Pentagon keeps killing civilians

This video from the USA says about itself:

Iraqi Civilian Describes U.S. Airstrike on His Home That Killed His Wife, Daughter, Brother & Nephew

21 November 2017

Today we spend the hour looking at a damning new report that reveals how U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq have killed far more civilians than officials have acknowledged. An on-the-ground investigation by the New York Times Magazine titled “The Uncounted” found the actual civilian death toll may be 31 times higher than U.S. officials admit. We interview one of the survivors featured in the report. Joining us from Erbil, Iraq, Basim Razzo describes the 2015 U.S. airstrike on his home in Mosul, in which his wife, daughter, brother and nephew were killed. Video of the strike on his home shows a target hit with military precision.

This video from the USA says about itself:

21 November 2017

We spend the hour looking at a damning new report that reveals how U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq have killed far more civilians than officials have acknowledged. The coalition’s own data shows 89 of its more than 14,000 airstrikes in Iraq have resulted in civilian deaths, or about one of every 157 strikes. But their an on-the-ground investigation by The New York Times magazine found civilian deaths in “one out of every five” strikes. We are joined by the two reporters who co-authored this investigation titled “The Uncounted.” Azmat Khan is an investigative journalist and a Future of War fellow at New America and Arizona State University; and Anand Gopal is a reporter and an assistant research professor at Arizona State University. A civilian survivor who lost his family and home to a 2015 U.S. airstrike in Mosul, Basim Razzo, also joins us from Erbil, Iraq.

This video from the USA says about itself:

21 November 2017

In an extended conversation, we speak with reporter Anand Gopal about the U.S. war in Afghanistan, where the U.S. Air Force is on track to triple the number of bombs dropped this year compared with last year. The major increase in bombing comes as the Trump administration has deployed thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in recent months. By early 2018, there are slated to be about 16,000 U.S. troops there. The ongoing U.S. war in Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history.

In Mosul, Pentagon coalition killed 10 times morecivilians than the 326 they claim: here.


Pentagon keeps killing Afghan civilians

This Associated Press video says about itself:

First anniversary of deadly NATO airstrike


Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

1. Mid of site where airstrike on tankers happened
FILE: Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 05 September 2009

2. Former NATO commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal visiting the site a day after strike, burnt tanker in background

3. Mid of McChrystal and other NATO officials

4. Various of destroyed tanker
Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

5. Zoom out of site

6. Mid of children playing at site
Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 27 August 2010

7. Wide of locals in Char Dara district

8. House of Haji Abdul Basir, who lost three of his sons and one of his grandsons in the strike

9. Various of Basir’s family

10. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Haji Abdul Basir, father and grand father of strike victims:

“Germany is our biggest enemy; they bombed us because of the two fuel tankers. If they hadn’t done what they did we would have been ready to sell our lands and pay them the cost of the tankers.”

11. Mid of Basir’s grandchild
Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

12. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Hayatullah Khan, provincial director for Afghan Human Rights Commission in Kunduz:

“From the day after the incident, the commission started its investigation on the incident. After ongoing meetings with German PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) in Kunduz and meeting officials from German Defence ministry, we asked them if they could help the families of the victims in a way to repent for what happened and we also asked them to make sure there will not be anymore civilian casualties in future military operations.”

Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 31 August 2010

13. Wide shot of NATO military base in Kunduz province

14. SOUNDBITE (German) Major Stephen Wessel, German military spokesman in Kunduz:

“The one who did that from a military point of view at the time, who was responsible, had his reasons to act as he had decided. I can’t say anything more than this at this point.”

15. Close of hands

16. SOUNDBITE (German) Major Stephen Wessel, German military spokesman in Kunduz:

“The German army supported financially the victims’ relatives we could research and concerning this, the compensation to the victims’ relatives is now over. There are no further intention of support from the German army’s side. Beyond that, there are some further projects to support, but the security situation here in the region doesn’t allow for it at the moment.”
Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

17. Wide of police checking cars and people in Kunduz city, rifle in foreground

18. Various shots of police checking car

19. Wide of checkpoint


A year after a German-ordered airstrike on two tankers in Afghanistan that is believed to have killed scores of civilians, families in Char Dara are remembering their relatives.

On 4th September 2009, German Colonel Georg Klein ordered the NATO airstrike against two tanker trucks that had been seized by Taliban insurgents near Kunduz, fearing they could be used to attack troops.

The attack in the northern Afghan province killed up to 142 people, many of them civilians.

German officials have said the Taliban may have been planning a suicide attack on the military’s base using the hijacked tankers.

A year on, 65-year old Haji Abdul Basir was embittered by the incident which took the lives of his three sons and one of his grandsons.

“Germany is our biggest enemy they bombed us because of the two fuel tankers. If they hadn’t done what they did we would have been ready to sell our lands and pay them the cost of tankers,” said Basir.

Hayatullah Khan, the provincial director of the commission added that the issue of the civilian casualties in the military operations still remains a concern for them.

That was 2009-2010 in Char Dara district in Afghanistan.

Now, over eight years later, the bloodshed of Char Dara civilians has not stopped.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

US airstrikes kill dozens of Afghan civilians

7 November 2017

Reports from local officials and Afghan legislators have exposed mass civilian casualties in an offensive carried out last weekend by US and Afghan puppet forces in northern Kunduz province.

Some reports have put the death toll from the bombing raids in the Char Dara district at over 60, with women and children among the victims.

The Pentagon acknowledged that US forces had carried out an operation in Kunduz province, issuing its standard response, asserting that it “takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously” and is investigating the reports.

The area of the attacks was west of the provincial capital of Kunduz, in a rural district where the Taliban has long maintained control.

According to the News International, Pakistan’s largest English language daily, Afghan security forces surrounded the three villages where the air strikes had taken place—Essa Khil, Qatl-e Aam and Uzbek Bazar—preventing relatives from collecting the bodies of their loved ones and interfering with any attempt to discover the precise death toll.

Khosh Mohammad Nasratyar, a provincial council member, gave an estimate of 55 civilians killed, while an Afghan aid worker in the area said the dead numbered at least 40. Others said that more than 60 had died.

President Ashraf Ghani has made no comment on the slaughter in Kunduz. His predecessor, Hamid Karzai, however, strongly condemned the air strikes, demanding an investigation and the prosecution of those responsible. Karzai, who left the presidential palace three years ago, has been strongly critical of the escalating US war in Afghanistan, accusing Washington of wanting to prolong the bloodshed in Afghanistan as a means of pursuing its own strategic interests in the region.

The latest air strikes were among the most intense in recent months, rattling windows in Kunduz city, which in 2015 was the scene of one of the bloodiest aerial massacres carried out by the US military in the course of its 16-year-old war in Afghanistan. In October of that year, a US AC-130U gunship carried out a protracted attack on a Doctors Without Borders medical center that left 42 dead, 33 missing and 30 wounded amid ghastly scenes of patients burning to death in their hospital beds.

Since US President Donald Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy in August, ceding to the military brass the authority to set troop levels and guaranteeing the Pentagon “the necessary tools and rules of engagement” to escalate what is now America’s longest war, there has been a marked intensification of the bloodletting that has claimed at least 175,000 Afghan lives and turned millions into refugees.

This has come mainly as a result of intensified air strikes. In its October report on civilian casualties, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that the number of civilians dying as a result of bombs and missiles dropped on the country from US and Afghan government aircraft had soared by 52 percent during the first nine months of 2017, compared to the same period last year.

The Pentagon is also increasing troop levels in the country, reportedly sending at least 3,000 more soldiers and Marines, bringing the official strength of the US occupation force to roughly 15,000. According to a recently disclosed Pentagon report, the US is now spending some $3.2 billion a month on the Afghanistan war, with that figure expected to rise along with the ongoing escalation.

The CIA is also reportedly expanding its role in the Afghan war, seeking authorization to initiate its own drone strikes inside Afghanistan—previously it had been restricted to cross-border missile strikes against Pakistan—and to organize “hunt and kill” militias to carry out assassinations and massacres in Taliban-held areas of the country.

In the midst of the US escalation, a prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has formally requested judicial authorization to open an investigation into war crimes carried out in connection with the protracted US war in Afghanistan.

The situation in Afghanistan has been the subject of a “preliminary examination” by the ICC for over a decade, during which countless crimes have been carried out against the Afghan people. Both Washington and its puppet government in Kabul have strongly opposed the court’s moving forward toward any investigation and potential charges.

Among charges that the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, intends to pursue are that the CIA and the US military, along with the Afghan security forces, engaged in the systematic torture of detainees as a matter of state policy.

A Preliminary Examination Report issued last year charged that the US intelligence agency and the Pentagon “resorted to techniques amounting to the commission of the war crimes of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and rape.” It specifically cited the cases of 61 individual detainees subjected to torture on Afghan territory between 2003 and 2014 by the US military, as well as those of 21 detainees of the CIA who were tortured, abused and raped both in Afghanistan and at CIA “black sites” in Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

The ICC prosecutor’s office stressed that these crimes were “not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” but rather were carried out in pursuit of “US objectives in the conflict in Afghanistan.”

Since its foundation in 2000, the US has refused to participate in the ICC, out of justifiable fear that US civilian and military officials could end up in the dock for crimes carried out by the Pentagon and the CIA in the multiple US wars and interventions waged in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and beyond. Legislation passed in 2002, the American Service Members Protection Act (dubbed the “Hague Invasion Act”), bars any cooperation from Washington on charges brought against US war criminals and authorizes the US president to employ military force to rescue any American military or intelligence personnel detained by ICC prosecutors.

The Obama administration also imposed upon Washington’s Afghan puppet regime a 2014 Status of Forces Agreement that bars any transfer of Americans accused of war crimes to any international tribunal, granting Washington sole jurisdiction over its own personnel operating in Afghanistan.

While Obama defended the CIA torturers who operated under the Bush administration, Trump has publicly declared his support for waterboarding and other forms of torture. While there has been no official US reaction to the ICC prosecutor’s request for authorization to pursue an investigation, it is clear that Washington will do everything it can to suppress such a probe.

CIA’s military role in Afghan morass shows need for open democracy in age of hidden violence: here.

The U.S. is on track to have dropped three times as many bombs on Afghanistan this year than last.

US bombing of Afghanistan up by 300 percent: here.

‘Stop deporting Afghan refugees to death’

This video from Germany says about itself:

31 May 2017

Clashes between police and students broke out at vocational school at Berliner Platz in Nuremberg, Wednesday after students blocked one of their fellow pupils, a 20-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, from being deported.

The school students surrounded the police car containing the student due for deportation to block his departure. The demonstration turned violent with police using tear gas and batons against the students, some were arrested.

A deportation of Afghan asylum seekers from Germany was planned on the same day, spurring protests around the country, but was cancelled following the detonation of a car bomb in Kabul killing some 80 people and injuring hundreds.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

‘Unclear why the Netherlands thinks Afghans can go back safely

Today, 15:58

“Ever since I’m back in Kabul, I’m homeless. I lived for a while under bridges, in old cars and garages. I traveled throughout Afghanistan to find relatives, but I did not find them. There are days and nights that I do not eat or drink. My life is very hard. Every day there are fights, explosions and killings.”

18-year-old Hamid told this to Amnesty International. Hamid – not his real name – fled to the Netherlands when he was 15, but was expelled when he was 18. Now he is living in the Afghan capital Kabul in need.

It is one of the stories that Amnesty noted of Afghans refouled by European countries. The human rights organization says that Norway, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands have jeopardized thousands of Afghans by sending them back to their country of origin.

In Europe, many tens of thousands of Afghan refugees reside. Their return was often refused by the Afghan government until last year. That is why the European Union and Afghanistan concluded a deal: until 2020, the country will receive 1.3 billion euros annually if Afghanistan will take back asylum seekers and economic migrants.

That while not all EU countries think it is safe in Afghanistan. The Netherlands is one of the few member states thinking that asylum seekers can be returned.

A view that is not entirely consistent with reality, says NOS correspondent Joeri Boom. In 2016 more than 11,000 civilians were injured or killed …

Boom: “Abductions, attacks, firefights, torture. It goes on day after day, even in the Afghan capital Kabul, which is considered safe by the Netherlands. In addition, many people are bombed by the Afghan Air Force, which is badly trained.”

And by the air forces of the USA and other NATO countries which are supposedly better trained.

Boom does not understand how the Netherlands has come to the conclusion that Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan are safe. “At least, no Dutch researchers have come to the country because it’s too dangerous, and the embassy staff do not move freely through Kabul, while that city should be safe according to the Netherlands. That’s a bit strange, I’d think.” …

The European countries mentioned in the Amnesty report, including the Netherlands, are members of NATO. The alliance started a war against the Taliban in 2001 and promised to build a democratic and safe state in Afghanistan.

