Sunday, 3 February 2013

Afghanistan Pre-2014, History Speaks

click on image for larger version

An Image for Thousand words because pre- 2014 History Speaks in the form of an Image

Sunday, 9 December 2012

January 2010 - 4.5 million dead in Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 2010 - 4.5 million dead in Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide

The following is a January 2010 update on the carnage of the Afghan Holocaust that is clearly an Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention.

At the beginning of 2010 As of mid-December 2009 it is estimated from the latest UN Population Division data that in Occupied Afghanistan post-invasion non-violent excess deaths total 3.4 million; post-invasion violent deaths total 1.1 million (assuming expert US-Australian advice that the level of violence has been 4 times lower in the Afghan War than in the Iraq War); post-invasion violent and non-violent avoidable deaths total 4.5 million; and post-invasion under-5 infant deaths total 2.4 million (90% avoidable and due to US Alliance war crimes in gross violence of the Geneva Convention – Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War demand that an Occupier must supply life-sustaining food and medical requisites “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” but according to the WHO the “total annual expenditure on health per capita” permitted in Occupied Afghanistan is $29 as compared to $6,714 in Occupier US and $3,122 in Occupier racist, white Apartheid Australia).

There are 3-4 million Afghan refugees plus a further 2.5 million Pashtun refugees generated in NW Pakistan by the obscene war policies of war criminal Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Obama – this carnage involving 4.5 million post-invasion violent and non-violent excess Afghan deaths constitutes an Afghan Holocaust and an Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention.

In terms of post-invasion death toll the Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide has now reached the dimensions of the World War 2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million killed, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) (see: Gilbert, M. (1969) (with Banks, A., cartographer), Jewish History Atlas (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London);
Gilbert, M. (1982), Atlas of the Holocaust (Michael Joseph, London); Polya, G. (2007), Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950 (Polya, Melbourne); Polya, G.M. (1998, 2008), Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability (Polya, Melbourne)).

Just as people responsible for the WW2 Jewish Holocaust were arraigned, tried and punished, so those responsible for the Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide should be arraigned before the International Criminal Court, the major perpetrators including George Bush (US), Barack Obama (US), Tony Blair (UK), Gordon Brown (UK), Stephen Harper (Canada), Nicolas Sarkozy (France), Angela Merkel (Germany), John Howard (Apartheid Australia) , Kevin Rudd (Apartheid Australia) and their associates and underlings.

The Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide is one of a number of immense, ongoing genocides in which Apartheid Australia and its US Alliance allies are variously complicit as summarized below (January 2010). I have created a series of detailed, documented, and regularly updated websites that set out documented, authoritative data and expert opinions about current, ongoing Genocides from the 1960s to the 2010s that are still overwhelmingly ignored by academics, journalists, politicians and media in the Western Murdochracies (simply search for the relevant terms such as "Afghan Holocaust" coupled with the name "polya").

Palestinian Genocide (0.3 million post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths, 0.2 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths, 7 million refugees).

Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide (4.5 million post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths, 2.4 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths, 3-4 million refugees plus 2.5 million NW Pakistan Pashtun refugees.

Iraqi Holocaust, Iraqi Genocide (2.5 million post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths, 0.9 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths, 5-6 million refugees; 1990-2009, 4.4 million violent and non-violent excess deaths, 2.1 million under-5 infant deaths).

Climate Holocaust, Climate Genocide (man-made global warming increasingly impacts the current 22 million annual avoidable deaths from deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease; estimates from top UK climate scientists Dr James Lovelock and Professor Kevin Anderson point to 10 billion avoidable deaths this century due to unaddressed global warming, this including 6 billion infants, 3 billion Muslims in a terminal Muslim Holocaust, 2 billion Indians, 1.3 billion non-Arab Africans, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis).

Aboriginal Holocaust, Aboriginal Genocide (the Australian Indigenous population dropped from circa 1 million to 0.1 million in the first century post-invasion; currently 9,000 Aborigines die avoidably each year, mostly from horrendous neglect, out of an Indigenous population of 0.5 million; Apartheid Australia is involved in all the above ongoing holocausts and genocides, has an appalling secret genocide history (involvement in 20 genocides (of which 6 are ongoing), is the world’s worst annual per capita greenhouse gas polluter, and helped the US sabotage the vital December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference).

(For detailed discussion see "Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan & Aboriginal Genocides, Copenhagen Failure & Climate Genocide", Countercurrents, 30 December 2009: Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan & Aboriginal Genocides, Copenhagen Failure & Climate Genocide ).

Friday, May 1, 2009

March 2009: Ongoing Afghan Holocaust & Afghan Genocide

The ongoing, US Alliance-imposed Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide is associated with an ever-increasing human cost that can be measured in horrendous avoidable deaths that are violent (bombs and bullets) or non-violent (from deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease).

The following update on the carnage of the Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide is an edited version of my article of March 24 2009 in MWC News entitled "Obama's Afghan War. Who is the worse terrorist, Obama or Osama?" (see: link ).

