Archive | Afghanistan

Snowden Has a Simple Solution to Get to the Bottom of the US Afghan Bombing ‘War Crime’


But then maybe some don’t want the truth

Overnight, Medecins Sans Frontiers, or the “Doctors without Borders” medical group which suffered a tremendous loss of life at the hands of US bombardment this past Saturday, stepped up its criticism of what it has previously called a US “war crime.”

As Reuters reports, earlier today it called for an independent international fact-finding commission to be established to investigate the U.S. bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, which it deems a war crime, and which it would use to decide whether or not to file criminal charges, although it was unclear against whom precisely: perhaps 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama?

Why independent: because as MSF said “we cannot rely on internal investigations by U.S, NATO and Afghan forces.”

Instead, the medical charity said that the commission, which can be set up at the request of a single state under the Geneva Convention, would gather facts and evidence from the United States, NATO and Afghanistan. MSF said it sent a letter on Tuesday to the 76 countries who signed up to the additional protocol of the Geneva Convention that set up the standing commission in 1991.

There is one problem: neither the United States nor Afghanistan are signatories and Francoise Saulnier, MSF lead counsel MSF, said that the consent of the states involved is necessary.

Good luck getting it.

Assuming the US does “agree” to comply with this fact-finding mission, we expect the full data dump – after all the necessary scrubbing of the evidence of course – to take place, some time in 2019.

For now, however, the MSF is not backing down: “If we let this go, we are basically giving a blank check to any countries at war,” MSF International President Joanne Liu told a news briefing in Geneva. “There is no commitment to an independent investigation yet.”

MSF is in talks with Switzerland about convoking the international commission of independent experts.

“Today we say enough, even war has rules,” Liu said.

Again, good luck with all of that.

Then again, none other than US persona non grata #1 has provided a quick and easy solution.Yes, quick and easy, unless it is mysteriously revealed that all the AC-130 audio and video record is stored on the server. We all know what happens then.


AC-130 warplanes record the gunner’s video and audio. It’s time to release the tapes to an

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Doctors Without Borders Airstrike: US Alters Story For Fourth Time In Four Days

Commander of war in Afghanistan tells Senate panel that US forces had called in airstrike at Afghan request – ‘an admission of a war crime’ says MSF chief.


US special operations forces – not their Afghan allies – called in the deadly airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, the US commander has conceded.

Shortly before General John Campbell, the commander of the US and Nato war in Afghanistan, testified to a Senate panel, the president of Doctors Without Borders – also known as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) – said the US and Afghanistan had made an “admission of a war crime”.

Shifting the US account of the Saturday morning airstrike for the fourth time in as many days, Campbell reiterated that Afghan forces had requested US air cover after being engaged in a “tenacious fight” to retake the northern city of Kunduz from the Taliban. But, modifying the account he gave at a press conference on Monday, Campbell said those Afghan forces had not directly communicated with the US pilots of an AC-130 gunship overhead.

“Even though the Afghans request that support, it still has to go through a rigorous US procedure to enable fires to go on the ground. We had a special operations unit that was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft that delivered those fires,” Campbell told the Senate armed services committee on Tuesday morning.

The airstrike on the hospital is among the worst and most visible cases of civilian deaths caused by US forces during the 14-year Afghanistan war that Barack Obama has declared all but over. It killed 12 MSF staff and 10 patients, who had sought medical treatment after the Taliban overran Kunduz last weekend. Three children died in the airstrike that came in multiple waves and burned patients alive in their beds.

On Tuesday, MSF denounced Campbell’s press conference as an attempt to shift blame to the Afghans.

“The US military remains responsible for the targets it hits, even though it is part of a coalition,” said its director general, Christopher Stokes.

Campbell did not explain whether the procedures to launch the airstrike took into account the GPS coordinates of the MSF field hospital, which its president, Joanne Liu, said were “regularly shared” with US, coalition and Afghan military officers and civilian officials, “as recently as Tuesday 29 September”.

AC-130 gunships, which fly low, typically rely on a pilot visually identifying a target.

It is also unclear where the US special operations forces were relative to the fighting, but Campbell has said that US units were “not directly engaged in the fighting”.

Campbell instead said the hospital was “mistakenly struck” by US forces.

“We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility,” Campbell told US lawmakers, declaring that he wanted an investigation by his command to “take its course” instead of providing further detail.

But Jason Cone, Doctors Without Borders’ US executive director, said Campbell’s shifting story underscored the need for an independent inquiry.

“Today’s statement from General Campbell is just the latest in a long list of confusing accounts from the US military about what happened in Kunduz on Saturday,” Cone said.

“They are now back to talking about a ‘mistake’. A mistake that lasted for more than an hour, despite the fact that the location of the hospital was well known to them and that they were informed during the airstrike that it was a hospital being hit. All this confusion just underlines once again the crucial need for an independent investigation into how a major hospital, full of patients and MSF staff, could be repeatedly bombed.”

Campbell suggested but did not say that the Afghans were taking fire from the Taliban from within the hospital grounds, a claim the Afghan government has explicitly made. MSF unequivocally denies that the hospital was a source of fire. It has also noted the precision of the strike that hit only the main hospital building and not its adjuncts.

