British military accused of killing Afghan civilians


Demonstration in London, England against the war on Afghanistan

From daily News Line in Britain:

EXECUTING AFGHAN CIVILIANS – SAS unit is accused

3rd August 2020

A unit of the British Army’s Special Air Service (SAS) has been accused of carrying out night missions in which they executed civilians in Afghan villages between 2010 and 2013.

According to court documents, the SAS unit killed over 33 Afghan people in 11 different night raids on homes.

The evidence had been previously withheld from an ongoing High Court legal case by the government, prompting a judge to demand a full explanation from British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

The documents show that SAS operatives falsified mission reports and that members of the British government have tried to keep them secret.

In one case under investigation, the unnamed SAS unit arrived by Chinook helicopter at the village of Gawahargin in southern Helmand province on February 16, 2011 to find a young man identified as Saddam, who was suspected of being a member of an enemy gang planting roadside bombs.

They raided his home but family members, including his 19-year-old brother Saifullah, stepped out into the night with their hands up.

The unit tied up the women and children and placed black hoods on their heads, detaining them in one part of the small compound.

In the next few minutes, gunfire was heard and after the troops left, Saifullah went back into the house to look for his father, but found him dead.

His brothers and cousin were also dead with several bullet holes in their heads.

In 2013, Saifullah’s uncle sued the UK government over unlawful detention and mistreatment.

He himself had been kept behind bars for 20 days after the raid before being released without charge.

Later in March 2014, the special investigation branch of the Royal Military Police (RMP), who felt the claims were sufficiently serious, decided to launch an investigation.

Meanwhile, there is also a concern that of the 33 deaths, 10 were near-identical in their circumstances, where a captured male family member is sent back into his empty home to clear the way for the troops to carry out a search of the premises, only to get their hands on a weapon and attack the soldiers in ‘clearly impossible odds’.

THE TORY defence secretary Ben Wallace has been ordered by a judge to come up with an explanation as to why the British government has deliberately withheld evidence that indicates UK special forces troops executed 33 civilians in Afghanistan in 2011: here.

Stop overseas wars, United States veterans say


This 31 December 2016 Peace Report video from the USA is called EX-SOLDIER SPEAKS TRUTH.

By Warren Duzak in the USA:

Majority of US veterans back full withdrawal from Afghanistan, other overseas conflicts

30 April 2020

A new poll reveals that more than half of US military veterans surveyed believe that the US government should be less engaged in foreign wars, an increase of about nine percent compared to the same poll conducted last year. A large majority of military veterans and the families of troops and veterans also support a full withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Seventy-three percent of veterans and 69 percent of military families support a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, while 57 percent of veterans polled expressed opposition to continued “military conflicts overseas”, the Military Times reported.

More than half of veterans backing full withdrawal “offered strong support for the idea”, the Military Times also reported, while only “7 percent said they think the country should be more involved”.

The results of this year’s poll, conducted by Concerned Veterans for America, shows an increase in antiwar sentiments compared to the 2019 survey, which showed 60 percent of veterans and families wanted a complete withdrawal.

National security ranked only fourth among survey participants’ top political priorities, well behind the first choice, health care.

Immigration and the US national debt ranked second and third. There was a margin of error of 3.5 percent, the Military Times noted.

The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, marked the beginning of a nearly 19-year-long war, the longest in US history, as well as the onset of a so-called “global war on terrorism” that was used to justify the war of aggression against Iraq, as well as bombings, assassinations, renditions and torture in other parts of the globe. This was followed by the war on Libya and the bloody proxy war for regime change in Syria, both of which relied upon elements linked to Al Qaeda, the supposed target of the US war on terrorism.

Under both the Republican administrations of Bush and Trump, as well the Democratic one of Obama, the pretext of combating terrorism has been utilized to justify global militarism aimed at shoring up declining US hegemony.

Late last year, The Washington Post published “The Afghanistan Papers”, revealing the same pessimism in the military’s leadership now reflected in the military’s rank-and-file veterans and their families.

As the World Socialist Web Site noted in December:

“What emerges from the interviews, conducted with more than 400 US military officers, special forces operatives, officials from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and senior advisers to both US commanders in Afghanistan and the White House, is an overriding sense of failure tinged with bitterness and cynicism. Those who participated had no expectation that their words would be made public.”

The death, suffering and criminal waste of vast resources in Afghanistan boggles the mind. Of the 3,500 dead in coalition forces, the majority, 2,300, were American, the Watson Institute at Brown University reported as part of its “Cost of War” project.

The institute also reported 157,000 Afghan deaths resulting from the war, likely a significant underestimation.

Brown University also summed up the “costs” of wars and military action in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan at $5.9 trillion.

The price tag for all of the “Post-9/11 wars” was more than $6.4 trillion, and, according to the “Cost of War’s” conservative estimate, 801,000 fatalities were directly caused by the wars and “several times as many indirectly.”

Moreover, 21 million people, including millions of young children, have become refugees or “displaced” persons.

To put that in perspective, it is as if Norway, Sweden and Denmark were depopulated, or almost one-half the population of Spain or Argentina. In the United States it would mean the depopulation of all three states of Tennessee, Indiana and Missouri or the entire state of New York or almost all of Florida.

It is important, however, not to be fooled by the “concern” of the group “Concerned Veterans for America.” It was created by billionaire businessman Charles G. Koch and cut from the same cloth as the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity.

“(M)aintaining our presence in these countries puts American lives at risk, wastes valuable taxpayer dollars, and saps valuable human and material resources from confronting more immediate and persistent threats to American security and prosperity (emphasis added),” Concerned Veterans for America explained.

It continued: “American security interests can be protected by strengthening the long-term economic stability of our country, maintaining a strong military able to deter adversaries’ actions before they happen, committing ourselves to the deliberate employment of Americans abroad, and a vigorous defense of our nation if attacked or threatened.”

In creating a new veterans group, Koch is seeking to influence public opinion for the purpose of making the shift from wars on terrorism to “great power” conflicts with China and Russia, posing the threat of nuclear war. Just as ominously, “confronting … threats to American security” means for Koch and his fellow billionaires, the growing militarization of the police and the use of troops to control the working class.

Pentagon covering up US soldiers with coronavirus


This 10 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Is The US Military Hiding Its Coronavirus Cases?

A military mom calls in with devastating news, her son stationed in Afghanistan is sick, but the military either won’t test or isn’t testing the troops for Covid-19.

What is at the bottom of the lack of testing for members of the military, are we keeping the United States military safe enough to keep America safe?

Afghan war, after eighteen bloody years


This video says about itself:

US air raid fuels Afghan anger – 27 Jan 2009

Afghan civilians have rallied against America amid reports that civilians were killed in a US air raid over the weekend.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

A “ceasefire” in Washington’s Afghanistan debacle

22 February 2020

After 18 years of war, the killing of nearly 2,400 troops and the squandering of roughly $1 trillion, Washington is negotiating a deal it could have had with the Taliban without a shot being fired.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Friday that Washington and the Taliban had reached an agreement to begin a one-week “reduction in violence” in Afghanistan, beginning today as the first step toward the signing of a peace deal at the end of this month in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Such an agreement would ostensibly set the stage for the withdrawal of US troops and the end of what has been the longest war in US history, initiated more than 18 years ago with the illegal October 7, 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. In exchange, the Taliban is to pledge that it will prevent Al Qaeda elements from operating in the country.

Since that day, nearly 2,400 US troops have lost their lives in the Afghanistan war, nearly 10 times that number have been wounded, and many more are suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from being sent into a dirty colonial war. The cost of this “endless war” has reached roughly $1 trillion. At its height, the Pentagon was squandering some $110 billion a year, roughly 50 percent more than the total annual US federal budget for public education.

For the Afghan people, the toll has been far greater. By conservative estimates, over 175,000 have been killed outright by the violence, with hundreds of thousands more wounded, while millions have been forced from their homes.

This carnage has continued right up until the announcement of the partial cease-fire Friday. Virtually every day this month has brought reports of the slaughter of civilians in US airstrikes. Five civilians, one woman and four children, died under US bombs in Badghis province on February 6. On February 7, Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission reported three civilians were killed and one wounded in a US strike, all of them university students on their way home from a funeral. On February 8, five civilians died in an airstrike on a vehicle in Farah province. Another eight civilians were killed in a US strike in Nangrahar province on February 14.

