The Unwinnable War in Afghanistan

Saving face in unwinnable war

Sinking in debt and no closer to victory, heads may roll as the U.S. and NATO wrap up their pointless Afghan adventure

American soldiers search for caves concealing weapons in eastern Afghanistan. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

By ERIC MARGOLIS, QMI AGENCY

Fire-breathing U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his Special Forces “mafia” were supposed to crush Afghan resistance to western occupation. But McChrystal was fired after rude remarks from his staff about the White House.

A more cerebral and political general, David Petraeus, replaced McChrystal. Petraeus managed to temporarily suppress resistance in Iraq.

Last week, the usually cautious Petraeus vowed from Kabul to “win” the Afghan War, which has cost the U.S. nearly $300 billion to date and 1,000 dead. The problem: No one can define what winning really means. Each time the U.S. reinforces, Afghan resistance grows stronger.

Afghanistan is America’s longest-running conflict.

The escalating war now costs U.S. taxpayers $17 billion monthly. President Barack Obama’s Afghan “surge” of 30,000 more troops will cost another $30 billion.

The Afghan and Iraq wars — at a cost of $1 trillion — are being waged on borrowed money when the U.S. is drowning in $13.1 trillion in debt.

America has become addicted to debt and war.

By 2011, Canadians will have spent an estimated $18.1 billion on Afghanistan, $1,500 per household.

The U.S. Congress, which alone can declare and fund war, shamefully allowed U.S. presidents George W. Bush and Obama to usurp this power. A majority of Americans now oppose this imperial misadventure. Though politicians fear opposing the war lest they be accused of “betraying our soldiers,” dissent is breaking into the open.

Last week, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele let the cat out of the bag, admitting the Afghan war was not winnable. War-loving Republicans erupted in rage, all but accusing Steele of high treason. Many of Steele’s most hawkish Republican critics had, like Bush and Dick Cheney, dodged real military service during the Vietnam War.

Republicans (I used to be one) blasted McChrystal’s sensible policy of trying to lessen Afghan civilian casualties from U.S. bombing and shelling. There is growing anti-western fury in Afghanistan and Pakistan over mounting civilian deaths.

By clamouring for more aggressive attacks that endanger Afghan civilians and strengthen Taliban, Republicans again sadly demonstrate they have become the party and voice of America’s dim and ignorant.

Obama claimed he was expanding the Afghan War to fight al-Qaida. Yet the Pentagon estimates there are no more than a handful of al-Qaida small-fry left in Afghanistan.

Obama owes Americans the truth about Afghanistan.

After nine years of war, the immense military might of the U.S., its dragooned NATO allies, and armies of mercenaries have been unable to defeat resistance to western occupation or create a popular, legitimate government in Kabul. Drug production has reached new heights.

As the United States feted freedom from a foreign oppressor on July 4, its professional soldiers were using every sort of weapon in Afghanistan, from heavy bombers to tanks, armoured vehicles, helicopter gunships, fleets of drones, heavy artillery, cluster bombs and an arsenal of hi-tech gear.

In spite of this might, bands of outnumbered Pashtun tribesmen and farmers, armed only with small arms, determination and limitless courage, have fought the West’s war machine to a standstill and now have it on the strategic defensive. Read more of this post

Barbarity of Indian Army in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Indian atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir From Jan. 1989 to May 31, 2010

  • Total Killings* = 93,241
  • Custodial Killings = 6,969
  • Civilians Arrested = 117,117
  • Structures Arsoned/Destroyed = 105,845
  • Women Widowed = 22,726
  • Children Orphaned = 107,347
  • Women gang-raped / Molested = 9,912



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Indian troops martyr two innocent youth in Indian Occupied Kashmir

ISLAMABAD : Indian troops, in their fresh act of state terrorism, martyred two innocent Kashmiri youth in Rajouri district of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK).

According to Kashmir Media Service personnel of 48-Rashtriya Rifles during siege and search operations killed Mohammad Aslam and Saddam Hussain Bakerwal in Kandi Kalar area of the district.

On the other hand, at least a dozen persons were injured when Indian police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers resorted to baton charge and fired numerous tear smoke canisters to disperse protesters at Nowhatta, Gojwara, Rajouri Kadal, Brein-Nishat, Palhalan and Sopore areas.