Because of that promise, many Afghan youths got jobs with Western organizations while they knew they were in danger. But now there is still war in Afghanistan, and we can conclude that the Western project has failed, says Boom.

Thus, the question arises whether European countries are responsible for these Afghan youths who are at risk of being killed or detained by Taliban fighters. That’s an important issue, says Boom. “Actually, it’s a moral question.” ..

They wonder why the European countries are deporting them now. “These Afghans do not understand … “We have not started this war”, they say, “we want to build our lives: accept us.””

In September, the participation of Dutch soldiers in the NATO mission in Afghanistan was extended until 2018. There are about 100 Dutch soldiers in the country. Next year, the Netherlands will also send a surgical team at the request of the NATO alliance.

Amnesty International urges governments to adjust their policies immediately. According to the organization, it is widely reported in the media that it is too dangerous in Afghanistan. The returning of expelled asylum seekers to an unsafe country is an infringement of international law, Amnesty states.

The Dutch immigration authority IND was not accessible for comment.

The Pentagon has suddenly ordered the withholding of key information on the state of Afghanistan’s security forces that have been published in quarterly reports for nearly a decade. The censoring of the data comes as the Trump administration has given the military brass free rein to escalate US imperialism’s longest war, now in its 17th year, sending thousands more troops to the South Asian country, while substantially increasing military spending: here.

United States troops kill, injure Afghan civilians

This video says about itself:

Afghanistan: Civilian killed after US airstrike on Kabul airport attackers

27 September 2017

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Afghanistan: US fire hits civilians after Taliban tries to down Mattis‘s plane

Friday 29th September 2017

US forces in Afghanistan killed and injured civilians as they lashed out in response to a failed Taliban attack on their country’s defence secretary and the head of Nato.

The Taliban artillery attack was aimed at a plane carrying Pentagon chief General James Mattis to Kabul, along with Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, but the pair were not at the airport at the time.

The US military admitted on Wednesday night that one of two missiles fired back at militants had missed its target, killing at least one civilian and wounding an undetermined number of others. …

However in July this year, the UN warned that civilian deaths in Afghanistan had reached a record high since the war began 16 years ago with increased air strikes by US and Afghan forces contributing to the high death toll.

By Keith Jones in the USA today:

Ultimately, US air strikes were called in, leading to civilian casualties, including the wounding of six members of a single family.

The Pentagon has sought to blame the civilian casualties on a malfunctioning missile, but local residents seethed with anger over the US military’s treatment of the Afghan people.

US troops dropped bombs on a residential area”, Mohammed Amin told Al-Jazeera. “How can they say it was mistake? We understand one time, two times, but not forever! They kill us, civilians, and call it a mistake all the time.”

Haji Rabbani, whose family members were injured by the US air strikes, told Agence France-Presse, “They do not target the enemies in front of their eyes—they target our house and kill our people.”

Recent UN reports have pointed to the major role that US air strikes have played in a surge in civilian Afghan war casualties.

British government sends Afghan refugee to death illegally

This video says about itself:

Pilot refuses to return failed UK asylum seeker back to Afghanistan

31 August 2017

Samim Bigzad
– Received death threats from Taliban
– Applied for asylum in UK
– Has UK-based father who needs care
Detained without warning after asylum rejected

By Felicity Collier in Britain:

Kent asylum seeker returning to safety

Monday 18th September 2017

Samim Bigzad on his way home to Britain from Afghanistan

AN ASYLUM-SEEKER from Afghanistan who fears for his life was being flown back to Britain yesterday after the Home Office went against legal advice and deported him.

Samim Bigzad has been targeted by the Taliban, who threatened to behead him, because he has worked for a construction company with links to the Afghan government and the US military.

Campaigners from Kent Anti-Racism Network told the Star that before being deported last Tuesday he had been gagged to prevent a disturbance that would result in him being removed from the flight and, when he tried to call out, was punched in the head.

Until yesterday morning he was holed up in hotel rooms in Turkey and then the Afghan capital Kabul, where at one point a group of men with guns had demanded to know his whereabouts.

