By James Cogan, 2 September 2008
The August death toll of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan reached 45 on Sunday—the equal highest monthly total of the near seven-year war. A Romanian soldier providing protection to a supply convoy was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in drove over a mine that had been planted on the main highway connecting the capital Kabul with the country’s eastern provinces. Three other Romanian soldiers were seriously wounded.
By Tom Eley, 1 September 2008
As anger mounts in Afghanistan over the August 22 US bombing of a village that killed ninety civilians, the great majority women and children, the Pentagon continues to claim a much smaller death toll comprised largely of “Taliban fighters.” Anonymous US officials, who claim to have investigated the attack in Azizabad in Herat province, insist that 25 Taliban were killed, along with five civilians.
By James Cogan, 26 August 2008
In one of the worst atrocities of the US-led occupation of Afghanistan, as many as 90 civilians were massacred by an American air strike last Friday in the western province of Herat. At least 60 of those killed were children under the age of 15, according to Afghan government and military sources.
By Peter Symonds, 21 August 2008
The death of 10 French soldiers in an ambush in Afghanistan on Monday has again underscored the resurgence of armed resistance against the US-led occupation and reignited debate in France over its involvement in the war. The incident involved the worst loss of foreign troops in open battle since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and, for the French army, its highest casualties since a Beirut truck bomb killed 58 paratroopers in 1983.
By Harvey Thompson, 6 August 2008
In a statement issued August 1, the Agency Co-ordinating Body for Afghan Relief (Acbar) expressed its “grave concern about the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the serious impact on civilians.”
By James Cogan, 29 July 2008
Since 2001, the Bush administration has used a purported threat of terrorism to justify the predatory invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and the establishment of US control over the resources and territory of both countries. At the same time, the so-called war on terror has served as the pretext for a massive expansion of the US military and the activities of intelligence agencies, as well as major inroads into the democratic rights and civil liberties of the American people.
By Patrick Martin, 24 July 2008
A lengthy front-page article in Wednesday’s New York Times cites US military officials to make the case for wider latitude in conducting bombing raids against targets in Afghanistan. The article by reporter Thom Shanker carries a headline reflecting the complaints of the Pentagon: “Civilian Risks Curbing Strikes in Afghan War.”
By Jerry White, 22 July 2008
US and NATO forces killed at least 13 Afghans over the weekend, adding to the toll of civilian deaths as the military intensifies efforts to crush opposition to the nearly seven-year-old US occupation.
By James Cogan, 21 July 2008
The statements made by Barack Obama during his visit to Afghanistan over the weekend verify that his campaign for president is the mouthpiece for a significant section of the American ruling elite that is insisting on a shift in US policy in the Middle East and Central Asia. Far from proposing any retreat from militarism, Obama is arguing for a faster drawdown of troop numbers in Iraq and a reduction in tensions with Iran, only in order to facilitate a major escalation of US military operations in Afghanistan, potentially extending them into Pakistan.
Bombs wipe out wedding party, 47 dead
By David Walsh, 18 July 2008
American air strikes alone have killed dozens of Afghan civilians, perhaps close to one hundred, in less than two weeks, as the fighting in the country intensifies and the US and its allies step up their efforts to suppress the anti-occupation insurgency.
Ten dead on Sunday
By James Cogan, 15 July 2008
The US/NATO occupation force in Afghanistan on Sunday suffered the largest number of casualties in a 24-hour period in more than three years. Nine American troops lost their lives and as many as 15 were wounded in a day-long battle with insurgents who attacked a US base in the eastern province of Kunar. Another soldier, also believed to be an American, was killed in a roadside bombing in the volatile Sangin district of Helmand province.
By Peter Symonds, 10 July 2008
The bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul on Monday has again highlighted the profoundly destabilising impact of the US invasion of Afghanistan on the broader region. The ongoing war between US-led forces and anti-occupation insurgents is spilling into Pakistan and further fuelling tensions between longstanding regional rivals—India and Pakistan.
By Ludwig Niethammer, 8 July 2008
On July 1 the German army took command of a NATO strike force in the north of Afghanistan, providing a combat force in the region for the first time.
