Friday, November 06, 2009

Horrific Outbursts of violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan - by NATO - these wars don't prevent terrorism - they cause it

Survivor of US airstrikes on Bala Boluk, Farah province, Afghanistan May 2009;
pilots thought they were targeting Taliban

Aftermath of a Taliban suicide bombing targeting US troops, which also killed civilians, Kabul, September 2009

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Given the vast cost in lives of Obama's expansion of the Afghanistan war and the huge military offensives in Pakistan which he securedby threatening to cut aid and start US airstrikes on Taliban inside Pakistan,Obama's condemnation of the "horrific outburst of violence" by an American military psychiatrist driven crazy by what he was told by soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan is sadly ironic.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is wrong in his claims that the Afghanistan war prevents terrorism and former British foriegn office Minister Kim Howells MP (despite his failings on almost everything else) is right that having troops in Afghanistan doesn’t prevent Al Qa’ida training elsewhere; they trained in the US and Germany for 9-11 and the 1993 World trade center bombing. Howells misses out a lot though; that Obama’s expansion of the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan has actually killed more civilians as well as more of our troops, both directly and by creating waves of suicide bombings like those in Iraq after Bush’s offensives there; that NATO operations in Afghanistan actually make terrorist attacks on NATO countries more likely, just as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars led to the London and Madrid bombings. The intensification of Pakistan’s civil war by Obama’s wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan could also create the crisis they’re meant to prevent by creating enough chaos to let Al Qaeda get hold of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Blaming Hamid Karzai for everything has become everyone's exit strategy from Afghanistan. Karzai is not to blame though. From the start the US funded warlords more than his government, denied him any real power and failed to deliver promised aid, with much of what was delivered going to companies and highly paid consultants from the donor countries while Afghans couldn't get enough money to buy food. Obama has continued Bush's tactic of denying Karzai any power (for instance ignoring his pleas to end air strikes which kill civilians in large numbers) while assigning blame for all NATO's failures to him.

The real aims of the war were never democracy, human rights, protecting womens’ rights, reducing the drugs trade or preventing terrorism – and after 8 years it’s still achieved none of these. It’s always been about a US bid for global dominance and securing an oiland gas pipeline export route via Afghanistan to get the resources of the former Soviet Union flowing out of Pakistan’s ports. There is no military solution to the problems of Afghanistan or Pakistan. The minimal positive influence on womens’ rights in Afghanistan and other successes like immunisation reducing deaths through disease and funding for clinics and schools could be maintained with foreign aid. Before the invasion aid workers and the Afghan Red Crescent were not targets in Afghanistan, but NATO governments’ insistence that all aid be channelled through NATO military ‘Provincial Reconstruction Teams’ and constant references to reconstruction as a measure of NATO success have made aid workers targets. Reconstruction and humanitarian aid would be easier and safer without foreign troops, as aid workers would no longer be seen as the civilian arm of NATOforces

US intelligence reports say 90% of the people NATO is fighting in Afghanistan are neither Taliban nor Al Qaeda. As Harry Patch, thelast British survivor of World War One, said, before his death earlier this year, what's the point in killing huge numbers of people through organised murder over something that can only be ended by sitting down at the negotiating table?

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Why the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan don't prevent Al Qa'ida training or attacks: and why we can't win there by counter-insurgency methods either either

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is wrong in claiming that the wars inAfghanistan and Pakistan prevent terrorist attacks in NATO countries andformer British foreign office minister Kim Howells MP is right that having British troops in Afghanistan is pointless from the point ofview of stopping Al Qa’ida training, as they can (and have) trained elsewhere (0a) - (0b). The September 11th hijackers and the 1993 World Trade Center bombers trained in the US, not Afghanistan or Pakistan (1) –(4). In 8 years of war in Afghanistan NATO and the Karzai government have neverbeen able to prevent insurgents controlling the vast majority of the country - all the area outside a handful of cities - any more than the Soviet Union's forces could in a decade of warfare. There is no reason to think this is going to change even if NATO stayed in the country for decades. So Al Qa'ida will beable to train in the mountains of the Afghan-Pakistan border no matter how long our troops stay there.

The claim that the Russians were only defeated because of US aid to the Mujahedin is inaccurate - Ahmad Shah Massoud’s forces in Northern Afghanistan faced the greatest amount of fighting against the Soviets, being on their entry and supply route from Uzbekistan to Kabul. At the end of the war the CIA discovered that Pakistan’s military intelligence had not supplied any stingers to his forces until after the Communist government in Kabul fell in 1991 – and then supplied him with just 8. He received almost no money or supplies from the ISI or the southern Mujahedin factions (hostile to him as he was not a Pashtun but a Tajik) – yet his forces were responsible for most of the defeats suffered by the Soviets and their allies(4a).

