The Taliban need help to break their al-Qaida ties

The Taliban need help to break their al-Qaida ties

The west should offer the pragmatic wing of the Taliban an alternative to al-Qaida's armed struggle

Michael Semple, Monday 30 April 2012 18.10 BST
Article history

So, we have evidence that the Afghan Taliban movement is a veritable extension of al-Qaida and thus must be even more resolute in the fight against them. That would be the obvious initial reaction to the revelation that the leaders of the two movements kept closely in touch right up to the time of Osama bin Laden's death. But anyone drawing this conclusion is glossing over our real strategic failure in Afghanistan – the failure to squeeze the Taliban out of their Faustian alliance with al-Qaida.

Anyone who follows the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan closely knows that, despite the talk of diminished al-Qaida numbers on the ground, its activists and affiliates are heavily involved in the Taliban military campaign. In particular, it contributes military expertise to the spectacular attacks organised out of Waziristan, it sends groups of fighters from there to the front lines and it inspires. The graph of foreign fighters killed or captured in Afghanistan's provinces shows that the al-Qaida-linked international militant coalition is still a factor in the war. The revelations of the correspondence between Bin Laden and Mullah Omar simply confirms that the militant leaders knew what their militaries were up to.

The real question is not whether there are linkages between the Taliban and al-Qaida, it is what to do about these linkages.

George Galloway's victory shows Britain is sick of the war in Afghanistan - Paul Flynn

George Galloway's victory shows Britain is sick of the war in Afghanistan

The Bradford West result is a powerful message of a collapse of trust between people and politicians. The lies must end now

Paul Flynn, Saturday 7 April 2012 14.00 BST
Article history

British soldiers from 2nd Battalion the Rifles cross a waterway through farmland in Helmand province. Photograph: Cpl Timothy L Solano/PA
The people of Bradford West have spoken. It's a message of thunderous simplicity. Our three political parties decide not to see, hear or understand.

Britain is sick of the Afghan war. It is being prolonged by politicians seeking to devise an end that will favour their reputations. After valiant heroism, the Dutch and Canadian parliaments withdrew their troops. The voices of their people demanded an end to the lies and cowardice that were causing their soldiers to risk their lives in a futile conflict.

It was simple and clear in 2001. Tony Blair was in messianic mode, clad in a cloak of infallibility. His prime objective was to build a blood-brother relationship with the Republican Bush as he had with the Democratic Clinton. Rage at 9/11 found its expression in the delusion of western omnipotence. Osama bin Laden had to be found. The tinpot regime in Afghanistan had to be toppled for protecting him. Its 13th-century society had to be transformed into a Scandinavian democracy minus corruption and the drugs trade. Tony Blair explained to the Commons that 90% of the heroin used in Britain came from Afghanistan. He said the country was riddled with corruption and had the second-worst maternal mortality rate in the world. Not an inch of progress has been made in 11 years on all three of these issues. The sacrifice of western blood has made conditions worse. The progress made in education and women's rights is fragile and will not survive Nato's withdrawal.

Massacre of the Afghan 17 & the Obama Cover-Up

The Massacre of the Afghan 17 and the Obama Cover-Up

By James Petras March 27, 2012

The March 11 Massacre of the 17 Afghan citizens, including at least nine children and four women, raises many fundamental issues about the nature of a colonial war, the practices of a colonial army engaged in a prolonged (eleven-year) occupation and the character of an imperial state as it commits war crimes and increasingly relies on arbitrary dictatorial measures to secure public compliance and suppress dissent.

After the cold-blooded murder of the 17 Afghan villagers in Kandahar Province the US military and the ever-complicit Obama regime constructed an elaborate cover-up, exposing the Administration up to charges of conspiracy to suppress the essential facts, falsify data and obstruct justice: All are grounds for criminal prosecution and impeachment.

This massacre is just one of several hundred committed by US armed forces according to the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. It could ruin the Obama presidency, by putting him on trial for conspiracy to obstruct justice and arguably send him to jail for war crimes.

Obama’s deliberate lies about the events surrounding the massacre and the fundamental responsibility of the high military command for the crimes committed by its troops underscores the breakdown of the occupation of Afghanistan, the very centerpiece of Obama’s war policy. The President of the United States has personally played a major role in the cover-up. From a political vantage point, the executive conspiracy charge has wider and deeper implications than the massacre itself, as horrible as it is.