By James Cogan, 7 July 2008
Three Afghan men and 19 women and children were slaughtered on Sunday when US aircraft bombed a wedding party in the remote Deh Bala district of Nangarhar province, in the country’s east close to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The killings were reported by the district governor and confirmed by survivors who were being treated at a hospital in Jalalabad, the provincial capital. Afghan officials have also reported that as many as 12 civilians were killed by air strikes last Friday in the nearby province of Nuristan province.
By James Cogan, 26 June 2008
NATO forces and the US-backed government of President Hamid Karzai were compelled to launch a major operation last week to dislodge hundreds of anti-occupation fighters who had seized control of villages in the Arghandab valley, just 16 kilometres to the northwest of Kandahar city. Some of the 1,000-plus prisoners who were freed during the assault on the Sarposa prison in Kandahar on June 13 may have been involved. They reportedly linked up with insurgents who had recently crossed into Afghanistan from safe-havens inside Pakistan.
By K. Ratnayake, 17 June 2008
President Hamid Karzai Sunday threatened to send Afghan troops across the border into Pakistan, claiming that it would be an act of “self defence.” The Western-backed regime in Kabul together with the US-led NATO forces occupying the country have blamed elements of the Taliban acting from safe havens inside Pakistani tribal areas for stepped-up attacks on their forces.
By Bill Van Auken, 16 June 2008
Large numbers of US-led NATO troops together with Afghan puppet forces continued a largely fruitless search over the weekend for more than 1,000 prisoners who escaped from a fortress-like jail in the southern city of Kandahar.
By Harvey Thompson, 14 June 2008
On June 8, the number of UK fatalities in Afghanistan reached a grim milestone with news of the death of three British soldiers in a suicide attack in southern Afghanistan.
By James Cogan, 3 June 2008
A major US offensive targeting alleged Taliban guerillas around the city of Garmser in the southern province of Helmand has displaced over 4,000 families, according to the provincial governor Gulab Mangal. He told UN relief agencies that most are living in squalid conditions on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Lashkargah, and had not received any food or non-food assistance.
By Alex Lantier, 20 May 2008
On May 17 the New York Times reported on plans for a new, US-run prison complex at Bagram air base north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. The prison complex would occupy 40 acres on the base, house up to 1,100 prisoners, and cost more than $60 million to build. The complex will replace an existing prison, the Bagram Theater Internment Facility.
By Joe Kay, 19 May 2008
A United Nations investigator released a preliminary report last week citing widespread civilian deaths in Afghanistan, often at the hands of unaccountable units led by the CIA or other foreign intelligence agencies.
By James Cogan, 7 May 2008
Fighting is escalating in Afghanistan as weather conditions improve for combat operations by both the US-NATO occupation force and the Afghan guerillas fighting to drive them from the country.
By Barry Grey, 29 April 2008
Sunday’s armed attack on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the center of Kabul was a stark demonstration of the isolation of the US-backed government and the growing striking power of anti-occupation forces throughout the country.
By Keith Jones, 18 April 2008
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier publicly called Monday for the Afghan government to fire the governor of Kandahar, the province to which 2,500 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) troops are deployed. Several hours later, Bernier withdrew his remarks, saying that he had never intended to impinge on Afghanistan’s right as a sovereign nation to choose its own government personnel.
By our correspondent, 14 March 2008
An indefinite strike by several hundred Afghan doctors and medical staff in the province of Herat was called off on Wednesday. According to the BBC, the medical workers called the strike last Saturday in protest against a recent rise in attacks on staff and their families.
By James Cogan, 23 February 2008
A string of attacks against NATO forces and their local collaborators in Afghanistan signals the beginnings of the annual upsurge in fighting as the harsh winter gives way to better climatic conditions for organising guerilla operations.
By Harvey Thompson, 9 February 2008
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband arrived in Afghanistan February 7 on an unannounced visit aimed at publicizing the military support of the two main occupation powers for the regime of President Hamid Karzai.
