Tag Archives: Afghaistan

Another Day In Afghanistan, Another Civilian Death

Almost seven years have passed since American and local Afghan forces swept the country clean of its Taliban leaders. The vast majority of people welcomed a respite from the onerous and medieval thinking Taliban leadership which endeavored to control all aspects of daily life. Yesterday, as NATO forces battled miliants, British soldiers called in an air strike against the enemy’s position. As all too often, in such cases of air attacks, the insurgents got away but two women and two children lay dead from bombs of their liberators. The British Military of Defense said their troops called for air strikes when they were ambushed. Of course, regrets were expressed, perhaps some money will be paid out, and four more dead Afghan civilians are added to the total of those who have died.

The initial Bush failure to wipe out the Taliban because of his desire to invade Iraq continues to haunt those now fighting in Afghanistan. There simply are not enough troops to conduct a proper military operation and thus the extensive resort to bombing. Seven years far surpasses the time necessary to win WWII or WWI. Perhaps, it is time to exploe alternative political strategies for bringing peace to the people of Afghanistan.

US And NATO Allies Clash In Afghanistan

During the past month, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been arguing with NATO allies over the issue of the number of soldiers being sent to Afghanistan. The Amercan commander of forces in Afghanistan, General McNeill openly clashed with his allies not only over ther failure to send sufficient troops, but on the short term stay of those personnel. He complained about “minimalist forces” who are too few in number, and, for the most part only remain for a six month tour of duty. He compared the NATO effort to that of Americans who have at least a 15 month tour of duty. This allows, according to General McNeill, an opportunity to develop “relationships with the terrain, with the indigenous pepple and their leadership, and with the enemy.” The Americ an general was critical over the lack of training being given NATO forces for operations in Afghanistan.

It is now almost seven years since the Taliban was defeated and supposedly driven from Afghanistan. One would assume that over a seven year period the United States and its NATO allies would have been able to train an Afghan fighting force that could handle any insurgency. The goal should not be for American or NATO forces to learn about the terrain or form relationships with the local population, but this should be the task of Afghan soldiers. General McNeill complains over Canadian soldiers spending time in training activities rather than fighting. Perhaps, if more time was spent in training an Afghan army there would not be need for American and NATO forces in the country.

Admiral Mullen is now calling for reducing deployment time from 15 months to 12.

Asking Questions In Afghanistan Results In Death!

Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh, age 23, was sentenced to death on Tuesday by a three-judge panel in the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar i-Sharif for distributing a report he downloaded from the Internet that came from journalism students at Baikh University. The article said men and women should be equal under Islam and asked why men can have four wives but women can’t have multiple husbands. The judges claimed the article insulted the Muslim religion. Of course, for many non-Muslims, it is a question in our minds. Why only one sex with this opportunity?

Jean MacKenzie, country director for the Institute for war and Peace Reporting, which trains Afghan journalists, insists the decision has nothing to do with the article, but is designed to exert pressure on Parwez’s rother Yaquib, who has done hard-hitting reporting on abuses by powerful commanders in Baikh and other northern provinces. Muslim clerics are supporting the decision which apparently is their effort to remain in the good graces of local warlords and petty tyrants.

American reporting concerning Afghanistan most often deals with the Taliban or insurgents and rarely focuses on the failure of Western efforts to create conditions of freedom in the nation. The smoke screen of punishing a person who poses questions raises questions about how clerics confront their own religion. Are they interested only in answers rather than questions? Isn’t the purpose of religion to get one questioning the meaning of human existence?