“The CRPF personnel hurled stones and smashed windowpanes of several residential houses, which created panic among the residents,” said residents of Nowhatta and Palhalan.

Meanwhile, a constable of BSF 68th battalion, Lakhvinder Kumar, involved in the killing of 16-year-old, Zahid Farooq on February 5 at Brain-Nishat, said before the police that he was forced by his senior to shot at the teenager.

“The BSF Commandant, R K Birdi forced Lakhvinder Kumar to shoot thrice at Zahid. The constable has disclosed before the police that he was forced by his senior to shoot the teenager. -APP

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The ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ is being observed today across the country, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir

LAHORE : The ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ is being observed on Friday (February 5) across the country, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir for expressing solidarity with the people of Kashmir waging a struggle for their right of self-determination for the last six decades. The day has dawn with special prayers for the liberation of Kashmir, in all principal mosques throughout the country.

Prayers will also be offered for victims of Kashmir freedom struggle. One-minute silence will be observed throughout the country with sounding of sirens at 10 am and the traffic will be brought to a halt. Newspapers will also publish special editions on the occasion, while TV channels and radio centres will air special programmes, highlighting the freedom struggle of Kashmiris.

On this day, Pakistani nation renew its pledge that it would continue to extend unflinching moral and political support to their Kashmiri brethren in their heroic struggle for their right to self-determination. The day is also an occasion to salute the courage and bravery of the freedom loving people of Kashmir who have remained steadfast and resolute in their quest to attain their inalienable right of self-determination.

Political parties and people hailing from different walks of life will join hands to express complete solidarity and unity with their Kashmiri brethren on February 5, in their just struggle. To mark the day, seminars, public gatherings, rallies and other events have been planned in a bid to highlight the plight of Kashmiris besides expressing solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren.

Speakers through their speeches will press the peace loving nations all over the world to exert pressure on India to stop its aggressive policies and allow the Kashmiris to exercise their right of self-determination. The government has already declared public holiday for February 5 and all the government offices, as well as educational institutions will remain closed. Shops, markets and business centres will also remain closed on this occasion.

There is complete consensus among the ranks and file of political leadership in the country that Kashmir issue is a threat to peace and stability of this region while peaceful and durable solution to the dispute, in accordance with the UN resolutions and aspirations of the people of Kashmir is the only solution.

In Lahore, processions and rallies will be taken out from different areas to express solidarity with Kashmiri brethren and condemn atrocities against innocent people of the held valley. It may be mentioned that Pakistan has always emphasised the necessity of a meaningful and constructive dialogue to resolve the Kashmiri dispute.

Kashmiri leaders were of the view that the Kashmir Solidarity Day has assumed special significance in the changed geo-political environment of the region, where the Kashmir dispute is widely believed as a flash-point, drawing international attention for its resolution, according to the United Nations resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiris. Mohammad Saleem

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The struggle for freedom in Kashmir has undergone a radical change during the last few years

The struggle for freedom in Kashmir has undergone a radical change during the last few years, changing in character from essentially a reliance on the power of the armed resistance to embracing the tactics of non-violence. For freedom fighters to make this transition is a substantive step which is loaded with tremendous possibilities and is capable of unleashing the might of the pent-up anger and hurt caused by the roughshod treatment of Kashmiris into a potent and irresistible movement. The civil society in Kashmir is getting organised to challenge the  abominable way in which the Indian state has treated it and that is no cold comfort for their tormentors. The power of this trend is becoming manifest when the common people are coming together to defy the power of the state to represent themselves.

The efficacy of the trend is evident through formation of organisations like the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and by resilience of activists like Parves Imroz, who have begun to draw attention at forums like the European Parliament for the unending pain that the Kashmiri population has to bear with.

The September Eleven incident has erased the line separating the freedom fighter from a terrorist and this has provided India with a handle to portray the alienation of Kashmiris with the Indian occupation as a foreign sponsored movement employing terror tactics. This has also enabled India to get away with the grave human rights violations it is perpetrating in Kashmir. One has to also take it into account that in the course of armed resistance spread over two decades the Kashmir landscape has been saturated with jackboot and the bayonet; thoroughly bruising and traumatizing the Kashmiri nation. The evolving non-violent mass resistance movement in Kashmir is in step with the global dynamics and reflects their impact on shaping local ground realities.

The Kashmiri armed resistance has been waged by around 1500 freedom fighters, operating in IHK at the peak of insurgency. Yet to neutralise this modest number of freedom fighters the Indians have physically deployed 700,000 troops who occupy every nook and corner of cities and hamlets and crisscross the forests, turning the landscape into a virtual jail. Around 100,000 Kashmiris have lost their lives during 20 years of conflict and 8000-10000 people have simply vanished after arrest by the
security forces. The Indian armed forces employ infamous Special Operations. Momin Iftikhar

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Betrayal of Kashmiris, once again

The puppet Chief Minister of Indian held Jammu & Kashmir (IHK), Omar Abdullah met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 30, 2009 in New Delhi to discuss the Justice Sageer Ahmad’s report (Fifth Working Group) on centre-state relations. During the meeting reports of all the five Working Groups, which were set up following second Round Table Conference on Kashmir in May 2006, were discussed and Omar Abdullah insisted on implementation of these reports. The issues discussed included special status of the IHK border state within the Indian Union, methods of strengthening secularism, rule of law in the state and democracy. Both the leaders discussed steps leading to decentralization of powers and replacement of regular India Army with Para Military Forces. Another important point of discussion was secret, quiet and off the table talks with various independence seeking groups and examination of the question of autonomy in the light of various formulas. Ironically, despite strong opposition from Kashmiri Muslims, Hindu Pandits and other groups across the state, Omar Abdullah is unable to hear the voices of the masses and still insisting on implementation of Working Groups reports. Read more of this post

Indian police kill two in Kashmir demo

Indian troops have killed two suspected militants in Kashmir during clashed on Sunday, as demonstrators held the second day of protests over the death of a Muslim youth.

The suspected militants were killed during clashes with Indian troops in the southern Reasi district, army spokesman Biplab Bath told AFP.

The clashed erupted during demonstrations over the Friday incident in Srinagar, in which Inayat Ahmad was fatally shot by India’s paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force. Eight others sustained injuries when the police used tear gas to push the crowd back.

Chanting anti-India slogans, hundreds of Kashmiris stormed the streets in defiance of a police ban on demonstrations following the death of the 16-year-old.

“They killed our son. What was his fault? He was killed on his way home from school,” a protesting relative told Press TV on Saturday.

Over the past two decades, the conflict in Kashmir has left over 47,000 people dead by the official count, although other sources say the death toll could be as high as 90,000.

“We are protesting against the Indian occupation as we do not want to live with India. We are occupied here. We are showing the world that we want to be free and want to be independent,” another Kashmiri demonstrator was quoted as saying on Saturday.

T20 Best Picture – This One Captures It All

Celebrations In Indian Occupied Kashmir After Pakistan Win

Residents in Indian Occupied -ruled Kashmir Sunday fired crackers in the region’s main city after Pakistan beat Sri Lanka to win the World Twenty20 championship, witnesses said.

pakistan_cricket_twenty_20_match_lords_london_uk

Srinagar — the Kashmiri summer capital — erupted in celebration after Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets and as scores of Kashmiri youth poured on to the streets and lit firecrackers.

The youths also chanted pro-Pakistan and pro-freedom slogans as Indian paramilitary troops stayed in their bunkers, witnesses said.

Thousands of Kashmiris, including women and children, were glued to their televisions sets to watch the tense final.

“It is a great victory and one day I hope we will merge with Pakistan,” said a die-hard Pakistani cricket fan, Mohammed Yaseen.

Residents in Muslim-majority Kashmir valley traditionally support Pakistan in sports events.

Indian-occupied Kashmir is in the grip of a nearly 20-year insurgency that has so far claimed more than 47,000 lives by an official count.

India annexed Kashmir almost half a century ago and does not recognize U.N. resolutions that India’s leaders accepted earlier to allow the Kashmiris a free and fair referendum on whether they want to join Pakistan or India. The issue remains an unfinished business of the British withdrawal from the region after two centuries of colonization. India was ruled Muslim emperors from what is now Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia before the British invaded the region in late 18th century.

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India Wants To Fight In Afghanistan Until The Last American

After months of arrogant behavior, the United States is conceding to some of Pakistan’s demands, like unconditional aid and a check on Indian terrorist activities against Pakistan using Afghan soil. But does Washington know that India wants a war in Afghanistan until the last American soldier?

