In a June 22 televised speech from the White House, United States President Barack Obama announced plans to withdraw 10,000 US soldiers from Afghanistan in 2011 and a further 23,000 in 2012. This would leave US soldier numbers at about 70,000 the same as before the official "surge" by occuyping forces began at the end of 2009. Britain’s Channel 4 said on June 24 that the reduction in soldier numbers would be partially compensated for by increased use of armed, pilotless drones.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has claimed successes for the war in Afghanistan, while acknowledging growing opposition. The June 8 Age reported that Gillard said: “I understand there would be many Australians who over the past two weeks have asked themselves what are we doing there, why are we still there, should our soldiers be there? “I do want to say to the nation we know why we're there, we are very clear about our mission and our mission is being accomplished. “We are doing what we intended to do and we have a timeline for achieving our goal.”
Ten years of Western military occupation and war in Afghanistan has killed hundreds of thousands of people (mostly Afghan civilians), created millions of refugees and paid billions of dollars of “aid” into the hands of brutal warlords who serve as a puppet regime for the occupiers.
The pretext for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, now the longest war in US history, was the September 11, 2001 attacks. But the vast majority of Afghans being carpet bombed, eviscerated by Predator drones and shot dead in night raids don’t even know what the 9/11 attacks were. A public opinion poll in Kandahar and Helmand provinces — the focus of the troop surge and the scene of the great majority of bloodshed in the country — found that only 8% of young men know about the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States that killed about 3000 people, will not be mourned by many people around the world. But his killers used Bin Laden’s crimes to justify wars on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq that have killed many thousands more. These wars are continuing. The May 3 US Socialist Worker article abridged below says bin Laden’s death should not be used to justify further killings in the name of the “war on terror”. * * *
A billionaire, mass murdering criminal is dead, but the symbiotic processes of empire and terrorism that breed inequality, war, occupation, torture and dispossession are alive and well. See also: How the CIA created Osama bin Laden Labour Party of Pakistan spokesperson: Killing Bin Laden wont't stop fundamentalist attacks Indian socialists: US imperialist wars continue unabated
The disgusting and heartbreaking photos published in March by the media are finally bringing the grisly truth about the war in Afghanistan to a wider public. All the PR about this war being about democracy and human rights melts into thin air with these pictures of US soldiers posing with the dead and mutilated bodies of innocent Afghan civilians. I must report that Afghans do not believe this be a story of a few rogue soldiers. We that is part and parcel of the entire military occupation.
“Commanders in Afghanistan are bracing themselves for possible riots and public fury triggered by the publication of ‘trophy’ photographs of US soldiers posing with the dead bodies of defenceless Afghan civilians they killed”, said the March 21 British Guardian. The photos, compared by officials in NATO’s occupying forces to the infamous Abu Ghraib pictures depicting US soldiers torturing Iraqis, were published by German newspaper Der Spiegel.
A NATO airstrike killed nine children collecting firewood in eastern Afghanistan on March 2, Afghan officials have said. A March 2 WashingtonPost.com article said the deaths in Konar province “became the latest irritant in the tense relationship between President Hamid Karzai and the international force in the country”. The top NATO commander, US general David Petraeus, issued an apology for the error, which the occupying forces blamed on “faulty communication”.
Tough talk by the warmongers at the November 20-21 NATO conference in Lisbon, Portugal, obscured the growing opposition in the US and Europe to the nine-year occupation of Afghanistan. Ten thousand people took to the streets of London on November 20 to protest the war. Angry at the British government’s recent cuts to services and pensions, many carried “Cut war not welfare” placards.