Mary Ellen O’Connell, a professor of international law at the University of Notre Dame, said that according to international humanitarian law, the critical question for determining if US forces committed a war crime was whether they had notified the hospital ahead of the strike if they understood the Taliban to be firing from the hospital.

“Any serious violation of the law of armed conflict, such as attacking a hospital that is immune from intentional attack, is a war crime. Hospitals are immune from attack during an armed conflict unless being used by one party to harm the other and then only after a warning that it will be attacked,” O’Connell said.

How the story shifted
3 October
“U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz city at 2:15am (local), Oct. 3, against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”
Colonel Brian Tribus, spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan
4 October
“U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz city at 2:15am (local), Oct. 3, against insurgents who were directly firing upon U.S. service members advising and assisting Afghan Security Forces in the city of Kunduz. The strike was conducted in the vicinity of a Doctors Without Borders medical facility.”
Colonel Brian Tribus, spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan
5 October
“We have now learned that on October 3rd, Afghan forces advised that they were taking fire from enemy positions and asked for air support from U.S. forces. An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck. This is different from initial reports which indicated that U.S. forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf.”
General John Campbell, commander, US Forces-Afghanistan and Nato’s Operation Resolute Support
6 October
“Even though the Afghans request that support, it still has to go through a rigorous US procedure to enable fires to go on the ground. We had a special operations unit that was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft that delivered those fires.”General John Campbell, commander, US Forces-Afghanistan and Nato’s Operation Resolute Support

The US account has now shifted four times in four days. On Saturday, the US military said it did not know for certain that it had struck the hospital but that US forces were taking fire in Kunduz.On Sunday, it said that the strike took place in the “vicinity” of the hospital and suggested it had been accidentally struck. On Monday, Campbell said that the Afghans requested the strike and said US forces in the area were not “threatened”.

On Tuesday, he clarified that US forces called in the airstrike themselves at Afghan request.Meanwhile, the defense secretary, Ashton Carter, said in a statement on Tuesday, that the Department of Defense “deeply regrets the loss of innocent lives that resulted from this tragic event”.Doctors Without Borders has demanded an independent inquiry, rejecting the three current investigations – by the US, Nato and the Afghans – as compromised by their partiality.

This attack cannot be brushed aside as a mere mistake or an inevitable consequence of war. Statements from the Afghanistan government have claimed that Taliban forces were using the hospital to fire on coalition forces. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital, which amounts to an admission of a war crime,” Liu said on Tuesday.In the past, the US has upbraided both allies and adversaries over the indiscriminate use of aerial strikes.

On Thursday, the US defense secretary said Russia was pouring “gasoline on the fire” of the Syrian civil war after it launched a campaign of airstrikes against opponents of Moscow’s ally Bashar al-Assad.A day later, the National Security Council spokesman, Ned Price, said the White House was “deeply concerned” that its Saudi ally in the Yemen conflict had bombed a wedding party, something the US itself did in Yemen in 2013.

When Israel shelled a UN school in Gaza housing thousands of displaced Palestinians in August 2014, a State Department spokesman said the US was “appalled” by the “disgraceful” attack.Addressing Tuesday’s committee hearing, Campbell confirmed that he has recommended to Obama that the US retain thousands of troops in Afghanistan beyond Obama’s presidency – reversing a plan to reduce the force to one focused on protecting the US embassy in Kabul.He argued for “strategic patience” in the longest war in US history, which has now stretched five years longer than the failed Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

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The Radically Changing Story of the U.S. Airstrike on Afghan Hospital


When news first broke of the U.S. airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the response from the U.S. military was predictable and familiar. It was all just a big, terrible mistake, its official statement suggested: an airstrike it carried out in Kunduz “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.” Oops: our bad. Fog of war, errant bombs, and all that.

This obfuscation tactic is the standard one the U.S. and Israel both use whenever they blow up civilian structures and slaughter large numbers of innocent people with airstrikes. Citizens of both countries are well-trained – like some tough, war-weary, cigar-chomping general – to reflexively spout the phrase “collateral damage,” which lets them forget about the whole thing and sleep soundly, telling themselves that these sorts of innocent little mistakes are inevitable even among the noblest and most well-intentioned war-fighters, such as their own governments. The phrase itself is beautifully technocratic: it requires no awareness of how many lives get extinguished, let alone acceptance of culpability. Just invoke that phrase and throw enough doubt on what happened in the first 48 hours and the media will quickly lose interest.

But there’s something significantly different about this incident that has caused this “mistake” claim to fail. Usually, the only voices protesting or challenging the claims of the U.S. military are the foreign, non-western victims who live in the cities and villages where the bombs fall. Those are easily ignored, or dismissed as either ignorant or dishonest. Those voices barely find their way into U.S. news stories, and when they do, they are stream-rolled by the official and/or anonymous claims of the U.S. military, which are typically treated by U.S. media outlets as unassailable authority.

In this case, though, the U.S. military bombed the hospital of an organization – Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)) – run by western-based physicians and other medical care professionals. They are not so easily ignored. Doctors who travel to dangerous war zones to treat injured human beings are regarded as noble and trustworthy. They’re difficult to marginalize and demonize. They give compelling, articulate interviews in English to U.S. media outlets. They are heard, and listened to.

