Saturday, 18 February 2012

President Obama signs killing of Afghan civilians

Hanan Habibzai

If you are Afghan, you don't dare to write any facts about the atrocities American military is continuously committing in Afghanistan, but this is the time to speak out, because the future of the country is constantly under attack. There is no future for the current generation of Afghanistan, as American-led military is intentionally targeting children and women.

This week's (02/06/2011)massacre of 12 children and two women in southern Helmand province left no option, but provoked thousands of Afghans to either join the Taliban or express their sympathy towards them. Therefore, the Taliban are becoming anti-occupation heroes and their popularity is increasingly spreading across the country. American-led foreign troops do not help themselves, but they strengthen the Taliban's position, when they appear to kill civilians from the air through heavy bombs containing white phosphorous and other chemicals. 
Al Jazeera reports on similar catastrophe,2011

The officials who authorize the airstrikes on Afghan houses are actually, intentionally abusing the justice, humanity and freedom Obama claims in almost every speech. President Obama's speech of May 2nd was full of terms such as justice, freedom and democracy when he announced the death of Bin Laden. ''Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all'', he added.

On the other hand, the same United States of America is killing children and women to insure ----freedom, democracy and justice for American people. Does the United State of America stand for Justice, freedom and democracy, or for brutality against poor nations? Does America colonize poor nations by force? The answer can only be that the American president Obama is authorizing the killing of Afghan civilians; we never see any American military commander being brought to justice for the charges of killing Afghan children and women.

Do the American people accept justice or freedom as a result of killing children, women and at the cost to the future of one of the world's poorest countries? According to human Rights codes of conduct and the Geneva Convention, killing civilians, children and women is Unforgivable. That's why Afghans could not tolerate it, and anti- American feeling is widespread in the war shattered country.   

If I were to count the number of civilians including children and women who have been killed by the American -led military in Afghanistan, you would be shocked when you realize the bloodshed and hostilities carried out by those forces who claim to be soldiering for humanity and freedom. In recent months we witnessed the crimes revealed by Rolling Stone, we also witnessed the killing of nine children at Kuner, eastern province of Afghanistan earlier in March.

These crimes against humanity were followed by a series of other similar attacks on Afghan houses. These compelled president Karzai to issue a so-called final warning against American -led attacks on Afghan civilians. When I read the statement issued by President Karzai against those attacks, I realized that an authorized document exists in Kabul (which) allows foreign military to kill women and children, as Karzai stated that 'no more attacks on civilian houses', means foreign troops carrying out a pre-authorized order.

Karzai may repeat this warning again and again but who cares? ''We most clearly state our understanding that Afghanistan is an ally, not an occupied country. And our treat with NATO is from the point of view of an ally. If he behaves like an occupying force then of course Afghan people know how to deal with that'', Karzai warned in a press conference. He may perhaps be talking to the regional audiences who have a huge lack of confidence in his government, which doesn't make a change.

The sovereignty and integrity of Afghanistan have been terrorized; therefore, Taliban propaganda easily influences the public mind. Machiavelli's 15 century views are still relevant in a modern century, he cited in The Prince his popular book: ''if one depend for freedom and self-dependency on foreign troops, it will be a penalty of death to a king's power''.  An artless leader, Karzai still not sure if it is occupation, because he doesn't understand the meaning of foreign troops turned his country on a ground of military game and bloodshed. There is no difference between how Soviet forces acted in Afghanistan and now the American-led troops' behaviour against Afghan civilians.

The United State of America is a powerful country which deserves justice, and from the point of views of invaders, Afghanistan is a poor country deserved to be harmed, if Afghans are seeking justice, then they also need to be powerful enough. In present day, world justice is not given, but taken; Afghans do not deserve that for being poor. I remember Russians and now am witnessing Americans in Afghanistan as well.

Tens of thousands including women, children and men have been killed, poverty grew and thousands of others forced to leave their homes and properties, since America invaded the country. They empowered domestic war criminals, and the justice has simply been ignored. Now, the US-led occupation is entering its tenth year, but those victims of atrocities never allowed knocking a door for justice. Afghans don't know where they go to obtain justice; the voiceless people are going through a hard time. Those who authorize the air strikes on Afghan houses need to think "what if these children were their kids"?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

