Thursday, January 7, 2010

Question Headlines with Afghanistan Datelines

KABUL, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of people including students Thursday came to street in Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province in east Afghanistan, protesting against the killing of civilians by international troops.
The first question I ask myself is when is the last time I read a story when there was a protest against the Taliban for killing civilians? I don't think I recall a story like that. Not recently in our eight-year occupation, anyways. Further questions abound. Do Afghans only protest against NATO/USA forces because they fear the Taliban more?

According to the story I am reading, Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirms 10 people, including eight children, were killed by US led forces in Kunar province at the weekend. The US military and NATO have not confirmed whether the incident took place. Hundreds of people, including university students, blocked the main roads in Jalalabad, shouting "death to Obama" and calling for an investigation into the deaths.

Safiullah Aminzai, a student organiser from the University of Nangahar, stated,

The government must prevent such unilateral operations otherwise we will take guns instead of pens and fight against them [foreign forces].

Our demonstration is against those foreigners who have come to our country. They have not brought democracy to Afghanistan but they are killing our religious scholars and children.

Why these protests? General Stanley McChrystal, a smart and honest soldier, knows the answer. He supplied it in the middle of a Q&A at his October address at the London-based think tank, International Institute of Strategic Studies:

Let me describe it: a few days ago, just before we left to travel here, a bus south of Kandahar struck an improvised explosive device (IED) killing 30 Afghan civilians. That is tragic.

On the one hand, you might say that the Afghan people would recoil against the Taliban who left that IED. To a degree, they do, but we must also understand that they recoil against us because they might think that, if we were not there, neither would be the IED. Therefore, we indirectly caused the IED to be there. Second, we said that we would protect them, but we did not. Sometimes, then, the most horrific events caused by the insurgents continue to reinforce in the minds of the Afghan people a mindset that coalition forces are either ineffective, or at least that their presence in Afghanistan is not in their interest….
The General's answer begs additional questions.


  1. RE "General Stanley McChrystal, a smart and honest soldier, knows the answer."
    I think the Pat Tillman family still has some questions that they would like to have answered by this man that know the answers.
    I doubt they think he is all that honest, and honorable.

  2. The four-star general who was the final judge of the Tillman case ordered punitive action against seven officers, including four generals. General McChrystal was among the three cleared of wrongdoing. He is a "smart and honest soldier" with a long and distinguished career.

    Secondly, the Afghans were killed by the Taliban, not by Allied forces. It is also important to remember that we are not there as much for the Afghans as we are to find and destroy al Qaeda, the most important consideration of all. There is always collateral damage in war. War is hell, but shit happens. You make a good point when you ask if the indigent population is more eager to protest international troops than they are the Taliban because of fear. You would be correct in that assertion. The Taliban is mostly composed of thugs, religious fanatics, and drug dealers all fighting for their own piece of the pie. If killing civilians in order to encourage revolt against the allied forces works to accomplish that mission then they are happy, and they will do it again, and again.

  3. If we had put our resourses into building infrastructure and protecting the population when we first arrived in country, the Afghan people would probably have a different attitude toward us now. Instead Bush and the GOP installed a corrupt puppet. The opportunity has now passed.

  4. Agreed TC! One day history will judge Bush and his gang of reprobates. I suspect it will be less than kind, as it should be.

  5. The Taliban were a creation of the Pakistani ISI, who began to fund followers of Mullah Omar who fought the excesses of the Northern Alliance and people like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar whose biggest supporter was the CIA..

    They have nothing to do with terrorism.In many ways they no longer have anything to do with the original group loosely led by Mullah Omar, Taliban is now a catchall phrase for any Pashto insurgent.

    Al Qaeda are a gift from the CIA and Saudi intelligence to bleed the Soviet Union at the expense of the Afghani people.

    Once the Najibullah regime collapsed and Kabul descended into chaos our response was " It's been real, let's do lunch sometime, call me".

    What we think of as AQ has moved on to greener pastures and won't be back. The Afghans know AQ was the cause of the US invasion and will never allow them to gain a foothold in their country again.

    Of course they blame us when the Taliban kill civilians. If children in the ghetto are killed by crossfire between two black street gangs it's far less emotionally incendiary than said hypothetical children being lynched by passing Klan members.

    If we stayed the hell out there'd be no AQ, no Taliban, no Northern Alliance.

    We need to get out out. Now.

  6. OSO; That about sums it up. It is what it is.
    A great book on some of this is Ghost Wars by Steven Coll

  7. Even setting aside civilians dead due to Taliban, Evan Kohlmann, private sector International Terrorism Consultant on Rachel Maddow's show, tonight stressed a fact that Westerners are totally oblivious of: the civilians which al Qaeda is busiest killing now are Muslims. Totally neglected in Western media and totally neglected by the U.S. State Department. Like all homicidal maniacs, their enemies are expanding; everyone is becoming arrayed the so-called "base". Kohlmann also stressed that terrorists are not recruited by al Qaeda's 'central command'; they are recruited by American foreign policy.

  8. Al Qaeda were the excuse for the US and UK to insist this war should happen in Afghanistan. Both countries know full well that Al Qaeda are exceptionally mobile and will just move on to other areas/countries.

    We went there, not for reasons of 'terrorism' (such an easy word to use isn't it) but for purely political gain. We have no right to be there, the Afghanis should be sorting out their country themselves.

    Why aren't there more protests about civilian deaths? I had this same conversation yesterday with one of my readers Vigil. She seemed to think I ignored civilians and spent all my time supporting UK troops. In fact she was right.

    The way I see it though is there are plenty Afghanis in UK who can peacefully protest about the number of civilian casualties - if they can find the figures. It's impossible to find any accurate numbers because the Afghani government is such a shambles.

    My aim is to report British casualties because I fervently believe our military should not be involved in this war.

    The latest in the British press this morning says it all.

    Troops 'built a park for women'. From my information it's used by men. The Afghani culture suppresses women and no number of 'womens parks' are going to change that culture.

    Bring the troops home.