Tag Archive: taliban


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Agony: A boy who was injured in the 7.5 magnitude earthquake receives medical treatment at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan

Agony: A boy who was injured in the 7.5 magnitude earthquake receives medical treatment at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan

The Taliban today called a truce to allow aid agencies to push ahead with emergency relief after a massive quake hit Pakistan and Afghanistan, killing more than 350 people.

The toll was expected to rise as search teams reach remote areas that were cut off by yesterday’s 7.5-magnitude quake, which triggered landslides and stampedes as it toppled buildings and severed communication lines.

Relief operations to assess the damage have been hindered by an unstable security situation that has left much of the affected areas unsafe for international aid workers and government troops.

But the Taliban, which have stepped up their Islamist insurgency against the Western-backed government in Kabul this year, indicated they would not stand in the way of aid efforts.

A man and his son clear rubble from their house after it was damaged by an earthquake in Behsud district of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan

A man and his son clear rubble from their house after it was damaged by an earthquake in Behsud district of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan

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As Pentagon Shifts Story (Again), MSF Says No Excuse for ‘War Crime’ Against Hospital

‘We are working on the presumption of a war crime,’ said Dr. Joanne Liu, president of MSF International

 

Gen. John Campbell testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Gen. John Campbell testifies  before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

 

While testifying before a Senate panel on Tuesday, the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan General John Campbell changed—for the fourth time in as many days—the military’s account of its bombing of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in the city of Kunduz on Saturday. The shift means Pentagon officials have now described the deadly attack alternately as “collateral damage,” a mistake, the fault of Afghan soldiers, and finally, the work of U.S. Special Forces.

The aid agency, furious with the military’s shifting narrative of the attack that killed 22 people—including 12 staff members and 10 patients—has stated once again its belief that what occurred is nothing short of a “war crime” and argued only a independent, outside investigation could be trusted to probe the incident.

“This attack cannot be brushed aside as a mere mistake or an inevitable consequence of war,” said Dr. Joanne Liu, president of MSF International, in a statement released Tuesday. “Nothing can excuse violence against patients, medical workers and health facilities.”

“Under International Humanitarian Law hospitals in conflict zones are protected spaces. Until proven otherwise, the events of last Saturday amount to an inexcusable violation of this law,” Liu continued. “We are working on the presumption of a war crime.

However, in the four different version of events provided by the U.S., the term “war crime” did not appear once.

In testimony to the Senate Armed Forces Committee delivered Tuesday, General John Campbell said that U.S. Special Forces called in the ground strike and were in direct communication with the aircraft that launched the attack.

“To be clear, the decision to provide aerial fires was a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command,” he said. “A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.”

The statements marked a shift from those issued Monday, when Campbell emphasized the role of Afghan commanders in calling in the strike but ultimately indicated that the bombing was justified due to Taliban proximity. “Unfortunately, the Taliban decided to remain in the city and fight from within, knowingly putting civilians at significant risk of harm,” he said.

On Sunday, the military said that the bombing occurred in the vicinity of the hospital, which had accidentally been struck.

On Saturday, U.S. Army Colonal Brian Tribus, spokesperson for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said that the airstrike was conducted “against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby facility.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also avoided using the term “war crime” in statements made Monday, instead calling the incident a “profound tragedy.”

MSF, which says it informed coalition and Afghan officials of its GPS coordinates before and during the attack—to no avail—raised disturbing questions about the bombing. According to the organization, the bombing targeted the intensive care unit, emergency rooms, and physiotherapy ward—leaving surrounding buildings mostly unharmed.

“Statements from the Afghanistan government have claimed that Taliban forces were using the hospital to fire on Coalition forces,” said Liu. “These statements imply that Afghan and U.S. forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital, which amounts to an admission of a war crime.”