By James Cogan, 5 February 2008
The latest US assessments of the war in Afghanistan, authored by the Afghanistan Study Group and the Atlantic Council, paint a similar picture of crisis and failure as did major studies published last year.
By Harvey Thompson, 29 January 2008
Comments by a US general on British policy in Afghanistan have once again brought to the fore tensions between the two major occupation powers in the country.
By James Cogan, 19 January 2008
The Bush administration announced on Tuesday that it is sending an additional 3,200 marines to Afghanistan over the coming months, amid growing concerns over the extent and endurance of Afghan resistance to the US-NATO occupation of the country. The deployment is essentially a small-scale version of the Iraq “surge” in the first half of 2007.
By David Walsh, 9 January 2008
The US government is continuing its global policy of illegal detention, abuse and torture of prisoners. This emerges from a New York Times article published January 7, which reports on conditions at the notorious Bagram military base in northern Afghanistan’s Parvan province.
By Joe Kay, 27 December 2007
The Bush administration is preparing to significantly increase US troop levels in Afghanistan in an attempt to quell growing popular hostility to the US and NATO occupying forces. It is doing so with full confidence that it will face no significant opposition from the Democratic-controlled Congress.
By Oscar Grenfell, 19 December 2007
More than six years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, two recently released reports have again demonstrated the falsehood of the Bush administration’s claims to be helping the Afghan people. The social indices on literacy, life expectancy and food availability contained in the reports provide an insight into the terrible social crisis confronting millions of Afghans.
By Peter Symonds, 13 December 2007
A major NATO operation in the southern Afghan province of Helmand finally succeeded on Monday in driving anti-occupation fighters out of the town of Musa Qala. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was in Afghanistan at the time, was quick to claim a victory. But the protracted battle for control of the small centre underscores the tenuous nature of the US-led occupation of the country in the face of widespread popular hostility.
By James Cogan, 1 December 2007
Private Luke Worsley, a 26-year-old from Sydney’s outer suburbs, became the third Australian soldier to be killed in combat in Afghanistan in just six weeks when he was shot on November 22 in the southern province of Uruzgan. Trooper David Pearce was killed on October 8 by a roadside bomb and Sergeant Matthew Locke was killed on October 25 by small arms fire. The only other Australian combat fatality in Afghanistan was in February 2002, when a roadside bomb killed Sergeant Andrew Russell.
By Harvey Thompson, 30 November 2007
An internal United Nations (UN) report into the November 6 bombing in Baghlan, in northern Afghanistan, has revealed how the actions of security guards after the blast greatly increased the death toll.
By Bill Van Auken, 29 November 2007
An air strike by US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan left at least 14 members of a road construction crew dead late Tuesday.
By Harvey Thompson, 8 October 2007
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently published a report revealing the latest findings on opium production in Afghanistan.
By Harvey Thompson, 20 September 2007
Previous to the current mantra of the US-led occupation of Afghanistan as the “winnable war,” it was the “war for hearts and minds.”
By Julie Hyland, 29 August 2007
For weeks, British media and sections of the political elite have been urging the government and the military to focus their attention on military operations in Afghanistan. In contrast to Iraq, the US-led occupation of Afghanistan is being portrayed as a “winnable.” But a report by Channel 4 News has disclosed just how it is intended to secure victory—through the use of thermobaric weapons.
By Robert Stevens, 27 August 2007
Three British soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan on Thursday by “friendly fire” after an American F15E fighter plane dropped a 500-pound bomb on their position in the Helmand province at around 18:30 local time.
By Harvey Thompson, 25 August 2007
The debacle suffered by Britain in Iraq has united government spokesmen, its critics in Parliament and military figures in depicting Afghanistan as the “winnable war.” In reality, Britain is facing a deteriorating situation on both military fronts, and the calls for a shift of British troops to the Afghan theatre are intensifying conflict there.
By Barry Grey, 22 August 2007
In an editorial published on August 20, the New York Times spells out the consensus policy of the liberal, Democratic Party wing of the American political establishment for an escalation of the US military intervention in Afghanistan.
