Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

Post by spot »

May I quote briefly from today's BBC news?Gen Stanley McChrystal told the UK's Financial Times that there had been "enough fighting" and he wanted a political solution to the conflict.

President Obama's deployment of 30,000 extra US troops to Afghanistan would weaken the Taliban enough to force it to agree a peace deal, he said. He added that the Taliban could help run the country in future.

BBC News - US commander signals peace talks with Taliban



I wonder what the minimum requirement of the Taliban will be.

How about the negotiated Afghanistan having self-determination and no US bases anywhere within its territory? That, it strikes me, is a likely minimum.

The abolition of Opium cultivation throughout Afghanistan is quite likely to be high on their list too. According to United Nations International Drug Control Programme Annual Opium Poppy Survey 2001,In July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar declared that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world's most successful anti-drug campaigns. As a result of this ban, opium poppy cultivation was reduced by 91% from the previous year's estimate of 82,172 hectares. The ban was so effective that Helmand Province, which had accounted for more than half of this area, recorded no poppy cultivation during the 2001 season.At the moment, by contrast, over half the Afghan GNP derives from Opium cultivation.

The Taliban are and always have been an arm of Pakistan's military. Pakistan currently is flooded with this unIslamic Afghan warlord profiteering trade. Surely even the West has an interest in bringing it to a halt. A Taliban-controlled government is the surest way of achieving that aim. Nothing since the invasion has made any dent in opium production, it's four times higher now than it was before the Taliban cracked down on it in 2000.

What else might they insist on before cooperating? Why should they cooperate on any lesser terms?
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Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

Post by G#Gill »

I understood that the west is short of morphine. Afghanistan produces poppies. Why can't there be some sort of trade agreement between the west and Afghanistan, so that the Afghans can gain legitimate income through something which they can produce. If this is done properly, with affective safeguards etc. then Afghanistan would be able to export a commodity legally, and improve their economy, and the west would obtain sufficient morphine. All would be sorted, or am I talking a load of bollocks here? After all, I'm only a simple soul. :o
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Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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G#Gill;1285087 wrote: I understood that the west is short of morphine. Afghanistan produces poppies. Why can't there be some sort of trade agreement between the west and Afghanistan, so that the Afghans can gain legitimate income through something which they can produce. If this is done properly, with affective safeguards etc. then Afghanistan would be able to export a commodity legally, and improve their economy, and the west would obtain sufficient morphine. All would be sorted, or am I talking a load of bollocks here? After all, I'm only a simple soul. :o


The limiting factor in how much morphine a country can import for medical use is what the International Narcotics Control Board allows them to buy. In the case of Western countries there's no shortage. Worldwide there may well be but it's the level of the cap on imports, the availability of medical funding in third world countries, the local laws and the reluctance of doctors to handle the stuff for fear of imprisonment which brings it about. There's currently a two-year stockpile of medical morphine worldwide due to overproduction (as best I can tell - do correct me if that's wrong), it's not available supply that stops it from getting to patients.

If the cap was lifted and all the world's countries took in as much for medical purposes as all patients wanted irrespective of cost or local laws the current producers could still churn it out, growing space isn't a limit. They're Australia, France, India, Spain, and Turkey. They have sufficient infrastructure to ensure little is diverted to the drugs trade. Why on earth would anyone choose to add Afghanistan, in its current grotesquely corrupt condition, to that list? Why, if the Taliban were back in control and again scaled back the country's output to minimal levels, would anyone invite them to change their minds and put the dangerous and tempting crop back into the fields? Give the chaps with the long beards a fair crack of the whip, they want a legal society, they want to eliminate crime, they want to express their local cultural values, they want the foreign occupation and Western bases removed, the locals are on balance in favour of having them do it, it's win-win for everyone concerned except the warlords of the Northern Alliance creaming off billions of drug dollars into Swiss accounts and bullion stashes.
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Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Stanley's up on his hind legs again, and again he's spouting propaganda. He's a bit of a toerag is Stanley.After a decade of fighting in Afghanistan, retired Army General Stanley McChrystal estimated that the coalition was "a little better than" half way to achieving its military ambitions

BBC News - Hamid Karzai admits to Afghanistan 'security failure'

No, Stanley. Not only are you wrong but you're pitching so far into a non-existent future solely because you know damn well you're wrong. Little better than half way to achieving US military ambitions? They're unachievable in Afghanistan and you know it. I refer you back to my earlier posts in the thread for the reasons.

Whether you leave next year, in five years or in ten years you're going to leave. The Afghan electorate will put the Taliban back, regardless of how you rig the elections thereafter. If nothing else it will be a matter of national pride to leave no trace of the occupation. I expect the US will have a sudden influx of rich Northern Alliance drug barons buying US citizenship and that will be that.

What exactly are these "US military ambitions" you claim you're over half way to achieving? Unless it's a simple ambition to kill X foreigners or spend Y dollars I'd be fascinated to see an inventory. In all these last ten years I've looked for one and not seen it.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Stanley McChrystal's observation in 2011 that America was half way done with occupying Afghanistan. Well done General, you got it spot on to the year. Started 2001, half way 2011, withdrawing all combat forces 2021.

How did it go, General? America won?