There is a lot of talk among British generals (and armchair generals) of the success of the British operations in Malaya or Burma in the1950s. These neglect to mention that the British campaign only succeeded because the Communist rebels were almost all from the ethnic Chinese minority of the population and so couldn't get the support of most Malayans. The situation in Afghanistan, where most of the population of the South of the country is Pashtun like most of the insurgents, is very different.

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Howells, Colombia, the US, the UK, paramilitary death squads and cocaine

(Being right is unusual for Howells, who notoriously visited Colombia as a foreign office minister and was photographed along with a Colombian army unit responsible for murders of trade unionists - before repeating their false propaganda about the trade unionists they murdered being part of the left-wing FARC - a group of left-wing guerillas many of whom have become kidnappers and drug traffickers - though the military and their paramilitary allies are responsible for most murders of civilians in Colombia. Howells was negotiating increased British military aid to the Colombian government and military, both of which collaborate with right wing paramilitary death squads involved in the cocaine trade and murders of trade unionists, according to the CIA, US State Department and Human Rights groups . The US also continues military aid and arms sales to Colombia on a grand scale. Obama said during election debates that he would change this and make trade agreeemnts with Colombia dependent on improvements. (4b) - (41)

Then foreign office minister Howells with a Colombian unit that murders trade unionists and is partly funded by British taxpayers' money through military aid

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Every Time We Kill Them, They Kill Us : Why these wars cause more terrorist attacks

Howells could have added that NATO operations, which routinely kill civilians, are more likely to incite terrorist attacks than prevent them, just as British and Spanish forces being sent to Iraq and the resulting civilian deaths led to the July 7th and Madrid bombings. AlQa’ida in Europe also said the July 7th bombings were revenge for the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan (5). The Afghanistan war is also converting British Muslims into Taliban recruits. MI5 claim British troops in Afghanistan say they have intercepted Taliban communications which include some with English accents. MI5 estimates 4000 British Muslims have gone to fight for the Taliban since the NATO invasion. (Then again, some people in MI5 say a lot of things - and a lot of them are pure invention - there are only 9,000 British troops in Iraq, making 4,000 British Taliban volunteers a bit unlikely) (6). In every Al Qa’ida attack the claims of responsibility have cited the many Muslims, including civilians, killed in wars by the US and its allies – and its arming and funding for the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli forces occupying the West Bank and still routinely bombing and invading Gaza.

After September 11th Bin Laden said “Every time they kill us, we kill them” (7). The Madrid bombers asked “Is it OK for you to kill our children, women, old people and youth in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine..? And is it forbidden to us to kill yours.” (8). In 2004 Bin Laden offered a truce to European countries if they withdrew their troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, saying “stop spilling our blood so we can stop spilling yours” (9).

The aftermath of the London bombings - having troops in Iraq and Afghanistan doesn't prevent these kinds of terrorist attacks - it causes them.

This of course does not make Al Qa’ida’s attacks justified. Only a fanatic could ever believe that the killing of innocent civilians could be justified by the killing of others. It does show that wars which supposedly protect us from terrorism actually do the opposite– they become terrorism against civilians in other countries and they create more terrorist attacks.

The Pakistani and NATO air strikes , missile strikes and offensives, demanded by the Obama administration (with increased aid as the carrot and reduced aid and air strikes as the stick) are no exception. They have led to waves of suicide bombings in Afghanistan and Pakistan, just like Bush’s offensives in Iraq did. Obama has increased missile strikes in Pakistan even though NATO counter-insurgency adviser David Kilcullen found 98% of those killed by them have been civilians (10) - (13).

All this makes Obama's comments on the tragic case of Major Nidal Malik Hassan, a bit ironic. Hassan was a moderate Muslim who worked as aUS army psychiatrist. According to his cousin he was extremely disturbed by all the "horror stories" that soldiers who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq told him about civilian deaths. When he was told he was going to be sent to fight inone of these countries soon he lost his mind and began firing on soldiers at the base he was at, killing thirteen of them - more deaths caused by pointless US-led wars. Obama, after launching offensives that have killed infinitely more people and led to Hassan's madness, called Hassan's actions a “horrific outburst of violence” (13a) -(13b)

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How Obama’s wars could get al Qa’ida nuclear weapons - something they were meant to prevent

These wars also risk pushing Pakistan into a decades long civil war like Afghanistan’s, which could produce chaos like that in Iraq, allowing Al Qa’ida to sieze control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, exactly the disaster they were mistakenly begun to prevent. In Iraq there were few stocks of WMDs left by 2002 other than battlefield chemical warheads for artillery – but according to David Kay, the former head ofthe CIA’s Iraq Survey Group, what WMD materials remained, including radioactive material and equipment related to it, were taken by looters in the chaos after the US invasion (14).