MSF has used this platform, unapologetically and aggressively. They are clearly infuriated at the attack on their hospital and the deaths of their colleagues and patients. From the start, they have signaled an unwillingness to be shunted away with the usual “collateral damage” banalities and, more important, have refused to let the U.S. military and its allies get away with spouting obvious falsehoods. They want real answers. As the Guardian‘s Spencer Ackerman put it last night: “MSF’s been going incredibly hard, challenging every US/Afgh claim made about hospital bombing.”

In particular, MSF quickly publicized numerous facts that cast serious doubt on the original U.S. claim that the strike on the hospital was just an accident. To begin with, the organization had repeatedly advised the U.S. military of the exact GPS coordinates of the hospital. They did so most recently on September 29, just five days before the strike. Beyond that, MSF personnel at the facility “frantically” called U.S. military officials during the strike to advise them that the hospital was being hit and to plead with them to stop, but the strikes continued in a “sustained” manner for 30 more minutes. Finally, MSF yesterday said this:

All of these facts make it extremely difficult – even for U.S. media outlets – to sell the “accident” story. At least as likely is that the hospital was deliberately targeted, chosen either by Afghan military officials who fed the coordinates to their U.S. military allies and/or by the U.S. military itself.

Even cynical critics of the U.S. have a hard time believing that the U.S. military would deliberately target a hospital with an airstrike (despite how many times the U.S. has destroyed hospitals with airstrikes). But in this case, there is long-standing tension between the Afghan military and this specific MSF hospital, grounded in the fact that the MSF – true to its name – treats all wounded human beings without first determining on which side they fight. That they provide medical treatment to wounded civilians and Taliban fighters alike has made them a target before.

In July – just 3 months ago – Reuters reported that Afghan special forcesraided” this exact MSF hospital in Kunduz, claiming an Al Qaeda member was a patient. This raid infuriated MSF staff:

The French aid group said its hospital was temporarily closed to new patients after armed soldiers had entered and behaved violently towards staff.

“This incident demonstrates a serious lack of respect for the medical mission, which is safeguarded under international humanitarian law,” MSF said in a statement.

A staff member who works for the aid group said, “The foreign doctors tried to stop the Afghan Special Operations guys, but they went in anyway, searching the hospital.”

The U.S. had previously targeted a hospital in a similar manner: “In 2009, a Swedish aid group accused U.S. forces of violating humanitarian principles by raiding a hospital in Wardak province, west of Kabul.”

News accounts of this weekend’s U.S. airstrike on that same hospital hinted cryptically at the hostility from the Afghan military. The first NYT story on the strike – while obscuring who carried out the strike – noted deep into the article that “the hospital treated the wounded from all sides of the conflict, a policy that has long irked Afghan security forces.” Al Jazeera similarly alluded to this tension, noting that “a caretaker at the hospital, who was severely injured in the air strike, told Al Jazeera that clinic’s medical staff did not favour any side of the conflict. ‘We are here to help and treat civilians,’ Abdul Manar said.”

As a result of all of this, there is now a radical shift in the story being told about this strike. No longer is it being depicted as some terrible accident of a wayward bomb. Instead, the predominant narrative from U.S. sources and their Afghan allies is that this attack was justified because the Taliban were using it as a “base.”

Fox News yesterday cited anonymous “defense officials” that while they “‘regret the loss’ of innocent life, they say the incident could have been avoided if the Taliban had not used the hospital as a base, and the civilians there as human shields.” In its first article on the attackThe Washington Postalso previewed this defense, quoting a “spokesman for the Afghan army’s 209th Corps in northern Afghanistan” as saying that “Taliban fighters are now hiding in ‘people’s houses, mosques and hospitals using civilians as human shields.’” AP yesterday actually claimed that it looked at a video and saw weaponry in the hospital’s windows, only to delete that claim with this correction:

The New York Times today – in a story ostensibly about the impact on area residents from the hospital’s destruction – printed paragraphs from anonymous officials justifying this strike: “there was heavy gunfire in the area around the hospital at the time of the airstrike, and that initial reports indicated that the Americans and Afghans on the ground near the hospital could not safely pull back without being dangerously exposed. American forces on the ground then called for air support, senior officials said.” It also claimed that “many residents of Kunduz, as well as people in Kabul, seemed willing to believe the accusations of some Afghan officials that there were Taliban fighters in the hospital shooting at American troops.” And this:

Still, some Afghan officials continued to suggest that the attack was justified. “I know that there were civilian casualties in the hospital, but a lot of senior Taliban were also killed,” said Abdul Wadud Paiman, a member of Parliament from Kunduz.

So now we’re into full-on justification mode: yes, we did it; yes, we did it on purpose; and we’re not sorry because we were right to do so since we think some Taliban fighters were at the hospital, perhaps even shooting at us. In response to the emergence of this justification claim, MSF expressed the exact level of revulsion appropriate (emphasis added):

“MSF is disgusted by the recent statements coming from some Afghanistan government authorities justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present. 

This amounts to an admission of a war crime. This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the US government to minimize the attack as ‘collateral damage.’

