Sunday, August 21, 2011

afghan hounds of war

Adapted from Green Left Weekly article.

On August 19, a Taliban suicide squad attacked the Kabul offices of the British Council, a government-funded institution that “promotes educational and cultural relations” between Britain and other countries. The Guardian said at least 12 people were killed, including a New Zealand SAS soldier and three “security contractors” working for multinational security outfit G4S. British PM David Cameron made the predictable condemnation of the suicide squad’s cowardice, and vowed to maintain the presence in Afghanistan of the British Council and the British Army.

A Taliban spokesman told AFP: “Today is our independence day from Britain. They recognised our independence 92 years ago. Today’s attack was marking that day. Now the British have invaded our country again and they will recognise our independence day again.”

The 9500-strong British contingent in Afghanistan is the second largest component of the occupying force.

Afghan feminist and democracy activist Malalai Joya said in a interview: “Western governments are bombing and killing innocent civilians of my country, most of them women and children …"

The US-led overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 was achieved by combining “shock and awe” military tactics with making alliances with various Afghan warlords and militia commanders. These forces differed from the Taliban in terms of being more ethnically broadly-based, more divided, and more linked to the illegal drug trade. In other respects, they were identical.

Joya explained: “These fundamentalist warlords are mentally the same as the Taliban. They were in power before the domination of the Taliban and in Kabul alone they killed more than 65,000 innocent people. They destroyed our national unity … They committed many crimes against our people similar to the Taliban. And with their bloody hands, but under a mask of democracy, they came in power after 9/11, imposed on our people.”

One such warlord is Matiullah Khan made police chief of Oruzgan Province after years of his militia working closely with Australian troops. Matiullah has earned more than $50 million from Australia, the US and other governments, by charging to protect NATO road convoys and winning lucrative construction projects. When Dutch troops were in Oruzgan they refused to work with him because of his human rights abuses.

The war is bringing poverty that is killing more Afghans than the occupation forces, their warlord allies and Taliban opponents combined. The UN World Food Program estimated that 7 million Afghans suffered food insecurity and by the northern autumn this will have increased by 2 million. Reuters say a quarter of children die before the age of five and the average Afghan life expectancy is 44 years. In occupied Afghanistan, a woman dies in childbirth every 29 minutes, ABC reported

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