Archive | Afghanistan

US spent millions giving Afghan children violent textbooks

NOVANEWS

US spent millions giving Afghan children violent textbooks to indoctrinate them to jihad, and it worked

The Unites States government has played a crucial role in the development of the complex and volatile political situation that now exists in the Middle East, and they have had a heavy hand in influencing the region since the first world war.From propping up dictators to funding rebel groups for regime change, the U.S. and their allies have been creating monsters in the Middle East for generations. Western involvement in the region became more pronounced and more militarized during the Cold War, where the western allies and the Soviets fought proxy wars all over the world.Afghanistan was one of the primary battlegrounds where these proxy wars took place, and at the time, the U.S. military was supplying militants in Afganistan with training and weapons to be used against the Soviets who also had political and strategic interests in the region.The tactics used by the U.S. government extended far beyond traditional warfare and entered the realm of psychological warfare. From the Cold War period until very recently, the U.S. government spent millions of dollars supplying Afghan schoolchildren with propagandized textbooks that had violent images and militant jihadi teachings. The motive behind this propaganda was to actually radicalize the Afghan children so they would be more willing to fight against the Soviets when they got older.

According to the Washington Post, the textbooks were published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu and developed in the early 1980’s at a cost of $51 million.

The schoolbooks were even approved by the Taliban because the teachings were not far off from their own worldview.

This propaganda effort was only made public after the U.S. government went to war in Afghanistan in 2002 and it was revealed through the media that the western curriculum being taught in Afghan schools was actually promoting jihad.

At the time, President Bush was forced to respond to the scandal, and he promised that the curriculum would be changed to reflect a more peaceful worldview. Bush promised that 10 million textbooks with updated curriculum would be sent to Afghan schools and he claimed that the new books would teach “respect for human dignity, instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.”

Chris Brown, head of book revision for AID’s Central Asia Task Force admitted that the textbooks were initially designed as anti-soviet propaganda.

“I think we were perfectly happy to see these books trashing the Soviet Union,” Brown said.

Although, he added the ideas in the textbooks were updated for a new era.

“We turned it from a wartime curriculum to a peacetime curriculum,” he said of the new books.

The textbooks had reportedly portrayed the society in Afghanistan of having a “warrior culture” that was destined to fight a holy war.

Ahmad Fahim Hakim, an Afghan teacher who is very familiar with the books explained that “The pictures [in] the texts are horrendous to school students, but the texts are even much worse.”

Many experts claim that these books are still in use today in Afghan schools, despite efforts from UNICEF to destroy them and replace them with their newer versions.

According to a recent report from the Post, Dana Burde, an assistant professor of international education at New York University, says the Taliban is reprinting and using old U.S.-sponsored jihadist books to influence children in areas where the militants still hold sway. Burde says she found multiple reprinted copies of some of the texts, including a 2011 edition in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

As images of ISIS beheading their victims dressed in orange jumpsuits are plastered on televisions across the nation, and knowing that the US has been teaching this to children, hot air from the establishment decrying these acts rings hollow.

Any government who would use innocent children as pawns and teach them to become vicious killers, for their own personal gain, is far beyond criminal… it’s downright evil.

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Not Trusting Pentagon Investigation of Afghan Hospital Bombing

NOVANEWS
doctors without borders

Does Doctors Without Borders Deserve an Independent Probe?

The October 3 airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, carried out by the US, left 42 civilians dead and thousands of Afghans without access to emergency medical care.

The United States — often first in line to call for independent investigations of the actions of others — is blocking efforts to mount an international inquiry into the devastating raid.

Debris litters the floor in one of the corridors of MSF's Kunduz Trauma center. Photo credit: Victor J. Blue / MSFDebris litters the floor in one of the corridors of MSF’s Kunduz Trauma center. Photo credit: Victor J. Blue / MSF

Exhibit A of the US double-standard on accountability: the Obama administration’s reaction to the July 2014 downing of a Malaysian airliner over territory controlled by “Russian-backed separatists” in eastern Ukraine.

