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AFGHANISTAN , DOES IT STILL MATTER ?

 
 
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 06:43 pm
@hamburger,
Thank you for sharing, Hamburger.
I'm sorry to add to the bad news.

Whenever i think of 'the war on terror' i think of T E Lawrence - a man whose example and insight we should have learned from long ago.
i am very saddened (and astonished) by the lack of pride and decency our western governments show toward sovereign nations and individual, hard working, common people around the world.
Their lack of humanity does not bode well for any of us.

I keep thinking it can't get any worse, or more grotesque - but then it does.

Film Backs Afghans’ Claims of US Killings
Posted September 7, 2008

On August 22, the US military reported that an airstrike in Herat province killed 30 militants and no civilians. It didn’t take long for locals and Afghan officials to dispute this report, claiming that the toll included scores of civilians. The toll rose as bodies were pulled from the rubble, rising to at least 90 civilians, a count later confirmed by a United Nations investigator. The US however stuck to its original account, revising the number only slightly to include seven civilians killed. The US has also accused villagers who claimed higher numbers killed of spreading Taliban propaganda. However, a video has emerged which seems to dispute the US military’s account and support the accounts of every other agency.

The grainy eight minute video was shot by a doctor with his cellphone, and shows scores of dead civilians in the village’s mosque. Citing “new information” about the attacks General McKiernan, the senior commander for US troops in Afghanistan, has asked CENTCOM to send a general to review the initial investigation. While the general didn’t specify what the information was the New York Times article cites a myriad of items that have been available to investigators, including the aforementioned video footage of the aftermath and statements from several credible witnesses placing the account roughly in line with the findings of both the UN and Afghan governments.

However, this information was all available to officials at the time of the UN investigation and was apparently an important aspect of their findings. Since the US military’s investigation did not conclude until after the UN’s did, it is unclear how any of this would constitute “new” information.

The vast difference between the US account and that of everyone else has strained ties with the Afghan government, an issue NATO has attempted to ease with an announced joint probe. But Afghan villagers and officials continue to express outrage at both the high number of US-inflicted civilian deaths and the all-too-familiar US denials.

compiled by Jason Ditz
Endymion
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 01:21 am
@Endymion,
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/footage-of-civilian-massacre-forces-inquiry-into-us-attack-923486.html
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 07:41 am
@Endymion,
Bush Administration Hiding Afghanistan NIE Until After Election
0 Replies
 
Diane
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 11:25 am
bookmark
hamburger
 
  2  
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 06:36 pm
@Diane,
just a little item from today's news :

"don't be afraid of the foreigners . if they try to harm you , i will stand in front of them."
part of president karzai's message to the taliban , asking him to join him for talks about the future of afghanistan .

just read that the commander of the british forces in afghanistan said that there must be negotiations with the taliban and other opponents in afghanistan .
he doesn't believe a military victory can be achieved (article to follow) -
from today's times of london .
hbg
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 03:15 am
@hamburger,



A read a similar news report today (about the unlikelihood of a military "victory", hamburger.
All very baffling, I must say. (Not that I ever believed than anything like a clear-cut victory could be achieved.)
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 09:19 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote :

Quote:
A read a similar news report today (about the unlikelihood of a military "victory", hamburger.
All very baffling, I must say. (Not that I ever believed than anything like a clear-cut victory could be achieved.)


in my earlier posts - about a year or two ago - i wrote about the comments canadian soldiers coming back from afghanistan were making . btw the soldiers now seem to have been muzzled by our conservative government - no more commentary in our local paper from returning soldiers !

even the canadian officers were early on stating that a political solution must be found . there is little use of chasing the taliban and other "terrorists" around the country-side because they can always disappear easily across the border to pakistan or meld in with the population . the taliban are not a very structured military unit with HQ , staff officers and other paraphernelia , they are just very lean fighters .
when even karzai asks for reconciliation , it's time to listen , but even obama seems to be under the impression that a military victory is posssible . is this just obama trying to look tough or what is it ??? PUZZLED !!!
hbg
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 10:16 am
@msolga,
the report in the london times referenced earlier :

Quote:
The Sunday Times - October 5, 2008

War on Taliban cannot be won, says army chief

Christina Lamb - Helmand, Afghanistan

Britain's most senior military commander in Afghanistan has warned that the war against the Taliban cannot be won. Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said the British public should not expect a “decisive military victory” but should be prepared for a possible deal with the Taliban.

His assessment followed the leaking of a memo from a French diplomat who claimed that Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British ambassador in Kabul, had told him the current strategy was “doomed to fail”.

Carleton-Smith, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, which has just completed its second tour of Afghanistan, said it was necessary to “lower our expectations”. He said: “We’re not going to win this war. It’s about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that’s not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army.”