“There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds. MSF reiterates its demand for a full transparent and independent international investigation.”

From the start, MSF made clear that none of its staff at the hospital heard or saw Taliban fighters engaging U.S. or Afghan forces:

But even if there were, only the most savage barbarians would decide that it’s justified to raze a hospital filled with doctors, nurses and patients to the ground. Yet mounting evidence suggests that this is exactly what the U.S. military did – either because it chose to do so or because its Afghan allies fed them the coordinates of this hospital which they have long disliked. As a result, we now have U.S. and Afghan officials expressly justifying the consummate war crime: deliberately attacking a hospital filled with doctors, nurses and wounded patients. And whatever else is true, the story of what happened here has been changing rapidly as facts emerge proving the initial claims to be false.

* * * * *

Just as this article was being published, NBC News published a report making clear that even the latest claims from the U.S. and Afghan governments are now falling apart. The Pentagon’s top four-star commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Campbell, now claims that “local Afghans forces asked for air support and U.S. forces were not under direct fire just prior to the U.S. bombardment” of the hospital. As NBC notes, this directly contradicts prior claims: “The Pentagon had previously said U.S. troops were under direct fire.”

See also from today: CNN and the NYT Are Deliberately Obscuring Who Perpetrated the Afghan Hospital Attack

UPDATE: Responding to the above-referenced admission, MSF has issued this statement:

“Today the US government has admitted that it was their airstrike that hit our hospital in Kunduz and killed 22 patients and MSF staff. Their description of the attack keeps changing—from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government. The reality is the US dropped those bombs. The US hit a huge hospital full of wounded patients and MSF staff. The US military remains responsible for the targets it hits, even though it is part of a coalition. There can be no justification for this horrible attack. With such constant discrepancies in the US and Afghan accounts of what happened, the need for a full transparent independent investigation is ever more critical.”

The U.S. seems to have picked the wrong group this time to attack from the air.

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Chaos in Kunduz. Military Setback for US-NATO in Afghanis

Global Research

Having the BBC herded along with Afghan government troops in heavily armed convoys as they made their way through Kunduz was hardly comforting for the official account. That account suggested that the government was gaining control of a city that had seen fierce Taliban resistance since their daring invasion on Monday.

The chaos has now been compounded by an airstrike by US forces that ended up killing nine members of Médicins san Frontières and six patients, while also wounding 37 others. As the organisation stated, “At 2:10 am (20:40 GMT) local time… the MSF trauma centre in Kunduz was hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.” The overworked centre had treated 394 patients, a problem compounded by the recent fighting.

According to US military sources, “there may have been collateral damage” to the medical facility. “This incident is under investigation.” A statement issued by the office of the President Ashraf Ghani said that Army General John Campbell, chief of US-led forces in Afghanistan, apologised.

Such instances of formality tend to be the crude outcomes of what is already certain. In this instance, the only force capable of conducting such a strike would have to have been associated with the bolstering coalition.

Some members of the MSF facility had been critical of the Ghani administration’s conduct of operations in Kunduz. One of the critics counted among the fatalities was Dr. Ehsan Osmani, a 25 year old doctor who was on one of his finals shifts at the Kunduz facility.

The picture looks even uglier given the attempts by the organisation to persistently ring NATO and contacts in Washington to warn them as the bombs rained for “nearly an hour”.  MSF Afghanistan representatives reiterated the position that, “in all conflict contexts, these precise locations were communicated to all parties on multiple occasions over the last months, including most recently on 29 September.” Once in train, the machine of death can be a hard one to stop.

To add suitable propaganda value to the event, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid made mileage out of condemning this “attack carried out on innocent people.” On that score, his assertion was hard to counter.

The interminable conflict in Afghanistan between government forces and those of the Taliban continues. Documents have been circulating from such bodies as the Institute for the Study of War suggesting that the US mission in Afghanistan needs revision.[1] This warning is drearily familiar: a failed mission that needs persistent tinkering in order to avoid the obvious point of defeat. The consequence of such reasoning never changes: the occupation force should linger in a various guises, be it in a combative, advisory role, or both. Then comes the pressure to reverse decisions, and increase troop totals that were originally slated for the chop.

In February 21, 2015, the then newly appointed Defence Secretary Ashton Carter openly considered slowing down the withdrawal time table and “rethinking the US counter-terrorism mission.”

The vast, vacuous wound of history that is Afghanistan continues to draw imperial forces in with impeccable consistency. Initial plans to cut the number of US troops have been altered – the previous plan was reducing the number to 5,500 by the end of the last year. The ISW makes the obvious point that the “Afghan National Security Forces face numerous challenges in 2015 that may significantly hinder their capacity to assume responsibility for their country’s security.”

The very fact that the Taliban managed to nab Kunduz was ominous – it was the first major Afghan city to fall into their hands since 2001. It also trumpets, rather loudly, the realities that face the frazzled regime in Kabul – the Taliban have time on their side, consolidating their position in remote areas while still gathering pace to strike at more urban centres.

A striking point in Taliban strategy is their efforts to engage in institution building within various areas of contention, something that should be the preserve of the Kabul government.

