thursday at Fort Bragg for a hearing on pre-trial motions. Sinclair faces court martial in June on charges that include forcible sodomy, indecent acts, violating orders and adultery. He has thus far deferred entering a plea."

NATO soldier killed following blast in southern Afghanistan

NATO soldier killed following blast in southern Afghanistan - Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan Online Newspaper
"The source did not disclose further information regarding the exact location of the incident and nationality of the deceased soldier." First NATO fatality since last month. Winter lull or are the Taliban changing tack?

The Trench: Amid Peace Talks, Bahrain's Monarchy Cries Iran

The Trench: Amid Peace Talks, Bahrain's Monarchy Cries Iran:

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Zero Dark Thirty Panned and Shunned in Equal Measure in Pakistan

Much criticism of this execrable and crass movie in Pakistan. LINK

Post-NATO era starts to take shape and it doesn't look good

Afghanistan's post-NATO era starts to take shape and it doesn't look good - Daily Democrat Online
"The nightmare scenario of NATO leaving Afghanistan to face a new period of ethnic violence and civil conflict has already become a reality in the southern province of Uruzgan."

Australian War Artist Ben Quilty

As usual the war-artist story is too preoccupied with soldiers. They are not the victims of the debacle in Afghanistan. An interesting visual take nonetheless.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Tamim Ansary and William Dalrymple's books on Afghanistan

Reviewed: Tamim Ansary and William Dalrymple's books on Afghanistan:

Uproar Over Israeli Crosshair Picture

Assassinations Soar In Afghanistan

Kabul: There has  been a decline in civilian deaths in line with the Winter lull but insurgent attacks on Afghan government employees soared last year by a staggering 700 per cent even as the overall civilian death toll from the war fell, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The targeted killings of women in government service by Taliban-led insurgents was "particularly disturbing", the UN mission in Afghanistan said in its annual report on civilian casualties. From The Times of Oman.

Monday, 18 February 2013

From Iraq and Afghanistan to Mali: Wars, Masks and Video-games

Middle East Online::From Iraq and Afghanistan to Mali: Wars, Masks and Video-games 
"Last January, a photograph distributed by an international wire service made quite buzz in internet chat rooms. It showed a French soldier standing guard in front of armored army vehicles. In the picture, apparently taken in Niono (central Mali), the French Special Forces soldier was wearing combat goggles and a black balaclava mask with a skeleton-face design.
There were those who protested the picture as a display of insensitivity and detachment from the local Malian population. Others saw in it a rather benign manifestation of video-game culture, since the mask worn by the soldier was reminiscent of “Ghost”, one of the characters of the blockbuster video-game series Call of Duty."

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Returning Soldiers Feeling Sorry For Themselves Again

During the ensuing firefight with the Taliban, he spotted a girl – he reckoned a four-year-old – on the roof of an Afghan compound, holding a mobile phone to her ear. He assessed she was a Taliban mortar fire controller, directing intense enemy fire onto his patrol's position; they were pinned down as a result. He radioed a jet and directed it to drop a bomb on the girl and the building.

"I did what I had to do," he told me.

Not such an easy one for armchair moralists to call. Countless soldiers return with such experiences on their consciences. Eh!??! Not easy to call? I'll think you'll find that it is. Interesting anecdotes but another 'fog of war' bull-fest at the end of the day. LINK

63 Dead in Pakistan Market Attack

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Karzai Bans Afghan Forces From Using Murderous NATO Airstrikes

“I issue a decree, from tomorrow none of the Afghan forces are allowed to ask for foreign air support under any conditions,” he said in an address to young officers at a military academy in Kabul.“Our forces ask for air support from foreigners and children get killed in an air strike,” he said.
This was apparently a reference to an attack during an overnight raid by combined Afghan and NATO ground forces on a Taliban hideout in a remote eastern region on Wednesday. LINK

Photographer Giles Duley - Clip

BBC News - Injured photographer Giles Duley wants Afghanistan return:

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Rise of the Politics of Fear

Benghazi Attack Retaliation For Brennan's Secret War?

Full Story Here

Drone wars: the Afghan model

Drone wars: the Afghan model | openDemocracy 
"The "surge" policy implemented in 2009-10, during Obama's first term, increased the number of American personnel to a peak of around 100,000 personnel, with an additional 40,000 from other International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) countries. The surge was intended to overwhelm the Taliban and other armed opposition groups (AOGs) to an extent that the western forces could then negotiate a withdrawal, leaving an opposition so weakened that it could not seize power from the Afghan authorities left in place. This "clever" tactic failed, leading the Obama administration to shift positions and just set a timetable for withdrawal."

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

‘Another Afghanistan’ in Mali - Canadian Diplomat

Canada warns of ‘another Afghan’ in Mali - Africa | IOL News | "Canada in January sent a C-17 military transport aircraft to support France's routing of the rebels, moving almost one million pounds of French military equipment to Bamako.
Baird said Ottawa is prepared to further “help address the humanitarian crisis and... we are supporting the road map to democratic elections sometime later this year.”
But he expressed concerns about Canada getting involved militarily in what he described as “already amounting to a counter-insurgency.”"

