MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS
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Waltzing The Taliban
By Edward W. Miller, MD
When you're wounded and left, on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out, to cut up your remains,
Just roll on your rifle, and blow out your brains,
And go to your Gawd, like a soldier.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936 )
Afghanistan, a mountainous country which lies across ancient trade routes between the west and both India and China, has been conquered only once in its history, and then by Alexander the Great. The soviets failed, as did the British before them. The British in 1842 lost a regiment of some 16,000 men, ambushed on the road south from Kabul. Only the regimental physician, on a fast horse, survived.
America has had a long and often hidden relationship with this country. British author John Pilger (www.Mirror.co.uk) notes President Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in his book "Total War," revealed that on July 3, 1979, unbeknownst to both Congress and the American people, President Jimmy Carter secretly authorized $500 million to create an international terrorist movement that would spread Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and "destabilize" the Soviet Union. This CIA's "Operation Cyclone," over the following years spent $4 billion "setting up Islamic training schools in Pakistan. Some zealots were sent to the CIA's spy training camp in Virginia where future members of the Al Maida were taught "sabotage skills." Others were recruited at an Islamic school in Brooklyn, New York. In Pakistan, recruits were directed by British MI6 officers and trained by the SAS.
Writing in the Sunday Times (UK), in September, 2001, Tom Carew, an SAS soldier who helped train Afghanistan's fighters, said, " I respected their bravery."
Carew found the Afghans accommodated to the high altitudes in the Hindu Kush, noting: "As fighting terrain, Afghanistan is a nightmare. It's a natural fortress. You can't get far with vehicles... The passes are too steep so the Russians had an awful time... The Afghans have it all organized, moving from one village to the next where they have stocks of food."
Afghanistan today is one of the world's most mined countries, contaminated with Soviet mines and unexploded ordnance. On April 24, 2006 CHINE VIEW reported, " Landmines and unexploded ordnance ... kill or injure some 70 to 100 Afghans a month.
Steve Coll (Washington Post, July 1992) reported that: "A C-141 carrying William Casey touched down south of Islamabad in October 1984 for a secret visit by the CIA director to plan strategy for the war against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan... Casey's visit was a prelude to a secret Reagan Administration decision in March 1985... to sharply escalate US covert action in Afghanistan." The Afghans did the fighting and dying."
Writer Raza Khan (www.iviews.com) noted that after the Russians left in 1985, civil strife and anarchy overtook the Afghans with rampant kidnappings, rape, extortion, and robberies by armed bands of thugs. Forty-three brothels thrived in Kabul alone.
After ten years of this, Khan said, "Mullahs, along with thousands of students trained in the universities and mosques of Afghanistan and Pakistan... proclaimed 'enough is enough'. Calling themselves Taliban, (the word means students) they routed out virtually every criminal gang."
The Taliban implemented strict Islamic law, shut down brothels, theaters, cinemas, banned satellite dishes and TV stations, required men to wear beards and women, the burqa. Khan says the West launched a fierce media campaign to discredit the Taliban, and branded Afghanistan a "Terrorist State. In 1999 UN sanctions were imposed over the harboring of alleged "terrorist" Osama Bin Laden."
Sayyid Rahmatullah Hashemi, roving ambassador from Afghanistan, in a lecture at USC in Los Angeles on March 12, 2001, said the problems with Afghanistan started when the Russians, with 140,000 troops, attacked in December 1979, "stayed for a decade, killed one and a half million people, maimed one million more, and six out of the eighteen million migrated because of Russian brutalities...
During the Russian occupation, Hashemi reported, " the American, British, French and Chinese governments supported the counter-revolutionary Mujahadeen."
Parties in Pakistan and Iran also fought the occupation. After the Russians left, these parties, with different ideologies and a lot of weapons, fought one another in Afghanistan.
"The destruction they brought was worse than the destruction the Russians brought. 63,000 people were killed in the capital Kabul alone. Another million migrated because of this lawlessness." "Seeing this destruction and lawlessness," Hashemi added, "a group of students called the Taliban... ...started a movement. By March of 2001 the Taliban controlled 95 percent of the country. "Only a bunch of warlords remained in the northern corridor... The Taliban unified the country, disarmed militant factions, and eradicated opium cultivation."
Then, "on Aug. 20th 1998, Clinton, midway in his impeachment hearings sent cruise missiles to Khartoum and into Afghanistan..." to kill Osama bin Laden"... 75 cruise missiles... missed Osama but killed 19 students in an Afghan Madrassa.
The US never apologized. Muslims termed it ''OPERATION MONICA" Their Ambassador Hashemi said his country had offered to punish Osama bin Laden if the US gave proof of his embassy bombings. The US refused.
They offered to try Osama in their courts. The US refused. Next offered, Hashemi said, was an international monitoring group in Afghanistan to watch bin Laden, also refused. When the US refused bin Laden's trial in another country, the Ambassador decided the US was "looking for a boogey man."
Hashemi said Osama bin Laden had been in Afghanistan 17 years before the Taliban existed, fighting the Soviets. "The Mujahadeen were then called "Freedom Fighters" by Ronald Reagan and Dick Cheney, but when the Soviet Union fragmented and such fighters were not needed anymore, they were transformed into "Terrorists."
