AFGHANISTAN

Dec 08 08:35

Report: Taliban now encircle Kabul

The Taliban now have a presence in nearly three-quarters of Afghanistan, and are beginning to encircle its capital, Kabul, according to a new thinktank report.

The Paris-based International Council on Security and Development, which has offices in Afghanistan, says that Taliban fighters have advanced from the south of the country and now carry out regular attacks in the west and northwest.

"The West is in genuine danger of losing Afghanistan."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This campaign has been run with a combination of magical thinking, a contempt for military history and troop strength protocol, and a complete ignorance of the history of this area.

Magical thinking; that any less than the US military's own protocol on numbers to successfully attack and occupy this country would work. According to the US's own protocol, we needed 500,000 troops on the ground to attack and hold this country. Right now, we've got 30,000, plus or minus 8,100 Brits on the ground. The "surge" will add another 20,000. Do the math. At the end of the day, we'll have around just over 10 % of the total number necessary to hold this occupied territory.

A contempt for military history; believing that what is essentially a ground war can be won from the air. One has to wonder how many of the military "tacticians" (if one can call them that) actually served in Viet Nam. Had they, the planning and execution of this occupation would have gone far differently. Aerial bombing will guarantee two things, and two things only; mass civilian casualties (women, kids, elderly, and the medically fragile), and that you will radicalize people even further against the tin-pot dictator we're trying to prop up. (The Afghani people have every reason to believe that their government leaders are so crooked they have to screw their socks on in the morning).

And in terms of history, the last guy to conquer and hold this country was Alexander the Great.

Chew on that for a moment.

The cold, hard fact that we are losing in Afghanistan is no surprise; and it is doubtful that anything President-Elect Obama can do anything to reverse this, even with the surge.

Dec 08 08:34

Report warns of Taliban 'noose' around Afghan capital

Taliban insurgents have established a permanent presence in almost three-quarters of the territory of Afghanistan and are "closing a noose" around the capital Kabul, according to a report published today.

The independent thinktank International Council on Security and Development was critical of the international community's "failure" to address the security situation, which it argued in its report had brought Afghanistan "to a precipice".

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Actually, I think the US invasion did that.

Dec 07 08:30

The lamb busters... Nato investigates claim that US pilots 'massacred sheep'

NATO is investigating claims that scores of sheep were massacred by American Apache helicopters after being mistaken for Taliban fighters.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Mighty be time to back off those wake-em-up pills they give the pilots.

Dec 05 19:21

Pentagon plans troop surge in Afghanistan

The Pentagon has begun a massive building operation to construct new barracks and facilities in Afghanistan for 20,000 extra US troops that will pour into the country early next year.

There are 8,100 British troops in Afghanistan, mostly deployed in the southern Helmand province, where the Taleban insurgency has been the most fierce and effective.

It is to house the 20,000 extra troops, who will be joining the 32,000 American forces already there. General Tucker refused to say where the new facility will be.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Memo to the Obama Transition Team and Future Cabinet: these numbers don't add up at all.

By the US military's own protocol, we need about 500,000 soldiers to hold Afghanistan. Add the numbers represented here, and what do we have?

When the surge reaches its full troop strength what we'll have here (counting the British forces) will be - give or take - about 58,000 soldiers.

This is just a little over 10% of the troop strength necessary to get the job done.

So, what do we do? Continue the aerial bombings, declare victory, and go home?

Viet Nam should have taught the American military that you cannot win what is essentially a ground war from the air. Not having learned that lesson is a sad commentary on the mindset at both the Pentagon, and the white house.

At the end of the day, the resolution of the instability in Afghanistan can only be accomplished by dialogue, and by the Afghanis being able to elect a government that isn't so crooked that government officials have to screw their socks on in the morning.

Dec 04 09:38

German General: Afghan Police Training a ‘Miserable Failure’

Germany’s military commitment to the NATO mission in Afghanistan is focused almost exclusively on training Afghanistan’s floundering police force, but is having very little success. So little success in fact that General Hans-Christoph Ammon has condemned the training scheme as “a miserable failure.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Unflipping believable.

Dec 04 08:13

MAP OF THE PNAC PLAN (Large graphic; heavy download)

Dec 04 06:46

Afghanistan, Another Untold Story

Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan. Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something about recent Afghan history and the role played by the United States.

Dec 03 08:40

Thousands of Afghans Held Without Trial in ‘Telephone Justice’ System

For the rich and well-connected, the Afghan criminal justice system is remarkably convenient, with a simple phone call to an influential police officer or judge usually sufficient to ensure release without any formal charges, even for those arrested under severe circumstances. But the UN warns that for poorer citizens, the situation is far more onerous.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"Democracy" in Afghanistan: you've just gotta LOVE IT!!!

No wonder the average Afghani thinks its government is so collectively crooked that it has to screw its socks on in the morning.

When Karzai's government makes the Taliban look good to the Afghani people,
that's a really dicey commentary on US foreign policy to date.

Dec 01 08:31

German general breaks silence on Afghanistan

Breaking with a military tradition of keeping silent about policy, a top German general has branded his country's efforts in Afghanistan a failure, singling out its poor record in training the Afghan police and allocating development aid.

Dec 01 08:02

Iran-India-Pakistan cooperation would restore regional security: Rafsanjani

Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Sunday called for closer cooperation between Iran, India, and Pakistan in their efforts to bring back “tranquility” to the war-torn Afghanistan.

“Resolving the current crisis in Afghanistan requires extensive cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran, India and Pakistan. This cooperation can bring tranquility to the region,” Rafsanjani told visiting Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

He said the situation of foreign troops in Afghanistan is similar to that of the Soviet army in 1979-1989 war.

Nov 29 09:36

Afghans riot in Kabul after troops kill civilian

Dozens of angry Afghans threw stones at police after a convoy of foreign troops killed one civilian and wounded four more in the capital, Kabul, on Friday, the Kabul police chief and witnesses said.

Seething resentment against the presence of some 65,000 foreign troops is growing in Afghanistan after scores of Afghan civilians have been killed in a series of mistaken air strikes this year.

Nov 29 00:52

Press, "Psy Ops" to merge at NATO Afghan HQ

Press and "Psy Ops" to merge at NATO Afghan HQ: sources

By Jon Hemming Jon Hemming – 40 mins ago

KABUL (Reuters) – The U.S. general commanding NATO forces in Afghanistan has ordered a merger of the office that releases news with "Psy Ops," which deals with propaganda, a move that goes against the alliance's policy, three officials said.

The move has worried Washington's European NATO allies -- Germany has already threatened to pull out of media operations in Afghanistan -- and the officials said it could undermine the credibility of information released to the public.

Nov 28 10:36

UN Security Council Denies Afghanistan in Crisis

A delegation from the United Nations Security Council wrapped up a three day tour of Afghanistan today with a veiled swipe at recent complaints by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Touting a cabinet reshuffle as grounds for “cautious optimism,” delegation head Giulio Terzi declared that the situation in Afghanistan was “not a security crisis,” and warned against presenting it as one to avoid “disillusionment and frustration.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Memo to UN delegation head Terzi: making this statement is akin to standing up, with your hair on fire, and claiming you can't smell the smoke.

The US's own military protocol indicates that we should never have gone into Afghanistan with any less than 500,000 troops to successfully handle the occupation of this country.

What we have, and will have, under a potential "Afghanistan surge", will only be a relatively small percentage of that number.

The Taliban have been resurgent, particularly in the south of the country, and have literally set up parallel government structures to those of the Karzai government.

Speaking of the Karzai government: it is perceived as so crooked that it has to collectively screw its socks on in the morning.

The commands of the US and NATO are managing to have complete collective amnesia on the bit from their strategy and history books about never, ever attempting to win a ground war from the air (Sir, have you never heard of a little altercation the US got into in Southeast Asia called the Viet Nam War?!? And you DO remember, just how well that ultimately went for the US.)

And aerial bombing assures two things, and two things only: you're going to kill a lot of non-combatants (women, babies, the medically infirm, and the elderly), and this will guarantee to radicalize the the population even further away from the government the US is attempting to prop up.

And last but not least, Delegation Head Terzi, the production of opium poppies has just soared under the Karzai's administration watch.

That you can possibly stand up with a straight face and say to the world that an Afghani cabinet re-shuffule could be construed as ".....grounds for 'cautious optimism can mean only one of two things: you're either lying through your teeth, or you have absolutely zero understanding of what is really happening in this country.

Nov 28 08:23

British soldiers attacked by furious mob in Kabul after American troops 'ram minibus off road killing one'

British troops were attacked by mob in Kabul today after American troops sparked a riot by ramming a packed minibus off the road, allegedly killing one civilian.

Eyewitnesses said an American armoured personnel carrier smashed into the back of the minibus, as they raced along a highway on the outskirts of the capital.

'The minibus lost control and and swerved off the road into a crowd of people,' an eyewitness said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Winning the hearts and minds.

Nov 27 07:33

Robert Fisk: 'Nobody supports the Taliban, but people hate the government'

The collapse of Afghanistan is closer than the world believes. Kandahar is in Taliban hands – all but a square mile at the centre of the city – and the first Taliban checkpoints are scarcely 15 miles from Kabul. Hamid Karzai's deeply corrupted government is almost as powerless as the Iraqi cabinet in Baghdad's "Green Zone"; lorry drivers in the country now carry business permits issued by the Taliban which operate their own courts in remote areas of the country.

Nov 26 10:35

Taliban, drug lords await $770m opium bonanza

OPIUM production in Afghanistan will contribute $US500 million ($770 million) to drug lords and the Taliban this year and has increased in the south - where Australia's troops are based - despite a drop across the rest of the country, a United Nations report says.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The people really making the money are the drug lords at the top, who sneak this product out of Afghanistan to be refined into heroin, and sell it in Europe.

Even Karzai's brother has been implicated in the drug trade here, and this indicates the true level of corruption which the Afghanis have had to deal with since the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

Nov 25 09:07

Afghanistan demands 'timeline' for end of military intervention

President Hamid Karzai demanded on Tuesday at a meeting with a UN Security Council team that the international community set a "timeline" for ending military intervention in Afghanistan, his office said.

Karzai told a delegation from the Council that his country needed to know how long the US-led "war on terror" was going to be fought in Afghanistan or it would be forced to seek a political solution to a Taliban-led insurgency.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Karzai is many things, but he is not an idiot. He fully understands that ultimately, the only solution here will have to be a political reconciliation with the Taliban.

And that collective, repetitive "thud" you keep hearing is the sound of heads in the state department and at the pentagon, banging against walls, coupled with the screams of "No, dammit, NO!!!!"

