Happy Xmas, but the war is not over. Far from it, so that is one track that walmart can knock off its christmas playlist, that is, assuming they have not forgotten a war is going on. It is unfortunately easy to forget, after all, as the Afghanistan war becomes one of the least reported on subjects in amerikan news media. Whether amerikans know it or not, the war rages on, as the united $tates continues to step up attacks on Afghan civilians and suspected Taliban fighters (that is, all military age men and their female “accomplices”). Despite their increased attacks, the campaign has gone nowhere, and they are still caught in the same bind they have been for 16 years. Yet so few amerikans are aware of what is happening in Afghanistan that it is hard for any of them to care. Besides, it is christmas in only a few days, and they are looking forward to all of the gifts it brings—just don’t tell them where those gifts come from! Imperialist greed has driven this war, and it is the crumbs they share with the working class that has kept them silent on it.
(Dec. 19) During her visit to Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, Ursula von der Leyen, the german defense minister, has made public germany’s desire to increase troop levels in Afghanistan to help in suppressing territorial gains by the Taliban. So far the bundeswehr is predominantly involved in training, rather than security, operations in the country, but it appears that this is soon to change. The defense minister stated that “The soldiers, and especially the trainers, are telling me: We have enough trainers but we could do significantly more if we had better protective components, more security personnel.” This is an unusual move from germany, which has rarely had to involve itself militarily to any great degree in the imperial conquest of the united $tates. This could mark an upswing in german militarism, and a desire for an independent campaign to secure the mineral wealth of Helmand province for their own economies. Nevertheless, as the imperialists have been reminded time and again, this is not a conflict which mere numbers will provide victory.
(Dec. 18) Several fighters associated with the Islamic State raided an intelligence training facility that is under construction in Kabul, making use of small arms and rocket propelled grenades. The group managed to seize the building for a short time before being driven from it by security forces. This attack marks yet another escalation in the three-way conflict between the Taliban, the Islamic State and the Afghan army. With the demise of their territory in the Levant, the Islamic State has actually managed to grow in Central and South Asia, with many of its commanders having left the Levantine territories to take up command roles elsewhere. The Islamic State has been been waging an increasingly destructive campaign in Afghanistan, and has also been working hard to undermine Taliban gains through violence and propaganda. At the same time, they have posed a serious threat to the operations of the Afghan state, targeting media centers as well as government and military targets.
(Dec. 18) Ashraf Ghani, the comprador “president” of Afghanistan, decided to remove the governor of Balkh province, a member of the sometimes-rival-sometimes-ally party Jamiat-i-Islami. The governor, Atta Mohammad Noor, who enjoyed a 13-year reign with the full support of NATO and the presidency, has rejected his removal and called on his supporters to struggle against the decision. Ghani’s actions have helped to fragment the already fraying government coalition in the face of overwhelming Taliban victories and failing legitimacy. Further, it has put in jeopardy the unity of the Jamiat party, which has had an increasingly intense internal struggle and lack of direction. Noor is far from the protagonist here, however, as he is guilty of many cruelties and human rights abuses in the interest of “security” in Balkh, though he was able to hold so firm to power that NATO nor the presidency dared to question him. That has changed, and the increasingly personalist attitude of the “president” is tearing apart what little unity is left in Afghanistan. The people of Balkh now fear that the new governor will not be able to preserve security in the region and that soon they will fall victim to violent conflict between the Afghan army and the Taliban. The added stress in the already tenuous ruling coalition has only intensified the call for action regarding the delayed parliamentary elections, which have now been put off for more than 2 years. We shall see how long this sinking ship will float.
(Dec. 17) The attacks were staged in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, where police have said they were able to eventually repel them, but at the cost of 11 officers. Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the governor, stated that the Taliban also suffered casualties, but in an uncharacteristic move for the comprador forces, they failed to mention how many had died. This is a picture of Helmand province, where Taliban influence is continuing to grow. It is interesting to note that the media has even come to admit that Taliban attacks, especially recently, have almost exclusively targeted military targets. An important admission from the comprador government which is guilty of carrying out wanton attacks with help of NATO coalition against the civilian population. This attack and others like it, carried out daily throughout the country, is important because it is centered in the most mineral-rich areas of Afghanistan, most desired by the imperialist invaders and their warlord puppets.