The brigadier added: “We may well leave with there still being a low but steady ebb of rural insurgency . . . I don’t think we should expect that when we go there won’t be roaming bands of armed men in this part of the world. That would be unrealistic and probably incredible.”

Carleton-Smith insisted that his forces had “taken the sting out of the Taliban for 2008”. But his brigade has sustained heavy losses in the southern province of Helmand in the past six months, with 32 killed and 170 injured. In an interview with The Sunday Times, he added his voice to a growing number of people arguing that the conflict in Afghanistan could be resolved only through a political settlement that could include the Taliban.

“We want to change the nature of the debate from one where disputes are settled through the barrel of the gun to one where it is done through negotiations,” Carleton-Smith said.

“If the Taliban were prepared to sit on the other side of the table and talk about a political settlement, then that’s precisely the sort of progress that concludes insurgencies like this. That shouldn’t make people uncomfortable.”

Last week Gulab Mangal, the governor of Helmand, said the Taliban controlled more than half the province despite the increased presence of British forces.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4882597.ece

i'm not sure that western goverments pay much attention to the statements of their military leaders when they are not in line with the "official" government "announcements" .
a rather sad commentary on "democracy" and "open government" imo .
hbg
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 05:23 pm
@hamburger,
from THE TELEGRAPH
-------------------------------
U.S. defence secretary expects more british troops to be deployed in afghanistan :

Quote:
Britain to boost Afghanistan force, US Defence Secretary says
British troop numbers in Afghanistan may have to increase to deal with the growing threat of the Taliban, the American defence secretary Robert Gates has said.

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:23AM BST 19 Sep 2008

Robert Gates has admitted that southern Afghanistan had become 'an increasing challenge . The 8,000 British troops currently in Helmand could be substantially boosted next year, possibly by an extra brigade of up to 4,000 soldiers.

Military commanders are already in advanced planning to substantially reduce the 4,000 strong force in Iraq to just a few hundred early next year. It is thought that this will free up troops from the overstretched military to be used in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defence has refused to confirm that numbers will increase only saying that the force levels were "under constant review".



full article : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/2983527/Britain-to-boost-Afghanistan-force-US-Defence-Secretary-says.html
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
from THE TIMES OF LONDON

britain will not commit additional troops to afghanistan !
what a difference a few days make !

Quote:
The Times - September 27, 2008

No more British troops to be deployed despite Taleban resurgence
Michael Evans, Defence Editor
Britain will not increase troop numbers in Afghanistan, despite the escalation in violent attacks by the Taleban, a senior defence official said yesterday.

There will be no transfer of soldiers from Iraq when Britain’s presence there is cut back next year, the official said. The current total of 8,000 troops in Afghanistan was the “absolute ceiling” for Britain’s contribution to the Nato operation, he said.
There had been widespread expectation that the reduction in troops in Iraq next year would lead to a mini-surge in reinforcements for Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, where Britain’s military presence is concentrated. But it is now agreed that there will be no transfer of forces from one campaign to the other.


full article : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article4834570.ece

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

will secretay gates be in for a bit of a disappointment or will the british commit more troops ?
we'll have to wait and see .
after the british commander stated earlier that a military win is unlikely , i wouldn't be surprised if the british decide against an increase in troops .
hbg
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Oct, 2008 01:15 am
U.S. dismisses Afghan war comments as "defeatist"
Quote:
Britain's military commander and ambassador in Afghanistan are being "defeatist" by thinking the war cannot be won, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said, as Washington seeks more troops for the conflict that started exactly seven years ago.

The comments by the officials from Britain, a key ally to the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq, were echoed by the top United Nations official in Kabul, who said success was only possible through dialogue and other political efforts.

[...]

The British commander, Brig. Mark Carleton-Smith, told the Sunday Times the war against the Taliban could not be won and that the goal was to shrink the insurgency so it was no longer a strategic threat and could be dealt with by the Afghan army.

If the Taliban were willing to talk, he said, that might be "precisely the sort of progress" needed to end the insurgency.

Britain's ambassador to Kabul, Sherard Cowper-Coles, saw an "acceptable dictator" as the best solution, with a troop surge only creating more targets for the Taliban, according to parts of a diplomatic cable published in a French newspaper.

In another sign of shifting opinion, Germany said it will no longer provide troops from its KSK special forces to support U.S.-led counterterrorism missions in Afghanistan .
... ... ...

dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Oct, 2008 03:51 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Britain already tried to win a war in Afghanistan, and failed....as all the outside powers who have tried have done.

(Think the USSR after Britain).

0 Replies
 
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:20 am


Time To Face The Facts On Afghanistan

By Eric S. Margolis

08/10/08 -- - Toronto October 06, 2008 -- For those who savor historical irony, the Soviet Empire collapsed in the years 1989-1991 because of an implosion of its economy brought on by a ruinous arms race with the United States and the heavy costs of occupying Afghanistan.
Seventeen years later came the turn of the world’s other great imperial power, the United States. Lethally bloated by runaway debt, and burdened by 50% of the world’s military spending, the house of cards known as the US economy finally collapsed.