Referring to that tragedy, President Obama said, “[A]mid our prayers and our outrage, the United States continues to do everything in our power to help bring home their loved ones, support the international investigation, and make sure justice is done.” He also condemned the “separatists” for interfering with the crash investigation and tampering with evidence.

But that was when the Russians and their allies were the suspects. In the wake of the Afghan hospital bombing, the US has insisted it has the ability to investigate itself impartially, a claim Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) strongly rejects.

“Very Precisely Hit”

Supporting the MSF position is the fact that the official US story has changed numerous times. US forces first claimed the airstrike was carried out “against individuals threatening the force,” and that the nearby hospital was only collateral damage.

In response, MSF said “the main hospital building, where medical personnel were caring for patients, was repeatedly and very precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched,” suggesting the strikes were not a mistake.

Local Afghan forces attempted to justify the attack on grounds that Taliban fighters shot at US and Afghan forces from the hospital.

The MSF categorically denies this, saying that the Afghan statement “amounts to an admission of a war crime.” Hospitals are protected under laws of war.

The differing accounts of what happened that day only underscore the need for an independent, impartial body to conduct an investigation.

“Violations of the Rules of War?”

The US military completed its internal investigation in November. In contrast to earlier US statements, the latest report does not claim the bombing of the hospital was collateral damage inflicted while protecting US troops under fire from the Taliban. Instead, the report says that US forces intended to strike a nearby building where they believed insurgents were taking shelter, but that “human error, compounded by systems and procedural failures“ resulted in US forces striking the MSF compound instead. The communications systems malfunctioned, and personnel requesting and executing the strike “did not undertake the appropriate measures to verify that the facility was a legitimate military target,” said General John Campbell.

But MSF is not satisfied. Christopher Stokes, the organization’s General Director, said in a written statement dated November 25, “the US version of events presented today leaves MSF with more questions than answers. The frightening catalogue of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of US forces and violations of the rules of war.”

MSF has called on the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to launch an independent investigation. The IHFFC was established under the Geneva Conventions but has never been used since it was officially constituted in 1991. According to the group’s website, “The IHFFC stands ready to undertake an investigation but can only do so based on the consent of the concerned… States.”

However, the United States and Afghanistan are unlikely to give their consent, as they would prefer their own investigation to be accepted as definitive.

Doctors WIthout Borders condemns this stance in the strongest possible language.“We cannot rely solely on the parties involved in the conflict to carry out an independent and impartial examination of an attack in which they are implicated,” said MSF-USA Executive Director Jason Cone. “Perpetrators cannot also be judges.”

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Afghanistan: peace talks and conflict escalation

NOVANEWS

By GPD

By Masud Wadan, for Veterans Today

The root cause of today’s endless conflict in Afghanistan dates back to the day when soviet forces set foot on Afghan soil, the war that sustained to drag into another century and passed to other war wagers. Following the soviet exit, the power was taken over by the most uncivilized and cruel humans of the earth, Jihadists and then Taliban who voluntarily plunged Afghanistan into ruins.

In years before 2014, a broad speculation over what might happen beyond 2014 – US forces withdrawal – was that Afghanistan would experience a boom, either in terms of security, economy or overall developments. It was predicted that with international forces indoors and Afghan security forces on war front, while peace efforts at great pace, this long-war-devastated country would phase in prosperity.

But those dreams were especially shattered when first signs of continuity of war were felt across the country. The failed war on terror gave birth to a brand new terror group “Islamic State”, compounded an already fatal insurgency that just eyes on ways to “kill and kill”.

Taliban or any rebel group’s ideology of “fighting government” is cleared “pointless”, because there is no targeting of key Afghan security authorities other than hunting down civilians, though it is not that they can’t reach “them”.

What these days has overwhelmingly engaged people is the battle against Islamic State in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The seeds of Islamic State in Afghanistan were first planted for a different purpose. Around 2008 under Karzai, members of Lashkar-e Islam resettled across the border in parts of peripheral districts of Nangarhar province.

