There has been no respite in the last five years in US bombongs killing civilians in Southern Afghanistan. The country’s legendary fierce nationalist resistance of all invaders is sufficient in itself to explain the continual heavy fighting. But the rejection of Western values is made certain, when the most obvious display of those values is the continued indiscriminate mass killing of civilians.
The 120 civilians killed by US bombs in one Afghan village this week, is what happens day in and day out. It is a slightly larger death toll that ordinary, but the most unusual feature is that it got at least a tiny, tiny bit of media coverage in the West.
Meantime a humanitarian disaster is unfolding as the Pakistani army and air force boms and shells its way into the Swat Valley. This has no military value – the Taliban have left a rearguard to inflict maximum casualties, but have mostly already drifted up into the mountains. But it has displaced a million people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees today. How many have been killed by bombs and shells, we do not have any idea at present.
All of which has cemented the notion that the Pakistani government is a murderous US puppet in the minds of the inhabitants of the North of the country. The cause of the rash Pakistani Army action is US goading.
We can see the massive exodus of wretched people. We cannot be sure of the civilian casualty figures; but we can be sure that this week has recruited 10,000 more fighters to the Taliban cause. That is a disaster.
Both the US bombing and the Pakistani army assault are equally products of Obama’s policy of trying to crush the discontents of Central Asia by brute force. Obama’s meeting with Zirdari and Karzai this week – two of the most corrupt men in the world – was meant to highlight his grip on the region. I fear Afghanistan and Pakistan will be the defining disaster of the Obama Presidency.