MSF is not alone in sounding the alarm. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Saturday, “The seriousness of the incident is underlined by the fact that, if established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

In an interview with Common Dreams, Suraia Sahar, organizer with Afghans United for Justice, emphasized that Saturday’s bombing—while more visible due to MSF’s status as a foreign organization—was “nothing out of the ordinary.”

“Both the U.S. and Afghan forces have a repeated history of faulty intelligence and criminal cover-ups in their military operations in Afghanistan,” said Sahar. “Thanks to MSF’s relentless campaign for an independent investigation, there is a small window of opportunity for them to be held accountable for their complicity in war crimes.”

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is weighing whether to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, defying its own pledge to reduce the presence to 1,000 military personnel for the purpose of embassy security by the end of next year.

In his statements Tuesday, Campbell sought to use this latest attack to bolster the argument for a prolonged U.S. presence. Responding to a question about whether the troop draw-down should continue according to the Obama administration’s initial plan, Campbell said, “I do believe we have to provide our senior leadership with options different from the current plan.”

What Is The Real Agenda Of The American Police State? — Paul Craig Roberts

 

Paul Craig Roberts

In my last column I emphasized that it was important for American citizens to demand to know what the real agendas are behind the wars of choice by the Bush and Obama regimes. These are major long term wars each lasting two to three times as long as World War II.

Forbes reports that one million US soldiers have been injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. http://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccaruiz/2013/11/04/report-a-million-veterans-injured-in-iraq-afghanistan-wars/

RT reports that the cost of keeping each US soldier in Afghanistan has risen from $1.3 million per soldier to $2.1 million per soldier. http://rt.com/usa/us-afghanistan-pentagon-troops-budget-721/

Matthew J. Nasuti reports in the Kabul Press that it cost US taxpayers $50 million to kill one Taliban soldier. That means it cost $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban fighters. http://kabulpress.org/my/spip.php?article32304 This is a war that can be won only at the cost of the total bankruptcy of the United States.

Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have estimated that the current out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars is at least $6 trillion.

In other words, it is the cost of these two wars that explain the explosion of the US public debt and the economic and political problems associated with this large debt.

What has America gained in return for $6 trillion and one million injured soldiers, many very severely?

In Iraq there is now an Islamist Shia regime allied with Iran in place of a secular Sunni regime that was an enemy of Iran, one as dictatorial as the other, presiding over war ruins, ongoing violence as high as during the attempted US occupation, and extraordinary birth defects from the toxic substances associated with the US invasion and occupation.

In Afghanistan there is an undefeated and apparently undefeatable Taliban and a revived drug trade that is flooding the Western world with drugs.

The icing on these Bush and Obama “successes” are demands from around the world that Americans and former British PM Tony Blair be held accountable for their war crimes. Certainly, Washington’s reputation has plummeted as a result of these two wars. No governments anywhere are any longer sufficiently gullible as to believe anything that Washington says.

These are huge costs for wars for which we have no explanation.

The Bush/Obama regimes have come up with various cover stories: a “war on terror,”
“we have to kill them over there before they come over here,” “weapons of mass destruction,” revenge for 9/11, Osama bin Laden (who died of his illnesses in December 2001 as was widely reported at the time).

 

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By Eltaf Najafizada Jan 25, 2014 5:49 AM CT

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he won’t agree to a security accord with the U.S. unless a peace process is begun in his country.

A bilateral security agreement, or BSA, which would enable some U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014, “can be signed if the U.S honestly starts a peace process,” Karzai said in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The U.S. and allied forces have said they’ll leave the war-torn nation by the end of 2014 if a BSA isn’t completed. A meeting of tribal elders in November backed such an agreement and urged Karzai to sign it before the end of 2013. The president instead called on the U.S. to start a peace process with the Taliban and ensure transparent elections this year.

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Afghan president says U.S. should start talks with Taliban or leave

KABUL Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:01am EST

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in Kabul January 25, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in Kabul January 25, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ismail

(Reuters) – President Hamid Karzai appeared to stiffen his resolve on Saturday not to sign a security pact with Washington, saying the United States should leave Afghanistan unless it could restart peace talks with the Taliban.

