Leading into a massive assault on the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, the Obama Administration is ‘winning hearts and minds’ in Afghanistan and Pakistan with increased drone strikes and night raids.

27 Apr 2010 | InfoShop News

Leading into a massive assault on the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, the Obama Administration is ‘winning hearts and minds’ in Afghanistan and Pakistan with increased drone strikes and night raids.

The escalation of the Bush Administration’s increasingly violent occupation of Afghanistan has been greatly expanded into Pakistan by the Obama Adminstration, in collaboration with the Paki military. In Afghanistan, the escalation of night raids have consistently terrorized the local population, sparking unrest.

Death From Above

After killing a record 700 civilians last year in at least 44 distinct drone strikes against Pakistan in 2009, the Obama Administration is escalating the rate in 2010.

Jason Ditz writes at Antiwar News: “Less than four months into the new year, the U.S. has already launched 40 attacks and killed at least 268 people. The most recent strike yesterday in North Waziristan killed at least nine people.”

Throughout every night, one can see “an endless caravan of old cars and pickup trucks rolls through” towns of North Waziristan “filled with jihadist recruits going to join the fight against U.S. forces” in Afghanistan” for what, Ron Moreau and Sami Yousafzai report at Newsweek, “appears to be a conscious militant ‘surge’ that’s bigger than any similar seasonal movement in the past.”

The Paki government has “declared a victory” in the South Waziristan region. “In all cases the offensive drove the militants out, but few of the leaders were ever accounted for, and as soon as the military lures the civilians back, the militants return as well,” Mr. Ditz wrote today, adding that “tribesmen are holding out for security guarantees”:

For the dominant Mehsud tribe, the region doesn’t appear remotely safe to return to. One elder asked: “how can we go back unless the area is cleared? This is not our land any more. It’s a battleground.”

For the Mehsud tribe in particular, trust in the government is difficult to come by. Officials were ordering mass arrests of Mehsud tribesmen across the nation in October, claiming that they were “suspected militants.” When the militants return to South Waziristan, as they inevitably will, the tribe is setting itself up to be blamed once again for not stopping the militants themselves.

To make matters worse, the first rule of the Obama Administration’s raindrops of death is that it doesn’t exist while the relatives of the dead scream past silence “The United States has long tried to maintain plausible deniability that it is behind drone warfare in Pakistan,” Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the New America Foundation write at The New York Times (NYT) today, adding: “For reasons of its own, the Pakistani government has also sought to hide the fact that it secretly agreed to allow the United States to fly some drones out of a base in Pakistan and attack militants on its territory.”

All of this said, the Pakis have somehow figured out that they’re being systematically slaughtered. “In a poll last summer, only 9 percent of Pakistanis approved of the drone strikes,” Mr. Bergen and Ms. Tiedemann continue. “A key reason for this unpopularity is the widespread perception that the strikes overwhelmingly kill civilians.”

The death from above is not the only fear in Pakistan, but fearing invasions by the Paki military, which is viewed as foreign by the tribesmen. The fear of spontaneous foreign invasion into civilian homes isn’t isolated to Pakistan, but also by Afghans.

Night Raids

General Stanley McChrystal, commander of the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force offensive in Af-Pak, “has not only refused to curb those raids but has increased them dramatically,” Gareth Porter reported at Inter Press Services last month, adding that:

even after they triggered a new round of angry protests from villagers, students and Afghan President Hamid Karzai himself, he has given no signal of reducing his support for them.

Two moves by McChrystal last year reveal his strong commitment to night raids as a tactic. After becoming commander of NATO and U.S. forces last May, he approved a more than fourfold increase in those operations, from 20 in May to 90 in November, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times Dec. 16. One of McChrystal’s spokesmen, Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, acknowledged to IPS that the level of night raids during that period has reflected McChrystal’s guidance.