The fleeing group was defying Pakistani government and even reportedly plotted deadly attacks. Pakistan was forced to set up a force to counter this group. It yielded somewhat desired outcome and suppressed the challenging group.

This move went on to lay the foundation of Islamic State in Afghanistan. It was when we were hearing about clashes between Taliban and Islamic State. It is more like a by-product force.

The first ever non-government resistance to the Islamic State’s presence and atrocities in a confined area was mobilized by an Afghan warlord Abdul Zahir Qadeer, who is also the first deputy of parliament. His anti-IS position went viral in social network and mass media, particularly when a footage released showed four IS fighter’s heads cut off the body.

They were beheaded by Zahir Qadeer’s armed personnel to avenge the relentless mass killing of locals. Although statesmen and Human Right organization slammed the act and called for investigation, it comforted the pains of not only victims and their dependents, but almost every citizen who heard about it.

A number of powerful jihadists and tycoons running million dollar massive businesses across the Nangarhar city may also stand as barrier to the advancement of Islamic State into the city. They may choose every option to ward off anything on the earth making trouble for the flow of their business. The loss is inevitable for them if Islamic State fighters make it to reach out the outskirts of the city.

On the other hand, as Russia looks around for influence as part of anti-IS battle, Zahir Qadeer and Moscow’s interests meet the same. The two sides would possibly come together to discuss the issue in question.

Russia is trying as hard to overcome the threat as President Putin’s special representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov has asked UN Security Council to relax bans on Taliban. There have been media reports about Moscow-Taliban’s negotiation in Tajikistan.

The Taliban leadership it spoke to might not absolutely represent the fighters battling in Afghanistan as the core Taliban address is far beyond the reach of Moscow, but it would help the major power chalk out own road map to form or lure an anti-Islamic State rebel group.

The mentioned Russian attempts would not go quietly and away from US attention. It would be equally followed by western responsive measures. If the pace further develops, it would amount to an “alarming bell” for the west.

Peace negotiation efforts with Taliban resumed after Pakistani General Raheel Sharif’s last week visit to Kabul. Although, it is no surprising news owing to its failed and dishonest past, the U.S and China’s involvement has sparked a bit of optimism to pressure the opposite side of Afghan government.

This comes as the latest fierce fighting in Sangin district of Helmand province was believed to have erupted as a stride towards showing enormity of Taliban’s power to give them more concession in the negotiation. Some analysts had predicted the resumption of peace campaign just after or amid Sangin’s violent battle.

If this argumentative peace talk ever reach consensus, Afghan govt. would have to prepare to give up a great deal of concessions and make a grave history for the next generations. This could include abandoning of territories to the Taliban or some share in power in Kabul.

Any such deal, however, would prompt majority of nation to outrageously stand against statesmen. A massive chaos that would grow as much as to leave Afghan leaders mired in a new tragedy.

Thereby, Afghan side has to meticulously discuss the “mutual” concessions, where ours is primarily focused on long lasting truce with Taliban, yet there is no guarantee the extremism would stop even after agreement.

The fighting in Helmand persistently expands into other districts. Afghan Special Forces in an operation the other day released 59 hostages among military men and civilians. In Marjah district, Taliban has forced residents out of their homes and planted IEDs along the blacktop.

Central security authorities were criticized for lingering action to timely send reinforcements to the war front.

Islamic State operatives now in Pakistan

Pakistani media has spoken the language of Islamic State loyalist’s presence and inroad attempts in this country, a claim declined by Pakistani authorities. According to Urdu language Jang daily, Islamic State is recruiting, brainwashing and sending operatives to the fighting grounds in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Islamic State is in stage of invisibly taking shape and therefore cannot be felt well there. Some best-selling newspapers have cautioned of Islamic State’s gaining of foothold and called on authorities to stop its expansion.