As in Iraq chaos caused by the cross-border wars and civil wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which Obama has intensified, could lead to looters or terrorists getting hold of WMDs. Unlike in Iraq this would mean not just some chemical artillery shells or components for producing them but long-range nuclear missiles

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Afghan Women’s Rights : Limited, not apriority for NATO governments, like NATO’s other successes they are the result of foreign aid and not dependent on NATO forces fighting a war there

Afghan woman MP Malalai Joya, who's faced death threats and assassination attempts from both sides in Afghanistan, speaks in the Afghan Loya Jirga or Parlaiment

One positive aspect of NATO governments’ involvement in Afghanistan is a minimal influence on womens’ rights, though, despite some rhetoric, they have always been willing to sacrifice Afghan womens’rights and lives in return for influence, power and oil and gas export routes; the US ambassador to Pakistan in the 1990s and Bush adviser Zalmay Khalilzad both saying they hoped the then US-backed Taliban would become an Afghan version of the Saudi monarchy. The Saudi monarchy are not noted for protecting womens’ rights – in fact their religious police force girls back into burning schools to die rather than let them be seen ‘improperly dressed’ (15) – (19). NATO countries had supposedly stopped the Karzai government passing a law allowing Shia men in Afghanistan to rape their wives. The final, revised, legislation allowed husbands to deny their wives food if they refused to have sex with them (20).

Afghan women disagree on whether NATO troops should stay to protect womens’ rights , but have so far allied to warlords who abuseeveryones’ rights, including womens’(according to former Afghan government minister and Afghan Human Rights Commission chairwoman Sima Samar)or are backing fundamentalist warlords as brutal towards women as the Taliban and should leave (according to Afghan woman MP Malalai Joya and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan). On the one hand neither could have held these positions under the Taliban; on the other both have faced death threats from allies of Karzai and NATO and their fellow Afghan MPs as much as from the Taliban; and it’s doubtful whether most Afghan women have benefited even as much as they have from NATO’s presence. Most still can’t go outside without a burka on and even then live in fear of being attacked or raped for leaving their houses. Child marriage and the rape of women and children are still common. Women may no longer be publicly stoned to death in the cities, but in the villages it’s still happening (21) – (30).

While the number of girls recieving education has been greatly increased in some parts of Afghanistan this progress may be wiped out in the long run by the boost to support for extreme nationalist religious fundamentalism created by the war and the presence of foreign forces, which may result in fewer girls being allowed to get an education in future.

Though there’s no guarantee NATO withdrawal will mean an end to war in Afghanistan NATO operations have intensified the war and have no prospect ofever ending it. What positive influence we do have in Afghanistan on womens’ rights could be retained through foreign aid though even if NATO troops withdraw.

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Why NATO forces' presence in Afghanistan is not always protecting aid workers and civilians but often putting them in danger and making humanitarian aid more difficult

An Afghan health clinic - charities operating in Afghanistan say NATO forces in Afghanistan have put them under more danger and brought Taliban attacks on them by trying to identify all aid and reconstruction with NATO and the Karzai government. They could actually operate more safely under Taliban rule than they can now.

The same holds for the other successes under NATO and the Karzai government – like immunisation reducing deaths from disease– and – according to Oxfam - 6 million more children starting primary school education and improved healthcare (though life expectancy remains at 43 years). They could be carried out with foreign aid without a single NATO soldier on the ground. There are good reasons why it might be much easier for charities and aid agencies to deliver aid if foreign troops left the country (though reconstruction is a separate issue - which would require an end to the Afghan civil war) (31).

Afghans and foreign aid organisations such as the World Food Programme and Oxfam said they could largely work freely even under Taliban rule before and even during the US invasion, despite Taliban brutality towards many Afghans, but since it they have been seen as part of the foreign occupation and targeted by the Taliban as a result. (British and US government claims in October to December 2001 that the Taliban were preventing aid getting through were revealed as lies by Oxfam and WFP staff on the ground – in fact truck drivers feared being bombed by NATO aircraft, not unreasonably given NATO’s bombing of ‘Serbian military vehicles’ that turned out to be Albanian refugees on tractors or in buses – and the repeated bombing of the Red Cross’s clearly marked and identified main aid depot in Kabul by US planes in October 2001) (32)– (38).

