Posts Tagged ‘Afghans’

Rights Groups Condemn Ruling on Bagram Detainees

May 27, 2010

Willam Fisher, Inter Press Service  North America

NEW YORK, 26 May (IPS) – Human rights advocates are expressing shock at a federal court ruling that detainees held by the United States in Afghanistan do not have the right to challenge their detention in a U.S. federal court – and dismay that their path to a successful appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court may be blocked.

A lawyer for the detainees, Tina Foster, warned that if the precedent stood, U.S. President Barack Obama and future presidents would be able to “kidnap people from other parts of the world and lock them away for the rest of their lives” without ever having to prove their case in court.

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Over 1200 Afghan families flee allied attacks

February 17, 2010

Daily  Telegraph, February 17, 2010
From: AFP

AT least 1240 families fled a massive military onslaught against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, Helmand authorities said today.

No camps were set up for the displaced in case they became permanent structures, said Daud Ahmadi, spokesman for Helmand governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal.

“We deliberately did not give permission for the camps to be set up for the 1240 families who are displaced because we did not want the camps to become permanent,” he said.

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Americans pull strings in Afghan election

October 26, 2009

Eric Margolis, The Toronto  Sun, October 25, 2009

Henry Kissinger once observed that being America’s ally can be more dangerous than being its enemy.

Take poor Hamid Karzai, the amiable former business consultant and CIA “asset” installed by Washington as Afghanistan’s president. As the U.S. increasingly gets its backside kicked in Afghanistan, it has blamed the powerless Karzai for its woes and bumbling.

You can almost hear Washington rebuking, “bad puppet! Bad puppet!”

The U.S. Congressional Research service just revealed it costs a staggering $1.3 million per annum to keep an American soldier in Afghanistan. Costs for Canadian troops are likely similar. This huge expense can’t go on forever.

The U.S. government has wanted to dump Karzai, but could not find an equally obedient but more effective replacement. There was talk of imposing an American “chief executive officer” on him. Or, in the lexicon of the old British Raj, an Imperial Viceroy.

Washington finally decided to try to shore up Karzai’s regime and give it some legitimacy by staging national elections in August. The UN, which has increasingly become an arm of U.S. foreign policy, was brought in to make the vote kosher. Canada eagerly joined this charade.

No political parties were allowed to run. Only individuals supporting the West’s occupation of Afghanistan were allowed on the ballot.

Occupation army

The vote was conducted under the guns of a foreign occupation army — a clear violation of international law. The U.S. funded the election commission and guarded polling places from a discreet distance. The Soviets were much more subtle when they rigged Afghan elections.

As I wrote before the election, it was all a great big fraud within a larger fraud designed to fool American, Canadian and European voters into believing democracy had flowered in Afghanistan. Cynical Afghans knew the vote would be rigged. Most Pashtun, the nation’s ethnic majority, didn’t vote. The “election” was an embarrassing fiasco.

To no surprise, Washington’s man in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, won. But his supporters went overboard in stuffing ballot boxes to avoid a possible runoff with rival Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, another American ally. The Karzai and Abdullah camps were bitterly feuding over division of U.S. aid and drug money that has totally corrupted Afghanistan.

The vote was discredited, thwarting the Obama administration’s plans to use the election as justification for sending more troops to Afghanistan. The White House’s Plan B: Forcing its two feuding “assets,” Karzai and Abdullah, into a coalition. But two puppets on a string are no better than one.

Washington just arm-twisted Karzai into agreeing to a run-off vote that will likely be as bogus as the last one. In Afghanistan, ethnicity and tribe trump everything else. Karzai is a Pashtun, but has almost no roots in tribal politics.

The suave Abdullah, who is also in Washington’s pocket, is half Pashtun, half Tajik. But he is seen as a Tajik who speaks for this ethnic minority which detests and scorns the majority Pashtun. Tajiks will vote for Abdullah, Pashtun will not. If the U.S. manages to force Abdullah into a coalition with Karzai, Pashtun — 55% of the population — won’t back the new regime which many Afghans will see as western yes-men and Tajik-dominated.