Jerome Starkey reported at the London Times, 13 Mar 2010, that a February raid, which led to the deaths of two pregnant women—one, a mother of ten and the other of six—and a teenage girl, were “carried out by U.S. and Afghan gunmen”. He noted the raid came two weeks after “after the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan [General Stanley McChrystal] issued new guidelines designed to limit the use of night raids” after having “been criticized for night raids based on dubious or false intelligence leading to civilian casualties”.

Mr. Starkey recently reported that Afghan investigators found that the forces staged the scene as an ‘honor killing‘. “U.S. special forces [S.O.F.] soldiers dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath of a botched night raid, then washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened”.

Mr. Ditz wrote yesterday: “Another of the night raids that Gen. Stanley McChrystal has repeatedly promised to curb has gone awry, and sparked violent protests across the Logar Province of Afghanistan today, after it was revealed that the raid killed three innocent civilians.”

NATO claims the three were “insurgents”, but Mr. Ditz adds that local accounts are contrary to this, sparking violent protests:

As the protests grew over the morning relatives insisted that all those killed were actually civilians. But local tribesmen wasted no time taking to the streets in protest, blocking roads and eventually turning on a NATO supply convoy that attempted to pass….

Though NATO killing civilians and labeling them insurgents is nothing new, and that wasn’t even the first time it had happened this week, locals seem to be increasingly discontented with the business-as-usual of NATO killing their neighbors and chalking it up to “insurgency,” and the violent protests will likely only continue to grow as such incidents continue to occur.

Winning Hearts and Minds in Kandahar

The U.S.-led ISAF coalition has telegraphed a June offensive in the province of Kandahar—governed by the excessively violent and corrupted Ahmed Wali Karzai, provincial council chief and brother of the Afghan president—with an escalated presence of S.O.F. soldiers within and massive repositioning of forces on the periphery, the NYT reports:

American and NATO officials are not eager to speak publicly about one of their biggest challenges: the effect of the continued presence of Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Afghan president’s brother and head of the Kandahar provincial council, whose suspected links with drug dealers and insurgents have prompted some Western officials to say that corruption and governance problems have led locals to be more accepting of the Taliban….

To shape the arrangement of allied forces ahead of the fight, conventional troops have begun operations outside of Kandahar, in a series of provincial districts that ring the city. American and allied officers predict heavy pockets of fighting in those belts….

The plan has echoes of the troop “surge” in Iraq, when additional American forces were sent to attack the insurgents who were operating in the belts outside the Iraqi capital, planning attacks, constructing roadside bombs and launching assaults.

Other similarities to Iraq include the plans to woo local tribal leaders in and around Kandahar, similar to the way soldiers and Marines in Anbar Province courted the tribal Sunni sheiks in Iraq to fight insurgents. The United States and its allies in the Afghan government will try to unite local tribal leaders in and around Kandahar to turn in Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. As in Iraq, officials said, the strategy will include monetary incentives in the form of economic development money for local leaders and tribal officials who support the government’s security efforts.

While the overt parts of the Kandahar offensive will begin in coming weeks—several dozen platoon and company-size outposts for American and allied forces have already been constructed in recent weeks along the approaches to Kandahar—military officials warn that securing the city could take months. Military commanders say their goal is to show concrete results by late summer or early fall, in advance of Ramadan and national parliamentary elections.

While the officials stressed that they will limit civilian casualties, an increase in operations will put more residents in the cross-fire. The fighting already under way in the province is putting at risk the sharp drop in civilian casualties that followed General McChrystal’s orders to strenuously avoid them. Recent episodes of civilian casualties, including an attack on a bus, have undermined trust for NATO operations.

Afghan officials are attempting to block the offensive, “warning that the alliance would have to guarantee that civilians would be protected in the offensive”, Mr. Ditz wrote yesterday. He adds the large February Marja invasion, “which “sold as the ‘test’ for the Kandahar strategy”, has thus far “yielded less than promising results“:

The goal of occupying the city and propping up some semblance of a government is still unfinished, even with the comparative advantage of Marja not being nearly as big a city as it was presented as.