Or would you like a bet on whether the Afghan administration will be Taliban-dominated later this decade? That the present members of the Afghan administration will be in exile and that opium production will be finally suppressed?

Once the combat forces are withdrawn, could I hope that no more bombing from the air will happen? Cruise missiles or planes? Or is killing foreigners from a distance still allowed.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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We're well into the final few weeks of the occupation of Afghanistan.

I note that "More than 3,000 Afghans are expected to be settled in the UK in light of the planned withdrawal of British, US and NATO troops from the country over the next three months." - https://www.expressandstar.com/news/loc ... m-airport/

So, the civilian collaborators are being evacuated with their families.

We also have the US military command center abandoned during a midnight flit: "The US departure was marred by disorganisation. There was a gap between the American troops leaving and their Afghan replacements arriving, allowing looters to ransack parts of the base. Unfortunately the Americans left without any coordination with Bagram district officials or the governor’s office,” the district administrator, Darwaish Raufi, told the Associated Press." - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... y-20-years

There's a bit about the evaporation of the local militia recruited by Kabul's Quisling government: "The retreat is the third time Afghan soldiers have fled to Tajikistan over the past three days and the fifth case over the past fortnight. In total, nearly 1,600 soldiers have crossed the border." - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-57720103

I'll make a prediction, how's that. I think the US embassy is going to be abandoned too, despite recent denials.

One question remaining is whether, once there's no UN or NATO fig-leaf legitimacy for US military action in the country, the US will continue with air strikes.

As for Afghanistan's future foreign relations, I suggest now would be a good time to remember previous instances of blowback. After twenty years of guerilla resistance to foreign military occupation there's quite likely a lot of blowback straining at the leash. Like there was in Iran after the fall of that odious UK/US puppet Pahlavi and his SAVAK torture regime, or Vietnam, or the unoccupied area of Korea. Or, more recently, Iraq.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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The UK may be withdrawing most of its troops from Afghanistan but it was not defeated on the battlefield, the head of the British armed forces has said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57774012

Just so, sir. Exactly right. Because there was no battlefield, there was no opposing army, there was no war.

There was an occupation. There was an asymmetric civilian resistance which is finally getting its own country back and which will no doubt punish any collaborators it gets its hands on.

You should be ashamed for enabling the blood-mired British government to interfere in Afghanistan at all.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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spot wrote: Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:59 am I'll make a prediction, how's that. I think the US embassy is going to be abandoned too, despite recent denials.


Let's keep track of this, too.
The US Embassy said that claims that US officials stepped up work on a possible evacuation of the US Embassy in Kabul are false and rejected the emergency evacuation plan.

In a statement, the US embassy said: “The US Embassy in Kabul is open and will remain open. As directed by President Joe Biden, we will continue to have a robust diplomatic presence in Kabul to carry out the range of work we do with the government and people of Afghanistan. We have no plans to close the Embassy.

Wall Street Journal had reported on Friday that US government plans for emergency evacuation from the Kabul based embassy after the last soldiers in Bagram airbase left Afghanistan for US.

https://www.khaama.com/no-plan-to-close ... s-embassy/
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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spot wrote: Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:59 am One question remaining is whether, once there's no UN or NATO fig-leaf legitimacy for US military action in the country, the US will continue with air strikes.


An instance:
“They are freely walking inside Qala-i-Naw now,” the official said of the Taliban during some of the most intense fighting on Wednesday morning. “Only the army base is currently under government control and local officials are trapped there. The Taliban are in control of the majority of the city at this moment.”

Airstrikes and reinforcements from Afghanistan’s elite special forces helped push the Taliban fighters back, however, and by the evening a spokesperson for the defence minister, Fawad Aman, said government forces controlled the police and NDS offices and expected to clear the city of Taliban fighters within the next few hours.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... withdrawal

"Airstrikes"? Since when did Afghan forces have an airstrike capacity. They have helicopters which are used more for private enterprise than for military deployment, to the extent that they're running down their airworthiness and service warranties far faster than they ought.

Will the Americans continue to provide air superiority from their Nevada Game Room sofas?

Here we are. Afghan air force fixed wing assets, Wikipedia: ten Cessnas and nineteen Embraer, both types with one propellor on their nose and "designed to be a low-cost system operated in low-threat environments".
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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spot wrote: Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:59 amOne question remaining is whether, once there's no UN or NATO fig-leaf legitimacy for US military action in the country, the US will continue with air strikes.
US air support is now under Middle East command. It's not stopped the missions though.
The U.S. military launched several airstrikes this week in support of Afghan government forces fighting Taliban insurgents, including in the strategically important province of Kandahar, officials said Thursday.

The strikes demonstrate U.S. intentions to continue supporting Afghan forces with combat aircraft based outside the country, at least until the scheduled conclusion of the U.S. military withdrawal on Aug. 31. The Biden administration has not said whether it will continue that support after the pullout is complete.

[...] “The Afghan security forces have the capacity to sufficiently fight and defend their country, and we will continue to support the Afghan security forces where necessary in accordance with the guidance from the president and the secretary of defense,” Milley said.

Milley said the Taliban now control about half of the 419 district centers in Afghanistan, and while they have yet to capture any of the country’s 34 provincial capitals, they are pressuring about half of them. As the Taliban seize more territory, the Afghan security forces are consolidating their positions to protect key population centers, including Kabul, he said.