Charities’ ability to work relatively safely in Afghanistan began to deteriorate the year after the US invasion when NATO governments demanded that all UN aid to Afghanistan had to be channelled through ‘Provincial Reconstruction Teams’ which involve integrating them with NATO and Afghan army military units – and after NATO began carrying out reconstruction projects with soldiers for propaganda purposes (39) – (41).

The French Medical Charity ‘Medicines Sans Frontieres’ reports that the “vulnerability of humanitarian workers is not simply the result of ex-Taliban extremists seeking out soft targets” but also due to “confusion born of the US strategy ofusing relief efforts to promote its security agenda and extend the reach of the Karzai government on the cheap (ie, putting US soldiers into "Provincial Reconstruction Teams" to patch up schools or rebuild clinics, while they support the new Afghan army and quell local opposition).” It adds “The UN and donors' strategy of integration has also backfired for humanitarian organizations. The security of humanitarian aid workers has worsened dramatically, and with it their ability to carry out theirwork.” Two concrete examples were the murder of Red Cross aid worker Ricardo Munguia in March 2003 and MSF being forced to leave Ghazni hospital(42). Sally Austin of Care told interviewers that “Our security is being put at risk ... their understanding of neutrality and humanitarian principles is pretty weak” (43)

In July 2004 MSF announced that “Over the last 24 years, MSF has continued to provide health care throughout difficult periods of Afghanistan’s history, regardless of the political party or military group in power. “After having worked nearly without interruption alongside the most vulnerable Afghan people since 1980, it is with outrage and bitterness that we take the decision to abandon them. But we simply cannot sacrifice the security of our volunteers.” Even under Taliban rule in inthe late 90s, even during the US invasion, MSF had been able to operate in Afghanistan. NATO policy managed to get so many of its staff killed it had to withdraw (44).

MSF returned to Afghanistan in October 2009. It remains to be seen whether they'll be able to stay this time - the security situation certainly hasn't improved.(For instance the absolute number of civilians killed by both sides in the war combined increased 40% between 2007 and 2008 and 24% between the first 6 months of 2008 and the first six months of 2009 on UN figures. )(44a) - (44d).

The Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute in 2007 and CARE international in 2008 also reported that PRTs and the blurring of civilian reconstruction, humanitarian aid and military force has led to foreign aid workers being seen as enemies and Afghan aid workers as collaborators. This has led to Taliban attacks on aid workers as well as Afghan teachers, school-children and doctors and prevented aid workers from doing their job – resulting for instance in famine in much of Helmand province where British forces are based (45) –(46).

International charities operating in Afghanistan demanded that the blurring of civilian aid and NATO and Afghan government military operations should end. NATO formally agreed, but a report by 11 charities including Oxfam and Save the Children in April said nothing had changed in practice (47).

Oxfam reported this year that ‘The aid agencies also criticised two programmes recently established in the country [which] could put Afghan lives at risk, they said. The Afghan Social Outreach Programme (ASOP)establishes district councils and part of their role is to inform on the militant activities. The Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF) creates and arms local militias.’ (48)

It continued : ‘Lex Kassenberg, Country Director of CARE in Afghanistan said: “ average of three Afghans are executed every four days by insurgents for having any link to the government. In this environment, these programmes put Afghans at even greater risk.” (48)

Every time a NATO government or military spokesman says that reconstruction is at the center of NATO’s campaign in Afghanistan they are putting civilian aid workers and Afghan civilians in the firing line.

The most recent victims of Taliban attacks resulting from NATO deliberately blurring the lines between civilian aid and their war inAfghanistan were UN workers, resulting in the UN relocating half it’s staff from the country (49).

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The Real Aims of the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Map of proposed pipeline routes from former Carter administration member Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1997 book "The GrandChessboard"

Ever-changing justifications for the war hide the real aims; US global dominance and an oil and gas export pipeline from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via Afghanistan to the ports of Pakistan (50) – (52).Oil and arms firms are the only major beneficiaries, while Afghan and Pakistani soldiers, police and civilians and NATO troops pay with their lives.