Kandahar, by contrast, is an enormous city, and one with a population that has already had its fill of violence and occupation. The idea that a new violent occupation is going to solve the problems in the city seems farcical, but seems to be the only idea NATO has come up with.

The U.S.-led coalition’s response: have the C.I.A. drop 35-pound missiles instead of 100-pounders and propagandize a “handover” of Afghan provinces to the Afghan government that is “not calendar-driven” and has no plan of troop withdrawal.

People Want a Refund on the Terror Narrative

German troops have recently experienced intense blowback for civilian deaths, increasing the large two-thirds majority within Germany to withdraw from the occupied nation-state. “Faced with solid pubic opposition against the war in Afghanistan, Chancellor Angela Merkel told legislators Thursday that German troops were not yet going to withdraw from the country, but would remain there to prevent the spread of international terrorism,” Judy Dempsey reported at the NYT last week:

With two out of three Germans opposed to the war, according to a recent poll in Stern magazine, and with casualties increasing—seven soldiers were killed in the past three weeks—Mrs. Merkel had been criticized not only by her own conservative Christian Democrats, but also by the highly influential mass circulation Bild newspaper for failing to explain to the public why German troops are based in Afghanistan….

Her speech won some support from the opposition Social Democrats, who are in a quandary because when they were in government from 1999 to 2005, they supported sending troops to Afghanistan.

Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the Social Democrats whose grass roots are traditionally pacifist, is staunchly against Germany remaining in Afghanistan. He called for a an independent assessment that would determine whether the new U.S. counter-insurgency strategy would succeed.

Mrs. Merkel’s speech was roundly criticized by the Left Party, which has consistently called on the government to end its mission in Afghanistan.

After a large percentage of U.K. troops lost were killed during in the Helmand Surge led by the Obama Administration, resistance is growing for the mobilization to Kandahar. “A switch to Kandahar would risk undermining public support but a refusal to do so would risk alienating the Americans,” The Daily Telegraph in London reported last week.

The decision is “likely to be one of the first and most difficult decisions to be taken by the next prime minister following the May 6 election”, later adding:

British forces would face a tough urban fight in Kandahar and many fear casualty rates could exceed those in Helmand.

An Army planner warned: “It is a far more complex area. If we think the problems in Helmand are difficult then they are horribly magnified in Kandahar.”

Senior Foreign Office figures fear that moving to Kandahar would mean British troops remained in Afghanistan indefinitely whereas Helmand would leave open the possibility of an “exit strategy” being developed at relatively short notice should the situation in the country deteriorate.

The “centerpiece” of ISAF’s “political effort” to infiltrate the tribal organizations of mutual consultation—“shuras“—and bribe them with “government services and resources to districts“. To actually believe the juvenile fairy tale of ‘fighting terrorism’, a sheep has to believe that further corrupting the Afghan government is, at best, the stubborn display that American exceptionalists in the White House are slower at learning why 9/11 happened than Glenn Beck. Mr. Beck recently expressed that though “we” didn’t “deserve 9/11”, “we” weren’t “minding our own business”, but were “in bed with dictators and abandoning our principles”, conceding that “that causes problems”.

When the batshit-crazy one is making more sense than the man in charge, double-check your last will and grab your wallet.

Chan. Merkel’s claim the offensive is to “prevent the spread of international terrorism” is about as much of as lie as one can come up with, as there aren’t any significant international terrorism networks in Kandahar—or anywhere else in Afghanistan. The offensive into Kandahar is being highly publicized and therefore, the Taliban has been mobilizing militants, “planting bombs and plotting attacks as NATO and Afghan forces prepare for a summer showdown with insurgents, according to a Taliban commander with close ties to senior insurgent leaders“. The Taliban has neither the interest nor the means to participate in international terrorism to any significant degree.