“A significant amount of territory has been seized over the course of six, eight, 10 months by the Taliban, so momentum appears to be — strategic momentum appears to be — sort of with the Taliban,” Milley said.


https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-mi ... 5879308da3


Rather than have Afghan "security forces" - presumably they mean the national army and police forces - surrender piecemeal whenever they hear firing, it would be more orderly for both organizations to simply accept orders directly from the Taliban and get this end-game finished with fewer deaths.

And if anyone would like to predict how long Iran will retain its fundamentalist opposition to America, we'll have a basis for how long the Taliban will have popular support in government once the present bunch flee with as much cash as they can lay hands on.

The resentment in Iran, for those who weren't watching, was once explained by a somewhat frustrated American Secretary of State:
[In the year 2000, reflecting on this notion, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright stated:]

In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh. The Eisenhower Administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons; but the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_ ... _1953_coup

Being Secretary of State she didn't like to use words like Quisling collaborationist when mentioning the puppet Shah. Not being Secretary of State, I have no such inhibition.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Fighting is raging around three major cities in southern and western Afghanistan as Taliban militants seek to seize them from government forces.

Taliban fighters have entered parts of Herat, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar.

They have made rapid gains in rural areas since it was announced almost all foreign troops would go by September.

But the fate of these key cities could be crucial amid fears of a humanitarian crisis and how long government forces will be able to hold out.

The fundamentalist Islamist militia is already thought to have captured up to half of all Afghanistan's territory, including lucrative border crossings with Iran and Pakistan.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-58040141

Fewer people will die if

1. The UK and US embassies are permanently abandoned within the next ten weeks.

2. The current Kabul administration immediately invites the Taliban to form the next government instead of putting it off.

3. All foreign forces stop exploding things anywhere in the country and stay stopped. Apart from MOABs in Tora Bora as face-savers if they feel inclined, with press releases saying what vast numbers of terrerists they just annihilated.

The words nobody has yet said are "unconditional surrender". I wouldn't be surprised if the Taliban would quite like an apology as well, it would only be natural.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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As the Taliban appeared to consolidate its hold across a swath of the country’s north, and pressed attacks across the country, the US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad went to Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office, to tell the group that there was no point in pursuing victory on the battlefield because a military takeover of Kabul would guarantee they would be global pariahs.

The comments came as the UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, warned of a mounting campaign by the Taliban targeting current and former government officials and family members for “summary execution” and destruction of their homes and other property.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... recognised

This may perhaps be out of order as questions go, but have the Taliban leadership and their family members not been subject to summary execution by the US throughout the entire occupation of Afghanistan? What else were the drone strikes supposed to achieve?

I do wish the UN could be a little more impartial on occasion.

As for equivalent national responses to collaboration, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pursuit_o ... ors#France gives what Western observers would presumably regard as a fair precedent. It has all the same elements.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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spot wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:18 am Rather than have Afghan "security forces" - presumably they mean the national army and police forces - surrender piecemeal whenever they hear firing, it would be more orderly for both organizations to simply accept orders directly from the Taliban and get this end-game finished with fewer deaths.


And things do seem to be going down that route:
The Taliban have published videos and images online of their white flags flying in Ghazni as it emerged that the local governor and chief of police had defected to the insurgents.

The city is the 10th provincial capital to fall to the Taliban in a handful of days.

Its capture after 10 days of fighting came as Taliban fighters pushed their offensive against other cities, including Herat in the country’s west, Mazar-i Sharif in the north and Kandahar in the south, the country’s second-largest city.

“The Taliban have completely captured Ghazni and control the city,” a senior local official confirmed to the Guardian by phone. “They broke into the prison and released around 400 inmates.

“They started their assault on the city at around 12am, and entered the city from several directions at around 2am.

“There were heavy street-to-street clashes between security forces and the Taliban. At around 8am they took over most key parts of the city and the city completely fell 30 minutes ago.
Salima Mazari sits on a hill observing the frontline against the Taliban surrounded by armed men.
‘Sometimes I have to pick up a gun’: the female Afghan governor resisting the Taliban
Read more

“The local governor and police commander made a deal with Taliban and joined the Taliban. Heads of security and intelligence are still fighting with them in the city’s outskirts,” another official said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... s-replaced


I'm sure everyone in Afghanistan knows the bombing from the air is entirely the work of the US air force. I don't expect that will make Americans any more popular there as time goes by. Who the bombs are supposed to impress isn't immediately clear but they continue to indiscriminately kill civilians. Presumably any Afghan life is still considered valueless by America's exceptional mission planners.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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‘Not an Afghanistan problem but a humanity problem’ - Gen McMaster

This is a frontier between barbarism and civilisation, a former US national security adviser says.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world


Well no, not if you ask me. Or ask President Trump if you want a less jaundiced view: "In America we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to want". Tell that to the Afghans. Elsewhere in the same speech his says "Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever". Hallelujah, brother. Further discussion of the speech can be found at https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/09/bio ... it-ironic/

If I compare Afghan society under the Taliban with 19th century UK or 20th century America, I'd vote for the Taliban as more culturally civilized. I'll be happy to provide examples if anyone would like to invite me to.


