Tag Archives: Afghanistan

US Soldiers Charged With Murder In Afghanistan

The Stryker Brigade was deployed to Afghanistan last July and has been fighting in Kandahar province which contains large numbers of Taliban insurgents. During the past year thirty three men were killed in action and dozens of others physically wounded, but it is unclear how many suffered mental illnesses. Five soldiers serving with the Brigade have been charged with premeditated murder of Afghan civilians early this year. They shot three Afghan men and used hand grenades to kill the other two. One solider not only kicked his victim but spit in his face before the killing. One of the men in this group faces additional charges of tampering with evidence because he asked a fellow soldier to destroy a computer hard drive containing information about the incident.

We will not cite the names of these soldiers nor do we intend to defend or excuse their murder of innocent civilians. However, it is necessary to pose other questions as to what occurs in fighting in Afghanistan to the minds of normal Americans? How does fighting in a war in which leaders of Afghanistan are corrupt and have lost the confidence of their people impact the capacity of American and NATO forces to fulfill their mission? Any civilian they pass in the street could be a Taliban who simply switched uniforms. Does this excuse killing the innocent? Of course not. But, why aren’t we charging those in the American government who placed these men in harm’s way with crimes?

Time To End Mission In Afghanistan?

We soon will reach the ninth anniversary of the initial invasion of Afghanistan by American forces in the fall of 2001, and the war goes on and on. The original US forces were aided by Afghan warlords and they assumed once the Taliban were gone, it was time for them to play at the game of power and loot. Poland has 2,500 troops fighting in Afghanistan as part of NATO forces, but its prime minister is beginning to pose questions as to the duration of this seemingly endless fight. PM Donald Trusk told the nation, “Poland is not in a position to break NATO solidarity…. but we are sufficiently involved in ‘afghanistan to take advantage of the right to discuss ending the mission as soon as possible.” Seventeen Polish men have died in that Asian land, and he believes it is time to either know how and when to win or to as gracefully as possible, end the mission.

There came a moment when the American government and people in the seventies realized the Vietnam mission had to come to a conclusion and US troops had to return home. We left over 50,000 dead in Vietnam, and so far, 1,000 have died in Afghanistan. Since there is no end in sight, the time has come to declare victory for what we did and get the hell out of Afghanistan.

US Troops Go There, Taliban Come Here!

It is wonderful that President Obama has a deadline as to when US troops will be leaving Afghanistan, unfortunately, the Taliban has its own deadline and procedures of fighting. As American troops our into the province of Helmand, it appears Taliban forces are pouring into other provinces and allowing NATO and US troops to pretend they are winning. The governing council of once peaceful province of Nimroz in southwestern Afghanistan has fled the area due to threats by the Taliban they would be killed. A spokesperson for US Marines based in Nimroz insists they have the situation under control but for some reason local leaders are getting the heck out of the area in order to save their lives. Eight council members received death threats which were slipped under their doors and they may well believe discretion is the better part of valor and leave.

Council member Shren Azizi received a phone message which said: “your previous job as a school teacher was good for you. So go back to that if you want to stay alive. Think about your children.” Provincial Police Chief, General Pardeili insists things are under control although there might be areas in the province which his forces do not control. At present, council members are under guard in a government rooming house in Kabul.

I wonder what President Obama would do if he had to live in a government house in Denver, Colorado.

Long Haul Or Short Haul For NATO Forces In Afghan?

June has been a sad month for NATO and American forces in Afghanistan as the death total daily rises. A few days ago, ten NATO and American soldiers died as a result of insurgent fire, and yesterday, a helicopter was shot down with loss of four additional soldiers. This is the bloodiest month in the war against the Taliban, and it is only one week into June. General Petraeus is concerned that death of soldiers will impact the desire of NATO forces to remain, and he is particularly worried about the UK which currently has 10,000 men in the field. However, UK Defense Minister Liam Fox made clear the future of his nation’s commitment has yet to be decided. He noted, “a realistic assessment of how much can we reasonably afford given the threat the country faces” is an important consideration.”

This is also a question for the United States. Can it maintain over a hundred thousand soldiers in the field of battle while there are seventeen million unemployed in the United States and Congress is balking at spending money for a job creation program. Butter or Bullets is the question of the hour?

Doomsday Scenario Unfolding In Afghanistan?

During the first week in June, over twenty US and NATO soldiers have died in Afghanistan and the news is getting worse. President Karzai apparently is beginning to lose his marbles and there are signs he is an emotionally unstable man leading a government that is on the brink of collapse. In another of his impulsive actions, he fired the two most competent individuals in his Cabinet, Interior Minister Atmar and Intelligence director Amrullah Saleh who supposedly has created an effective intelligence gathering group which has assisted US forces in Afghanistan. According to Haron Meer, a political analyst, “this is the beginning of the unraveling of the Afghan government” as Karzai makes decisions which run counter to the needs of western armed forces fighting to protect his regime. Casualties are rising, there is growing distrust of the Afghan government on the part of its own people as well as most Western governments, and Karzai blows up and fires people who are doing the job while corrupt, inefficient friends are left alone to rob the people of Afghanistan. Shukna Barakzai, a member of parliament who supports the president, sadly noted, “we are going backward, not forwards.”

Reality is Karzai feels isolated from Western nations, he feels under siege in his own country, he doesn’t trust many people and he apparently has lost all connection with the desires of US and NATO military leaders. Frankly, this cannot continue, not with deaths rising on the battlefields. Most probably the only scenario that makes any sense is to reach out to warlords and let them take on the responsibility of saving their nation from the Taliban. Get the hell out while there is time to leave– with some dignity.

