thepeoplesrecord:

US military deaths in Afghanistan hit 2,000; Afghan deaths pass 20,000
October 1, 2012

U.S. military deaths in the Afghan war have reached 2,000, a cold reminder of the human cost of an 11-year-old conflict that now garners little public interest at home as the United States prepares to withdraw most of its combat forces by the end of 2014.

The toll has climbed steadily in recent months with a spate of attacks by Afghan army and police — supposed allies — against American and NATO troops. That has raised troubling questions about whether countries in the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan will achieve their aim of helping the government in Kabul and its forces stand on their own after most foreign troops depart in little more than two years.

On Sunday, a U.S. official confirmed the latest death, saying that an international service member killed in an apparent insider attack by Afghan forces in the east of the country late Saturday was American. A civilian contractor with NATO and at least two Afghan soldiers also died in the attack, according to a coalition statement and Afghan provincial officials. The U.S. official spoke on condition of anonymity because the nationality of those killed had not been formally released. Names of the dead are usually released after their families or next-of-kin are notified, a process that can take several days. The nationality of the civilian was also not disclosed.

In addition to the 2,000 Americans killed since the Afghan war began on Oct. 7, 2001, at least 1,190 more coalition troops from other countries have also died, according to iCasualties.org, an independent organization that tracks the deaths.

According to the Afghanistan index kept by the Washington-based research center Brookings Institution, about 40 percent of the American deaths were caused by improvised explosive devices. The majority of those were after 2009, when President Barack Obama ordered a surge that sent in 33,000 additional troops to combat heightened Taliban activity. The surge brought the total number of American troops to 101,000, the peak for the entire war.

According to Brookings, hostile fire was the second most common cause of death, accounting for nearly 31 percent of Americans killed.

Tracking deaths of Afghan civilians is much more difficult. According to the U.N., 13,431 civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict between 2007, when the U.N. began keeping statistics, and the end of August. Going back to the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, most estimates put the number of Afghan civilian deaths in the war at more than 20,000.

Source

The US-led coalition still has 108,000 troops in Afghanistan, 68,000 from the US. 

The war began on Oct. 7, 2001. Here are some actions planned for the 11 year anniversary. Have some to add? Let us know. 

(via watanafghanistan)

jahanzebjz:

CD:So do you think that this American strategy of flexing its muscles, troop surge and the desire to negotiate from a position of strength is a wrong strategy?

ZH: Yes. This strategy is getting the United States more and more into a quagmire.

CD: Is this the reason why the insurgency is not abating and the Taliban are getting stronger and stronger?

ZH: Yes, this is one of the major reasons. Recently the Americans claimed that the night raids have worked and it has allowed them to eliminate a large number of mid-level insurgent commanders, but the constant rise of Taliban attacks show that this strategy, too, has not been affective.

Another thing is that the major problem for the Americans now is the widening gap between the NATO forces and the Afghans counterparts. This is a much greater issue for the US at this point of time because this brings into question the US strategy of building up an Afghan army which can take over from the Americans the responsibility of providing security once NATO leaves.

CD:So the Afghan army that the US is trying to build is not ready to take up that responsibility once the US eventually leaves?

ZH: That is the thing – the Afghan army is not ready. There is so much resentment and animosity between the two that obviously this could not work.

CD: What is likely to happen when the US leaves Afghanistan? Will there be a civil war? Will the insurgents go face to face with the Afghan army that the US is trying to build?

ZH: There is certainly a much greater probability of Afghanistan returning to a civil war if there is no negotiated settlement before the Americans leave the country. There is also a fear that, if a bloody civil war breaks out, the Afghan national army could disintegrate.

CD:Are the Americans aware of this possibility? Do they have the will to prevent such a scenario?

ZH: The only way the US can prevent a civil war is by reaching some sort of a negotiated settlement with the Taliban; allow them to become a part of the transition government, etc. But if this does not happen, and there is no sign of this happening, then the best chance of avoiding a civil war is gone.

Half of America doesn’t even know why we’re in Afghanistan, but the answer isn’t Ron-Paul-esque: withdrawing now is not a choice.

In the days following the rogue US soldier’s shooting spree in Kandahar, most of the media, us included, focused on the “backlash” and how it might further strain the relations with the US.

Many mainstream media outlets channelled a significant amount of  energy into uncovering the slightest detail about the accused soldier – now identified as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. We even know where his wife wanted to go for vacation, or what she said on her personal blog.

But the victims became a footnote, an anonymous footnote. Just the number 16. No one bothered to ask their ages, their hobbies, their aspirations. Worst of all, no one bothered to ask their names.

In honoring their memory, I write their names below, and the little we know about them: that nine of them were children, three were women.

