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    Default Afghanistan mission a total failure

    Afghanistan mission a total failure

    THIS year the Australian Defence Force will pull out of Afghanistan's Oruzgan Province without having achieved the objectives for which it was sent. That means Australia's military operation in Afghanistan has failed. It is important to face this uncomfortable fact and learn from it what we can.

    Do not expect this from government, the opposition or the ADF. They will all keep saying our soldiers are coming home because their mission has been successfully achieved. That is simply false and they all know it to be false.
    We can understand why they keep claiming success nonetheless. There is the usual reluctance to pay the political price of admitting that any policy has failed. But admitting that this policy has failed is especially hard because it has cost, so far, the lives of 39 Australians, and terrible injuries to many more.

    Our military failure in Afghanistan is complex because our reasons for sending forces to Oruzgan have been complex. The simplest reason has been to deny Afghanistan to al-Qaeda, but this never made sense. Al-Qaeda was out of Afghanistan and sprouting elsewhere long before we went to Oruzgan. The more sophisticated reason was to make sure al-Qaeda didn't come back by defeating the Taliban insurgency and fostering a government in Kabul that was effective, stable, just and pro-Western.
    Instead, we leave Afghanistan with a deeply corrupt and incompetent government exercising little authority over most of the country and people it is supposed to govern, and no serious prospect that a better government will emerge. Meanwhile, the Taliban seems as strong as ever, and as we withdraw it could soon take back at least a share of the grip on the government in Kabul that it lost in the last weeks of 2001.

    There was never any reason to expect a better result. It was always a fantasy that Western military intervention could fundamentally transform Afghanistan's political and social fabric, which is what our objective presupposed.
    The fantasy was called Counterinsurgency, or COIN. Its advocates said that our forces could turn Afghanistan into the country we wanted it to be by fanning out among the people, winning their hearts and minds and building support for the regime in Kabul by providing security and aid programs.

    The formula has been tried in many places since the Western empires collapsed, and it has always failed, just as it has failed again now. Even 200,000 Western troops were far too few to make it work in Afghanistan, and even three times that number could do nothing to make the government in Kabul look good to the Afghan people.

    Yet again, COIN has stumbled on the inherent contradiction that lies at its heart. Any government that is too weak to win a counterinsurgency without massive outside help is too weak to be worth supporting.

    After this became clear a few years ago, the Western governments intervening in Afghanistan changed their story again. They stopped saying their aim was to transform the country themselves, and talked instead about training the Afghan army and police so that they could provide the security needed for the Afghans to build their country.

    The government was soon telling us that this was now the key mission for Australia's forces in Oruzgan, and also our exit pass. Once the Afghan forces in our province were trained enough to provide security, they argued, the ADF could leave. And this is the job they now say has been done successfully.

    This is nonsense. Despite years of hard and dangerous work, the Afghan security forces remain what they have always been: undermotivated, undertrained, underequipped and underfunded. Above all they are woefully led - especially at the higher levels.

    And how could it be otherwise? Even if we had succeeded in building strong Afghan forces, what would have been the point when there is no credible government for them to serve and support? The forces we are leaving behind in Oruzgan will do nothing to prevent the province sliding even deeper into the abyss once we are gone.

    Of course none of these failures are Australia's alone, because we have been part of an American-led coalition.

    And as many people understand, this is the real reason the government sent our forces to Afghanistan and have kept them there - to support our ally. And the real reason we are leaving is that they are leaving.

    But they are leaving not just because they are sick of the war and no longer believe it can be ''won''. They are leaving because they have new strategic priorities - especially in Asia. And here is the final source of our failure in Afghanistan. We sent forces there to bolster our alliance with the US, just as we have been sending them to every American conflict in the Middle East for decades. We did that because when Asia was at peace this was what America expected of us.

    But now all that is changing. America no longer cares much what we have done in Afghanistan, because it now sees China as its biggest strategic challenge. Today it judges Australia's worth as an ally by the support we provide it against China - politically as the two giants jockey for influence, and militarily if they come to blows. The depth of our failure in Afghanistan is that our service and sacrifice there has already become irrelevant to the alliance it was supposed to support. Even tougher tests lie ahead.

    Hugh White is professor of strategic studies at ANU's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.


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    Talks with Taliban


    7th October 2001: United States refused to negotiate with Afghan Taliban's government and launched Operation Enduring Freedom, which was to defeat the Taliban and set up a new Afghan government. Troops from 43 countries supported United States in this mission.


    June 2013, Doha Qatar - Guess what? The world's most organized army, equipped with most sophisticated weapons and furious war machinery is going to hold negotiations with the dispersed, highly unorganized and inadequately equipped group resisting against troops of 43 countries, The Afghan Taliban.