By James Cogan, 14 August 2007
Increasing attacks by Taliban-linked guerillas against American, NATO and Afghan army troops across much of southern Afghanistan are fuelling recriminations over the US policies and tactics that have stoked the intense hatred among the Afghan people for the occupation forces.
By Mark Rainer and Joe Kay, 10 July 2007
More than 150 civilians were killed in the past week from US-led airstrikes and combat in Afghanistan, according to several reports.
By Keith Jones, 6 July 2007
Six Canadian soldiers and an interpreter were killed in Afghanistan Wednesday, when the armored-vehicle they were traveling in some 20 kilometers southwest of Kandahar was blown up by an improvised explosive device (IED). The deaths bring to 66 the number of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel killed in Afghanistan—a fatality total second only to that of the US among the 37 states that have participated in the US-led, NATO-backed occupation of Afghanistan.
By Guy Charron, 4 July 2007
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has deployed a Strategic Advisory Team (SAT) composed of some 15 people to Kabul with the mandate of working “directly with the Afghan government” to impose the neo-colonial agenda of the western powers.
By Tom Carter, 3 July 2007
Late in the day on June 29, more than a hundred people were killed in a massive US-led airstrike on the village of Hyderabad, located in the Grishk district of the southern province of Helmand in Afghanistan. According to Dur Ali Shah, the mayor of the district, at least 107 people were killed in the attack, which can only be described as a massacre.
By Barry Grey, 23 June 2007
At least 25 civilians were killed in a US air strike early Friday morning in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. The dead included nine women, three babies and an elderly mullah in the village of Kunjakak in the Grishk district of Helmand, according to the provincial police chief.
By Andre Damon, 19 June 2007
US-led coalition forces bombed a compound containing a mosque and a religious school in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing seven children aged 10 to 16.
By James Cogan, 15 June 2007
The callous murder of Afghan journalist Zakia Zaki on June 6—shot seven times as she lay beside her infant son—epitomises the absence of anything resembling genuine democracy in the country after more than five years of US occupation.
By Harvey Thompson, 30 May 2007
The US-backed political elite in Kabul have recently made a series of judicial rulings with grave implications for democratic rights that has received little comment in the international media.
By James Cogan, 30 May 2007
American and NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan are killing and maiming dozens of civilians as they attempt to suppress a growing anti-occupation insurgency by loyalists of the former Taliban fundamentalist regime. In case after case, the deaths are the result of indiscriminate bombing by US/NATO aircraft in retaliation for attacks on coalition troops.
Grand coalition pushes ahead with military deployment
By Ulrich Rippert, 24 May 2007
The deaths last Saturday of three German soldiers at the hands of a suicide bomber in the northern Afghan city of Kundus make a mockery of the propaganda by the German government that the deployment of its soldiers as part of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) mission is first and foremost a “humanitarian enterprise.”
By James Cogan, 19 May 2007
Pakistan’s attempts to tighten security along its border have led to a series of clashes with US-occupied Afghanistan. On Thursday, for the second time this week, Pakistani forces in the Kurram tribal agency fired mortars and rockets at positions in the adjacent Afghan province of Paktia. Four Afghan troops were killed, while US aircraft reportedly buzzed the skies overhead.
By Joe Kay, 11 May 2007
At least 40 Afghan civilians were killed in air strikes on Tuesday, adding to the mounting death toll from the escalation of US operations in the country. The latest incident occurred in the Sangin district of the southern province of Helmand, the scene of stepped-up US and NATO attacks in recent months.
By Joe Kay, 5 May 2007
Bombing raids by US-led NATO forces in western Afghanistan last week killed at least 50 civilians and perhaps over 100, reports from Afghan government officials and human rights organizations have confirmed.
By Joe Kay, 1 May 2007
US and British-led NATO forces have launched new offensives in the southern and western regions of Afghanistan in recent days, killing scores of people. The offensives are part of a military campaign begun in March to retake parts of the country not currently under control of occupation forces and the puppet government of Hamid Karzai.