The dead:
Mohamed Dawood son of  Abdullah
Khudaydad son of Mohamed Juma
Nazar Mohamed 
Payendo
Robeena
Shatarina daughter of Sultan Mohamed
Zahra daughter of Abdul Hamid
Nazia daughter of Dost Mohamed
Masooma daughter of Mohamed Wazir 
Farida daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Palwasha daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Nabia daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Esmatullah daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Faizullah son of Mohamed Wazir
Essa Mohamed son of Mohamed Hussain
Akhtar Mohamed son of Murrad Ali 
 
The wounded:
Haji Mohamed Naim son of Haji Sakhawat
Mohamed Sediq son of Mohamed Naim
Parween
Rafiullah
Zardana
Zulheja

(via mohandasgandhi)

watanafghanistan:

Very sad, the fact that we Afghans are unable to get justice from our murderers. They are protected, their murders covered up and absurdly justified by the US government. Any crimes committed by the US soldiers are ignored and covered up while those fighting to defend their country their homes and their families are labeled terrorists and are either killed instantly or locked up for years.

You will see, At first few times the Afghans accepted apologies when civilians were killed, but then when it got too much, the afghans protested and no more apologies were accepted and sooner or later a time will come when the afghans will realize that even the demonstrations and protests wont do anything, it wont bring them justice. So they will start to take justice into their own hands. Instead of the Taliban only, every afghan will carry a gun and shoot any US or NATO soldiers at sight, because they will be fed up with the system, fed up with no justice fed up with losing families and children.

Spc. Jeremy Morlock admitted to the murder of unarmed Afghan boy Gul Mudin (depicted here). He was only 15 years old. They lined him against a wall and ordered him to stand still before they shot him. Pfc. Andrew Holmes cut off his pinky as a memento. Morlock admitted that this wasn’t the first time he murdered civilians. According to him, soldiers in his Platoon “[threw] candy out of a Stryker vehicle as they drove through a village [and shot] children who came running to pick up the sweets.” The Pentagon worked for months to get these pictures deleted and suppressed. He was recently sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Private Bradley Manning, horrified at the war crimes unfolding around him, reported them to higher authorities in his chain of command. When they told him to keep quiet about it he published the details of the crimes to the public.

(via watanafghanistan)

watanafghanistan:

Children death increases in winter due to extreme cold and heavy snow in Kabul and all over Afghanistan.

Unusually heavy snow, and freezing temperatures mean more misery for Afghans displaced by fighting specially the children.

I will soon make up an account to collect donations for these poor children and i will personally deliver your aid to the afghan children during my regular trips to Afghanistan. I accept money which will be then used to provide the children with blankets, coats and warm cloth in winter and other school supplies. Even if it is just $1 please do donate to help these poor children.

mohandasgandhi:

floridabq:

mohandasgandhi:

AJE: Child labour rampant in Afghanistan

Many children in Afghanistan are among the most exploited members of society, being forced to work almost as soon as they can walk.

This brick factory where young boys work to pay off their family’s debts is just one of many examples of child labour in the country.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports from Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

“The people here are victims of a country that struggles to function, that fails even to provide the most basic protection to its most vulnerable citizens.”

When 1 in 4 children in Afghanistan between the ages of 7 and 14 works, either in addition to, or instead of going to school, you know the “liberational” Afghan war was a success.

Afghanistan under the Taliban was a place of perpetual warfare and abuse of women. The Taliban systematically and viciously persecuted the Shiite minority. The end of the Taliban as a sovereign force in Afghanistan has been an improvement. No honest person would say otherwise.

I’m not arguing Taliban rule would be better. What I’m saying is that the United States deserves ZERO credit for “liberating” Afghanistan because we’ve done nothing to make conditions better. No credible justification of the U.S. war in Afghanistan exists.

From a previous post of mine:

  • Afghanistan is the world’s 3rd poorest country with a GDP of $27.01 billion.
  • The poverty rate in Afghanistan is 36%, unemployment, 35%, and inflation, 30.5%.
  • The population’s life expectancy is 44.4 years.
  • The death of each Taliban fighter costs between $50-100 million. That’s, at the very least, $1 billion per 20 Taliban fighters.  The best estimate of Taliban killed annually by coalition forces is roughly 2,000.  Killing the estimated 35,000 Taliban fighting the occupation would cost $1.75 trillion.
  • Nearly 6,000 civilians have died since 2006 and over 2,000 have died this year alone.
  • Over the last year the number of child casualties has risen by 55%.

In addition:

How have we improved conditions in Afghanistan?

Not that you can put a number on life, but this says a lot. 

(via pantslessprogressive)

Bibi Aisha, shown here in 2010, lived in a women’s shelter in Kabul for several months after her husband cut off her nose and ears. Women who flee domestic violence in Afghanistan are often imprisoned.

Kate Brooks (What War Looks Like)

It’s absolutely atrocious something like this happens, but even more so that the victims are blamed instead of being helped. I would say unbelievable, but it’s a shame I’m no longer surprised. 

watanafghanistan:

The burden of wars, poverty, instability, and insurgencies has always been borne disproportionately by children.  They are killed and maimed by landmines and other explosives.   Schools are being destroyed by the Taliban, and girls who seek an education are often threatened and attacked.   Children are recruited by the Taliban to be suicide bombers and smugglers.

