Kabul Attack 42


I am very sorry to hear of the attack on the British Council office in Kabul. I do hope that, as details of the dead and injured start to come in, the count does not rise higher, whoever they are, and that the British Council staff are safe. I am a great believer in the contribution of cultural diplomacy in international peace and understanding, even if I do not support every detail of the British Council.

But this attack does represent, yet again, the folly of the occupation of Afghanistan. It has reinforced old anti-British sentiment dating back to our first invasion of 1839 and a series since. It will be generations before we might be forgiven our bombings, and I can guarantee you that the British Council will not be able to maintain any effective operation in Kabul after our troops slink away defeated.

The British Council opening there at all is empty bravado that has now cost lives.


42 thoughts on “Kabul Attack

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  • mary

    Does this support extend to the prescence of the ghastly free loading Kinnocks within the power structure of the British Council?
    .
    Son of Neil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Kinnock – Moscow and now Sierra Leone
    .
    In February 2004 it was announced that with effect from 1 November 2004 Kinnock would become head of the British Council. Coincidentally, at the same time, his son Stephen became head of the British Council branch in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the end of October, it was announced that he would become a member of the House of Lords (intending to be a working peer), when he was able to leave his EU responsibilities. In 1977, he had remained in the House of Commons, with Dennis Skinner, while other MPs walked to the Lords to hear the Queen’s speech opening the new parliament. He had dismissed going to the Lords in recent interviews. Kinnock explained his change of attitude, despite the continuing presence of 90 hereditary peers and appointment by patronage, by asserting that the Lords was a good base for campaigning.
    .
    June 14, 2009
    Glenys and Neil Kinnock have six state pensions
    .
    GLENYS KINNOCK, the new minister for Europe, has amassed six publicly funded pensions worth £185,000 per year with her husband Neil, the former leader of the Labour party.
    They have already received up to £8m of taxpayers’ money in pay and allowances, he as a European commissioner and she as a member of the European parliament.
    [….]
    Neil Kinnock, who resigned last week as unpaid chairman of the British Council to avoid “perceived conflict of interest” with his wife’s ministerial role, receives a pension of £83,089 for his service as European transport commissioner between 1995 and 1999 and vice-president of the commission from 1999 to 2004.
    /…
    { http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6493969.ece}

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I too am deeply saddened to hear of this attack. I don’t think our troops should be in Afghanistan. I do not agree with any attacks on any civilians, though, whether British, Afghan (and it is likely that there will have been both at the BC offices in Kabul) or whatever.
    .
    Mary, patronage, greed and corruption are other – central – issues in our society and as has been illustrated by the ongoing News International farrago, will affect all parts of the state and private architecture. The way Labour was co-opted by the City/Wall Street et al may well be both a reflection of and a direct result of, these instrumentalised processes. After 1987, there was a slow coup within the Labour Party, the ultimate result of which was Tony Blair and his gang (and we know where that has led – among other places, to Kabul). One is aware, too, of cultural imperialism, the role of NGOs, the creation of ‘native’ elites, etc. The BC will be an obvious target and one has to question the wisdom of opening an office in Kabul, while simultaneously closing or reducing BC offices in Western Europe (which is not something the Alliance Francaise, the French Institute or the Goethe Institut would ever consider doing). But just as our sadness over the loss of human life ought not to temper our determination to tackle such hydras, likewise our disgust over the hydras ought not to temper our sadness and revulsion over the loss of human life, wherever that might be. I realise that would not have been your intention here.

  • mary

    Agree Suhayl but we hear very little from the corporate media about the Afghan people who have been killed, shredded and maimed and we do not even know the numbers. I do not care how many of the coalition of the willing get wiped out. They went to a foreign country, who posed no threat to us, to kill. The same is now happening in Libya.
    .
    In any case isn’t the British Council a relic of our defunct enpire? The people in Gaza disposed of the branch there. The British have collaborated with the Occupiers in the oppression of the Palestinians.

  • John Goss

    This is a terrible result of Blair’s British interventionalist policy. And the death toll has just gone from 8 to 12.

