Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Afghanistan: The truth behind Obama's "progress"

President Obama told the British Parliament on 25 May that the US/Nato forces were "preparing to turn a corner" and the Taliban's momentum had been "broken". However, since then, facts on the ground have exposed the reality.

The day after Obama's speech, eight US troops were killed, the highest daily figure for four years. The next day, two British soldiers were killed. The father of one of the them, asked whether the death of his son had been a price worth paying. To which a serving soldier on leave from Afghanistan wrote emphatically, no. On 28 May, a suicide attack in a supposedly "secure" province left at least six dead, including the commander of the northern Afghanistan police force and two German soldiers, and seriously wounded Nato General Markus Knaeip, commander of foreign troops in northern Afghanistan.

Not to be outdone when it comes to killing, on the same day, Nato airstrikes on two villages killed 32 civilians, including 17 children and five women. Such was the outrage at yet more "collateral damage" that even the US puppet President Karzai felt compelled to issue a "final warning" to Nato that these attacks had to stop.

By every measurement this war is catastrophic, for the Afghan people and the occupying forces alike. The war has now lasted longer than World War I and World War II combined and is the longest war in US history. 2011 will be the most violent year since the invasion ten years ago. It is clearly far from over, with the British commander in Afghanistan, Lt Gen James Bucknall, being the latest of a stream of military figures in the US and British military calling for an extension of the 2015 deadline for withdrawing all foreign forces, as promised by Obama and David Cameron.

The reason is obvious, the planned "exit strategy" of training the Afghan police and army to administer a proxy occupation for the US and its allies currently looks hopeless. This is confirmed by the latest report showing the security forces have been deeply infiltrated by the Taliban and other resistance forces, with a dramatic increase in the number of Afghan soldiers or policemen turning their weapons on western troops or facilitating attacks by insurgents.

We need to continue to press our government to end this war immediately.

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