In the meantime, the swaddling clothes are still well and truly on the being that is Ghani’s regime. His army has what overly technical strategists term “capability gaps”, hence the continued need for coalition buttressing via air support and external expertise.

The false accounts and skewed narratives about repelling contenders for the carcass that is the Afghan state do, however, continue. In the vast echo chamber of Twitter, individuals such as Sweden’s former prime minister and self-proclaimed “entrepreneur of future and peace” Carl Bildt can only see minutiae on the battle field, incremental gains that suggest that things are capital when they are actually disastrous. “Good news” came his message on October 1, “Afghan government forces making advance in efforts to retake Kunduz.” The persistent NATO-US presence suggests how fragile the state of affairs is.

If that presence entails bungled attacks on the only trauma centre in Kunduz, then the foreign advisors might as well hand in their resignations and exit the inglorious episode of a failed occupation that refuses to go away.

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NATO Admits US May Have Hit MSF Hospital in Kunduz

Image result for NATO LOGO

NATO does not rule out the possibility that a hospital of Doctors Without Borders in Afghan city of Kunduz was bombed by US air forces.

A Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz was bombed early on Saturday, leading to the death of at least three people, with dozens missing, the international aid agency said in a statement.

There were around 200 people in the hospital building when it was bombed, according to MSF.

NATO said in a statement that US forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz at around the same time — just after 02:00 am on Saturday (after 22:00 GMT Sunday).

The medical team is working around the clock to do everything possible for the safety of patients and hospital staff.

‘We are deeply shocked by the attack, the killing of our staff and patients and the heavy toll it has inflicted on healthcare in Kunduz,” Bart Janssens, MSF Director of Operations commented on the bombing.

“We do not yet have the final casualty figures, but our medical team are providing first aid and treating the injured patients and MSF personnel and accounting for the deceased. We urge all parties to respect the safety of health facilities and staff.”

According to MSF, at the time of the aerial attack 105 patients and their caretakers were in the hospital and over 80 MSF international and national staff.

MSF’s hospital is the only facility of its kind in the Northeast of Afghanistan, providing free life- and limb-saving trauma care.

Kunduz, a city of 300,000 in northern Afghanistan, was recaptured by Afghan government forces on Thursday.

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‘Inexcusable, possibly even criminal’: UN rights chief says Kunduz bombing may be war crime



An air strike on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz that killed at least 19 people is “utterly tragic, inexcusable, and possibly even criminal,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, calling for a transparent investigation.

“This deeply shocking event should be promptly, thoroughly and independently investigated and the results should be made public,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement on Saturday.

“The seriousness of the incident is underlined by the fact that, if established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

“International and Afghan military planners have an obligation to respect and protect civilians at all times, and medical facilities and personnel are the object of a special protection. These obligations apply no matter whose air force is involved, and irrespective of the location.”

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the bombing of its hospital full of staff and patients in a statement on Saturday.

“The bombing in Kunduz continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed by MSF that its hospital was struck. MSF urgently seeks clarity on exactly what took place and how this terrible event could have happened,” it said.

They added that the precise locations of its facilities had been communicated to all parties in the military conflict on multiple occasions, with the latest communication being on September 29.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) strongly condemned the violence against patients, medical workers and facilities, saying it was “deeply shocked,” in a statement on Saturday.

“This is an appalling tragedy. Such attacks against health workers and facilities undermine the capacity of humanitarian organizations to assist the Afghan people at a time when they most urgently need it,” said Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan. “Neutral and impartial humanitarian assistance is crucial today in Afghanistan,” he added.

The ICRC called on all parties to ensure the safety of the civilian population, medical staff and facilities.

A hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz has been hit and partially destroyed in an “aerial attack” that killed at least 19 people in the early hours of Saturday. Among the victims were 12 Medecins Sans Frontieres staff and seven patients, including three children.

NATO coalition spokesman Colonel Brian Tribus said US forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz at 2:15am on Saturday. He admitted the strike might have “resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

The head of US-led forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, has apologized to Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani,Reuters reported citing the Afghan president’s office.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Saturday that Washington had launched an investigation in coordination with the Afghan government. The area around the hospital has been the scene of intense fighting between US-Afghan troops and Taliban fighters in recent days, he added.

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U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies


In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base. “At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father … recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012.Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape. American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene. The policy has endured as American forces have recruited and organized Afghan militias. Instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages. Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave, [said], “We were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.”

The policy of instructing soldiers to ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies is coming under new scrutiny, particularly as it emerges that service members like Captain Quinn have faced discipline, even career ruin, for disobeying it. After the beating, the Army relieved Captain Quinn of his command and pulled him from Afghanistan. He has since left the military.

Note: If you want to understand how pedophile rings have infiltrated the highest levels of government, don’t miss the powerful Discovery Channel documentary on this available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.