By Lee Parsons, 27 April 2007
“If this report is accurate, Canadians have engaged in war crimes, not only individually but also as a matter of policy”—law professor Michael Byers
Harper smears his critics as pro-Taliban
By Lee Parsons, 23 March 2007
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has accused his Liberal Party opponents of being more concerned about the plight of Taliban insurgents than the 2,2000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan.
By Andreas Reiss, 15 March 2007
Last week, the German parliament (Bundestag) agreed to deploy up to eight Tornado jet fighters to Afghanistan. The planes will be used in a reconnaissance role in the south of the country—currently the scene of violent struggles—to support the operations of NATO troops under the command of the US. The deployment of the planes also means sending an additional 500 soldiers—on top of the 3,000 German troops already stationed there. The mission is to begin in early April and will extend until mid-October.
By Bill Van Auken, 5 March 2007
The slaughter of some 16 civilians and the wounding of at least two dozen more by US troops in Afghanistan Sunday sparked angry protests demanding a withdrawal of the occupation forces and the ouster of Washington’s puppet, President Hamid Karzai.
Cheney huddles with Musharraf and Karzai
By Patrick Martin, 1 March 2007
The suicide attack Tuesday at the gates of the US air base at Bagram, near Kabul, which sent Vice President Cheney racing to a bomb shelter, is only the most visible sign of the deteriorating position of the US-backed puppet regime in Afghanistan.
By Harvey Thompson, 16 February 2007
This is the conclusion of a three-part series examining the situation in Afghanistan five years after the US-led invasion. Part 1 was posted on February 14; Part 2 was posted on February 15.
By Harvey Thompson, 15 February 2007
This is the second of a three-part series examining the situation in Afghanistan five years after the US-led invasion. Part one was posted February 14.
By Harvey Thompson, 14 February 2007
This is the first of a three-part series examining the situation in Afghanistan five years after the US-led invasion.
By Harvey Thompson, 19 December 2006
An official investigation was launched December 9 into allegations that British troops had opened fire indiscriminately at civilians in Kandahar city, southern Afghanistan, following a suicide car bomb attack on a NATO-led convoy.
By Peter Symonds, 14 November 2006
In the wake of the US elections, the Bush administration has been anxious to affirm there will be no “course correction” in Afghanistan, despite the escalating armed resistance to the US-led occupation of the country.
By Harvey Thompson, 1 November 2006
Official estimates of the civilian death toll from NATO air strikes in southern Afghanistan on October 24 are disputed, but some sources report up to 85 killed.
By James Cogan, 20 October 2006
Twice in a matter of a few hours on Wednesday, the NATO-commanded International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) occupying Afghanistan fired missiles into civilian dwellings, killing as many as 26 men, women and children. The deaths underscore the fact that ISAF’s counter-insurgency operations are being conducted with murderous disregard for the local population, which is overwhelmingly hostile to foreign military forces.
By Harvey Thompson, 26 September 2006
Faced with a burgeoning insurgency and the deteriorating authority of the central government of Hamid Karzai, the NATO command has signalled its determination to sacrifice more Afghan civilians and its own soldiers in a desperate bid to wrest control of the country.
By James Cogan, 15 September 2006
Bitterness and general rancour characterise the relations within NATO one week after its senior military commander called for 2,500 reinforcements to be urgently dispatched to assist the 8,000 British, Canadian and Dutch troops caught up in savage combat in Afghanistan’s southern provinces. In the face of dire warnings that the NATO-led occupation risks losing ground before a resurgence of support for the former Taliban regime, the major European members of the alliance have refused to send a single soldier.
By James Cogan, 11 September 2006
Afghanistan is becoming a military and political disaster for the NATO alliance, which is embroiled in the Bush administration’s attempt to subjugate the country. As the fifth anniversary of the overthrow of the Taliban regime approaches, much of Afghanistan is in the hands of warlords with links to international drug cartels or falling back under the control of the Taliban.