The phenomenon seems to be serious as another Urdu language “Dunya” newspaper reads “Daesh is working to secure a perpetual presence in Pakistan”. This is while “Amir Mansoor” has been named as Ameer of the group in Islamabad.

Although the ground may now only serve as “mobilization” for Islamic State and will not pose a direct threat to Pakistan, someday they may turn a “homegrown demons” for Pakistan and bother own creators.

Daesh recruiters set sights on Afghan refugees as priority. After getting trained, the recruits move to Afghanistan to fight for what they call “farce” Jihad. They get 30 to 50 thousand Pakistani rupee (300 to 500 USD) each month.

It can willingly, unwillingly carry menace of terror attacks in neighboring countries – other than Afghanistan. Saturday’s armed attack on an Indian military base in border region is citable as dire consequence. Indian media and officials put the blame on Pakistan right after the raid.

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CIA Helicopters Ferrying ISIS Fighters into Afghanistan?

NOVANEWS
By GPD
ISIS militants have been transported to the Afghan province of Nangarhar by helicopter, according to reports.
Stock photo, not to represent an actual event

Stock photo, not to represent an actual event
Afghan authorities are investigating reports that two unidentified helicopters have dropped off Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists in the Afghan province of Nangarhar, Afghan Senator Haji Lutfullah Baba told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Wednesday.”A number of people in Tor Ghar, Nangarhar Province have contacted me to say that unidentified helicopters have airlifted Daesh militants there,Iran Front Page reported Baba as having said.
“They asked me to follow up the issue and urge security and military officials to look into the militant movements, which pose a threat to the security of the province and the entire nation.”
A spokesman for the local government in Nangarhar province confirmed reports that the helicopters had dropped off men wearing in black uniforms, and added that similar sightings had also been reported in the provinces of Kunduz, Baghlan and Badakhshan.On December 16 Afghanistan’s Khaama press news agency reported that fierce clashes between Daesh and the Taliban in eastern Nangarhar province had resulted in heavy losses for both sides.
“15 armed opponents have been killed and 36 others wounded in these clashes,” said Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, who added that four of the dead were Daesh terrorists, and 11 were Taliban.
“Out of the 36 wounded, 11 of them belong to Daesh and 25 others were members of Taliban,” he said, adding that two civilians had also been injured in the clashes.

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Pentagon Task Force Spent Nearly

NOVANEWS

Image result for Pentagon LOGO

 

https://theintercept.com/2015/12/03/pentagon-task-force-spent-nearly-150m-on-villas…

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) is asking why a small Department of Defense task force charged with developing the Afghan economy spent nearly $150 million on private villas, security guards and luxury meals. In a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter … SIGAR chief John Sopko wrote that members of the Defense Department’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) could have used accommodations available on local military bases and other U.S. government facilities.

Former TFBSO employees told SIGAR investigators thatthe $150 million … supported “no more than 5 to 10” employees. Triple Canopy is one of the firms that have financially benefited the most from post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning roughly $2.2 billion in government contracts since 2003.

The company has continued to receive lucrative government contracts despite being at the center of several controversies related to the killing of civilians in Iraq by its employees and providing falsified documents for its private security guards. The decision to hire the contractors is believed to have originated with former deputy undersecretary of defense and TFSBO director Paul Brinkley. In 2007, he was investigated by the military on allegations of financial mismanagement and personal misconduct while based in Iraq, but continued serving in government until 2011.

Note: By mid-2014, the US had spent more money on Afghanistan’s “reconstruction” than it spent on the entire Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe following WWII. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

 

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CIA’s Afghan paramilitaries regularly killing civilians

NOVANEWS
Jason Ditz
AntiWar

Darwar Khan prays over the graves of relatives who were killed during a night raid conducted by the CIA’s Khost Protection Force in the village of Gurbuz District, Khost province, on Nov. 4.

The “Khost Protection Force” (KPF), the CIA-trained paramilitary faction in Afghanistan’s Khost Province, is coming under growing criticism from locals as well as the Afghan central government for being unaccountable, and causing a growing civilian death toll

Afghan officials say that the KPF conducted a series of home raids under the guise of counterterrorism operations against the homes of totally innocent civilians, and killed at least six of themTwo US “advisers,” apparently CIA, were present during the raids.