President Barack Obama is making the Afghan War Obama’s Afghan War. Careful analysis of UN mortality statistics reveals that 46,000 Afghans have died avoidably in the first 40 days of the Obama presidency, including 32,250 infant deaths due to US war crimes..
On 27 March 2009 Obama unveiled a new strategy for Occupied Afghanistan and robot-bombed Pakistan: "The situation is increasingly perilous. It's been more than seven years since the Taliban was removed from power, yet war rages on and insurgents control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan… Understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future…That's the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just."
Obama, who has already ordered a surge of more than 17,000 additional U.S. soldiers and Marines to Afghanistan, promised another 4,000 “trainer” troops, taking the total to more than 55,000. Another 30,000 soldiers from various allied and NATO nations, including 2,500 from Canada and 1,000 from Australia, are also deployed in Afghanistan (see Globe & Mail, 28 March 2009)
Now PM Rudd of close US ally Australia has indicated that the Australian Government will send more troops to Afghanistan: "Australia and the United States and our allies and partners and friends need a credible, long-term strategy capable of securing the strategic mission, and the strategic mission is all about denying Afghanistan as a state for free operation for terrorists to have safe haven and training grounds to launch attacks in the future."
The Australian Government’s position must be seen in the light of Australian voter opposition to war in Afghanistan as revealed by a Newspoll reported by The Australian newspaper: “nearly two-thirds of Australian voters now oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan” (The Australian, 24 March, 2009) and testament from the commander of the British forces in Occupied Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, that military victory over the Taliban is "neither feasible nor supportable", a view supported by Australian defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.
The initial “justification” for the War on Afghanistan was refusal of the mostly Pashtun Taliban Afghan Government to hand over the US-alleged master-mind of the 9-11 atrocity, Osama bin-Laden, to the US, although the Afghan Government offered to such a hand-over to a third party, noting that the US refuses to hand over alleged US war criminals to the International Criminal Court.
War and occupation of other countries is strenuously avoided by decent people and decent societies and for good reason – post-war violent occupation of other countries is typically associated with massive numbers of violent and non-violent excess deaths (avoidable deaths, deaths that should not otherwise have happened).
War is only justified in circumstances of illegal invasion and occupation by another country.
National excess mortality (avoidable mortality, excess death, avoidable deaths, deaths that should not have happened) is defined as the difference between actual deaths in a country and the deaths expected for a peaceful, decently-run country with the same demographics. The UN Population Division provides regularly updated data enabling authoritative estimation of mortality, excess mortality and infant mortality (see my book “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”: ).
1. Using UN Population Division annual mortality data one can calculate (as of March 2009) post-invasion excess mortality of 3.1 million persons for Occupied Afghanistan (using a base-line annual mortality rate of 4 deaths per 1,000 of population for a peaceful, decently-run country with the same demographics).
2. Using UN Population Division data one can estimate post-invasion under-5 infant deaths at 2.25 million of which about 90% (2.0 million) have been avoidable deaths.
3. For impoverished Third World countries, under-5 infant deaths are about 0.7 of the total excess deaths. Accordingly, one can also estimate post-invasion excess deaths as 2.25 million/0.7 = 3.2 million (see “Layperson’s guide to counting Iraq deaths”: ).
4. In Occupied Iraq post-invasion violent deaths have totalled 1.3 million as compared to post-invasion non-violent excess deaths of 1.0 million. Assuming that the violent/non-violent excess deaths ratio in Occupied Afghanistan is half that in Occupied Iraq, then the post-invasion violent deaths in Occupied Afghanistan would be 0.65 x 3.15 million = 2.0 million (see “Iraq invasion 6th anniversary. 2.3 million excess deaths”: ).
5. The latest data from UNHCR indicate about 4 million refugees from the Afghanistan War, the breakdown being 2.1 million (Pakistan), 0.9 million (Iran), 0.4 million returnees and internally displaced persons (Occupied Afghanistan) and 0.3 million (refugees from the Pakistan North West Provinces) (see UNHCR ).
6. The estimate of a current 327,000 “annual under-5 infant deaths” in Occupied Afghanistan (from UN Population Division data) is in exact agreement with the estimate of 327,000 annual under-5 infant deaths in Occupied Afghanistan from UNICEF (see UNICEF).
7. Deaths from the Afghanistan War must also include post-invasion global opiate drug-related deaths due to US Alliance restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry from about 6% in 2001 to 93% in 2007 (see UNODC World Drug Report 2007). About 0.1 million people die from opiate drug-related causes each year (see Australian National Drug Research Centre) and hence about 0.75 million have died in the 7.5 years since the invasion of Afghanistan, of whom about 90%, i.e. 0.9 x 0.75 million = 0.7 million people, have died as a result of the huge expansion of the Afghan opium industry under US Alliance occupation.