Bin Laden and the Taliban attracted young students from Pakistan and Afghan madrassas, many exposed to Wahabism, a strict Muslim cult popular with the Saudis. Osama's older followers were ex-CIA mujahadeen embittered, not only by the US exploitation of their lives and country, but by the US killing their fellow Muslims in Iraq, Palestine and Somalia.. The younger Al Qaeda who came from across the Muslim world, plus some Christians (a modern "Abraham Lincoln Brigade)" were devoted to resisting the military and economic colonialism of the United States.
The Al Qaeda were quietly accommodated by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Many Pakistanis also supported the Taliban. Today the mixed bag of prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay today represents at least 26 different countries. Just weeks before September 11, Washington was still sending money to the Taliban Government.
French authors Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie in their book "Bin Laden, The Forbidden Truth," claim the US objective in Afghanistan has been to access Central Asian oil reserves using the Taliban to help construct a pipeline from Central Asia south via Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea.
Confronted by the Taliban's refusal to accept US conditions, the French authors noted: "The rationality of energy security changed into a military one... at one moment during the negotiations, the US representative told the Taliban "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we will bury you under a carpet of bombs." Leila Helms, niece of former CIA Director Richard Helms, was then the Taliban's PR representative in Washington, where negotiations were taking place in August, just before the September 11 bombing.
The Irish Press reported February 9 (www.ireland.com) that Pakistani President Gen. Musharraf and Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai "agreed yesterday that their two countries should develop... a proposed gas pipeline from Central Asia to Pakistan via Afghanistan.
Washington's response to September 11, was OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, (OEF), the US military invasion of Afghanistan , which began on October 7, 2001, OEF, also marked the beginning of the U.S. war on terrorism. As Bush Jr.'s stated purpose was" to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime" (which supported and offered safe harbor to Al-Qaeda.)
The US and Britain led the aerial bombing campaign, with ground forces, supplemented by NATO troops.
On October 7th, 2002, the first anniversary of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, the US Defense Department offered this rather optimistic report, " Terrorists and terrorist cells continue to be disrupted or destroyed on a daily basis. With the global efforts of law enforcement and intelligence agencies in cooperation with some 90 countries, resulting in the arrest of some 2,400 individuals, and approximately 650 enemy combatants under U.S. control. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has conducted more than 25,000 "Operation Noble Eagle " sorties."
This last week, in May, 2007, almost five years later, Washington announced that NATO had taken charge of Afghanistan's eastern provinces, which had been under the control of US forces since the Taliban were supposedly ousted five years ago.
The Alliance's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) already commanded troops in the north, west and south of Afghanistan, as well as Kabul. Afghanistan today is occupied by the largest ground deployment in NATO'S history. Some 10,000 troops - including US forces. The addition of US troops brings the total number of troops under NATO's UK command to 31,000, responding to increasing guerilla activity by the Taliban, threat downplayed by the US media.
The year 2006 saw the worst fighting in Afghanistan since coalition troops boasted they had "ousted the Taleban in" in 2001.
Columnist Pepe Escobar reported back in January 2002 (Asia Times Online ) that American and European oil giants... considered the Taliban "the proverbial fly in the ointment," adding: "The Afghan War was decided long before September 11... Plans to destroy the Taliban had been the subject of international diplomatic.. for months before September 11. There was a crucial meeting in Geneva in May 2001 between US State Department, Iranian, German and Italian officials, where the main topic was a strategy to topple the Taliban and replace the theocracy with a "broad-based government." Afghanistan's ultra-strategic: positioned ...between Turkmenistan and the avid markets of the Indian subcontinent, China and Japan. Afghanistan is the core..."
Most Americans are unaware that the American-educated Karzai, President of Afghanistan was the former representative of UNICAL in Washington, and that Condoleezza Rice during Bush I, from 1989-92, was on the Board of Directors of Chevron.
On May 2nd, 2007 Investigations into a US-led offensive in western Afghanistan found around 50 civilians were killed, President Hamid Karzai summoned the top US general to protest those casualties. On 15 May 2007 (Brussels): Germany's defense minister said at a meeting of the EU Defense Ministers, "We have to make sure that in the future, operations do not take place in this way." Reflecting European unease about high civilian death tolls in combat incidents involving American Special Forces.
As more Afghans join the Taliban, NATO is losing control. Germany has lost nearly 3 dozen troops and lost the stomach for fighting. "The Taliban have taken over the biggest provinces of Helmand, Oruzgan and Zabul, and have night time control of Khost, Kunar and Paktia provinces. They have the support of the majority of Afghans who are Pushtun, and are waging classical guerrilla warfare..."
"After Karzai was installed by the U.S., the "war lords" linked to the U.S. via the CIA made poppy and narcotics, Afghanistan's biggest export. With the recent upsurge of the Taliban, this whole business is in jeopardy." (New Trend, May 9th)
The Pakistani newspaper Khabrain (Dec. 9, 2006) published the main points of a 66 page draft Constitution issued by the Taliban. It lays down a strict moral code of behavior for Taliban fighters, emphasizing the Taliban's primary objectives: expulsion of U.S. and NATO forces, followed by the implementation of Shar'ia Law.
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