Afghan Farce 147


The French government has suspended training for Afghan forces after four of their troops were killed by an Afghan soldier under training. Extraordinarily, that makes eight NATO troops killed by their trainees in 2012 already. It is the most extreme example of the complete failure of the occupation to achieve any of its ostensible aims. It is not even achieving any of its hidden aims, other than the channelling of huge amounts of our money to the arms industry.

But do not worry: NATO have come up with a brilliant and effective policy response to this problem. They are suppressing statistics on NATO personnel killed or wounded by Afghan army and police personnel. So that’s alright, then.


147 thoughts on “Afghan Farce

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  • Leo

    That seems perfectly fair and reasonable. If you don’t like the ‘news’, don’t publish it. How does that differ from what the BBC has being doing for years now? And don’t even mention the Murdoch press or the “papers of record”. So, nothing new. The only surprise is that they had to announce it, probably to warn sites that report casualties.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    The heading of the post describes with precise accuracy the great tragedy that Afghans experienced in the last 2 centuries. The main problem is that whoever is involved in Afghan wars do not even consider minimal interests of Afghans themselves. Until this is done there will be no peace and no success in Afghanistan.
    .
    NATO will probably leave but this will not bring peace to Afghanistan, unfortunately.

  • ingo

    Surpressing and falsifying statistics has been a valuable ally to the warmongers for decades. rermember the slanging macth that was the Iraq civilian casualties? the Vietnam US casualties. Modern warfare just happens and anything that could detract from our great tax expenditures, like the notions of winners and losers, is to be avoided. Nobody wins in war and it is obvious that only those who grieve personally about their loss of a relative in a warzone can adequately express what it feels like to loose a husband, dear friend or lover.

    Its these false statist-sics that make historians cringe enmasse, they distort history and are used to justify more of the same. Who would have thought that those trained in shooting guns will use them…. tut tut, naughty Afghans.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Uzbek,

    ” …whoever is involved in Afghan wars do not even consider minimal interests of Afghans themselves.”

    And, while agreeing with you – could one not also say that this is in large measure also true for colonial occupations, resource wars and other instances of occupation to profit from the domination of the occupied/subject peoples?

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Courtenay Barnett,

    Yes, I totally agree with you. The main aim of colonialism is to robbery of colonised lands and people. Today we live in times of when colonisation has been even further perfected to something that is not even require physical colonisation. Today colonisers can and often use corrupt local elites to do robbery so basically with some exception colonialism in its classical formulation is out of the picture, but robbery itself continues on even larger scale.

  • larry Levin

    I used to post on this website, this website was one of my favourites site, then one day craig murray said I should crawl under a rock, ever since then I have hated this site

  • Rama

    In military jargon, “casualties” are constituted of the wounded and dead, and I have always found it misleading to report only the dead: modern equipment and procedures in the Western armies allow for the gruesomely injured to survive what would have killed them during the Viet-Nam era (or if they were on the other side; that is one of the reasons for the very asymetric death tolls of modern warfare).

    Amongst the wounded, some will no more rejoin the battlefield than the dead can (spinal cord injuries, for instance); many require more resources to be diverted on their behalf on the battlefield than the dead do (you need to protect the wounded, stabilise their condition, and transport them in a hurry; the dead can wait ); and need I talk about the long-term economic burden of pensions and medical care, back home…

    With this in perspective, it appears that in this case, we have 4 dead and 16 wounded.

  • Mary

    + 6 US troops yesterday in a helicopter crash.
    .
    20 January 2012 .
    Six Nato soldiers have been killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, the worst crash since 30 soldiers died last August.
    .
    A Nato statement said the helicopter came down in the south of the country.
    .
    Nato said no insurgent activity had been reported in the area at the time. The cause of Thursday’s crash is now being investigated.
    ,
    No further details of the crash would be released until the families of those on board had been informed, Nato said.
    .
    “The cause of the crash is under investigation, however initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash,” a spokesman from the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) led by Nato said.
    .
    Isaf has not disclosed the nationalities of those killed, but they are believed to be US troops. The British Ministry of Defence said there were no UK soldiers involved.
    .
    /…http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16643888
    .
    One of those SAMs?