The doomsday news from New York and Washington has obscured most other world affairs. This is unfortunate because for the first time there is a flicker " and I mean only a flicker " of light at the end of the Afghanistan tunnel. It may only be an oncoming truck bomb.

The US-installed Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, revealed last week he had asked Saudi Arabia to broker peace talks with the alliance of tribal and political groups resisting Western occupation collectively known as Taliban. Saudi Arabia had been one of the few nations to recognize the Taliban government and retains considerable influence in Afghanistan and remains a loyal friend of Pakistan.

Taliban leader Mullah Omar quickly rejected Karzai’s offer, and claimed the US was heading toward the same kind of catastrophic defeat in Afghanistan that the Soviet Union had met. The ongoing financial panic in North America lent substance to his words.

The US economy is in grave peril and its big three automakers may soon face bankruptcy. In a crazy sidebar, as Wall Street and the Us banking system faced meltdown, the insouciant Pentagon just announced it would spend $300 million with American `contractors’ to spread pro-US propaganda in Iraq. This remarkable idiocy notwithstanding, Washington could soon run out of money necessary to keep paying for operations in Iraq, and bribing Pakistan with $250-300 million a month to wage war against its own rebellious Pashtun tribes people along the Afghanistan border.

The able and forthright US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, urgently called for at least 10,000 more troops. US and NATO forces in Afghanistan are increasingly on the defensive, hard pressed to defend vulnerable supply lines in spite of massive fire power and total control of the air.

Attacks on US and NATO convoys are even beginning at the port of Karachi. The prospect of the US spreading a war it can’t win in Afghanistan into Pakistan is military and political madness.

Startlingly, Gen. McKiernan appeared to break with Bush administration policy by proposing political talks with Taliban and admitting the war had to be ended by diplomacy. The military men know this war cannot be won on the battlefield. McKiernan’s predecessor told Congress that 400,000 US troops would be needed to pacify Afghanistan. There are currently 80,000 western troops in Afghanistan, many of them unwilling to enter combat.

By sharp contrast, I recently asked Karl Rove, President Bush’s former senior advisor, how the US could ever hope to win the war in Afghanistan. His eyes dancing with imperial hubris, Rove brightly replied, `More Predators(missile armed drones) and helicopters! Then we’ll go into Pakistan.’

Which reminded me of poet Hilaire Beloc’s wonderful line about 19th century British imperialism that I use in my new book, `American Raj:’ `Whatever happens/we have got/the Maxim gun* /and they have not.’

*Maxim gun " early machine gun

Though Karzai’s olive branch was rejected, the fact he made it public is very important. By doing so, both he and Gen. McKiernan broke the simple-minded Western taboo against negotiations with Taliban and its allies.

Let us remember that Taliban is not a `terrorist movement,’ as claimed by western war propaganda, but was founded as an Islamic religious movement dedicated to fighting Communism and the drug trade.

Taliban received US funding until May, 2001. In fact, CIA keep close contacts with Taliban, many of whose members were US-backed mujahidin from the anti-Soviet war of the 1980’s, for possible future use against the Communist regimes of Central Asia and against China. The 9/11 attacks made CIA immediately cut its links to Taliban and burn the associated files.

In recent years, Western war propaganda has so demonized Taliban that few politicians have the courage to propose the obvious and inevitable: a negotiated settlement to this pointless seven-year war. A noteworthy exception came last April when NATO’s secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who admitted the war could only be ended by negotiations, not military means.

The Karzai government cannot extend its authority beyond Kabul because that would mean overthrowing the very same Uzbek and Tajik drug-dealing warlords and Communists chiefs that are its base of power. There is no real Afghan national army, just a bunch of unenthusiastic mercenaries who pretend to fight.

The current war in Afghanistan is not really about al-Qaida and `terrorism,’ but about opening a secure corridor through Pashtun tribal territory to export the oil and gas riches of the Caspian Basin of Central Asia to the West. The US and NATO forces in Afghanistan are essentially pipeline protection troops fighting off the hostile natives..

Both Barack Obama and John McCain are wrong about Afghanistan. It is not a `good’ fight against `terrorism,’ but a classic, 19th century colonial war to advance western geopolitical power into resource-rich Central Asia. The Pashtun Afghans who live there are ready to fight for another 100 years. The western powers certainly are not.

As that great American founding father Benjamin Franklin said, `there is no good war, and no bad peace.’ Time for the West to face reality in Afghanistan.