“We demand an immediate end to attacks against cities, urge a political settlement, and warn that a government imposed by force will be a pariah state,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy to the talks.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/ta ... ar-AANhaMa
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy to the talks, could equally have applied his words to the PNAC-inspired Rumsfeld/Cheney occupation of 2001. Who was warning "that a government imposed by force will be a pariah state" back then? Damn few Americans, that's for sure. Anyone with a spare few minutes might reed https://www.justsecurity.org/77088/putt ... o-context/ while they're at it.

We demand an immediate end to attacks against cities, urge a political settlement, and warn that a government imposed by force will be a pariah state, Mr Khalilzad. Meanwhile you might like to explore your history. https://diplomacy.state.gov/u-s-diploma ... -refugees/
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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John "Proportionate" Kirby, speaking for the Pentagon, says 'U.S. is "certainly concerned" by rapid Taliban advances in Afghanistan, but says "this is a moment for the Afghans to unite"'.

Perhaps we could all agree on that at least. One could even ask what was preventing the Afghans from uniting at any time in the last twenty years, and why today is different.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Ben Wallace, the UK defence secretary, revealed in remarkably frank interviews on Friday that the UK was so aghast at the US decision to withdraw completely from Afghanistan next month that it had canvassed other Nato allies to see if there was support for a reconfigured alliance to continue the stabilisation force in Afghanistan without the US.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... istan-exit


Well that's going to fly like a led balloon, isn't it.

Perhaps Mr Wallace has sufficient courage of his convictions that he'll go it alone. Perhaps the whole UK armed forces could be committed to the job indefinitely.

On the other hand perhaps Mr Wallace would like to say what his objective is. Nation building? He's had twenty years, how's that gone so far?
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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In stark contrast, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said today that he will not let the “imposed war on people cause more deaths”. In a televised speech, President Ghani said: “In the current situation, the remobilisation of our security and defence forces is our top priority, and serious steps are being taken in this regard.”

Though he gave no hint that he would resign or take responsibility for the current situation, but noted that “consultations” were taking place to try and end the war.

“As a historic mission, I will not let the imposed war on people cause more deaths,” the Afghanistan President said.

“Therefore, I have started extensive consultations inside the government with the elders, political leaders, representatives of people, and international partners on achieving a reasonable and certain political solution in which the peace and stability of the people of Afghanistan are envisaged.”

https://hwnews.in/international/will-no ... ion/162663

Handing government control of Afghan forces to the Afghan insurgents would definitely achieve all of those objectives, Mr President.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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spot wrote: Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:59 am I'll make a prediction, how's that. I think the US embassy is going to be abandoned too, despite recent denials.
That was five weeks ago.

Afghans flee Kabul in panic as Taliban forces close in

Militants are seven miles from the capital as US marines fly in
to evacuate American embassy

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... s-close-in

Saigon, of course, was near the sea. Quite how a helicopter ferry service would operate from a roof in Kabul is hard to imagine.

Adding to the sense of desperation, US marines have begun flying into Kabul, part of a 3,000-strong force meant to help airlift out the embassy staff and Afghan allies. Britain and several other western nations are also sending troops to smooth the hasty evacuation of their own citizens.

US embassy staff have also begun to burn sensitive material ahead of the evacuation. Burn bins and an incinerator were available to destroy material including papers and electronic devices to “reduce the amount of sensitive material on the property”, according to an advisory seen by Reuters.

There were also reportedly instructions to destroy items with logos that could be used in propaganda, should the embassy fall under Taliban control, although the US has reportedly been trying to negotiate a deal with the militants to protect its building.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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It's noticeable that every American power center from the President to the Pentagon has been trying to goad the Afghan government to start a civil war, while Afghan regional governors have been handing over power without confrontation and the Afghan President has talked all week of "reorganising the military", presumably the integration of Taliban forces into the official Afghan structure.

The language of civil war involves "Afghans" fighting "Taliban". The reality is that the Taliban are Afghan, that there is no civil war, that there hasn't been a civil war during the last twenty years, there has been a foreign occupation by a superpower which has finally withdrawn its armed forces.

The British response to all this is the suspension of Afghan scholarships to UK universities, claiming the paperwork has become too complicated. It's a denial of what happened. The entire problem in Afghanistan was created directly by the British government, by Tony Blair, by the "Coalition of the Willing" destroying the Afghan government and setting up an occupation administration under puppet rule. We, the British, should be thanking the Taliban for patriotically refusing to go along with that occupation. Afghanistan was, and still is, their country and not ours. I presume Britain would want to behave in the same way under similar circumstances - we have always planned to, https://www.staybehinds.com/ documents the process in this country.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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I shall ask one question, now President Ashraf Ghani has fled to Uzbekistan and the Taliban have occupied Kabul's Presidential Palace.

He's 72. Presumably the new Afghan government isn't going to offer him a pension.

What, roughly, might we think his personal wealth amounts to.




ata: seeing this post the next day I can see it might be taken wrongly. I have no reason to think the man was corrupt, he made statements against corruption. Occupied Afghanistan ran on corruption and many American-backed regional leaders got very rich. I can't guess whether Ashraf Ghani has personal access to ten thousand dollars, a million dollars, a hundred million dollars or ten billion dollars, I merely wondered which sounded likely. If he'd been billing his time at US$200 an hour (ten times the US average rate of pay), eight hours a day, every work day for the last twenty years he'd have billed six million dollars and spent most of it by now. Is he sitting on more than that?
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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For anyone wondering which rogues messed up, beyond the sheer prattishness of their having invaded Afghanistan in the first place, I have two dates:
May 1, 2003
‘Major Combat’ Over

During a briefing with reporters in Kabul, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declares an end to “major combat.” The announcement coincides with President George W. Bush’s “mission accomplished” declaration of an end to fighting in Iraq. Rumsfeld says President Bush, U.S. Central Command Chief Gen. Tommy Franks, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai “have concluded that we are at a point where we clearly have moved from major combat activity to a period of stability and stabilization and reconstruction and activities.” There are only eight thousand U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. It is predicted that the transition from combat to reconstruction will open the door for many aid organizations, particularly European groups, that had balked at sending troops, supplies, or other assistance.
and
May 23, 2005
An Enduring U.S. Commitment

Afghan president Hamid Karzai and U.S. president George W. Bush issue a joint declaration that pronounces their respective countries strategic partners. The declaration gives U.S. forces access to Afghan military facilities to prosecute “the war against international terror and the struggle against violent extremism.” The alliance’s goal, the agreement says, is to “strengthen U.S.-Afghan ties and help ensure Afghanistan’s long-term security, democracy, and prosperity.” Moreover, the agreement calls for Washington to “help organize, train, equip, and sustain Afghan security forces as Afghanistan develops the capacity to undertake this responsibility,” and to continue to rebuild the country’s economy and political democracy.
both taken from a history timeline at https://www.cfr.org/timeline/us-war-afghanistan
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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spot wrote: Sun Aug 15, 2021 3:41 pmI have no reason to think the man was corrupt, he made statements against corruption. Occupied Afghanistan ran on corruption and many American-backed regional leaders got very rich. I can't guess whether Ashraf Ghani has personal access to ten thousand dollars, a million dollars, a hundred million dollars or ten billion dollars, I merely wondered which sounded likely. If he'd been billing his time at US$200 an hour (ten times the US average rate of pay), eight hours a day, every work day for the last twenty years he'd have billed six million dollars and spent most of it by now. Is he sitting on more than that?
Here we are, this might be relevant.
The hashtag #InterpolArrestGhani is trending on Afghan social media as hundreds are calling for president Ashraf Ghani to be arrested by international policing unit Interpol.

He is being widely criticised in social media posts, with some calling him a "fugitive", and others called for him to be prosecuted.

Mr Ghani fled the country when the Taliban entered the capital Kabul. Russia's state news agency reported that Mr Ghani had fled with four cars and a helicopter full of cash.

Details of his whereabouts are not confirmed but reports say he has flown to neighbouring Uzbekistan.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-asia-58219963
It might not be so, of course.

A million banknotes weighs around 2 tons so the amount of cash you can get into one helicopter is limited by weight, not volume. It would put cash in hand at something over a hundred million dollars but it would only be temporary money to lubricate his passage, it's not what you could call booty. And Mr Ghani might only be looking after the loose change for the country rather trying to keep it for himself.

Many many Russian reports today say Mr Ghani had to leave extra bales of cash at the side of the runway when it proved too heavy to fly out with, but Russians have a notoriously good sense of humor. The stories are similar to those of the Ben Ali family who stole $60m in gold while fleeing Tunisa, "with the president's wife personally collecting the bullion from an initially reluctant but eventually browbeaten president of the country's central bank". You'd think they'd learn you can't fly serious amounts of money out, you need a goods train.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Has anyone ever heard the term "hostile environment" before? It doesn't apply to Afghanistan, it applies to England as seen by the Home Office. It's an old term meaning Homeland Security. The Home Office was instructed by Theresa May to operate a "Hostile environment" toward "illegal" refugees. Her successors, including the current Priti Patel, have continued to do exactly that. The problem is that the implementation has bordered on farce as the Home Office has repeatedly forced as many refugees as possible into the "illegal" category. No effort has been spent on trying to help anyone, officials invariably create stumbling blocks.
Dominic Raab, declared on Tuesday that Britain was a “big-hearted nation” which had “always been a country that has provided safe haven for those fleeing persecution”.

This is not a picture of Britain’s asylum system that many Afghan asylum seekers in the UK will recognise. Over the past 20 years, the Home Office has gone to extreme lengths to return thousands of them back to the country they risked their lives to flee.

British officials have faced repeated criticism from international refugee organisations for the frequency with which young Afghan asylum seekers have been denied formal refugee status when they turn 18, despite having spent large parts of their childhood in the UK; many of these adolescents have subsequently been forcibly returned to the country they left years earlier.

Until Tuesday morning, the official Home Office position, set out on its website, was that Kabul was a safe place to which refused asylum seekers should be returned. A spokesperson said Home Office-organised enforced returns to Afghanistan have this week been “paused” while officials “consider the situation”.

“We have been closely monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and due to the escalations this weekend are urgently updating our information and policies to inform asylum claims,” the spokesperson said.