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Everyone’s Exit Strategy: Blame Karzai,the powerless figurehead, but Karzai’s not to blame – NATO governments are

Hamid Karzai - NATO's fall guy for their failure in Afghanistan - has been denied the funds to make a difference and dismissed every time he criticises NATO airstrikes killing civilians

The main exit strategy for everyone from Obama and McCain to Kim Howells now seems to be to blame everything on Hamid Karzai and the“corruption” and “incompetence” of his government.It would be amazing if Karzai’s government wasn’t corrupt given the pitiful funding it’s been given, the fact it was appointed by the Bush administration, one of the most corrupt governments in history, which robbed Iraqis of billions during ‘Governor’ Bremer’s tenancy; and the fact that Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries on earth (53) – (54). If we had spent a tenth of what we’ve spent on killing Afghans on paying and feeding them and providing them with jobs maybe Afghanistan wouldn’t be so corrupt. According to Oxfam “The US [in Afghanistan] spend $100m a day on security but the overall aid budget for all donors combined is less than $7m aday.”, leading to a third of Afghans still being short of food (55). Much of the money pledged by governments for reconstruction and aid in Afghanistan has never actually been given to the Afghan government – and around 40% of all aid from donor governments to Afghanistan has actually gone to companies and staff and consultants with wages of an average of $500,000 a year based in the donor country rather than providing Afghans with jobs and enough money to buy food.(56) – (58).

Afghan police and soldiers are paid an average of a $120 a month – and the Taliban pays recruits three times what the funded Afghan government pays them on what NATO governments provide (59) – (60).

Karzai has also been placed in an impossible position. The Bush administration placed him in government, but the US government have tried to keep Karzai weak and dependent on them by providing more money to various regional warlords and militias than it has to the Afghan government (61) – (62). He has been repeatedly over-ruled with immense arrogance by both the Bush and Obama administrations on the many occasions when he has publicly demanded an end to NATO air-strikes which kill at the least hundreds of Afghan civilians each year (and probably far more as no neutral body exists with the resources and security to count them) (63) – (66) (i’ll be covering civilian deaths from airstrikes and missile strikes under Bush and under Obama and providing sources in another post).

If the US and other NATO governments want a legitimate Afghan government based on the support of the Afghan people – as they say they do – then they need to pay up to feed Afghans and provide them with jobs rather than spending a fortune on killing them in large numbers, creating waves of Taliban bombings and paying consultants and companies based in their own countries.

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Boosting the Heroin Trade and the insurgents:90% of whom are neither Taliban nor al Qaeda (says US intelligence)

Poppy crops - a major cause of fighting in Afghanistan -could bring jobs and peace if NATO governments would agree to their legalisation for the production of medical painkillers

Under Bush they destroyed Afghan farmers’ poppy crops, turning farmers and labourers who have no other source of income in much of the country against NATO and the Karzai government. This has not resulted in a reduction in Afghan heroin production and exports but a massive increase. A small reduction over the past year has been cited, but this is a massive increase on the amount for October 2001 or the end of 2002. Under Obama this policy has changed marginally with a policy of targeting those refining and smuggling heroin rather than farmers growing poppy crops. The obvious solution though – legalisation of poppy crops and funding the construction of factories to produce opiate painkillers (which are in short supply worldwide) is still off the agenda for no good reason.

(For more and sources on this see Seven Solutions

This may be one reason why, according to US intelligence reports, the majority of insurgents are not Taliban fundamentalists, but Pashtun or Afghan nationalists whose aim is to expel foreign invaders or get revenge for members of their tribe being killed. According to the Boston Globe:

‘“Ninety percent is a tribal, localized insurgency,’’ said one US intelligence official in Washington who helped draft the assessments. “Ten percent are hardcore ideologues fighting for the Taliban.’’.... US commanders and politicians often loosely refer to the enemy as the Taliban or Al Qaeda, giving rise to the image of holy warriors seeking to spread a fundamentalist form of Islam. But the mostly ethnic Pashtun fighters are often deeply connected by family and social ties to the valleys and mountains where they are fighting, and they see themselves as opposing the United States because it is an occupying power, the officials and analysts said.’ (67).

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Counter-terrorism risks becoming state organised terrorism

So far more troops has just meant more deaths of all groups of people involved for little or no gain for anyone but foreign oil and arms firms. McChrystal’s strategy sounds very good on paper but given US military history from Vietnam, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala in the 60s, 70s and 80s to Colombia and Iraq in the present suggests US “counterinsurgency” or “counter terrorism” involves torture and summary execution of anyone suspected of being an enemy or sympathising with them by death squads (I’ll cover this with sources in another post). Biden’s strategy of more drone strikes and special forces will just involve killing more civilians from the air and less on the ground and create as many new terrorist attacks as ground forces. There is no military solution to the problems of Afghanistan and Pakistan, nor any military solution that reduces terrorism rather than becoming and increasing it.