Nov 25 06:41

U.S. 'falling behind' bombings in Afghanistan, panel says

The increased deployment of IEDs has come amid a broad offensive by the Taliban and warnings from U.S. commanders that violence could worsen. The bombs have contributed to an increase in casualties among coalition forces: 129 U.S. servicemembers were killed in Afghanistan through October this year, compared with 83 combat deaths in all of 2007.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Translation: The US is losing this one.

Nov 23 08:52

US: Financial woes no excuse in funding Afghan war

Even in a global financial crisis, the world cannot afford to skimp on its obligations to Afghanistan, which wants to double the size of its army but will never be able to pay for it, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says.

Gates said some characterizations of backsliding in the 7-year-old Afghan war are too dire, but he said violence is up.

The global financial crisis should not let donor nations off the hook, Gates said.

"They'll have to weigh the consequences of not doing it," Gates said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Bush's endless "wars without end" have fueled the international economic downward spiral. For Gates to make these ludicrous comments in public makes one wonder about his mental state.

And a small pop quiz for Sec Def Gates; who was the last military leader capable of invading - and holding - the territory now described as "Afghanistan"?!?

Alexander the Great.

Nov 23 05:09

Why Bush Can’t Allow Habeas Corpus – And Why we Need to Leave Afghanistan

The whole rationale for our war in Afghanistan probably would be exposed to the world as the farce that it is if the Bush administration allowed its “War on Terror” prisoners to use the writ of habeas corpus to challenge their detentions. That appears to be a major reason, if not the major reason, why the Bush administration has for several years fought tooth and nail to deny its prisoners the habeas corpus rights that are guaranteed under our Constitution.

Nov 22 09:19

Kabul 30 years ago, and Kabul today. Have we learned nothing?

Fast forward to 2001 – just seven years ago – and an American general told us of the imminent victory over the "terrorists" in the mountains, the all but conquered Taliban who were being supported by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The Russian was pontificating at the big Soviet airbase at Bagram. The American general was pontificating at the big US airbase at Bagram.

This is not déjà-vu. This is déjà double-vu. And it gets worse.

Nov 21 19:21

Kabul 30 years ago, and Kabul today. Have we learned nothing?

Like automated birds, the kites swoop over the rooftops. Yes, the kite-runners of Kabul, minus Hollywood. At night, the thump of American Sikorsky helicopters and the whisper of high-altitude F-18s invade my room. The United States of America is settling George Bush's scores with the "terrorists" trying to overthrow Hamid Karzai's corrupt government.

Nov 21 13:23

U.S. troops to surge in Afghanistan

U.S. troops to surge in Afghanistan
Canada holds on to 2011 deadline for Kandahar withdrawal
Richard Foot , Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, November 21, 2008

CORNWALLIS, N.S. - The United States will deploy five new army brigades - about 20,000 troops - to Afghanistan starting in January, in the hope making the country secure enough for presidential elections in the fall, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said here Friday.

Nov 21 10:43

Plus ça change: "Progressive" Leaders Ride War Machine Deeper Into Darkness

Armed with the same invincible ignorance and arrogance that have for generations led their imperial forbears to bitter defeat in Afghanistan, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown have both pledged themselves to a substantial escalation of the Anglo-American adventure in Central Asia. Thus these two self-proclaimed "progressive" champions of benevolent change are guaranteeing more of the same bitter fruit already produced by this misbegotten enterprise: more death, more ruin, more suffering, more corruption – and more violent extremism.

Nov 21 08:18

Afghanistan drug production up 150% since 2001

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!" -- Official White Horse Souse

Nov 20 10:25

Taliban Regains Power, Influence in Afghanistan

The Taliban have regained control in these pockets despite seven years of American attacks and the presence of more than 50,000 U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops. There are thousands of U.S. and British troops in southern Afghanistan, but American commanders say they don't have enough forces to prevent the Taliban from controlling territory there.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Were there absolutely no adults in the room when the invasion of Afghanistan was "planned" (as if what has happened could possibly be considered the result of "planning"?!?)

By the US's own military protocol, we needed 500,000 troops to make the occupation of Afghanistan a success. Do the math.

Ignorance, combined with magical thinking and logistical stupidity, never leads to a successful military campaign.

The US and NATO were painfully ignorant of the history of this region. The last time someone attacked this area - and held it - was under the watch of Alexander the Great.

They also chose to have selective amnesia about the bit in battle strategy history of never, ever attempting to win what is essentially a ground war from the air.

Apparently, the lessons of the Viet Nam War have gone unlearned, all these many years later, for all the death, suffering, and misery that war caused.

Aerial bombardment guarantees two things, and two things only

1. You will kill a lot of non-combatants in the process(women, kids, infants, the elderly, and the infirm.)

2. You will radicalize those left standing further away from the government you're trying to prop up.

Karzai doesn't represent the Afghani people; he represents the will of the oil companies who still think that the area is a great place for pipelines if "the price is right".

That "price" appears to have been the destruction and ruin of the already devastated country of Afghanistan, along with the deaths and maiming of US and NATO troops.

Nov 19 09:12

NATO chief calls for more non-US troops in Afghanistan

NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer appealed Tuesday for more troops from outside the United States to be sent to Afghanistan to prevent it from again becoming a “safe haven” for terrorists.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One doesn't know whether to laugh, or cry at this statement.

Apparently, NATO Chief De Hoop Scheffer has managed to have selective amnesia about what was necessary to carry out a successful occupation of this country.

The US's own military protocol indicates that we needed about 500,000 soldiers on the ground to do this correctly. What we will have, even with the enhanced troop strength Obama is talking about, will be only a pitiful fraction of that.

Secondly, (and this is something De Hoop Scheffer might have read in his military history books, had he been paying attention), you cannot, absolutely cannot win what is essentially a ground war from the air.

What the massive air strikes guarantee are two things. First, you're going to kill women, kids, the elderly, and the medically fragile, along with the people you actually want to kill.

And this will simply radicalize those left standing against the Karzai government.

This is a had and stark lesson that both the US and NATO should have learned from the outcome of the Viet Nam War: it is obvious to any thinking person that they have not.

At the end of the day, there are basically two options left; carpet-bomb the place, declare victory, and go home, or negotiate with the Taliban, give them a seat at the table, declare victory, and go home.

But those are the only two options left at this point. The smarter thing would have never, ever to have gone into this country in the first place, to collectively punish people who had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, but simply had the most viable pipeline routes.

The cost for the West was just too high when the Taliban were in power, so during that summer when all we heard was "Gary Condit, all the time, on all the TV stations, the US was quietly telling its allies that it was going to invade Afghanistan, and take the pipeline routes by force. The stage had already been set for this action earlier that year. Take a look at the date from this Australian Broadcasting Corporation article

http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2001/s381088.htm

Broadcast: 02/10/2001

"The noose closes around the Taliban"

"NATO chief George Robertson has tonight announced that the US has provided proof of Osama bin Laden's involvement in last month's terrorist attacks. He says NATO members can now invoke Article Five -- the mutual defence clause, which says an attack from abroad on any ally, is an attack on them all."

"The move comes as the British PM gets ready to declare that military action in Afghanistan is now inevitable. In less than an hour Mr Blair will tell his Labour Party conference that the Taliban's time is up."

Nov 17 09:31

Afghanistan abyss awaits Obama

The struggle for influencing Barack Obama's foreign policy agenda has begun in right earnest. The maneuvering by influential establishment figures - including Congressional voices, Obama advisors and even military officials - who are projecting incumbent Robert Gates as secretary of defense in the incoming administration highlights the pressures working on the president-elect.

Nov 17 08:29

Breathless in Washington

On the day that Americans turned out in near record numbers to vote, another record was being set halfway around the world. In Afghanistan, a US Air Force strike wiped out about 40 people in a wedding party. This represented at least the sixth wedding party eradicated by American air power in Afghanistan and Iraq since December 2001.

American planes have, in fact, taken out two brides in the past seven months. And don't try to bury your dead or mark their deaths ceremonially either, because funerals have been hit as well.

Nov 16 10:36

Afghan civilians suffering in airstrikes

A Human Rights Watch reports says that rapid respond air strikes have caused high civilian casualties and is fueling a public backlash in Afghanistan.

“Rapid response air strikes have meant higher civilian casualties, while every bomb dropped in populated areas amplifies the chance of a mistake,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch in the 43-page report.

“Mistakes by the US and NATO have dramatically decreased public support for the Afghan government and the presence of international forces providing security to Afghans,” report added.

Nov 16 09:24

US supply line threatened by Pakistan truck halt

Pakistan temporarily barred oil tankers and container trucks from a key passageway to Afghanistan, threatening a critical supply route for U.S. and NATO troops on Sunday and raising more fears about security in the militant-plagued border region.

Nov 16 09:13

Truck halt on Pakistan pass may hurt U.S.

Pakistan temporarily suspended oil tankers and trucks with sealed containers from using a key passage into Afghanistan, an official said Sunday, a move that will likely impact supplies heading to U.S. and NATO troops.

The suspension came just days after a band of militants hijacked around a dozen trucks whose load included Humvees and other supplies headed to the foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One has to wonder if the ambush is the "real reason" for the suspension of truck deliveries, or if Pakistan is sending a message to the US and NATO that they do have a way of making life more difficult for US and NATO troops in retaliation for the strikes inside their territories.

Nov 14 09:34

Bagram's Black Hole

More than 600 prisoners remain at Bagram without being charged; some have been in legal limbo for more than five years. Because the United States calls Afghanistan a battleground in the war on terror, it contends that prisoners held there have no right to challenge their detention. Whether for political or strategic reasons, or merely because of Guantánamo Bay burnout, no more than a handful of detainees held by the U.S. government at Bagram have any legal representation. Yet their plight reflects a problem that extends far beyond the U.S.

Nov 13 07:30

Barack Obama looks to Iran to help bring peace to Afghanistan

Aides said the incoming Democratic president wants to explore a more regional strategy in Afghanistan, including the possibility of negotiations with Tehran.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Watch Israel throw a tantrum!

Nov 12 09:56

Afghanistan: The Economic Argument against Escalation

President-elect Obama promises to “refocus our resources on Afghanistan,” a nation he refers to as “the central front in the war on terror.” But his alternative to the Bush Administration’s tunnel vision on Iraq - a “surge” into Afghanistan - will incur even more costs than the Iraq occupation.

Here’s the problem, via Thom Shanker at The New York Times:

“It is significantly more expensive to sustain each soldier in Afghanistan than in Iraq because of Afghanistan’s landlocked location and primitive road network.”

Nov 12 08:49

Taliban urges Obama to repudiate Bush's Afghan policy

Afghanistan's Taliban called on US president-elect Barack Obama to repudiate the "war-mongering" policies of President George W. Bush to repair the country's image abroad, a group that monitors Islamist websites said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Ending the wars is a big reason Obama won the election.