Afghanistan’s tragic encounter with US imperialism did not begin in 2001, but dates back more than 40 years to the late 1970s, when the Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter and the CIA orchestrated the mujahideen Islamist insurgency against the Soviet-backed government in Kabul. Their aim, in the words of Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was to give the Soviet Union “their Vietnam”. Of course, it was the Afghans who were the main victims of this covert intervention, dubbed by the CIA as “Operation Cyclone”, which unleashed a protracted civil war whose victims number over one million.

The war ended with the Taliban, a student-based Islamist movement, gaining control over the vast majority of Afghanistan in 1996. And, while Washington never established formal diplomatic relations with its government, it knew that the Taliban’s leadership were men with whom one “could do business”, The Trump administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who negotiated the current deal, worked in the 1990s for the energy conglomerate Unocal—now part of Chevron—negotiating with the Taliban on a deal for a trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline.

Both before and after September 11, 2001, the Taliban offered to cooperate with Washington in bringing Osama bin Laden to trial. US officials rejected all such overtures, with the CIA doubtless having their own uses for Al Qaeda, which had originated as part of the agency’s mujahideen operation of the 1980s.

The intervention in Afghanistan, planned well in advance of 9/11, was launched not to prosecute a “war on terrorism”, but rather to project US military power into Central and South Asia in pursuit of geo-strategic interests, seizing control of a country bordering on the oil-rich former Soviet republics of the Caspian Basin, as well as China.

The war in pursuit of these aims was a war of aggression, a violation of international law that gave rise to a host of other crimes: massacres, rendition and torture, Guantanamo and CIA “black sites”, as well as the US Patriot Act and a wholesale assault on democratic rights within the US itself.

In the end, this war has proven an unmitigated debacle. If all Washington wanted was a deal with the Taliban to exclude Al Qaeda and similar forces from Afghanistan, it could have gotten that two decades ago without sending a single soldier.

What has the more than $1 trillion spent by Washington on this war, instead of pressing social needs, bought? The government, described by US officials themselves as a “kleptocracy”, controls little of the country and is despised by the majority of its population. The puppet character of this regime is confirmed by its exclusion from the US-Taliban talks.

The results of the last election, held in September with a record-low turnout of less than 25 percent, were just announced this week amid charges of gross fraud. Opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah, installed as “CEO” after the last fraudulent election, has refused to accept the legitimacy of President Ashraf Ghani’s reelection and has vowed to set up a parallel government, severely complicating proposed intra-Afghan negotiations on “a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire and the future political roadmap for Afghanistan” that are supposed to follow the signing of the US-Taliban deal.

As for the Afghan security forces, while suffering grievous losses, they have proven incapable of resisting the Taliban without intense US air support and American special forces “advisors”. The number of “insider” attacks, in which Afghan soldiers turn their guns on US and NATO trainers, has continued to mount.

After more US dollars (adjusted for inflation) were spent on Afghan reconstruction than were appropriated for the entire Marshall Plan for the recovery of Western Europe after World War II, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries on the planet, with more than half the population living below the official poverty line, the equivalent of a dollar a day.

Whether the deal announced Friday will culminate in an end to the US military presence in Afghanistan is far from certain. A similar agreement that was to be signed at Camp David last September was called off at the last minute by Trump on the pretext that a Taliban attack had claimed the life of a US soldier.

While Trump no doubt hopes to promote any agreement as a fulfillment of his 2016 campaign pledge to end America’s “endless wars”, he announced a complete withdrawal of US troops from Syria last year with the same aim, only to reverse himself and order US Army units to seize control of the country’s oil fields. Moreover, both Democratic and Republican politicians have called for the US to maintain an “anti-terrorism” force on the ground in Afghanistan.

Whatever the final outcome, a US-Taliban agreement will not signal the dawn of peace, either in Afghanistan or internationally. The country will remain an arena of conflict, both between rival warlords and militias, as well as between the two regional powers vying for dominance in Kabul, Pakistan and India. The US, Russia and China will continue pursuing their own conflicting interests in the country, exacerbating internal tensions.

Moreover, the impetus for a US withdrawal from Afghanistan is bound up with the strategic doctrine spelled out by the White House and the Pentagon in which the “war on terror” has been replaced by “great power” conflict as the focus of US military operations. The supposed move to end America’s longest war is bound up with the preparation for what would be the world’s most catastrophic military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia and China.

It is no coincidence that the announcement of the limited deal with the Taliban came on the same day that the first of 20,000 US troops began arriving in Europe for the largest war games on the continent in a quarter-century, being staged as a rehearsal for a war of aggression against Russia.