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    Afghanistan Mineral Wealth May Be Greater Than Estimated: $3 Trillion


    KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan is gearing up to award contracts to mine one the world's largest iron ore deposits buried in a peaceful province of the war-torn nation that has at least $3 trillion in untapped minerals, the country's top mining official said Thursday.

    Geologists have known for decades about Afghanistan's vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized minerals, but a U.S. Department of Defense briefing earlier this week put a startling, nearly $1 trillion price tag on the reserves.

    Afghanistan's Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani called that a conservative estimate. He said he's seen geological assessments and industry reports estimating the nation's mineral wealth at $3 trillion or more.

    For Afghanistan, a violent, landlocked country with virtually no exports, it is a potential windfall, although formidable obstacles remain including lack of investment, infrastructure and adequate security in most of the nation.

    "The ministry has been working closely with the international organizations, including the World Bank, the U.S. Geological Survey and the international mining and finance community for some time to ensure all of the Afghan people benefit from our rich natural resources for decades to come," he said.

    Shahrani plans to travel to Britain next week to present 200 foreign businessmen with information about the estimated 2 billion tons of iron ore at Hajigak in Bamiyan province, where the Taliban and other insurgents have no significant presence. The project is to be bid on this fall with contracts awarded late this year or early next year, he said.

    Critics of the war in Afghanistan have been skeptical that the dollar amount of the country's untapped minerals was being promoted at a time when violence is on the upswing and the international community is hungry for positive developments in the nearly 9-year-old war.

    They argue that if impoverished Afghanistan is seen as having a bright economic future, it could help foreign governments persuade their war-fatigued publics that securing the country is worth the fight and loss of troops.

    But Shahrani insisted that the release of the information, first reported earlier this week by The New York Times, followed months of work to assess the mineral deposits, sometimes with the aid of data compiled by the former Soviet Union when it was fighting in Afghanistan.

    A. Rahman Ashraf, senior adviser to the minister of mines, said that during decades of conflict, an Afghan geologist safeguarded data about the mineral reserves at home. He said the geologist, who has died, gave the information back to the government in 2002 and that since then, it has been used to help make modern assessments of the deposits.

    Shahrani said the Ministry of Mines and the U.S. Geological Survey had been sharing information for months.

    "We were just waiting for the exchange of information from Washington to Kabul," Shahrani said.

    Shahrani added that the ministry recently completed a business plan to restructure, reform and modernize the ministry and improve oversight to international standards. He said those efforts coupled with new minerals and hydrocarbon laws will work to improve the transparency and efficiency of mining in the nation.

    Still, without increased security and massive investment to mine and transport the minerals, it could take years for Afghanistan to bank the rewards. A rail line, for instance, is needed before any iron ore could be transported from Bamiyan. And there's always the potential that such a discovery could bring unintended consequences, such as corruption and competition among nations for access to the resources.

    In November, two U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports alleged that Afghanistan's former minister of mines, Mohammad Ibrahim Adel, accepted $20 million after a $3 billion contract to mine copper was awarded in late 2007 to China Metallurgical Group Corp. The former minister has denied having taken any bribes and said the contract went through all legal channels.

    Aynak, a former al-Qaida stronghold 21 miles (35 kilometers) southeast of Kabul, is thought to hold one of the world's largest unexploited copper reserves. Mining the copper could produce 4,000 to 5,000 Afghan jobs in the next five years and hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the government treasury, Shahrani said.

    Craig Andrews, a lead mining specialist for the World Bank, said Aynak was expected to start producing copper within two to three years. Production of iron ore at Hajigak could begin in five to seven years, and possibly sooner, he said.

    Andrews noted that studies show that every mining job creates five to 10 other jobs.

    "Clearly, these mines will have a huge economic stimulus effect on not only the national economy, but the region in which they are located in," Andrews said. "I think when people have jobs and they have an income, they have a stake in the future and the future does not include insecurity. I think once the communities are anchored in an economy that gives them jobs money and income they would be less inclined to support the Taliban or other insurgent groups."

    He said the government, however, must guard against raising the expectations of the Afghan public.

    Otherwise, "people are going to go off and pick up a rock and think that they can go to the bank," he said. "Unfortunately the business doesn't operate that way. It takes a lot longer."



    This is the REAL reason for wanting to go there and staying there. This and the setting up that oil pipeline through it.

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    Recent US Airstrikes Kill 22 Afghan Civilians, Mostly Women And Children

    The U.N. mission in Afghanistan expressed "grave concern" at the violence in Helmand, saying its initial inquiries suggest the airstrikes killed at least 18 civilians, "nearly all women and children."

    By AP | February 13, 2017

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (REPORT) — Afghan officials and local residents said Sunday that 22 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed during a joint operation carried out by U.S. and Afghan forces last week in the southern Helmand province.

    The presidential envoy for security in Helmand, Jabar Qahraman, said the raid against Taliban insurgents in the Sangin district killed 13 people from one family and nine from another.

    “We are saddened to hear the news of civilians being killed,” he said. “When the Taliban use civilians as their shield against security forces, such incidents occur.”

    U.S. Navy Cpt. Bill Salvin, a military spokesman, said “we are working diligently to determine whether civilians were killed or injured as a result of U.S. airstrikes” carried out to support Afghan forces in and around Sangin. The investigation is “continuing and has not reached any conclusions,” he added in a written statement.

    The U.N. mission in Afghanistan meanwhile expressed “grave concern” at the violence in Helmand, saying its initial inquiries suggest airstrikes by international forces killed at least 18 civilians, “nearly all women and children.”

    Hameed Gul, a local resident, said he lost nine members of his family, including his mother and sister, in Thursday’s raid. “It’s all lie that they were attacking the Taliban,” he told The Associated Press in the Helmand provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, where he was staying at the time of the raid.

    Kareem Atal, the head of the provincial council in Helmand, said a man, two women and two children who were wounded in the raid have been brought to Lashkar Gah for treatment.

    Helmand has seen months of heavy fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban, who have repeatedly attacked Lashkar Gah. A suicide bomber targeting soldiers in the city on Saturday killed at least seven people.

    The Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan since the U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, leaving a smaller contingent of troops behind to focus on training and counterterrorism.


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    Biggest Terrorism

    They are claiming they dropped it on tunnels with ISIS members in it. What they are not telling is that they dropped it on Achin district with a population of 90,000. This bomb has an destruction radius of 1 mile in every direction. So did they just kill 90,000 Afghan Muslims?!

    Also, a thing to note is that Russia, China, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan were having a meeting in Afghanistan at this time on developing peace in the region.

    Here's Trump being very proud of it - https://www.facebook.com/doamuslims/...8425267871703/

    U.S. Tests Biggest Bomb by Dropping it on Afghanistan

    U.S. drops "mother of all bombs" in Afghanistan, marking weapon's first use

    April 13, 2017

    Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon

    The U.S. dropped a bomb containing 11 tons of explosives on a cave complex
    used by the Afghanistan branch of (ISIS) along the border with Pakistan on Thursday, the Pentagon said.

    The bomb is officially called a GBU-43 or Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), the origin of its nickname as the
    mother of all bombs.” The weapon is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat.

    The strike had been in the works for a number of months, dating back to the Obama administration, CBS News correspondent David Martin reports. The weapon was brought into Afghanistan specifically for Thursday’s mission.

    At the White House, President Trump called the mission “another very, very successful mission.” Asked if he personally authorized the strike, Mr. Trump said “everybody knows exactly what happened.”

    “What I do is I authorize my military,” Mr. Trump said. “We have the greatest military in the world and they’ve done a job, as usual. So, we have given them total authorization. And that’s what they’re doing.”

    Earlier at the daily White House briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer declined to say whether Mr. Trump had personally authorized the use of the weapon.

    Spicer said that the strike targeted a “system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely.” He said the U.S. “took all precautions necessary” to minimize civilian casualties.

    General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, sought and obtained permission to use the MOAB, but it’s unclear how far up the chain of command his request traveled, Martin reports.

    U.S. officials estimate there are approximately 800 ISIS fighters in Nangarhar province, down from a high of 2,000 since the group first gained a foothold in the area in 2015, NPR reported.

    In a statement, the U.S. command in Afghanistan said the strike was “designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities,” using the term for ISIS’s Afghan contingent.

    The U.S. military debuted the 21,600-lb. MOAB during a test in Florida shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
    The test was intended to demonstrate the “enormous incentive” Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had to relinquish power and “spare the world a conflict,” then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the time.

    The cloud of debris from the ensuing explosion in the 2003 test was visible from more than 20 miles away
    , according to the Air Force. U.S. and coalition forces invaded Iraq nine days later, and a MOAB was deployed to the region on April 1, 2003, but never used.


    Here's How A 21,000-Pound Bomb Would Affect Your City

    By Natasha Bertrand - April 13, 2017

    An online simulator called HYDESim, which stands for High-Yield Detonation Effects Simulator, "maps overpressure radii generated by a ground-level detonation."

    "These radii are an indicator of structural damage to buildings," the simulator says.

    Here's how the MOAB would affect New York City, based on the HYDESim's estimate of its explosive yield. (The exact yield is classified.)