Abdullah also has some very unsavoury friends from the north: Former Afghan Communist Party bigwigs Mohammed Fahim and Uzbek warlord Rashid Dostam — both major war criminals. Behind them stand the Tajik Northern Alliance and resurrected Afghan Communist Party, both funded by Russia and backed by Iran and India.

Ironically, the U.S. is now closely allied with the Afghan Communists and fighting its former Pashtun allies from the 1980s anti-Soviet struggle. Most North Americans have no idea they are now backing Afghan Communists and the men who control most of Afghanistan’s booming drug trade.

If Hamid Karzai really wants to establish himself as an authentic national leader, he should demand the U.S. and NATO withdraw their occupation forces and let Afghans settle their own disputes in traditional ways.

What Obama isn’t telling you about Afghanistan

September 1, 2009

An Unpopular War

By Anthony DiMaggio, ZNet, Aug 31, 2009

President Obama finds himself in a precarious position when calling for escalation of the war in Afghanistan.  While this conflict is traditionally seen as the “good war,” American and Afghan public support appears mixed at best.  There is good reason to suspect that the limited support for war that exists will evaporate after casualties on both sides increase and Afghanistan’s security further deteriorates.

A significant problem we run into when assessing the war is the tremendous lack of information available about Americans’ reasons for opposing war.  Scholars note the tendency of polling firms to “socially construct” public opinion by refusing to ask questions about Americans’ moral challenges to U.S. foreign policy.  Benjamin Ginsberg argues in The Captive Public that “polls generally raise questions that are of interest to clients and purchasers of poll data – newspapers, political candidates, governmental agencies, and business corporations…questions of no immediate relevance to government, business, or politicians will not easily find their way into the surveys.  This is particularly true of issues such as the validity of the capitalist economic system, or the legitimacy of governmental authority, issues that business and government prefer not to see raised at all, much less at their own expense.”

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Why Afghans Have No Hope in This Week’s Vote

August 19, 2009

by Malalai Joya |, Aug 18, 2009

Like millions of Afghans, I have no hope in the results of this week’s election. In a country ruled by warlords, occupation forces, Taliban insurgency, drug money and guns, no one can expect a legitimate or fair vote.

Among the people on the street, a common sentiment is, ‘Everything has already been decided by the U.S. and NATO, and the real winner has already been picked by the White House and Pentagon.’ Although there are a total of 41 candidates running for president, the vast majority of them are well known faces responsible for the current disastrous situation in Afghanistan.

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UK: How many more will die in vain before we withdraw?

July 16, 2009

The attempt to exploit soldiers’ deaths to win support for the shameful war in Afghanistan thankfully isn’t working

All week politicians, media and the military have strained every nerve to turn public sympathy over the deaths of British squaddies into support for the US-led occupation of Afghanistan. After a year of parades, a new Armed Forces Day and a stream of censored reports of derring-do from the frontline, the killing of 15 soldiers in 10 days has triggered a barrage of war propaganda. Having all but ignored the same number who died in Helmand province last month, every tabloid and Whitehall stop has been pulled out to capitalise on the emotions unleashed by the continuing sacrifice of British teenagers in an endless war.

From the Ministry of Defence-orchestrated processions of coffins through the Wiltshire village of Wootton Bassett to the black ties worn by Sky TV presenters as they address generals as “sir”, the message is clear: this war is a “patriotic duty”, in the prime minister’s words. The only argument in parliament yesterday was whether the government had provided enough helicopters and boots on the ground to do the job.

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KABUL – NATO to send up to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan ahead of election

June 20, 2009

China View, June 19, 2009

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer attend a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on June 17, 2009. (Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, June 19 — The visiting NATO’s Secretary General Jaap de Hope Scheffer on Wednesday announced sending additional troops to Afghanistan ahead of the second presidential election after the fall of Taliban regime set for August 20 this year.

Soundbite:Scheffer, NATO’s Secretary General “We are bringing extra forces into Afghanistan for a protection role between 8,000 and 10,000, if you want to know the numbers of whom will come on temporary bases to Afghanistan.”