My agent in New York encouraged me to head to Afghanistan, while my ex-fiancé actively discouraged me, even though he was a photojournalist himself. He had photographed the Balkan wars, among others, and had seen more colleagues killed and wounded than he cared to remember. He didn’t want me to go, insisting I would be killed or dismembered. Those were certainly distinct possibilities, but I pushed the thoughts out of my mind: How else does one find the courage to go to war?

On Oct. 2, 2001, I left Moscow for Pakistan with a small backpack containing a few pieces of clothing, my cameras, a film scanner, and $800. I was told the assignment would be for four days. Just two days after I arrived in Islamabad, I sat on my bed in the Best Western hotel watching the first U.S. airstrikes against Taliban and al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan — the first rumbles of a new chapter of my life and a 10-year journey through a region colored by war.

Kate Brooks, What War Looks Like

'Deadliest Day' in Afghanistan? Not by a Long Shot

waristerrorism:

08/09/2011 by Jim Naureckas

August 6, 2011, when 38 soldiers, including 30 U.S. troops, were killed when their helicopter was shot down, was the “deadliest day” of the Afghan War, several media outlets told us:

  • David Muir (ABC World News Saturday, 8/6/11): “It was the deadliest day of the war in Afghanistan, 30 Americans, 22 Navy SEALs lost.”
  • David Gregory (NBC Meet the Press8/7/11): “This was the single deadliest day of the war.”
  • Chicago Tribune headline (8/7/11): “Taliban Says It Downed Copter in Deadliest Day of War inAfghanistan”
  • ABC This Week graphic (8/7/11): “DEADLIEST DAY IN AFGHANISTAN”
  • Terrell Brown, CBS Morning News (8/8/11): “America mourns the loss of 30 warriors killed in Afghanistanon the war’s deadliest day.”
  • AP (8/9/11): “Troops killed in the deadliest day of the Afghan War are coming home today.”

But, of course, it wasn’t the war’s deadliest day—that unhappy distinction goes to May 4, 2009, when the U.S. military attacked the village of Granai, killing 140 people, 93 of them children, according to an Afghan government investigation (Reuters5/16/09). (The U.S. government says it does not know how many people it killed that day.)

Other deadlier days in Afghanistan include July 6, 2008, when U.S. bombing killed 47 civilians, including 39 women and children, attending a wedding in Nangarhar province (Guardian7/11/08); August 22, 2008, when a U.S. airstrike killed at least 90 civilians, including 60 children, in the village of Azizabad (UN News Centre,8/26/08); and July 23, 2010, when the U.S. killed 39 civilians in the village of Sangin (RTTNews8/5/10).

To be sure, many U.S. news reports, unlike those cited above, remembered to add “for Americans” to their descriptions of August 6 as the “deadliest day.” But there’s little evidence that anyone in U.S. media remembers the village of Granai.

(via )

Why is it so easy for political leaders in the US to convince ordinary citizens to support war?

How is it that, after that initial enthusiasm has given away to fatigue and disgust, the reaction is mere disinterest rather than righteous rage? Even when the reasons given for taking the US to war were proven to have been not only wrong, but brazenly fraudulent - as in Iraq, which hadn’t possessed chemical weapons since 1991 - no one is called to account.

The United States claims to be a shining beacon of democracy to the world. And many of the citizens of the world believe it. But democracy is about responsiveness and accountability - the responsiveness of political leaders to an engaged and informed electorate, which holds that leadership class accountable for its mistakes and misdeeds. How to explain Americans’ acquiescence in the face of political leaders who repeatedly lead it into illegal, geopolitically disastrous and economically devastating wars of choice?

The dynamics of US public opinion have changed dramatically since the 1960s, when popular opposition to the Vietnam War coalesced into an antiestablishmentarian political and cultural movement that nearly toppled the government - and led to a series of sweeping social reforms whose contemporary ripples include the recent move to legalise marriage between members of the same sex.

Read More

Americans don’t see the brutality of their wars in the newspaper, on the nightly news, in their weekly newsmagazines, or at the movies. They don’t even see them in books, where educated people turn for nuance and breadth. Coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, such as it is considering that most such books are written by American reporters embedded with US forces, is decidedly Americentric, such as Dexter Filkins’ bestseller “The Forever War”. Literary works that depict the point of view of civilians tend to view them as passive victims, such as Khaled Hosseini’s novel “The Kite Runner” and Greg Mortenson’s “Three Cups of Tea” (though under attack in the media as fictionalized, the latter title continues to sell briskly).

American citizens are morally responsible for the wars and the war crimes committed in their name. The sad truth is, however, that they don’t know what’s going on - and they don’t lift a finger to find out.