8. US Alliance military deaths in Occupied Afghanistan total 1,122 (673 US and 449 from other US Alliance countries) (see: ).
9. In 2005, of 18,347 deaths due to narcotics and psychodysleptics, 12, 262 were due to heroin (2,011) , other opioids (5,789) or methadone (4,462) (see US CDC) . Given the over 90% contribution of the US restoration of the Taliban-destroyed opium industry to world illicit heroin production, and the interconnectedness and effective indistinguishability of “Afghan-derived heroin” from the “pool” of other abusively-used opiates, one can accordingly crudely estimate 0.9 x 12,262 persons/year x 7.5 years = 82,769 US opiate drug-related deaths (0.9 x 2,011 deaths/year x 7.5 years = 13,574 heroin-related deaths) connected with the aftermath of the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan
10. It can be estimated that there are about 426 opiate-related deaths annually in Australia (see: here) of which about 90% (383) are due to the US-responsible Occupied Afghan contribution to the world heroin market i.e. 383 x 7.5 years = 2,873 opiate-related deaths since the invasion of Afghanistan (the Australian Government has fatuously obfuscated this in detailed communication to me by saying that most of Australia’s heroin actually comes from places other than Afghanistan) .
11. The number of Western civilians killed by Muslim-origin non-state terrorists in the last 40 years totals about 7,000 (this including Israelis and ignores substantial evidence for US or US surrogate involvement in the 9-11 atrocity (see “US responsible for 9-11?”: ).
12. In shocking contrast to the numbers in #11, as of March 2009 in the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories post-invasion non-violent excess deaths total 0.3 million, 1.0 million and 3.2 million, respectively; post-invasion violent deaths total about 10,000, 1.3 million and about 2 million, respectively (see #4 above); post-invasion under-5 infant deaths total 0.2 million, 0.6 million and 2.3 million, respectively; and refugees total 7 million, 6 million and 4 million, respectively – this constituting a Palestinian Holocaust, an Iraqi Holocaust and an Afghan Holocaust and a Palestinian Genocide, Iraqi Genocide and Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention and egregious war crimes due in part to Occupier war criminal non-supply of life-sustaining food and medical requisites demanded unequivocally by Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (for detailed documentation of sources see “Iraq invasion 6th anniversary. 2.3 million excess deaths”: ).
What can we conclude from this tragic litany?
About as many Australians have died from opiates due to the US-restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry (2,900) as the number of victims of the 9-11 atrocity (3,000). Should Australia demand that Obama hands over the responsible Americans to Australia for justice?
Vastly more global citizens (0.75 million) and US citizens (83,000) have died from opiates linked to the US invasion of Afghanistan and the US Alliance restoration of the Taliban-destroyed opium industry than those who died on 9-11 (3,000). Should the World demand that Obama hand over the American perpetrators for justice before the International Criminal Court?
There is universal detestation of paedophiles, but paedocides – those who kill children – elicit utter horror. From the above data one can estimate that 327,000 Occupied Afghan under-5 year old infants die each year under US Alliance occupation, 90% avoidably and due to US Alliance war crimes i.e. 0.9 x 327,000 = 294,300 avoidable Occupied Afghan infant deaths yearly, 806 deaths daily and 40 days x 806 infant deaths/day = 32,250 avoidable Afghan under-5 infant deaths so far in the first 40 days and nights of the Obama Administration.
32,500 Afghan under-5 infant deaths corresponds to 32,250/0.7 = 46,000 avoidable Afghan deaths due to Obama. With 46,000 Afghan avoidable deaths in 40 days to his credit, Obama has already vastly exceeded the US-alleged Muslim-origin non-state terrorist body count of 7,000 total Western deaths over 40 years.
Who is the worse terrorist, Obama or Osama? Obama already wins hands down as the worse terrorist by an enormous margin. With Obama backing continuing foreign occupations of Haiti, Somalia, Diego Garcia, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, extending US bombing of Pakistan and now permitting US or Israeli bombing of Sudan, Obama is set to take over the mantle from George W. Bush for being the World’s worst terrorist.
SUMMARY: as revealed in this article published on March 24 2009 by the humane and ethical MWC News the human cost of the US-, UK- NATO- and Australia-imposed Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide is of a similar magnitude to that of the WW2 Jewish Holocaust ( 5-6 million killed, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation; see: Gilbert, M. (1969), Jewish History Atlas (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London). Gilbert, M. (1982), Atlas of the Holocaust (Michael Joseph, London)).
A major cause of the carnage is gross Occupier violation of the Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War - the latest WHO data (see: link ) inform us that the the “total annual per capita medical expenditure” permitted by the US-led Occupiers in Occupied Iraq and Occupied Afghanistan is US$124 and US$29, respectively, as compared to US$6,714 for the US.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Modern Day Child Prostitution in Kabul, Afghanistan: Children are used as Sex Workers in Afghanistan to Serve Foreigners