  • Azra

    Mary, excerpt from an article in FPJ, 14 August, on American casualities

    Perhaps most brazen and sanctimonious regarding this claim was MSNBC‘s primetime anchor Lawrence O’Donnell. Introducing the “Rewrite” segment of his Monday August 8 broadcast of “The Last Word”, O’Donnell looked directly into the camera and, in his measured and most heartfelt serious voice, told his viewers, “This weekend saw the worst single loss of life in the ten years of the Afghan War.”
    He was lying. Unless, of course, like so many Americans, O’Donnell doesn’t count Afghan civilians as human beings worthy of being allowed to stay alive”

  • writeon

    The attack on the British Council is tragic, though not unexpected. The main purpose of having the Council in Kabul was for propaganda purposes, to bolster the lie that we are winning and the city and country are moving in the right direction.

    The brutal truth is that the occupation of Afghanistan is a failure and the war is lost. The west cannot inforce its will on Afghanistan anymore than the Russians could. But admitting that the war is a failure and is lost, and cannot be won, has profound consequences for our leaders. If it was all a complete waste of time and resources, not just a gigantic crime, who is responsible, and who should be held to account for such folly?

  • Tom Welsh

    I was horrified to hear that the Kinnocks had penetrated the British Council. Long ago, my father was British Council representative in Argentina, Portugal, Tunisia, and Turkey. I think the organisation did a great deal of good.

    As for attacks on civilians, our glorious leaders have made them inevitable. We are told the enemy are “cowards” – presumably because they do not come out and fight pitched battles in the open. As everyone knows, of course, that would be suicide: a jet would fly over and drop napalm on them, and they would all be fried. Our armed forces are so powerful that enemies will never stand up to them in conventional warfare. But when someone invades your country and starts treating it like their personal property, you fight back in whatever way you can. I don’t recall too much criticism of the French Maquis, for example, on the grounds that they often killed civilians and fought a guerilla war.

  • John Goss

    The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack on this relatively ‘soft’ target to mark the anniversary of independence from the UK in 1919, though I think there might be something wrong with somebody’s arithmetic. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14585563
    More likely it has to do with the Taliban letting the world know you can remove the Hydra’s head without killing the beast.

  • mary

    The BBC report says:
    .
    The eight victims of the attack were all thought to be Afghan policemen, authorities said, adding that four attackers have also died.
    .
    The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville in Kabul reports that occupants of the British Council building may have taken refuge in a reinforced safe room in the compound, to await rescue.
    ::::

    ‘That’s alright then. They weren’t ours’ in other words.

  • mary

    I think this creep of a woman has departed from the HoC.
    .
    *Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: 20 Mar 2008 : Column 1127
    ….’We have not talked much today about the British Council’s role in Commonwealth countries, but it is extensive. During the last few weeks a man called Stephen Kinnock has taken over the council’s office there, because, as we all know, its office in St Petersburg has closed. That is very regrettable, but I for one was delighted that such an able individual was to be in charge of the office in Sierra Leone.’
    .
    So able that he drove the wrong way down a street in Moscow under the influence of alcohol. Or perhaps he was framed. 🙂
    .
    The Kinnocks’ daughter Rachel went to No 10 to work in Brown’s office.
    .
    http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080320/debtext/80320-0011.htm
    .
    *Never heard of Claire Curtis-Thomas. She was evidently a Bliar babe and left the HoC in 2010. She has an unfortunate habit of getting married and then divorcing.
    {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Curtis-Thomas}
    .
    All part of the NuLabour nest of cronies.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Azra, that is shocking, yet somehow not unexpected, from the MSNBC’s anchor. Of course they don’t regard Afghans as human. Now that it is known that (it would appear) no Brits were killed, there will be no further mention of the attack in the USA and it will soon vanish from our screens in the UK as well, once the appropriately ‘sage’ interviews with people like Frank Gardner et al have taken place.
    .
    We shouldn’t be in Afghanistan at all. This kind of attack also very graphically – its intention, of course – gives the lie to the propaganda that ‘we are winning’. See – as everyone knows, the British have been ‘in’ Afghanistan at least three times before. How long does it take imperialists to realise that they cannot hold that country? 200 years, 500 years…? Time to leave (again). Till the next time.
    .
    The outcome of the 3rd Afghan War was:
    .
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_Independence_Day
    .
    The Afghans won the 1st and 3rd Afghan Wars (and lost the 2nd). This is not a cup-tie. Afghanistan was not a colony b/w, but (as with Iran at various times during the C20th, was part of the British ‘sphere of influence’ from around 1870-1919.
    .
    You’re quite right, Mary, that Afghan civilians’ deaths don’t get the same attention as British ones. Well, they do with you and I and many of the commentators on these boards, but not with the MSM.

