Afghanistan’s killing fields

The Taliban’s Tet has begun

Linked with Eric Walberg – Canada

Published on Online Journal, by Eric Walberg, June 20, 2008.

Two landmarks in Afghanistan last week — British troop deaths surpassed 100, and monthly official coalition deaths now outnumber official coalition deaths in Iraq. Pentagon officials said that in May 16 coalition troops were killed in Iraq, 14 of them American, while 18 coalition troops were killed in Afghanistan, 13 of them American …

… In the current jail, two detainees were killed after being repeatedly struck by their American guards. There have been numerous allegations of abuse at the facility, with prisoners claiming to have been sexually humiliated, beaten, stripped naked and thrown down stairs during their interrogations. Nielson-Green, however, denies that detainees at Bagram have been ill-treated. I shudder to think what Nielson-Green considers to be “ill treatment.”

Until September 2004, Bagram served largely as a way station for prisoners on the way to the real Guantanamo. US officials deny allegations that children as young as nine have been imprisoned at the facility. Speaking of sexual abuse, Canadian troops have recently been under fire for their “don’t look, don’t tell” policy with regards to widespread sexual abuse of civilians by Afghan government troops the Canadians are training.

But enough of this. The pre- and post-9/11 smoke and mirrors about Afghanistan are finally dispersing and shattering. NATO is in Afghanistan, as US President George Bush said in Bucharest in April, as “an expeditionary alliance that is sending its forces across the world to help secure a future of freedom and peace for millions.” In other words, to invade countries the US disapproves of and murder anyone who resists. A total withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, a negotiated settlement between Afghan forces, and massive reparations by NATO countries is what the world must urgently demand.

Putting the blame on Pakistan is the same story we hear about Iran in Iraq and heard during the US war against Vietnam, when Nixon began bombing Cambodia. It did not help the US defeat the Vietnamese but did result in the Khmer Rouge taking over Cambodia. Only by killing virtually the entire population will the US plan for Afghanistan succeed. Is this the objective? (full text).

(Eric Walberg is a Canadian journalist who worked in Uzbekistan and is now writing for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo. You can reach him at his site geocities.com/walberg).

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