An eyewitness piece: Modern Day Child Prostitution in Kabul, Afghanistan: Children are used as Sex Workers in Afghanistan to Serve Foreigners.

“The police told my mother that she will not receive my father’s retirement check for working at the Ministry of Agriculture unless I work as a prostitute serving foreigners. My mother at first refused but she relented once the police told her that I would be able to keep 60% of the pay and be able to keep supporting my mom and 6 brothers and sisters and the other 40% would go to the police,” says Ara.

12-year-old girl named Ara Atta says, “My father was killed by the Americans because he did not stop his car at a checkpoint.

 (KABUL) - When we hear about the news in Afghanistan, the mainstream media tells us stories of explosions and deaths of military personnel and civilians. A story that is not being told is of child prostitution slavery in Afghanistan.
“There is a police operation going on by a neighborhood police chief in Kabul that has girls working for him,” says German contractor Hans, who does not want to release his last name for security reasons.
“You know prostitution is legal in Germany and I don’t mind paying a fair price for a sex worker, but here in Afghanistan the prostitutes are children, teenagers and that is where I draw the line. I have a 14-year-old daughter back home in Germany and I do not condone child prostitution,” says Hans.
A 15-year-old named Badria Durrani says, “I was forced into prostitution because the police in the area said they will arrest my father. My father is just a baker and he does not want any trouble with the police, so I work as a prostitute having sex with foreigners because that is what the police want me to do.”
Badria’s father Mohammed Durrani says “I did not agree, but the police threaten to throw me in jail, so I agreed because I have to support my 3 wives and 8 children as a baker. With the extra income my daughter makes after she pays the police their 40% share, the rest of the money is for our family.”
“Also, the police told me not to worry. My daughter will only serve foreigners so Afghan men will not know that she is a prostitute and later she will be able to find an Afghan husband for marriage,” says Mohammed.
“I don’t want to do this anymore but what choice do I have? If I run away my father will be thrown in jail and then our family does not have money to pay for rent and will be kicked out of our home. I have to sacrifice my life for our family. I hate this government and these foreigners that come here to have sex with girls my age, but the government here is not protecting us. They send these police from the north of Afghanistan to take advantage of us,” says Badria.
A 12-year-old girl named Ara Atta says, “My father was killed by the Americans because he did not stop his car at a checkpoint, trying to take my mother to the hospital because she was going into labor. The Americans shot at the car and killed my father but my mother was not harmed and taken to the hospital and my brother Ibrahim was born.”
“The police told my mother that she will not receive my father’s retirement check for working at the Ministry of Agriculture unless I work as a prostitute serving foreigners. My mother at first refused but she relented once the police told her that I would be able to keep 60% of the pay and be able to keep supporting my mom and 6 brothers and sisters and the other 40% would go to the police,” says Ara.
Ara further stated, “I don’t want to do this but we have no choice. If I run away, the police will ensure that we will not receive my father’s retirement check. I curse them and the foreigners that are using my body for sex but I have to do this or my mother and siblings will go hungry and we will be out in the street because we don’t have money for rent.”
The invasion of Afghanistan by the United States and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) offered the Afghan people democracy and social changes for women through education and new careers that were closed to them under the Taliban.
What has actually happened here in Afghanistan is that the government institutions that were established by the U.S. and ISAF, such as the Afghan Police, are using female children and women for profit to serve foreigners as their sex slaves.
A highly decorated Iraq War Veteran, Captain James Van Thach served twenty-four straight months in Iraq, despite being wounded twice during his first year, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. Also, the government of Iraq awarded him the rank of Honorary Staff Brigadier General in the Iraqi Army.
Standing in Captain Thach’s presence you notice instantly an aurora about this young man and admire the goals he set forth in his life through education in the United States and travel overseas in his fight in war torn Iraq.
Why would an educated Law School graduate of Touro Law Center turn down numerous private sector job offers with a very generous salary or a safer career path as an Attorney with the United States Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) and only to choose a dangerous job as an Infantry Officer in active combat as a Military Advisor in Iraq?
Captain James Van Thach answered in a commanding voice, “My sacrifice had to be made because of the opportunities given to me from the men and women who sacrificed their lives and died for our country. I had to do the same in their honor, to protect our nation and protect the unborn of this country so that they might live in a peaceful world.” 

Friday, 30 November 2012

Iran is a criminal state toward Afghan refugees

Iran is a criminal state toward Afghan refugees

First of all Iran is an important supporter of the regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria. In fact Iran is one of the main actors in this dirty proxy-war. Those Shia Muslims who sympathize with Assad's regime think that Iran does not sell itself to the West.

Secondly, Iran also played a remarkable role to support Palestine during the last Israeli attack  on Gaza. In this case the Shia regime provided supportive language toward the Sunni Hamas. So many anti-Zionists all over the world think that Iran is the true supporter of the Palestinian people.