(Dec. 17) Amerika is ramping up its involvement in the day-to-day functions of the Afghan operations against the Taliban, with commandos having participated in more than 2,000 operation sin just 6 months. According the a new report to congress: “These operations included 420 ground operations and 214 air strikes against ISIS-K [the Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan], resulting in more than 174 ISIS-K killed-in-action; 1644 ground operations and 181 air strikes against the Taliban, resulting in 220 Taliban KIA; 68 ground operations and 28 air strikes against members of the Haqqani Network, resulting in 34 Haqqani KIA; and 43 ground operations against other insurgent networks, resulting in 36 enemy KIA.” This shows a marked increase in amerikan activities in the region, which have been forced to intervene in more regular intervals due to the inability of fractured state forces to combat a more cohesive enemy. This trend tells us precisely what is happening in Afghanistan and where amerikan involvement is likely to go. Let us remember that it was amerikan commandos who were banned from several districts under the former “president” Kharzai for their crimes against the Afghan people.
(Dec. 12) Staff Sgt. David Thomas Brabander, part of the amerikan occupation of Afghanistan, has died due to a non-combat related vehicle accident in Nangarhar province. An unusual occurrence, but generally unremarkable. His family remarked that he had “died doing what he loved,” which, according to them, was helping the Afghan people. While he may have died doing what he loved, that was certainly not helping the Afghan people, it was occupying a country which did not want him there. For a war so easily televised, so much more so than in WWII or Vietnam, there is so little which is actually circulated about the events in the war. It is effectively a dark war, one that people only get snippets from. However, that said, they know that what is being done there is not for the sake of Afghan people, it is for amerika. Yet, much more could be illuminated to the amerikan people of the events in Afghanistan if media were willing in the slightest to report on it. The UN as well as local media reports constantly on rising civilian death tolls, the fact that the amerikan people are not aware is half by design and half by their own blissful ignorance or outright fraudulence.
(Dec. 12) Further compounding the political failures of the current Afghan government, Ghani has moved to further delay the already long overdue parliamentary elections. The reason, as has been reproduced over and over again by the occupied government, is that security is threatened by major shifts in the administration. Therefore, we should accept that Ghani and his supporters must remain in power, and that the current political coalition must remain. It is clear that they are looking at a major upset if free elections are to be had, and that is something that Ghani cannot tolerate in a time when the Taliban are looking so spry and ready to lead the way in building national unity. Naturally, this administration must make all of the unpopular decisions that will lead to its electoral loss if they are to go through: they want more amerikan soldiers, less autonomy, more crippling oppression in the form of security forces more evenly dotting the countryside, and less restrictions on the activities of those soldiers. Democracy is never more shallow than when it is propped up by amerikan economic interest.
(Dec. 9) Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban Spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack on army checkpoints in Ghazni province that killed 3 soldiers. Mujahid stated that they had managed to overrun the checkpoint and seize weapons and ammunition before making their retreat.
(Dec. 6) In an attack targeting the Pakistani army near the Afghan border, a remotely detonated motorcycle bomb claimed the lives of 9 people. No militant groups claimed responsibility for the attack, but it follows a marked upward trend of violence on the border as coalition operations on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border increase, and put pressure on vital supply routes for several militant groups in the region.
(Dec. 5) One of the remaining Al-Qaeda commanders in Afghanistan was recently killed in NATO-led operations in the area. Omar Khetab, also known as Omar Monsoor, was the highest ranking member of the Afghanistan branch of AQ that was killed in a series of raids stretching across the eastern part of the country. In total, coalition soldiers claimed to have killed 80 and arrested 27 fighters linked with AQ in the region.
(Dec. 3) A suicide bomb was detonated at a pro-Ghani rally in Jalalabad in Nangarhar province, killing 6 and injuring 13 others. There was no immediate claim of responsibility by any group, but the area is known to be a hotbed for the Islamic State. The attack resembles a prior suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State which claimed 14 lives in Kabul, however at the moment all remains speculation by the media.
(Dec. 3) The National Directorate for Security has claimed that Mullah Shah Wali, also known as Mullah Naser, was killed by coalition forces in an airstrike in Helmand province. Naser was the commander of the so-called Red Unit, the special forces unit of the Taliban which operated in the area using advanced weaponry. He was also the deputy governor for the Taliban in the region, helping to organize the recent offensives against coalition forces. This attack is part of a general campaign of intensification on the part of the united $tates in Helmand province as they try to strike both at the financial assets of the Taliban as well as seize the province’s rich mineral deposits. Such air strikes have had a devastating effect on the civilian population, with the UN reporting a sharp rise in civilian deaths with the rising amerikan air strikes.
