Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

There’s No Place Like CounterPunch

There's no place like CounterPunch, it's just that simple. And as the radical space within the "alternative media"(whatever that means) landscape continues to shrink, sanctuaries such as CounterPunch become all the more crucial for our political, intellectual, and moral survival. Add to that the fact that CounterPunch won't inundate you with ads and corporate propaganda. So it should be clear why CounterPunch needs your support: so it can keep doing what it's been doing for nearly 25 years. As CP Editor, Jeffrey St. Clair, succinctly explained, "We lure you in, and then punch you in the kidneys." Pleasant and true though that may be, the hard-working CP staff is more than just a few grunts greasing the gears of the status quo.

So come on, be a pal, make a tax deductible donation to CounterPunch today to support our annual fund drive, if you have already donated we thank you! If you haven't, do it because you want to. Do it because you know what CounterPunch is worth. Do it because CounterPunch needs you. Every dollar is tax-deductible. (PayPal accepted)

Thank you,
Eric Draitser

Northern Alliance Attacks US War Plan

by Patrick Cockburn In Jabal Saraj The Independent

Opposition forces in Afghanistan criticised the US air strikes for not bombing the Taliban frontline where most of the ruling movement’s soldiers are now dug in after leaving the cities.

The complaint came amid reports that opposition fighters have suffered a big setback in their attempt to capture the strategic northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif from the Taliban.

“I can understand the frustration among our senior commanders about the strikes,” said Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the Foreign Minister of the opposition Northern Alliance. “They think they are too limited. Since the Taliban are concentrated in the frontline it would be better to bomb them there. It’s obvious.”

US planes have been making episodic attacks on the front north of Kabul but not the massive raids ? opening the road to the Afghan capital ? the Northern Alliance had hoped for. The Alliance has, therefore, not launched any ground attacks or even brought up reinforcements.

The only Northern Alliance offensive under way is towards Mazar-i-Sharif, the largest city in northern Afghanistan. But this attack appears to have faltered after a Taliban counter-attack. “Militarily our Mojahideen made mistakes,” said an Afghan opposition source. “They didn’t co-ordinate their attacks.” One column of anti-Taliban soldiers advancing on the city outdistanced other columns coming from different directions and was then forced to retreat by the Taliban counter-offensive.

Dr Abdullah claimed yesterday that the Northern Alliance had never thought it would take Mazar-i-Sharif immediately and it had made significant gains south of the city. He added that the Taliban had an army of between 50,000 to 60,000 men and controlled 70 per cent of Afghanistan ? the real figure is believed to be closer to 85 per cent ? and they were difficult to displace.

Asked about the comment of a US military spokesman who said he was surprised by the toughness of the Taliban soldiers in resisting American bombing, Dr Abdullah was caustic. He pointed out that the Northern Alliance had itself been bombarded by 2,000 rockets over a short period when it was besieged in Kabul, the Afghan capital, five years ago, but said this had not shaken its grip on power.

“I am not at all surprised that the Taliban continues to resist,” said Dr Abdullah at a press conference in Jabal Saraj, 50 miles north of Kabul. “The level of pressure on the Taliban is not enough to make them lay down their arms and run away.”

Despite Dr Abdullah’s suave assurances that the Northern Alliance had never expected a rapid advance on Kabul, his tone now is very much at odds with what he was saying only three weeks ago. He said then that it was possible that Northern Alliance forces would be in the capital in a week. He foresaw a Northern Alliance offensive “within days” of the start of the American bombing.

This heady optimism has now changed. The Northern Alliance forces have not moved anywhere. On the Kabul front they have received no reinforcements or ammunition supplies. Artillery pieces and rocket launchers are still in the same positions they were a month ago.

Such shelling and US bombing which has occurred has been heavily covered by the large number of foreign journalists concentrated in Jabal Saraj. The fall of every bomb is minutely described, sometimes giving the impression of full-scale war, but in reality military activity has been very limited.

So far, at least, the US bombing has clearly had an impact on the Taliban, but it has not transformed the military balance in Afghanistan. The Northern Alliance is still outnumbered and unwilling to commit its small forces until the US has softened up its enemy. The air offensive has yet to produce the large-scale defections the opposition were hoping for.

Dr Abdullah said that the bombing could be much more effective if it was better “co-ordinated” with the US. He refused to expand on what form this co-ordination should take, but he almost certainly means close air support with air controllers on the ground directing the attacks on Taliban targets of US.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of  The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians