Abby Martin takes a look at a shocking statistic that puts opium production in Afghanistan at a record high, and puts into perspective the different corporate interests that could be keeping US forces in Afghanistan well beyond 2014.
Tag Archives | Taliban
Abby Martin calls out the corporate media for its coverage of 16 year old Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai, highlighting her heroism promoting education against the Taliban, but omitting her important message to Obama about ending US drone strikes in her home country.
Surely everyone who uses email has copied someone by mistake before, but rarely does it rise the level of monumental gaffe that a Taliban spokesman committed this week. ABC Newsreports:
… Read the rest
Somewhere out there, Mullah Omar must be shaking his head.
In a Dilbert-esque faux pax, a Taliban spokesperson sent out a routine email last week with one notable difference.He publicly CC’d the names of everyone on his mailing list.
The names were disclosed in an email by Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, an official Taliban spokesperson, on Saturday. The email was a press release he received from the account of Zabihullah Mujahid, another Taliban spokesperson. Ahmedi then forwarded Mujahid’s email to the full Taliban mailing list, but rather than using the BCC function, or blind carbon copy which keeps email addresses private, Ahmedi made the addresses public.
“Taliban have included all 4 of my email addresses on the leaked distribution list,” tweeted journalist Mustafa Kazemi, a prolific Kabul-based tweeter with more than 9,500 followers.
Via CBS News:
Federal Magistrate Frank Maas has recommended that Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Iran be held liable for six billion dollars in a 2011 civil suit brought against them by relatives of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The assessment is symbolic in nature, as it will be impossible to collect damages. Still, at least some of the plaintiffs are pleased with the results:
Plaintiff Ellen Saracini … is happy about Manhattan Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas’ recommendation Monday. Her husband, Victor, was the captain of one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center.
Read the entire story at CBS News.
Kandahar, Afghanistan—High centered, surrounded on both sides by open air sewage ditches is a dusty Afghan Police Checkpoint. I mean ‘checkpoint’ only in the loosest of terms, as the Afghans put it together. A few sand bags here and there with a bright pink lawn chair in the center, the police stand totally unprotected.
If they ever did their job that is.
My squad’s patrol crawls by under the hot Kandahar sun, when they see us the Police jump up off their flamboyantly colored lawn chair and start searching random fields and anyone who is misfortunate enough to be close by. Their checkpoint commander rushes out and tries to look as professional as his ill-fitting uniform and bare feet allow him to look.
“Hello!” he calls out, trying to act like we are disturbing his work. Our interpreter walks over to him and starts small talk while the tired, sun burned soldiers spread out along nearby builds and canals to set up sectors of fire.… Read the rest
Paul Vallely writes at the Independent:
… Read the rest
There has been something artificially over-heated about the international reaction to the video of four American soldiers urinating on the bodies of their dead Taliban enemies in Afghanistan. It was, of course, a fairly disgusting thing to do.
But all the breastbeating about how the men’s “egregious inhumanity” had brought “disgrace to their armed forces” and “dishonour to their nation” had something of bluster about it. How could anybody do such a thing, asked people who had never been to war, heard their wounded friends scream or seen them die, blown to pieces, before their very eyes.
There may yet be demonstrations and deadly riots around the world in protest. But I suspect not. This is no Abu Ghraib, for the scenes of degraded torture in that Iraqi prison were inflicted upon the living rather than the dead. But what the two have in common is that both have exposed a systematic pattern of abuse in a culture which had been nurtured or authorised at higher levels.
Granted, Afghanistan is very corrupt, and $360 million that flowed to criminals and the Taliban is a mere one percent out of the total reconstruction contracts reviewed. Also, consider this a marked improvement from our 1980s policy of giving billions of dollars to Afghanistan’s jihadist forces on purpose. Via Washington Post:
After examining hundreds of combat support and reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan, the U.S military estimates $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade battling: the Taliban, criminals, and power brokers with ties to both. The losses underscore the challenges the U.S. and its international partners face in overcoming corruption in Afghanistan.
There’s a global morphine shortage in the west (while the Taliban is financing terrorism through black-market opium). So for over a year, a mainstream journalist for both Information Week and Library Journal has been contacting Congressmen about the “Sustainable Opportunities for Rural Afghans Act.” (“Whereas granting rural Afghan farming families an economic ally other than the Taliban is good for the national security of the United States…”)
Basically, the act would allow American pharmaceutical companies to buy opium from the farmers in Afghanistan — and even offer aid and bonuses to the farmers to deter their cooperation with the Taliban (before eventually transitioning them to other crops). “Action has been nil and talk has been quiet,” the reporter writes, even though it could help efforts to “defeat, disrupt, and dismantle” al Qaeda and its allies.
“As we press our advantage after the death of bin Laden, it seems reasonable to use every available tool toward our stated goal.”
How terrorist attacks have become a game. The Telegraph reports:
The Terror Chess sets feature hand-painted Taliban militants with a woman in a burka as the queen.
In the British set, the king is Tony Blair and the queen is the Queen, while the rook is Big Ben.
Jeffrey Train, a 48-year-old former Canadian soldier who designed the figures, said he had sold around 1,500 sets, mainly as souvenirs to troops serving in the 140,000-strong international coalition in Afghanistan.
In the American set they are replaced by Barack Obama, the Statue of Liberty and the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.
Ranged against the insurgents are soldiers from a choice of coalition countries including American, Canada and Britain.
[Continues at The Telegraph]
Military maneuvering in the 21st century means the Pentagon and Islamicist rebels responding to one another’s tweets, apparently. If this is a hoax, it has fooled the Guardian, among others:
… Read the rest
When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they eschewed most modern technology, including television and music players. But in the latest sign of the hardline movement’s rapprochement with at least some areas of the modern world, the Taliban have embraced microblogging.
Their Twitter feed, @alemarahweb, pumps out several messages a day, keeping 993 followers up to date with often highly exaggerated reports of strikes against the “infidel forces” and the “Karzai puppet regime”. Most messages are in Pashtu, with links to news stories on the elaborate and multilingual website of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the Taliban’s shadow government likes to style itself.
Today, the feed broke into English for the first time, with a tweet about an attack on police in Farah province: “Enemy attacked in Khak-e-Safid, 6 dead.”
There is not much lively banter between the “emirate” and its Twitter followers, save for a cheerful “asalam alekum” sent last week to the Kavkaz Centre, a militant news site covering jihad in the Caucasus.