By James Cogan, 30 August 2006
The New York Times vented the concern in US ruling circles over the deteriorating state of affairs in Afghanistan with a lengthy article on August 23 and an editorial the following day, entitled “Losing Afghanistan”. Close to five years since the country was invaded and occupied in the name of the “war on terror,” the newspaper made the bleak assessment that “there is no victory in the war for Afghanistan, due in significant measure to the Bush administration’s reckless haste to move on to Iraq and shortsighted stinting on economic reconstruction”.
By Harvey Thompson, 8 August 2006
July was officially the bloodiest month in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of the country in November 2001.
By Harvey Thompson, 18 July 2006
British Defence Secretary Des Browne has announced the deployment of almost 900 extra troops to southern Afghanistan.
By Jake Skeers, 3 July 2006
US-led military forces have launched a major operation aimed at crushing growing opposition in four provinces in southern Afghanistan ahead of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) takeover in the region in August. Around 11,000 troops, including 2,300 from the US, 3,300 from Britain, 2,200 from Canada and 3,500 Afghan soldiers, backed by warplanes, are engaged in the biggest offensive since the US-led invasion in 2001.
By Bill Van Auken, 31 May 2006
The mass rioting that broke out in the Afghan capital of Kabul Monday has exposed the intensity and breadth of popular opposition to the four-and-a-half-year US-led occupation of Afghanistan and the fragility of the hold on the country by Washington and the puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai.
By Tom Carter, 25 May 2006
In the latest atrocity in the US occupation of Afghanistan, US warplanes massacred at least 80 villagers in the southern province of Kandahar early Monday morning. As many as 350 people have been killed this past week in Afghanistan in an explosion of violence, the most severe since the US invasion in October 2001.
By James Cogan, 13 May 2006
Hundreds more lives are likely to be lost in Afghanistan over the summer months as NATO troops are flung into operations in some of the most volatile areas of the country to subdue the ongoing armed resistance to the US-led occupation.
By James Cogan, 10 February 2006
The wave of demonstrations in Afghanistan against the publication of anti-Islamic cartoons in newspapers around the globe reflects more than anything else the pervasive hostility that exists toward the US-led occupation. Provided with a focus for their anger, thousands of Afghans have rallied outside American and NATO military bases to not only denounce the vilification of their religion, but also the Bush administration and the continuing presence of foreign troops. The protests have not been confined to the Pashtun-speaking southern provinces where the former Taliban regime derived most of its support, but have taken place in cities and towns across the country.
By Tom Carter, 22 October 2005
Australian television Wednesday broadcast a truly ugly scene: the bodies of two dead individuals, whose names are not yet known, burning side by side in a field with a group of five US soldiers looking on from a few yards away.
By Peter Symonds, 20 September 2005
With the US-led occupation of Iraq sinking further into the quagmire, determined efforts have been made by the Bush administration and the international media to present last Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Afghanistan in the best possible light.
By Peter Symonds, 29 August 2005
Under strong pressure from Washington, a number of countries have been building up troop numbers to bolster the US-led occupation of Afghanistan. While nominally to provide security for parliamentary elections due to take place on September 18, the military build-up is taking place amid a sharp escalation of armed resistance to the US presence that has led to a rising toll of casualties.
By Kate Randall, 28 July 2005
Nearly 2,000 Afghans protested Tuesday outside the US air base in Bagram, north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Chanting “Die America!” the crowd threw stones and tried to break down an outer gate to the base, demanding the release of eight detained villagers.
By Peter Symonds, 8 July 2005
In what can only be regarded as a bloody act of revenge, the US military last Sunday killed as many as 17 civilians in an air raid on the remote village of Chechal in the northeast Afghan province of Kunar.
By James Cogan, 4 July 2005
The downing of a US Chinook helicopter on June 28 has brought into sharp focus the steadily deteriorating position of the US-led military forces in Afghanistan. As the fourth anniversary of the invasion approaches, resistance is reaching a scale that will require the deployment of thousands more American and NATO troops in order to maintain US control over the country.
By Peter Symonds, 23 June 2005
Despite a lack of media coverage, there are growing signs that armed resistance to the US-led occupation of Afghanistan is on the rise.
