FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Meanwhile, Back in Afghanistan

Consider the following eyewitness accounts from distraught villagers in Bandi Temur, Afghanistan. As reported in the May 27, 2002 edition of the New York Times: “They shot my husband, Abdullah, and they beat me and bound my hands and eyes.” From a wailing mother came the cry: “They shot my son, Muhammad Sadiq. He was 35. They shot him in the legs.” Most distressing was the story of another mother whose 3 year old daughter ran in fear from the soldiers. “They were shooting….I could not see anything but she was running. We only found her the next day. She was in the well, she was dead.”

Were these soldiers part of another in the all-too-frequent conflicts between rival Afghan warlords that render life outside of Kabul dangerous and deadly? No, this was another lethal raid in recent actions by US troops that have outraged Afghan villagers. Among the other egregious violence in this attack was the brutal death by “a blow from a rifle butt” of the 100 year old village chief. As General Akram, the regional head of police, explained: “The villagers really respected him, that’s why they are so angry.” Angry enough, according to the General, to view such raids of the American-led coalition forces as similar to the Soviet activities of the 1980’s.

But it is not just Afghan Generals and villagers who are becoming increasingly alienated from US military operations in Afghanistan. Even some British military officials are deploring the tactics of such operations. According to a story in the Financial Times of May 13, 2002, one UK military source claimed: “The Americans seem to be operating like SWAT squads, with one thought in their heads: “Let’s go in and kill those ‘ragheads’, as they call the enemy.”

British correspondents for such newspapers as The Guardian and The Times have commented on the fact that carrying weapons in certain sensitive areas could easily get Afghans killed or imprisoned. Those who are left for dead would then be labeled, “AQT” – Al-Qaeda/Taliban, a catch-all designation to cover-up inadvertent murders of innocent civilians. These on-the-ground assaults only add to those civilians who have already died by the thousands in the massive bombing raids by US planes of “inadvertent” targets.

On the other hand, a recent US assassination attempt by drone missile of one recalcitrant warlord, Gulbuddin Hikmetyar, failed in its deliberate assault. This did, however, serve to infuriate Hikmetyar and lead to his call for “jihad” against the US. Thus, another former CIA-backed Mujahhedin tyrant became part of the endless cycle of “blowback.” Although Hikmetyar’s despicable misogynist fundamentalism was conveniently overlooked when the US was aiding Afghan resistance to the Soviets, his present dissent from US political aims in Afghanistan has condemned him to enemy status, a status he shares now with Osama Bin Laden, another CIA-client of the anti-Soviet days in Afghanistan.

In 1987, Hikmetyar was still valuable as a CIA “asset” to be sent into Tajikistan to attack villages and further destabilize the border regions between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. At about that same time, Bin Laden was using CIA funding to construct a large arms storage depot and training camp at the Khost tunnel complex, a complex which much later would come under attack from the US coalition forces. Perhaps the one constant in this ally/enemy choreography is the fact that Richard Armitage, then Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security and now Deputy Secretary of State, is still mucking about in political machinations in the region.

Another constant may be how the US turns a blind eye to the production of opium in Afghanistan as long as it serves the greater goal of US political control. Afghanistan has once again emerged as the leading producer of opium, another triumph of the “war against terrorism” in Afghanistan.

But, then, the Bush Administration has its eye on a more significant product of the region – oil and natural gas – and the role of a pipeline through Afghanistan. This was important enough for the Bush Administration to play footsie with the Taliban right through the summer of 2001. It continues to be of greater significance than even nation-building and long-term US military presence in Afghanistan, especially since military presence has been enhanced in the Caspian region with the help of dictatorial governments in places like Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile, with the political and financial support (upwards of 228 million dollars) of the Bush Administration, Turkey will shortly assume command of the multi-nation UN security force in Afghanistan. In the past Turkey backed one of the worst Afghan warlords now being “rehabilitated” by the US, General Abdul Rashid Dostum. Dostum’s troops were notorious violators of women and human rights across the board. Then again, Turkey’s deplorable human rights record against its Kurdish citizens rivals that of Saddam Hussein’s. Of course, former ally Saddam Hussein no longer receives massive US aid as does Turkey.

To conceal all the connections to this sordid past and contradictory present is undoubtedly part of the effort to showcase the defeat of the Taliban as a triumph of the Bush Administration’s commitment to women’s rights and human rights. Hypocrisy is too kind and imprecise a word for such deceitful and Orwellian policies. Perhaps the words of the Roman historian, Tacitus, concerning the conquering of Carthage would better apply: “Where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

Fran Shor teaches at Wayne State University. He is an anti-war activist and member of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. His e-mail address is: <f.shor@wayne.edu>.

 

 

More articles by:

Fran Shor is a Michigan-based retired teacher, author, and political activist.  

August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omaorosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
Dean Baker
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker on Medicare-for-All
Weekend Edition
August 10, 2018
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Militarizing Space: Starship Troopers, Same As It Ever Was
Andrew Levine
No Attack on Iran, Yet
Melvin Goodman
The CIA’s Double Standard Revisited
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament
Aidan O'Brien
In Italy, There are 12,000 American Soldiers and 500,000 African Refugees: Connect the Dots 
Robert Fantina
Pity the Democrats and Republicans
Ishmael Reed
Am I More Nordic Than Members of the Alt Right?
Kristine Mattis
Dying of Consumption While Guzzling Snake Oil: a Realist’s Perspective on the Environmental Crisis
James Munson
The Upside of Defeat
Brian Cloughley
Pentagon Spending Funds the Politicians
Pavel Kozhevnikov
Cold War in the Sauna: Notes From a Russian American
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail