This video from the USA says about itself:
Congressional Probe: Cover-Up of “Auschwitz-like” Conditions at U.S.-Funded Afghan Hospital
A Congressional investigation has revealed a top U.S. general in Afghanistan sought to stall an investigation into abuse at a U.S.-funded hospital in Kabul that kept patients in “Auschwitz-like” conditions. Army whistleblowers revealed photographs taken in 2010, which show severely neglected, starving patients at Daoud Hospital, considered the crown-jewel of the Afghan medical system where the country’s military personnel are treated.
The photos show severely emaciated patients, some suffering from gangrene and maggot-infested wounds. The general accused of the cover-up is Lt. General William Caldwell, one of the nation’s highest-ranking commanders in Afghanistan, who served as the commander of the $11.2 billion-a-year Afghan training program. We speak to Michael Hastings, contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine and a reporter for BuzzFeed, which has been following the story closely.
Read more here.
General’s Defense on Afghan Scandal Ducks Key Evidence: here.
The slaying of three members of a US Marines special operations unit by a uniformed commander in the US-backed security forces brought to eight the number of Americans killed this week in Afghanistan: here.
Two New Zealand soldiers were killed in an ambush in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province on August 4, bringing the number of NZ deaths in the decade-long, neo-colonial occupation to seven: here.
Counterinsurgency or Civilian Slaughter in Afghanistan? Here.
Obama, Romney Campaigns Duck Future U.S. Role In Afghanistan War: here.
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Monday, August 20, 2012
New Zealand PM says to move forward Afghan withdrawal
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand will accelerate the withdrawal of its soldiers from Afghanistan after it lost another three troops in a province thought to have been the country’s safest, but which is now being increasingly targeted by Taliban insurgents.
Prime Minister John Key said on Monday it was “highly likely” Wellington would start the pullout of its 145-strong contingent by next April, around six months earlier than expected.
But the drawdown would happen over months and “not days”, Key said, adding the accelerated timetable was not because of the five soldiers killed this month in central Bamiyan and increasing unpopularity of the war among voters.
Bamiyan was one of the first provinces to be handed over to Afghan security forces in July 2011, ahead of a withdrawal of most NATO combat troops to be completed in 2014 and leaving behind it a reduced number of trainers and special forces.
“I want our boys and girls to come home and it’s awful that we’ve lost them,” Key said. “But we are in this now and we’ve been in it for a long time and we have to make the exit in a considered way. We’re not the sort of country that cuts and runs.”
New Zealand’s move to bring troops home early follows France, the fifth biggest troop contributor to the NATO-led coalition and which has also moved its withdrawal forward following a string of insider attacks.
Three New Zealand soldiers, including a woman, were killed by an improvised bomb in northeast Bamiyan on Sunday, thought to be the country’s most secure province until a string of recent attacks by insurgents on foreign and Afghan forces.
(Reporting by Jane Wardell and Rob Taylor; Editing by Ed Lane)
Afghan rockets damage US general’s plane
Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:09 AM Updated: Aug 22, 2012 1:00 AM
By KAY JOHNSON
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – An insurgent rocket attack damaged the plane of the top U.S. general as it sat parked at a coalition base in Afghanistan on Tuesday, dealing another blow to the image of progress in building a stable country as foreign forces work to wind down the 10-year-old war.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the two rockets that landed near the C-17 transport plane that U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, flew into Bagram Air Field north of Kabul on a day earlier. The claim was an attempt by the insurgents to score more propaganda points in what has been a deadly few weeks for the international coalition in Afghanistan.
Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the U.S. military and the international coalition, said Dempsey was in his staff quarters when the two rockets landed and was unhurt in the attack. But the damage to the plane forced Dempsey to use another aircraft for his flight from Bagram to Iraq on Tuesday.
Two aircraft maintenance workers were lightly wounded by shrapnel, and a nearby helicopter was damaged, Graybeal said.
Dempsey was in Afghanistan for talks with military leaders about the war as well as a disturbing rash of killings of U.S. military trainers by their Afghan partners or militants dressed in Afghan uniform.
Such turncoat attacks – which the Taliban also said they are behind – killed 10 Americans in the last two weeks alone, threatening morale and raising questions about the strategy to train Afghan security forces so they can fight the insurgency after foreign troops end their combat role in 2014.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid issued a statement Tuesday claiming Dempsey’s aircraft was targeted by insurgents “using exact information” about its whereabouts.
Graybeal, however, rejected the claim, saying insurgent rocket and mortar attacks are “not infrequent” at Bagram and that such fire most often comes from so far away that it’s virtually impossible to hit specific targets.
Pentagon spokeswoman Maj. Cathy Wilkinson also denied the strike was aimed specifically at Dempsey’s plane. “Indirect fire at Bagram is not unusual, so we don’t believe his aircraft was targeted.”