Several immigration experts said the scene of extreme panic at Kabul airport on Monday was a very stark illustration of the degree of fear experienced by clients who have fled Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan over the past 20 years.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... -in-the-uk


If the Home Office political mandate was instead to bend over backward to assist every refugee to the absolute limit of legal acceptability, Britain would have cleaner hands. An assortment of recent Home Secretaries should learn a justifiable sense of shame. Compared with misery-generating Home Office staff the Taliban behave like caring social workers.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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I'm not sure anyone has yet made a documentary about Afghanistan. I'll explore a little further.

This one about Iraq might, I suspect, give a flavor of the twenty year occupation - perhaps it might attract an audience? It's well worth watching. It's by Sean Langan, a startlingly brave reporter.



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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Three of the last four years have seen some of Afghanistan's highest levels of opium production, according to the UNODC. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, poppy cultivation soared 37% last year, it reported in May.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-paci ... 021-08-16/


I put this here as a marker. We can return to itt when the size of the 2022 harvest becomes apparent. Reuters' article suggests the formation of a Taliban-led government will leed to little reduction. I would suggest otherwise because I think a Taliban-led government will focus on ethical practice rather than profiteering criminality.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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This article is entirely worth reeding from start to end. Twice.

Deaths authored by the Taliban are registered by our now sedimented sensorium, as more deathly than the deaths of Afghans by US drone strikes, air strikes, the deaths by Afghan militias (death squads) trained and funded by the CIA, the deaths of Afghans by the most criminal commanders, their militias and the Afghan state that embraced them, and certainly more deathly than Afghans dying en route crossing multiple borders, as they confront another side of the same racialised, securitised, militarised architecture they were fleeing.

The “toxic masculinity” of the Taliban fighters is somehow more toxic than unrestrained white violence, white occupation, white torture, white drones. Theirs is a violence that is otherworldly, and unlike the West, it is savage, intentional and remorseless. Theirs is a violence that sets the boundaries between the barbarian and the modern, “us” and “them”.

Why have we come to see the logic of imperial violence on the Afghan population as more logical, instead of as (or more) illogical, as (or more) illegitimate, as (or more) repulsive as Taliban violence?

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021 ... s-bogeyman
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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There's at least one voice in the House of Commons prepared to tell the truth instead of posture and play Jingo.


The Labour MP, Zarah Sultana, has told other MPs during the emergency Commons debate on Afghanistan that some in parliament do not want to acknowledge a “hard but clear truth” that the 20-year war in the country was a mistake of catastrophic proportions.

“This house must never again send British military personnel to die in futile wars,” she said.

“Rather than repeating the mistake, we must learn this lesson for the future. The west cannot build liberal democracies with bombs and bullets. That dangerous fantastic cooked up by neoconservative fanatics in Washington and championed by their faithful followers in misery has brought misery.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... f6db860a9d

George Galloway said that back when it started.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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spot wrote: Tue Aug 17, 2021 1:00 amA million banknotes weighs around 2 tons so the amount of cash you can get into one helicopter is limited by weight, not volume. It would put cash in hand at something over a hundred million dollars but it would only be temporary money to lubricate his passage, it's not what you could call booty.

Only a slight underestimate, I reckon I came close:
Ambassador Mohammad Zahir Aghbar told a news conference on Wednesday that Ghani “stole $169 million from the state coffers” and called his flight “a betrayal of the state and the nation.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... f6db860a9d
The Americans have also frozen $7bn of Afghan financial assets which they obliged the puppet administration to put into the American banking system. It'll be another 30 years before that goes back into circulation.

Boris Johnson's "five-point plan for international support for Afghanistan" presumably consists of sanctions, I've yet to see the detail.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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spot wrote: Sun Aug 15, 2021 3:41 pm I shall ask one question, now President Ashraf Ghani has fled to Uzbekistan and the Taliban have occupied Kabul's Presidential Palace.

He's 72. Presumably the new Afghan government isn't going to offer him a pension.

What, roughly, might we think his personal wealth amounts to.


I'm delighted to note ex-President Ashraf Ghani's assurance that he has not profited financially from being President of Afghanistan.
“I left with just a waistcoat and some clothes. The personality assassination against me has been ongoing, saying that I have taken money with me,” Ghani said in the video.

“The accusations are baseless lies. You can even ask customs officials – they are baseless.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/1 ... dent-ghani


If anyone sees him flying Business Class instead of Economy, perhaps they could add a photo to the thread.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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There's an interesting article in today's Guardian, ‘It’s shameful’: largest British army garrison in despair over Afghanistan

I'll forbear comment, but I note there's not one word from any of the interviewees about personal responsibility for having volunteered, and been paid, to implement the political will of the British government, despite having ample prior evidence of the consequences. That's not patriotism, that's self-serving complicity.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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And this vital piece in Al Jazeera today:
Title: Is the Taliban’s treatment of women really inspired by Sharia? And what does the current debate on the Taliban and women’s rights tell us about Western (mis)perceptions of Muslims?

Byline: Dalia Mogahed, Research Director at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

According to Human Rights Watch, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group whose stated goal was to create a state based on the biblical 10 commandments, kidnapped and killed tens of thousands of people in the 1990s and 2000s.

