Archive | Afghanistan

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

Image result for cia logo

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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For Some Military Families, President Obama’s Decision To Keep Troops In Afghanistan Is ‘Another Knife’ In The Heart

NOVANEWS



http://www.ibtimes.com/some-military-families-president-obamas-decision-keep-troops…

U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledge Thursday to keep American troops in Afghanistan through 2016 was the last thing Mary Hladky wanted to hear. “It’s what we were dreading,” said the mother of three, whose son Ryan is in the National Guard after serving in the Army from 2009 to 2013 and in Afghanistan during the surge in 2011. She said announcements such as the one Obama made last week no longer surprise her, but they are still very upsetting.

In May 2014, Obama said it was “time to turn the page on … the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” saying he would withdraw the last American troops from the former country by 2016. Thursday, the president reversed course, saying the U.S. would keep at least 9,800 troops in the Central Asian nation through most of 2016, with at least 5,500 of them there at the end of next year. Obama … was joined by Vice President Joe Biden and top military leaders when he made the announcement in Washington. After her son’s deployment, Hladky joined a group called Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), which has for years urged lawmakers to bring U.S. troops back from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although Obama said last week he opposes the idea of what he called “endless war,” it appears the decision to conclude what is now a 14-year-old conflict in Afghanistan will no longer be his to make, given the end of his term in office in January 2017. Meanwhile, his move has resulted in a tremendous amount of anger and betrayal being felt among many military families.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.

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US Dispatched a Murderous AC-130 Airborne Gunship to Attack a Hospital

NOVANEWS
by DAVE LINDORFF

Killing Machine

The Air Force’s top killing machine, the AC-130J, was sent to attack the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz.

Evidence continues to mount that the US committed a monstrous war crime in attacking and destroying a fully operational hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on the night of Oct. 3, killing at least 22 people including at least 12 members of the volunteer medical staff of Medicine Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), the French based international aid organization that operated the hospital.

This even as the US desperately tries to bury the issue of its perfidy by offering “condolence payments” to victims of the attack, though without accepting blame beyond saying it was a “tragic mistake.”

The “mistake” claim looks increasingly shameless as it becomes clear that this was not, as the US corporate media continue to incorrectly report, a “bombing” gone wrong, but rather was a prolonged hour-long attack by an AC-130 gunship, the deadliest killing machine in the US Air Force’s weapons roster of mayhem. The aircraft, equipped with the latest night-vision sighting equipment, reportedly made five 15-minute assaults on the hospital’s main building housing the emergency operating room and recovery rooms, firing its array of howitzer cannons, 30-millimeter machine canons and other heavy weapons whose standard ammunition includes both high-explosive tips and anti-personnel rounds designed to scatter death in a wide pattern.

This is, in other words, not a precision targeting weapon, but a weapons system designed to spread death over a wide swath.

It explains why the building itself was not leveled, as happens when, for example, a drone first Hellfire missiles at a building or a plane drops a bomb. Rather, the hospital was deliberately set ablaze by incendiary weapons, and the people inside not incinerated were killed by a spray of bullets and anti-personnel flechettes.

Horrific enough to attack a hospital, but to attack it with a weapons system designed to slaughter as many people as possible is almost beyond comprehension.

The hospital in Kunduz was a well-known and long-established institution with a distinctive shape operating in a city that until recently was under full government control. That the US/NATO command did not clearly know the function of that structure is inconceivable, despite US government efforts to claim that a specific provision of the hospital’s coordinates to US forces by Medicine Sans Frontieres days before the attack “must have” gotten waylaid somewhere along the way. (see aerial photo of the hospital in Kunduz).

KundusHospitalAerialView.preview

Here’s what a military website says about the plane sent to wreak this havoc:

“Boasting a lethal number of mini-guns, cannons and howitzers, the AC-130 Gunship has earned a reputation as one of the deadliest combat weapons on the planet.”

The website Strategypage.com offers the added information that the AC-130’s 30–millimeter cannons fire “explosive anti-personnel rounds” as well as explosive ammunition.

If, as claimed by Pentagon officials and the top general in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Campbell, there were Taliban fighters firing from some location in or near the hospital (a claim vigorously disputed by Medicine Sans Frontieres, which says there was no fighting going on near the hospital and that all people entering the hospital, Taliban victims included, had to surrender weapons at the door as a matter of policy) it still would not justify under any circumstances the use of a weapons system like the AC-130 with its array of industrial slaughter weaponry.

The US has a lot to answer for, which explains why the White House has refused Medicine Sans Frontieres’ demand for an independent investigation into this atrocity.

No independent investigation could possibly end up exonerating the US in this case.

As I wrote earlier, the US response to calls for an independent investigation stand in stark contrast to US complaints about Russia’s refusal to participate or cooperate with a so-called international investigation into the downing of Malaysian Flight MH-17 over Ukraine two years ago.

One thing is clear: Gen. Campbell’s assurance after this atrocity that in continuing operations in and around the embattled city of Kunduz “As always, we will take all reasonable steps to protect civilians from harm,” is utter bullshit.

As for his claim that his “thoughts and prayers are with those affected,” If he really is praying, I suspect his prayers are really pleas to his god to protect him from being tried someday for mass murder.

If the US can send an AC-130 to provide “air-support” in the middle of a heavily populated urban battle zone, and can use it to assault, for over an hour, a known hospital facility, nobody is safe from American military power.

This is a case that must not go away, that cannot be “paid off” by “condolence” money, and that should lead to some high-profile trials for war crimes.

The Kunduz murders must, as MSF is demanding, be investigated by a genuinely independent international body, not by the killers themselves in the US military or the US government.