    Based on the simulator's calculations, the effects of the bomb would be felt as far as a mile in each direction, and "most glass surfaces, such as windows, will shatter ... some with enough force to cause injury," according to the simulator.

    By contrast, the US's most powerful nuclear bomb — the B83, with a 1.2 megaton maximum yield — would have a blast radius of nearly 20 miles.

    Here's how the MOAB would affect Los Angeles:

    And London:

    Watch footage of the MOAB being tested: http://viewpure.com/i9H50tHiHjs?start=0&end=0


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    Video of the Bomb Impact

    The video shows the moment the bomb impacts and explodes.

    video 1: http://viewpure.com/On0RAXuZ1Ks?start=0&end=0
    video 2: http://viewpure.com/DaHT89K_Fls?start=0&end=0

    US Misused Afghanistan as Testing Ground for Dangerous Weapons: Hamid Karzai


    Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai said that US has misused Afghanistan as a testing ground for new and dangerous weapons.

    He has condemned the dropping of Non-Nuclear bomb by US in Afghanistan.

    Last evening US dropped the ‘mother of all bombs’, one of the largest non-nuclear devices ever unleashed in combat in Afghanistan in Nanghar area.


    CAGE accuses US of using Afghanistan as "testing ground" for new weaponry

    14th April 2017

    The dropping of the largest non-nuclear weapon on Afghanistan by the United States is evidence that the Trump administration is using Afghanistan as a live human experimental field for its weaponry, according to advocacy group CAGE.

    The bomb, which has a mile-long radius and is capable of massive devastation including obliteration, crushed internal organs, bleeding ears and loss of hearing, massive shockwaves, and huge environmental and infrastructure damage, was dropped on the orders of Army Gen. John Nicholson on Thursday.

    Moazzam Begg, CAGE outreach director, said: "This is not the first time the US has dropped the closest conventional bomb to nuclear weapons. I witnessed US planes drop 15,000 lbs 'daisy cutter' bombs in Afghanistan in 2001. It was mass killing mastered to an American art.

    "This bombing was ordered by an army general who did not need direct authorisation from the executive. With Trump also signing off responsibility for drone strikes to the CIA and reducing the necessary checks to prevent civilian casualties, the United States is now openly bombing with no public oversight, a new level of arrogance as a military state. More of this will not bring peace.

    "We do not trust United States assurances that they have minimised civilian casualties. Already the US coalition has killed nearly 2000 civilians in Iraq and Syria. Such actions do nothing to win support and rather will perpetuate a cycle of violence that has now lasted 16 years and killed over 220,000 Afghans."

    Meanwhile, the top US military commander in Afghanistan has said the decision to use the bomb in the country was based purely on tactical considerations.

    Gen John Nicholson said the most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever used by the US in combat had been the right weapon to target a suspected ISIS base in Nangarhar province. A 300m long network of tunnels and caves was destroyed, he said.

    About 36 suspected ISIS fighters were killed, according to Afghan officials, but ISIS has denied suffering any casualties.

    Known as the "mother of all bombs", or MOAB, the device was dropped on Thursday evening by an MC-130 transport plane, falling in Nangarhar's Achin district. Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah said the attack had been carried out in co-ordination with his government and "great care had been taken to avoid civilian harm."

    "The enemy had created bunkers, tunnels and extensive mine fields, and this weapon was used to reduce those obstacles so that we could continue our offensive in southern Nangarhar," said Gen Nicholson. US and Afghan forces at the site saw "no evidence of civilian casualties", he added. US President Donald Trump called the strike "another successful job."



    There were casualties, over 100 casualties are being reported by the media in the East. Then there is structural damage as far away as Pakistan's towns on the border getting hospitals, buildings, and schools damaged by the shockwave.

    Not just the USA, not just this once, but other western countries also have been testing their new bombs on Muslim countries for decades, and now even Russia is at in Syria.
    Last edited by islamirama; Jul-2-2017 at 02:14 PM.

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    Afghanistan Sits on $1 Trillion in Minerals

    Sep 5 2014

    clockwise from top, praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium and gadolinium.

    Despite being one of the poorest nations in the world, Afghanistan may be sitting on one of the richest troves of minerals in the world, valued at nearly $1 trillion, scientists say.

    Afghanistan, a country nearly the size of Texas, is loaded with minerals deposited by the violent collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. The U.S. Geological Survey began inspecting what mineral resources Afghanistan had after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power in the country in 2004.

