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Afghanistan war

An American soldier allegedly went off-base, killed a whole lot of innocent Afghan civilians in a murder spree and then turned himself in. This, in a country where Khomeinist demagogues incite crowds to shout "Death to America" and rampage without any legitimate provocation in the first place.

How the heck does the mission recover from this?More >>

As the Taliban taunts the United States on the 23rd anniversary of the previous Soviet withdrawal, one can't help but grimace at the underlying credibility of such confidence.

"Today’s American occupying invaders and their coalition allies are facing the same future the Russian invaders faced in the past".

Whether the war is being fought for benign reasons or malicious ones, the majority of the American public feels as though the US should pull out of Afghanistan. Since the US is established on democratic values, this sentiment will only encourage political leaders to pull out sooner, despite the timeline already shortened by Panetta.The Taliban know that the US doesn't have the stomach for such a prolonged conflict, and they are rightfully exploiting it by releasing such statements.

Other grandiose statements seem not so credible, though:

“Selfish Americans must learn a lesson from … the Russian defeat and no longer fight a meaningless battle with zealous Afghans and take their invading forces out as soon as possible,” the Afghan Taliban said in an emailed statement to media.

If the Taliban were such better alternatives to the US' occupying forces, as they suggest, they have yet to...More >>

In this video, Marines from the 6th Marine Regiment engage in combat with Taliban fighters near the Helmand River in 2012. Video taken by Lance Cpl. Jacob Lagoze.

Just a little curious about where the Afghan security forces are hiding while this firefight is happening.More >>

Is Afghanistan a hopeless quagmire of endless death and destruction? Maybe. But if you're wondering just how bad things could get when NATO pulls out and the country is left with no more security or effective government, well, let's take a look at Mexico and the drug war.

Mexico isn't half a world away. It shares a border with the United States -- but as of yet, no American or NATO troops have taken over security in any area of the country. I'm not suggesting that such an intervention would necessarily be a good idea, but then again, its current crisis, spiralling violence and geographic proximity would at least seem to merit some consideration. Some numbers for you, courtesy of the BBC:

  • 47,515 people killed in Mexico in the last five years.
  • 12,903 people killed in drug-related violence during the first nine months of 2011.
  • In 2009-2010, murders jumped 70 percent; 2008-2009 saw a 63 percent rise and there was a 110 percent jump in 2007-2008.

That's bad. In Afghanistan, admittedly a much less populous country, the numbers are still staggering, though not as bad as in America's immediate neighbor.

Here's the yearly...More >>

The military wives of those who fight for queen and country sing an emotional chorus. The lyrics are compiled from letters to and from the servicemen and their wives written on a 6-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The SWP doesn't seem too pleased about it, though. An excellent writeup from Harry's PlaceMore >>

Unless you want crimes to be committed against you. Human Rights Watch has the scoop on how the Afghan Local Police program has helped create a police force that has mostly just contributed to lawlessness.

A September 2011 Human Rights Watch report, “Just Don’t Call it a Militia: Impunity, Militias, and the ‘Afghan Local Police,’” detailed abuses by the ALP and various militias created or supported by the US since the defeat of Taliban rule in 2001. The report, while acknowledging that ALP units had contributed recently to improved security in some areas, documented serious abuses by ALP and other US-backed forces in several provinces, including looting, illegal detention, beatings, killings, sexual assault, and extortion. The report also described how the establishment of the ALP had inflamed ethnic tensions in some areas.

More >>

In yet another attack which took place just last week in Afghanistan, a Muslim suicide bomber blew himself up and killed -- you guessed it -- fellow Muslims. 

It should be pretty unequivocal by now where the real problem in the region is coming from. The Taliban was massacring the Hazara population -- not because of their support for the Coalition, or hatred stemming from western foreign policy, but simply because of their belief in a different sect of the same religion.

Indeed, the United Nations stated in a report last year "attributing 75 percent of the deaths to attacks by Taliban and other insurgents rather than coalition forces". 

As the religionofpeace.com in 2006 stated, 

  • Iraqi civilians killed (all deliberately) in 2006 by the Iraqi resistance: 16,791.
  • Iraqi civilians killed (all accidentally) in 2006 by Americans: 225.

Granted, these above figures are pre-2007 surge numbers -- however, the difference between these two numbers, albeit extraordinarily tragic, is no small one. 

Why blame the Coalition, and not the insurgents, for such killings? Obviously -- because it's not nearly as convenient for those who believe the US and the West...More >>

Well, that's it. Pakistan has decided to cut off NATO's supply lines to Afghanistan. This staunch lukewarm traitorous ally took the extreme measure in retaliation for NATO firing on Pakistan's soldiers, no doubt carried out because the Pakistanis (again) were taking potshots at US troops in support of their real allies: the Taliban.

Barring a fast 180-degree reversal by Pakistan, the Afghan war in defense of a fragile new democracy against jihadist maniacs is pretty much done. NATO forces will very quickly run low on the fuel, food and ammunition that powers their modern advanced military. The Afghanistan war could be over a lot sooner than anyone, even the Pakistanis, realize.

A few weeks ago, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that in any war between the USA and Pakistan, Afghanistan would naturally take the side of their next-door neighbor. We may also soon see if he's so blind to the suicidal consequences of such as stance.

One suspects that the Taliban have temporarily relaxed their absolute prohibition on the consumption of alcohol to break out the bottles of champagne.

Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist...More >>

War
By Sebastian Junger
Twelve 2010, 304 pp.

From the first page, Sebastian Junger's War immerses the reader into the world of the soldiers in what has been dubbed “the most dangerous place on the planet” by President H.W. Bush: Afghanistan's Korengal Valley.

Fear, the first section of the book, establishes the necessary groundwork about the soldiers' thoughts on fighting an armed conflict and their emotions before and during battle. “Combat jammed so much adrenaline through your system that fear was rarely an issue; far more indicative of real courage was how you felt before the big operations, when the implications of losing your life really had a chance to sink in.”

Killing, in part two, explores the fundamental reason why soldiers kill and their reactions when that action is committed on one of their own. When Clinard, an infantryman, sees his commander lying lifeless at the top of a hill, he “stays bent double as if he's just finished a race and moans... in his strangle animal way”.

The final portion of the book, Love, is the most profound and chilling sections in the book. Like Junger so adroitly puts it: “The Army might screw you and your...More >>

An excellent review in Macleans of Terry Glavin's new book, Come from the Shadows: the Long and Lonely Struggle for Peace in Afghanistan:

The book opens and closes with the students of Marefat High School, in the Daste Barchi slum of Kabul. In April 2009, they fought off a mob dispatched by a Khomeinist mosque whose members were furious because boys and girls at the school were studying together. The attackers threw rocks and sticks and demanded that the school’s principal, Aziz Royesh, be killed. Students barred the doors and stood their ground. The school remains open.

 

Glavin’s book is full of stories like this, from the sealed-off parts of Afghanistan. Blame for the obscuration that keeps so much of the country hidden can be cast widely, including among journalists. Glavin recalls speaking with a senior Canadian reporter who had been in Kandahar several times over a three-year period but had never interviewed an Afghan woman. I know of journalists whose bosses discouraged them from leaving Kandahar Airfield lest they miss a “ramp ceremony” for a fallen Canadian soldiers returning home.

I’m not sure that many of our diplomats see much more. Recently in Kabul I got a

...More >>

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