It sounds strange but the fact is that the United States is now under pressure from Pakistani armed forces, it is pretty clear now. The US dependence upon Pakistan for war in Afghanistan and the passage of NATO supplies through Khyber and Chaman means that US has to remain sensitive to the demands of Pakistani armed forces. We are not saying Pakistani government here, as the government does not exist. Every decision the PPP government takes is either under US dictation or under pressure from Pakistan army. It has no direction, mind or vision of its own.

As far as India is concerned, Pakistan army has its own serious sensitivities despite US desire to change the strategic direction of Pakistan’s security establishment. US desire that instead of India, Pakistan should consider Afghan Taliban as the greater enemy and allocate resources to their elimination. But the Indians presence in Afghanistan, their support to TTP terrorism and Baluchistan separatist forces and their persecution of Kashmiri Muslims in IHK continue to convince Pakistani nation and GHQ that India remains the greater threat than Afghan Taliban. This is highly frustrating for US and this week we saw some really irritated statements from Washington and even western media asking India to behave. This is interesting to observe. Indians are highly offended when US or western media advice them on Kashmir.

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US wants India to trim mission in Jalalabad, act on Kashmir

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NEW DELHI, June 11: Senior US diplomat William Burns gave Indian officials a wish-list on Thursday that aims to revive India-Pakistan peace talks, assures New Delhi of its vital role in Washington’s strategy in the region, and retrieves the hope for Kashmiri people to shape their own destiny. Local reports quoted unnamed sources as saying that the visiting US Under-Secretary of State also asked his interlocutors to trim India’s consulate in Jalalabad, which Pakistan sees as a distraction in the military campaign against Muslim extremists on the Afghan border…..

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India urged to look beyond LoC formula
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LONDON, June 13: India needs to consider a Kashmir solution based on ‘something more than the LoC’ if it is sincere in wanting to establish lasting peace in the subcontinent, said Mark Tully, the BBC fame journalist while speaking at a talk-show organized by the Commonwealth Journalists Association here on Friday. Accompanied by Soli Sorabjee, the former attorney general of India who was the other speaker at the talk show, he presented an analysis of recent Indian poll…….

Last week, we had given following assessment of the Indian thought process.

“Indians are extremely upset with developments in Pakistan and in their neighboring territories with Pakistan – Kashmir and Punjab. Following major developments are seriously irritating the Indians.

  1. Pakistani High Court released JuD chief Hafiz Saeed on account of no proof against him on charges of terrorism. Indians wanted him for Mumbai terror attacks.
  1. Kashmir civil disobedience and unrest if once again flaring up.
  1. Sikhs in the Indian State of East Punjab have rallied once again to demand a separate homeland and freedom from India.
  1. The Indian assets of TTP operating in Swat and FATA are being badly burnt by Pakistan army’s operation in the region, undoing years of Indian efforts to sponsor insurgency in Pakistani regions.

The unrest in Kashmir is gaining momentum and Indians fear is that any external support by militants or Pakistan can turn this unrest into an inferno. With massive Indian support to TTP terrorists, the idea must be bubbling in Pakistani mind to get even in Kashmir and Indian Punjab.

Despite best US efforts to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan and to initiate a “peace process” between the two especially over Kashmir, this is not happening in any time in near future. Even a pro-Indian Zardari government cannot do much about it against public and military sentiments which see Indians as prime enemies. For now, both countries would remain engaged in diplomatic and proxy wars where Indians definitely have an upper hand as Pakistan is forced to fight a high intensity war within its own borders, courtesy massive Indians covert support to TTP terrorists”

In fact, Indian frustration on the LoC is growing as Kashmir protests continue to gain momentum.

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Indian troops violate LoC, kidnap man

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MUZAFFARABAD, June 11: Indian forces violated the Line of Control four days ago and abducted a Neelum valley resident, an official said on Thursday.  Manzoor Ahmed was collecting firewood from the jungle along the Line of Control when he was picked up and taken across by Indian troops, deputy commissioner of Neelum district Attaullah Atta told Dawn…..

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Asiya held amid fresh Kashmir protests
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SRINAGAR, June 10: Police have detained a leading female Kashmiri leader for participating in protests in occupied Kashmir over the rape and murder of two Muslim women, officials said.

