(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 08, 2011
Osama bin Laden
has been officially declared dead by the American authorities, ordinary
while breathing a sigh of relief are also hoping that the Obama
sticks to its commitment that all US troops will be withdrawn from
country. Thousands of innocent Afghan civilians have been killed in
On March 23,
BLATANT ABUSES OF
blatant human rights abuses in Afghanistan by US forces has brought
memories of the infamous My Lai incident during the Vietnam war and the
in the Abu Ghraib prison following the American invasion of Iraq. At
Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said that the figure represented the
only 13 incidents involving the SOF. 60 other incidents involving SOF
raids were not adequately investigated. The UN has however admitted
targeted killings of civilians had doubled in 2010 as compared to year
that. In its annual report released in early March, the UN said that
marked the most lethal year for non-combatants in
The American-NATO forces under the command of US Gen David Petraeus, has been stonewalling demands for the release of all revenant information relating to the deaths of civilians. Most Afghans believe that the number of civilians killed by the occupation forces number in the thousands. After ten years of military occupation, the security situation is only worsening. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) the security situation has worsened throughout the country. The ICRC reported that the “growing civilian casualties, internal displacement and poor medical care have created a dire humanitarian situation”.
survey by the
Asia Foundation showed that 83 per cent of the people in
has called for
the setting up of an international fact finding commission to look into
killings of civilians. A Taliban statement late last year said that the
OIC, NATO and the Taliban itself could jointly probe the allegations
the widespread killing of innocent civilians. According to a Wikileaks
2009, 2058 names were included in the target list for the SOF night
Mathew Hoh, a senior US State Department official based in
On March 9, a
cousin of president
Hamid Karzai, Yar Mohammed Karzai was killed in a
The raids and killing of innocent civilians have been skilfully used by the Taliban to recruit more people for their cause. The Taliban have been insisting for some years now that their one point agenda is to evict the foreign occupation forces from the country. Once that goal is achieved, the Taliban leadership has indicated that it is willing to talk to Karzai and other Afghan individuals and parties opposed to them to find a negotiated settlement to end the long running conflict. In a statement released earlier this year, the Taliban stressed that the struggle of the Afghan people was against colonialism and requested the international community to render assistance to their “liberation struggle”. The Taliban also sent out a strong signal to neighbouring countries. “We assure all regional countries that we will maintain good relations with them — following our obtaining independence”, the statement said. The Taliban statement had come after the demands by senior US politicians that the US should retain its military bases in Afghanistan even after the scheduled military withdrawal from the country.
The Obama administration has escalated the fight against the resilient Taliban as more American soldiers die in action. After Obama took over, more American soldiers have died in action in Afghanistan than during the entire presidency of his predecessor, George W Bush. In 2010 alone, 701 foreign troops were killed, among them 492 Americans. Gen Petraeus has warned of a tough year ahead. In early March, he told the media that fighting this summer would be considerably worse. “Many intelligence estimates say that it will be as violent or perhaps even more violent” than 2010. He predicted that the Taliban “will come back in force”. He said that extra forces ordered in by president Obama have secured gains in Afghanistan but described them as “fragile and reversible”. Obama had authorised a surge of 30,000 troops for the Afghan war in October, 2009.
Under the command of Petraeus, the US army has given up on its counterinsurgency strategy and has opted for air assaults and night raids. Winning “hearts and minds” of ordinary Afghans seems no longer to be a priority for the Obama administration. In February, the US army announced that it was withdrawing from the north eastern Pech valley. Washington had previously insisted that control of the area was strategically vital. More than a hundred American soldiers have been killed there since they were first deployed there in 2003. The US had withdrawn from neighbouring Korengal valley in April last year after losing 42 soldiers. The Mujahideen were at the gates of Kabul a few months after the Soviet army withdrew from the Pech Valley in 1988.
Military analysts are of the opinion that these strategic areas are now completely under the control of the insurgent groups. Senior Afghan officials are the first to admit that their security forces are in no position to fight the Taliban in these areas. Confidential UN maps published in the Wall Street Journal in December have shown a clear deterioration of security in the country. In the two maps accessed by the newspaper, the situation in the South, the Taliban’s stronghold, remains “very high risk” and that the security situation has worsened in the North and the East.
The US has handed over responsibility for security to the Afghan forces in many provinces, including parts of volatile south western provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. This is being done under the banner of the “Afghan Local Police”. President Karzai is known to be opposed to this strategy as it will once again encourage the rise of local militias and warlords. The Obama administration is hoping that the local militias and the Afghan army, which has been mainly trained by the NATO countries, will lighten the military burden and help meet the deadline for the drawback of American forces. Washington hopes to transfer full military responsibility to the Afghan forces by 2014 as it prepares for its exit strategy.