British government deporting refugee to Afghan war

This video says about itself:

3 November 2016

At least 30 civilians have been killed in a NATO air strike in Afghanistan‘s volatile northern province of Kunduz.

Women and children are among those killed in the operation – which was called in to protect US and Afghan Special Forces battling the Taliban.

At least two US soldiers have died and four others were injured in the fighting.

Al Jazeera’s Richard Martin reports.

Warning: you may find some of the images in report disturbing.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Bid to stop deportation of Afghan national fails

Friday 27th january 2017

A BID to stop the deportation of an Afghan national from the Welsh city he has called home for a decade appeared to have failed last night.

Bashir Naderi, 20, has lived in Cardiff since he was 10, after his mother paid traffickers to bring him to Britain.

The case against his deportation became a cause celebre with senior politicians and high-profile individuals, including local MP Jo Stevens and singer turned DJ Cerys Matthews who gave Mr Naderi their backing.

His deportation was temporarily halted by a judge at the 11th hour in October and opposition was further bolstered by a 14,000-signature petition handed to the Home Office in January.

Mr Naderi’s partner Nicole Cooper said they were “devastated” his leave to remain has been refused.

She said the couple’s solicitor delivered the news on Wednesday but that they were still waiting to see the Home Office documents.

Mr Naderi fled Afghanistan after his father was killed by the Taliban.

Some 393 refugees & migrants locked up in the UK tried to take their lives in 2015: here.

German demonstration against deportation to Afghan war

This video from Germany says about itself:

Activists March Against Deportation of Afghan Refugees

24 January 2017

Activists staged a demonstration at Frankfurt airport on Monday to protest the recent deportation agreement between Germany and Afghanistan.

In a joint operation carried out by federal and state authorities, 26 Afghan refugees were deported on 23 January with officials putting them on a plane in Rhein-Main airport in Frankfurt, Germany and flying them to Kabul. This was the second mass deportation of this kind, following the deportation of 34 Afghan refugees on 14 December: here.

The brutal deportation policy of the central and state governments in Germany is driving more and more refugees to commit suicide: here.

We killed Afghan civilians, Pentagon admits

This video says about itself:

3 November 2016

At least 30 civilians have been killed in a NATO air strike in Afghanistan‘s volatile northern province of Kunduz.

Women and children are among those killed in the operation …

Al Jazeera’s Richard Martin reports.

Warning: you may find some of the images in report disturbing.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Kunduz Attack in November Killed 33 Civilians, U.S. Military Says


JAN. 12, 2017

KABUL, Afghanistan — A United States military investigation into claims of civilian casualties during a joint operation by Afghan and American forces found that 33 civilians were killed and 27 others were wounded during a firefight and airstrikes in Kunduz Province last year, American military officials said on Thursday. …

After the battle in Kunduz, a New York Times reporter counted 22 bodies being brought into the city on the way to the hospital there. Among them were 14 children, four women, two older men and two men of fighting age. They were accompanied by a large group of protesters from Boz Qandahari, the village that was hit.

Kunduz is also where a United States military gunship mistakenly

Mistakenly? Doctors Without Borders don’t believe that.

targeted a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in October 2015, killing at least 42 people and destroying much of the hospital.

German demonstration against deportations to Afghan war

Pro-Afghan refugees rally at the Opernplatz in Frankfurt, Germany

By Marianne Arens in Germany:

Demonstration in Germany against deportations to Afghanistan

12 January 2017

More than a thousand people protested last Saturday in Frankfurt against the German government’s deportation of refugees to Afghanistan. After a rally at the central Opernplatz square, a growing number of people joined the peaceful demonstration in the downtown area.

On December 14, 34 Afghan refugees were deported in a special charter plane from the Rhein-Main Airport, and additional group deportations to Kabul are planned later this month. Last year, a total of 25,000 people were deported from Germany, primarily from the Frankfurt Airport.