Nov 10 08:21

U.S. review likely to say Afghanistan situation 'dire'

A classified review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan is likely to judge that the United States is losing ground there, according to a government official involved with preparing the review.

The review is likely to say the U.S. doesn't have forces for an Iraq-style "surge."

Nov 10 08:19

UK forces sent in to Helmand Province 'half-cocked' on 'con' mission, says officer

British forces were sent into Afghanistan's troubled Helmand Province on a "half-cocked" campaign to "con" world opinion about the country's military strength, a former senior officer who resigned from the army has claimed.

Nov 10 08:18

Canada firm on quitting Afghanistan by 2011

The Americans may have shown renewed interest in Afghanistan but Canada stays firm on its decision to end its mission in the war-torn country by 2011, says Canada’s new foreign minister Lawrence Cannon. The minister told a television channel Sunday that the tough stand by US president-elect Barack Obama on Afghanistan will have no impact on the Canadian decision to pull out of Afghanistan by 2011.

During the US presidential campaign, Obama promised to send two more US brigades to Afghanistan to go after the Al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden.

Nov 10 08:03

World leaders spell out demands to Obama

World leaders have already drawn up demands to put to US president-elect Barack Obama and quickly expressed a desire to see his promise of change applied to key conflicts and dragging the global economy out of crisis.

Nov 07 10:51

Now That Obama Has Won . . . There is No Excuse

Now that a Democrat has been elected president, the Democrats in Congress have no excuse. They can no longer pretend that they have to “hold back” to win the election.

They have no excuse to delay war crimes charges against Bush, Cheney and company for Iraq.

They have no excuse to delay war crimes charges for torture.

They have no excuse to delay criminal charges for spying on Americans.

They have no excuse to delay criminal charges for 9/11.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Obama's administration is the last chance to prove that the American system can still work. When the economy really tanks, the nation will be ripe for revolution and the only thing that might holds it off is to see the men and women the people know are responsible tarred, feathered, roped, and given a fair trial followed by a first-class hanging.

Nov 07 10:34

The War in Afghanistan Is Unwinnable

Veteran journalist Tariq Ali said this morning that the war in Afghanistan is lost.

Specifically, he said that British intelligence has concluded that - no matter how many troops are sent in - the war is already lost and is unwinnable in the future.

Nov 07 08:29

US: "It's Taliban's fault if we slaughter Afghan children"

In a telephone interview, Colonel Julian accused Taliban forces of "immersing themselves" among civilians on Monday to deter American forces from using airstrikes.

"Our close air support has been so devastating with the Taliban that they are trying to stop us using it" by provoking situations in which civilians are caught up in fighting and killed, he said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One is reminded of the statement of the Papal legate at the siege of Montesgur against the Cathars, when told that there were children and infants among the group.

His response was, "kill them all: God will find his own."

The people of Afghanistan do not "hate us because we are free": they hate us because we are indiscriminately bombing the crap out of, and killing and maiming, the people they love and about whom they care deeply.

Nov 07 08:07

At Least Seven Civilians Among 20 Killed in Latest US Strike in Afghanistan

Just a day after reports emerged that a US air strike against a wedding party in Kandahar earlier in the week killed at least 40 civilians, another US strike in Badghis Province killed at least another 20 people, with at least seven of them reportedly civilians.

If this is all some insidious Taliban plot to prevent the US from using air strikes, they appear to have sorely overestimated the US military’s reluctance to kill large numbers of innocent civilians.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

OK, what does the massive bombing of civilians guarantee, in a land war which cannot be won from the air??

It guarantees that you radicalize those left standing even further against the existing US-supported government. If this is the outcome the US and NATO have wanted, by gosh, they're right on target!!

Nov 06 07:39

40 Afghan civilians killed as U.S.-led air strike hits wedding party

At least 40 Afghan civilians have been killed and 28 more injured as an airstrike of the U.S.-led Coalition forces hit a wedding gathering in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province, officials and local villagers said Wednesday.

Nov 03 11:08

What to expect from the Obama administration on the foreign policy front

Obama has long stressed he would immediately begin escalating the Afghan campaign, and perhaps open up a new front in Pakistan. Certainly the Bush administration has laid the groundwork for this eastward shift of U.S. military resources – and so the stage is set.

Nov 02 09:26

Gates: Afghan conflict must not be seen as 'America's war'

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that Afghanistan's military must be expanded and that the conflict needs to be recognized as "an Afghan war, not an American war and not a NATO war."

Promoting the expansion of Kabul's military force, Gates said: "We would be making a terrible mistake if this ends up being called America's war. This is the Afghans' war for their own country, and we need to make sure they know we are not there to run it, we are there to help."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Forgive me, but has this gentleman gone completely mad?

One has to wonder what koolaid US Secretary of Defense Gates has imbibed to make such an completely absurd statement. Does he believe, for one second, that thinking Americans do not remember the history of US oil interests in this region?

As reported on 2 May, 2001 in http://www.mediamonitors.net/mosaddeq2.html:

"An article appearing in the prestigious German daily Frankfurter Rundschau, in early October 1996, reported that UNOCAL “has been given the go-ahead from the new holders of power in Kabul to build a pipeline from Turkmenstein via Afghanistan to Pakistan. It would lead from Krasnovodsk on the Caspian Sea to Karachi on the Indian Ocean coast.” The same article noted that UN diplomats in Geneva believe that the war in Afghanistan is the result of a struggle between Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and the United States, “to secure access to the rich oil and natural gas of the Caspian Sea.”[50] Other than UNOCAL, companies that are jubilantly interested in exploiting Caspian oil, apparently at any human expense, include AMOCO, BP, Chevron, EXXON, and Mobile."

"It therefore comes as no surprise to see the Wall Street Journal reporting that the main interests of American and other Western elites lie in making Afghanistan “a prime transhipment route for the export of Central Asia’s vast oil, gas and other natural resources”. "

So, there you have it.

One can say, with some degree of certainty, that it is not the sons or daughters of people like Secretary Gates, or other governmental or corporate officials who are fighting, and getting maimed, and dying, in this war for pipelines and oil transportation.

This occupation of Afghanistan was never about furthering the interests of peace or economic growth for this beleaguered country; it was, and continues to be, about the brutal fight for its location as a trans-ship point for oil.

Nov 02 08:54

British commander in Afghanistan quits - source

A commander of Britain's elite special forces in Afghanistan has resigned, a defence source said on Saturday, declining to give further details.

Major Sebastian Morley, a reservist commander with the Special Air Service (SAS), blamed a chronic lack of investment in equipment for the deaths of some of his soldiers, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

No thinking military person wants to see themselves or forces under their command mired in a complete exercise in futility, where people who make the decisions from long distances away about personnel and equipment have not a clue as to what that commander and their troops are really facing on a daily basis.

Nov 02 08:27

Minister's brother seized in Pakistan

Nov 01 09:05

Millions of Afghans Face Starvation

With a combination of a summer drought, poor irrigation and rising global food prices, a famine is unveiling in Afghanistan with third of Afghans are suffering chronic food insecurity, a British think-tank warned on Friday, October 31.

"While the eyes of the world have focused on violence which is increasingly terrorist in character, an estimated 8.4 million Afghans, perhaps a third of the nation, are now suffering from 'chronic and transitory food insecurity'," Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) analyst Paul Smyth said in a press briefing on its website.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Welcome to yet more of the real "Bush Legacy" in Afghanistan: one third of its population may face famine conditions this year.

And anyone who believes that the US and NATO will allow airdrops of food to the worst-hit areas hasn't taken a good, hard look at the outcomes of their occupation of this country.

Oct 31 23:11

SAS chief quits over 'negligence' that killed troops in Afghanistan

The commander of SAS special forces in Afghanistan has resigned amid fresh controversy over the equipment available to British troops fighting the Taliban, it was reported last night.

It is believed that Major Sebastian Morley decided to quit over the deaths of four of his soldiers who were killed when their lightly armoured Snatch Land Rover hit a landmine in Helmand province earlier this year.

Oct 31 08:28

'We're not going to win this war'

As the US public is dimly aware, things are not going very well in Afghanistan.

Recall that it took years, US$5-6 billion in CIA funding matched dollar for dollar by the Saudis, and a concerted national effort by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan assisting a variety of domestic and foreign fighters to expel the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. It also took officially sanctioned safe havens in Pakistan that the Russians wouldn't violate, and a supply of Stinger missiles to negate the vital Soviet advantage in helicopter-based mobility and firepower.

Oct 30 09:51

Deafness is the new scourge of British troops in Afghanistan

Hundreds of soldiers are returning from Afghanistan suffering from severe and permanent damage to their hearing because of the overwhelming noise of intense combat.

Nearly one in ten soldiers serving with one regiment have hearing defects that could bar them from further frontline service and affect their civilian job prospects, The Times has learnt.

The number of hearing injuries is one of the untold stories of Britain’s military campaigns, evoking comparisons with the thunder of battle in the two world wars and the Korean War.

Oct 30 07:24

Officials: 20,000 Afghan troops needed

Webmaster's Commentary: 

... or, we could end the war and bring our kids home!

Oct 29 09:23

Pakistani, Afghan Delegates Agree to Talks With Taliban

Pakistani and Afghan political and tribal leaders meeting in Islamabad Tuesday have agreed to seek talks with Taliban insurgents in a bid to limit violence along their shared border. The announcement came after a two-day meeting described as a mini-jirga in the Pakistani capital. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Islamabad.

The two-day "mini-jirga" in Islamabad ended with pledges to create new committees in both countries that will try to establish contact with Taliban groups.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

In military history, there a dire, and clear, warning in the books about being unable to win what is essentially a ground war from the air.

Viet Nam should have taught American military something about this. And unfortunately those who do not understand history (particularly military history, are doomed to repeat it.

So now, the US is in a situation where what this meeting's leaders have accomplished (an agreement to work on common goals with the Taliban) could be the beginning of the end of this 7 year conflict.

Unfortunately, if past performance is any judge, the US will succeed in snatching defeat from the jaws of potential victory here by continuing to bomb the heck out of Pakistan and Afghanistan, thus radicalizing those left standing even further away from their respective governments, and more deeply into the Taliban fold.

Oct 28 09:45

US considering talks with Taliban: report

The United States is considering taking part in talks with elements of the Taliban in a sharp change in tactics in Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday citing unnamed officials.

The report said the new approach was contained in a draft recommendation in a classified White House assessment of US strategy in Afghanistan. Talks would be led by the Afghan government, “but with the active participation of the US,” it said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So finally, after 7 years of blood and money spent on the badly mangled occupation of Afghanistan, someone gets something of a clue as to what really needs to happen here?

