August 23, 2008
The Times (UK)

The Taleban Besiege Kabul

by Jeremy Page

The lorry drivers who bring the Pepsi and petrol for Nato troops in Kabul have their own way of calculating the Taleban's progress towards the Afghan capital: they simply count the lorries destroyed on the main roads.

By that measure, and many others, this looks increasingly like a city under siege as the Taleban start to disrupt supply routes, mimicking tactics used against the British in 1841 and the Soviets two decades ago.

Abdul Hamid, 35, was ferrying Nato supplies from the Pakistani border last month when Taleban fighters appeared on the rocks above and aimed their rocket-launchers at him, 40miles (65km) east of Kabul. “They just missed me but hit the two trucks behind,” he said. "This road used to be safe, but in the last month they've been attacking more and more."

The road from Kabul to Kandahar is even more treacherous, according to other drivers. "If the Afghan Army isn't there, a fly cannot pass," said Bashir, a lorry owner, pointing to the scorched shells of three vehicles he retrieved from a Taleban raid on the Kandahar road last week. Of 60 lorries, 13 were destroyed, he said. "Why can't the Americans stop this?"

Seven years after a US-led invasion toppled the Taleban, that is the question now troubling President Karzai and Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Despite the presence of 70,000 foreign troops, the Taleban have advanced on Kabul this year and hold territory just outside Maydan Shar, the capital of Wardak province, 20 miles southwest of the capital.

Militants in Wardak mount almost daily raids on the Kandahar road, which also links the main US bases in Afghanistan. In the past month, they have stepped up attacks on the road from Kabul to Pakistan via Jalalabad - the main supply route for food, fuel and water. . . .


Video: The Taliban, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and Bridas Corporation - posted February 24, 2006 [Karl W B Schwarz, Managing Director CEO, Rokkors Nanotechnologies GmbH, Vienna, Austria claims that he "turned down two RNC blank check offers to run against Clinton as governor of Arkansas."]

Declan Walsh and Richard Norton Taylor, "Afghanistan Mission Close to Failing," Guardian, February 29, 2008

[ . . . the Taliban government did not attack the United States. Our old ally, Osama bin Laden, did. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are not the same organization (if one can really call al-Qaeda an "organization"), and no one seems to be listening to the Afghans.--Conn Hallinan, "Afghanistan: Not a Good War," Foreign Policy In Focus, July 30, 2008]

[US-led coalition forces killed 76 Afghan civilians in western Afghanistan yesterday, most of them children, the country's Interior Ministry said.--Sharafuddin Sharafyar, "Afghanistan: 76 civilians die in airstrike, ministry claims," Reuters, August 23, 2008]

[The ministers demanded a status of forces agreement, which would stipulate that the authority and responsibilities of international forces be negotiated, and they said that aerial bombing, illegal detentions and house raids by international forces must be stopped.--Carlotta Gall, "Afghans Want a Deal on Foreign Troops," New York Times, August 25, 2008]

[American strategy, camouflaged as a methodology for humanitarian, anti-terrorist intervention, is to control the main urban centres of the country - Kabul in order to lock the Pakistani North West; Kandahar as a door to Iranian and Pakistani Baluchistan, and Herat as base to act against Iran.

Hobbled by its usual lack of understanding of most of the local geographic and human elements, Washington relies on a mixture of brute high-tech force and bribery - the euphemism for the latter is "winning hearts and minds" and according to on-site witnesses has been spectacularly unsuccessful - to secure the support or at least the neutrality of the leading tribes and factions. The CIA and other American agencies have often supported with weapons and money the traditionally rebellious clans of Pakistan’s NWFP in order to gain their sympathy, notwithstanding the fact that much of the military equipment has been used by those Pushtun chieftains against the regular Pakistani army which the US is currently urging to fight them.

Some observers feel that the US-British leadership would not be averse, depending upon the evolution of the conflict, to the secession of the tribal areas from Pakistan if such a new country could be used as a pad for NATO military facilities. An independent, "pro-Western" Baluchistan, stretching across the present territories of Pakistan and Iran is included in the plans for the Greater Middle East.

