Taliban

In his election victory speech on July 26, Imran Khan gave a sober talk that ran contrary to the violent language he used throughout the election campaign, notes Farooq Tariq from Lahore.

Khan’s Pakistan Tereek-e-Insaf (PTI) “won” 116 seats in the National Assembly out of the 342 seats, of which 278 seats are contested directly on the First Past the Post (FPTP) system.

United States President Donald Trump announced that the US would continue the ongoing war in Afghanistan, which is already the longest war in US history, Democracy Now! reported on August 22.

The Pentagon is likely to deploy about 4000 more US troops to Afghanistan in the coming months. In recent months, the US has intensified its air war in Afghanistan. During June, the US carried out 389 airstrikes in Afghanistan — the highest monthly total in five years.

In a statement condemning the “senseless and merciless slaughter of innocent school children” by by religious fanatics in Peshawar, Pakistan, the left-wing Awami Workers Party (AWP) accused the Pakistani state and military of complicity in “Islamist terrorism”.

A hundred and thirty-two students were killed in the December 16 suicide attack by the Pakistani Taliban on the the military-run Army Public School, AWP general secretary Farooq Tariq told Green Left Weekly.

Since the Obama administration arranged for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the last US prisoner of war held by the Taliban in Afghanistan, there has been a firestorm of outrage from the right wings of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Bergdahl has been pilloried as a traitor. His father has been denounced as a Muslim. Senators called for him to be court-martialed and thrown into the military stockade.

What is Bergdahl’s crime? While deployed in Afghanistan, he became disillusioned with the war and said so in emails to his family.

On the eve of US President Barack Obama’s visit to mark 60 years of the ANZUS military alliance, PM Julia Gillard is not convincing people that Australia must “stay the course” in Afghanistan.

A November 4 Roy Morgan poll, taken six days after an Afghan army trainee killed three Australian soldiers and wounded seven, said 72% of people want troops out, the biggest opposition since the war began 10 years ago.

Supporters of the pro-war parties polled closely: 69% of ALP voters and 67% of Liberal-National Party voters want troops out. Among Greens supporters, the figure is 80%.

On August 19, a Taliban suicide squad attacked the Kabul offices of the British Council, a government-funded institution that “promotes educational and cultural relations” between Britain and other countries.

The August 20 Guardian said at least 12 people were killed, including a New Zealand SAS soldier and three “security contractors” working for multinational security outfit G4S.

The company was contracted to guard the offices.

Six G4S employees were wounded, including three Nepalese, veterans of the British Army’s Gurkha regiments.

Afghan feminist and anti-war activist Malalai Joya urged 400 people at the University of Technology Sydney to get the Australian government to pull the troops out of her country. The Afghan people were capable of winning against the fundamentalist warlords, but not while Western occupying troops rehabilitated the Taliban, she said.

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