The rally in front of the old opera house was called on January 7 by the Frankfurt Afghan Hindu Cultural Association and other associations of Hindus and Sikhs. Their placards read “Stop Deportation and Persecution,” “We are human beings and not numbers!” “Equal Rights for Refugees,” “Keep families together,” and “I would like to live as a human being instead of dying as a Sikh in Afghanistan.”

Before 1980, up to 220,000 Hindus and Sikhs lived in Afghanistan, according to a spokesperson of the organizers. However, their number has fallen to 1,300 because under neither the Taliban nor the current NATO-supported government has it been possible for them to live a peaceful life, free of physical threat. In reality, the country is highly unsafe for all civilians today.

“We came to Germany with high hopes,” continued the spokesperson. “We have settled down and become a part of the society and support newcomers whenever we can. But that belongs to the past.” The group deportations into a land of crisis have struck refugee communities from Afghanistan at the heart, he said: “The war in Afghanistan has caught up to us. Once again, families will be torn apart, we must once again fear for our relatives.”

Janine Wissler spoke for the Left Party in Hesse and called briefly and perfunctorily for a halt to the deportations: “The group deportations to Afghanistan must be ended,” said the deputy Left Party president …

Immediately after Wissler spoke, two refugee aid personnel sharply criticized the practice of “voluntary departure” … . Tina and Daniel of the Wiesbaden Refugee Council said that anyone who gives credence to the official line about “safe” countries of origin and pressures the refugees to return voluntarily is acting hastily and irresponsibly. This practice places the refugees in enormous danger, they said.

As several speakers emphasized, the security situation deteriorated massively in Afghanistan last year. The foreign office has warned German tourists and business people against even short-term travel in the country. Afghanistan is anything but a “safe country of origin”: random raids by the Taliban and NATO air attacks endanger people day in and day out. A spokesperson reported that last week a Sikh representative in Kunduz was shot openly in the street: “Hindus and Sikhs are being sent to their deaths with eyes open.”

Many German youths also participated in the demonstration

Many German opponents of deportations, above all young people, took part in the demonstration. The mass deportation of refugees has provoked widespread horror and the plans for central deportation centres remind many of the Nazi concentration camps. …

Since last fall, the German federal government, which has called Afghanistan a safe country of origin, has maintained a cynical agreement with the government in Kabul concerning rejected asylum applicants. Parallel to this, the federal parliament has prolonged the engagement of the federal army in Afghanistan.

Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière is preparing new deportation centres near the large German airports as part of his plans to centralize the entire security apparatus, and Chancellor Angela Merkel is supporting this course with her injunction “deport, deport, deport.”

The Hesse Minister President Volker Bouffier (Christian Democratic Union) suggested several days ago that refugees picked up in the Mediterranean should be sent back to Africa. In addition, special intake centres should be built in Tunisia or Egypt, he said. Bouffier added that he completely supported a similar suggestion from the Christian Social Union, one of Merkel’s coalition partners at the federal level.

Federal President of the SPD Sigmar Gabriel criticized Thomas de Maizière’s police-state plans from the right, downplaying them as purely “symbolic politics.” And Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas (SPD) spoke of a “preventive offensive” and demanded changed laws, so that detention pending deportation would also be possible when the countries of origin do not cooperate.

Canadian Afghan war veteran kills family, himself

This video from Canada says about itself:

‘Lost my mom and my niece were gone too’

5 January 2017

Lionel Desmond’s sister Cassandra describes how she found out members of her family had been killed.

Read more here.

Not only does the bloody Iraq war come home to the USA as bloodbaths at Fort Lauderdale airport and elsewhere.

The bloody war in Afghanistan comes home to Canada as well.

By Laurent Lafrance in Canada:

Canadian Afghan war veteran commits suicide after killing family

11 January 2017

A tragedy that took place at the beginning of January in Upper Big Tracadie, a small and isolated town in northeastern Nova Scotia, has shed light on the consequences of the increasingly aggressive domestic and foreign policies of the Canadian ruling elite.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) confirmed last Friday that 33-year-old Afghan war veteran Lionel Desmond shot himself after killing his mother, Brenda, 52; his wife, Shanna Desmond, 31; and their 10-year-old daughter, Aliyah. The murder-suicide has left the community, located some 200 miles from Halifax, in shock.