Their practice of abducting boys to train them as soldiers and girls to force them into sexual slavery has been documented and put before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, resulting in an arrest warrant for Joseph Kony, the group’s founder, along with four of his senior leaders, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Although according to its leadership, the armed group was a Christian army acting in God’s way, few op-eds have had to be penned arguing that the LRA’s actions are not in congruence with normative Christianity. It is just (rightly) assumed.

Unfortunately, a completely different set of rules is applied when it comes to Muslims. The commentary surrounding the most recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is but one example.

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021 ... -by-sharia
After which the article goes into detail, well worth attending to.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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The Taliban must guarantee a safe passage for those who want to leave Afghanistan beyond the 31 August deadline, PM Boris Johnson has said.

[...] "The number one condition that we are insisting upon is safe passage beyond the 31st, beyond this initial phase, for those who want to leave Afghanistan," he said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58321281


"Insist", Mr Johnson?

What on earth makes you think you have the authority to use that word?
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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spot wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 3:04 pm
The Taliban must guarantee a safe passage for those who want to leave Afghanistan beyond the 31 August deadline, PM Boris Johnson has said.

[...] "The number one condition that we are insisting upon is safe passage beyond the 31st, beyond this initial phase, for those who want to leave Afghanistan," he said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58321281


"Insist", Mr Johnson?

What on earth makes you think you have the authority to use that word?
So, how many Brits are in Afghanistan to back up Mr Johnson's demands?
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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LarsMac wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 3:15 pm So, how many Brits are in Afghanistan to back up Mr Johnson's demands?
From the armed forces very roughly a battalion, something around 800 individuals, some of whom carry rifles when necessary.

From the diplomatic and intelligence sectors there might be fifty but that's just me guessing, I'm not privy.

I'd not be surprised if there were a couple of helicopters.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Perhaps I might quote an earlier post from 13 years ago.

spot wrote:A country needs to achieve change from within. External change is disabling. External change removes the possibility of liberation by the people themselves. It isn't the change which matters, it's the liberation by the people themselves which matters. That's enablement. External change is slavery and a loss of opportunity.

It's absolutely necessary that the Western forces in Iraq and Afghanistan should fail to achieve the objectives they were deployed to achieve. I quite passionately believe that to be true. If the people of the occupied countries fail to humiliate the Western forces it will only encourage the West to attempt further interventions in other lands.

https://www.forumgarden.com/forums/view ... 8#p1066938

Libya and Syria subsequently also became quagmires when American administrations financed their subversion. Neither of those adventures left many pro-American survivors.

The West, both Europe and America, will now be less likely to attempt further interventions in other lands.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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And an observation from today's Al Jazeera:
The US remains the world’s biggest military power. The size and sway of its economy remains formidable. What has changed, however, is its appetite for direct and indirect conflict to maintain its power. Its allies – in Afghanistan and elsewhere – are the first to feel this growing American aversion to global dominance.

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021 ... can-empire
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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An American influencer, Sean Hannity, has demanded Vice-President Harris be immediately promoted to President. Somewhat extreme, I'd have thought..
Fox News's Sean Hannity demanded Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, General Mark Milley, national security advisor Jake Sullivan, and the president "should all resign in disgrace."

https://americandigest.com/public-figur ... an-crisis/


... perhaps because the aforesaid General Mark Milley, in a bid to also become an influencer, described the Taliban as "ruthless". I'm quite intrigued by that. Does the General suggest American armed forces are not ruthless? Are less ruthless? I thought the entire point of an armed force was its ruthlessness. A compassionate armed force isn't something that springs to mind when Americans in uniform are on topic.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Today's headline: "Taliban fighters pictured outside governor’s compound, but Ahmad Massoud’s rebels deny province has fallen".

Ahmad Massoud appears to have mis-spoken himself quite a bit this last month, one can only hope he's safely back in London. The National Resistance always sounded a bit like the Tooting Popular Front - "an official in the national resistance front said Ahmad Masoud, the commander of the resistance forces, was 'safe' and would talk to the nation 'soon'" is straight from the desk of Citizen Smith.

Power to the People!
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Afghanistan now has an interim administrative government. America will undoubtedly refuse to recognize it as legitimate.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the new acting interior minister, is head of the militant group known as the Haqqani network who are affiliated with the Taliban and have been behind some of the deadliest attacks in the country's two-decade-long war - including a truck bomb explosion in Kabul in 2017 that killed more than 150 people.

Unlike the wider Taliban, the Haqqani network has been designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the US. It also maintains close ties to al-Qaeda.

According to the FBI's profile on Haqqani, he is "wanted for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul... that killed six people, including an American citizen".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-58479750


The first thing to note, I suppose, is "Taliban name all-male Afghan cabinet". It's a cultural thing. I have no doubt many Western residents will find Afghan culture repellent, misogynistic and intolerant. To be frank, that's not far off my view of both American and British cultural values. What needs to be asked is whether the world should be a monoculture or whether cultural differences should be protected and celebrated. What's absent isn't a cultural meld of assorted Western values into Afghanistan, it's an ability for any adult in Afghanistan to be able to choose to live in the West. The thing stopping that isn't Afghan pig-headedness, it's the deplorably selfish Western immigration policies.