Legal experts and campaigners said Home Secretary Amber Rudd had defied the law by continuing with the extradition after ignoring two High Court orders preventing Mr Bigzad’s removal, with one judge branding it “prima facie contempt of court.”

Kent Anti-Racism Network’s Bridget Chapman said Ms Rudd had “applied to the court to have the previous two court orders overturned.”

Solicitor Jamie Bell told the Star that further attempts by the Home Office to prevent Mr Bigzad’s return were refused and he had started contempt of court proceedings against the Home Secretary.

As the Star went to press, following a third court order and a four-hour hearing, Mr Bigzad was in Istanbul waiting for a flight back to Britain.

The Home Office dragged its feet in responding to lawyers’ requests, Mr Bell said, but he now “eagerly and hopefully” awaited Mr Bigzad’s return and will continue representing him in his legal battle.

Ms Rudd appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, on which she said: “Deportation is an important part of managing our immigration process.”

Mr Marr attempted to draw her into commenting on being “in contempt of court,” and whether she would have to apologise.

She said she would abide by what courts asked her to do but refused to comment further, saying that the case was “ongoing.”

The Home Office also refused to comment on what it described as “ongoing legal proceedings.”

Foreign interference can ruin a nation, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai tells The Oslo Times.

Afghan refugee saved from deportation to death

This Associated Press video says about itself:

Protest as Germany deports Afghan refugees

(14 Dec 2016) Germany deported around 50 Afghans to their homeland on Wednesday after after their asylum bids were rejected.

They left on Wednesday evening from Frankfurt airport as dozens of people gathered to rally against the deportation.

Only 18 Afghan citizens were deported in the first half of 2016, according to government figures.

More than 12,500 Afghans have received orders to leave the country, but not yet been deported.

Instead, it has tried to convince them to go home on a voluntary basis by offering financial incentives upon their return.

Recently, however the government has said it would toughen its stance on rejected asylum-seekers and that more people would be deported.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Last-minute reprieve for young Afghan

Monday 28th August 2017

Pilot refuses to fly man who has been threatened by Taliban

A YOUNG man who could have faced death if returned to Afghanistan is still in Britain after the pilot on his deportation flight reportedly refused to take him.

Samim Bigzad, 22, was detained after he attended his monthly appointment at a London immigration office in July. His initial asylum claim was rejected in March 2016 and subsequent appeals were also refused.

He was due to be taken on a Turkish Airlines commercial flight via Istanbul on Saturday, however campaigners said he is still in the country because he did not board the plane.

A protest group at Heathrow pleaded with the airline not to “collude with the British government and facilitate the deportation of a young man who faces execution if he returns to Afghanistan.”

They spoke with passengers and airline officials, who said they would pass on concerns to the captain and crew.

Protest organiser Bridget Chapman said: “Looks like the pilot refused to take him.”

Mr Bigzad has been the main carer for his father – a British citizen who suffers from PTSD following his torture and jailing by the Taliban almost 20 years ago – and had visited him every day at his B&B room, brought him food and accompanied him to the mosque.

Ms Rafferty had launched a petition appealing to Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis to allow him to stay in Britain so that he could gather fresh evidence for the review of his asylum application.

Mr Bigzad arrived in Britain in November 2015 having spent some time living in the Calais refugee camp in northern France.

He risked his life escaping Afghanistan after the Taliban threatened to behead him because the construction company he worked for had contracts with the Afghan government and US firms.

He was placed to live with Kavel Rafferty in Margate through the Kent Refugee Action Network and Refugees at Home.

Ms Rafferty said: “The pilot wouldn’t fly him. We can do things, we can change things. I know it’s not over, but this is a small victory for us, for kindness and something other.”

Home Office statistics show just 35 per cent of asylum applications from Afghanistan were accepted in 2016 despite humanitarian organisations urging the government to stop deportations.

The High Court ruled in March last year that deportations to Afghanistan could resume following a blanket ban imposed in August 2015.

A Home Office spokeswoman said that they would not comment on individual cases.

European governments have deported almost 10,000 Afghans to risk of death and torture, Amnesty finds. Bloc ‘wilfully blind’ to evidence of atrocities in the country, says charity: here.

Janine Jackson interviewed Phyllis Bennis about Trump’s Afghan War escalation for the August 25, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.