  • Tom Welsh

    “Nato said no insurgent activity had been reported in the area at the time”.

    So just normal incompetence then?

  • Mary

    ‘Military commanders in Afghanistan have stopped making public the number of allied troops killed by Afghan soldiers and police, a measure of the trustworthiness of a force that is to take over security from U.S.-led forces.’
    .
    Does this mean that we will not have Cameroon mouthing hypocrisies to the nodding heads around him as he begins PMQs each Wednesday followed by similar hypocrisies from Milipede Jnr?

  • Leo

    @ Rama
    The so-called killed-to-wounded ratio (KTIR) varies depending on immediate medical aid and body armour protection. And, of course, you are completely right that a marine with no legs is no longer a great asset yet does not count in the casualty figures. Nor do the suicides of returned vets.
    But – despite variability as the result of improved medicine and body armour – the KTIR remains remarkably constant. Thus, when you see massive deviations from the norm – such as occurred in the Port Arthur massacre in Australia, or the more recent (lone madman) slaughter in Sweden – then you should start to get suspicious and do your own research.
    See: http://www.whale.to/b/viallspam.html

  • Mary

    Very well said here.
    .
    Military Wives Choir’s Smokescreen of Success
    by Matthew Vickery / January 19th, 2012
    .
    It is almost the new taboo in the United Kingdom. To question ‘our troops fighting for our country’, and anything, anyone or any institution attached to ‘our troops’. By doing so, you open yourself up to being branded disrespectful at best, traitor at worst.
    .
    The Military Wives Choir, with their primetime BBC 2 programme, ended up outselling the rest of the top 10 combined on Sunday to win the coveted UK Christmas No. 1 spot. The nation celebrated the success of the women in the choir, women whose partners serve in the British Army in countries such as Afghanistan. However maybe this ‘groupthink’, this unconditional support for anything attached to ‘our troops’, is not in the benefit of those who fight for ‘our country’; the Military Wives Choir is a case in point.

    […]
    .
    Where does the Military Wives Choir come into this? Well it deflects attention from what the public should concentrate on, that of government policy and whether it should be backed or not. And although I have no doubt the Military Wives have a tough time, I am sure they would rather their partners back in the UK instead of overseas. However the enthusiasm and downright clambering to be part of the ‘support our troops’ brigade, which has been partly fuelled by the Military Wives choir and their BBC programme recently, will do nothing to bring any British soldiers back home. Instead it further distances the public from the reality that it is not OK to send young men and women into a conflict zone. Never mind the fact that these conflicts are not even ‘necessary evils’, as the two World Wars have been described. Young Brits are sent to fight in conflicts that kill horrific amounts of civilians under the pretence of what is a frankly Islamophobic ‘war against terror’, that has scary connotations of Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’.
    .
    Westminster creates this situation, which will only make Britain more of a target for extremism in the future; this situation being created because of political reasons rather than moral ones, while in the full knowledge that returning soldiers can be treated by charities which shouldn’t need to perform such a function. This should be an outrage to the British public. Yet it is not, it is embraced, with popular symbols and slogans, used to galvanize the public to show pride in their nation’s role in war; while ignoring the ugly reality of war and whether it is necessary.

    The Military Wives Choir achieving Christmas No 1. shows that an unwavering commitment to embracing war without questioning war, is strengthening. Well done to the Military Wives on their success, but in the long term, this success is hollow. It is just a smokescreen that clouds the public’s knowledge and perception of war. This will not help the Military Wives, it will not help soldiers fighting in the name of Britain, it will not help Britain’s security and it certainly won’t help civilians increasingly caught up in the horrors of conflict.
    .
    Matthew Vickery has worked previously for Palestine News Network covering the protest movement against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank. He is currently studying an MA Politics and International Relations at Aberdeen University and is a previous graduate of the Hunter Leadership Scholarship. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Read other articles by Matthew.
    .
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/01/military-wives-choirs-smokescreen-of-success/