The CIA has come under fire for using the KPF as a virtual proxy force, ordering them around the province on arbitrary arrest missions, detaining people without charges (despite not being a police force in and of themselves), and torturing them.

This is basically par for the course for US-backed factions within Afghanistan, but the KPF is a much larger, more concentrated force, and has gotten away with operating this way for years because the Khost Province has such a heavy Taliban presence. Increasingly, however, even the Afghan government sees the group’s operations as fueling unrest among tribal leaders more than doing any real harm to the Taliban.

Khost province and Helmand province, Afghanistan.

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Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar

NOVANEWS
Image result for Gen. John Campbell PHOTO
By Dave Lindorff 

“US forces would never intentionally strike a hospital.”

— US Commander of NATO Forces in Afghanistan Gen. John Campbell

After weeks of lies, the Obama administration and the Pentagon, unable to find any way to explain their murderous hour-long AC-130 gunship assault on and destruction of a Doctors Without Borders-run hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, have turned to a new lie: they bombed the wrong building.

Gen. John Campbell, commander of NATO forces (sic) in Afghanistan, citing the results of a just-released Pentagon study of the Oct. 3 incident which killed 30 medical personnel and patients and left the only hospital in the region a smoking ruin, now says that the American mass-slaughter flying machine bombed “the wrong target,” hitting the hospital instead of a “nearby building,” supposedly a government structure from which Taliban were said to be firing.

Campbell said the hospital attack, which would be a grave war crime if intentional, was simply “the direct result of avoidable human error, compounded by process and equipment failure,” he said, adding, “US forces would never intentionally strike a hospital.”

Grim guffaws could be heard around the world, if not, perhaps, among the assembled hack reporters, who in dutifully transcribing the general’s remarks for their articles failed to first check their history. Had they even made a cursory search, they’d have discovered that hitting hospitals is something the US military does routinely and with alacrity.

Indeed the Kunduz attack isn’t even the first time a Doctors Without Borders hospital has been struck by US bombs. Back on July 20, 1993, when US forces were busy blowing up Somalia, they bombed Digfer Hospital, the largest hospital in the capital city of Mogadishu, seriously damaging the facility where a number of DWB physicians were working, and killing three patients. At the time, a U.N. official explained that the hospital had been targeted because gunmen loyal to warlord coup-leader Gen. Mohammad Farah Aidid were hiding there. (If that were the reason, that attack would have been a war crime.)

But it’s not just Doctors Without Borders-run hospitals that the US attacks.

During the Vietnam War in the 1960s and early 1970s, the US was widely known to be routinely targeting hospitals. The worst example of this criminal behavior was during the notorious 1972 Christmas Bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, the two largest cities in northern Vietnam, ordered by then President Richard Nixon and his National Security Advisor and fellow war criminal Henry Kissinger when peace talks with the North Vietnamese broke down. In complete disregard for civilian lives, both cities were relentlessly attacked for days, both by small planes and, carpet-bombing B-52s. A total of 20,000 tons of bombs was dropped on the two cities, leveling them. Included in the targeting of those 20,000 bombs was Vietnam’s largest healthcare facility, Hanoi’s 1,150-bed Bach Mai Hospital, hit by B-52s and essentially destroyed. Other hospitals were also leveled in the round-the-clock onslaught.

But that was just the biggest hospital strike of that war.

During Senate committee testimony about the US conduct of the war back in 1973, according to a contemporary report inNewsweek magazine, Vietnam veterans testified over and over that no restrictions were placed on them regarding the bombing and shelling of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong hospitals. In fact one witness, Alan Stevenson, a San Francisco stockbroker who had been an Army intelligence specialist in 1969, said that following orders, he had “routinely listed hospitals among targets to be struck by American fighter planes.” He testified, “The bigger the hospital, the better it was,” since larger hospitals were generally guarded by brigade-sized forces.

