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Afghanistan

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Exploding shells twinkle over a hilltop in northern Afghanistan as opposition soldiers try to show that one day they will have the strength to overthrow the Taliban in Kabul. A line of soldiers advances on the enemy's position and flushes out a single prisoner. It was a perfectly efficient operation as a training exercise by... Read More
The Waiting Is the Hardest Part
in the Panjshir Valley The Independent Soldiers of the Afghan opposition will launch ground attacks on the Taliban only when the US begins military action in Afghanistan, a senior general of the Northern Alliance has said. General Feisal Ahmed Hazimi, a veteran commander who claims to lead 10,000 troops, said: "If the Americans attack then... Read More
Deep inside Afghan territory, the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance is secretly building an airbase at breakneck speed, which the US-led coalition will then use to funnel massive amounts of military supplies to the one force that is already taking the war to Osama bin Laden's protectors. The new airfield is expected to transform the military balance... Read More
From a hilltop 40 miles north of Kabul, across a clear night sky illuminated by a half a silver moon, I saw flashes on the skyline last night as the Allied air strikes began. Under a canopy of stars, plumes of fire were visible across the flat, heavily populated Shomali plain, which leads to the... Read More
It is a strange battlefield. The front line cuts across the green Shomali plain, one of the most fertile parts of Afghanistan, its fields fed by the rivers flowing out of the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains. Here, amid the close-packed mud-brick villages, home to 800,000 people, the Taliban and the opposition Northern Alliance... Read More
The son of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the Taliban, has been killed by an American air strike. An Afghan doctor said yesterday that he had struggled in vain to save the life of the boy, aged 10, after the child was injured during the first night of strikes on the southern city of... Read More
Fighting raged around Mazar-i-Sharif when the Afghan opposition advanced on the strategic northern city for the first time, aided by American bombers pounding Taliban frontline positions. If the city falls, then the Taliban position to the north of the country, where they have never been popular, might begin to unravel. In the past two days,... Read More
In the fall of 1939, during the early weeks of what in England was called "the phony war" (the Germans called it sitzkrieg — "the sitting-down war"), there was an illuminating exchange in the House of Commons. Some Members of Parliament were putting pressure on Sir Kingsley Wood, the head of the Air Ministry, to... Read More
Inside Afghanistan
in Faizabad The Independent We had just driven through the village of Jorm, a huddle of mud-brick houses surrounded by trees in an upland valley in northern Afghanistan, when we saw about fifty people running towards us in a sort of bewildered panic. As they grew closer we saw that two of them were carrying... Read More
Discovering The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
I've been reading about the War on Terrorism. It's so I'll understand what's going on. It isn't working. In the Washington Times, November first:On page one I see that the military and the intelligence services of Pakistan, which is our steadfast ally, just like England, are giving military supplies to the Taliban. Versatility is no... Read More
Tribal Council:
The Independent in Mohammed Agha, Afghanistan In a field in an arid valley south of Kabul a hundred local leaders, all powerful in their own districts, assembled yesterday to debate the future of their province at the same time as Afghan politicians were meeting in Germany to try to create a stable government for their... Read More
The Killer Instinct In Today's Air Force
I discover, through a story by Rowan Scarborough in the Washington Times,* that military catastrophe has overtaken the US Air Force in Afghanistan, and is being concealed from the American public. Complaints of inhuman conditions from troops at the air base at Bagram are frightening. Insiders at the Pentagon speak quietly of imminent withdrawal, perhaps... Read More
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Far from being a model for a “liberated” Iraq, Afghanistan shows how the U.S. can get bogged down Soviet-style.