 

“In exchange for this agreement, we want peace for the people of Afghanistan. Otherwise, it’s better for them to leave and our country will find its own way,” Karzai told a news conference.

 

The president said pressing ahead with talks with the Taliban, in power from 1996-2001, was critical to ensure that Afghanistan was not left with a weak central government.

 

“Starting peace talks is a condition because we want to be confident that after the signing of the security agreement, Afghanistan will not be divided into fiefdoms,” he said.

 

Most diplomats now agree that Karzai is unlikely to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that would allow for some form of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after the end of 2014, when most troops are due to leave.

 

Along with reviving peace talks with the Taliban, Karzai is also demanding an end to all U.S. military operations on Afghan homes and villages, including strikes by pilotless trones.

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freespeechtv freespeechtv·

Published on Oct 3, 2013

Ahead of next week’s 12th anniversary of what has become the longest war in U.S. history, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the United States is seeking to sign an accord to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan for the indefinite future. The United States plans to pull out the bulk of its 57,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but the Pentagon wants to retain a smaller force of around 10,000 forces after 2014.

TruthTube451 (AKA MrGlasgowTruther) TruthTube451 (AKA MrGlasgowTruther)

Published on Sep 20, 2013

URGENT – Kabul Bombing WAS NOT EMP – It Was A Mossad Magnet Bomb
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H1mNy…

A magnetic bomb has exploded in a densely populated area of the Afghan capital, Kabul, creating panic and sending shock waves across the violence-wracked city.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/09/…

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Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:24PM
A magnetic bomb has exploded in a densely populated area of the Afghan capital, Kabul, creating panic and sending shock waves across the violence-wracked city.

JR/SS

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URGENT – Kabul Bombing WAS NOT EMP – It Was A Mossad Magnet Bomb

TruthTube451 (AKA MrGlasgowTruther) TruthTube451 (AKA MrGlasgowTruther)

Published on Sep 20, 2013

Here is the original video i posted, and i do mention that i initially thought it would be a mossad magnet bomb – i shouldve gone with my gut lol
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_fVCh…
Magnetic bomb rocks Kabul city, no casualties reported
http://www.khaama.com/suicide-blast-r…

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Magnetic bomb rocks Kabul city, no casualties reported

By Ghanizada – Fri Aug 16, 12:56 pm.

Magnetic bomb rocks Kabul city

A heavy explosion rocked capital Kabul on Friday afternoon. The incident took place in a densely populated area of Kabul city, however, no one was killed or injured following the blast.

According to reports the incident took place in Cinema Pamir area of Kabul city after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives.

In the meantime deputy security chief for Kabul city, Gen. Daud Amin said that the explosion took place after a magnetic bomb planted in a vehicle went off.

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By Nicola Abé in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

Photo Gallery: Rash of Suicides Plagues Afghanistan
REUTERS

Women in Mazar-e-Sharif have straddled the worlds between Western freedoms and conservative traditions for a decade. As the Taliban gains strength and the West pulls out, Afghanistan’s most liberal city is being plagued by a rash of suicides.

Fareba Gul decided to die in a burqa. She put on the traditional gown, which she usually didn’t wear, and drove to the Blue Mosque. There, at the holiest place in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, she swallowed malathion, an insecticide. She then ran over to the square, where hundreds of white doves were waiting to be fed by visitors. When she was surrounded by the birds, the cramps set in.

“Fareba was lying on the ground when I arrived, and people were standing all around her,” says her uncle Faiz Mohammed, whom she had called before taking the poison. “She was screaming for help.” He lifted up his niece, carried her to a taxi and took her to a hospital. Foam was pouring from her mouth, and she was slipping in and out of consciousness. One hour later, 21-year-old Fareba Gul was dead. She died on the same day, and in the same hospital, as her 16-year-old sister Nabila.

Behind the tragedy lay a harmless love affair, relatives say. The sisters had been fighting, and Nabila had taken things too far: She had fallen in love. Fareba, the relatives say, got angry, calling Nabila’s behavior “indecent” and demanding that she end the affair. Both got very upset and were screaming at each other. Their mother entered the room and slapped Nabila. Then, Nabila reportedly took the poison from her father’s cabinet and swallowed it in her room. A few hours later, Fareba took the same pills. “She felt guilty,” says her uncle.

The sisters’ double suicide hangs over the city like a dark shadow. Mazar-e-Sharif is widely viewed as one of the most peaceful and liberal cities in Afghanistan. But could this be an omen of what lies ahead for the country once Western troops start withdrawing in the near future?

Living in Mazar-e-Sharif means living in relative security. But now more and more women are starting to hurt themselves here, as well. It leaves one baffled, but it is still no coincidence.

More than anywhere else in Afghanistan, women in Mazar-e-Sharif are torn between tradition and their newly won freedom, between family expectations and their own sense of self. They are trapped in a society that is at once deeply conservative but also offers just enough freedom for women to discover a modern, Westernized lifestyle. Girls can go to school, women can work, and both can surf the Web and watch cable TV. But forced marriages, domestic violence and many limitations continue to exist for many of them — and are all-the-more difficult to bear. Under these circumstances, choosing how and when to die can become a form of self-determination.

Zarghana, 28, has survived two suicide attempts. She enjoyed success working...

Farshad Usyan/ DER SPIEGEL

Zarghana, 28, has survived two suicide attempts. She enjoyed success working for a human rights organization as a teacher, but then her husband abandoned her with their seven children and she lost her job. Her father refuses to let her divorce her husband, a stepbrother whom she was forced to marry at a young age.

When asked about the women killing themselves, the city’s police chief claims that such things “only happen in Heart province or in remote mountain villages.” Women’s rights organizations point to poverty and a lack of education as the main factors behind the suicides.

But the family home of the dead sisters is located in one of the best areas of town. It is spacious and in good condition, with a garden full of blooming roses. Marzia Gul, their mother, says “Please, come in,” and sits down on the sofa in the living room, sinking into the red upholstery. “Fareba, my oldest daughter, studied law,” she says. “She wanted to be a lawyer like her father” and was just a year away from her final exams. Nabila, the younger one, also did well in school, she continues. “She wanted to be a journalist.”

Marzia gets up, walks over to the cupboard and takes a photo from a glass tray. The picture shows a smiling little girl with pigtails and freckles. “She was so kind and helpful,” she says. Then her voice breaks.

A Place of Despair

The sisters’ suicide is particularly unsettling because the girls led privileged lives in this long-suffering country. They watched Bollywood films, had mobile phones and Internet access. Along with jeans and makeup, they wore headscarves but no burqas. They didn’t have to hide from the world.

And they lived in a city that does not force the well-off to barricade themselves behind concrete walls. A powerful governor controls life in this part of Afghanistan — so effectively, in fact, that residents hardly have to fear death from a bomb attack. Foreign aid workers are permitted to move around freely. Visitors barely see any weapons in the streets. Instead, they can watch women in the bazaars trying on shoes, their eyelids shaded with the traditional cosmetic kajal and their hair lightly covered by a headscarf.

Indeed, in theory, Mazar-e-Sharif is a place of hope. But at least in the regional hospital’s department of internal medicine, the city is a place of despair.

“Fridays are the worst,” says Dr. Khaled Basharmal as he takes out a notebook. “Eight attempted suicides on a single day.” He reads off the names of the most recent patients — Raihana, Roya, Shukuria, Terena, Rahima. There are also the names of two young men.

“It’s a disaster. Since late March, we’ve had more than 200 cases,” Basharmal says. The sisters, Fareba and Nabila Gul, were among his patients as well.