The war in Afghanistan, like that waged in Iraq, was based on lies. Among the most important exposures of these lies, told by presidents, Democratic and Republican alike, as well as generals, and echoed by a pliant corporate media, came from the courageous Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Both are today imprisoned, Assange in London, facing extradition to the US to face espionage charges and a possible life sentence, and Manning in Virginia, being held indefinitely without charges for refusing to testify against him.

Those responsible for the criminal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, have never been held to account. That is the task of the working class in the US and internationally, mobilizing its independent strength in struggle against war and the capitalist system that is its source.

The USA Is Determined To Surrender Afghanistan To The Taliban: here.

AFGHANISTAN’S former president Hamid Karzai welcomed a potential peace deal in the country today but criticised the United States for bringing “immense suffering to the Afghan people”: here.

AN Afghan peace deal appears to be in tatters after a US air strike hit Taliban forces in Helmand province today, hours after a phone call between the Islamist guerilla movement and President Donald Trump: here.

U.S. SLASHES $1 BILLION IN AID TO AFGHANISTAN The Trump administration is slashing $1 billion in assistance to Afghanistan. The decision to cut the aid was made on Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after he made an unannounced, urgent visit to Kabul to meet with Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the rival Afghan politicians who have each declared themselves president of the country after disputed elections last year. Pompeo had hoped to break the deadlock but was unable to. [HuffPost]

Dutch government lies on Afghan war


This 10 December 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Saagar Enjeti: Investigate Obama, Bush for Afghan lies

Saagar Enjeti calls out the political establishment for overlooking
the Washington Post‘s revelations on the origins of the Afghanistan War.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio, 31 January 2020:

The Dutch parliament was misinformed at the time about the progress of the Kunduz police training mission in Afghanistan. The developments were depicted too brightly and positively in order not to lose the political support for the mission.

Researchers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs come to that conclusion. Ministers Blok (Foreign Affairs) and Bijleveld (Defense), among others, described the conclusions as “serious” in a letter to the House of Representatives. …

The mission was from 2011 to 2013 in the Afghan Kunduz province. Dutch soldiers trained local police officers there. From the outset, political support was a problem. …

There was then a minority right-wing government, a coalition of the VVD and CDA parties.

With difficulty, the government received support from opposition parties. They set strict conditions – in particular GroenLinks and the ChristenUnie. Eg, it could only be called a “training mission” and not a “fighting mission”.

Put under pressure

The researchers now conclude that those involved in the mission “experienced pressure to present a more positive image than there really was”. A too favourable picture of the number of trained Afghans was presented; already dropped out students still counted, others were counted twice. Certificates were also issued incorrectly.

Strengthening the rule of law on the spot was also less successful than the House was told.

Trillion dollar Afghan war, based on lies


This 16 January 2020 video by Democratic party presidential candidate and Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:

Trillions spent on Afghan War based on lies

Politicians who say there isn’t enough money to pay for health care or education or infrastructure have been lying to us about “progress” in the war in Afghanistan when they knew/know it is unwinnablelying to justify spending $4 billion a month for 18 years and counting.

Presidential candidate Biden and the Afghan war


This 21 December 2019 video from the USA is called Afghanistan Papers Come Back To Haunt Biden.

BERNIE BASHES BIDEN: BAD IN ALL KINDS OF WAYS Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) escalated his offensive on fellow 2020 candidate Joe Biden, tackling his past positions on issues including the Iraq War. “Joe Biden voted and helped lead the effort for the war in Iraq, the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in the modern history of this country,” Sanders told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. [HuffPost]

BIDEN ‘OPEN’ TO REPUBLICAN RUNNING MATE Explaining why he’d be open to having a Republican serve as his own vice president if he were the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden said: “You know, there’s some really decent Republicans that are out there still. But here’s the problem right now, of the well-known ones, they’ve got to step up, you know what I mean?” [HuffPost]

BIDEN LED BUDGET TALKS WHERE SOCIAL SECURITY CUTS WERE ON THE TABLE Former Vice President Joe Biden led a small team of lawmakers in 2011 that considered a Social Security cut as part of a broader package of legislation designed to reduce the federal budget deficit. The talks didn’t pan out, but Biden’s participation exemplifies his desire to cut deals with Republicans and his political moderation, traits he’s highlighted on the presidential campaign trail. [HuffPost]