Relatives confirmed that Desmond suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after he came back from Afghanistan, where he was deployed from January to August of 2007 as an infantry soldier in the Royal Canadian Regiment. He joined the armed forces in 2004 and was released 18 months ago.

This latest tragedy is an indictment of the entire ruling class and military apparatus that have used young men as cannon fodder to advance Canada’s imperialist interests around the globe. When these men come back home, usually traumatized by the cruelty of war and the atrocities inflicted on the civilian population—often with their own participation—they are left with inadequate health care and other vital services due to decades of budget cutting by all of the establishment political parties.

Desmond wrote on his Facebook page last month that he had hit his head on a light armoured vehicle and suffered back spasms after falling off a wall while in the military. He said he had been told he had post-concussion disorder as well as PTSD. Desmond’s sister-in-law explained that he recently decided to stay at his grandparents’ house because he was “getting so out of control,” and that he was verbally aggressive with his wife.

Rev. Elaine Walcott, another relative, said, “Lionel loved his mother, his family, and he was a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder and the memories he didn’t want to have.” Lionel’s sister, Cassandra Desmond, told CBC News: “My brother suffered in silence for 10 years fighting demons that we don’t even know, seeing things, replaying events in his head…”

According to Shanna Desmond’s aunt, Catherine Hartline, when Lionel Desmond returned from Afghanistan he sought treatment in Montreal but did not get the adequate assistance. “The poor guy needed help and they sent him up to Montreal and put a little Band-Aid on him and sent him back.”

It was also revealed that Desmond tried to check himself into a mental health facility at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish the day before the tragedy, but he was apparently told there were no beds and that the hospital did not have his files.

This revelation prompted Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil to claim that his government, in conjunction with health authorities, would find out “what may or may not have happened” at St. Martha’s. In another token gesture, the Canadian government announced that it would pay the costs of the funeral of Desmond and his family members.

The government is clearly seeking to wash its hands of the situation and cover up the fact that the lack of services at St. Martha is the result of years of austerity measures imposed on public services by successive Liberal, Conservative and NDP provincial governments.

An emergency room doctor who works at the hospital, Dr. Maureen Allen, told CBC how budget cuts had impacted the services provided. Allen said emergency rooms “are inundated” with people struggling with mental health and addiction issues, and that the facility no longer has a dedicated budget for mental health services.

Under both the previous Harper Conservative government and the current Liberal Trudeau government, Veteran Affairs Canada has slashed millions of dollars, translating into hundreds of job cuts, closed offices that previously provided assistance to veterans and cut back on medical marijuana. In power, the Conservatives eliminated lifetime pensions for Afghanistan veterans and clawed back benefits. The number of VA employees shrank 21 percent between 2008 and 2014, resulting in the department’s smallest workforce since 1998.

Many ill and injured ex-soldiers must wait for months to find out if they qualify for benefits. Documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that just over half of the 6,000 veterans who applied for disability benefits between April and July last year received a decision within 16 weeks.

Veteran services have also been targeted for privatization. The most recent job cuts imposed by the Liberals will now force veterans to deal with Medavie Blue Cross, a for-profit private insurance company, for their benefit claims.

According to reports, Desmond received treatment from a joint personnel support unit for a year prior to his release from the military in July 2015. The JPSU, which is meant to provide support to physically and mentally ill soldiers, is severely under-funded.

The horrific event in Upper Big Tracadie is the latest in a string of similar tragedies involving war veterans. According to a Globe and Mail investigation, at least 72 soldiers and veterans have killed themselves after serving on the dangerous Afghanistan mission. The most recent reported case took place in 2015, when Robert Giblin, a veteran of two Afghanistan tours, repeatedly stabbed his wife before they fell from a high-rise apartment in Toronto.