Despite clear Geneva Convention rules outlawing the targeting of hospitals — even those treating enemy combatants — the US military’s fondness for hospitals as targets continued after Vietnam. In 1999, NATO (US) warplanes bombed a hospital in Belgrade, Serbia, killing four people, in what, as always, was characterized by the Pentagon as a “technical error” in which laser-guided “smart bombs” had allegedly turned out to be so stupid that they overshot their targets by over a quarter of a mile.

Four years later, during the early “shock-and-awe” part of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, US aircraft bombed a maternity hospital run by the International Red Crescent, killing several people and injuring 27, including medical personnel. That time the Pentagon didn’t even claim it was a mistake, simply saying, “Coalition (sic) forces target only legitimate military targets and go to great lengths to minimize civilian casualties and damage to civilian facilities.”

Now perhaps some readers might want to cut the Pentagon and the White House some slack like our corporate media scribes and say, well, maybe these horrors were all mistakes. But first consider how much respect the US Army had for the sanctity of hospitals under the Geneva Conventions for the conduct of war when they stormed Ramadi General Hospital, the largest hospital in western Iraq, on July 5, 2006. As justification, they claimed it was being used to treat injured insurgents (a protected action under Geneva rules). The US troops harassed the medical staff, frightened and interrogated sick and injured patients, dragged injured fighters out of their beds and detained them, destroyed medical equipment and medicines, and occupied the hospital for some time, before finally leaving. Similar criminal hospital invasions by US forces occurred during the 2006 revenge assault by US Marines that leveled the city of Fallujah.

Finally, before anyone accepts the latest lie concerning the Pentagon’s “investigation,” claiming that the attack on the Kunduz hospital was just a matter of mixing up buildings and coordinates, know that no other building in Kunduz had that hospital’s unique cross-shaped roof layout, or the clear markings and banners delineating it to passing aircraft as a hospital. Furthermore, claiming that it was a targeting error, and claiming that the US “would never intentionally strike a hospital,” were only Gen. Campbell’s fourth and fifth lies. The general in fact has an impressive history of lying about this issue.

Back on Oct. 4, a day after the Kunduz hospital attack, the general said: “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.” The only true fact in that statement of his was the time of the airstrike.

On Oct. 5, a day later, when that first lie wasn’t working, he changed his story, saying, “We have now learned that on October 3, 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 the initial reports, which indicated that U.S. forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf.” Again the general was lying. US aircraft do not respond to direct call-ins for bombing strikes by Afghan government forces.

So a day later on Oct. 6, the general changed his story again at a Senate Armed Services Committee, saying: “On Saturday morning our forces provided close air support to Afghan forces at their request. To be clear, the decision to provide aerial fire was a U.S. decision, made within the U.S. chain of command. A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility … I assure you that the investigation will be thorough, objective and transparent.” That last line was probably his biggest whopper.

Mainstream reporters haven’t pressed this serial liar about his ever-changing alibis, but someone should.

Doctors Without Borders is denouncing the Pentagon report and the general’s explanation, saying that it raises far more questions than it answers and doesn’t square with the facts of what happened. The organization continues to demand an independent international investigation under UN auspices into the Kunduz bombing — something that the US is refusing to permit.

But even without such an honest investigation, it should be obvious that the proper answer Gen. Campbell, if he had a shred of integrity, should be giving to the question of what happened in Kunduz under his authority is: “We’re the exceptional nation. We bomb hospitals. Got a problem with that?”

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The Blood on Obama’s Hands: Kunduz Hospital Attack Designed “to Kill and Destroy”

NOVANEWS
Global Research
AFGHANISTAN-US-OBAMA

“Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC-130 gunship while fleeing the burning building.”