(Dec. 2) Afghan security forces in Kunduz have managed to, for the moment, push the Taliban into the surrounding countryside and have warded off attempts to recapture the city. For now the Taliban seem to be looking for another strategy to take the city, but they are not the primary focus of security personnel now. The city has been rocked with crime, as now organized crime has become the greatest threat to the people who live in the city. Stretch thin, the Afghan army does not typically intervene in these situations, as they are working mostly on rooting out the Taliban in the surrounding countryside (to no avail, however), so as a result it is the Afghan people who are now meant to pay the highest price for the lack of security in the city. What’s more, the united $tates has been conducting many more airstrikes in the region in order to stave off any attempts by the Taliban to seize the city, which have resulted in countless civilian deaths. One such incident in November killed 16 civilians. Many people in Kunduz report that they simply want security and an end to hostilities in the region, many do not particularly care who is in charge, so long as the fighting can end. The united $tates, however, sees it much differently, and is determined to keep this war going for as long as possible until they can achieve total victory and claim the vast mineral wealth of the country.
(Dec. 2) In Jalalabad 2 intelligence officers were killed by Islamic State fighters in a targeted attack, one of whom was the director for intelligence in the city. Despite amerikan claims that they are “handling” the situation with the Islamic State in Afghanistan, attacks by the IS fighters have become more frequent and their territory is expanding. Hardly the mark of a “victorious protector” in Afghanistan, the united $tates has proven much more effective in killing unarmed civilians than IS fighters.
(Dec. 1) Several months ago a prominent Taliban commander, Qari Hekmat, defected to the Islamic State along with many of those who served under him. Since then, they have utilized his former stronghold to expand their control in Jawzjan province across two districts in the north. Hekmat has invited many foreign fighters to join him in expanding IS territory in the north of the country, but has been mostly confined to the two districts he took with him. According to those who have left the area, conditions sharply changed with the change in leadership from the Taliban to the Islamic State, with many people being killed in the transition in power. The amerikan solution to this problem has been, of course, to increase air strikes. Unremarkably, nothing has changed and the Islamic State’s foothold in the north has remained the same since the commander first defected.
(Nov. 24) Afghan government sources claim that 20 fighters have been killed in a strike on a religious school in Wardak that had been run by the Taliban. A criminal attack on a non-military target, the government has reassured the public that no civilians were killed in the attack, as all of the children had apparently gone home before the strike. We have heard this before. The Afghan government and the NATO coalition strike at non-military targets and kill Taliban supporters or simply bystanders, claim them to have been fighters, and mark it as a victory. This is criminal, and all it has accomplished is the destruction of yet another school in Afghanistan. This was not a military or drug manufacturing facility, although an attack on either would still be criminal, but it was an attack on a religious school. Of course one could make the argument that it is in these religious schools where Taliban fighters are ideologically trained, yet it is by the government’s own admission that children attend them. How can one pretend that such wanton attacks are justified? Certainly it would be considered criminal by the united $tates if the Taliban were to attack civilian schools in Kabul, yet this notion is apparently non-reversible.
Amerikan Anti-War Update
As usual, there is little to be said here. An unfortunate fact. What is important now is that people know what is happening and are made to care. A great deal of apathy comes from the fact that there is no reason for amerikans to feel invested in the war. It is not reported to them, it is not talked about around them, and they are not made to sacrifice anything substantial in it. So what are we to do? We must remind them that there is a war going on, report to them the facts and find ways of communicating the suffering of Afghan people to them. The mainstream media seems content with cutting substantial stories on Afghanistan from their websites and broadcasts, so alternative media and activist circles must be prepared to pick up the slack and back it with an anti-imperialist perspective. Very few are willing to talk about what is happening, either out of lack of interest or lack of knowledge, so those of us who know must report, however we can. There will be no substantial basis for anti-war action among the amerikan people until we can create a general understanding of what is going on. Daniel Ellsberg, the man responsible for releasing the pentagon papers, has even called upon whistleblowers to release similar documents relevant to the Afghanistan war. Yet, for everyday activists and anti-imperialists, our role must be to broadcast all known facts, and especially the crimes of amerikan imperialists in Afghanistan. Liberals are obviously uninterested in genuine anti-war politics, so anti-imperialists must take the lead in this domain, and we must do so on our terms.
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