One has to wonder if there were any true adults in the room when the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was (allegedly) planned.

And how horrendously wrong this has gone can be ascribed to three factors: magical thinking, a complete ignorance of the history and culture of the region, and a complete repudiation of the US's own military protocol, indicating that it would take 400,000 soldiers to manage this occupation successfully.

Oct 25 07:56

Afghanistan the Un-Winnable

The US presidential candidates are warbling about what strategies will best suit Afghanistan in a post-Bush world. Both Barack Obama and John McCain promise that the interminable conflict will be of “top priority” come 2009. Neither has provided clear guidelines, largely because such guidelines are essentially useless. The Coalition forces in Afghanistan continue to lose the ground to Taliban. Planners are scratching their heads in desperation.

Oct 25 07:53

French Anti-Tank Missiles Abandoned in Taliban Clash

A French unit was surrounded last weekend in Kapisa Province Afghanistan and had to withdraw from the field, leaving behind two anti-tank Milan missiles and a launcher. Journalists say no French soldiers were hurt in the clash, but “all 14 Taliban insurgents were killed.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Sorry, but if the Taliban are suffering such losses and the French were unhurt, why are the French running so fast they have to leave major weapons behind?

Oct 23 10:34

E-mail From Afghanistan

"It was hard preparing to risk your life for something you don’t believe. It eats away your soul." An ex-Army officer contemplates contemplates the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan, and his recently completed third combat tour.

Oct 23 08:18

Disillusioned Afghans Seen Turning on Karzai

Beset by a rising civilian death toll and widespread corruption charges Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who once boasted an enormous approval rating, is seen as an increasingly ineffective and unacceptable leader by the Afghan population. With the country earlier this month beginning its registration of voters for next year’s presidential election, Karzai’s hopes for a second term seem to be fading fast.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Who can blame the Afghani people for wanting Karzai out?

He and his corrupt cronyocracy are all viewed as so crooked they have to screw their socks on in the morning!

Oct 23 07:20

Afghan soldiers killed in Nato air strike

Nine Afghan soldiers have been killed by mistake in a Nato-led air strike in southeast Afghanistan.

The US-led coalition said its troops "may have mistakenly killed and injured" Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers after coming under attack while returning from an operation.

"As a coalition convoy was returning from a previous operation, they were involved in multiple engagements. As a result of the engagements, ANA soldiers were killed and injured," the military said in a statement.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"They made us do it!"

Oct 23 07:00

Ordinary Afghans Long For Peaceful Taliban Days .

Crushed under the vicious cycle of violence, many Afghans see peace as a distant dream and yearn for the peaceful days of the Taliban regime more than five years after its ouster.

Oct 23 06:40

Kid Killers are Barbarians

There is yet more news from Afghanistan about the killing of civilians by foreign forces’ air attacks. The BBC reported that “Angry villagers took 18 bodies - including badly mangled bodies of women and children - to the governor's house in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, Haji Adnan Khan, a tribal leader in the city who had seen the bodies, was reported as saying. He said there might be more bodies trapped under the rubble. A BBC reporter in Lashkar Gah said he saw the bodies - three women and the rest children ranging in age from six months to 15.

Oct 22 08:05

Coalition airstrike kills 9 Afghans, officials say

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"... and we are pretty sure that at least one of them might have actually seen a terrorist once!"

Oct 22 07:32

Foreign troops kill nine Afghan soldiers-ministry

Foreign troops killed nine Afghan soldiers in a mistaken air strike in the southeast of the country overnight, the Afghan Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Wow, NATO is doing such a brilliant job of winning the hearts and minds of the Afghanis!

And a memo to those allegedly in charge of the US/NATO military campaign in Afghanistan; somewhere, in those dusty, unopened military history books you chose not to bother looking at before this campaign was designed, there is that little bit about not ever, ever being able to win what is essentially a ground war from the air.

The example used would have been that of the Viet Nam War.

And of course, those who do not understand history (particularly military history) are, unfortunately, doomed to repeat it.

Oct 21 10:58

David Davis: We are losing Taliban battle

Oct 20 07:12

David Davis: We are losing Taliban battle

It is time to face facts in Afghanistan: the situation is spiralling downwards, and if we do not change our approach, we face disaster. Violence is up in two-thirds of the country, narcotics are the main contributor to the economy, criminality is out of control and the government is weak, corrupt and incompetent. The international coalition is seen as a squabbling bunch of foreigners who have not delivered on their promises. Although the Taliban have nowhere near majority support, their standing is growing rapidly among some ordinary Afghans.

Oct 19 18:39

Taliban Kill Dozens in Bus Ambush, Officials Say

Taliban insurgents pulled some 50 passengers off a bus in southern Afghanistan and beheaded as many as 30 of them after accusing them of being soldiers traveling in civilian clothes, Afghan officials in the region announced on Sunday.

Oct 19 10:21

Seven killed as Taliban ‘shoot down’ US chopper

Afghan Taliban claimed to have shot down a US military helicopter in Birmal area of Afghanistan’s Paktika province early on Saturday morning, killing seven soldiers.

Oct 19 09:02

Pakistan and Taliban battle for key tunnel

The Pakistani army is locked in a fierce battle to stop fuel and arms supply routes to British and American forces in Afghanistan falling under Taliban control.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

You cut an armed force off at the knees when you cut off its supply routes.

If the Pakistanis lose this battle, that will make it very difficult, if not impossible, for US and NATO forces to hold their positions.

Unfortunately, the US and NATO have never had, according to the US's own military protocol anywhere near enough soldiers to successfully handle this occupation.

As reported on 2 June, 2008 in

http://www.atlargely.com/2008/06/400000-troops-n.html

"The outgoing US commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan says it would require 400,000 troops to secure that country."

"ISAF Commander McNeill has said himself that according to the current counterterrorism doctrine, it would take 400,000 troops to pacify Afghanistan in the long term. But the reality is that he has only 47,000 soldiers under his command, together with another 18,000 troops fighting at their sides as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, and possibly another 75,000 reasonably well-trained soldiers in the Afghan army by the end of the year. All told, there is still a shortfall of 260,000 men."

And why have we not had enough soldiers to do this successfully?

A lethal combination of magical thinking, and military history amnesia.

The last time the US attempted to win what was absolutely a ground war from the air was during the Viet Nam War.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Oct 18 18:07

THE TALIBAN AND THE MYTH OF ‘AL QAEDA’.

Recently the Taliban have sought to instigate talks that may lead to a settlement in Afghanistan which the US and their allies now concede is unwinable. Part of the concessions the Taliban are willing to make are to disassociate themselves from ‘al Qaeda’. A reader has asked me to comment on this. Here is my response.

The attitude of the Taliban with regard to ‘al Qaeda’ is indicative of the extent of influence ‘al Qaeda’ as an organisation really has in Central Asia – about zilch.

Oct 18 07:48

Civilian dead are a trade-off in Nato's war of barbarity

This is the conflict western politicians and media continue to urge their reluctant populations to support as a war for civilisation. In reality, it is a war of barbarity, whose contempt for the value of Afghan life has fuelled the very resistance that western military and political leaders are now unable to contain.

Oct 18 07:44

The US agrees: only a 'surge' can beat Taliban

American officials have backed the view of General Sir David Richards, the new head of the British Army, that a "surge" is needed in Afghanistan to beat the Taliban.

The Independent revealed yesterday that General Richards would replace General Sir Richard Dannatt as the head of the Army – he will take over next summer – and disclosed that the new commander believed 30,000 more troops would be needed to fight the Taliban. He is seeking 5,000 extra British troops.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Another 65,000 troop increase over a 5 year period?

Let that sink in for a second.

We've been in Afghanistan for 7 years at this point, and the thinking is that this catastrophe of occupation and aerial bombardment is going to go on for another 5 years?!?.

The US's own military protocol indicates that we will need at least 400,000 soldiers to successfully manage this occupation. Even with the 134,000 troop strength they are talking about here, we will still be 267,000 soldiers short of the number necessary to actually do the job.

And the troops will not get to Afghanistan anywhere nearly soon enough to be effective against the Taliban.

Oct 17 09:15

How Deeply is the U.S. involved in the Afghan Drug Trade?

The 64,000 rupee question that arises from Admiral Mullen's new anti-drug policy is: Why was it not done seven years ago when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan? Why did Washington turn a blind eye to the Afghan drug trade and is only now taking some action?

Oct 17 08:38

'We need 30,000 more soldiers to beat Taliban,' says general

Webmaster's Commentary: 

You cannot beat the "enemy" in a war of occupation. You can only kill them.

Oct 16 12:30

Afghan strike 'kills civilians'

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Unflipping believable.

Oct 16 09:04

Defections hit Afghan forces

After fighting the Taliban for the past seven years, many working for the Afghan security forces are now switching sides.

Sulieman Ameri and his 16 men were until a month ago serving the Afghan government as police patrolling the border with Iran.

Now they answer to the Taliban and their goal is to drive all foreign troops out of Afghanistan.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Terrific; in the 7 years of western occupation, with all the blood and money spent, what we've accomplished is driving Afghanis back into the fold of the Taliban!

The unfolding foreign policy "accomplishments" of this administration never cease to amaze me.

Oct 15 14:52

Defections hit Afghan forces

After fighting the Taliban for the past seven years, many working for the Afghan security forces are now switching sides.

Sulieman Ameri and his 16 men were until a month ago serving the Afghan government as police patrolling the border with Iran.

Now they answer to the Taliban and their goal is to drive all foreign troops out of Afghanistan.

Oct 15 08:39

Kabul Is Now Surrounded By The Taliban

The Taliban are isolating Afghanistan's capital city from the rest of the country, choking off important supply routes and imposing their rules on the provinces near Kabul. Interviews suggest that the Taliban have gained control along three of the four major highways into the city, and some believe it's a matter of time before they regulate all traffic around the capital.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One has to wonder just how soon the "Saigon Moment" will come for American and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

We never, ever had enough boots on the ground, per the US military's own protocol, to make the occupation successful. That would have been around 400,000 soldiers.

What we have done (precisely what we did in Viet Nam, from which apparently neither the country's civilian nor military leadership learned anything)has been to attack from the air, with massive bombings.

This guarantees two things, and two things only: one hell of a lot of collateral damage (as in infants, women, the elderly and medically fragile getting blown to smithereens) , and radicalizing those left standing against the puppet government we've installed.

History will remember this administration very clearly for what crimes it has committed, both at home and abroad.

The judgment of history will be very severe, both of this country's leadership, and a cowed public too frightened to stop it before the real carnage began.