By Peter Symonds, 3 June 2005
An article in the latest issue of Time magazine detailing an armed clash between Australian Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers and Afghan villagers in May 2002 has exposed as lies the previous accounts of the incident provided by military spokesmen.
By Peter Symonds, 24 May 2005
On the eve of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s current trip to the US, an article in last Friday’s New York Times provided details of the systematic torture of detainees by American military interrogators in Afghanistan. The article confirmed that two deaths in custody in December 2002 were not the result of “natural causes”, as the US military claimed at the time, but were the consequence of sustained beatings and physical abuse.
By Peter Symonds, 15 April 2005
Having laid down the law to the newly-installed Iraqi president and prime minister on Monday, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesday to do the same to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. In both cases, Rumsfeld’s diktats make a mockery of the Bush administration’s claims to be bringing peace, independence and democracy to the region.
By Joanne Laurier, 2 March 2005
A recent United Nations report on social conditions in Afghanistan provides a glimpse of the social reality behind the American media’s talk of a “new democracy” and the supposedly benevolent role of the US government in that country.
By Peter Symonds, 9 December 2004
When Hamid Karzai arrived to be sworn in as Afghan president on Tuesday, US Vice President Richard Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were among the hundreds of guests who rose to give him a standing ovation. With a continuing disaster unfolding for the US in Iraq, the Bush administration was determined to make the most of the so-called success story in Afghanistan.
By Peter Symonds, 12 October 2004
Even as Afghans were still going to vote in the country’s presidential election on Saturday, 15 of the 16 candidates launched a concerted protest over widespread voting irregularities favouring the US-backed incumbent Hamid Karzai. As of today, counting had still not begun as Washington, with the assistance of the UN, attempted to find a way to squash the opposition.
By Peter Symonds, 2 October 2004
Confronting a deepening disaster in Iraq, US President Bush has attempted to deflect public attention by pointing to Afghanistan and its presidential poll on October 9 as a beacon of light. Bush’s loyal ally in Australia, John Howard, who is up for reelection on the same day, has also hailed the Afghanistan ballot as a success story, demonstrating that the US-led intervention has brought “democracy” to the country.
By David Adelaide, 28 August 2004
American intelligence officers, in interviews with journalists, have alleged that US military interrogators involved in the atrocities at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison were also involved in earlier cases of prisoner abuse that took place in Afghanistan. This helps give the lie to official claims that the Abu Ghraib crimes were the independent actions of low-level soldiers and not the result of a deliberate policy aimed at bullying and intimidating the Iraqi people into accepting the occupation.
By Peter Symonds, 4 August 2004
Originally due to take place in June, the election in Afghanistan for the powerful post of president has finally, after two delays, been announced for October 9. But parliamentary elections, which were also to take place in June, have been postponed even further to next April.
By Peter Symonds, 26 May 2004
Following the graphic exposure of US torture methods in Iraq, former prisoners in Afghanistan have provided detailed accounts of similar physical, sexual and psychological abuse meted out to them by US interrogators and soldiers while held in US-run detention facilities. Their statements confirm that the Bush administration has been responsible for the systematic torture of detainees in a network of prisons and detention centres in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries.
Following closed door trial:
By James Conachy, 7 May 2004
The first official execution in Afghanistan since the US overthrow of the Taliban regime was carried out in secret on April 19. On the signed orders of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Shah was taken from his cell in Kabul to a prison on the outskirts of the city and shot in the back of the head. His family only learned of his death three days later. According to his cousin, Shah’s nose appeared to have been broken “by something like a rifle butt,” suggesting he was beaten before being killed.
By Peter Symonds, 12 April 2004
Under pressure from the Bush administration, 65 delegations, representing more than 50 countries and various international institutions, gathered in Berlin on March 31-April 1 to discuss financial aid and assistance to Afghanistan. While publicly, the discussion focussed on the scourges of drugs, poverty, warlordism and “terrorism,” privately, the assembled officials and representatives all knew that Washington’s primary objective, faced with an escalating crisis in Iraq, was to transform Afghanistan into a “success story”—at least, until after the US elections in November.