No free press in Afghanistan

This video is called BBC Caught Censoring Internet Video of Allied Troops Slaughtering Dozens of Innocent Women & Children [in Afghanistan].

Afghan free press activists and a human rights watchdog have slammed the Kabul regime for trying to ban journalists from covering mounting bloodshed in the run-up to Thursday’s elections: here.

Why Afghans have no hope in this week’s vote, by Malalai Joya, Member of the Afghan Parliament: here.

The poll takes place under conditions of a continuing foreign military occupation to prop up a puppet government that is notorious for its human rights abuses, corruption and failure to provide for the basic needs of the vast majority of the population: here.

Afghanistan election ink safeguard fails detergent test: here. And here.

The intensifying war in Afghanistan has served to dampen voter turnout across the country, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that the turnout was significantly lower than in the last elections in 2004: here.

Yesterday’s presidential election in Afghanistan featured massive abstention and blatant ballot rigging, underscoring the corrupt character of the exercise: here.

Journalists have demanded that the Afghan government end the censorship of election reporting as votes continued to be counted in the occupied country’s presidential poll: here.

No sign of voters on election day in Afghanistan despite official claims: here.

Washington praises Afghan election fiasco to justify war escalation: here.

Malalai Joya on the Afghan elections: here.

Public Opinion in U.S. Turns Against the War [in Afghanistan]: here.

Two separate opinion polls have laid bare the British public’s desire to see British troops to be pulled out of Afghanistan: here.

Britain: Government auditors have complained that they are unable to verify the existence of £6.6 billion worth of Ministry of Defence assets such as vehicles, weapons and radio equipment: here.

The legal charity Reprieve is suing the British government in connection with the illegal detention of two men held in Afghanistan: here.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: I’m sorry, but I was wrong to support the war in Afghanistan: here.

Abdullah Abdullah’s Unmentioned History: here.

Wootton Bassett, a market town near Swindon in the south west of England, is now synonymous with the terrible reality of Britain’s war in Afghanistan: here.

Crisis gets worse after flawed Afghan elections: here.

A partial vote tally reported Tuesday by Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission was overshadowed by mounting reports of pervasive vote-rigging, ballot-stuffing and intimidation of voters by various candidates and their respective ethnic warlord backers: here.

Washington’s double standard: The elections in Iran and Afghanistan: here.

5 thoughts on “No free press in Afghanistan


    By Ted Rall Thu Aug 13, 7:57 pm ET
    Obama Still Trying to Define Victory in Afghanistan

    “Ten and a half time zones away from Washington, American soldiers are fighting and dying in Afghanistan. Afghan resistance forces are fighting and dying too, protecting their homeland. And Afghan civilians are dying in the crossfire.”

    NEW YORK–What if they gave a war and nobody knew why?

    When the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan in October 2001, America’s war aims were clear: capture or kill Osama bin Laden, overthrow the Taliban government, deny Al Qaeda training camps and a safe haven.

    Of course, two out of three of these goals were based on lies; both bin Laden and most of Al Qaeda’s camps and personnel were in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. There was also a fourth unmentioned war aim, a lie of omission: lay an oil and gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan. Still, the Bush Administration deserves credit for articulating clear goals–metrics, in bureaucratese–against which success or failure could be measured.

    President Obama has rebranded Bush’s Afghan War as his own. Afghanistan, Obama said during the campaign, was the war America should be fighting. And so we are. Obama has dispatched tens of thousands of additional troops to the “graveyard of empires,” many redeployed from Iraq.

    But, unlike Bush, he still hasn’t told us why we’re in Afghanistan.

    When he took office, Obama’s stated war aims were muddled: propping up U.S. puppet Hamid Karzai, training local Afghan police, and reducing opium cultivation. The first two led to no clearly-enunciated end; how long would they take? If we really cared about number three, we might as well have put the Taliban–who’d had some success in getting rid of opium–back in charge.

    Obama reads the polls, which reflect increased skepticism about his Afghan war. So, in May, Obama attempted a reset. “We have a clear and focused goal,” he assured a White House audience: “to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.”

    In other words, back to Bush.

    Here again, let’s give Bush credit. He never floated war aims in a country–namely Pakistan–which we weren’t actually fighting in.

    Sure, the CIA is firing missiles from remote-control drone planes at every Pakistani wedding party in sight. But Al Qaeda will never be defeated with air power alone. As things stand, Pakistan remains a heavily-funded U.S. client state–not an enemy with which we are at war. There are no U.S. ground troops in Pakistan. Until that changes, Obama’s aim in Afghanistan (and Pakistan) remains prima facie unachievable.

    Ten and a half time zones away from Washington, American soldiers are fighting and dying in Afghanistan. Afghan resistance forces are fighting and dying too, protecting their homeland. And Afghan civilians are dying in the crossfire. But, eight years into this misbegotten war, “the Obama Administration is [still] struggling to come up with a long-promised plan to measure whether the war is being won,” reports The New York Times.

    Proposals for such measurements range from the insipid to the absurd. The “number of operations in which Afghan soldiers are in the lead,” for example, will be tabulated and reported to a typically credulous media. Whether said sorties are effective won’t matter. Also being considered is “an opinion poll to determine Afghan public perception of official corruption at national, provincial and district levels.” Never mind that most Afghans live in areas controlled by violent local warlords, who may not be big fans of free speech among their subjects.

    When you can’t tell whether you’re winning or losing, you’re losing.


  2. Candidates warn of fraud damage

    Afghanistan: Six Afghan presidential candidates have warned that fraud allegations threaten to undermine the recent election.

    The candidates released a statement hours before the release of partial results from last Thursday’s vote.

    Security officials are concerned that supporters of former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah could vent fury if he comes in second with no chance at a run-off.


  3. 10 troops died and ‘only 150 Afghans voted’

    Nicholas Cecil, Chief Political Correspondent


    As few as 150 people may have voted in the Afghanistan presidential poll in an area of the country seized from the Taliban by British forces at a heavy loss.

    The alleged extremely low turnout in the Babaji area of Helmand province raised serious questions over Operation Panther’s Claw, in which 10 British soldiers died.

    Britain’s ambassador to Kabul, Mark Sedwill, said it was too early to know how many people went to about a dozen polling stations in the area between Lashkar Gah and Gereshk in the southern province. But if the 150 figure is true, it would equate to 15 votes for every British life lost.

    Panther’s Claw had wider military objectives but before the poll last Thursday senior Foreign Office officials said a key point was that it would enable 80,000 more Afghans to vote.

    Today officials played down any links between British deaths and the election. But Mr Sedwill admitted some voters had been terrorised into not voting by the Taliban — whose threats included cutting off the fingers of anyone who voted.

    And in a blow for those hoping the British campaign had worked, he added: “The insurrection is spreading and has spread since 2006.” He added: “We expected the intimidation campaign would have some effect and clearly it did.”

    During today’s briefing on the Afghan elections a reporter put to him that questions would be asked about the turnout, particularly in “the area of Panther’s Claw operation where an estimated 150 people voted out of a population of 80,000”.

    Mr Sedwill did not deny the figure.

    But he said: “This Operation Panther’s Claw that took place in Helmand this summer was going to happen at some stage anyway.”

    He also suggested there were signs that some Afghans may have gone to safer areas to cast their vote. There were about 400 insurgent attacks on the day of the election.

    Mr Sedwill added: “Panther’s Claw, although timed to try to improve security for people to move around for the election, was not specifically itself about the election.”

    He was, however, visibly shaken at last night’s bomb attack in Kandahar, which killed 40 Afghans and injured many more, saying: “It shows that the Taliban are targeting the Afghan people — which they have always denied.”

    On the reported low turnout, Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey said: “If it’s as pathetically small as that, then clearly one of the stated objectives (of the operation) has not been met.”

    Mr Sedwill said it was still unclear who was likely to emerge the winner between president Hamid Karzai and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, though preliminary figures showed Mr Karzai holding a narrow lead.

    Mr Sedwill praised the Afghan, as well as alliance, forces for their role in providing security for the election, although he acknowledged it had been an extremely violent day.

    The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that another British soldier has died in hospital more than a week after he was wounded in an explosion in Afghanistan, taking the military death toll in the country since 2001 to 207.


  4. Row over Afghan elections hots up

    Updated on 28 August 2009

    Source PA News

    The US special envoy to Afghanistan had a heated row with President Hamid Karzai over the alleged use of fraud in last week’s election, according to reports.

    Richard Holbrooke is said to have complained to the President about the use of ballot-stuffing and suggested that a second round to the elections would increase the credibility of the Afghan democratic process.

    Mr Karzai reportedly reacted angrily to the accusations last Friday.


  5. Pingback: Over 2,500 Afghan election fraud reports | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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