Friday, September 4, 2009

Afghanistan Airstrike Kills 93. Enjoy The Air Show!

I was walking with my wife and daughter through Dufferin Grove Park earlier when, with an enormous boom, a fighter jet banked hard above us, then shot off down to the lake. Everybody looked up to see the plane and a woman walking her bike near us said: "In most countries we'd be running to hide from that plane."
When I got home and checked the news the truth of what she'd say struck home. Certainly there's some people in Kunduz, Afghanistan who are wishing that their relatives had run more quickly today because NATO dropped bombs killed 90+ people.
The story is that the Taliban hijacked a NATO jet fuel tanker, which then got stuck in the mud near a village. Villagers, all dirt poor, rushed out to siphon off some fuel from the truck. That's when NATO, called in by the German contingent in northern Afghanistan, dropped its payload.
Of course NATO feels bad and will look into it. They might even pay compensation to the families. But, if they hadn't been there it wouldn't have happened in the first place.
Ah, but we're there to bring democracy and freedom from the evil Taliban. Trouble is, the democracy is so utterly corrupt that even supporters of the occupation are embarassed by videos of Karzai supporters stuffing ballot boxes, reports of other boxes showing up full to polling stations, intimidation of monitors, etc.
And the Kunduz governor is hardly a progressive, having been allied with ultra-conservative Wahabbi followers, prior to shifting allegiances to a Tajik warlord named Daud, who is himself allied with Karzai running mate, Mohammed Fahim. As human rights watch described him:
“He is one of the most notorious warlords in the country, with the blood of many Afghans on his hands from the civil war.” In fact, the brutality of his party Jamiat-e-Islami during the infighting amongst the mujahideen, following the Soviet withdrawal, drove many Afghans to support the Taliban. And the province has itself been a bastion of corruption and narcotic production.
"In February 2004, [provincial police chief] Motaleb Beg was captured by ISAF and Afghan police in Kabul with 300 kilos of heroin. Both Motaleb Beg and the heroin were handed over to the Kabul police with instructions how to handle the case. The following day the heroin had disappeared." (Beg was replaced as police chief by the present governor's brother, recently killed by an IED).
It is no wonder that with these characters in power, backed by western jets and bombs, the insurgency has spread north to the previously peaceful province of Kunduz. This is a big problem for NATO and the US because Kunduz is key to NATO's Central Asian supply lines. Previously, NATO had shipped equipment, fuel, etc. through Pakistan but insurgents in that country kept blowing stuff up. The alternative was to get an agreement from the Russians to move the same equipment, etc. through Russian airspace and then overland from Tajikstan and Uzbekistan. According to a senior US official: "The concern is if we don't stunt the [Taliban] growth, it could cause problems with our northern distribution network."
Things may already be too late, as Gul Agha, head of Baghlan-i-Jadid's criminal investigation department describes it: "Before, [insurgents] moved in very small groups. Now they are moving in groups of 30 to 40, and they have a leader of each group. They have a [shadow] governor, district leaders and recruiters."
Of course, the main people who are suffering as NATO increases air strikes in the north of the country, are civilians. Just as has been the case in the south, with bombings of weddings, funerals, and the like. The longer we stay over there, the more civilian dead there are and the more that we are hated.
This weekend, while you're watching those F-15's flying over the Toronto shoreline with your kids, just think about how a kid in Afghanistan feels when they see those same planes flying overhead. For them it's not a weekend diversion, it's the possibility of death at the hands of their supposed liberators.
Post a Comment
DreamHost Promotional Codes