Nearly one in 10 Canadian military personnel who took part in the mission in Afghanistan (about 3,600 out of 39,000) are now collecting disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder. However, experts say the prevalence of the illness is likely much higher among Canada’s combat troops. There are probably many ex-soldiers who have not reached out for benefits, and others who have never been diagnosed.

Calls by the media and politicians for better help for veterans are highly hypocritical. Above all, they seek to obscure the real cause of the Upper Big Tracadie tragedy: Canada’s participation in imperialist carnage in Central Asia and around the globe. In fact, after wiping their crocodile tears, the Canadian ruling class and the media will continue to push for a more aggressive foreign policy.

The Afghan war played a critical role in the reassertion of aggressive Canadian militarism. It marked the definitive end of a period in which, for their own geopolitical interests, the Canadian ruling class presented itself on the global stage as a “peacekeeping” nation.

Military strategists and government advisers celebrated the Afghan intervention, which saw the Canadian Armed Forces assume the leadership role in counter-insurgency operations in Kandahar. In the words of one official, this was a “revolution” in Canadian foreign policy. The ruling class is not about to allow what it views as collateral damage to the lives of veterans and their families to get in the way of the ruthless assertion of its interests.

Desmond’s fate—and the high number of soldiers suffering from PTSD—points to the real character of the Afghan war. Launched in 2001 shortly after September 11 as part of the US-led so-called “war on terror”, the Afghan war has revealed itself as a neocolonial war in which the major powers sought to destabilize and dominate the entire energy resource-rich region.

The Conservatives and the liberals both supported Canada’s participation in the war. For its part, the union-backed New Democratic Party, which made the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan one of its main “progressive” policy planks, made an about-face in the 2008 election campaign when it sought a coalition with the Liberals and pledged to back Canada playing a leading role in the conflict through 2011.

Since then, the Canadian government has joined every military adventure led by the United States. Far from backing down from this war drive, the Trudeau government will soon announce a new deployment of Canadian troops in Africa to join US and French-led counter-insurgency missions and has already sent Canadian forces to Eastern Europe to menace Russia.

Woman pilot flees Afghanistan

This video says about itself:

Feb. 18, 2010: According to reports by Afghan media, ordered by a local [NATO ally] warlord called Fazl Ahad, two Afghan women were publicly flogged in Ghor province in Western Afghanistan.

The spokesman of Ghor’s governor, Abdul Hai Khatibi, said these women were forcibly married in Dolina district, but later they both ran away from their husbands’ houses. Police arrested the two in Chasht district while wearing men’s dresses. The women were then returned to their village and handed over to their husbands.

In light of a decree issued by local clerics, Khatibi said, the two women were subjected to 45 lashes each in public and they were flogged in presence of a large number of people. The footage of the scene was aired by some local Afghan TV channels.

The Dolina district is a haven of … armed groups, who impose such brutal and unethical verdicts on people, he added.

Deputy Dolina police chief Jahan Shah said to Pajhowk Afghan News that the two women were punished by a former [anti-Soviet Union army] jihadi commander named Fazl Ahad. He alleged the commander asked the husbands to give divorce to their wives.

Jahan Shah said the women fled their houses due to violence and beating.

Another police officer, who did not want to be named, said Fazl Ahad was involved in many such incidents. Tolo TV reported on Feb.18 that this warlord also flogged a man for having argument with a mullah and imprisoned him in his private jail.

The ‘new’ Afghanistan, a consequence of George W Bush’s 2001 invasion and the bloody occupation and war ever after, is about as bad, and sometimes even worse, for women as the ‘old’ Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban.

One difference is tokenism for a few women.

Corporate media from NATO countries highlight to their Western audiences a few individual women whose situation has improved, while keeping silent on the mass of women whose situation has not, or has worsened.

In 2008, one young Afghan woman refused to play the role of puppet of the tokenism of politicians and media.