Basharmal is sweating underneath his white coat, and he is exhausted. It’s noon now, and he was forced to work another shift that lasted through the night.

No official statistics are kept, and no one can confirm his figures. Nevertheless, Afghanistan is believed to be one of the few countries in the world that has more women taking their lives than men. A recent study concluded that five out of every 100,000 women are committing suicide each year. But the real number is likely to be much higher, especially in rural areas far away from the big cities. More than 1.8 million women in Afghanistan, which has an estimated population of 31 million, are said to be suffering from depression.

 

More than anywhere else in Afghanistan, women in Mazar-e-Sharif are torn...

Getty Images

More than anywhere else in Afghanistan, women in Mazar-e-Sharif are torn between tradition and their newly won freedom, between family expectations and their own sense of self. They are trapped in a society that is at once deeply conservative but also offers just enough freedom for women to discover a modern, Westernized lifestyle. Girls can go to school, women can work, and both can surf the Web and watch cable TV.

 

Read More  and See Additional Photos Here

 

 

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Taliban’s letter to Malala Yousafzai: this is why we tried to kill you

  • The Guardian, Wednesday 17 July 2013 15.33 EDT
Malala Yousafzai at the United Nations

Malala Yousafzai has received a rambling letter from a Taliban commander, claiming she was targeted for maligning it. Photograph: Rick Bajornas/UN Photo/PA

A senior member of the Pakistani Taliban has written an open letter to Malala Yousafzai – the teenager shot in the head as she rode home on a school bus – expressing regret that he didn’t warn her before the attack, but claiming that she was targeted for maligning the insurgents.

Adnan Rasheed, who was convicted for his role in a 2003 assassination attempt on the country’s then-president Pervez Musharraf, did not apologise for the attack, which left Malala gravely wounded, but said he found it shocking.

“I wished it would never happened [sic] and I had advised you before,” he wrote.

Malala was 15 when she and two classmates were targeted by a masked gunman who picked them out on a school bus as they went home from school in Pakistan‘s northwest Swat valley last October.

She was seriously injured in the attack, and was flown to Britain to receive specialist treatment from doctors in Birmingham, where she and her family now live.

Last week, she celebrated her 16th birthday by delivering a defiant speech at the United Nations in New York, in which she called on world leaders to provide free schooling for all children.

In the letter, Rasheed claimed that Malala was not targeted for her efforts to promote education, but because the Taliban believed she was running a “smearing campaign” against it.

“You have said in your speech yesterday that pen is mightier than sword,” Rasheed wrote, referring to Malala’s UN speech, “so they attacked you for your sword not for your books or school.”

The rambling four-page letter, in patchy English, citing Bertrand Russell, Henry Kissinger and historian Thomas Macaulay, was released to media organisations in Pakistan.

 

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VOICE OF AMERICA   

 Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen following a security handover ceremony at a military academy outside Kabul, Afghanistan, June 18, 2013.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen following a security handover ceremony at a military academy outside Kabul, Afghanistan, June 18, 2013. Sharon Behn

Afghan President Hamid Karzai suddenly announced Wednesday that his government is pulling out of the bilateral talks with the United States. The aim of those talks is to lay out how many U.S. troops will remain in the country after 2014, and what role they will play in Afghanistan.

In a statement, Afghanistan’s National Security Council said the talks were suspended due to the “contradiction between acts and statements” made by the United States regarding the peace process.

Analyst Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network says Karzai’s actions likely reflect the

 

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Published on Apr 3, 2013

Reporter Ben Anderson joins Allied troops as they prepare to hand over to Afghan forces next year. But he finds the Afghan army and police forces – who are taking over when the British and Americans leave – poorly trained and lacking the resources needed to fight the Taliban. Worse, he uncovers evidence that the police themselves are committing horrendous crimes under the noses of Allied forces

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