Mass execution of Sunni Muslims in Iran

The same Shia regime that tortures Sunnis living in Iran.  For instance, about one million Afghan people are living Iran as refugees. Some estimated that the number of Afghan refugees in Iran is much higher. The Afghan minority in Iran is living under extreme discrimination imposed not only by the regime but also by normal citizens.

They are not allowed to gain education and many Afghan teenagers have been forced to work in a reconstruction sites, but these workers do not have a social insurance. If they refuse Iran deport them back to Afghanistan.

Every year hundreds of Afghan refugees have been executed in Iran. Numbers of under age boys have experienced death sentences, just during the last two months thirteen Afghan teenagers were hanged  in Iran. The main victims of the series of death penalty are Sunni Kurds, Baluchs and Afghans.

US- backed Karzai government did not pay attention to the barbaric state crime against Afghan citizens in Iran, instead the so called Afghan president praised Iran while he was in Tehran last time.  Every time when Karzai meets his friend Ahmadinejad in Tehran they embraced each other and spoke on friendship instead.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Afghanistan: “It’s Just Damage Limitation Now”

By Mark Thompson


Briton Ben Anderson is a documentary filmmaker (the BBC, HBO, the Discovery Channel), but he turns to the written word in No Worse Enemy: The Inside Story of the Chaotic Struggle for Afghanistan. The book offers a gritty – and grim — assessment of the war.

Anderson embedded with U.S. and British troops for months in the southern part of the country from 2007 to 2011. He details corruption, incompetence, fear — by both allied troops and Afghan civilians — and a Groundhog Day kind of existence., where a battle fought for days has to be fought again, later. Most distressingly, he argues that the American and British publics are getting a misleading picture of progress on the ground. Battleland conducted this email chat with Anderson last weekend.

Why did you write No Worse Enemy: The Inside Story of the Chaotic Struggle for Afghanistan?

I’d been travelling to Helmand for five years, first in 2007 with the Brits, then later mostly with the U.S. Marines, covering every major operation since the war in the south was taken seriously.
Despite new troops, extra resources and new polices, it kept getting worse.

It was more dangerous for me and the troops I was with, Afghan security forces didn’t seem to be improving, and perhaps most importantly, locals were not being won over but instead were complaining of civilian casualties, damage to their homes, being inconvenienced and disrespected, or preyed upon by the Afghan police.

Yet in the second half of 2010, statements from Kabul, Washington and London kept talking of progress, goals being met and the Taliban being on their last legs. This was the exact opposite of what I had been seeing, so I felt that I had to write this book. I felt compelled to create a simple, honest and accurate portrait of what the war really looks like, on the ground, on the frontlines, where the policy met the Afghan people. I wanted to show how vicious the fighting was — veterans of Fallujah told me it was worse in Helmand…

I also wanted to show that the troops weren’t the violent automatons they are often thought to be and that they are often the exact opposite. There were plenty of guys who just wanted to kill anyone that looked like Taliban, for sure, but I also met many men who were thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent and even hilarious no matter how bad the situation was. Most of the men I met were also willing to question what, if anything, they were actually achieving, which really impressed me.

What is the book’s bottom line?

Despite the incredible hard work, bravery and suffering of our troops, despite the massive Afghan civilian casualties, despite the hundreds of billions spent, we have not achieved our goals in Afghanistan.
Essentially, we’re supposed to be clearing an area of insurgents and then persuading locals to chose us and our Afghan allies over the Taliban. Most areas where we are based have not been cleared of the Taliban and even if they had been, we’re fighting to introduce a largely unwelcome government.

The Afghan army cannot provide security on its own, the Afghan government is spectacularly corrupt and the police are feared and hated, for good reason. So even if the military part of the strategy goes perfectly to plan (and it never does) the locals don’t want what we are offering. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I’ve been told countless times that locals prefer the Taliban to foreign forces and the Afghan government, particularly the police. I should point out that I’ve spent most of time in Afghanistan in Helmand and Kandahar, where the war has always been fiercest.

How different is what you saw on the front lines compared to what we’re being told back home?

It’s completely different. Operation Mushtaraq in Marjah was a prime example. General [Stanley] McChrystal’s claim that the operation was “Afghan-led” is one of the most ludicrous claims I’ve ever heard. It depressed me that the claim was accepted. The same thing happened when Defense Secretary [Robert] Gates said that the Taliban had bee routed from their homeland in Kandahar and Helmand. This claim was repeated by journalists I had once respected and followed. Again, it was the exact opposite of the truth.

You’re British: how does the mood about the war in the U.K. differ from that in the U.S., if it does (and if you’ve been in both places long enough to make a fair comparison)?

It’s the same in both countries. The vast majority of the public seems to have no idea how rough it is in southern Afghanistan, for our troops and the Afghan people. People seem to want the troops home, and have no interest in anything beyond that. The last U.S. Marines I was with — 3/5 in Sangin, suffered horrendous losses: 35 killed and 140 seriously injured, and I’m talking about double, triple and even quadruple amputees. Yet no one in the U.S. even seemed to know about it. It’s the same in the U.K. now. I’d be surprised if one in 20 people here or in the U.S. could begin to explain why we are still there.