Bagram, a sprawling complex that covers about 21 square kilometers (8 square miles) and houses tens of thousands of troops, is about an hour’s drive north of Kabul, and usually serves as the first point of entrance for U.S. officials visiting the country. It is the hub for military operations in the east of the country and the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan.
During his visit, Dempsey met with U.S. Afghan commander Gen. John Allen in Kabul and also with a number of senior Afghan and coalition leaders.
Among the topics was the escalating number of “insider attacks” in which Afghan security forces or militants dressed in Afghan uniform turn their guns on coalition military trainers. Once an anomaly, the number of such attacks has been climbing in recent months. There have been 32 of them so far this year, up from 21 for all of 2011, according to NATO.
Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar last week said the killings were the result of an insurgent campaign of infiltration, though NATO has said it’s too early to tell if the attacks were related to the insurgency or caused by personal disputes turned deadly.
The Taliban also claimed to have shot down a U.S. military helicopter that crashed during a firefight with insurgents in a remote area of southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing seven Americans and four Afghans on board.
U.S. officials, however, said initial reports were that enemy fire was not involved in the crash.
Tuesday’s insurgent attack was the second this year to come uncomfortably close to a high-level U.S. official visiting Afghanistan.
In March, an attacker tried to ram a car into a delegation waiting to greet U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at Bastion Air Field in southern Afghanistan as his C-17 taxied toward the landing ramp. U.S. defense officials said Panetta was never in any danger, but if the attacker had waited just a few more minutes, Panetta’s plane would have been at the ramp.
Another attack, this time at the entrance of Bagram, struck in 2007 as then-Vice President Dick Cheney visited Afghanistan. The suicide attacker did not penetrate the gates of the base but at least 23 people were killed in the blast.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Taliban beheadings that weren’t: Behind the Afghanistan headlines
Honest reporting from Afghanistan would tell us there is no prospect of victory for the West, and less and less prospect of an orderly withdrawal leaving a stable state behind.
By Lindsey German
Stop the War Coalition
28 August 2012
No charges for US Marines who urinated on the bodies of Afghans they had just killed, chuckling: “Have a great day, Buddy.”
YOU COULDN’T make it up. Or perhaps you could. I heard on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme yesterday that 17 people had been beheaded by the Taliban in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan _ for going to a party with music and dancing.
Who wouldn’t receive that news with fear and revulsion? People executed in the bloodiest way for doing things that millions of people around the world regard as harmless and enjoyable.
The problem is, it wasn’t true. The full facts are still unknown but they suggest that no one was beheaded. Maybe, we’re now told, it wasn’t about going to a party. Some say it was about a dispute between Taliban commanders over the two women killed in the incident. Others that these people were executed because they were spying for Nato forces.
I don’t know what the truth is, so I won’t speculate. But the point is, nor do the headline writers and reporters who tell us these rumours as though they were facts. At one point yesterday the Today programme did report that one source were saying the dead people had been spying but it was not contained in the headlines. I listened for any correction of the report today, but heard none.
Anyway, the damage is done: violent Taliban behead people for partying becomes what people remember.
There is a rather different attitude to crimes committed by Nato troops in Afghanistan. Yesterday too the US authorities announced how they were dealing with US soldiers who burnt the Koran at Bagram airbase, leading to mass rioting throughout Afghanistan, and with a group of Marines who urinated on the bodies of dead Taliban.
None of them will face prosecution, as even the country’s corrupt president Karzai demanded. Instead they have been ‘disciplined’ — hardly an onerous result.
The reporting of these events betrays no outcry at the lenient treatment of these men or any sense of the outrage there must be in Afghanistan.
Double standards in reporting are not new. But those who oppose wars have a duty to look behind the headlines at what is really going on — not just in Afghanistan but in Iraq, Libya and Syria as well.
What the double standards in Afghanistan reflect is the fact that the Nato forces are losing the war. This weekend — less reported than the beheadings that weren’t — the Taliban attacked an Afghan army checkpoint, killing ten soldiers.
Another ‘green on blue’ attack by an Afghan soldier also left two more US soldiers dead. These attacks by the soldiers who are supposed to be US allies are growing, reflecting either Taliban infiltration or more likely widespread distrust of the western troops among the Afghan population as a whole.
The war is unravelling. It is not winding down but continuing its grim course. The failure of the occupation cannot be covered up by horror stories about what will replace the troops.
There is no prospect of victory for the West, and less and less prospect of an orderly withdrawal leaving a stable state behind. Obama’s troop surge has been a failure, even as casualties have escalated.
Honest reporting of the war would tell us that. Don’t hold your breath.
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