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles appear in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times and Dawn. Visit his blog - http://www.ericmargolis.com/


0 Replies
 
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 09:16 pm
Bearing Witness: The Afghan Tragedy
By Malalai Joya

October 7, 2008
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081020/joya
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 07:05 pm
@Endymion,
hi endy !
methinks that we'll keep this thread alive yet !
canda's government seems to be slow in learning its lesson in afghanistan ...
and as canadians we are not apt to complain too loudly .

reminds me of the old joke . step a canadian on the foot and he'll reply : "i'm so sorry ! " .

too bad we don't have a candian general left willing to tell the truth about the war in afghanistan (are they worried they might jepardize their chance for promotion or that they'll loose their pensions ?) .
a truly sorry story imo .
i know that most canadian soldiers seem to think they are doing some good over there . i know that they are putting their lives on the line , but without diplomacy doing its part , they are wasting their effort , no matter how hard they try .
hbg

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081014.afghan-kabul131/BNStory/Afghanistan/home

see link above for full report .

Quote:
Reversal of fortune leaves Kabul under Taliban's thumb

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

October 14, 2008 at 12:31 PM EDT

KABUL " At a gas station on the outskirts of Kabul, lounging in the shade of a transport truck, Mohammed Raza describes how he escaped death.

Last month, a U.S. contractor promised him $10,000 if he'd drive a truck full of diesel from Kabul to Kandahar, offering seven times more than he could earn by transporting his usual shipments of sugar. But the Taliban forbid drivers from carrying fuel to the foreign troops, he said, and the insurgents run checkpoints on the road between Afghanistan's two largest cities. He rejected the offer. One of his friends took the assignment, he said, and the Taliban cut off his head.

“Many drivers now are selling their lives,” the 25-year-old said, nervously twisting the fringe of his beard.

The Taliban are isolating Afghanistan's capital city from the rest of the country, choking off important supply routes and imposing their rules on the provinces near Kabul. Interviews suggest that the Taliban have gained control along three of the four major highways into the city, and some believe it's a matter of time before they regulate all traffic around the capital.
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2008 08:23 am
@hamburger,
Hi Hamburger - Yeah - learning the lessons of Afghanistan.
Let's hope that not too many more good men have to die for political pride.


Here's another bit of news i find unsurprising

Defections hit Afghan forces
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2008/10/200810152158993793.html

0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2008 08:37 am
@Walter Hinteler,
from walter's post :

Quote:
Britain's military commander and ambassador in Afghanistan are being "defeatist" by thinking the war cannot be won, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said, as Washington seeks more troops for the conflict that started exactly seven years ago .


yes . i think that's the proper stance to take !
sit in a nice arm-chair , put up your feet ... and call the other guys who are doing the fighting "defeatist" !
GO ! GATES ! GO ! - as far away as possible .
hbg
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 12:51 pm
If we had more troops on the ground rather than using missile strikes, would civilian causalities be less?

Quote:
KABUL, Afghanistan " An airstrike in northwest Afghanistan killed 13 Taliban militants and seven civilians Thursday, Afghan officials said, a day after President Hamid Karzai demanded a halt to civilian casualties in U.S.-led coalition operations.

The United States has conducted missile strikes in Afghanistan and in Pakistan's tribal areas along the border " strikes U.S. Gen. David H. Petraeus said Thursday have killed three of the top 20 extremist leaders there.

The strike came just days after another coalition airstrike in the south of the country killed 37 people, mostly woman and children.

The Thursday incident happened in Ghormach district of Badghis province, where a three-hour long clash between the militants and Afghan and foreign troops preceded an airstrike that hit the house of a provincial council member, said deputy governor Abdul Ghani Saburi.

Thirteen militants and seven civilians, including two women and two children, were killed in the attack, he said.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081106/ap_on_re_as/as_afghanistan



0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 01:04 pm
Melissa Fung released.

globe and mail link
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 08:29 pm
@ehBeth,
for new thread :

AFGHANISTAN - A LESSON 200 YEARS OLD

see : http://able2know.org/topic/125475-1
0 Replies
 
blueflame1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 01:12 pm
Afghanistan demands 'timeline' for end of military intervention
Published: Tuesday November 25, 2008

President Hamid Karzai demanded on Tuesday at a meeting with a UN Security Council team that the international community set a "timeline" for ending military intervention in Afghanistan, his office said.

Karzai told a delegation from the Council that his country needed to know how long the US-led "war on terror" was going to be fought in Afghanistan or it would be forced to seek a political solution to a Taliban-led insurgency.

"The international community should give us a timeline of how long or how far the war on terrorism will go," Karzai's chief spokesman Homayun Hamidzada cited the president as telling the meeting.

"If we don't have a clear idea of how long it will be, the Afghan government has no choice but to seek political solutions," he told AFP.
http://rawstory.com/news/afp/Afghanistan_demands_timeline_for_en_11252008.html
0 Replies
 
 

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