So reads the opening of an initial review issued Thursday by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders—MSF), documenting the horrifying October 3 US airstrike on the charitable agency’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

While spelling out the carnage inflicted upon wounded men, women and children as well as doctors, nurses and other medical staff that day, the report adds to the already overwhelming evidence that the attack was neither an accident nor a case of “collateral damage,” but rather a deliberate war crime ordered by the Pentagon to further US military objectives in Afghanistan.

Among the new information provided by the report is that, after repeatedly providing the Pentagon, the US Army in Kabul as well as the Afghan authorities with the coordinates of the well-known medical facility, MSF staff at the Kunduz hospital received a phone call two nights before the attack from a US government official in Washington. He asked whether it “had a large number of Taliban ‘holed up’ there.” The official was told that the hospital was functioning normally and at full capacity, with some wounded Taliban fighters among the patients.

The hospital, the report states, was well-lit and clearly marked, with MSF insignia on its roof. Based on interviews with some 60 staff members, the report establishes that there were no armed individuals in the facility and, indeed, there had been no fighting, gunshots or explosions in the vicinity of the hospital in the evening preceding the attack.

The attack by the slow-moving, propeller-driven AC-130 gunship lasted between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes, with the plane continuously circling the hospital, hitting it with its multiple rapid-fire cannon, precision bombs and missiles.

“The view from inside the hospital is that this attack was conducted with a purpose to kill and destroy,” Christopher Stokes, MSF’s general director, told reporters at a press conference in Kabul on Thursday. “A mistake is quite hard to understand and believe at this time.”

The MSF report gives a chilling sense of the brutality of this crime. It recounts that the first area to be hit was the Intensive Care Unit, where immobile patients, including two children, were killed outright or burned to death in their hospital beds.

The operating theaters were then destroyed, with at least two patients killed as they lay on operating tables.

“An MSF nurse arrived at the administrative building covered from head to toe in debris and blood with his left arm hanging from a small piece of tissue after having suffered a traumatic amputation in the blast,” the report recounts.

Staff members described people being mowed down as they tried to flee the airstrike. “MSF doctors and other medical staff were shot while running to reach safety in a different part of the compound,” the report adds.

“One MSF staff member described a patient in a wheelchair attempting to escape from the inpatient department when he was killed by shrapnel from a blast,” the report states. “Other MSF staff describe seeing people running while on fire and then falling unconscious on the ground. One MSF staff was decapitated by shrapnel in the airstrikes.”

The US airstrike turned what had been the principal medical facility for over one million people in northeastern Afghanistan into hell on earth. In addition to wantonly killing patients and medical staff, it left the region’s entire population without badly needed medical care.

There are two plausible theories that have been advanced to explain the attack. The first, based on reporting by AP, indicates that the strike was ordered out of suspicion that a Pakistani intelligence officer who was coordinating operations with the Taliban was present in the hospital. In other words, mass murder against innocent civilians was carried out as part of a “targeted assassination” against one man.

The other explanation is that the US military decided to obliterate the hospital because it was treating wounded Taliban fighters.

In either case, under international law the attack constitutes a war crime, the kind of offense for which Nazi officers were tried and convicted at Nuremberg.

But not so under the legal rationales for US criminal aggression fashioned under the Obama administration.

As the four-part series, “The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual,” being finalized on the World Socialist Web Site today establishes, the pseudo-legal doctrine that has been crafted for the US military, while giving a formal nod to international law’s prohibition against targeting civilians, makes clear that in practice such attacks are not only allowed but encouraged.

“Civilians may be killed incidentally in military operations; however, the expected incidental harm to civilians may not be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage from an attack,” the law of war manual states. In other words, the US military is allowed to kill civilians, and the greater the military objective, the more innocent men, women and children, not to mention doctors, nurses and patients, may be slaughtered.

Similarly, while stating that “feasible precautions” should be taken to “avoid” civilian casualties, the manual goes on to affirm that, if US commanders determine that “taking a precaution would result in operational risk (i.e., a risk of failing to accomplish the mission) or an increased risk of harm to their own forces, then the precaution would not be feasible and would not be required.” This is a clear mandate to US military officers to wipe out however many civilians they deem necessary to “accomplish the mission” or reduce their own casualties.