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Time to sit down and talk round a table

Poppies covered many of the battlefields of World War One France before they were blown to pieces or churned to mud by artillery and tanks. They cover much of Afghanistan today. The latest war in Afghanistan has now gone on for twice as long as World War One, with Afghanistan having suffered civil war and/or foreign occupation and bombing campaigns for over 30years. As in World War One, huge numbers of people have been killed or died due to the indirect effects of war for benefits that are almost non-existent.

Harry Patch, the last British veteran of World WarOne

The late Harry Patch, the last British survivor of World WarOne, died this year. General Dannat, then British Chief of the General Staff, attempted to hijack Patch’s funeral with a propaganda statement about how Harry Patch had fought for the same freedoms British forces are still fighting for today (68). Actually Harry Patch never backed any war. Here’s what he actually said about war:

“War is organised murder, and nothing else. At the end, the peace was settled round a table, so why the hell couldn't they do that at the start without losing millions of men?” (69)

Given the lack of any major difference between the Taliban and the warlords NATO and Karzai are allied to, the lack of any way the Taliban could get back into power if the US didn’t keep handing Pakistan military aid to pass on to them; the fact that most of the people NATO are fighting aren’t Taliban; and the total failure of the war to reduce heroin production or terrorism or provide democracy or womens’ rights; why aren’t peace negotiations with all factions in Afghanistan taking place round a table somewhere right now?

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copyright©Duncan McFarlane2009


(0a) = Prime Minister's Office (UK) 06Nov 2009 'Speech on Afghanistan',

(0b) = 03Nov 2009/ Guardian 04 Nov ‘It's time to pull out of Afghanistan and take the fight to Bin Laden in Britain',

(1) = Washington Post 23 Sep2001 ‘FBI Knew Terrorists Were Using Flight Schools’,

(2) = Boston Globe 15 Sep 2001 ‘Officials Aware In 1998 ofTraining’,

(3) = Minneapolis Star Tribune ‘Eagan Flight Trainer Wouldn't LetUnease About Moussaoui Rest’,

(4) = Bovard, James (2003) ‘Terrorism and Tyranny : Trampling Freedom, Justice and Peace to Rid the World of Evil’, PalgraveMacMillan, N.Y & Houndmills, U.K, 2003, paperback edition, Chapter 3,especially pages 32-38

(4a) = Steve Coll (2004)‘Ghost Wars : The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden,from the Soviet Invasion to September 10th 2001’, Penguin, 2005(paperback edition), especially prologue, page 12 and Chapter 6, p 107-124

(4b) = Guardian 11th Feb 2008,‘Anger at minister's photo with Colombian army unit linked to trade unionist killings’,

(4c) = Guardian 27 Mar 2007, ‘The politicians and the drugs cartels -scandal engulfs Colombia's elite’,

(4d) = Human Rights Watch 12 Feb 2009 'Testimony of Maria McFarlandSánchez-Moreno, Esq. Senior Americas Researcher, Human Rights Watch, February12, 2009 Hearing on Examining Workers' Rights and Violence against Labor Union Leaders in Colombia, United States House of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor',

(4e) = HRW 26 Jun 2009 - letter to Obama 'Colombia: Obama Should Press Uribe on Rights',

(4f) = Guardian 18 May 2007, ‘Colombian leader denies link to paramilitaries’,,,2082667,00.html

(4g) = BBC News Online 7 Aug 2002, ‘Profile: Alvaro Uribe Velez', ,(Uribe as state governor in 90s organised groups involved with paramilitary death squads - half way down page para starting ‘They have tried to paint him’)

(4h) = Amnesty International Report 2007 : Colombia,

(4i) = Human Rights Watch : reports on Colombia,

(4j) = Guardian 17 Mar 2008, ‘Minister 'has put Colombian trade unionists' lives at risk'’,,(US Congress found Colombian army involved in murdering trade unionists)

(4k) = Guardian 27 Mar 2007, ‘The politicians and the drugs cartels -scandal engulfs Colombia's elite’,, (see 5th paragraph on CIA reporting head of Colombian military involved withright wing paramilitary operations)

(4l) = Human Rights Watch , ‘Colombia Human Rights CertificationIV’, ,(many officers still serving involved in army murders and torture of civilians)

(5) = Guardian Unlimited 17th July 2005, 2.15p.m update ‘Al-Qaida in Europe claims responsibility for blasts’,

(6) = Independent 25 Feb 2009‘Exclusive: Army is fighting British jihadists in Afghanistan’,