The outgoing NATO chief described Afghanistan’s coming election as“very important” for both Afghans and the international community, saying ISAF along with Afghan security forces would do its best to help Afghans have a transparent election in a peaceful environment.

Scheffer, during his last tour to Afghanistan as NATO Secretary General, once against repeated the military alliance commitment towards the post-Taliban Afghanistan.

“We would be alongside Afghan people and we will support Afghan people,” he stressed.

The NATO top diplomat also expressed concern over civilian casualties during military operations against anti-government militants, saying “we will do everything which is in our power to prevent loss of innocent life, loss of innocent civilian life.” He asserted that the international forces would do its best to minimize civilian casualties.

Repeated harming non-combatants has risen anti-U.S. forces resentment in Afghanistan while President Karzai and Afghan citizens at large have repeatedly asked the international forces to protect civilian life as it would not serve the U.S.-led war on terror.

Xinhua News Agency correspondents reporting from KABUL.

Afghans call for end to US occupation

March 23, 2009
Morning Star Online, Sunday 22 March 2009

HUNDREDS of Afghan citizens rallied for an end to the occupation of their country on Sunday after US-led forces killed five civilians in Kunduz Province.

According to Afghan officials, US soldiers broke into the house of Imam Sahib Mayor Abdul Manan before dawn and killed two of his bodyguards and three other employees including a cook and a driver.

The US insisted that the morning raid had targeted a “terrorist network” and asserted that the five killed in the operation were insurgents.

The Pentagon released a statement which asserted that the raid had involved Afghan police and targeted a “terrorist network.”

But a senior Imam Sahib official rejected the suggestion, saying that Afghan police were neither involved in the operation nor aware of it.

And Kunduz governor Juma Din claimed that all the victims of the attack had been local-government employees.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said only that “five of our countrymen” had been killed in the mayor’s house and a spokesman declined to label them as either militants or civilians.

Deputy provincial police chief Abdul Rahman Akhtash said that about 300 people had gathered in Imam Sahib to protest against the raid and the increasingly bloody occupation.

US and NATO officials insist that they are doing all they can to limit civilian casualties and observe that guerillas regularly operate in residential areas.

Mulla Omar asks foreign forces to chalk out exit plan

December 9, 2008

The News International, December 08, 2008

PESHAWAR: Linking the peace to troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban supreme leader Mulla Muhammad Omar Sunday urged foreign forces to prepare an exit strategy as early as possible.

“Today the world’s economy is facing growing risk from meltdown owing to the belligerent and expansionist policies of US. This has left its negative impact on the globe and it is the collective duty of all to work for a lasting peace in the world,” the Afghan Islamic Press quoted Mulla Omar as saying in his message on the occasion of Eidul Azha.

“You should understand that no puppet regime will ever stand up to the current resistance movement. Nor you will justify the occupation of the Islamic countries under the so-called slogan of rehabilitation anymore,” he added.

The Taliban leader said deployment of more troops would lead to battles everywhere. “The current armed clashes will spiral and your current casualties of hundreds will jack up to thousands,” he warned.

Mulla Omar said the US had imposed the war on the Afghan nation and the followers of the path of Islamic resistance would never abandon their legitimate struggle.

He said the invading forces wrongly contemplate that they would be able to pit the Afghans against the mujahideen under the so-called label of tribal militias. “No Afghan will play into the hands of the aliens and fight against his own brothers for worldly pleasure.”

Mulla Omar also felicitated the Muslims on the auspicious occasion of Eidul Azha.

“I would like to extend my warmest felicitation on Eidul Azha to all the Muslims of the world; to the oppressed, suffering but committed and brave people of Afghanistan, especially my heartfelt felicitation goes to all the Mujahideen on this auspicious day. May Allah Almighty bless the Islamic Ummah, and particularly the families of the prisoners and martyrs to pass this auspicious day with patience, happiness and pride. May Allah, the Almighty bestow on our wealthy men and women the willpower to share their amenities with all the miserable people, particularly with the families, widows and orphans of the heroic martyrs, the oppressed prisoners and the Mujahideen.”

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