Worldwide Opposition To Drone Strikes

Now here's a graph which tells a story as they say.

Obama's SOTU Speech - Empty Rhetoric At It's Most Vacuous

A thorough dose of flatulent rhetoric here even by Obama's standards. I think he's working himself up to a 'Mission Accomplished' speech if anything so brazenly dishonest can be imagined.

Afghanistan Nato Air Strike 'Kills Children'

Afghanistan Nato Air Strike 'Kills Children':

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

US withdraws military equipment through Pakistan

US withdraws military equipment through Pakistan - PakTribune: "There are still 100,000 men and 200 bases. Some of the equipment will stay (in Afghanistan), some of it will be redeployed," Carroll said."We have got to use any feasible way to do that. The northern route and of course air are other solutions." An uncharacteristically frank assessment. Most of the crap will be left to rot and pollute the country just like the Russian hardware.

US general assumes NATO command in Afghanistan

Dunford faces 'challenges' apparently. Whenever I see that word I know a clusterfuck is lurking not far behind the spin. 
US general assumes NATO command in Afghanistan amidst continuing challenges - "Gen. Joseph F. Dunford took over the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from his fellow U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen at a change-of- command ceremony held here February 10."It is a change of command. It is not a change of war strategy. I think the new NATO commander would obviously stick to the same strategy that his predecessors had in the past," a local military expert, retired General Abdul Ghafar Gardezi, told Xinhua.
Gardezi said that the challenges ahead remain as anti- government elements, notably the Taliban, are still determined to make it difficult for the Afghan government to maintain peace and order after the withdrawal of all foreign forces in 2014."

Monday, 11 February 2013

Peace Talks in Jeopardy?

Afghanistan peace talks in jeopardy if Taliban refuse to attend - Asia - World - The Independent: "Tahir Ashrafi, chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council, a leading organisation of Pakistani clerics who was seen as a possible leader of the Pakistani side of the conference, said: “How come people can talk to the Taliban all over the world but not in Kabul? We support peace talks. But if we are to discuss peace, then how can you leave out one of the parties to the war?”"

SEAL Who Claims He Killed OBL Says Navy Abandoned Him

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Half of Afghan prisoners complain of torture

Half of Afghan prisoners complain of torture - Telegraph: "148 of 284 prisoners interviewed complained of torture and mistreatment during arrest or questioning. Of those 136 cases were confirmed, he said.
Two thirds of detainees said they were not given defence lawyers.
International officials in Kabul said they welcomed the findings, but were now waiting to see if police and security chiefs implicated in torture would be fired and prosecuted. In the past, torturers have only been moved on to other police stations, or even promoted."

NATO Statement On Syria

Nato head Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that the alliance would only take action against Syria if Turkey is attacked.
Speaking to EUobserver in his office in Brussels last week, the secretary general of what calls itself "the word's most powerful military alliance," said he feels "frustration" when he hears about the "outrageous" human rights abuses being committed by Syrian forces.
He said Nato is not going in because the UN has not asked it to.
Read more

Is the UK abandoning its Afghan interpreters?

BBC News - Is the UK abandoning its Afghan interpreters?:

Afghan Probe Supports UN Claims of Torture in Government Jails

Afghan Probe Supports UN Claims of Torture in Government Jails - Bloomberg: "While Afghan authorities had probed claims of abuse, the UN found no evidence of any prosecution of those responsible for torture or for failing to stop it. The country needed a more robust investigation process and a court system that refuses to accept confessions gained through torture, the UN said."

Afghanistan’s growing number of child drug addicts  Dark Politricks

Afghanistan’s growing number of child drug addicts  Dark Politricks:

Over 100 workers of private construction firm poisoned in Kabul

Over 100 workers of private construction firm poisoned in Kabul - Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan Online Newspaper: "A number of the Onyx construction company employees said they started feeling dizziness, nausea, stomach pain and weakness after eating dinner on Saturday night."

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Obama’s Drone Attack on Your Due Process

Obama’s Drone Attack on Your Due Process - Bloomberg: "Are U.S. enemies entitled to due process? Well, no -- not if they are arrayed against the country on the battlefield. In war, you don’t try the enemy. You kill him, preferably before he kills you. And if some of the Japanese troops at Guadalcanal had held U.S. citizenship, it wouldn’t have suddenly given them due process rights. If Awlaki was an enemy fighting on the battlefield, he wouldn’t have deserved due process while the fight was on. Off it, he should legally be like any other U.S. citizen, innocent until proven guilty." 

NATO 'on the road' to winning war against Taliban

NATO 'on the road' to winning war against Taliban - RTÉ News:
Might have believed that spin (although not really) 11 years ago. Now it is known as black humour. Hence the white wash.

Dunford Takes Command Of Foreign Forces In Afghanistan

Dunford Takes Command Of Foreign Forces In Afghanistan:

Tunisian president's secular party quits Islamist-led government

Tunisian president's secular party quits Islamist-led government | Reuters: