More wounded Afghan civilians

This video is called Big rise in Afghan civilian deaths.

Britain’s Channel 4 News has revealed a dramatic increase in the numbers of war wounded civilians in southern Afghanistan, following the military troop surge initiated by US president Barack Obama earlier this year: here.

US military investigates ‘death squad’ accused of murdering Afghans: here.

Is Afghanistan turning into another Vietnam? Here.

2 thoughts on “More wounded Afghan civilians

  1. Canada’s ‘enduring’ Afghan role

    Published On Thu Dec 23 2010

    John Foster

    On Dec. 11, President Hamid Karzai signed formal agreements for a natural gas pipeline to be built through Afghanistan. Leaders of Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India signed, too. Three weeks earlier, at the NATO summit in Lisbon, Afghanistan became an “enduring partner” of NATO. Neither event captured much attention here, yet both have consequences for Canada’s role in Afghanistan.

    The proposed pipeline is named TAPI after the initials of the four participating countries (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India). It’s the same pipeline the U.S. company Unocal wanted to build in the 1990s. The TAPI countries have been meeting regularly since 2002 and they’ve made an apparent breakthrough with this agreement.

    The route for the pipeline extends 1,700 kilometres from a gas field in Turkmenistan along the highway through Helmand and Kandahar provinces in Afghanistan, to Pakistan and India. Turkmenistan has immense reserves of natural gas. Pakistan and India have acute energy shortages. With the route passing through areas of ongoing insurgency, who will provide security? In the past, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and NATO officials have said they would consider a request to protect pipelines, if asked. As an “enduring partner” of NATO, Afghanistan could request assistance for decades.

    Over time, the Afghan police and army are expected to assume responsibility for security in their country; the Afghan government plans to allocate 5,000 to 7,000 troops for pipeline security. Some Canadian troops will stay on as trainers until 2014. But training whom and for what? Afghanistan is tribal. The south is Pashtun country, and most of the Taliban are Pashtun. The Afghan National Army is heavily northern. Few soldiers come from the south. Will Canadians be training one side in a civil war?

    U.S./NATO countries are aware of difficulties with pipeline security, but supportive of the project nonetheless.

    The Asian Development Bank is the facilitating institution. Canada, the United States and several other NATO countries with troops in Afghanistan are active members of this bank. They’re all in the petroleum game, too. The same countries are deciding where to focus militarily and how to support the pipeline project.

    The U.S. has been pushing hard for the TAPI pipeline — and against an alternative pipeline from Iran. Afghanistan is a key piece of a big geopolitical game in Asia and the TAPI pipeline is part of it. Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas. The U.S. wants some of that gas to flow to the south. Existing pipelines take Turkmen gas to Russia (and on to Europe) and to China (as far as Shanghai). TAPI will link Central Asia with South Asia, influencing the regional balance of power.

    TAPI countries say the next step is to find a global energy company to run the project. They want to complete it by 2014, a magic date for Ottawa, too. But Canadians relied on 2009, then 2011. Is 2014 really the end-date? The U.S. is building several military bases, suggesting it plans to stay for years. During construction and after, the pipeline provides a reason for an ongoing NATO presence, facilitated by Afghanistan becoming an “enduring partner.”

    The stated reasons for Canadian involvement in Afghanistan keep evolving, but they ignore geopolitics — the quest for power that drives countries to war.

    What is Canada’s role? In supporting Afghanistan’s partnership with NATO, and a pipeline that’s likely to need security for decades, have our leaders simply said: “Ready, aye ready?” If so, our commitment to Afghanistan may be enduring, whether Canadians want it or not.

    John Foster is a Canadian energy economist who has worked for the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, BP and Petro-Canada. He is the author of “Afghanistan, the TAPI Pipeline, and Energy Geopolitics” in the Journal of Energy Security.–canada-s-enduring-afghan-role


  2. Greens attack SAS over deadly raid


    Last updated 05:00 30/12/2010

    The Green Party has called on New Zealand’s troops to stay in Afghanistan no longer than March, as a picture was released of one of the men killed in a bungled raid involving the SAS.

    The New Zealand Defence Force yesterday confirmed Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers took place in a midnight raid on the Kabul premises of Tiger International Armour in which two security guards were killed.

    A company owner identified the SAS soldiers as leading the raid, saying they were called “Sean” and “James”.

    Security guards Mohammad Sadiq and Abdul Mobin, both married and with young children, died in the attack. A photo of one of the men was released today.

    Green Party foreign affairs spokesman Keith Locke was critical of the NZDF for not revealing earlier the SAS’s part in the raid.

    “We shouldn’t have to wait for a British journalist to uncover the New Zealand involvement from an eyewitness,” he said.

    “Once again we have been reliant on foreign media to tell us what our SAS is doing in Afghanistan.

    “The excessive secrecy around such operations has limited the much-needed public debate about whether our troops should stay there.”

    The debacle gave weight to the call to pull the SAS out of Afghanistan.

    “Its mission should certainly not be extended beyond the planned withdrawal date of March 2011,” Locke said.

    He slammed the NZDF statement explaining the raid, saying it repeated a NATO spin which was upsetting Afghans.

    “For example, both the NATO and NZDF statements talk about ‘a large number of weapons’ being uncovered in the building, something which the owners deny.”

    ISAF and the NZDF said the security guards fired on the soldiers during the Christmas Eve raid, a claim denied by business owner Nawid Shah Sakhizada from Kabul last night.

    “When my guards come up into our room and said that this is ISAF firing, what shall we do? We just say that, OK, you are not allowed to fire, to shoot them. From the beginning our security guards did not fire on them,” he said.

    Hiding in an office with other workers, they had tried to assure the soldiers they were not Taleban but the troops opened fire, he said.

    The NZDF said a “large number” of small arms were found on site but Sakhizada denied this.

    Searches by the troops found nothing, he said, and after a high-ranking Afghan National Security Forces commander arrived and vouched for them, the SAS officers relented and apologised.

    “But I say apology is not enough,” he said. “I told them, ‘You did not kill two cows. You killed two human beings’.”

    He had seen the patches on the soldiers’ uniforms and spoken to their officers, and learned they were from New Zealand.

    The NZDF and ISAF said credible threats of a planned attack on the US embassy had been received. The target area was an office building in downtown Kabul, next to the Tiger offices.

    “Intelligence reports indicated there were two vehicles parked there that were thought to be loaded with explosives.”

    Advancing troops came under small-arms fire and killed two shooters. Fifteen others were detained using non-lethal force, they said. They were later freed.

    A spokesman for Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said ISAF would investigate the incident.

    The Kabul Government said the raid violated protocols which dictated that Afghan forces must lead operations in the capital.

    Afghan police want a prosecution but the SAS, like all coalition forces, has immunity from civil prosecution.

    New Zealand has 70 special forces troops in Afghanistan.

    – Stuff and The Dominion Post


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