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

Blood, Snow and NATO


in Kabul.

As the powers that be met in Latvia for a NATO summit, the first snowflakes of winter were falling lightly on Kabul city.

The suits thousands of miles away talked about the progress being made here. The Afghan people huddled around pathetic little fires and muttered dark warnings about the future.

Terrorists will not prevail, said the officials. Just wait until the fighting rages again next spring, said the men and women as they shivered in the cold.

The gulf between NATO members and the Afghans they are meant to protect is widening. And it will continue to grow until blood mixes with the rubbish on these streets and Kabul becomes another Baghdad.

Boosting troop levels will not help defeat the insurgency, it will only lead to soldiers, civilians and militants dying in even greater numbers. Every day a new “terrorist” is created by the actions of the foreigners here.

There have already been too many doors kicked in, bombs dropped and innocent people interrogated. The more NATO vehicles that speed through Kandahar or Helmand, the more suicide attackers there will be to hit them.

Support for the insurgency no longer just comes from those Pashtuns who traditionally favour the Taliban, it now exists among a broad section of society. Many Afghans want to fight the occupation forces and Mullah Omar’s band of fundamentalists.

The limited progress that has been made is steadily eaten away by bitter memories and sad new experiences. Last week a van travelling near a NATO convoy on the outskirts of Kabul was shot at and subsequently crashed. One civilian died and four were injured.

Hamid Karzai has lamented the increasing number of innocent people killed as a result of NATO actions, but his fragile grip on power grows weaker with each passing day. The feeling here is that the president will be forced from office, with the Americans ushering in a new figurehead to take his place.

Trying to impose Western-style democracy upon a country where strict Islamic values dominate was always going to be a miserable failure. But its demise is being hastened by the increasingly violent nature of the occupation.

A new chapter in this country’s tragic recent history has now started. The Taliban cannot be defeated or marginalised , no matter how many times they are called terrorists by NATO officials. Many people support them and a lot of those that don’t will end up backing other militias. A civil war is inevitable if foreign troops stay or leave.

When the snow melts next spring any remaining optimism will be carried away with it. Blood will be all that’s left.

CHRIS SANDS is a British freelance journalist who has been living in Afghanistan since August 2005.



More articles by:

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

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 28, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
The US, NATO and the Pope
Louis Proyect
The Outsider-Insider: Isaac Babel’s Big Mistake
Martin Billheimer
Now and Then, Ancient Sorceries
October 27, 2016
Paul Street
An Identity-Politicized Election and World Series Lakefront Liberals Can Love
Matthew Stevenson
Sex and the Presidential City
Jim Kavanagh
Tom Hayden’s Haunting
CJ Hopkins
The Pathologization of Dissent
Mike Merryman-Lotze
The Inherent Violence of Israel’s Gaza Blockade
Robert Fisk
Is Yemen Too Much for the World to Take?
Shamus Cooke
Stopping Hillary’s Coming War on Syria
Jan Oberg
Security Politics and the Closing of the Open Society
Ramzy Baroud
The War on UNESCO: Al-Aqsa Mosque is Palestinian and East Jerusalem is Illegally Occupied
Colin Todhunter
Lower Yields and Agropoisons: What is the Point of GM Mustard in India?
Norman Pollack
The Election: Does It Matter Who Wins?
Nyla Ali Khan
The Political and Cultural Richness of Kashmiriyat
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“It’s Only a Car!”
October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
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”