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Imperial Failure: Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq

NOVANEWS
by RALPH NADER

Oct 17, 2013 - Aleppo, Syria - ISIS fighters holding the Al-Qaeda flag with 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' written on it. on the frontline. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant aka ISIS. The group An-Nusra Front announced its creation January 2012 during the Syrian Civil War. Since then it has been the most aggressive and most effective rebel force in Syria. The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations. April 2013, the leader of the ISIS released an audio statement announcing that Jabhat al-Nusra is its branch in Syria. (Credit Image: © Medyan Dairieh/ZUMA Wire/ZUMAPRESS.com)

The photographs in the New York Times told contrasting stories last week. One showed two Taliban soldiers in civilian clothes and sandals, with their rifles, standing in front of a captured U.N. vehicle. The Taliban forces had taken the northern provincial capital of Kunduz. The other photograph showed Afghan army soldiers fully equipped with modern gear, weapons, and vehicles.

Guess who is winning? An estimated thirty-thousand Taliban soldiers with no air force, navy, or heavy weapons have been holding down ten times more Afghan army and police and over 100,000 U.S. soldiers with the world’s most modern weaponry – for eight years.

ISIS forces from Syria have taken over large areas of northern and western Iraq, including its second largest city, Mosul, and the battered city of Fallujah. ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria are estimated to number no more than 35,000. Like the Taliban, ISIS fighters, who vary in their military training, primarily have light weaponry. That is when they are not taking control of the fleeing, much larger, Iraqi army’s armored vehicles and ammunition from the United States.

Against vastly greater numbers of Iraqi soldiers, backed by U.S. weapons, U.S. planes bombing daily, 24/7 aerial surveillance, and U.S. military advisors at the ground level, so far ISIS is still holding most of its territory and is still dominant in large parts of Syria.

The American people are entitled to know how all this military might and the trillions of dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, since 2003 and 2001 respectively, can produce such negative fallouts.

Certainly these failures have little to do with observing the restraints of international law. Presidents Bush and Obama have sent military power anywhere and everywhere, regardless of national boundaries and the resulting immense civilian casualties, in those tragic, blown-apart countries.

The current perception of the U.S. in these countries is that of invaders on a rampage. Recruiting motivated fighters, including a seemingly endless supply of suicide bombers, is easier when the invaders come from western countries that for over a century have been known for attacking, carving up boundaries for artificial states, intervening, overthrowing, propping up domestic dictators, and generally siding with oligarchic or colonizing interests that brutalize the mass of the people.

It hasn’t helped for these invasions to be supported by an alien culture rooted in the Christian crusades against Islam centuries ago, whose jingoism in the U.S. continues among some evangelical groups today.

But of course more contemporary situations are, first and foremost, the wanton destruction and violent chaos that comes with such invasions. With the absence of any functioning central governments and the dominance of tribal societies, the sheer complexity of the invaders trying to figure out the intricate “politics” between and within tribes and clans turns into an immense, ongoing trap for the western military forces.

When the U.S. started taking sides with the Shiites against the Sunnis in Iraq, or between different clans and tribes in Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers, not knowing the language or customs, were left with handing out $100 bills to build alliances. Our government air-shipped and distributed crates of this money. With the local economies at a standstill, public facilities collapsed, fear gripped families from violent streets and roads, and all havoc broke lose in the struggle for safety and survival.

Afghan soldiers, who are paid only $120 a month, will do almost anything to supplement their income, including selling weapons. At higher levels, bribes, payoffs, extortions create an underground economic system. The combination of lack of understanding, the systemic bribes, and the ensuing corruption has produced a climate of chaos.

Then there is the reckless slaughter of civilians – wedding parties, schools, clinics, peasant boys collecting fire-wood on a hillside – from supposedly pinpoint, accurate airplanes, helicopter gunships, drones, or missiles. Hatred of the Americans spreads as people lose their loved ones.

Our “blowback” policies are fueling the expansion of al-Qaeda offshoots and new violent groups in over 20 countries. On 9/11, the “threat” was coming from a corner of one country – northeastern Afghanistan. The Bush/Cheney prevaricator frenzy led to local bounty hunters taking innocent captives, falsely labeled as “terrorists,” who were sent to the prisons in Guantanamo, Cuba. These actions have damaged our country’s reputation all over the world.

All this could have been avoided had we heeded the advice of retired, high-ranking military, national security, and diplomatic officials not to invade Iraq and their advice not to overreact in Afghanistan. But the supine mass media, and an overall cowardly Congress let the lies, deceptions, and cover-ups by the Bush regime go unchallenged and, as Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) put it, Bush/Cheney “lied us into the Iraq War.”

It isn’t as if the Taliban and ISIS are winning the “hearts and minds” of the local people. On the contrary, while promising law and order, they treat local populations quite brutally, with few exceptions. But the locals have long been treated brutally by the police, army, and militias jockeying for the spoils of conflict. Unfortunately, there is still no semblance of ground-level security.

All Empires fail and eventually devour themselves. The U.S. Empire is no different. Look at the harm to and drain on our soldiers, our domestic economy, the costly, boomeranging, endless wars overseas and what empire building has done to spread anxieties and lower the expectation level of the American people for their public budgets and public services.

Not repeatedly doing what has failed is the first step toward correction. How much better and cheaper it would be if years ago we became a humanitarian power – well received by the deprived billions in these anguished lands.

What changes are needed to get out of these quagmires and leave a semblance of recovery behind? Press those gaggles of presidential candidates, who war-monger with impunity or who are dodging this grave matter, for answers. Make them listen to you.

Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, USA0 Comments

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