Asiya Andrabi, who heads Daughters of Faith, was pulled in during a raid late on Tuesday in Srinagar, a police official said….

Understandably, Pakistan would continue to treat India as the most serious threat, despite best US and Indian efforts. Indians too want to present a soft face to Pakistan, trying to take full advantage of the pliant PPP government and Mr. Zardari, who feels “that there is an Indian in every Pakistani”.  But here, both Indians and US are facing serious obstacles as Pakistani forces continue to treat India with the contempt it deserves.

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No change in India-specific defense spending likely
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ISLAMABAD, June 7: Where counter-insurgency operations require a lot of finances, the army says it cannot afford to have India-specific defence budget curtailed.

“If you are suggesting that we should take something out of here and put it in another box that would not be a wise strategy. War on terror does require resources, but it should not be at the cost of something else,” military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas told DawnNews…

While, Indians are disappointed, they will not give up, but without compromising on their defined stance that Kashmir remains non-negotiable and Pakistan should do more to check militancy into Kashmir. This harsh stand is basically destroying all US hopes and attempts to initiate any kind of peace talks between two countries. Pakistan is welcoming US pressure on India.

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Singh sees ‘vital interest’ in peace with Pakistan
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By Jawed Naqvi
NEW DELHI, June 9: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told parliament on Tuesday that it was in his country’s vital interest to retry to build peace with Pakistan and said New Delhi was prepared to walk more than half way if Islamabad would accept its share of the responsibility in the partnership.

Dr Singh’s unequivocal support for a resumption of stalled talks with Pakistan came in his reply to the customary vote of thanks to the address by President Pratibha Patil…

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US presses India to resume dialogue
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NEW DELHI, June 10: A senior US official on Wednesday pressed India to resume talks with Pakistan but was told that Islamabad should do more first to prosecute the Mumbai terror suspects that New Delhi says are sheltered across the border.  According to local reports, Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and US Under-Secretary of State William Burns met here, and the Indian side is believed to have pointed out that Pakistan had not done enough to curb terror directed against India or to bring to justice the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks….

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Renewed US push for Pakistan-India talks welcomed

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ISLAMABAD, June 11: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit India and Pakistan next month and the Foreign Office here sees the renewed American interest in resumption of Pakistan-India dialogue as a positive sign.  “We find it encouraging if a country that is friend to both Pakistan and India is helping in the process,” Foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit said at the weekly media briefing…..

Another signal that Americans are now becoming more sensitive to a hard line being taken by Pakistani armed forces is the fact that their aid conditions are being softened up now without any strings being attached to nuke program or pleasing India. This is irritating for both hawks in Washington in Delhi but shows the growing confidence in Pakistani armed forces to dictate their own terms to US.

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US House drops A.Q. Khan, India from aid bill
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WASHINGTON, June 13: The US House of Representatives has dropped an explicit demand for access to Dr A.Q. Khan and another for preventing terrorist attacks against India as conditions in a legislation that triples US aid to Pakistan.  In Washington’s diplomatic circles, the gesture is seen as a major concession from a house that has placed other severe conditions in the aid to Pakistan act approved on Thursday…..

But, there is other bad news in the making for Pakistan as the Hawks have not given up as yet, nor would they ever. It is a constant struggle for Pakistan to protect its interests whenever they get into an “alliance” with US. More trouble on the way as new bill is being formulated.

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US amendment seeks reforms in Pakistan to curb extremism
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WASHINGTON, June 10: The objectives of US policy towards Pakistan are to empower and enable Pakistan to develop into a prosperous and democratic state that is at peace with itself and with its neighbours, says an amendment moved in Congress.  The amendment, which is likely to be adopted, also requires Pakistan to actively confront, and deny safe haven to Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremists….

Indians want to fight to the last Americans when it comes to defeating Pakistan. While US would also like to see a very contained and docile Pakistan, the fact that US still does not have enough control over Pakistani nukes and NATO supplies pass through Pakistan make them very vulnerable and cautious towards Pakistan’s security demands through the armed forces. Pakistani armed forces are the only wild card for the US and India who remain fiercely patriotic and loyal to the country, making it impossible for the US or the Indians to have it their way despite installing a corrupt and compromised government.

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