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Afghan-Kosovo Mafia Migrant Smuggling Ring and More Refugee Chaos in Macedonia (Video)

By I.N. from Macedonia

Illegal Migration in Europe – Migrant-PioneersFirst of all I would like to go back to the origin of the problem – where it started, how it had developed into the monster which it is today and to get to the core of the problem.
I will start with the 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan by NATO forces. Two years after that occupation of Afghanistan the very first migrants (at the time they were called properly “illegal immigrants”) started to arrive and transit through Macedonia. At the time it was strange to see Afghans and Pakistanis in our state, and although they were in small numbers, they were visible and people started to wonder: “Who are these people, what are they doing here, where they are going???” Soon the people realized that they are trying to get to Europe (EU) to claim asylum since their countries were NOT on the list of safe countries. The pro-US (populist government) in Skopje at the time saw this beginning of the migrant flow as a chance to try to get closer to the US by faking a story about stopping terrorists on the way to EUROPE.
Take a look at this story from BBC:
Macedonia faked ‘militant’ raid

Macedonian officials have admitted that seven alleged Pakistani militants killed in March 2002 were in fact illegal immigrants shot in cold blood to “impress” the international community.They said four officers in the security services had been charged with their murder, while former Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski may also face charges.

At the time, the interior ministry said they had been killed after trying to ambush police in the capital, Skopje.

But a police spokeswoman said they had in fact been shot in a “staged murder”.

The Macedonians were apparently trying to show the outside world that they were serious about participating in the US-led war on terror, officials say.

“It was a monstrous fabrication to get the attention of the international community,” Interior Ministry spokeswoman Mirjana Kontevska told a news conference.

Questions asked

When the incident was reported more than two years ago, it was claimed that a new front had opened up in the war on terror.

The Macedonian interior ministry said the seven men of Pakistani origin were killed after opening fire on a police patrol with machine guns.

Mr Boskovski said the dead men had been planning attacks on vital installations and embassies.

But questions soon began to be asked about the authorities’ version of events.

Now the public prosecutor’s office has brought charges against officers involved in the case and has asked parliament to waive Mr Boskovski’s immunity from prosecution.

The former interior minister denies any wrongdoing.

Gunned down

Police spokeswoman Mirjana Konteska told the Associated Press news agency that the victims were illegal immigrants who had been lured into Macedonia by promises that they would be taken to western Europe.

She said they were transported to the Rastanski Lozja area, about 5km north of Skopje, where they were surrounded and gunned down by police.

“They lost their lives in a staged murder,” she said.

Ms Konteska told AP the investigation was continuing and more suspects could be charged.

If convicted, they face between 10 years and life in prison. story proves that this migrant invasion started more than a decade ago, but then nobody was writing about it because the numbers were small. (By the way,  that former interior minister is in prison for that case).
So after 2010 the problem began to escalate. I was seeing Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis at the Skopje bus terminal (in the capital) being hidden by the smugglers on a daily basis, and to be fair, our police was catching them and deporting them back to Greece. But some of them were part of the smuggling network. I have witnessed a couple of times migrants been taken off the bus because they did not have proper papers. The Macedonian and the Serbian police were trying to tackle the problem in the early stage and they did that successfully. Some of these migrant-pioneers applied for asylum in Macedonia and Serbia. At the time nobody knew why, but after a while the reason was clear (Ali Baba’s mafia).Europe looking for the smugglers….They are on it’s doorstep

So if you wondered what the term ‘pioneer-migrant’ means, you will find out in this second part.
One of the very first Afghan migrants have set up a smuggling network from Turkey all to the way to Serbia. They had boats and equipment to transport migrants to Greece and from Greece. Other members of the mafia will wait for them, charge them and send them to Macedonia, where the infamous Ali Baba (an Afghan national) was stationed at his headquarters at the village of Vaksince (100% of the its population are ethnic Albanians) right next to the Serbian Border. Ali Baba’s associates were the former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (which was created and backed by the US and NATO). Finally the story broke on Channel 4 News and police had to take action (video):,AAAAAEabvr4~,Wtd2HT-p_VhJQ6tgdykx3j23oh1YN-2U&bctid=4278209492001The “ Peaceful ” Migrants….

In recent reports in the western media we have seen how the migrants have been mistreated, beaten, abused by the governments and security forces of the transit countries. So I felt in some way provoked by this mainstream media to try and flip the coin and to show the other side of the story.

First of all I would start with the Greek – Macedonian border, where thousands of migrants are arriving on a daily basis. As you are aware Greece is going through the worst economic crisis in its history and it’s overwhelmed with migrants. The situation on the Greek islands is critical. Thousands are arriving and more are on their way. The Greek government can’t handle this crisis, so the easiest option for them was to stop fingerprinting and making security checks. Instead the migrants are directly transported to Thessalonika and Athens, from there the Greek government is taking the migrants with buses north to the Macedonian border near the most southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija which has a population of around 15,000 people.
In the beginning of this crisis the number was much smaller and most of the migrants were peaceful, but at the time they were entering illegally and, as advised by the Greeks police, heading straight along the railway tracks, along their path there were dozens of reports about migrants breaking into people’s cottages and weekend houses. They even vandalized a holy site near one of the train stations, throwing underwear and trash right next to the Orthodox icons and the holy water spring.
The Macedonian and Serbian governments, seeing the intelligence information about the large numbers of refugees stationed in Greece and the large numbers of camps built near the Greek-Macedonian border, passed a law according to which the migrants will have a 72 hours transit visa and all hell broke loose.
The first violent incidents occurred. The Macedonian police has been stoned by the angry migrants, not once, not twice but on daily basis. None of the mainstream media reported about this incident:

As you can see from the media there’s no sign of the Greek police, an EU member state. It seems that the migrants are controlling the Northern Greek border. A state within state.

