Published on WSWS, by Johannes Stern, August 3, 2010.
The more than 92,000 documents published by WikiLeaks have revealed the true character of the war in Afghanistan. They show the brutality with which NATO soldiers have acted against the Afghan population in order to suppress the growing resistance against colonial occupation. War crimes are not the exception, but the rule.
Combat reports by US soldiers show that the death of civilians is a routine occurrence in air strikes. At roadblocks, brutalized occupying soldiers shoot Afghans in their vehicles. Special units, such as the Task Force 373, operate according to so-called “Capture/Kill” orders in the style of the Nazi SS. They are subject neither to the ISAF command, nor the responsible regional command, Centcom. They receive their orders—the killing of alleged Taliban members—directly from the Pentagon.
The documentation shows that these special units operate according to an “enemies list”, which is arranged according to priority and operational order. In the “working through” of this list, which runs to four figures, the death squads invade houses and kill countless innocent men, women and children.
In a country awash with drugs, war lords and tribal feuds, often a denunciation from a political rival suffices to place one on the list, and thereby receive the attention of the US special forces and drones. The policy of targeted killing equates to the execution of political opponents without any charge being laid or a trial being held, something that is characteristic of totalitarian dictatorships and their intelligence agencies. It runs contrary to the most basic legal principles … //
… According to Der Spiegel, the order to attack the two tankers in Kunduz had come from Bundeswehr Colonel Georg Klein, leading to 147 mainly civilian victims, because he suspected local Taliban leaders were nearby. The KSK, whom Klein consulted before the attack, had been following these Taliban leaders.
While the media and politicians try to downplay the publication of the WikiLeaks documents, it is increasingly clear that the Bundeswehr has cast off practically all the restrictions that were imposed upon it when it was first established in the aftermath of World War II. Meanwhile, it has adopted the policy of targeted killings, as practiced by the American, British and Israeli armies for a long time. (full text).