Tag Archives: US-NATO war in Afghanistan

Pakistani bombing near Afghan-Pakistan border causes massive flight

Afghan girl refugee July 6 2014

Starting with the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, millions of Afghans fled for sanctuary to the border region in Pakistan. The Afghan-Pakistan border, devised in the 19th century by British colonialists, continues to be contentious because it divides Pashtuns of the same cultural, religious, & historic heritage. But now, the Pakistan military, bankrolled & probably functioning as a proxy to the US Pentagon, is bombing the smithereens out of Pakistan’s North Waziristan region along the same border. So tens of thousands of Pashtun residents–both Pakistanis & Afghan refugees–are fleeing, including back across the border to Afghanistan. The barbarisms of the US-NATO war & of Pakistan’s involvement are highlighted in all their treacheries by this frantic diaspora.

As of November 2012, the US Pentagon stopped reporting on drone strikes in Afghanistan so there is no data on how many strikes there have been or how many civilians have been killed–all by US & UK aircraft. We do know that in the three-year period from 2009 to 2012, there were 1,273 drone strikes launched in Afghanistan. That is three times more drone strikes in Afghanistan than the CIA admits to carrying out in Pakistan over the past ten years.

According to a recent UN report, after the Pentagon clammed up on drone data, civilian drone deaths in Afghanistan tripled in 2013 & drones are not the only bombing aircraft used. The UN report identifies 19 separate incidents in which civilians were killed by drones & raised the possibility of negligence. How about raising the possibility of war crimes against the people of Afghanistan!?

This child is a Pashtun refugee from North Waziristan seeking asylum from the bombing by crossing the border into Khost, Afghanistan. The barbaric irony of all this takes ones breath away.

No US-NATO war in Afghanistan! No US war in Pakistan! No US war in Iraq!

(Photo by Bilal Sarwary)

Pakistani bombing in North Waziristan displaces millions of people

Pakistan June 18 2014

It’s not as if Pakistan didn’t have conflicts enough before the US-NATO war in Afghanistan. When the British Raj ended its colonial rule over the Indian subcontinent in 1947, it partitioned the region into India as a secular nation & Pakistan as an Islamic republic. At its outset, the partition plan displaced over 12 million people with a death rate estimated from several hundred thousand to a million. Since the partition, the two countries have been involved in four major wars & many border skirmishes, mainly over Kashmir, & in 1971 over the independence of Bangladesh.

Another conflict left from British colonialism is the one between Pakistan & Afghanistan over their shared border which was engineered by the British in 1893, dividing & separating Pashtun tribes from each other. In brief, it can be said that British colonialism left a monstrous heritage of conflict in South Asia.

Many speak favorably of the Soviet Union’s nine year occupation of Afghanistan (from 1979), as if it was a salvation army liberating everything in its path. That would be like viewing the US as emancipating Vietnam. Among the worst legacies of that war is thousands of land mines which continue to kill & maim; millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, Iran, & elsewhere; & creating a political situation where thousands of US covert operatives poured into the region along the Afghan-Pakistan border to fund, train, & organize guerilla militias against the Soviet occupation.

In a labyrinth of intrique involving Saudi funding & regiments of imported fighters from Arab countries & Central Asia, Pakistani covert operatives founded Taliban militias (in 1994) based on Islamic fundamentalism. The Pakistani government has been behind them every inch of the way with funding, recruiting, training, planning & directing, providing facilities, supplying weaponry, & diplomatic cover. According to many sources, up to 100,000 Pakistani paramilitary & regular soldiers fought with the Taliban to overthrow the existing Afghan government & set up an Islamic republic compatible with the Pakistani regime (in 1996).

Since the early 1950s, Pakistan has received billions of dollars in US military aid. Over three decades of that time, Pakistan was under direct military rule. The only ebb in the flow was during the period when Pakistan was running the Taliban operation in Afghanistan. So Pakistan was really in no political position to take on a role in the US-NATO war to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan. But they have been a junior partner in the barbarism since the spigot of military aid was turned back on in 2002.