  • Mary

    So much for freedom of speech in this ‘democracy’.
    .
    Iranian news network Press TV has had its licence to broadcast in the United Kingdom revoked by communications watchdog Ofcom.
    .
    The London-based channel, whose presenters include former MP George Galloway and Tony Blair’s sister-in-law Lauren Booth, will go off the air on Friday.
    .
    A statement released by the watchdog said it was apparent that “editorial control of the channel rested with Press TV International (based in Tehran)” – in breach of broadcasting rules which state the licence holder must have general control of programming.
    .
    It was also fined £100,000 after broadcasting an interview with a journalist while they were being held in an Iranian prison, which Ofcom said was “obtained under duress”.
    .
    The Ofcom statement said Press TV had “indicated it is unwilling and unable to pay” the fine.
    .
    The regulator said it gave Press TV Limited the opportunity to apply to have its operations in Tehran correctly licensed but failed to do so
    .
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/01/20/iranian-press-tv-knocked-_n_1218607.html?1327068237
    ,
    Nothing on ZBC since this partial report on 28 Dec 2011.
    {http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16317282}

  • Mary

    Forensic testing?? Oh yes. What a travesty.
    .
    20 January 2012 Last updated at 14:18
    .
    No prosecutions over Taliban finger removal
    .
    MoD
    The MoD says training will be reinforced for service personnel fighting the Taliban
    .
    Three British soldiers accused of chopping off the fingers of dead Taliban will not be prosecuted.
    .
    Military police investigated reports the fingers may have been kept as a trophies of war but found they had been taken for forensic testing.
    .
    The case involved two officers and a soldier thought to be from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (5 Scots).
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16651610

  • Jack

    Rama – “In military jargon, “casualties” are constituted of the wounded and dead, and I have always found it misleading to report only the dead”…
    .
    Indeed. In fact much modern ordnance is specifically designed to maim rather than kill, on the principle that a badly-wounded soldier may present a much bigger problem to his company than a dead one. That intent may not have been a factor in this particular case, but it’s a valid concern in general.
    .
    In guerilla warfare there’s an additional aim – polarisation. It’s one of the oldest traps in irregular warfare. Irregular combatants may not only disregard casualties to their own civilians, many of their acts are intended to provoke the other side into atrocity to aid recruitment and propaganda. Regular forces – especially those with poor leadership and excessive firepower – are often only too ready to oblige.

  • Passerby

    Am I being too cynical?
    ,
    The ever vigilant Mary has published the zioBBC debate about “terrorism the Olympics”, the day before yesterday.
    ,
    Cue the “terrorist”;
    Street cordoned off over bomb fear
    ,
    In contrast, the tanker driver who drove his fuel laden truck into his ex-wife’s bungalow, and then set it on fire, seems to be still at large. Find the story in Daily Mail et al.

  • Azra

    Mary, many have called OFCOM 0300 123 3333 and complained, as Press TV (once you get passed their pro Iranian government propaganda)is really fair source of information and it will be a shame not to have it, I myself go to their website as I refuse to have SKY, and maybe this will encourage few more to cancel their subscription :),

  • Ben Franklin

    Another OT.

    Israel backing off War Drum.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/barak-israel-very-far-off-from-decision-on-iran-attack-1.407953

    Why did Saddam stonewall UN inspectors? Because he didn’t want his enemies to know he had no WMD’s.

    There has been a lot of speculation about Iran’s nuclear intent. Many have said they are being truthful regarding peaceful nuke power. But, elemental hegemonists have been exploiting the disinformation to create doubt using the prickly and disingenuous patterns of Iran’s leadership to fan the flames. It appears even Israel is doubting their own intel, just as US should have doubted
    theirs prior to the invasion.

    I hope I’m not being too optimistic.

  • OldMark

    ‘Infiltration of local forces is a common tactic among insurgents anywhere, said Seth Jones, an expert on Afghanistan at the RAND Corp.’-the USA Today report Craig links to.

    So, if the incidence of trainees killing trainers increases, we should assume that the insurgency is gaining traction. We can also assume that NATO wishes to obscure this trend from the citizenry of the NATO countries affected. The latter proposition also gains credence from the repeated announcements from NATO spokespersons that the frequent helicoptor crashes involving NATO troops in Afghanistan are never the result of insurgent activity.

    As Philip Larkin once wrote- ‘useful to get that learnt’.