    In 2006, U.S. researchers flew airborne missions to conduct magnetic, gravity and hyperspectral surveys over Afghanistan. [Infographic: Facts About Rare Earth Minerals]

    The aerial surveys determined that Afghanistan may hold 60 million tons of copper, 2.2 billion tons of iron ore, 1.4 million tons of rare earth elements such as lanthanum, cerium and neodymium, and lodes of aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury and lithium. For instance, the Khanneshin carbonatite deposit in Afghanistan's Helmand province is valued at $89 billion, full as it is with rare earth elements.

    "Afghanistan is a country that is very, very rich in mineral resources," geologist Jack Medlin, program manager of the USGS Afghanistan project, told LiveScience. The scientists' work was detailed in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal Science.

    In 2010, the USGS data attracted the attention of the U.S. Department of Defense's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, which is entrusted with rebuilding Afghanistan. The task force valued Afghanistan's mineral resources at $908 billion, while the Afghan government's estimate is $3 trillion.

    Over the past four years, USGS and TFBSO have embarked on dozens of excursions to confirm the aerial findings, resulting in what are essentially treasure maps for mining companies.

    The Afghan government has already signed a 30-year, $3 billion contract with the China Metallurgical Group, a state-owned mining enterprise based in Beijing, to exploit the Mes Aynak copper deposit, and awarded mining rights for the country's biggest iron deposit to a group of Indian state-run and private companies.


    Afghanistan sitting on a gold mine

    The USGS estimates there are about 700 billion cubic metres of gas and 300 million tonnes of oil across several northern provinces.

    February 21, 2008

    Afghanistan is sitting on a wealth of mineral reserves -- perhaps the richest in the region
    -- that offer hope for a country mired in poverty after decades of war, the mining minister says.

    Significant deposits of copper, iron, gold, oil and gas, and coal -- as well as precious gems such as emeralds and rubies
    -- are largely untapped and still being mapped, Mohammad Ibrahim Adel told AFP.

    And they promise prosperity for one of the world's poorest countries, the minister said, dismissing concerns that a Taliban-led insurgency may thwart efforts to unearth this treasure.

    Already in the pipeline is the exploitation of a massive copper deposit -- one of the biggest in the world -- about 30 kilometres (20 miles) east of Kabul.

    "There has not been such a big project in the history of Afghanistan," Adel said.

    A 30-year lease for the Aynak copper mine was in November offered to the China Metallurgical Group Corporation and the contract is being finalised.

    "It is estimated that the Aynak deposit has more than 11 million tonnes (of copper)," he said, citing 1960s surveys by the Soviet Union and a new study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

    "With today's prices, it contains an 88-billion-dollar deposit," he said.

    The mine is expected to bring the government 400 million dollars annually in fees and taxes, Adel said.

    That is on top of an 800-million-dollar downpayment from the developer who has also committed to build a railway line, a power plant and a village for workers, complete with schools, clinics and roads.

    About 5,000 jobs will be created and mining is expected to start in five years. "Up to 40 percent of the income will pour into our pockets," Adel said.

    The colossal Aynak project represents, however, only a fraction of Afghanistan's unexploited resources, he said. The scale of the deposits is still being charted.

    The USGS is carrying out a nationwide survey of mineral wealth and oil and gas deposits that is expected to be completed in a year, Adel said.

    Studies of only 10 percent of the country have discovered abundant deposits of copper, iron, zinc, lead, gold, silver, gems, salt, marble and coal,
    the ministry says.

    The USGS estimates there are about 700 billion cubic metres of gas and 300 million tonnes of oil across several northern provinces.

    A Soviet survey estimated there are more than two billion tonnes of iron reserves, the ministry says.

    One of the best known iron deposits is at Haji Gak, 90 kilometres west of Kabul.

    "If everything goes as we desire, Haji Gak requires two to three billion dollars' investment," said the minister.

    "Another 100 million to 1.5 billion dollars is needed to explore the gas and oil mines."

    The government plans to offer more projects for private sector tender next year, Adel said.

    There is already some mining underway such as ad hoc emerald extraction in the Panjshir valley region northeast of Kabul, where dynamite is used to blow gems out of the ground.

    And the ministry has handed two coal mines to private Afghan companies, although they lack standard equipment.

    The Aynak contract will be a model for others, with developers expected to put in basic infrastructure as Afghanistan's power grid is weak and its transport network limited.

    There is also the challenge of the insurgency, which overshadows development and has made many areas off-limits to foreign companies.

    Writer and analyst Waheed Mujda warned there could be no mining in Taliban-held areas, which are mostly in the south, without the permission of the Islamic extremists.

    "Any kind of agreement with Taliban will have to involve money and that money obviously would finance the insurgency in part," Mujda told AFP.

    But Adel is not concerned. "We can provide security for mining sites simply by hiring a private security company," he said.