Oct 15 08:11

As Taliban Influence Grows, ‘Shadow Government’ Seems an Increasingly Viable Option to Afghans

While coalition forces continue to kill militants in the provinces south of Kabul, the resilient Taliban forces continue to expand their influence in the area. Their presence is so overwhelming in some areas that they’re set up their own ’shadow government’ with its own court system. In the areas they control most completely, these government systems are considerably more powerful than their coalition-supported counterparts, and according to some reports, better accepted.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Wow, terrific!

The US has installed a puppet government in Kabul considered so collectively crooked by the Afghanis that they are reputed to have to screw their socks on in the morning.

And what has our invasion and occupation of Afghanistan accomplished 7 years on, complete with aerial bombings which have killed hundreds of non-combatants?

Making the Taliban look like the "good guys" to ordinary Afghanis: that's precisely what we have accomplished.

Oct 11 07:50

US report says Afghanistan conflict rapidly worsening

The situation in Afghanistan is liable to get worse in 2009, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has warned, amid reports of a bleak draft US intelligence assessment that details a slide into corruption, drugs and insurgent violence.

"The trends across the board are not going in the right direction," Admiral Michael Mullen told reporters at a breakfast in Washington.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Translation: We are getting our butts kicked in Afghanistan.

The last military commander to conquer and hold Afghanistan was Alexander the Great, and he only held onto it for three years before he died.

Oct 09 11:46

The mystery of the missing opium

It's a mystery that has got British law enforcement officials and others across the planet scratching their heads. Put bluntly, enough heroin to supply the world's demand for years has simply disappeared.

Oct 09 09:45

French army chief rules out military victory in Afghanistan

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The last military commander to conquer and hang onto Afghanistan was Alexander the Great!

Oct 09 07:55

Petraeus sees value in talking to Taliban

U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus said on Wednesday that negotiations with some members of the Taliban could provide a way to reduce violence in sections of Afghanistan gripped by an intensifying insurgency.

Oct 09 07:53

U.S. Study Is Said to Warn of Crisis in Afghanistan

A draft report by American intelligence agencies concludes that Afghanistan is in a “downward spiral” and casts serious doubt on the ability of the Afghan government to stem the rise in the Taliban’s influence there, according to American officials familiar with the document.

The classified report finds that the breakdown in central authority in Afghanistan has been accelerated by rampant corruption within the government of President Hamid Karzai and by an increase in violence by militants who have launched increasingly sophisticated attacks from havens in Pakistan.

Oct 08 08:17

TIME TO FACE FACTS IN AFGHANISTAN

For those who savor historical irony, the Soviet Empire collapsed in the years 1989-1991 because of an implosion of its economy brought on by a ruinous arms race with the United States and the heavy costs of occupying Afghanistan.

Seventeen years later came the turn of the world’s other great imperial power, the United States. Lethally bloated by runaway debt, and burdened by 50% of the world’s military spending, the house of cards known as the US economy finally collapsed.

Oct 07 09:21

With four months to go, Bush tries to save Afghanistan

Sometime soon, seven years after it invaded Afghanistan, the Bush administration is expected to settle on a new policy to stabilize that still-fragile country.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Leave.

Oct 06 18:15

Report: Taliban Ready to End War, Break with Qaeda

Is the Taliban breaking with Al Qaeda -- and negotiating to end its insurgency? "Former Afghanistan presidential advisor Muhammad Sadeq Tashqari says that several senior Taliban officials have participated in drawing up a Saudi-U.K initiative to end the war in Afghanistan," according to London's Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. "He said that Taliban representatives had set several conditions for ending the war, including ministerial appointments for Taliban members and a withdrawal of foreign forces from the country."

Oct 05 10:48

We can't win Afghanistan war - Commander

Oct 05 10:02

French troops: We won't go to Afghanistan

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Viva le France!

Oct 05 09:38

Reports Link Karzai’s Brother to Afghan Heroin Trade

The White House says it believes that Ahmed Wali Karzai is involved in drug trafficking, and American officials have repeatedly warned President Karzai that his brother is a political liability, two senior Bush administration officials said in interviews last week.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

After all the blood and money spent in Afghanistan, it's always comforting for American taxpayers to know that through their tax dollars supporting the Karzai government here, we are also very likely supporting the drug trade in Afghanistan and beyond.

Oct 05 09:38

General Petraeus "Insurgents in Afghanistan Are Gaining"

“Obviously the trends in Afghanistan have been in the wrong direction, and I think everyone is rightly concerned about them,” said General Petraeus, who as the commander of forces in Iraq oversaw the troop “surge” that has been credited with helping to reduce the violence there.

Oct 05 09:10

Commander expects no clear Afghan victory: report

The top military commander in Afghanistan said in an interview Sunday the public should not expect "decisive military victory" there, only the reduction of the insurgency to manageable levels.

Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, which has just completed its second tour in Afghanistan, told the Sunday Times that people should "lower their expectations" about how the conflict will end.

He also said Britons should prepare for a possible deal with the Taliban.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Between the complete historical ignorance about this region, coupled with tactical "magical thinking" through which this occupation was conceived and has been waged, there has never been a way to win this militarily.

The US military's own protocol indicated that it would take at least 400,000 soldiers to make this happen. So how many total do we have now, between the US and NATO? Give or take, around 50,000 troops, just slightly more than 10% of the true figure needed to have made this work.

One would also imagine that military high command would learn from the mistakes of history, and change their strategy when something doesn't work. The US military should have learned from Viet Nam that you cannot win what is essentially a land war from the air.

Apparently, this is a lesson that has gone unlearned.

So what are we doing? Massive aerial bombing, which guarantees two things: the death of a whole lot more non-combatants, and the radicalization of everyone else left standing against the current Afghani government.

So now, after 7 years of blood and money poured into this conflict, what are we (the folks in both the US and the UK whose taxes supported this war) sternly lectured that we must do by Brigadier Carlton-Smith? Lower our expectations and re-define "victory" as "...the reduction of insurgency to manageable levels."

Oh, and as an afterthought?

Cut a deal with the Taliban.

Too bad the brilliant idiots in Washington and Whitehall couldn't have managed to do that before so many of our kids (and innocent Afghanis) got maimed for life and killed.

Oct 05 07:38

UK commander issues Afghan warning

A decisive military victory in Afghanistan is impossible and the Taliban may have to be part of a long-term solution for the country, a senior British commander in Afghanistan has said.

"We're not going to win this war," Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith was quoted as saying in a British newspaper, published on Sunday.

He also reportedly said a deal with the Taliban might be on the table.

Oct 03 10:19

Taliban Rejects Karzai Call for Talks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave an interview on Pakistani television in which he implored Taliban leader Mullah Omar to return to the country and compete in the next presidential election. Karzai promised to be “wholly solely responsible for his safety.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Mullah Omar has no reason to sit down and negotiate with Karzai. Right now, the Taliban are winning this.

It appears that the military leadership of both the US and NATO suffered from selective amnesia when planning their "strategy", if one can actually call it strategy.

Somewhere, in military play books, it is writ large that you absolutely cannot win what is essentially a land war from the air, as the US debacle in Viet Nam should have proven to any military person with a semblance of a brain.

So, what has been the US and NATO "strategy" in Afghanistan?>

Increased aerial bombings, which guarantees two things will happen.

First, you're going to kill one hell of a lot of non-combatants (women, kids, the elderly, the medically fragile, etc.).

Secondly, you're going to radicalize those left standing even further away from the Karzai government.

Apparently, we're two for two with this "strategy"; we've killed a lot of civilians, and made the Taliban look like a reasonable alternative to the existing government.

The US's own military protocol indicated that we'd need 400,000 pairs of boots on the ground to handle this occupation successfully.

And what have we got there now (not counting the Afghan Army) is around 48,000 troops, just a little more than 10% of the number actually needed to pull this off. And although fresh troops have been promised to Karzai by Washington, their deployment is completely dependent upon the speed with which those troops can leave Iraq.

The US and NATO leadership couldn't have bungled this any worse than if they had done it deliberately.

Oct 01 20:30

British envoy says mission in Afghanistan is doomed, according to leaked memo

Britain’s Ambassador to Afghanistan has stoked opposition to the allied operation there by reportedly saying that the campaign against the Taleban insurgents would fail and that the best hope was to install an acceptable dictator in Kabul.

Oct 01 11:38

Insurgents in Afghanistan Are Gaining, Petraeus Says

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The last military commander to conquer and hang onto Afghanistan was Alexander the Great!

Oct 01 08:19

Afghan President invites Taliban leader to join peace talks, ministry

Afghan President Hamid Karzai made a fresh appeal to Taliban supremo Mullah Mohammed Omar to join peace negotiations, guaranteeing immunity from foreign forces.

Karzai, who often insisted that negotiating with the militants would not include Mullah Omar, changed his stance during a press conference held in his presidential palace Tuesday.

He even went to the extent of inviting the Taliban leader, who is one of the most wanted persons on Washington's terrorist list, to join his ministry.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This would have been a logical thing to do right after Karzai was "elected"; but it may have come too little and too late at this point.

Mullah Omar has nothing to lose by continuing his strikes against US and NATO forces, where the troop strength, according to the US military's own protocol, was always far too low to successfully occupy Afghanistan.

Oct 01 08:06

British envoy says mission in Afghanistan is doomed, according to leaked memo

"The current situation is bad. The security situation is getting worse. So is corruption and the Government has lost all trust. Our public statements should not delude us over the fact that the insurrection, while incapable of winning a military victory, nevertheless has the capacity to make life increasingly difficult, including in the capital.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One has to wonder just how soon the "Saigon Moment" will come for the US and NATO in Afghanistan.

Sep 29 08:31

US general: Taliban can't launch winter campaign

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, and the Vietnamese would never attack us over the Tet holiday, too!

Sep 28 09:02

Why the West thinks it is time to talk to the Taliban

For the past few months an incongruous figure has passed through the airports of the Middle East and Europe: a senior Afghan cleric who defected from the Taliban. Bearded and in traditional dress, he has unsurprisingly needed the help of the Saudi Arabian and British intelligence services - among others - to pass unhindered between capitals.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Negotiation, ultimately, is the only way to stabilize Afghanistan.

What the US and NATO have accomplished with aerial bombing, has been the killing of innocent civilians, and radicalization of those left standing further away from Karzai's government.

Sep 26 09:09

Kabul expects new Taliban onslaught before winter: minister

"I believe we have experienced the worst of this year's fighting" but "we should expect one more enemy effort before winter," Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said during a visit to the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington.

Saying a more sophisticated enemy requires "a global strategic response," Wardak repeated his call for a joint Afghani-Pakistani and NATO-led coalition force that would target insurgent safe havens on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Winter will be coming to Afghanistan toward the end of October.

As reported in "US News & World Report" on-line on 19 August, 2008:

(http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/iraq/2008/08/19/pentagon-plans-to-...