Instead the mainstream media reported only about the incident when the Macedonian police used tear gas to disperse the groups that were trying to enter the country. That’s what every border force should do, but let’s put that aside and look at the facts.

According to the sources in the Interior Ministry, the police attempted to let women and children and families first, so they can get to the train station and avoid the riots, fights and clashes between the migrants that where happening at the Gevgelija train station. That was not well received by the migrants since 80% are military capable men, many of them former fighters in the Syrian Civil War. They attempted to break into the country by force, starting a riot and clashing with police. Afterwards when the situation calmed down and most of them were allowed in, some of the migrants were saying with laughter to the local media that they can’t be intimidated by tear gas since they were using tanks, machine guns, bombs, artillery in the war in Syria. Tear gas is joke to them.
The next stop is the previously mentioned town of Gevgelija where migrants where boarding the trains, buses, taxis, in order to get to Tabanovci border crossing with Serbia.
The town looks like the judgement day has arrived, its apocalyptic landscape covered with trash everywhere. All of the parks and public areas are occupied by the migrants. Old shoes, clothes and garbage are all over the place, the whole town smells of urine. The residents are saying that their town has become like a s***hole.
Since the national railways provided six trains per day for the migrants, the train station of Gevgelija was converted into a ‘boxing ring’ for the migrants to show off their muscles, trying to get on board the trains. There were numerous clashes with police and between the migrants themselves. Once a police officer was stabbed with a knife in his back by a Syrian refugee. There were countless fights and clashes between them using knives, clubs, sticks…

They are robbing themselves. It’s common knowledge between the migrants that the Syrians are the ones with more money, so very often they are robbed by the Afghans and Pakistanis who are considered the most violent and the most aggressive.
Another myth in the mainstream media is that the migrants are not being given food and fresh water. But none of the mainstream media reported the “Red Cross incident” where the migrants were refusing the food because it is from the Red Cross and was not up to Halal standard.

There’s been cases where the Red Cross and leftist activists were giving them food. When the migrants got onto the train they would throw away the food through the windows.
This has been reported by the railway workers and volunteers. It’s worth mentioning that the same thing happened in Serbia and recently in Hungary.

As I am writing this, there are around 8 000 migrants on the Southern Macedonian border, and more are expected to arrive in the later hours. Now many of them encouraged by the German welcoming policy are acting like they are Germans, demanding to enter immediately. They are impatient, even more aggressive than they used to be, and are constantly shouting “Angela Merkel”. The situation on the Southern Macedonian border is getting out of control.
More reports from Macedonia coming soon…

Posted in Afghanistan, Europe0 Comments

Extensive Heroin Use in US

Afghan Heroin Flow Channeled to Russia

The Real Afghanistan Surge is in Opium Production

Recently I worked in another Maine city and was astonished at the number of patients I encountered who were using heroin.  I had never seen anything like it, during a lifetime practicing medicine. In New Hampshire, it was said, deaths from heroin now exceed deaths from car accidents.  Nationwide, CDC noted, “Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, and more than 8,200 people died in 2013.”  Massachusetts (population under 7 million) had 1,000 deaths related to (all) opioids in 2014, “the highest ever recorded.

I’ve heard stories on NPR about insufficient state funding of heroin treatment facilities. I’ve heard about plans to make Narcan injections available to iv drug users, for overdoses. Another popular angle I’ve seen repeated multiple times (and one currently pushed by the US Drug Enforcement Agency) claims prescription narcotics became harder to get, so users switched to heroin, instead.

However, the DOJ-DEA 2014 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary notes that cocaine availability “remains stable at historically low levels throughout most domestic markets along the East Coast.”  So users are switching to heroin, but not switching to cocaine from prescription narcotics. Hmmm. Might this be because we have no large military-CIA presence currently in cocaine-trafficking areas, as we did during the 1980s Contra war in Nicaragua, when cocaine use was at high levels? (Coca leaves are only grown in Latin America.) According to a 2010 UN document“Based on seizure figures, it appears that cocaine markets grew most dramatically during the 1980s, when the amounts seized increased by more than 40% per year”.  (See this 1987 Senate hearing and this for evidence of CIA and State Dept. connivance with cocaine trafficking by the Contras.)

You can frame stories about the current heroin problem in many ways.  But the real heroin story isn’t being discussed–which is that since the US military entered Afghanistan in 2001, its opium production doubled, per the UN Afghanistan Opium Survey, 2014 , p.34.  The area under opium cultivation in Afghanistan tripled. And the resulting heroin appears to more easily make its way deep into our rural, as well as urban communities. The graph below is from the 2014 UN Opium Survey:

The world supply of opium increased 5-fold between 1980 and 2010according to the UN.“Afghanistan account[s] for around 90% of global illicit opium production in recent years. By itself, Afghanistan provides 85% of the estimated global heroin and morphine supply, a near monopoly.”(see pp 37-38).