U.S. and allied generals tells us things are getting better inside Afghanistan, and they believe that by the time allied combat troops leave by the end of 2014, Afghanistan’s own security forces will be able to defend the nation. Do you believe them? Why or why not? 

I’ve seen no evidence to suggest the ANSF are ready to take over. You have to understand that it’s not a national security force. It’s the Northern Alliance, the historical enemies of the southern Pashtuns and the Taliban. In the rush to get to Iraq, we handed control of the army, police and intelligence agency to the Northern Alliance, and the same old warlords whose behavior had led to the Taliban’s rise to power in 1996.

I think we were doomed to fail from that moment on. Southern Pashtuns often see the security forces we’re supporting as being almost as foreign as us and there for vengeance.
I was in the Arghandab valley in 2010 and the 101st Airborne were very nervous about clearing a village called NMK because they knew it would be laced with IEDs.

A few days before the operation, some Afghan soldiers ran into the village alone, and came back a few hours later, delighted. “How did you do it?” asked the American captain, astounded. “Did you offer the locals $50 for each IED they revealed, like we trained you?” “No,” said the ANA captain, excitedly, “we told them `show us the IEDs or start digging your own grave’.” That sums up the situation pretty well. Sadly I think that the phrase “transition” is a euphemism covering up our failures.

When were you last with US troops in Afghanistan? What was their general mood and morale?

January 2011, with 3/5 in Sangin. There were so many IEDs you had to watch every step and literally walk in the footprints of the guy in front of you. The Marines were leaving trails of bottle tops or sweets to mark cleared paths. I didn’t see a bullet fired in anger, it was just IEDs. Marines love to fight, but no one wants to go out on eight-hour patrols every day, through ice cold mud, when nothing ever happens apart from occasionally seeing one of their buddies get blown up.

Surprisingly though, morale wasn’t that low. I don’t think most troops in Afghanistan are fighting to achieve anything anymore. They’re just fighting for each other, trying to get themselves and their friends back in one piece, and maybe get some revenge against someone who may have killed or maimed one of their colleagues.

What was the best thing you witnessed in Afghanistan?

Tellingly, I can’t think of a single great moment where I saw something that really gave me hope that we might be achieving anything. So I’ll have to be selfish and say the best thing was always seeing the showers or the chow tent back at the forward operating bases, after weeks of either baking or freezing in rural areas of Helmand and eating nothing but MREs.

What was the worst thing you witnessed in Afghanistan?

I can still remember the exact expression on the faces of too many different families, either terrified of the fighting going on in and around their homes, or traumatized by the loss of their loved ones.
I’ve seen many Afghans who have lost almost their entire families to errant air strikes or rocket attacks. Some were given huge wads of cash as condolence payments, some actually showed me the corpses of their brothers, sisters or children. You can only say “I’m sorry we killed your family, but we’re here to help you” so many times…

If you were in charge, what three changes would you make in Operation Enduring Freedom?

I think it’s just damage limitation now. There is no silver bullet, there hasn’t been for at least five or six years.
People are worried about civil war after we leave. I think it’s already started. I’d like to see some honesty used on the rare occasions when Afghanistan is discussed. And while the military effort draws down, I’d like to see a serious long-term commitment to the kind of development projects we should have started back in 2001.

What is going to happen to Afghanistan beginning in 2015? 

I think the Taliban will be in control of many districts in the south almost immediately. I think that various warlords will once again have their fiefdoms and that this will be exacerbated by the reduction in foreign aid.
I think Afghanistan will disappear from our newspapers and will remain one of the poorest, most violent and corrupt countries on earth.

Paradoxically, the withdrawal gives me a tiny bit of hope that the insurgents in the south will stop fighting and laying IEDs once we’re no longer providing them with targets. But it’s a damning indictment of our efforts if the best thing we can do is leave.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

There are non-Taliban poets in the 'Poetry of the Taliban’

By Hanan Habibzai

It is truly a matter of controversy as it appears that non-Taliban Afghan poets are presented as Taliban. It is a matter of shock to read in the Independent that Ezatullah Zawab, a permanent journalist and poet, is Taliban poet. It is still unclear how many more (non-Taliban names) are there in the ‘ Poetry of the Taliban’.

Zawab is not a Taliban but a critic of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan and the continuous political and social corruption within Karzai’s government. He studied at the Nangrahar University, working as a freelance journalist since 2001 in eastern Afghanistan. His reports mainly published by IWPR and the Pajhwok Afghan News.

He was among the first journalists who covered the killing of tens of civilians in June 2008 where American-led air-strike bombed a wedding convoy in Shinwari district in eastern Nangrahar province killing more than 55 civilians including the bride. Most of the victims were children and women. In the aftermath of this atrocity he mourned the killings by reciting his poetry at a rally where including local officials thousands gather:

I have long history and long story
I have a holy opinion
I believe in the books from heavens
I pray five times to God
So, respect my culture

For this, is it fair to consider him a Taliban just because he criticises the US atrocities in Afghanistan? If that is the case there are many politicians, scholars, academics and civil society organisations that criticise the US policies, in particular its military interventions. Should all these critics be termed as the Taliban instead of being critics of the US policies?

