Afghanistan: Bloody war drags on

February 19, 2010

On February 13, 15,000 occupying troops from the US, Canada, Britain, Denmark, Estonia and the Afghan puppet state launched the Operation Moshtarak military offensive on Helmand province.

Its aim was to clear the area of brutal fundamentalist Taliban fighters and "secure" it for the rule of the brutal, fundamentalist and corrupt puppet government of President Hamid Karzai.

The offensive was accompanied by a massive propaganda campaign, which meant civilians got advance warning of plans for their "liberation" and began fleeing en masse.

The Press Trust of India reported on February 16 that 1240 families had fled, which it said meant more than 6000 people were displaced.

No facilities have been provided for the displaced. Daud Ahmadi, spokesperson for Helmand governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal, told AFP on February 17: "We deliberately did not give permission for the camps to be set up ... because we did not want the camps to become permanent."

Most Taliban fighters fled prior to the offensive, leaving behind snipers and improvised explosive devices, which caused some occupation force casualties.

The BBC said on February 16, "at least 27 insurgents had been killed so far in the offensive".

However, media reports have indicated a greater number of civilians were killed. On February 11, US special forces shot dead two men and three women during a house raid near Gardez in Paktia province, the February 12 Morning Star said.

Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) said on February 14 that 12 civilians in Nad Ali were killed by British rocket artillery. British commander Major General Nick Carter claimed responsibility for this massacre.

He told the BBC on February 16: "The missile arrived at the target that it was supposed to arrive at."

The February 16 BBC also said that on the same day, "six children were among those killed when two US missiles struck a house on the outskirts of Marjah".

PAN reported on February 16 that a further 20 civilian deaths occurred throughout Afghanistan the previous day. In Washer district, 15 villagers were shot by NATO helicopters and helicopter-borne troops.

In Zherei district, Kandahar province, five labourers cleaning a watercourse were killed by a remote-control drone.

The United Nations said more civilians died in 2009 that in any year since the 2001 US-led invasion. Al Jazeera said on January 21 it was also the deadliest year for the occupation forces, with 520 troops killed, Al Jazeera reported on January 13.

On January 6, four children and a police officer were killed in an explosion in Rodat district, Nangarhar province. Authorities blamed a Taliban roadside bomb, but eyewitnesses told PAN they saw US soldiers throw hand-grenades into a crowd of children.

The next day, 5000 locals protested, chanting "Death to Obama!", "Death to America!" and "Death to the Afghan government!", Associated Press said on January 7.

Afghan feminist and anti-war activist Malalai Joya (who was elected to the Afghan parliament but undemocratically debarred) condemned Operation Moshtarak.

"It is ridiculous", she told the February 15 Independent. "On the one hand they call on [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar to join the puppet regime. On another hand they launch this attack in which defenceless and poor people will be the prime victims.

"Like before, they will be killed in the NATO bombings and used as human shields by the Taliban.

"Helmand's people have suffered for years and thousands of innocent people have been killed so far.

"They have launched such offensives a number of times in the past, but each time after clearing the area, they leave it and [the] Taliban retake it.

"This is just a military manoeuvre and removal of Taliban is not the prime objective."

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.