Posts Tagged ‘Afghan casualties’

Malalai Joya: The big lie of Afghanistan

July 27, 2009

Inquiries into the 954 deaths in police custody since 1990 have all proved fruitless – and then this historic case comes along

In 2005, I was the youngest person elected to the new Afghan parliament. Women like me, running for office, were held up as an example of how the war in Afghanistan had liberated women. But this democracy was a facade, and the so-called liberation a big lie.

On behalf of the long-suffering people of my country, I offer my heartfelt condolences to all in the UK who have lost their loved ones on the soil of Afghanistan. We share the grief of the mothers, fathers, wives, sons and daughters of the fallen. It is my view that these British casualties, like the many thousands of Afghan civilian dead, are victims of the unjust policies that the Nato countries have pursued under the leadership of the US government.

Almost eight years after the Taliban regime was toppled, our hopes for a truly democratic and independent Afghanistan have been betrayed by the continued domination of fundamentalists and by a brutal occupation that ultimately serves only American strategic interests in the region.

You must understand that the government headed by Hamid Karzai is full of warlords and extremists who are brothers in creed of the Taliban. Many of these men committed terrible crimes against the Afghan people during the civil war of the 1990s.

For expressing my views I have been expelled from my seat in parliament, and I have survived numerous assassination attempts. The fact that I was kicked out of office while brutal warlords enjoyed immunity from prosecution for their crimes should tell you all you need to know about the “democracy” backed by Nato troops.

In the constitution it forbids those guilty of war crimes from running for high office. Yet Karzai has named two notorious warlords, Fahim and Khalili, as his running mates for the upcoming presidential election. Under the shadow of warlordism, corruption and occupation, this vote will have no legitimacy, and once again it seems the real choice will be made behind closed doors in the White House. As we say in Afghanistan, “the same donkey with a new saddle”.

So far, Obama has pursued the same policy as Bush in Afghanistan. Sending more troops and expanding the war into Pakistan will only add fuel to the fire. Like many other Afghans, I risked my life during the dark years of Taliban rule to teach at underground schools for girls. Today the situation of women is as bad as ever. Victims of abuse and rape find no justice because the judiciary is dominated by fundamentalists. A growing number of women, seeing no way out of the suffering in their lives, have taken to suicide by self-immolation.

This week, US vice-president Joe Biden asserted that “more loss of life [is] inevitable” in Afghanistan, and that the ongoing occupation is in the “national interests” of both the US and the UK.

I have a different message to the people of Britain. I don’t believe it is in your interests to see more young people sent off to war, and to have more of your taxpayers’ money going to fund an occupation that keeps a gang of corrupt warlords and drug lords in power in Kabul.

What’s more, I don’t believe it is inevitable that this bloodshed continues forever. Some say that if foreign troops leave Afghanistan will descend into civil war. But what about the civil war and catastrophe of today? The longer this occupation continues, the worse the civil war will be.

The Afghan people want peace, and history teaches that we always reject occupation and foreign domination. We want a helping hand through international solidarity, but we know that values like human rights must be fought for and won by Afghans themselves.

I know there are millions of British people who want to see an end to this conflict as soon as possible. Together we can raise our voice for peace and justice.

Mind the gap

October 18, 2008

George Barnsby, Oct 17, 2008

We have divided the world into nuclear maniacs who are prepared to see the world destroyed and civilised people who wish to survive and the gap between them widens every day. An article in the Guardian today by Seumas Milne who says that civilian dead are a trade-off in Nato’s war of barbarity. In this year alone for every occupation soldier killed at least three Afghan civilians have died at the hands of the occupying forces.
They include the 95 people, 6o of them children killed by a US assault in Azizabad in August;  the infamous wedding guests dismembered by US bombardment in July and the four women and children killed in a British rocket attack six weeks ago in Sangin.

The most comprehensive research into Afghan war casualties has been by Marc Herold, a US professor at the University of New Hampshire. In his latest findings Herold estimates that  the number of civilians killed since 2006 is  3,273. But most telling is   the change of military tactics underlying these figures. Close air support is now the favoured practice which means that the infantry call up air support and those killed are inevitably civilians. The tactics is self defeating, even the puppet Afghan president has railed against Nat’s recklessness with Afghan blood, but it inevitably creates further resistance and the demand that these imperialist forces leave their country. There is no possibility that the war in Afghanistan can be won any  more than there is in Iraq and the only choice the imperialists have is to leave at once or to be chucked

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