The new US deployment won't arrive in Afghanistan until (best case scenario) the very end of this year (read: December),or sometime at the beginning of 2009, if the troop draw-downs go as planned from Iraq.

In other words, if there is a new, major offensive within the next month, the desperately needed additional US troops won't be in Afghanistan in time to deal with it.

Sep 26 04:54

US Targets Peacemakers While Pakistan Battles American-Taliban

Is it really necessary that we let Bush and Cheney destroy another innocent country before they pretend to leave the stage after Nov. 4? Does this Nation, which fancies itself as a great defender of freedom and democracy, intend to allow them do to our ally Pakistan what they have done to Iraq and Afghanistan? If we do not feel extreme shame for what is being done in our names there then perhaps it is true that we are something less than human, merely thinking cattle.

Sep 25 08:53

Afghanistan Now 15X Deadlier than Iraq

This data is for the last 30 days:

U.S. hostile fire deaths in Iraq: 7
U.S. hostile fire deaths in Afghanistan: 22

Number of U.S. troops in Iraq: 146,000
Number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan: 33,000

Hostile fire death rate in Iraq--7 deaths per 146,000 troops (.005 percent)
Hostile fire death rate in Afghanistan--7 deaths per 10,000 troops (.07 percent)

Sep 25 08:17

US Navy reinforces presence in Afghanistan

ON BOARD OF THE USS RONALD REAGAN, GULF OF OMAN // The US military has begun reinforcing its presence in Afghanistan weeks ahead of an expected troop build-up amid reassurances that efforts to avoid civilian casualties will be redoubled.

This month, George W Bush, the US president, said he would be sending an additional 4,500 soldiers to Afghanistan while pulling 8,000 US troops from Iraq as a result of the security gains there.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Take a good look at a map.

(http://encarta.msn.com/map_701512838/oman_gulf_of.html)

Whatever these naval planes are doing, we're talking about a millions of dollars' worth of jet fuel to fly whatever missions are being flown into Afghanistan.

Note, also, how close the Gulf of Oman is to Iran.

One has to wonder, with the US economy in such a mess, just how desperate this US administration is to start a war - any war - in order to deflect from the worsening economy.

Sep 24 21:40

Bailouts and Forgotten History

The British Empire – at its height – could not control Afghanistan.

Now, the USA has involved the E.U and even the U.N. in its Imperial Vendetta – and we watch the Globalised “Free Market” Capitalist System falter.

Sep 24 16:17

NATO accused of sheltering Afghan heroin trade

Since NATO forces invaded Afghanistan, the production of heroin in the country increased by 2.5 times and Afghanistan has become the world leader in heroin production. Eighteen tonnes of heroin from Afghanistan ends up in Russia each year.

Sep 23 12:41

Bush to keep secret 'grim' war report quiet until after election

A secret US intelligence report which says the political and military situation in Afghanistan is "grim" will be withheld from the public until after the election, a new report says.

Intelligence officials are finishing up the National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan, according to ABC's Brian Ross, "but there are 'no plans to declassify' any of it before the election," an official said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Translation: things are apparently going so colossally badly in Afghanistan that the Administration is terrified of releasing this before the election.

This is all the more reason that We the People should have "the right to know what's going on before we cast our votes in November.

It is with our money and our troops with which this occupation has, for the most part, been conducted.

We deserve to know just what our tax dollars have actually done for us in this 7-year occupation.

Sep 23 08:29

Ashes of Empire

If it is being argued that an enhanced U.S. presence in Afghanistan will suddenly turn things around and make the world a better and safer place, it is the right of the American public, which is sending its sons and daughters into the meat grinder, to demand an explanation of why that is so. I do not believe that such a case has been or can be made. It is time to consider leaving Afghanistan.

Sep 21 09:05

Why does the US think it can win in Afghanistan?

We, of course, have been peddling this crackpot nonsense for years in south-west Asia. First of all, back in 2001, we won the war in Afghanistan by overthrowing the Taliban. Then we marched off to win the war in Iraq. Now – with at least one suicide bombing a day and the nation carved up into mutually antagonistic sectarian enclaves – we have won the war in Iraq and are heading back to re-win the war in Afghanistan where the Taliban, so thoroughly trounced by our chaps seven years ago, have proved their moral and political bankruptcy by recapturing half the country.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The reason some folks in Washington really believe that the US can win in Afghanistan can be summed up like this: extreme magical thinking, combined with a catastrophic ignorance of the history, or culture, of the region.

By the time we have deployed the next round of troops to Afghanistan, we will still be hundreds of thousands of soldiers short of the 400,000 troops the US's own military protocol indicates we needed to ever handle this occupation successfully.

Add in the factors that the US-installed Karzai puppet government is so collectively crooked they have to screw their socks on in the morning, coupled with the continuing air raids which guarantee the killing of many civilians, radicalizing those left standing even further away from the government, and what to you have?

A recipe for the absolute failure of this military campaign.

The only "winners" here are the military contractors, period, end of discussion.

Sep 21 07:49

MoD accused of covering up injuries to troops

Soldiers, MPs and lawyers representing injured servicemen and women claim the real cost to those fighting on the front line in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, is being hidden from the public for political reasons.

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that every week dozens of soldiers are being injured, some severely, yet details of the nature and severity of the wounds are never made public.

Sep 19 10:30

Australian Troops Kill Afghan Governor, Two Guards in Botched Raid

Just days after General David McKiernan announced his “revised tactical order” designed to reduce the number of civilians killed in NATO raids, Australian special forces surrounded a house in the Afghan province of Oruzgan and opened fire, killing district governor Razi Khan and two of his bodyguards, and injuring two others.

Sep 18 09:06

Bush Administration Seeks Sole Control Over NATO War in Afghanistan

The war has long been under NATO oversight, and is one of the largest operations ever attempted by the alliance. But as the war drags on, some US commanders have complained that the international coordination of the operation has made fighting a large scale nearly decade-long war against insurgents in mountainous terrain quite inconvenient.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

NATO should be grateful, and bow out entirely, militarily.

This has never been a winnable war from the beginning, and the absolute pittance of troops here, compared with the 400,000 troops the US military's own protocol indicates is necessary to actually accomplish this occupation successfully, has guaranteed that this war cannot be won.

Sep 17 08:41

Afghan civilian casualties soar

The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva - where the UN report was released - says that the issue of civilian casualties at the hands of foreign forces has caused widespread anger across the country.

Sep 17 07:47

Gates Expresses Regret For Recent Civilian Deaths In Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday expressed "personal regret" for recent U.S. airstrikes that killed Afghan civilians, and pledged more accurate targeting in future.

After meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other senior government officials, Gates said at a news conference, "As I told them, I offer all Afghans my sincere condolences and personal regret for the recent loss of innocent life as a result of coalition airstrikes."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"......pledged more accurate targeting in future"??????

With WHAT???

If we had more accurate targeting devices, would the US military not have used them by now?!?

This is all posturing for the American-propped government, which the Afghani people believe to be so crooked that each individual member of it has to screw their socks on in the morning.

As the US and NATO do not have enough troops on the ground to do the job (and never will, because even with the new US troops going there next year, we're miserably short of the 400,000 troops US military protocol says we need to handle the occupation), the only military answer they have left is aerial bombing.

And aerial bombing guarantees two things: you're going to continue to kill a number of non-combatants, and radicalize those left standing even further against the Karzai government.

At the end of the day, the only answers are inclusion of the Taliban into the political and social process, and a government which which can really deliver some kind of economic progress for its people.

Of course, efforts in these directions would be logical. And Americans have come to acutely understand that logic has absolutely no place the thinking of this administration.

Sep 17 05:02

Afghan civilian casualties soar

There has been a sharp increase in the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan this year, according to new figures released by the United Nations.

They show that August had the highest number of deaths since the overthrow of the Taleban almost seven years ago.

The UN says that from January to August 1,445 civilians were killed - a rise of 39% on the same period last year.

Sep 14 10:02

Defense Contracts Foretell Military Buildup in Afghanistan

Bush announced on Tuesday that over the new few months, he will send nearly 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, which he characterized as an increasingly important front in the battle against extremism. Recent Pentagon contracts provide a picture of what the expanded U.S. presence may be called upon to accomplish in that country.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

No matter how many millions or billions the US is going to pour into Afghanistan via private contracts, this problem remains: we have no where near enough boots on the ground to really handle the occupation properly.

The outgoing head of the US NATO command in Afghanistan said that, according to the US military's own protocol, we need at least 400,000 soldiers to hold Afghanistan. Even with the additional 5,000 troops Bush plans to send into this campaign, as reported here:

http://www.atlargely.com/2008/06/400000-troops-n.html

"ISAF Commander McNeill has said himself that according to the current counterterrorism doctrine, it would take 400,000 troops to pacify Afghanistan in the long term. But the reality is that he has only 47,000 soldiers under his command, together with another 18,000 troops fighting at their sides as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, and possibly another 75,000 reasonably well-trained soldiers in the Afghan army by the end of the year. All told, there is still a shortfall of 260,000 men."

The added 5,000 US troops will result in a shortfall of two hundred fifty-five thousand soldiers.

Sep 11 09:47

Let Them Eat Cake

In a sheer quantitative sense, the United States has long since avenged 9-11, racking up hundreds of thousands of dead, wounded, and scarred innocents. It has long since avenged 9-11 in sheer destruction, laying waste to cities, villages, homes and hearths, industry, government and religious observance. The destruction and murder is now habitual, profligate and self-indulgent. To the world, the President of the United States – present and future – is an uncouth and supersized version of Marie Antoinette.

Sep 11 09:17

Pentagon Admits Afghan Strategy Not Working

The U.S. military conceded it was not winning the battle against an increasingly deadly insurgency in Afghanistan and said on Wednesday it would revise its strategy for the region to include militant safe havens in neighboring Pakistan.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The last military commander to capture and hang onto Afghanistan was Alexander the Great.

Sep 11 08:43

Top US advisor 'not convinced we're winning' in Afghanistan

Gates and Mullen said insecurity and violence will persist in Afghanistan until the insurgency is deprived of safe havens in Pakistan.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So now what happens?

Do we declare war against Pakistan also??

Sep 10 11:21

Disaster in Afghanistan

The most important current issue in Afghanistan is the drought, the crop failure, and the prospect of famine. This story has received no coverage in the North American media. Over the last winter Afghanistan received well-below normal rainfall and mountain snow pack. The spring runoff was light, and crop yields from irrigated agriculture have been significantly reduced. There are conditions of drought throughout the country. In many areas there are no crops and livestock has perished from lack of pasture.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

If death resulting from famine is how the US and NATO characterize "success" in Afghanistan, it's obvious that they've been magnificently successful.