Devji’s article is a clear indication of his ignorance of the Afghan society their very sentiments. Military poetry exists in the literature of the Pashtuns (on both sides of the border: Pakistan and Afghanistan) for centuries because they have always been the victims of powerful invaders of the time, Alexander, the Mongols, the Persians, the Moghuls, the British, the Russians and now the Americans.

Among them the poems of the 16th century Afghan poet Khushal Khan Khattak are the most prominent. He has also written extensively on the subject of leadership and politics however we will present some of his poems on war and bravery:

I tied the sword in the dignity of the Afghans
I am Khushal Khattak the brave of the age

In another instance he prefers the death of honour over the life of disgrace or of being occupied when he says:

Life's no life when honour’s left
Man's a man when honour’s kept
Nation's honour and nation's fame
on life they have a prior claim
With thoughts of these I do remain
Unvexed with cares of loss or gain

In 19th century British occupation of Afghan was shocked by similar poetry when an intellectual of the time Mahmoud Tarzi began to publish anti-colonization verses in his newspaper, the Siraj-ul-Akhbar. According to modern-day Afghan historian Habibullah Rafi a poet of the time Maulavi Salih Mohammad’s work, which was published in Siraj-ul-Akhbar on 16th April 1915, has provoked many against British colonialism:

The world has become furious
Shaken and angry
Big states in the world
In Europe andAsia
All of them are involved in war
They are all stained with red blood
British are in grief
They are very upset
Look at the bravery of Turkish
Romans and Othman,

In 1980s when soviet invaded Afghanistan poetry became a major tool of information war against the Russian occupiers. Poets such as Ishaq Nangyal turned out to be a voice of anti- Soviet resistance:

If my both eyes are excluded from me
If my chest is holed with bullets
If my tongue is cut off from throat
If my red blood sheds from my veins
For the honor of the country I accept all these
I am an Afghan, I fulfill my intentions

However, Mr. Devji looks at the complexity of the Pashto poetry in very simple way. According to him any poet criticising an invader in Afghanistan is a Taliban. Albert Einstein used to say that make things as simple as possible but not simpler probably because it can put once life in jeopardy.

 Mr. Devji’s over implication of the Pashto poetry seems to cause such harm by enlisting Ezatullah Zawab as a Taliban regardless of understanding the current geopolitical situation of Afghanistan where American and Afghan security apparatuses are on the hunt for the Taliban. His article can potentially risk the life of Mr. Zawab and probably other non-Taliban poets criticising the US policies and military operations in Afghanistan.

As a critique of foreign invasion Zawab often reproaches high ranking officials for their involvement in high profile corruption, a reality which his fellow poets condemn too. I wrote this in 2009 when many poets turned to the war of the words against foreign invasion.

But a hybridity of pro-Taliban and independent Pashtun poetic list means international and local allies have failed to tackle informational battle against insurgency. Taliban have either succeeded to gain far-reaching support not only among Pashtun speaking villagers but also within Pashtun intellectuals.

This is a similar opinion which evoked criticism against former US envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke: ‘‘The Taliban is woven into the fabric of Pashtun society on both sides of the border with Pakistan, and almost every Pashtun family has someone involved with the movement,’’ Holbrooke said.

Jamal Shinwari an Afghan researcher contributed to this article. Follow him on Facebook.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

US in denial: Watershed in Afghanistan

US in denial: Watershed in Afghanistan

Diplomatic statements have ignored the strategic and psychological battles won by the Taliban.

Marwan Bishara
The senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.

Doha, Qatar - In one of the first official US reactions to the attacks against Kabul and cities across eastern Afghanistan last weekend, Ryan C Crocker, US ambassador to Afghanistan, said: "The Taliban are really good at issuing statements, Less good at actually fighting."

And after accusing (or crediting) the Haqqani network based in the tribal area within the Afghan-Pakistan borders' region, the ambassador added: "Frankly I don't think the Taliban is good enough."

These declarations have come after the insurgents targeted sensitive installations in the country's most important population centres - including at least three prominent targets in Kabul - in one of the most coordinated and pronounced assaults since the occupation began 11 years ago.

The US government has clearly chosen to shift the blame across the border to Pakistan, and to put a brave face on its humiliation - by downplaying what the Taliban are calling the beginning of their "spring offensive".

The US State Department called the attacks "cowardly", and praised the "swift and effective response" of Afghan forces.