Northern Afghanistan, dominated by Uzbek and Tajik ethnic elements, is already being used as a base camp for supporting radical guerilla action and political subversion in the adjoining ex-Soviet republics which are regarded either as too closely aligned with their former Russian overlord or too controlled by the new Chinese regional hegemon. . . .

The recent immigration case of Turkish Sufi religious leader Fethullah Gulen in the US has brought to light legally compelling evidence, from American official sources themselves, that Gulen's mammoth organization, Nurcus, was operating as a CIA front, with Turkish, Saudi Arab and American support throughout Central Asia as a network of Madrassas and Islamic foundations. Those court documents have been publicized in her "State Secrets Gallery" by whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds, who has long been pointing to a US Central Asian strategy that connects the arming and training of radical Islamic groups with the destabilization of regimes seen as too close to Russia and China or too friendly to Iran, and to plans for the construction of oil and gas pipelines in support of western energy interests ("Court Documents shed light on CIA illegal Operations in Central Asia using Islam and Madrassas").

It appears that the USA, despite its official position to the contrary, is in fact supporting the spread of fundamentalist Islam, in the belief that it is not a real threat to its interests in the long run as it is too steeped in history and too remote from the modern "knowledge and finance society" to pose a genuine challenge, contrary to China, Russia, India and Iran which truly threaten Anglo-American technological, economic and cultural supremacy, but can be fought through the proxy of Islamic movements.--Come Carpentier de Gourdon, "Afghan variable in Asian geopolitics,", August 25, 2008]

Karen DeYoung, "Only a Two-Page 'Note' Governs U.S. Military in Afghanistan," Washington Post, August 28, 2008

Nick Meo, "Pakistani city of Peshawar could fall to Taliban as fear and attacks grow," Telegraph, August 30, 2008

Cathy Gannon, "Afghans fed up with government, US," AP News, September 5, 2008

[To the villagers here, there is no doubt what happened in an American airstrike on Aug. 22: more than 90 civilians, the majority of them women and children, were killed.

The Afghan government, human rights and intelligence officials, independent witnesses and a United Nations investigation back up their account--Carlotta Gall, "Evidence Points to Civilian Toll in Afghan Raid," Washington Post, September 7, 2008]

David Ray Griffin, "Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11?,", September 11, 2008

[On the night of August 22, the U.S. committed what Chris Floyd, in a richly detailed and amply documented piece, calls an "atrocity" in the Afghan village of Azizabad, near the western city of Herat. The U.S. conducted a massive midnight airstrike on the village, killing scores of unarmed civilians, including large numbers of women and children. That was preceded just weeks earlier by another U.S. airstrike in Eastern Afghanistan which "killed 27 people in a wedding party -- most of them women and children, including the bride."

What makes the Azizabad attack particularly notable is the blatant and now clearly demonstrated lying engaged in by the U.S. Government regarding this incident, with the eager propagandistic assistance of what we are constantly told is the "legitimate news arm" of Fox News -- namely, Brit Hume's show and his stable of "legitimate news reporters."--Glenn Greenwald, "The government, the media and Afghanistan ,", September 11, 2008]

Pamela Constable, "A Modernized Taliban Thrives in Afghanistan," Washington Post, September 20, 2008

[The backing given by the West to these talks is a measure of how badly things have gone wrong in Afghanistan, and how far Western governments are prepared to go to stabilise a deteriorating situation which is costing more in men, money and political capital than they ever imagined. The equally worrying situation in Pakistan, where the Taliban are largely based and where a separate but related insurgency has broken out, has given the initiative a new urgency.

That the Saudi Arabians accepted the invitation of the Afghan government to sponsor the initiative this summer is a measure of how concerned those who govern the traditionally leading nation of the Sunni Muslim world are about Afghanistan and al-Qaeda and the consequences they might have for the rest of the Islamic world and beyond.--Jason Burke, "Why the West thinks it is time to talk to the Taliban," Observer, September 28, 2008]

Julian Borger, "US faces downward spiral in Afghan war, says leaked intelligence report," Guardian, October 10, 2008

China Hand, 'We're not going to win this war'," Asia Times, October 30, 2008

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