Irish Government Should Act Now to Save Lives in Afghanistan

John Landon -

The killing of at least 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, by a 38 year old US army Staff Sergeant near Kandahar in Afghanistan was an appalling act of brutality and will have inevitable repercussions. US military spokespersons described the perpetrator as deranged, but sadly his actions follow a pattern of murder and human rights abuse by US and NATO personnel and the people they train. In 2011 a group of American soldiers were found to have been part of a "kill team" that deliberately murdered Afghan civilians for sport. In January of this year a video surfaced showing US marines urinating on the corpses of three insurgents. And earlier this month the UN reported that NATO and Afghan security forces were between them responsible for 410 civilian deaths in 2011. This was about 14% of the total number of civilians killed in the country.

Not only was the killing of 16 innocent people on Sunday deranged, the entire war waged by the US and NATO against Afghanistan could also be described as deranged and inappropriate from the beginning.

“Violent conflicts such as this do have the effect of destroying the lives of the victims but also of deranging the minds of the soldiers taking part” said Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch. “The Mai Lai Massacre in Vietnam, the wanton destruction and killings in Fallujah and the prisoner abuses in Abu Graib, Guantanamo and Baghram are just some examples.  There are always more appropriate ways of creating international peace than by inflicting wars on so many innocent peoples.”

“As a result of this and other atrocities committed by NATO Forces in Afghanistan, nowhere is safe there now for US and other foreign troops and aid workers.”

Why the United States is never held to account for its atrocities

Why the United States is never held to account for its atrocities
20 March 2012     Glenn Greenwald     USA and the War on Terror
What is most revealed by the removal of the US Marine who killed 16 civilians from Afghanistan is the American belief that no other country can ever impose accountability on Americans.
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By Glenn Greenwald
The Guardian
19 March 2012
The notorious American "kill team" that deliberately executed random, innocent Afghan civilians (often teenagers) for sport, planted weapons on their bodies, and then posed with their corpses as trophies.

US army staff sergeant Robert Bales is accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan villagers, including nine children, and then burning some of the bodies. The massacre took place in two villages in the southern rural district of Panjwai.
Though this horrific crime targeted Afghans on Afghan soil, Afghanistan will play no role in investigating the crime or bringing the perpetrator (or perpetrators) to justice.

That is because the US almost immediately whisked the accused out of Afghanistan and brought him to an American army base in Fort Leavensworth, Kansas.
The rapid exclusion of Afghans from the process of trying the accused shooter has, predictably and understandably, exacerbated the growing anti-American anger in that country.

It is hard to imagine any nation on the planet reacting any other way to being denied the ability to try suspects over crimes that take place on its soil. A Taliban commander quickly gave voice to that nationalistic fury, announcing: "We want this soldier to be prosecuted in Afghanistan. The Afghans should prosecute him."



readers must be confused by the heading of Lara Marlow’s dispatch (17 March) - ‘Bin Laden plot to kill Obama and Petraeus revealed’given that 70% of the piece is given over to America’s ongoing “troubles in Afghanistan” and the recent horrific killing of 16 civilians in Kandahar province.

While the piece reports on what allegedly was discussed by telephone between Presidents Obama and Karzai on Friday it misses a key issue and concludes disappointingly by joining the media frenzy around the story of the ‘deranged’ lone gunman suspect.

What is missing is the fact that at a press conference on Friday, a clearly pressurised Karzai also criticised the US for not cooperating with the Afghan fact finding team and claimed of witness’s reports of several groups of US soldiers being involved in the killings. Press TV has since reported that “two members of the fact-finding mission, Hamidzi Lali and Shakila Hashemi, told the general meeting of Afghanistan’s parliament on Saturday that the American troopers raped two Afghan women before starting the massacre and that between 15 to 20 US soldiers were involved in the carnage.”

It seems strange that a lone staff sergeant could have so easily left his army base undetected, walked several kilometres and quickly murdered, mutilated and burned so many people in two separate villages. Of course these claims of multiple killers may be exaggerated or not even true but it is the duty of the media to investigate and report them. Whichever account is true it is the deranged US led war on the Afghan people that is to blame for this carnage - just as it was in the massacres of Fallujah, Haditha, My Lai etc.

Yours etc.

PRO Steering Committee,

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