    Most of the deposits that have been discovered are in the relatively stable north. There are, however, uranium reserves in the southern province of Helmand, one of the worst for Taliban attacks, the minister said.

    The minister's sights are firmly set on mining bringing his impoverished country a brighter future.

    "In five years' time Afghanistan will not need the world's aid money," he said. "In 10 years Afghanistan will be the richest country in the region."


    Afghanistan is ranked as one of the world's most corrupt countries by Transparency International, a Berlin-based monitoring agency.
    - VOA, Feb.20, 2008

    The site for the mine at Aynak, 60 km southeast of Kabul contains the world's second-biggest unexploited copper deposit with the potential to generate revenue of $1.4 billion a year. Of greatest danger is the threat of toxic waste which has led to environmental damage around copper mines in several countries.
    - Reuters, Dec.12, 2007


    Let's not forget the drugs. Their fight for GOD wouldn't be complete without it. Gold Oil Drugs

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    Massive Kabul Bombing Follows Reports of U.S. Plan to Escalate Afghanistan Involvement in Year 16

    A bomb hidden in a water truck has killed at least 80 people and injured more than 360 others in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, reports say. At least seven American citizens are known to have been injured in the blast. Both the Taliban and ISIS operate in Afghanistan, but neither has of yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

    The bombing, Afghanistan's most deadly terror attack since July, took place between the embassies of Germany and Turkey in a heavily patrolled area of the capital.

    Top Trump administration officials reportedly recommended in early May that the United States send between 3,000 and 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan to supplement the 8,400 who are already there. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001; by one count, 2,396 American service members have been killed in ensuing operations.

    National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who has been described as the "driving force" behind the the recommendation to increase troop levels, once wrote a book that condemned the military leaders whose conduct created the U.S.'s tragic quagmire in Vietnam.


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    Trump Finds Reason for the U.S. to Remain in Afghanistan: Minerals


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    Trump Considers Prolonging Afghan War to Secure $1 Trillion in Untapped Mineral Deposits

    StoryAugust 03, 2017

    On Wednesday, two U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan after a suicide car bomber rammed a NATO-led convoy near a major U.S. base in Kandahar. The attack came a day after at least 33 worshipers died when suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in the city of Herat. The self-proclaimed Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The latest round of violence comes as The New York Times reports that Trump may have found a reason to prolong the nearly 16-year-old war: Afghanistan’s untapped mineral deposits, which could be worth nearly $1 trillion. Trump reportedly discussed Afghanistan’s vast deposits of minerals with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and is considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials. We speak with Jodi Vittori, senior policy adviser for Global Witness on Afghanistan policy. Jodi spent 20 years in the U.S. military, where she served in several countries, including Afghanistan. She has received numerous military awards, including two Bronze Stars. We also speak with Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.


    This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

    We turn now to Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history. On Wednesday, two U.S. soldiers died after a suicide car bomber rammed a NATO-led convoy near a major U.S. military base in Kandahar. The attack came a day after at least 33 Afghan worshipers died when suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in the city of Herat. The dead included the father of an Afghan teenage girl who made international headlines recently when she took part in a robotics competition in the United States. The self-proclaimed Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. is intensifying its air war in Afghanistan. During the month of June, the U.S. carried out 389 airstrikes—the highest monthly total in five years. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is seeking to send another 4,000 U.S. troops to join the 8,700 currently in Afghanistan.

    This comes as The New York Times reports Trump may have found a reason to prolong the nearly 16-year war: Afghanistan’s untapped mineral deposits, which could be worth nearly a trillion dollars. Trump is being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan in a bid to exploit the country’s mineral wealth. The Times reports Trump discussed Afghanistan’s vast deposits of metals and rare earth metals with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and is reportedly considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials.

    We’re joined now by two guests. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, she has made many trips to Afghanistan, including one earlier this year, has twice been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Jodi Vittori is a senior policy adviser for Global Witness on Afghanistan policy. She’s joining us from Washington, D.C.

    Kathy Kelly, let’s begin with you. The casualties only continue to mount. Your response to what’s happening in Afghanistan right now?

    Well, it seems that the United States has been exacerbating a war that seems unlikely to change, even if the United States sends 4,000 or many more than that number of troops over to Afghanistan. When they had 100,000 troops, they weren’t able to substantially change the direction, which now has the Afghan government in charge of 60 percent of the districts within Afghanistan, and the Taliban and other warlords in charge of 40 percent of the districts but also commandeering many of the roadways that lead into major cities.

    I wanted to turn to an interview, when Bill O’Reilly was still on Fox News. It’s an interview with President Trump, who said the U.S. should have taken Iraq’s oil. Even though he was opposed, he said, to the war in Iraq, once the U.S. was in there, it shouldn’t have left until it took Iraq’s oil, following the 2003 invasion.