The narcotics trade poisons the Afghan financial sector and undermines the Afghan state’s legitimacy by stoking corruption, sustaining criminal networks, and providing significant financial support to the Taliban and other insurgent groups,” John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan reconstruction, said in an October 2014 letter to the heads of the Departments of Defense, State and Justice, which have all played major roles in the failed drug intervention effort. “Despite spending over $7 billion to combat opium poppy cultivation and to develop the Afghan government’s counter-narcotics capacity, opium poppy cultivation levels in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013.

Despite the (now) US $8.4 billion spent to defeat this trade, it just keeps growing.  The costs of US reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan total “$110 billion, after adjusting for inflation, [which] exceeds the value of the entire Marshall Plan effort to rebuild Western Europe after World War II” according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, speaking in May 2015.

The Special Inspector General noted elsewhere that, US reconstruction projects, particularly those devoted to “improved irrigation, roads, and agricultural assistance” were probably leading to the explosion in opium cultivation.

Only 1.2% of the acreage used for Afghan opium production (est. 224,000 hectares) was eradicated in 2014, according to the UN. Also according to the UN, Burma is the world’s second largest producer of opium, currently growing only about 10% as much as Afghanistan. But Mexico has been increasing production.

According to the UN World Drug Report, in the 1990’s Afghanistan supplied opium that was converted into half the world’s heroin production.  By 2010, it supplied 90% of the total.

But the DEAWhite House and other official US sources claim that US heroin derives almost entirely (96%) from Latin American opium (based on seizures of shipments); the DEA in 2014 claimed that Latin America was the source for the vast majority of US heroin, with southwest Asia (i.e., Afghanistan) accounting for only 4% of US heroin in 2012.

This is highly unlikely.  In 2008, the UN estimated that the US and Canada accounted for 13% of global heroin use.  With about 95% of global heroin derived from Afghanistan, Burma, Thailand and Laos, Latin America (mainly Mexico with a small amount from Colombia) does not produce enough to supply the majority of US heroin, let alone 96%. In fact, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy undercuts this claim when it says Mexico had 10,500 hectares under poppy cultivation in 2012, while Afghanistan alone had 154,000 hectares in 2012 and 224,000 hectares in 2014, per UN estimates.

This DEA claim, based on heroin interdiction, suggests a different explanation.  Perhaps heroin shipments from Afghanistan are at lower risk of being seized than heroin coming from Latin America. Might some be entering through government channels, when so much materiel and so many personnel (soldiers, aid workers, diplomats and contractors) fly directly between the US and Afghanistan?

Putting aside the issue of the provenance of the US heroin supply for the moment, surely we can look at heroin as we would any other global commodity.

Congruent with the US occupation of Afghanistan, Afghanistan expanded its opium production, and the global supply of heroin increased dramatically. The price dropped as a result. New buyers entered the market. And the US now has several hundred thousand new addicts.  Russia and Europe have even more. The resulting social problems are hugely tragic and hugely costly for millions of families, and for our societies as a whole.

If we start being honest about why there is a major heroin epidemic, maybe we can get serious about solving the problem with meaningful eradication and interdiction. Aerial spraying of crops with herbicides or similar methods has been prohibited in Afghanistan, but it works. In 2014, Britain’s former Ambassador to Afghanistan (2010-2012) called for legalization and regulation of illicit drugs as one means of attacking the problem.

Looking beyond the Mexican border for heroin, and inspecting all flights from southwest Asia, including military and CIA flights, could have a large impact on supply as well.

Serious measures are needed.  Total world production of opiates always gets consumed: historically, the market for opiates has been extremely elastic.  Land under poppy cultivation (in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle and Mexico) continues to increase. Without meaningful efforts to reduce opium production and entry of narcotics into the US, the epidemic of heroin addiction may become a considerably bigger problem than it is today.

UPDATE:  From the Sept 7 Wall Street Journal, we learn that a US “friendly fire” airstrike in southern Afghanistan on Sept 6 “hit a 30 member elite counternarcotics police unit as they were on a mission…

At least 11 died in “one of the deadliest friendly fire incidents in the country in recent years.” Here is the Reuters story. The US denied the strike in Helmand province, but admitted to airstrikes in the adjacent province of Kandahar. According to the Guardian, “The US is the only member of the NATO coalition known to have carried out bombing raids in Afghanistan this year.” The AP/WaPo on 9/8/15 reported that, “Brigadier General Shoffner [Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications in Afghanistan] said ‘based on information we received [on 9/8], we feel it is prudent to investigate the airstrike our forces conducted in Kandahar.’

The airstrike killed approximately as many people as died in counternarcotics efforts in all Afghanistan throughout 2014.

I will have more to say about the subject of heroin in a later post.

Posted in Afghanistan, USA0 Comments

Former Afghan PM Hamid Karzai says Al-Qaeda is a Myth ‘VIDEO’


Image result for Al-Qaeda FLAG


By Brandon Martinez

These politicians become much more honest after they retire. Former Afghan PM Karzai hints at the fictitious and entirely malleable concept of “Al-Qaeda” and even says he “doesn’t believe or disbelieve” the US government version of 9/11.

Posted in Afghanistan0 Comments


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