President Karzai is demanding an end to the bombing if his nation’s population by US and coalition forces in an effort to restore confidence in his government. He told the people of Afghanistan he had sent request to his allies regarding troop behavior in his nation. “Part of that list was they they shouldn’t on their own, enter the houses of our people and bombard our villages and detain our people.” The president has repeatedly urged his allies to avoid actions which backfire by persuading ordinary citizens to look more favorably on Taliban forces. His comments came on the same day, UN chief in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, called for Coalition forces to rethink their strategy of entering homes and bombing.
The behavior of Coalition and US forces in Afghanistan simply reflects an inability to learn from mistakes in Vietnam and Iraq the importance of winning over ordinary civilians if an insurgency is to be defeated. The use of military force in itself will not end the Taliban.
Violence in Afghanistan is reaching levels not seen in years as the situation continues to deteriorate amidst growing chaos. In a damning indictment of the international effort in Afghanistan, more than 100 aid agencies said security makes it difficult for them to do their job of assisting the people of the war torn nation. The umbrella organization noted: “There has been a surge in the number of civilian casualties caused by all sides, a spread of insecurity to previously stable areas, and increasing attacks on aid agencies and their staff.” Despite claims by some US agencies to the contrary, the aid groups emphasize, “So far this year, the number of insurgent attacks, bombings and other violent incidents is up by approximately 50 percent on the same period last year.”
In the province of Helmand where most British forces are concentrated, the UK lost 13 soldiers in June, more than three times the dealt rate in the same period last year. The report blames the Taliban for causing two-thirds of civilian deaths, but also points out increased use of air strikes is a major factor in rising civilian deaths.
The emphasis on military action is definitely a necessity, but failure to focus on developing the economy and dealing with the issue of drug farmers does not add to stability. Coalition forces have also failed to bring into the mix neighboring nations such as Iran which have intense dislike of the Talbian.
The good news is deaths are declining in Iraq, the bad news is just as those go down, the number of international troops killed in Afghanistan has risen. In fact, June marked the second straight month in which deaths of coalition and US forces exceeded those fighting in Iraq. Defense Secretary Robert Gates blames the death rise in Afghanistan on the Iraq situation, but most experts believe we are witnessing a stronger and more well organized militancy in Afghanistan that is able to gain power due to the ineffectual government of President Karzai. There were 45 deaths of coalition troops in June including 27 Americans and 12 British soldiers. For example, in Ghazni province, a Taliban rocket attack destroyed a Humvee with the loss of three American soldiers.
Mustafa Alani, of the Gulf Research Center, says, “I think possible we’ve reached a new turning point. Insurgents are now more active, more organized and the political environment whether in Pakistan or Afghanistan favors insurgent activities. The bottom line is the lack of a short or long term plan of action on dealing with insurgency in Afghanistan. Is anyone in charge is the terrifying question to pose.
Posted in Asia, Human Rights, Iraq War, Islam, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Afghanistan, Coalition forces, Iraq, militants
It is seven years since the United States armed forces drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and the Bush administration assured the world a new democratic society would be created in that country. In the past few days, battles raged in southern Afghanistan as coalition forces and the Taliban battled one another. US troops called in air strikes but still had to fight against Talban forces which were ready with weapons and rockets even after planes left the scene. The US claimed 36 militants were killed, but as the Army Times notes: “It is not possible to verify the military account of the fighting” and casualties due to the remote nature of the battle.
In a report issued by the Defense Department, it was emphasized, “the struggle between security forces and Islamic militants is intensifying across the southern half of Afghanistan, illustrating the limited success of the nearly seven year effort to stabilize the country.” The Pentagon went on to note, the Taliban “will maintain and even increase their scope and pace of its terrorist attacks and bombing in 2008.”
Seven years is a considerable time to be fighting a war and one must raise questions as to the planning and goals of such an objective whose results are getting worse rather than better. Will Afghanistan witness a “surge” of troops?
Posted in Asia, George Bush, Human Rights, Islam, Military, Multicultural, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Afghanistan, Coalition forces, Taliban
Hundreds of Afghan protestors marched through the streets of Khandar shouting ‘Death to Canada” and “Death to Foreigners” after a series of Coalition raids led to the death of an important religious leader and his brother. Their bodies still lay in the open as demonstrators proclaimed their anger at what they believed to be a botched raid that was probably the result of incorrect information provided by an informer. A Canadian reporter was told, The day is not far off when these innocent civilians will stand against NATO and other foreign troops.”
During the past several months hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians have either been killed by the Taliban or by coalition forces. The use of bombing raids invariably results in killing innocent bystanders since Taliban forces hide among villagers. We are living in the aftermath of America’s failure to follow through on its successful invasion of Afghanistan by using a large army to decisively defeat the Taliban. Instead, we got diverted to Iraq.