No doubt, within the US chain of command, such calculations were made to arrive at the decision to order an AC-130 to slowly and deliberately reduce a civilian hospital to rubble, killing at least 30 patients and medical staff and wounding many others.

The responsibility for this crime lies not merely with the crew of the flying gunship, the commanders on  the ground in Afghanistan or the top brass of the US military. It extends to the top of the US political establishment, including President Barack Obama and his top aides, who have done so much to make murderous violence around the world routine, from aggressive war, to drone assassinations to cold-blooded massacres.

The White House and the Pentagon have thus far stonewalled MSF’s demand for an independent investigation into the Kunduz hospital massacre.

Even more telling, Joanne Liu, president of MSF, reported this week that the agency had appealed to some 76 governments seeking support for an impartial investigation, but had received none. “The silence is embarrassing,” Liu told Reuters.

Behind this apparent indifference by capitalist governments around the globe to the horrors unleashed by the US military in Kunduz lies the recognition that this attack constituted not the exception, but the rule, not the product of a “tragic error” or “collateral damage,” but the inevitable expression of  the criminality of American imperialism.

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Graphic video shows Afghan woman stoned to death for eloping

NOVANEWS

KABUL: A young Afghan woman who was married against her will has been stoned to death by extremists after she was caught eloping with another man, local officials told AFP Tuesday.

The graphic video shows the woman, named as Rokhsahana and aged between 19 and 21, being stoned.

Rokhsahana can be heard repeating the ‘Shahada’, or Muslim profession of faith, her voice growing increasingly high-pitched in the nearly 30-second clip run in Afghan media. Local authorities confirmed the footage.

The killing took place about a week ago in Ghalmeen, an area some 40 kilometres from the Ghor provincial capital of Firozkoh, governor Seema Joyenda said.

Rokhsahana had been “stoned to death by Taliban, local religious leaders and irresponsible armed warlords”, Joyenda told AFP.

Joyenda, one of Afghanistan’s only two female governors, said that according to authorities’ information Rokhsahana’s family had “married her to someone against her will and she was eloping with a man her age”.

She condemned the stoning, calling on Kabul to take action to “clean the area”.

“This is the first incident in this area but will not be the last. Women in general have problems all over the country, but especially in Ghor… The man with whom she was eloping has not been stoned.”

Ghor police chief Mustafa Mohseni told AFP that the incident happened in an Afghan Taliban-controlled area, confirming that it was the first such incident “this year”.

Read: Parents of young woman stoned to death await justice

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Manhunting in the Hindu Kush

NOVANEWS

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https://theintercept.com/drone-papers/manhunting-in-the-hindu-kush/

From 2011 to 2013, the most elite forces in the U.S. military, supported by the CIA and other elements of the intelligence community, set out to destroy the Taliban and al Qaeda forces that remained hidden … along Afghanistan’s northeastern border with Pakistan. Dubbed Operation Haymaker, the campaign has been described as a potential model for the future of American warfare.

The military’s own analysis demonstrates that the Haymaker campaign was in many respects a failure. The vast majority of those killed in airstrikes were not the direct targets. Nor did the campaign succeed in significantly degrading al Qaeda’s operations in the region.

The frequency with which “targeted killing” operations hit unnamed bystanders is among the more striking takeaways from the Haymaker slides. [Documents obtained by The Intercept] show that during a five-month stretch of the campaign, nearly nine out of 10 people who died in airstrikes were not the Americans’ direct targets. Larry Lewis, formerly a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, … found that drone strikes in Afghanistan were 10 times more likely to kill civilians than conventional aircraft. This month, an American airstrike on a hospital run by the international organization Médecins Sans Frontières … killed at least a dozen members of the humanitarian group’s medical staff and 10 patients, including three children. A nurse on the scene recalled seeing six victims in the intensive care unit ablaze in their beds.

Note: Read more about the major failings of US drone attacks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.

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