  • Rob

    Our Prime minister has described the attack on the British Council as “vicious and cowardly”.

    Quite so, but I am wondering what adverbs he would use to describe the accumulated killings of 168 Pakistani children (source US CIA) by ISAF drone strikes? Stupid question of course, but still worth asking.

  • Afghanwar

    Today’s attacks in Kabul are for the Talibans a way to mark the 92nd anniversary of Afghanistan independence from the British Empire. But since 10 years, this independence has been put aside with the intervention of British troops. Neo-colonialism? Anyway.
    The target of these multiple attacks is clearly the occupation. The British government announced the withdrawal of troops by 2014 to secure the country before going. But it’s clear with these attacks that the occupation is everything except beneficial to Afghans, who are victims of both terrorism and western troops attacks. Moreover, last year was the most deadly of the war, ie this war is escalating and waiting till 2014 won’t solve anything.
    To get the troops out of Afghanistan, Stop the War is holding a Mass Assembly on October 8 to take over Trafalgar Square to demand end to the war and withdrawal of British troops by Christmas. To get more information: http://antiwarassembly.org/

  • John Goss

    One death is one too many. Based on an earlier BBC breaking news flash some four hours ago I commented that there were 12 deaths in the attack. This has now been reduced to “at least 10”.

  • Martin Green

    I continue to despair at this disaster in Afghanistan. After years of reading Ahmed Rashid, Steve Coll, Lawrence Wright, Peter Dale Scott and many others the sheer hypocrisy and callousness of the Allied war in this troubled place drives me to distraction! The ‘Taliban’ are now, inevitably, a growing propostion of the normal tribesmen of Afghanistan who see the foreign soldiers as ‘occupiers’ – they have never let a foreign occupation prosper nor will they now! The leaders of these freedom fighters/ insurgents (depending on your viewpoint!) are individuals such as Haqqani and Hekmatyar – the same old ‘warlords’ who led the Mujahadeen, the post-communist government, then the post-Taliban government. They are tribal leaders with specific, ethnic interests based on geography and age-old custom. They will wait and wait until the weak government of Hamid Karsai crumbles after Allied withdrawal all the while picking off their opponents (Wali Karsai murdered, British Council bombed, Police forces terrorised,more British soldiers killed, citizens coerced etc.). All that the incredibly powerful Allied effort can manage is drones attacking and killing many Afghans some of whom may be ‘enemy combatants’ but too many are innocent men , women & children. In the background the Pakistani military and ISI continue to support their tribal cousins and wait until they can assume a more influential role. No winners here…least of all the people of Afghanistan.

  • mary

    The attack on British Council office in Kabul has forced to the
    top of the news agendas — recently dominated by the UK riots and
    the collapsing world economy — the war they cannot hide.
    .
    As the BBC correspondent reported, it shows that the Taliban and
    other resistance forces can strike anywhere in Afghanistan,
    disproving once again the mantra from Obama, Cameron and their
    generals that the “insurgency” is being progressively defeated
    and security and stability are returning to the country.
    .
    It was never more urgent that the voice of Britain’s anti-war
    majority raises its voice to say not one more death in our name:
    bring the troops home now.
    .
    Lindsey German writes:
    http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/lindsey-german/720-the-message-from-afghanistan-is-clear-a-war-going-nowhere-must-end-now
    ::::
    Cameron has just been speaking. His words of condemnation could be considered interchangeable for the riots and the Kabul attack.

