Afghanistan

Raz Mohammad Khan and his adult son Abdul Jalil were shot dead in their home in the village of Sola, Oruzgan province, by Australian troops on August 31. Claims by the Australian government and the US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan that the two men were insurgents have been refuted by villagers and US-appointed Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Occupation forces spokesperson US Air Force Captain Dan Einert described them as “military-aged”, the September 3 Sydney Morning Herald reported. Mohammad Khan was 70 years old.
The Sydney Refugees Action Coalition released the statement below on September 7. * * * A High Court decision this morning has dismissed an application of behalf of five asylum seekers seeking to extend judicial review to discretionary ministerial decisions. In a similar application (M61) in 2010, the High Court found that asylum seekers were entitled to judicial review of appeal decisions. The High Court judgment means that there is now no legal impediment to the government moving to deport a large number of asylum seekers.
The Stop the War Coalition Sydney released the statement below on September 5. * * * The West’s “war on terror” has delivered a war of terror on the Afghan people said Christine Keavney, a spokesperson for Sydney Stop the War Coalition today. “The deaths of five Australian soldiers on August 30 and the aftermath has prompted more discussion of the war in Afghanistan and Australia’s role in it than has been heard for years”, said Keavney.
Overnight on August 30, an Afghan army sergeant shot dead three Australian soldiers at an Afghan National Army patrol base in the Oruzgan province of Afghanistan. A helicopter crash that killed two more soldiers made the day the deadliest for Australia's forces since the Vietnam War. On four separate occasions, a total of seven Australian soldiers have been killed by “rogue” members of the NATO-trained Afghan army, supposedly tasked with taking over security when NATO forces withdraw in 2014.
Another week, another round of killings in Afghanistan. Three Australian soldiers were killed on August 29 by an Afghan solider, just days after two US soldiers were also killed by a member of the Afghan army the occupiers are supposed to be helping. That takes the death toll from the so-called green-on-blue killings this year to 45.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s “expert panel” on refugee policy will hand over its findings on how to “stop the boats” and end the parliamentary “deadlock” over offshore processing when parliament begins sitting again next week. After an asylum boat tragedy that killed 90 people in June, the three-member panel, headed by former defence chief Angus Houston, was tasked to report on the “best way forward for Australia to prevent asylum seekers risking their lives” considering “Australia’s right to maintain its borders”.
US President Barack Obama announced on May 21 after the Chicago NATO leaders’ summit that the US, NATO and their allies had agreed to end their war of occupation in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. However, the announced “withdrawal” will leave US military bases in the country and some soldiers, including special forces, from the US and its allies to train, advise and assist the armies and militias of the occupiers’ Afghan puppets and warlords and carry out “targeted operations” against al-Qaeda.
The protesters in Chicago on May 20, marching against NATO, remind us that the US government is not representative of the US people. It's encouraging to see so many willing to take action and stand up against this unjust, disastrous war. Recently, US President Barack Obama travelled to Kabul to meet Afghanistan's so-called president, Hamid Karzai. Both leaders used this meeting to pretend that they are ending this war when they are really trying to prolong it.
Another week, another atrocity committed by occupying forces in Afghanistan kindly captured on camera by the perpetrators. Isn't technology fantastic? Back in the bad old days of the Vietnam War, intrepid war reporters had to risk their lives in the middle of war zones to get images of terrible crimes committed by the occupying force. Now, with these wonderful smart phones and cheap, easy to use digital cameras, the bastards can do it themselves.
Prime minister Julia Gillard’s April 17 speech on Afghanistan was widely heralded as a change of policy. It is and it isn’t. It does set out a schedule for a partial withdrawal of troops — thereby bringing Australia belatedly into line with the US drawdown of troops by 2014. But it also affirms that Australia, like the US, will not withdraw all its troops.

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