(7) = Guardian 12 Nov 2001 ,‘Bin Laden denies anthrax attacks’,

(8) = Guardian 12 Mar 2004, ‘The clues that point towards al-Qaida’,

(9) = Reuters / 15 Apr2004 ‘Excerpts from 'Bin Laden' tape’,

(10) = AP 05 May 2009‘Holbrooke: Pressure Pakistan to Fight Taliban’,

(11) = Sunday Times 27 Sep 2009 ‘US threatens airstrikes inPakistan’,

(12) = ABC News 01 Jun 2009 ‘Pakistan an enormous risk to global stability: Kilcullen’,

(13) = NYT 28 Feb 2009 ‘Obama Expands Missile Strikes InsidePakistan’

(13a) = Guardian 06Nov 2009 ‘Major Nidal Malik Hasan: Soldiers' psychiatrist who heard frontline stories’,

(13b) = Guardian 06 Nov 2009 ‘Fort Hood army officer shouted 'Allahu Akbar' before shooting rampage’,

(14) = Arms Control Today April 2004‘Searching for the Truth About Iraq's WMD: An Interview with David Kay’,

(15) = Rashid , Ahmed (2001) TalibanTauris,London ,2001 pages 166, 179

(16) = Coll, Steve (2004) , 'Ghost Wars : The secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden' , Penguin , London, 2004, page 338-339

(17) = Rashid , Ahmed (2001) Taliban Tauris, London , 2001 Chapters 10 to 14 -and especially page 180 , 263 [note 23] - Rashid quotes a US official in Islamabad in 1998 as telling him that "the US acquiesced in supporting theTaliban because of our links to the Pakistan and Saudi governments who backedthem, but we no longer do so"

(18) = See ‘The Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline plans', and the sources listed for it

(19) = BBC News 15 Mar 2002 ‘Saudi police 'stopped' fire rescue’,

(20) = Guardian 14 Aug 2009 ‘Afghanistan passes 'barbaric' law diminishing women'srights’,

(21) = Independent 31 Jan2008 ‘Malalai Joya: My country is using Islamic law to erode the rights of women’,

(22) = Independent 21 Jul 2009 ‘Malalai Joya: The woman who will not be silenced’,

(23) = Independent 20 Aug 2009 ‘Malalai Joya: Don't be fooled by this democratic façade – the people are betrayed’,

(24) = New Internationalist magazine, January/February 2004 ‘Betrayal (women in Afghanistan)' by Mariam Rawi of RAWA,

(25) Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) ,‘Afghan Women under the tyranny of the fundamentalists’,

(26) = Democracy Now 14 May 2007 ‘Feminists Yanar Mohammed of Iraqand Dr. Sima Samar of Afghanistan on the Dire Situation for Women Under U.S.Occupation and Rising Fundamentalism’,

(27) = Independent 25 Jun 2002 ‘Afghanistan loses female minister in row over sharia law’,

(28) = Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Commissioners, Dr. SimaSamar,

(29) = Vancouver Sun 05 Feb 2008 ‘The price of 'peace' with theTaliban’,

(30) = Sunday Herald (Scotland) 23 Jan 2005 ‘Afghan women still in chains under Karzai’,

(31) = Oxfam 15 Oct 2009‘NGOs highlight priorities ahead for the next Afghan government’,

(32) = Independent 19 Oct2001 ‘Blair in row with aid group over claim that Taliban are looting food convoys’,

(33) = AP 26 Oct 2001 ‘U.S. Jets Hit Red Cross in Kabul’, and

(34) = Independent 27 Oct 2001 ‘Kabul Red Cross is bombed again byAmerican jets again’,

(35) = Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) 28 Jul 2004 ‘MSF PULLS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN : After 24 years of independent aid to the Afghan people, MSFwithdraws from Afghanistan following killing, threats and insecurity’,

(36) = BBC News 17 May 1999 ‘Nato pilot bombed refugees’,

(37) = Independent 14 May 1999 ‘Robinson criticises Nato'sbombing’,

(38) = Human Rights Watch Feb 2000 ‘CIVILIAN DEATHS IN THE NATO AIRCAMPAIGN’,

(39) = MSF International ActivityReport 2002 -2003 , pages 60 – 61, ‘Not so benign: When lofty political goals have bad humanitarian consequences’,

(40) = Center for Humanitarian Co-operation 31 May 2003 ‘The Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Afghanistan and its role in reconstruction’,

(41) = CARE International 13 Jan 2009 ‘Civil-military relations: NoRoom for Humanitarianism in comprehensive approaches’, and

(42) = MSF International Activity Report 2002 -2003 , pages 60 – 61,‘Not so benign: When lofty political goals have bad humanitarian consequences’,

(43) = NYT 01 Apr 2003 ‘A Tugof War Over Aid Disbursal’., (cited in CHC article below)