For those worried that an American-occupied Iraq might become a quagmire, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld offered reassuring words on Valentine’s Day. The success story of U.S.-administered Afghanistan, he announced, will serve as a model for the new, “liberated” Iraq. Operation Enduring Freedom—the rapid conquest of Afghanistan in October 2001—indeed showed that small numbers of... Read More
Jacob ben Levi made the front page of the New York Times twice, not bad for a lazy son of a long and distinguished family of rug-merchants who upheld their religious practices since time immemorial. The first mention followed the US invasion of Afghanistan, when a Times reporter, embedded with the Special Forces, was told... Read More
Bush's Road Rules Afghanistan's Highway to Nowhere
Every major newspaper in the country reported this week in glowing terms on the completion of the road between Kabul to Kandahar. It is being lauded by the media as Afghanistan's "Highway to the Future". It should be called the Highway to Re-election, since that is Mr. Bush's solitary purpose in pursuing the project. It... Read More
Operation Enduring Misery
If we want to understand the Bush Foreign policy in Iraq, we only have to look at Afghanistan. The basic principles are identical. There are approximately 11,000 American servicemen currently in Afghanistan, most of whom are stationed at military facilities, and most of whom contribute nothing to the overall stability or reconstruction of the country.... Read More
The Bush administration is now "suggesting" that the elections scheduled for June in Afghanistan - for which the administration itself pushed - may have to be postponed because of "security problems". There's much more to this than a huge understatement. Not only a third of the country - as Washington says - is unstable, but... Read More
Asia Times Online has learned from tribal-connected sources in Peshawar in Pakistan that Osama bin Laden is believed to have left southeastern Afghanistan late last week for South Waziristan in Pakistan. According to the sources, and as has been reported in sections of the Pakistani Urdu Press, bin Laden is said to be under the... Read More
It featured all the trappings of a glorified video game. Thousands of Pakistani army and paramilitary troops played the hammer. Hundreds of US troops and Special Forces, plus the elite commando 121, were ready to play the anvil across the border in Afghanistan. What was supposed to be smashed in between was "high-value target" Ayman... Read More
Bush's Warlord, Misogynistic Patriots
Bush can take the podium in front of a national audience and claim success in Afghanistan without a whimper of dissent from the media. The American press has decided that any adventure pursued under the banner of "the war on terror" is just dandy with them as long as American lives are not at stake.... Read More
American Negligence The Unraveling of Afghanistan
Donald Rumsfeld's trip to Afghanistan barely produced a yawn from a disinterested American media. America's front pages are too busy sorting through every excruciating detail of John Kerry's charge up the Mekong Delta some 30 years ago. (Did you know that John Kerry served in Viet Nam?) Rumsfeld's visit was buried on page 14A next... Read More
War, the CIA and Narco-Trafficking Afghanistan, American Drug Colony
The US doesn't control a scrap of ground in Afghanistan outside the capital. Now, with the up tick in violence and bombings in Kabul, even that is in doubt. Despite President Bush's delusional palavering at the Republican Convention, the US has no reasonable expectation of succeeding in Afghanistan. The countryside is dominated by warlords, the... Read More
In May 2003, Taliban guerrillas were ripping in south and southeast Afghanistan, al-Qaeda was alive and kicking along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and President Hamid Karzai could barely enforce his writ outside of Kabul. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld flew to Kabul and declared "victory". It was a bluff. Just like it was in Iraq.... Read More
Ballot of the Disappearing Ink
The Afghanistan election quickly deteriorated into an artless display of voter fraud. It was probably the finest example of imperial hubris to date. No serious critic of the process should be the least bit surprised. It was clear from the very onset that Bush and co. would rig the elections to reappoint Afghanistan's "caped crusader"... Read More
The script was Brussels does Baghdad this Wednesday at an international conference of foreign ministers - co-sponsored by the US and the European Union - high on rhetoric and low on practical decisions, designed to support nation (re)building in Iraq as a "pluralist democracy". UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Iraqis should "take heart from... Read More
Buildings Down, Heroin Up
Five years after toppling the fanatical Taliban, Hamid Karzai is expected to sign an agreement for economic assistance from more than 60 donor countries. The Afghanistan Compact is just the latest of many plans to restore security to the war-torn nation and revive the fragile economy. It is a poignant reminder that the Bush administration's... Read More
Saddam Hussein shouts "Down with Bush" in the heart of the Green Zone, British soldiers beat up barefoot Iraqi teenagers and US Vice President Dick Cheney is out shooting people (not Iraqis; a fellow American, and a campaign contributor to boot). Cutting right across this theater of the absurd, Iraqi politicians have manufactured their own,... Read More
PARIS — Scattered across South Africa's windswept veldt are the forgotten graves of 266 Canadian soldiers killed from 1899—1902 fighting to impose British Imperial rule on fiercely resisting Boer farmers. A century later, Canadian troops have again been sent to fight as auxiliaries in another remote war — this time Afghanistan. Since time immemorial, when... Read More
As Canadian casualties mount in Afghanistan, it's important to correct three major falsehoods being promoted by the ill-informed, flag-waving media. 1. “Taliban are terrorists.” In 1989, at the end of Soviet occupation, Afghanistan fell into anarchy, civil war, and crime. Rape was endemic. A village prayer leader, Mullah Omar, armed a group of religious students... Read More
Something has gone terribly wrong in Afghanistan. The heaviest fighting there since the 2001 U.S. invasion has recently erupted. Many Americans, who were then assured by neocons and their media trumpets that their nation had triumphantly won the war in Afghanistan and crushed the Taliban, are dismayed and bewildered. In 2001, unable to withstand high-tech... Read More