The Afghan-Pakistan border remains a volatile region for several reasons: Taliban militias continue to use it as a base where they are likely still supported by the Pakistani military. They can launch cross-border forays into Afghanistan & then retreat. And because Afghanistan is a land-locked country, NATO fuel & supply routes to Afghanistan travel overland from Karachi on the Arabian Sea.

This strategic location explains the US drone bombing campaigns throughout the entire region which have killed thousands of civilians & destroyed their homes & livestock. The CIA drone program, which escalated under the Obama regime, was so harshly criticized that it was pared back this year–though not entirely ended. Does that explain why the Pakistani military is now on a bombing rampage in the border area of North Waziristan? Ostensibly, according to the Pakistani regime, the bombing is to rout out the Taliban & other foreign militias once & for all. And of course the Pakistani military would know just where those militias are. But what instead is happening is that an estimated 300,000 civilians from the region are being bombed into a massive exodus–& the number is expected to climb.

Does it make any sense at all to rout what is expected to reach 400,000 people to take out several thousand Taliban? Or–to put it directly–are the Pentagon & Pakistani military blowing smoke up our rumps!?

It’s clear the Taliban is running roughshod & tyrannizing the residents of the border provinces in Pakistan; it’s indisputable they must be stopped. But the way to do that is not to bomb the entire region into smithereens. The way to do it is to mobilize public opposition to the US-NATO war, opposition to Pakistan’s central role in orchestrating it, & to the regime’s playing both sides of the fence at the expense of the people of Afghanistan & Pakistan.

This young girl from North Waziristan is among thousands of villagers fleeing Pakistani bombers pounding the region. Our solidarity is with them.

Stop the bombing in Pakistan! US-NATO out of Afghanistan & Pakistan! It’s time for the people of Pakistan to take that corrupt regime out & replace it with one they deserve. (And that goes as well for the US.)

(Photo by B.K. Bangash/AP)

US plans on sitting tight in Afghanistan for a long time: the plunder has only just begun

Afghan refugee in Pakistan May 27 2014

You heard the skepticism here when Obama threatened to pull all US-NATO troops out of Afghanistan if Karzai didn’t sign the bilaterial agreement with the US by the end of last year. Bilateral means affecting both sides but doesn’t indicate parity or clarify if the affects will be adverse or beneficial to both. The provisions the US demanded meant continuing US domination in Afghanistan & preempted Afghan national sovereignty. It’s not clear why Karzai, the protégé of US colonialism, showed resistance rather than his usual compliance but his objections to the proposed agreement were absolutely valid–including demanding Afghan jurisdiction over US soliders committing war crimes in Afghanistan. The US wanted to be able to spirit offenders out of the country & try them in US military courts where they could give them the punitive equivalent of the naughty finger.

December 2013 came & went & no threatened troop withdrawal materialized when Karzai wouldn’t comply. Now the US claims the Afghan presidential elections winding up June 14th promise to deliver a new president they can work with. That’s probably because they’ve larded all the candidates with bribery money or threats. They’re lauding these elections as the first time in Afghan history that there’s been a democratic transition of power. How the hell do you have a democratic transition of power with thousands of foreign marines occuping your country & US-NATO drones bombing everything in sight? And, it might be added, with the CIA & other nefarious forces trucking in millions of under the table bonuses?

Why does the US insist on this agreement when they flaunt every international law already on the books? Only to render some kind of legal framework, even a flimsy one, to their continued occupation of Afghanistan.The millions of Afghanis living in exile will have to wait a few more years since today Obama announced to no one’s surprise that US-NATO forces would be staying on until 2016 rather than leaving in December 2014 as previously promised. It’s become tiresome to hear people blaming Bush for all Obama’s war crimes. Obama’s been in office six years & at least six more wars & troop deployments. It’s time he was held fully accountable for his crimes against the people of Afghanistan.

US out of Afghanistan! US out of Iraq! We demand the immediate withdrawal of all US-NATO forces & materiel. Bring the troops home now!

(Photo of Afghan refugee in Pakistan by Muhammed Muheisen)