  • Azra

    Mary,
    I suppose the allure of oil/gas pipeline is just too great for them to admit defeat and get out..

  • Tom Welsh

    Politicians and the “great and good” are incessantly droning on about the need for secrecy in government. But one wonders, in a case like the occupation of Afghanistan, if it wouldn’t be a wonderful change if we could all see the real reasons and arguments being argued out in the open.

    Never happen, of course, because the powers that be won’t allow the people – who are supposed to have ultimate power in this “democracy” – to know anything except what they are willing to divulge.

  • mary

    This now deceased man did well out of the MOD and war.
    .
    Mr Heselden was one of the 400 richest people in the UK.
    .
    A statement released on behalf of the trustees of Mr Heselden’s estate said: “It can be confirmed that Jimi left an estate of £343,172,206 which he has bequeathed to his widow Julie and other family members.
    .
    “The estate consists substantially of Jimi’s controlling interest in Hesco Bastion Ltd.
    .
    “The family wishes that Jimi’s legacy will live on in the many charities and good causes he supported during his lifetime.”
    .
    Mr Heselden made his fortune when his Leeds-based firm, Hesco Bastion, developed the “blast wall” basket, which protects soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, as a replacement for traditional sandbags.
    .
    A former miner, Mr Heselden left school when he was 15.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-14598980

  • mary

    From the medialens message board. John Munro is a New Zealand doctor. Cameron described the attack as ‘vicious and couwardly’.
    .

    Re: Kabul: British teachers escape ‘vicious, cowardly’ bomb attack
    Posted by scrabble on August 20, 2011, 1:25 am, in reply to “Re: Kabul: British teachers escape ‘vicious, cowardly’ bomb attack”
    .
    Not too long ago I had a spat with someone on a messageboard (not this one) who used the same language of “cowardly attack” on coalition (so-called) forces in Afghanistan. I said something to the effect that sitting behind a games console in the middle of Nevada and firing live missiles at people fleeing for their lives didn’t strike me as being especially heroic. Plus the fact that after their few hours of fun killing people with brown skins, our intrepid heroes clocked off and went for a Bud and and a Big Mac in the canteen, no doubt swapping stories about the thrill of their latest “kill”.
    .
    This other person never responded to my message.
    ______
    Posted by John Monro on August 20, 2011, 8:09 am, in reply to “Re: Kabul: British teachers escape ‘vicious, cowardly’ bomb attack”
    .
    You don’t have to think about drone attacks or anything else high-tech or remotely controlled here to wonder about the language.
    .
    These attacks are only called “cowardly” because they’re inflicted on us. By anyone’s reasonable estimation these attacks and the participants are incredibly brave, those taking part would know there’ was a pretty good chance of not surviving.
    .
    If it was an SAS attack on some fuzzy-wuzzy village then of course it would be “our brave boys” and if a few infants and women happened to get in the way, they would be human shields used by “cowardly insurgents” or unfortunate “collateral damage” etc etc.
    .
    The language of war is always inglorious and untruthful -whenever, wherever, whoever.
    _____

  • mary

    A company of US Marines was in Israel last month for joint urban warfare training sessions with Israeli soldiers.
    .
    Most of the exercises took place at the IDF’s state-of-the-art Urban Warfare Training Center at the Tze’elim army base in southern Israel.
    .
    The Americans had traveled to Israel from their base in Europe. Speaking to the IDF Spokesperson about the experience, Platoon Sgt. Robert Hattenbach said, “We’ve never been to a mock town like that of the IDF.”
    .
    A number of the Marines reportedly spoke positively about the size and realistic feel of the IDF training facility.
    .
    The IDF’s Urban Warare Training Center has been used repeatedly by the US military to train soldiers preparing to deploy in Iraq and Afghanistan, where urban warfare againt insurgent forces in the norm.
    /….
    http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NachrichtenHeute/tabid/178/nid/22912/language/en-US/Default.aspx

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