NATO’s Routine in Afghanistan

Speaking May 31 at a press conference in Kabul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told NATO to stop bombing Afghan villages. He said if NATO continues airstrikes on Afghan homes, its presence in Afghanistan will be regarded as occupation, which is not what the Afghan people want; and he stressed that the airstrike in Helmand Province was the last one and he would no longer allow NATO aircraft to bomb civilians.

Why is the Afghan President so upset with NATO? Its aircraft have been bombing Afghan territory and Alliance “peacekeeper” units have been clearing settlements almost daily for years. Until recently, Karzai was indifferent if not favorable towards similar antics by NATO, whose primary mission is to defend Europe.

His patience was exhausted by yet another bloody—there’s nothing else to call it—NATO airstrike in the southern Afghan province of Helmand on “two houses that killed 14 civilians and injured six,” as reported by the province’s governor, Asabulla Wafa. He said seven young boys, five girls and two women perished in the attack. Three of those wounded were children.

He said the incident occurred early Saturday morning, May 28, in the Nauzad District, where a NATO convoy was ambushed by the Taliban. The NATO soldiers got into a firefight and called in air support, which almost completely destroyed the village from which they were taking fire.

An International Security Assistance Force spokesman in Kabul calmly announced that NATO is aware of reports about civilian casualties of a bombing. He said a special team has been sent to the area of the incident to verify the report.

Relations between Afghanistan and the United States took a sharp turn for the worse in early March 2011 after a NATO airstrike against militants took the lives of nine Afghan children. The incident occurred after a militant rocket attack on Forward Operating Base Blessing. The military inaccurately identified the area from which the base was fired on, and a retaliatory missile strike from the air hit children who were gathering firewood, not militants, killing nine boys ages 8 to 12 and wounding another child.

The commander of NATO and ISAF in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, apologized to members of the Afghan government, the people of Afghanistan, family members of the children who were killed and Afghan President Hamid Karzai personally; but Karzai said he would not accept the apology. According Karzai, the expression of regret for murdering nine boys was not enough. “We can no longer consider civilian casualties in Afghanistan acceptable,” he said. You see the difference. The person responsible for killing civilians—a murderer, a true fighter for democracy, a staunch fighter against terrorists—unapologetically gave a verbal apology.

And now we have another blunder by experienced NATO pilots. And again, as though mockingly, the occupiers send their own team to the location of the incident to check the information about the murders. What will happen after all this, when the whole world comes to the realization that NATO forces in Afghanistan are now carrying out punitive actions, clearing territory, destroying one village after another and cracking down mainly on the civilian population?

A statement by the Taliban leadership is revealing; they said the United States and NATO have taken it upon themselves to direct attacks in every country of the world under the rubric of combating terrorism and to enslave independent states under the rubric of liberating them from dictatorships. Earlier, in April, the Taliban accused foreign troops of the wholesale slaughter of Afghanistan’s civilian population.

Remember it was the United States working through the CIA and Pakistani intelligence that helped establish and strengthen the Taliban regime. Former German Defense Minister Andreas von Bülow, an expert on Afghanistan, credited the CIA with creating the Taliban in a January 13, 2002 interview with the German Tagesspiegel newspaper: “At least 30,000 Muslim fighters were trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a bunch of good-for-nothings and fanatics who were, and still are today, ready for anything. And one of them is Osama bin Laden. I wrote years ago: ‘It was out of this brood that the Taliban grew up in Afghanistan, who had been brought up in the Koranic schools financed by American and Saudi funds, the Taliban who are now terrorizing the country and destroying it.’”

An interesting situation has developed: first, the CIA, uncontrollably spending American taxpayers’ money, contributes to the creation of the Taliban in the hope that it would operate in the north—against Tajikistan and the Russian brigade located there, and then against Russia. But as they say, it looked smooth on paper, but they forgot about the ravines.

Initially, as planned, the Taliban began establishing a Muslim emirate in Afghanistan, where everything was subordinated to the rules and laws of Sharia. Imam Omar joined the UNODC program to destroy opium poppy plantations and promote alternative agriculture development in July 2000, and he banned the cultivation of opium poppies in Afghanistan. The result was the almost complete eradication of opium poppies in Afghanistan: only 185 tonnes of opium were produced in 2001.

Naturally, that did not appeal to the democratic United States. And when the 9/11 tragedy occurred, Washington demanded that the Afghan authorities extradite its agent, Osama bin Laden, whom it blamed for all wrongdoings against the United States. That was when the Taliban suddenly became America’s sworn enemy. Then, once again spending American taxpayers’ money, they unleashed a war not just against the Taliban but against the entire Afghan people.

Opium production increased sharply after the counterterrorism Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001 and resulted in the overthrow of the Taliban government. According to Russian Federal Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov, opiate and heroin production in Afghanistan increased by a factor of 2-2,5 between 2001 and 2008, after the Taliban lost control of Afghanistan. Pakistani General Zafar Abbas, commander of Baluchistan, which is adjacent to the southern provinces of Afghanistan, said on the SBS television network in Australia that it is a known fact that the Americans have not bombed southern Afghanistan, which is flooded with drug factories and warehouses, at all.

Nearly 80% of the heroin on the European market comes from Afghanistan; 35% of the heroin in the United States originates there. All in all, Afghan heroin makes up almost 65% of world heroin production and about 55% of the opium market. These data are contained in the report released in London by the team of UN experts headed by Brian Taylor. We should add that drugs from Afghanistan are mainly transported by American aircraft under tight CIA control.

Then, as the proverb says “Where the horse puts its hoof, there the crab sticks its claw”—NATO followed behind the American military. And why not? As though under combat conditions, NATO aircraft make sorties, drop bombs and launch air-to-surface missiles; and the infantry carries out maneuvers to clear settlements, redeploy units and encircle and destroy villages—excuse me, kill terrorists.

In other words, Afghanistan has been transformed into a huge US/NATO firing range and the civilian population into victims that the Western headquarters offers only “apologies” for murdering. That leaves ordinary people to ask—how long will the genocide against the Afghan people last, and how long will the unpunished killing of Afghans go on?

Finally, even Hamid Karzai, who was appointed by the Americans and has kept quiet for years, is outraged. He understands very well that when US forces withdraw—and they definitely will sooner or later—he will not just lose his job, he will have to think seriously about his fate, about staying alive.

General Ratko Mladić, the former Bosnian Serb Army commander, was arrested last week and has been extradited to the Hague Tribunal. Everything has been made ready there to receive the “honored guest.” Among other things, Mladić will be charged with “violating the rules, norms and laws of war.” But the same accusation could be made against many members of the US military and NATO. And also against Afghans who have acted contrary to their country’s national interests on behalf of their US patrons.

Victor Mikhin is a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

Source: New Eastern Outlook

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