Sep 09 09:59

Fox News & Oliver North Involved with U.S. Afghanistan Massacre Cover-up

Perhaps the most amazing political news surrounding the Nawabad massacre is that the Pentagon says it relied for its account, in part, on corroborative evidence by the embedded journalist on the scene: Fox News "reporter" Oliver North! The Times portrays North as coming "to prominence in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

When this government wants to cover up, sweeten, up, and lie about what really happened, who do they count on?!?

Ollie North, that's who!!

Good old Ollie: all the morals of a trout, and a human being who never met a wicked, illegal, covert agenda he couldn't love.

Sep 09 08:18

Fox News & Oliver North Involved with U.S. Afghanistan Massacre Cover-up

Now, NATO command is backing off the official story, noting that there is a "discrepancy" in death toll figures, and expressing the usual "heartfelt sorrow." But , as the Times reports, a new report by Human Rights Watch says that under reporting of civilian deaths in Afghanistan is out of control.

Sep 09 08:12

Bush to Shift Troops To Afghanistan From Iraq

President George W. Bush will announce Tuesday a gradual redeployment of U.S. military personnel from Iraq to increasingly violent Afghanistan, with as many as 4,500 new troops slated to deploy to Afghanistan by January.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! O.J.! -- ABCNNBBCBS

Sep 09 08:06

Videos spur new review into Afghan deaths

The bodies of at least 10 children and many more adults covered in blankets and white shrouds appear in videos obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, lending weight to Afghan and U.N. allegations that a U.S.-led raid last month killed more civilians than the U.S. reported.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

They are using the "they made us do it" excuse, blaming rival clans for misleading US soldiers.

Sep 09 07:56

Afghan clan rivals 'led US forces to wrong target' in Nawabad attack

American forces who are blamed for killing up to 92 civilians in a bungled operation in Western Afghanistan were misled by misinformation from a tribal rival of those who died, according to Spain's intelligence service and Afghan government sources.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Americans have picked up sloppy habits from long years of killing whoever Israel tells them to.

Sep 08 12:57

Harrowing video film backs Afghan villagers' claims of carnage caused by US troops

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This video link works better.

Sep 08 09:10

Journalists warned to get out of Afghanistan

AUSTRALIAN journalists in Afghanistan have been targeted by terrorists and were warned yesterday by the Federal Government to consider leaving the country.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One has to wonder just what, precisely, Karzai's government doesn't want foreign journalists (including Australian)to actually see?

Perhaps the wholesale slaughter of civilians, courtesy of a US aerial drone hit?!?

Sep 08 06:47

Harrowing video film backs Afghan villagers' claims of carnage caused by US troops

These are the images that have forced the Pentagon into a rare U-turn. Until yesterday the US military had insisted that only seven civilians were killed in Nawabad on the night of August 21.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Except that for some reason, the embedded video won't play!

Sep 07 10:02

US losing the moral high ground

The question Afghans are asking is “Why do they do these things?” and, increasingly, there appears to be no obvious answer. Even Hamid Karzai, the country’s president, struggles to explain the reasons his allies make so many mistakes that cost innocent lives.

Sep 07 09:00

Hamid Karzai blames Britain for Taliban resurgence

Karzai claims Brown has threatened to withdraw British troops from Helmand province, where 31 of them have died this year, if the president reinstates two provincial governors sacked for alleged dealings in the heroin trade.

One of them is Sher Mohammed Akhundzada, the former governor of Helmand, who was forced out under British pressure two years ago after nine tons of opium and heroin were discovered in his basement. Karzai’s plan to reinstate the governors has alarmed western diplomats in Kabul and dismayed British officials.

Sep 06 16:38

Afghans Fed Up With Government, US

Mohammed makes it clear that the tribal chiefs have lost all faith in both their own government and the foreign soldiers in their country. Such disillusionment is widespread in Afghanistan, feeding an insurgency that has killed 195 foreign soldiers so far this year, 105 of them Americans.

Sep 06 14:14

Pak stops overland oil supplies to US-led troops in Afghan

To mark its protest against the continuing cross-border raids by the US-led forces from Afghan soil, Pakistan on Saturday said it was suspending overland oil supplies to the coalition troops in the war-ravaged country.

Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said the decision to stop the supplies had been made because the attacks by the US-led forces from Afghanistan had continued despite protests by Pakistan.

Sep 03 09:44

US troops are committing war crimes

"According to our investigations, 98% of civilian casualties caused by the coalition forces in Afghanistan are intentional," the head of the AHRO, Lal Gul, said.

Aug 31 08:46

Taliban move on Khyber Pass

TALIBAN raiders are trying to strangle NATO's mission in Afghanistan by stepping up attacks on convoys in the Khyber Pass, the perilous mountain trail that carries most supplies into the country.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Since NATO's mission in Afghanistan is to steal it, I can see why the Taliban might do that.

Aug 30 15:31

Afghan President pardons men convicted of bayonet gang rape

The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has pardoned three men who had been found guilty of gang raping a woman in the northern province of Samangan.

The woman, Sara, and her family found out about the pardon only when they saw the rapists back in their village.

Aug 30 08:43

Afghan official 'saw bodies of 50 children' killed in US strike

An Afghan politician told AFP Friday how he had helped dig out the bodies of women and children after US-led air strikes a week ago, reiterating with another official that around 90 civilians were killed.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Winning the hearts and minds ...

Aug 27 13:23

US Massacres Afghan Kids

Aug 26 15:57

US air strike massacres civilians in western Afghanistan

In one of the worst atrocities of the US-led occupation of Afghanistan, as many as 90 civilians were massacred by an American air strike last Friday in the western province of Herat. At least 60 of those killed were children under the age of 15, according to Afghan government and military sources.

Aug 26 09:56

US offers Afghans $29m reward for bin Laden

The US is erecting billboards in Afghanistan offering hefty rewards for Osama bin Laden, Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar and American al-Qa'ida member Adam Gadahn, the embassy said yesterday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Bin Laden is dead: the US knows it, and the rest of the world, except for those deluded souls who believe the corporate media, knows it.

So what is going to happen is that some poor Afghani schmuck- look-alike is going to get arrested and murdered by US/Coalition forces to wave around like a bloody shirt before the end of this administration, so they can scream, "See??? We caught the bastard!"

Aug 26 08:50

U.N. says has evidence air strikes killed 90 Afghans

The United Nations said on Tuesday it had found convincing evidence that 90 Afghan civilians, most of them children, were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces in western Afghanistan last week.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Winning their hearts and minds!

Aug 26 07:45

Afghan Govt demands new rules of engagement

Afghanistan is demanding a renegotiation of the rules for international troops in the country after 90 people were killed in US-led attacks on Friday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"Those @#$%ing ingrates!!!" -- Official White Horse Souse

Aug 25 09:41

The Afghan fire looks set to spread, but there is a way out

The only way to end the war is the withdrawal of foreign troops as part of a political settlement negotiated with all the significant players in the country, including the Taliban, and guaranteed by the regional powers and neighbouring states. A large majority of Afghans say they back negotiations with the Taliban, even in western-conducted opinion polls. The Taliban themselves insist they will only talk once foreign troops have withdrawn. If that were the only obstacle, it could surely be choreographed as a parallel process.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

What this man is saying makes absolute sense, given the current situation on the ground.

Of course, logic and this administration have never had an on-going relationship.

It will be interesting to see what the next president will do with Afghanistan, considering that neither the US nor NATO appear to be ready to pony up the additional 350,000 soldiers necessary for a military win.

Aug 25 09:03

Rockets, guile and the lessons of history: the Taleban besiege Kabul

The lorry drivers who bring the Pepsi and petrol for Nato troops in Kabul have their own way of calculating the Taleban's progress towards the Afghan capital: they simply count the lorries destroyed on the main roads.

By that measure, and many others, this looks increasingly like a city under siege as the Taleban start to disrupt supply routes, mimicking tactics used against the British in 1841 and the Soviets two decades ago.

Aug 24 10:40

Taliban win over locals at the gates of Kabul

While clashes in remote Helmand dominate the headlines, another battle is being waged by the insurgents on Kabul's doorstep. There, the Taliban are winning support by building a parallel administration, which is more effective, more popular and more brutal than the government's.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The last army to secure and hold this area was that of Alexander the Great.

Apparently, that's a lesson of history that the US and NATO chose to forget when cobbling together their "plans" for invasion and occupation.

Aug 24 10:35

Anti-US demonstrations in Afghanistan

Angry protests have broken out in Afghanistan following the deaths of scores of civilians in an air attack by US-led coalition forces on Friday. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the air strike.

The father of some victims said the coalition forces should come and see that all those killed were children and not Taliban.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Continued air strikes (because the US and NATO have never, ever had anywhere near the boots on the ground to make this occupation successful) guarantee two things, and two things only.

They guarantee that more non-combatant civilians will get killed, and those left standing will become even more radicalized against Karzai's government.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, yet expecting a different outcome.

It appears that the US and NATO commands are stuck in what can best be described as an "insanity loop" in Afghanistan, because they refuse to consider implementing the only thing that will work: dialogue and political inclusion.

Aug 24 08:14

The Daily Show live from the White House

The Bush Regime imbeciles don’t know when to stop. With the world still rolling in laughter from John McCain’s claim that “in the 21st century nations don’t invade other nations,” the moronic US secretary of state declared: “This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can threaten a neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it. Things have changed.”

This from Condi Rice who is “proud” of the Bush Regime’s invasion of Iraq.

Aug 23 16:42

Pressure grows on Nicolas Sarkozy for Afghanistan pullout

The findings of Le Parisien poll came amid growing debate over France's role in the Nato force in Afghanistan, with Mr Sarkozy being accused of entrenching his country in an unwinnable conflict.

Aug 22 17:07

Rockets, guile and the lessons of history: the Taleban besiege Kabul

The lorry drivers who bring the Pepsi and petrol for Nato troops in Kabul have their own way of calculating the Taleban's progress towards the Afghan capital: they simply count the lorries destroyed on the main roads.

By that measure, and many others, this looks increasingly like a city under siege as the Taleban start to disrupt supply routes, mimicking tactics used against the British in 1841 and the Soviets two decades ago.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Neither the US nor NATO can "....stop this" because they don't have any where near enough boots on the ground to make this happen.

As reported in at-Largely (http://www.atlargely.com/2008/06/400000-troops-n.html):

"ISAF Commander McNeill has said himself that according to the current counterterrorism doctrine, it would take 400,000 troops to pacify Afghanistan in the long term. But the reality is that he has only 47,000 soldiers under his command, together with another 18,000 troops fighting at their sides as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, and possibly another 75,000 reasonably well-trained soldiers in the Afghan army by the end of the year. All told, there is still a shortfall of 260,000 men."