The leader of Afghanistan has lost his marbles. So, Barack, whose ass do you want now to kick over this problem?

Send In Afghan Warlords, Ask ClownsTo Depart

At some point in the history of the war in Afghanistan an American president will figure out the solution lies in going backwards, not forwards. Every effort attempting to create a viable government in the country by relying on chief of corruption, President Karzai has failed, so why not take another track and deal with corruption at the local level? Matiullah Khan, an illiterate local warlord, runs Oruzgan Province with his own army of 1,500 men and when a NATO convoy needs protection there is no need to subject its soldiers from the possibility of death, simply call in the local warlord. “Oruzgan used to be the worse place in Afghanistan, and now it is the safest. The officials are cowards and thieves” claims the man with the guns behind him. If a convoy needs to deliver supplies, simply give Matiullah $1,200 for each truck and he will deploy his army to make certain trucks arrive at their destination. Heck, the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior even pays for 600 of his troops.

So, President Obama, call in the warlords, divvy up Afghanistan among them, give them a few billion dollars as a subsidy, and get American and NATO troops out of the country. What is the worse case scenario– that Matiiullah charges the Taliban $1,200 for each of its trucks?

Jaw, Jaw, Say Afghan Leaders, Not War, War!

An Afghan peace conference which includes 1,500 representatives from all across the nation, has called on President Karzai to initiate peace discussions with the Taliban. They want any militant who agrees to participate in the peace process to have his name cleared as long as there is cutting of any ties with terrorist groups. The Taliban did not send any representatives to the loya jirga on grounds it was a ploy of the West to destroy those who fight for Afghan’s freedom. Speaker after speaker called for negotiating with militants and ending the current civil war. As one delegate put it, “we should begin negotiations with all opposition groups, without any conditions. There were many ideas raised at the meeting ranging from protecting the rights of women to blocking immoral TV programs. There were also rumblings from delegates that allowing President Karzai to make decisions about how to conduct the meeting rather than allowing delegates to decide who is the chairman.

A few delegates also suggested engaging Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia to assist in the process of peace talks, event to the extent of using their homelands as sites for discussions. Some delegates want NATO and the US to immediately cease use of drones and air attacks since it results in the deaths of innocent civilians. A few even went so far as to call for a cease of all US and NATO operations in order to allow peace negotiations.

These ideas from delegates make more sense than another “surge.”

UK Military Tired Of Afghan Corruption

British commanders returning from Helmand Province which is a major scene for the famous, “surge,” report reality paints a sad and devastating picture of corruption run rampant and all the surges in the world will not win over the average Afghan until they believe a non-Taliban nation will achieve their goals. According to General James Cowan, the Afghan police are “most often cited as why there is a problem and why people joined the Taliban. So often, captured Taliban mention the police as the reason for joining the Taliban in the first place.” There are also many incidents in which the Taliban dresses in police uniforms and then steal and abuse citizens. To those who argue there is need for more police on the ground, UK military leaders believe more of the same type of police as exist now is a road map to disaster and loss of the country to the Taliban. The current process of hiring and training Afghan police has failed to create a new security force that has a reputation for fairness and seeks to protect the people rather than steal from them.

A dozen reports say the same thing about Afghan police, a thousand daily incidents in which police abuse those they ostensibly are protecting only further mistrust and turning to other sources for security–even the Taliban. We do not need a surge of American or British soldiers, we need a surge of securing honest and dedicated young Afghans who are ready to become a security force that is welcomed into villages of their nation.

Musical Chairs In Afghanistan

American helicopters flew a crack unit of the Afghan army into a remote district which had been overrun by Taliban forces and Afghan troops readily took control of the town and area. This successful exploit of Afghan troops against the Taliban undoubtedly will be cited as yet another example of the success of our “surge” which is designed to crush the enemy in Afghanistan. An Afghan unit of 200 elite soldiers took control of a town in the Barg -e- Matail district without firing a shot. It appears Taliban forces had retreated to the outskirts where they await in the hills for another opportunity to regain the town. Actually, the town the area had been secured by an American unit months ago, but they were withdrawn after several were killed in Taliban attacks. The Afghan army then took over the town until they were forced out by the Taliban and now the Taliban have –voluntarily left. Afghanistan’s government hailed the “successful operation” and promised villagers they now are safe.

Who is kidding whom? Villagers are safe until the Taliban decides to once again take over the town, which, of course, will result in Afghan troops leaving the town, only to be flown back by American helicopters, and, ………

Perhaps, we could use some music to go along with this dance of musical chairs.

CivCas By Any Name Spells–Disaster!

The United States military refers to the killing of innocent civilians in Afghans by the term, “CivCas.”Civilian casualties is exactly what this term means, but, in actuality it means something more deadly. It signifies an inability of American and NATO forces to carry out their mission of establishing peace and a stable government in Afghanistan. General Stanley McChyrstal made clear an increasing number of civilians who were killed during the past few months creates a dangerous situation. “Because of CivCas, I think we have just about eroded our credibility here in Afghanistan. The constant repeat of CivCas is now so dangerous as to threaten the mission.” It is estimated that in 2005, there were about 2,000 militants in Afghanistan, but that figure has now risen to about 30,000. These figures indicate the more troops sent to Afghanistan the more insurgents emerge in Afghanistan. At this rate, if we send in 500,000 there will be a million insurgents.

The bottom line is no war can be “won” in Afghanistan without the emergence of a strong popular Afghan government. We can send 30,000 more troops or 50,000 more troops, but they will encounter the same problem that Afghans do not respect or trust their government. President Obama, for all his learning, still has not grasped that basic fact.