Do not believe what OUR media and politicians are telling us about Afghanistan. Nearly all the information we get about the five-year-old war in Afghanistan comes from US and NATO public relations officers or "embedded" journalists who merely parrot military handouts. Ask yourself, when did you last read a report from a journalist covering Taliban... Read More
Men do fight and die for fair women: Sir Lancelot over Queen Guinevere, Tristan over Isolde came to grief but satisfied their passion. Others died in the attempt, they were sung about or bewailed. But a guy who dies for pussy he is not going to get anyway - deserves derision. Heinrich Heine, that ironic... Read More
“A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money,” famously quipped US Senator Everett Dirksen back in the 1960's. The US government has just estimated that President George Bush's occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and his so-called war on terror, will cost at least $690 billion by the end of next... Read More
The death last Sunday of six Canadian soldiers in southern Afghanistan reminds us of Santayana's famous maxim that those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it. The soldiers were killed near Maiwand, a name meaning nothing to most westerners. But there, on 27 July, 1880, during the bloody Second Afghan War, the... Read More
I recently read about a condition psychiatrists call "jamais vu." That's where one sees something very familiar, but the brain cannot identify it. It's the opposite of "déjà vu." Both the White House and US military seemed gripped by "jamais vu." Many of the same political and military mistakes the United States made in the... Read More
"And among the most important items contained in [President George W] Bush's speeches since the events of the 11th [September 11, 2001] is that the Americans have no option but to continue the war. This tone is in fact an echoing of the words of neo-conservatives like [Vice President Dick] Cheney, [former defense secretary Donald]... Read More
Faraway Wars Without End
Six years after a war was launched to overthrow the Taliban, British solders are still being killed in bloody skirmishing in a conflict in which no final victory is possible. Tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by the US, Britain and allies, an operation codenamed Enduring Freedom. But six years on,... Read More
It looks like the American strategy of crushing the Taleban militants in a lumbering pincer movement between NATO troops, airpower, and special ops in Afghanistan to the west and the Pakistani army to the east may have an unexpected, unmanageable, and catastrophic side effect—expansion of the conflict into Pakistan’s urban heartland. And perhaps the only... Read More
An angry and clearly frustrated US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates accused some European nations of not being prepared to "fight and die" in Afghanistan in the battle against Taliban. His latest outburst follows an intemperate critique last month in which the US defense secretary asserted that British, Canadian and Dutch forces fighting in southern... Read More
The Real Cost of Losing Afghanistan Swan Song for NATO
It was supposed to be "the good war"; a war against terror; a war of liberation. It was intended to fix the eyes of the world on America's state of the art weaponry, its crack troops and its overwhelming firepower. It was supposed to demonstrate -- once and for all -- that the world's only... Read More
In the “interesting developments” file, NATO forces from Afghanistan operating inside Pakistan killed thirteen members of the Pakistan Frontier Corps, including a major, and wounded about a dozen more. The fatalities were not the result of a stray mortar round or a Hellfire missile fired more on the basis of hope rather than solid intelligence.... Read More
The killing of 11 Pakistani soldiers by US air strikes last week showed that the American-led war in Afghanistan is relentlessly spreading into Pakistan, one of America's oldest, most faithful allies. Pakistan's military branded the air attack "unprovoked and cowardly." However, the unstable government in Islamabad, led by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which depends... Read More
I have been reliably informed that the CIA added two new stars to the wall of its entranceway about three weeks ago, signifying that two more clandestine service officers have been killed in action. Both died while searching for Osama bin Laden along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The ceremony adding the stars was... Read More
The United States invasion of Iraq then takes on an even broader meaning. Not only does it constitute an attempt to control the global oil spigot and hence the global economy though domination over the Middle East. It also constitutes a powerful US military bridgehead on the Eurasian land mass which ... yields it a... Read More
PARIS — After a sea of lies and a tsunami of propaganda, the ugly truth behind the Iraq and Afghanistan wars finally emerged into full view this week. Four major western oil companies, Exxon, Mobil, Shell, BP and Total, are about to sign US-brokered no-bid contracts with the US-installed Baghdad regime to begin exploiting Iraq's... Read More
Make Way for Field Marshall Obama
Afghanistan was supposed to be the "good war"; a "just response" to the attacks of September 11. It was supposed to bring Bin Laden to justice "dead or alive" and quash terrorism wherever it originated. 95 per cent of the American people supported the invasion of Afghanistan. Now less than half think the U.S. will... Read More
WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama is the man with the plan for Iraq and Afghanistan. Presidential in tone and delivery, quoting Harry S Truman and Dean Acheson, George Kennan and George Marshall - the greatest generation - Obama, in a major foreign policy speech in Washington on Tuesday, outlined what he calls... Read More
CALGARY — Barack Obama wants to withdraw US troops from Iraq and send them to Afghanistan, which he calls the real front on the "war on terror." He also has repeated threats to attack Pakistan "if necessary." One understands Obama's need to sound macho. Rival John McCain has been beating his chest, proclaiming, "I know... Read More
WASHINGTON - Al-Qaeda is back - with a vengeance of sorts. Listen to Mustafa Abu al-Yazeed - a senior al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan, in a very rare interview with Pakistan's Geo TV, shot in Khost, in eastern Afghanistan. "At this stage this is our understanding - that there is no difference between the American people... Read More
An Interview with Sonali Kolhatkar
Sonali Kolhatkar is the co-author, with James Ingalls, of
Category Classics
How America was neoconned into World War IV
Shouldn't they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?