(44) = MSF 28 July 2004‘MSF PULLS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN : After 24 years of independent aid to theAfghan people, MSF withdraws from Afghanistan following killing, threats and insecurity',

(44a) = Der Spiegel 12Oct 2009 ‘Five Years After Slayings Doctors Without Borders Returns toAfghanistan’,,1518,654702,00.html

(44b) = UN News Service 17 Feb 2009 ‘Number of Afghan civilian deaths in 2008 highest since Taliban ouster, says UN’,


(44d) = United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, Human Rights Unit‘ Afghanistan : Mid Year Bulletin on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, 2009’,

(45) = Gordon Smith and others, 'Canada in Afghanistan: Is it Working?', Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute, (2007) (accessed Aug 2007), page 14,, (cited by CARE International Report below)

(46) = A briefing paper by eleven NGOs operating in Afghanistan for the NATOHeads of State and Government Summit, 3-4 April 2009 (Action Aid, Afghan Aid,CARE, Christian Aid, Cordaid, DACAAR, ICCO, International Rescue Committee, Marie Stopes International, Save the Children), ‘Caught in the Conflict: Civilians and the international security strategy in Afghanistan’,

(47) = UNHCO IRIN News 03 Apr 2009 ‘AFGHANISTAN: Military’s influence on aid too great –NGOs’,

(48) = Oxfam 03 Apr 2009 ‘Troop surge in Afghanistan must not endanger civilians, warn aid agencies’,

(49) = PA 05 Nov 2009 ‘600 UN staff relocated after attack’,

(50) = Guardian 24 Oct 2001,‘Route to riches’,,1361,579401,00.html (Afghanistan has huge strategic importance for the west as a corridor to the untapped fuel reserves in central Asia, reports Andy Rowell)


(52) = For more see ‘The Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistanpipeline plans’, and the sources for it at the bottom of the page

(53) = CNN 31 Jan 2005‘Audit: U.S. lost track of $9 billion in Iraq funds’,

(54) = ABC News 06 Feb 2007‘Waste in War: Where Did All the Iraq Reconstruction Money Go? : Congressional inquiry probes former Bush official's handling of billions ofdollars,

(55) = UNOCHA IRIN news‘AFGHANISTAN: Oxfam calls for aid to be more effective, transparent’,

(56) = See (55) above

(57) = ACBAR (Agencies Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief) Mar 2008,‘Falling short : Aid effectiveness in Afghanistan’,

(58) = Oxfam 20 Mar 2008 ‘Major donors failing Afghanistan due to $10bn aid shortfall’,

(59) = Independent 04 Nov2009 ‘Slaughter raises Afghan fears of the enemy within’,

(60) = Channel 4 News (UK) 4th November 2009 ‘Troop deaths a blow to Afghan exit strategy’,<lt/a>(watch video at 2 minutes 10 seconds to see Taliban tell reporters thatAfghan government only pays soldiers 5000 Afghanis a month, while Taliban paythem 15000 a month)

(61) = Washington Post 14Apr 2003 ‘U.S. Role Shifts as Afghanistan Founders’,, (8th paragraph reads ‘For instance, while spending millions to help train a new Afghan national army that will become the muscle for the central government, the United States is still funding local militias and warlords that it's military believes it needs in the war against Muslim extremists. Those provincial leaders are often at odds with the central government and sometimes defy its orders.)

(62) = Ahmed Rashid (2008) ‘Descent into Chaos : How the war againstIslamic extremism is being lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan and CentralAsia’, Allen Lane (Penguin books), London, 2008, Chapter 8, pages125-144 of hardback edition and chapter 4 (page 76 of hardback edition)

(63) = CBS News 31 Aug 2008‘Bombing Afghanistan - Afghan President Tells 60 Minutes That Too Many Civilians Are Being Killed’,

(64) = Washington Post 06 Nov 2008 ‘End Civilian Deaths, Karzai Tells Obama - Afghan Says Airstrike Killed Dozens’,

(65) = AFP 8 May 2009 ‘Afghan leader demands air strikes end’,

(66) = AFP 9 May 2009 ‘Air strike end would harm Afghan troops: US official’,

(67) = Boston Globe 09 Oct 2009 ‘Taliban not main Afghan enemy : Few militants driven by religion, reports say’/ ‘Most insurgents in Afghanistan not religiously motivated, military reports say’,

(68) = BBC News 25 Jul 2009 ‘WWI veteran Patch dies aged 111’,

(69) = Independent On Sunday 14 Jun 2009 ‘Happy birthday, Harry Patch: Last veteran of the trenches turns111’,

copyright©Duncan McFarlane2009

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