Mehbooba Andyar

This is a photo of Mehbooba Andyar [called Ahadgar in other reports] who had been training as a runner on an Olympic scholarship outside of Afghanistan. Her best times in the 800m and 1,500m events were so slow it was likely she would have finished a minute or more behind the Olympic Games winners. The head of the Afghan Olympic Federation reportedly threatened to throw Ms Ahadgar’s family in jail, or worse, if she would not return to Afghanistan after the running. Still, she disappeared, and claimed political asylum in Norway.

Now, in 2016, another token Afghan woman.

Niloofar Rahmani in 2015, AFP photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

First Afghan woman pilot seeks asylum in the USA

25 December 2016

The first woman to become a pilot in the Afghan Air Force since the fall of the Taliban is seeking asylum in the USA. Niloofar Rahmani (25) says her life is not safe in her homeland. …

Before Rahmani in 2013 in Afghanistan for thirty years no female pilot had been seen. Under the Taliban it was totally impossible, because women under their reign had few rights.

The Afghan government was only too happy to use Rahmani to show that the country had changed. Her asylum application is therefore extra painful.

Rahmani did a year and a half training in the US. Yesterday she had to return home, but instead she asked for asylum.

German protests against deportations to Afghan war

This 14 December 2016 video says about itself:

Germany: Protesters swarm Frankfurt Airport as first round of Afghans deported

Hundreds of protesters marched through Frankfurt Airport on Wednesday to defend the rights of the Afghan refugees who are being deported. The protest was orchestrated by the Afghan Refugee movement and was timed for the first collective deportation of 50 Afghans from Germany.

By Marianne Arens and Martin Kreickenbaum in Germany:

Massive protests in Germany against deportations to Afghanistan

16 December 2016

On Wednesday, 34 Afghan refugees were forcibly deported to Kabul from Frankfurt on a charter flight from the Frankfurt-Rhein-Main Airport. This is the first time such a mass deportation has taken place in Germany. A spontaneous demonstration at the Frankfurt airport involved about a thousand people, including many young people. They wore stop signs and chanted slogans such as “Deportation is torture, deportation is murder. A right to stay for all, immediately!”

Protests and demonstrations have already taken place. On Saturday, the “International Day of Human Rights,” thousands of people in Berlin participated in a demonstration to stop deportations to Afghanistan.

In spite of these protests, the German government went ahead with the deportations using extreme brutality. It is deporting refugees, many of whom have been tolerated for many years, back to a country where war rages and basic human rights are nonexistent.

In October, the EU agreed a repatriation agreement with the puppet government in Afghanistan and assured the payment of €1.7 billion when the Afghan government accepts refugees in return. The driving force behind the shabby deal was the German government. On this basis, the German Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière (CDU), wants to expel up to 12,500 people from Germany to Afghanistan whose asylum applications have been rejected and only have “toleration” status.

It was originally planned to deport 50 Afghan refugees on Wednesday. Fifteen people had gone underground, however, de Maizière explained. He announced that “in future families and women would also be deported.”

The deportees were by no means “criminal asylum-seekers,” as had been claimed earlier. Most of them were refugees who had lived in Germany for years and were now being deported overnight. Twenty-two-year-old Babur Sedik told the Frankfurter Rundschau that he had been in Germany for four years and had lived exclusively in refugee homes and camps. Rahmat Khan, also 22, had fled from the fiercely contested region of Paktia and has now been deported.

The Bavarian refugee council reported that an Afghan refugee from Dingolfing had jumped out of the window at 3 a.m. when police sought to arrest him. He was taken to a clinic and apparently placed on the plane after short-lived treatment.

The ruthlessness of the security authorities against Afghan refugees is also shown by the case of 24-year-old Samir Narang from Hamburg, who went to the Aliens Office to extend his toleration status. Instead of the extension of his residence permit, however, he received an expulsion permit and was put into the deportation prison in Büren, and has now been deported to Kabul. Samir Narang is a Hindu and belongs to a persecuted religious minority in Afghanistan, and who now has to fear for his life there.

The deportation of one 29-year-old Afghan was stopped at the last minute by the Federal Constitutional Court, because he was still pursuing an asylum procedure. This means that the authorities planned to deport refugees whose asylum applications had not yet been finally rejected.