    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I always said take the oil. If you would have taken the oil, there would be no ISIS, because they used that to fuel their growth.
    BILL O’REILLY: But if you—if you took the oil, the Iraqi oil, you would have to put in U.S. troops to do that, and then that would have started another round of it.
    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And you would have made a lot of money with the oil, and you would have had assets. And to the victor belong the spoils and all of that. But forget that.
    AMY GOODMAN: So, that might be very instructive, Jodi Vittori—you’re a former military soldier—when looking at what President Trump’s intentions are for Afghanistan right now. The New York Times reporting Trump is being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan in a bid to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral wealth. Can you explain what you found?

    Sure. It’s a troubling parallel to the 2012 reports that you just noted out when it comes to Iraq and oil. In the case of Afghanistan, a report this morning that President Trump is deeply troubled that he—he acknowledges that the United States is not winning in Afghanistan. He doesn’t like the strategy that his generals have given him from his national security staff. And for some reason he has leaned towards this sort of vague plan put forward by the head of the private security company DynCorp, Stephen Feinberg, who was a major campaign contributor to the Trump campaign, that somehow the United States would come in, they would send—DynCorp would send in their private security forces, that would somehow control these mining areas, including areas with the mineral lithium in it, which is important for our cellphone batteries and so forth, and somehow extract that, secure it so that other companies could extract that, and—it’s unclear—apparently, take that money to pay back the United States for the invasion of Afghanistan. Obviously, troubling on a conflict of interest level, an ethics level, a human rights, social level. And, frankly, it’s just completely impractical, as well.

    Kathy Kelly, when you hear this and read this piece in the Times about exploiting Afghanistan for its mineral wealth, and hearing the previous comment about President Trump, even if he says he was supposed to the war in Iraq, "Once you’re there, take their oil," your thoughts?


    I think it’s repugnant.

    Let’s get Kathy Kelly’s response and then yours, Jodi.

    Well, that it’s repugnant for the United States to believe that we somehow should be able to subordinate the rights and the hopes and the possibilities for another country to serve our national interest. We have no right whatsoever to take over resources in Afghanistan. And we’ve already caused so much death and destruction. We should be paying reparations for that.

    AMY GOODMAN: And, Jodi Vittori, can you talk about the mineral industry and who’s currently benefiting from it in Afghanistan, in the midst of this longest war in U. S. history?

    JODI VITTORI: Certainly. In 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that Afghanistan, at the time, had up to $1 trillion in minerals in reserve under the ground there. Not all of that would be able to be pulled out economically, and that was at a time when these mineral prices were at their high point. That estimate is certainly not accurate now. Afghanistan is awash in minerals. Just its geography is incredible when it comes to minerals, and possibly natural gas, as well.

    But right now, those who are benefiting seem to be primarily groups like the Taliban and groups like the various warlords and corrupt politicians in the country. What we don’t see is the Afghan people normally getting a benefit from this mining. There is actually a tremendous amount of mining in Afghanistan. The German development agency GIZ estimates that about 3 to 6 percent of the population is involved in mining or its upstream or downstream activities. And yet, at the same time, a lot of that is really going into the hands of nefarious characters. The United Nations has estimated that, after narcotics trafficking, the second-largest source of revenue for the Taliban is illegal mining and coring in Afghanistan. And Global Witness has done reports, for example, on the role that lapis plays, both in the hands of illegal armed groups, various corrupt officials in patronage networks and the Taliban itself. So, it’s very, very troubling in the country.

    AMY GOODMAN: This is Part 1 of our discussion. We’ll post the rest at democracynow. org. Jodi Vittori, thanks for joining us, from Global Witness on Afghanistan policy, formerly served in South Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq and other places. And, Kathy Kelly, thanks for joining us, as well.



    Will the U.S. War in Afghanistan Ever End? A Discussion with Kathy Kelly & Jodi Vittori


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    Trump White House weighs unprecedented plan to privatize much of the war in Afghanistan

    Aug. 8, 2017

    The White House is actively considering a bold plan to turn over a big chunk of the U.S. war in Afghanistan to private contractors in an effort to turn the tide in a stalemated war, according to the former head of a security firm pushing the project.

    Under the proposal, 5,500 private contractors, primarily former Special Operations troops, would advise Afghan combat forces. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support in the nearly 16-year-old war against Taliban insurgents, Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm, told USA TODAY.

    The unprecedented proposal comes as the U.S.-backed Afghan military faces a stalemate in the war and growing frustration by President Trump about the lack of progress in the war.