The US doesn't have the person-power without a draft.

And trust me, you won't hear much about a draft right before this election.

But no matter who winds up getting elected, watch for a "National Service Act" (which has been floating in Congressional Committee for a long time) to suddenly lurch to the head of the agenda after congress returns from their winter holiday.

Aug 22 10:29

US-led coalition airstrike kills 76 Afghans

The Afghan Interior Ministry said on Friday that 76 civilians, including women but mostly children, were killed in a coalition airstrike in western Afghanistan.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Warning: very graphic photo of a dead or dying Afghani child at the top of this article.

But imagine, for one moment, that this was your kid.

Imagine, for one moment, what you would think of a government which allowed this to happen.

Imagine what you would be thinking about that government right now.

The US/NATO airstrikes are accomplishing two things right now, and two things only: they are killing scores of innocent non-combatants, and radicalizing those Afghanis left standing further against Karzai's regime in Kabul.

What they are not accomplishing is creating any degree of dialogue and inclusion of the Taliban into the political process.

Of course, that would be logical, and the only real hope of resolving the insurgency.

Aug 21 10:01

Pentagon Plans to Send More Than 12,000 Additional Troops to Afghanistan

The Pentagon will be sending 12,000 to 15,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, possibly as soon as the end of this year, with planning underway for a further force buildup in 2009.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Does anyone even remember why we are in Afghanistan?

Aug 21 08:26

French troops 'killed by Nato jets'

Reports that 10 French soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan after being mistakenly attacked by Nato aircraft are to be "looked into," officials for the military alliance have said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Remember when they tried to blame this on the Taliban?

Aug 21 08:26

Afghan civilians said killed in U.S.-led air raid

More than a dozen civilians have been killed in an air strike by U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan's eastern province of Laghman, two provincial officials said on Thursday.

Aug 20 11:20

Attacks rise as Taliban close in on Kabul

THE Taliban ambush that killed 10 French soldiers is the latest in a series of deadly attacks near Kabul that show the rebels are gaining on the Afghan capital, say analysts.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

We currently have 47,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan. The US has pledged another 15,000 (when, and from where these troops are coming is not yet announced.

That gives us a total of 62,000 troops on the ground.

The outgoing US NATO commander stated bluntly this year that the US and NATO need 400,000 troops to really do the job, according to US military protocols.

When the new contingent of US troops arrives for their tour of duty, the US and NATO will still be 338,000 troops short of the strength needed to do this job.

What's wrong with this picture? Everything.

How we can possibly manage a positive outcome without the troop strength is a mystery.

But the continued air attacks guarantee two things will happen in Afghanistan.

First, we're going to kill scores more civilians.

Secondly, we will radicalize those Afghanis left standing even further against Karzai's government.

Aug 17 09:53

US to take over Afghan mission

The United States is planning to take control of all military operations in Afghanistan next year with an Iraq-style troop surge after becoming frustrated at Nato’s failure to defeat the Taliban.

Plans are being drawn up to send as many as 15,000 extra troops to Afghanistan with a single US general always in command, as in Iraq, defence sources said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Wow, a whole extra 15,000 troops!

(Ahem).

The outgoing US Commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, Commander McNeill, has stated very bluntly that it will take 400,000 troops to secure Afghanistan.

We currently have 47,000 US soldiers, together with another 18,000 provided by various other NATO countries.

Adding this new contingent of 15,000 troops, we have a total of 80,000 troops.

That means we're looking at a shortfall of 320,000 troops.

So what are the options?

We could go home, and declare victory.

We can continue to bomb the crud out of Afghanistan from the air, creating more civilian victims and radicalizing those Afghanis even further against the Karzai government.

Or, we could demand the Karzai government engage the Taliban politically, and develop a dialogue which would lead to a lasting stabilization of the country.

Of course, that would be logical.

And this administration has never had an on-going relationship with logic.

Aug 15 10:05

Adviser to Karzai says Taliban tactics are succeeding

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Karzai's adviser seems to have demonstrated a magnificent grasp of the obvious.

Outgoing ISAF commander McNeil made the statement this June that we would need 400,000 troops to secure Afghanistan.

Currently, we have about 47,000 troops here.

You do the math.

The US and NATO have a couple of choices, but only one logical one.

We can continue bombing the heck out of the country from the air, guaranteeing to kill more civilians and radicalize those left standing against the Karzai government.

OR...we could encourage real dialogue between the government and the Taliban so that there was a real inclusion of the Taliban into the political process.

Of course, that would be logical.

And this administration and logic have never had an on-going relationship.

Aug 14 09:02

Green Beret says leader shot, mutilated Afghan civilian

The leader of an Army special forces team grinned as he held the severed ear of an Afghan man he suspected of being an insurgent after he shot him and left his body in the desert, a Green Beret testified Tuesday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Don't it make ya proudernshit to be an American?

Aug 12 08:34

Stronger U.S. role likely in Afghanistan

The Pentagon will send a one-star general to Afghanistan this fall as part of a politically parlous but determined effort by the US to assume greater control in the country's troubled southern sector.

It's a small change to the complex command structure blamed for an ineffective counterinsurgency strategy that allowed the Taliban to stage a comeback.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

These changes amount to, essentially, re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

We have around 47,000 troops on the ground, between the US and NATO.

In an a web article (http://www.atlargely.com/2008/06/400000-troops-n.html)published in June of this year, the following was reported:

"ISAF Commander McNeill has said himself that according to the current counterterrorism doctrine, it would take 400,000 troops to pacify Afghanistan in the long term. But the reality is that he has only 47,000 soldiers under his command, together with another 18,000 troops fighting at their sides as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, and possibly another 75,000 reasonably well-trained soldiers in the Afghan army by the end of the year. All told, there is still a shortfall of 260,000 men."

You do the math.

The fact that the intensity of the use of air attacks has increased greatly is an indication that US and NATO have very little control on the ground outside of Kabul, and our options are limited.

We can continue to bomb the heck out of the country, declare victory, and come home.

We can stop bombing the heck out of the country, declare victory, and go home.

Or we can involve the Taliban in the political process, declare victory, and go home.

Of course, that would be logical, and ....well, this administration's relationship with logic is conspicuous by its absence.

The continued air assaults by the US and NATO guarantee two things.

First, we're going to kill a lot more non-combatants; women, children, the elderly, and the medically infirm.

Second, those left standing, who think members of the Karzai government are so crooked they have to screw their socks on in the morning, will be even more radicalized against it.

Aug 08 09:49

US-led soldiers kill 5 Afghan civilians

Webmaster's Commentary: 

MORE winning the hearts and minds of the Afghanis!

Aug 08 06:29

U.S. plans surveillance buildup in Iraq, Afghanistan

Aug 06 09:56

Pentagon Spokesman Disputes Mullen’s View Of Afghanistan: Nothing ‘Urgent Or Precarious’ About It»

Webmaster's Commentary: 

(Ahem).

Mr. Morrell, the outgoing NATO US commander has stated, in very blunt English, that to do the job in Afghanistan, we'd need 400,000 troops on the ground.

How many does the US and NATO have on the ground in Afghanistan? Approximately 47,000.

You do the math, sir.

The fact that bombing raids have been escalating translates into the reality that the US and NATO forces are not in control at all on the ground here.

And bombing raids can do two things very nicely. They can kill a bunch of non-combatants (women, children, the medically fragile, and the elderly), and work to radicalize those Afghanis left standing even further away from the Karzai government.

If that outcome is what you define as "success" in Afghanistan, we've done one hell of a job!

Aug 06 09:38

A record July for planes over Afghanistan

Webmaster's Commentary: 

If there have been a record number of bombing raids on Afghanistan, this means that the US and NATO have absolutely no control of what is going on on the ground.

Airdrops can do two things very well; further radicalize those left standing against the American-backed Karzai government, and kill a bunch of women, children, elderly and infirm.

Our options for success here are very narrow. The outgoing US Nato Command leader stated unequivocally that we need at least 400,000 troops to do this job. How many do we have there right now? Around 47,000 troops, just a little over 10% of what it would take to do the job.

So, we can continue doing what we have been doing (i.e., bomb the hell out of the country because we don't have enough ground troops), declare "victory", and go home.

Or, we can work to include the Taliban in the political discussions, rather than continue a military confrontation against them.

Of course, that would be logical. And this administration and logic have absolutely no relationship at this point whatsoever.

Aug 05 10:00

As the Fighting Swells in Afghanistan, So Does a Refugee Camp in Its Capital

Webmaster's Commentary: 

On a piece of barren land on the western edge of this capital, a refugee camp is steadily swelling as families displaced by the heavy bombardment in southern Afghanistan arrive in batches.

The growing numbers reaching Kabul are a sign of the deepening of the conflict between NATO and American forces and the Taliban in the south and of the feeling among the population that there will be no end soon.

Jul 25 10:01

New York Times boosts Pentagon push for wider bombing in Afghanistan

In its content and tone, the article resembles nothing so much as the official disinformation published by the Times in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq, particularly the notorious articles by Judith Miller, the former Times journalist and conduit for top Bush administration officials like Lewis Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney and convicted perjurer.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The fact that almost the sole tactic the military has left in Afghanistan is airstrikes points up the obvious: we have never, ever had enough boots on the ground to do the job here. The outgoing commander of US NATO forces said quite bluntly that we would need 400,000 troops to handle this.

And how many do we have on the ground right now? About 47,000, just a little more than 10 % of what is actually needed.

So now what? Bomb every man, woman, and child in Afghanistan, and declare victory?

Because with the current level of corruption in the Afghani government, and our troop strength (which is unlikely to get larger), coupled with the US and NATO refusing to engage the Taliban politically, this is about the only option we have left.

Jul 25 09:48

Karzai 'protecting drug lords'

A former senior US anti-drug official has accused Afghanistan's president of playing the US "like a fiddle" and protecting drug lords in his country for political reasons.

Thomas Schweich, who until June serve as US state department co-ordinator for counter-narcotics and justice reform for Afghanistan, said Hamid Karzai was impeding the so-called war on drugs.

Drug production has skyrocketed since the US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So this is why our kids are fighting and dying in Afghanistan?

Jul 22 10:43

Thousands march over Afghan land dispute

Thousands of ethnic Hazaras marched Tuesday in the Afghan capital and the central town of Bamiyan in a protest over a land dispute with nomads in which several people are said to have been killed.

The Kabul police official tasked with maintaining public order, Ghulam Rasoul, said 3,000 to 4,000 people took to the streets, but an AFP reporter said the crowd was likely three times larger.Hazara leader and parliamentarian Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq is reported to be on hunger strike over the dispute which he has warned could re-ignite civil war.

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