  • Ben Franklin

    Azra;

    The public doesn’t understand about Petrodollars, and probably doesn’t care. Therefore, a cover story must be created. They DO understand fear of nukes, so there you have it.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Azra,
    .
    I have spoken to OfCom Reference 1196908546 and their decision, which is final, is based on two points:
    .
    1. Non-payment of a £100,000 fine – When we review the adjudication and compare the infraction with similar contraventions by the BBC (I am preparing a list for possible litigation) we note that either OfCom have upheld complaints and issued no fine or the new Broadcasting Review Panel has disagreed with the decision made by OfCom and subsequently OfCom rescinded, giving way to the panel.
    .
    2. A paperwork error in the original license application that recorded that PressTV broadcasting authority resided in the UK which OfCom has said is incorrect as the Authority resides in Tehran.
    .
    British government’s hostile campaign against Press TV has its roots in the channel’s extensive and transparent coverage of the role that the British government played in the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    .
    I am currently preparing a satellite dish to receive PressTV from air on one of the following satellites:
    .

    Hot Bird 8 (13E)
    12437
    27500
    3/4
    H
    .
    Eurobird 1 (28.5E)
    11222
    27500
    2/3
    H
    .
    SES ASTRA (19/2E)
    12460.50
    27500
    3/4
    H
    .
    I will prepare a detailed dish installation sheet available at http://www.coia.org.uk/presstv over the weekend.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Azra,
    .
    I have spoken to OfCom Reference 1196908546 and their decision, which is final, is based on two points:
    .
    1. Non-payment of a £100,000 fine – When we review the adjudication and compare the infraction with similar contraventions by the BBC (I am preparing a list for possible litigation) we note that either OfCom have upheld complaints and issued no fine or the new Broadcasting Review Panel has disagreed with the decision made by OfCom and subsequently OfCom rescinded, giving way to the panel.
    .
    2. A paperwork error in the original license application that recorded that PressTV broadcasting authority resided in the UK which OfCom has said is incorrect as the Authority resides in Tehran.
    .
    British government’s hostile campaign against Press TV has its roots in the channel’s extensive and transparent coverage of the role that the British government played in the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    .
    I am currently preparing a satellite dish to receive PressTV from air on one of the following satellites:
    .

    Hot Bird 8 (13E)
    12437
    27500
    3/4
    H
    .
    Eurobird 1 (28.5E)
    11222
    27500
    2/3
    H
    .
    SES ASTRA (19/2E)
    12460.50
    27500
    3/4
    H
    .
    I will prepare a detailed dish installation sheet available at {www.coia.org.uk/presstv} over the weekend.

  • pabelmont

    All know by now that a major purpose of governmental secrecy is to prevent the “people” (or the “voters”) from knowing what the government is doing, what the results are, and, generally, to destroy accountability. That’s how it is done in the USA and UK, I feel sure.

    So if a government purpose is to spend a whole lot of money on arms — presumably for the purpose of enriching the owners of the arms-making businesses — and they mask this purpose by a declared purpose to establish democracy in Afghanistan or on the Moon — well, what else would we expect than secrecy as to the progress of such declared purposes?

  • Mary

    Cross post from medialens re Press TV
    .
    The news headlines OFCOM don’t want you to see

    Posted by Vegetable Man on January 20, 2012, 5:17 pm

    .
    1. Ofcom finally forces PressTV off the air in Britain
    .
    2. Military threat to Iran.
    .
    3. Saudi Arabia street protests.
    .
    4. Young boy latest victim of Saudi backed crackdown in Bahrain.

    BEAT THE OFCOM BAN – WATCH PRESS TV HERE:
    Online: http://www.presstv.com/live.html
    On Free To Air Satellite:
    HOTBIRD 13.0E – 12015H & 12437H
    ASTRA 1 19.2E – 12460H

    .

    Posted by Vegetable Man on January 20, 2012, 5:28 pm, in reply to “The news headlines OFCOM don’t want you to see”
    .
    6. Further Egyptian protests.
    .
    7. Syrian rally rejects foreign intervention.
    .
    8. Rubber bullets fired at Occupy protestors in California.

    ~~~~
    Enough said.

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