It is true that Britain’s military police have investigated almost 100 incidents in which UK forces have been accused of killing or wounding civilians in Afghanistan, as recent press reports from UK indicate, but none of these investigations has ever produced horror in British public;
By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
On Friday, October 7, 2001, the greatest military power on earth launched a misnamed operation, Enduring Freedom. Ten years later, the country known as the graveyard of empires is indeed full of corpses. In addition, there are hundreds of parched orchards and hundreds of thousands of broken families. And, ironically, in this decade of killing, Kabul has become the hub of crisp business of all kinds—ranging from companies providing on-the-fly security to the old drug trade and everything in between. The interminable war goes on.
For some, the graveyard of foreign occupiers is still not full enough. The proverbial appetite of a certain class of Afghans rages on for more and more American dollars. Yet, no matter how much it spends, there is no victory in sight for the greatest power on earth. It cannot, however, see basic facts which everyone else can see; such is the blindness that comes with power. Instead of admitting the simple truth that 136,000 soldiers on ground, unprecedented bombing power, and billions of green bucks have achieved nothing, it keeps on blaming others for its terrible and miserable defeat: it is the lack of Afghan capacity to shoulder security; no, it is due to lack of enough training; no, no, actually, it is the terrorists hiding in Pakistan; rather, it is ISI.
The one not to be blamed are those who, along with the morally bankrupt leadership of the United Kingdom, embarked upon this shock and awe filled adventure in the wake of September 2001 attacks on the United States of America. At the start of their invasion, they had to buy ground forces (aka Afghan United Front), such was the state of their bravery! Their massive bombardment ousted the Taliban regime from power in Kabul and most of Afghanistan in a matter of weeks, but most of the senior Taliban leadership escaped and when they installed a puppet who was already on their payroll, they called it a victory; democracy had arrived in Afghanistan on the wings of B-52 bombers. Then they had their other puppet—the United Nations—create a so-called “International” Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and finally, NATO assumed control of ISAF in 2003, so that the United States of American could devote all its military power to another terrible crime: invasion of Iraq.
By the time mission was accomplished in their books, the Afghan resistance led by Taliban was just beginning to gather momentum which would soon become a nightmare for the self-proclaimed victors. By 2006, ISAF was a defeated force in southern Afghanistan. The Taliban-led counter offensive had made deep inroads into the new security system installed by the occupiers and by 2009, even Kabul was not secure anymore. This called for a new strategy; thus on December 1, 2009, Barack Obama announced that he would deploy an additional 30,000 soldiers over a period of six months. This surge was supposed to produce the final result in order for US to start a withdrawal in year 2014. As expected, it did nothing; the equation remained as it was.
Since the invasion, Afghanistan has been technically under the rule of a man from nowhere. On January 26, 2010, this man, who is still welcomed in the Western capitals with red carpets, announced at the International Conference on Afghanistan in London that he intends to reach out to the top echelons of the Taliban (including Mullah Omar, Siraj Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar) with a peace initiative. Last week, he gave up that attempt. This closes any possibility of an exit route for the United States in a war that became the United States’ longest war on June 2010 (that is, if the US involvement in the Vietnam War is taken to start on August 7, 1964).
Ten years after launching operation Enduring Freedom, the United States is fully trapped in the rugged land where invaders have always come on their own, but from where no one has ever returned without humiliation and defeat. Yet, this axiomatic truth is hard to swallow for the custodians of the greatest military power on earth; the extremists in Washington DC cannot admit that the United States of America can ever be defeated. Yet, even for them, the cost of the war is becoming a prohibitive factor. A March 2011 Congressional Research Service report said that following the Obama surge announced in 2009, Defense Department spending on Afghanistan has increased 50%, from $4.4 billion to $6.7 billion a month. During that time, troop strength has gone from 44,000 to 84,000, and it is expected to be at 102,000 for fiscal year 2011; the total operational cost for Afghanistan from the beginning of the conflict in 2001 through 2006 only slightly exceeds the amount spent in 2010 alone—$93.8 billion. The projected total cost relating to Afghanistan in fiscal year 2011 is expected to be $118.6 billion.
Now it is not a question of whether or not they would depart, but that of when. The foreign soldiers have done what they could to destroy the country. Hardly a day has passed during the last decade without heinous crimes being committed against civilians in remote village of Afghanistan, but there is no one who is interested in gathering evidence and bringing to justice those who have perpetuating these crimes against humanity. It is true that Britain’s military police have investigated almost 100 incidents in which UK forces have been accused of killing or wounding civilians in Afghanistan, as recent press reports from UK indicate, but none of these investigations has ever produced horror in British public; no one has camped in front of 10 Downing street and the establishment has always treated these cases as exception to the good work being done in the nether land. The British dossier contains a series of incidents in which soldiers shot or bombed civilians; in once incident, British soldiers killed a man who was praying in a field, in another, a man was shot collecting grass and rocks. Likewise, when the news about the American “Kill Team” surfaced in September 2009, and it became known that groups of American soldiers were killing civilians for fun and dismembering their bodies to keep bones and skulls as trophies, it did not bother anyone in America; the killing goes on.