NATO Killed Children in Afghanistan

  NATO Killed Children in Afghanistan 

By Hanan Habibzai 
Kapisa district police chief Abdul Hamid Erkin told AFP that "Two nights ago foreign special forces carried out a raid on a house in Geyawa village in Nejrab district.” The next morning their plane carried out an airstrike on a house in the village as a result of which seven children and one adult were martyred." He said commanders of French troops who operate in the area "claimed that the target was a group of Taliban facilitators, but we checked the area and there were no Taliban.” In fact the people in the area have very strong anti-Taliban feelings. We filmed the victims, who were children, and showed it to the French commanders," Erkin said. 
Children are the main victims
Presidential statement confirmed Thursday that NATO airstrike killed eight children in Kapisa province northeast of the capital Kabul. The children were aged between about seven and 15, he said, while the adult was a mentally-handicapped 20-year-old. The tragic incident comes about two weeks after Four French soldiers were killed by a loyalist Afghan officer in the same province (Kapisa) last month, pressuring French mission in Afghanistan.  
President Nicolas Sarkozy immediately announced that France will pull out its soldiers from Afghanistan by the end of 2013, a year before the international deadline for a pulling out of combat forces in 2014.
An article that I wrote almost two yearsago on a similar case is still relevant, I’d like to share that again.

Promote peace talks, Afghan war is not a success

The attack on Kabul on January 17, 2010 which took place only metres away from the Presidential Palace, was evidence that not only have the international community and the Afghan government failed to win the people’s hearts and minds, but also they have lost their trust. The military conflict has now reached even the heart of Kabul. It is hard to imagine anywhere safe in the whole country. 
But at this time of intensification of conflict, a debate is taking place among Afghan parliamentarians questioning the presence of the US and NATO in Afghanistan. 
This is the anti-Western sentiment that the Taliban have for long been whispering into the ears of ordinary Afghans in the villages and valleys of the restive regions. Those Afghans who saw their children die, those who watched their women and elders in pools of blood, are increasingly becoming susceptible to this type of rhetoric.  Many are in the process of changing their minds about the international troops.
The military commanders say that they have now made “protecting civilians” their priority, but just last month, 10 children were killed during a night-time raid carried out by US-special forces in eastern Kunar Province. As long as these incidents keep happening public anger against the US presence in Afghanistan will continue to grow.
Military attacks carried out by foreigners and that result in the killing of civilians are an insult to Afghans’ traditions and beliefs. In many instances, when the local population accuse international forces of killing civilians, the troops deny it and often dismiss evidence provided by Afghans. Also commonly heard is that troops were targeting terrorists in a raid, even when the victims are school children, or mothers with young children.
Sadly these tradgedies overshadow the killing of civilians in suicide attacks  by the Taliban – preventing the public mourning of the innocents who lose their lives in such attacks. It has given cover to Taliban attacks that result in civilian killings across the country. Ordinary Afghans are now only talking against US military behaviour and forget attacks by Taliban which have killed hundreds of civilians. 
In 2003 and 2004, I was reporting for international media agencies on clashes between two notorious warlords in the north, Rashid Dostom and Atta Mohammad. At the time I regarded the American presence in Afghanistan as crucial for protecting the country from war criminals and for helping to bring stability to the country. But now, I have begun to lose hope. The international security forces are creating such a terrifying atmosphere that it is hard for people to sleep at night.
These days, when I watch state-run Afghan TV, which is funded by American money, I am surprised by how openly Afghan experts criticize US military tactics in Afghanistan. This is new. A recent discussion program featured an influential historian and supporter of President Karzai, Habibullah Rafi. Rafi was talking about civilian casualties and warning American troops to end their animosity towards Afghan people.  
The other guest, parliamentarian Iqbal Safi, warned that if American troops continue to kill civilians, they will face the same fate as the Red Army, which left Afghanistan, defeated, and shamed.The MP’s anger was clearly visible. The tension between Afghans and Americans is just beginning to surface but both countries are yet to see the terrible consequences of the discrepancy.
 Americans should stop their stubborn approach in Afghanistan and take a more diplomatic and talk oriented track. Afghan Taliban should be brought to the political process and should be recognised as a political entity in Afghanistan. 
Traditionally, mosques are run and controlled by Mullahs and historically they have enormous impact on peoples’ opinion in Afghanistan. One of the most effective ways to achieve stability in Afghanistan is to win the support of Mullahs and of influential religious leaders.  I recommend that the international community negotiates with Taliban.  War alone will never produce a brighter future for Afghans; it can only result in the loss of more and more lives. 
Only when the violence ebbs will the torch of democracy be lit. As long as the fear and instability spreads, as long as each family is mourning a loss, so the enmities will deepen between families and tribes, and between the US and Afghanistan. Negotiation is always going to be more productive than violence.  
Some will say that the Taliban are too cruel, and that if they become a part of the government, they may not allow women to go to work or school. Others will say that before negotiations there needs to be political reform to remove the warlords who massacred thousands, and some of whom were backed by the United States. There will be questions, and concerns. But in spite of these, there can be no doubt that what Afghans want more than anything is for the violence and killing to stop.