Last year, on the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion, a statement was intercepted in which “the Taliban said their goal was ‘independence and establishment of an Islamic system’”, Todd Pittman reported at the Associated Press, adding:

“We did not have any agenda to harm other countries including Europe, nor we have such agenda today,” the group said. “Still, if you want to turn the country of the proud and pious Afghans into a colony, then know that we have an unwavering determination and have braced for a prolonged war.”

“We call on the American rulers and their allies of the coalition once again to put an end to the game of occupying Afghanistan and killing the Afghans under unsubstantiated pretexts,” the statement said.

“At the beginning, they were promising they will withdraw within three months, in their words, after eliminating the so-called terrorism,” the statement said, referring to U.S. forces. “Contrarily, today, eight years (later) … they have built up hundreds of military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

“We believed from day one that this is not a war between democracy and the so-called terrorism, but rather a war between the Western colonialism and the freedom-loving nationalist and Islamist forces,” the statement said.

The absurd notion of the Taliban being “freedom-loving” aside, their “nationalist” sentiments are very telling to the fact their agenda is not international. Their actions have been consistent with nationalism, not the false-flag illusion of ‘global jihad’. Remaining in Afghanistan literally fuels this fire of American aggression, hypocrisy and lies that creates terrorism.

“Signing up new recruits for the Afghan jihad isn’t hard,” Newsweek reports from a “senior Taliban operative”:

Uneducated, unemployed tribal youths, angry at the American presence in the region and at the increase in U.S. drone-missile attacks on suspected terrorists, are easy marks for Taliban propaganda. “You can find many youths who will be ready to go in 20 minutes,” says the operative. A Helmand district commander named Abdul Malik says the new recruits have bolstered the morale of local fighters: “Their presence gives us a big psychological boost.”

Remember the Brown People not in the White House Getting Slaughtered by the One Who Is?

Malalai Joya, a suspended member of the Afghan Parliament, wrote shortly before the Obama Adminsitration began the Afghan Surge injects steroids into the problems faced by the Afghan people, “squashed between two enemies: the U.S.-NATO occupation forces on one hand and warlords and the Taliban on the other”:

While we want the withdrawal of one enemy, we don’t believe it is a matter of choosing between two evils….

Transparency International reports that this regime is the second most corrupt in the world. The U.N. Development Programme reports Afghanistan is second last—181st out of 182 countries—in terms of human development. That is why we no longer want this kind of “help” from the west.

Like many around the world, I am wondering what kind of “peace” prize can be awarded to a leader who continues the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and starts a new war in Pakistan, all while supporting Israel?

The purpose of the Obama Administration’s sociopathic escalation of war and occupation, death and destruction in Afghanistan and Pakistan is clearly not in the interests of the Afghan people.

It is clearly not in the interest of “preventing the spread of international terrorism”, as the aggressive occupation is not a fight against, but exponentially greater, propaganda for recruiting terrorists who actually have the means to commit international terrorism. International terrorism is clearly defined in U.S. legal code as:

Activities that involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the U.S. or of any State; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping; and occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.

Shorty after 9/11, Professor Noam Chomsky gave a talk, in which he articulated: “We certainly want to reduce the level of terror, certainly not escalate it.  There is one easy way to do that and therefore it is never discussed. Namely stop participating in it.”

But that would, of course, only make sense if it were actually in the occupying powers’ interests.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LittleAlex, Dark Politricks RT. Dark Politricks RT said: RT @6dbl5321 Obama Escalates Int'l Terrorism Ahead of Offensive 2 'Prevent Int'l Terrorism' http://wp.me/pnWUd-2yD #afghanistan #tlot #p2 #l […]

  2. […] is what the strategy framers are reading as the Obama Administration escalates air strikes and night raids on the way into another large-scale offensive in the Afghan province of […]

  3. […] Like I said, nothing to do with ‘preventing international terrorism’. […]

  4. […] the Marja triumph, the U.S.-led forces were expected to assault the major city of Kandahar, where, according to a U.S. Army poll in April, the military operation is opposed by 95 percent of […]

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