So, to the main response to "the Afghan Resistance has set up a government!": what we need at this stage is any historical resistance movement which was supported by, armed by, approved by, America.

Maybe the Contras?

I've no idea but I'd quite like a list to pick example behaviors from.

Failing any alternative I'll pick the French Resistance, who went down in history as heroic patriots, but I'm more than happy to switch focus.

I note in passing that after the French liberation there were around 10,000 collaborators killed by extra-judicial civilian assault, and another 4,000 collaborators sentenced to death by the new French government, in the couple of years after the end of the Occupation. We could keep parallel scores for post-Occupation Afghanistan and see which nation was more bloodthirsty.

But until then, name some American-approved historical resistance movements please.

Haganah?
Irgun?
The Provisional IRA?
The Afghan Mujahedin?
The Sons of Liberty?
The Free Syrian Army?
The People's Mujahedin of Iran?

Because what I intend to demonstrate here ad nauseam is that each of them was a damn sight more stomach-churning than the Taliban.

Especially the French.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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The situation is quite straightforward.
Biden is merely honouring the Withdrawal Agreement date that Trump negotiated.
I think the evacuation was badly handled & should have started a lot sooner.
The Afghani Government have now had 20 odd years of Support & Training from NATO Troops. However, once NATO are gone they simply surrender to the Taliban without so much as putting in an effort to stick up for themselves.
NATO has no right to impose itself on other countries & should never have been there in the first place.
Throughout history, out of all the wars that have been fought in Afghanistan every single one has resulted in disaster. One might ask why anyone still bothers to try.
As with all Religions, the harbingers of Islam prefer to keep the country in the Middle Ages. We should allow them to do so & refuse to trade modern day technology with them. It would also be a simple matter to block satellite technology from the region as well, thus cutting off their Mobile Phones.
Isolate the coutry altogether. That has to be the best solution.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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For people wondering whether the expulsion of occupying forces from Afghanistan was just or not, there's a reminder in today's Guardian. I quote a snippet.
Haji Muhammad Wazir lost almost all his immediate family, apart from his four-year-old son in the early hours of 11 March 2012. It was more than a decade after the twin towers came down, but they were the reason the US military was on his doorstep.

Bales killed his wife, four sons, four daughters and two other relatives. He shot the children in the head then tried to burn their bodies.

“It is very hard for me, I still feel like these things are happening right now,” Wazir told the Guardian, nearly a decade after the almost unimaginable slaughter ripped apart his life. “I am very happy the American forces have finally left Afghanistan, and very grateful to Allah for making this happen. At last I feel safe.”

Those murders were perhaps the most high-profile civilian deaths of the war. But it was not the only time foreign forces killed large numbers of women, children and non-combatant men, in just this one corner of a single district of Afghanistan.

Five men from Zangabad who spoke to the Guardian said they lost 49 relatives between them in airstrikes and the massacre, bloodshed spanning nearly a decade. These terrible losses, repeated in many parts of Afghanistan, would prove powerful recruiting tools for the Taliban, as they slowly gathered their forces to retake the country.

“I could not go and fight, because I was the only person left from my family to look after my son, but I was supporting them financially and in other ways,” Wazir said of the aftermath of his tragedy.

The Taliban commander for Panjwai district, Faizani Mawlawi Sahab, said each mass killing drove more people into their arms, and the slaughter of 2012 provoked particular grief and horror. “Although some people were supporting us before, after this incident everyone joined or helped us in some way,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/202 ... he-taliban


How can anyone think occupying a foreign country is anything other than a war crime.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is supported by the United American Patriots organization.
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Re: Stanley McChrystal: enough fighting

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Here we are. That final drone strike in Kabul as the last US plane was leaving town, the one that killed a family consisting mostly of children.
Gen Frank McKenzie has admitted the US drone strike that killed 10 Afghan civilians on August 29 was "a terrible mistake".

But he said "this was a self-defence strike... taken under self-defence rules of engagement".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-58607482

How long ago was it the US military decided that, so long as its own flowcharts had been correctly followed, the deaths of civilians as collateral damage was legal and acceptable?

The world has to reach a level of justice where every civilian death during any military or contracted action must be investigated as a crime with priority, with time limits, with an assumption of guilt if the investigation is botched or blocked or late, and every participant up the chain of command who established the procedure or signed off on the mission must be prosecuted before an independent court for criminal collusion. Damn this ridiculous immunity invented to provide fig-leaf protection to those involved. The only thing which will halt these deaths is a revision of the laws governing military liability.

“It was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology,” US general Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, told reporters on Friday.

He added that he now believed that it unlikely that the vehicle hit or those who died were Islamic State militants or posed a direct threat to US forces at Kabul’s airport.

He continued: “At the time of the strike, I was confident that the strike had averted an imminent threat to our forces at the airport. Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake.”

The Pentagon was considering reparations for the civilians killed, McKenzie said.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ ... ade45dc778

How does "reparations" equate to justice, General McKenzie? Are you incapable of accepting responsibility and at least resigning?
Looking exhausted, sitting in front of the charred ruins of Zemarai's car, Ahmadi said he wanted more than an apology form the United States — he wanted justice, including
an investigation into who carried out the strike "and I want him punished by the U.S.A."
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