Aug 25, 2008
On August 21, a U.S.-led air strike in a village called Azizabad in western Afghanistan killed 95 civilians. According to the Afghan Interior Ministry, among the dead were 50 children under the age of 15-years-old. The rest of those killed were women. U.S. bombs also completely destroyed 15 houses, and damaged many others.
A couple of days later, Afghan troops showed up at the village, supposedly to hand out food and clothes. But their presence only aroused greater anger in the people in the village. The people shouted at the soldiers, “We don’t need your food, we don’t need your clothes. We want our children. We want our relatives. Can you give it to us? You cannot, so go away.” They also called for U.S. troops to get out of their country immediately. They threw rocks at the Afghan troops, who then opened fire and wounded eight more people, including one child critically.
Thus, one atrocity was heaped on another. Increasingly, it is happening all across the country. On July 6, for example, a U.S. air strike in eastern Afghanistan killed 27 people in a wedding party – most of them women and children, including the bride. And it is happening more, as the U.S. moves quickly to escalate its war in Afghanistan. In the first six months of the year, the U.S. doubled its bombing of Afghanistan compared to the previous year. In June alone, the U.S. dropped and launched 646 bombs and missiles. At the same time, the U.S. and its allies in NATO have been moving more troops into Afghanistan. There are already roughly 70,000 U.S. and NATO troops fighting there, a jump of more than 25,000 in the past 18 months.
The U.S. justifies this escalation by the growing strength of the insurgency, the Taliban, al Qaeda or whatever group the U.S. claims is operating there. But of course, the main victims of the U.S. war and occupations have been civilians, like those of Azizabad and other cities and towns all across the country. Even the United Nations, which has been working closely with the U.S. in Afghanistan, has been forced to admit this.
So, as reactionary and repressive as the Taliban are, an increasing number of Afghan people have joined or supported them and other insurgent groups. Because to many Afghan people, anything is better than the U.S. military, which has killed and destroyed so much since it first invaded the country almost seven years ago.
Due to this increasing support, the attacks against U.S. and allied troops have increased substantially. August 19 marked the bloodiest day for the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan, with 10 elite French soldiers killed and 21 wounded in a sustained assault by the Taliban outside Kabul, the capital. Separately, a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost, Camp Salerno, was attacked by insurgents in what military experts called one of the most complex operations yet. The attack included a back-up fighting force that tried to breach defenses to the airport at the base. Although the U.S. troops were able to beat back the offensive, three U.S. soldiers were badly wounded.
Here in the U.S., until recently the war in Afghanistan had been overshadowed by Iraq. Afghanistan, smoldering in the background, was known as the “forgotten war.” No more. By early August, the number of U.S. troops killed since the U.S. invasion of October 1, 2001 had surpassed 500, a deadly milestone. And in both June and July, the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan was higher than the number killed in Iraq.
These numbers are guaranteed to grow quickly, especially if the U.S. politicians and heads of the U.S. military have their way. The head of the U.S. Central Command, Admiral Mullen, says that he wants 10,000 more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a proposal which has the strong support of both U.S. candidates for president, Obama and McCain.
The politicians and generals want to use the people of this country to impose even greater U.S. control over central Asia, its vast resources, its wealth and its peoples. The working population of this country has no interest in these wars. They only isolate us from laboring people around the globe – and drain the resources we need here.
Stop the U.S. war in Afghanistan, end the barbaric bombing of the country and its people, get all U.S. troops out now!