The Federal Constitutional Court reported that the question of whether deportations to Afghanistan were constitutional had been expressly left open. Despite the obvious concerns of the highest German court, the deportations on Wednesday were carried out in a hurry.

The collective deportation is a clear violation of human rights. This is also the position of the international medical organization IPPNW (Doctors for social responsibility). According to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which is also applicable in Germany, deportations of refugees to countries where they are threatened with death, persecution or torture are illegal.

But that is exactly the situation in Afghanistan. Even the guidelines of the Federal Office for Migration, which serve as the basis for asylum decisions, leave no room for doubt. “In all parts of Afghanistan there is a domestic armed conflict in the form of civil war and guerrilla fighting between Afghan security forces and the Taliban, as well as other opposition forces.” Human rights violations are widespread, food supplies are scarce and half of all children in Afghanistan are “endangered by long-term malnutrition.”

The security situation has dramatically intensified in the last 18 months. The UN mission to Afghanistan reported more civilian casualties in the first nine months of this year than since censuses began in 2009. The New York Times reported recently that Taliban militias killed 30 to 50 Afghan security forces every month. They have also increased their attacks on provincial capitals, destroyed roads and infrastructure. The government in Kabul is losing control in more and more parts of the country. According to data from the US government, Islamic groups are increasingly filling the power vacuum.

A commentary on German TV by the journalist Georg Restle described the deportations as a “Christmas present for the extreme right.” He demanded an immediate stop to the deportations.

Restle went on: “The truth is: Germany is safe, Afghanistan is by no means safe. Also because we have fought a war there, which has made things much worse, rather than better. This is why the federal government has a special responsibility for this country and the people who flee from it. That is why the deportations to Afghanistan have to be stopped. And now, immediately!”

The brutality with which the federal government is enforcing illegal deportations in the dead of night and fog recalls some of the worst crimes of German history. The Nazi deportations also began with resettlement, long before the trains rolled into the extermination camps.

As was the case in those days, racist attacks are a reaction to the growing economic and social crisis. The ruling class is trying to divert the growing opposition to unemployment, poverty and distress with racism. This is why xenophobia is systematically encouraged to incite workers against one other. The attacks on asylum law in Germany and the brutal deportation measures are the prelude to massive attacks on all workers.

The choice of the right-wing demagogue Donald Trump in the US has also given rise to a sharp turn to the right in European and German politics or, more accurately, accelerated the turn to the right. Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer (Christian Social Union, CSU) commented on the deportations on television: “I hope this is not a one-time action.” Hundreds of thousands more people would still have to be deported. He based his comments on Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had said that now “return, return, return” was the order of the day.

Just last week a conference of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) took up the main slogan of the far-right Alternative to Germany, “Foreigners Out!” in its main motion.

In the implementation of this policy, the federal government works closely with all other parties, which are governed by different coalitions at a state level. The states of Hesse, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg, Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia all participated in the collective deportation. The main responsibility fell to the Hessen state government, a CDU-Green coalition, which has ultimate control over the Rhein-Main airport and the deportations, which are decided upon at state level. The Greens in Hesse expressly agreed to the deportations.

In the Hessen parliament, Green Party chair Mathias Wagner declared the deportations to Afghanistan “difficult to bear,” but that the state parliament could not assess the security situation there and it was necessary to rely on the judgement of the federal authorities.

In Baden-Württemberg, Green Premier Winfried Kretschmann is working closely with Thomas Strobl (CDU). Strobl is the son-in-law of the federal minister of finance, Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) and a right-wing rabble-rouser, who represents the politics of the AfD in the CDU. Green politician Boris Palmer, the mayor of Tübingen, also recently called for deportations to Syria.

… In an appeal issued on the “Day of Human Rights” the Thuringian Refugee Council pointed out: “Many refugees living in Thuringia come from Afghanistan. Very long waiting times for a decision on their asylum application and more and more refusals lead to anxiety about their future among Afghan families, unaccompanied minors, women and men.”