Furthermore, in the same breath, the top US commander in Afghanistan, General John R Allen, praised the Afghan forces who "were on scene immediately, well-led and well-coordinated ... and [who] largely kept the insurgents contained".
"Perhaps it is Washington, not the Taliban, that is pretty good at 'issuing statements'."
A quick survey of the Obama administration's media strategy, and its swift and well-coordinated official declarations, shows that perhaps it is Washington, not the Taliban, that is pretty good at "issuing statements".

Asymmetric warfare

If taken seriously, I mean not as media newspeak, Ambassador Crocker's Clausewitzian evaluation of the Taliban and the state of play in Afghanistan belongs to the conventional wars of a past era.

However, in their unconventional war against the US-led occupation of their country, the Taliban insurgency isn't expected either to fight face-to-face or "fairly" against the superior firepower of the United States and its allies.

To characterise the Taliban attacks as "cowardly" is frankly mind-boggling. And I am not referring merely to the fact that the insurgents knew too well that they wouldn't come out alive from the attack, or that part of the operations involved suicide attacks on NATO facilities.

Like them or hate them, the Taliban fight against the US and Afghan forces has been effective and, yes, impressive. It will be taught in the US and other war academies for decades to come.

As Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith reported from Kabul, the civilian casualties from the most recent attacks were relatively low - considering the three suicide bombings. Instead the Taliban were attempting to send a spectacular message: if they want to, they can strike fear and panic right in the heart of the capital.

Furthermore, in asymmetrical warfare, statements can have a more powerful psychological effect than raw firepower.

The Taliban's claim that their well-planned and sophisticated operation was only the beginning of a spring offensive has probably resulted in many soiled undergarments across the country - they have generally proven credible in their pronouncements of war, certainly more credible than the predictions of the occupying forces.
"[The Taliban] have generally proven credible in their pronouncements of war, certainly more credible than the predictions of the occupying forces."
The US-led war and occupation of Afghanistan has already gone on longer than the Vietnam War, and longer than the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Washington's war pundits assured Americans that the US occupation would be nothing like that of the Soviets, or that the British during their first, second and third Afghanistan wars in the 19th and 20th centuries. They have also proven dead wrong.

So have their assurances that this would be a cakewalk for the US "liberators", easily fending off "the oppressive Taliban" proved to be nonsensical.

According to news reports, the number of attacks across the country has increased considerably in recent weeks, as fighters return from Pakistan.

Clearly, the recent cowardly US soldier killing spree against Afghan civilians in their homes has helped shore up support against the US occupation.

And now that the Obama administration speaks openly about withdrawing combat troops by 2014, there is little doubt that many Afghans, including more than a few in the newly trained national army, will find their place among those staying - the Taliban.

What's their secret?

Is there something special about Afghanistan's geography or culture that no foreign superpower has been able to win a war there or secure an occupation? Perhaps.

Is it the large support given to the Taliban from the Pashtuns, the largest ethnic segment of Afghan society? Is the failure of the corrupt Karzai government to govern - or to provide basic services to the people - to blame? Is it the high civilian casualties in the war at the hands of NATO forces? These factors most probably add to the mix.

It is nonetheless amazing how a people who have suffered so much since Afghanistan became a republic four decades ago could still go on fighting.

The 1970s featured internal strife among communists, Islamists and others, while the 1980s witnessed horrific Soviet occupation and cynical Cold War manipulations.
"The Taliban and their allies have been unrelenting in their slow and calculated resistance against the 'foreign and Western occupiers' who continue to visit havoc upon their homeland."
Soon the vacuum left by the Cold War in the 1990s was filled by regional powers - who helped widen and deepen the national divides. And in the past decade, Afghanistan has become the main battlefield of the US "global war on terror".

And yet the Afghans, notably the Taliban and their allies, have been unrelenting in their slow and calculated resistance against the "foreign and Western occupiers" who continue to visit havoc upon their homeland.

The Taliban's endurance could be also explained by any number of factors, extending from Pakistani support to religious beliefs - and permitting and/or taxing the drug trade.

Such cases of relying on regional support and unsavoury practices to sustain and subsidise resistance have been documented from Latin American to Africa and Asia.

But what is special about the Taliban is, in some ways, similar to the reasons behind Hezbollah's success against Israel's occupation in Lebanon.

They reject all compromises with the occupiers, and cast away their values, laws and ideas. They don't heed pleas from Western dominated international institutions, nor fraternise with their enemies' "peace camps".

They believe, and are tightly united, in their cause of freedom from foreign occupation - denying NATO much actionable intelligence against the fighting group. The Taliban has also been consistently sticking to this one sacred goal, while dismissing any diplomatic formulae that are not conditional on withdrawal - first and foremost.

The Afghans obviously know by experience, wit or instinct what the encyclopaedic West continues to ignore: No foreign power, mighty as it may be, has succeeded in the past century to overcome the indigenous will of the people for freedom from foreign rule.
Marwan Bishara is Al Jazeera's senior political analyst and the author of The Invisible Arab: The promise and peril of the Arab revolutions, now available in bookstores.
Follow him on Twitter: @marwanbishara

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Al Jazeera