    The U.S. military has 8,400 U.S. troops there to train and guide local forces. They do not have a direct combat role, and presumably would be replaced gradually by the contractors.

    The plan remains under serious consideration within the White House despite misgivings by Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Other White House officials, such as chief strategist Stephen Bannon, appear open to using private contractors.

    “At what point do you say a conventional military approach in Afghanistan is not working,” said Prince, a former Navy SEAL. “Maybe we say that at 16 years.”

    Blackwater, founded 1997, worked extensively in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prince sold the company in 2010.

    The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

    Prince said the plan will cost less than $10 billion a year, significantly lower than the more than $40 billion the Pentagon has budgeted this year.

    The prospect of accomplishing more with less money could appeal to a career businessman like Trump.

    Prince, who has met frequently with administration officials to discuss his plan, is the brother of Trump's education secretary, Betsy Devos.

    Under his proposal, private advisers would work directly with Afghanistan combat battalions throughout the country, and the air force would be used for medical evacuation, fire support and ferrying troops.

    Prince said the contractors would be “adjuncts” of the Afghan military and would wear that nation’s military uniforms. Pilots would only drop ordnance with Afghan government approval, he said.

    Currently, troops from a U.S.-led coalition are stationed primarily at top level headquarters and are not embedded with conventional combat units in the field. Under the plan the contractors would be embedded with Afghanistan's more than 90 combat battalions throughout the country.

    The coalition sharply curtailed air support it provides Afghanistan forces by 2014, when government forces took over most war-fighting responsibilities, leaving major gaps in the Afghan military's ability to provide air support.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged this week that the White House is looking for a new strategy to bring America's longest war to an end.

    “To just say we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing, the president is not willing to accept that, and so he is asking some tough questions,” Tillerson said Monday in Manila during an Asia trip.

    U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to oust a government run by Taliban extremists who provided safe haven to al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

    The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, has recommended that several thousand more troops be deployed to Afghanistan, primarily to bolster the advisory mission and help turn the tide against the Taliban.

    Mattis has indicated he doesn’t want to make a decision on troop levels until an overall strategy has been approved. But the way forward is still under debate at the White House.

    “The president doesn’t own the Afghan effort yet,” Prince said of a war that frustrated Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “He’s about to (with) whatever decision he makes next.”

    Prince rejects criticism that he and others would profit from it. He said it would represent a cost savings for American taxpayers. “The idea of innovation and risk taking is certainly part of America,” he said.

    Blackwater has attracted controversy under Prince's leadership. In 2007, four Blackwater security personnel were accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. Last week an appeals court overturned a murder conviction for one of the guards and ordered the other three to be re-sentenced.

    Blackwater was renamed Xe Services two years after the incident that sparked international outrage. The privately owned company is now Academi.

    Tens of thousands of contractors were used in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater was hired to protect American diplomats in Iraq, while other contractors were used in support functions, such as providing food and supplies to U.S. troops. The U.S. military rarely deploys anywhere now without a contingent of contractors.

    A close parallel to Prince's proposal in U.S. history may be the Flying Tigers, a group formed before the United States entered World War II. The Flying Tigers were formed covertly from the ranks of U.S. military pilots, who resigned from the service and were hired by a private contractor and sent to China to defend against Japanese aggression.


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    Donald Trump’s New Afghanistan Plan Promises More Killing — And Little Else

    President Donald Trump was set to announce an escalation of 4,000 troops in Afghanistan during a primetime address Monday night, where he planned to clarify his policy on the 16-year war he inherited from the two previous presidents.

    Trump, however, did neither. His audience was left with nothing but excuses and contradictions. Trump refused to say how many troops he was sending, or set any goals or timetables for withdrawal. “We are not nation-building again,” he stressed, boasting that “we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us.”

    Amid all the contradictions, though, Trump did make one aspect of his policy absolutely clear: The U.S. would kill more people in Afghanistan. “We are killing terrorists,” he said. “Retribution will be fast and powerful as we lift restrictions and expand authorities.”

    Trump has already expanded U.S. bombing campaigns throughout the Middle East, authorizing drone strikes at five times the rate of his predecessor, Barack Obama. Civilian casualties in the war against the Islamic State are on track to double under Trump, according to research by Airwars, which tracks coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.

    But in Afghanistan, Trump’s plan for more killing — and little else — ignores a crucial point: The frenzied pace of killing under the Bush administration was what led to a nearly defeated Taliban’s resurgence, bogging the U.S. down in an endless war. Trump is either forgetting the mistakes of recent U.S. history in Afghanistan or, worse, he simply doesn’t care.

    In Washington, the oft-heard explanation for how the U.S. became mired in a permanent Afghanistan war centers on resources. Starting in 2003, the war in Iraq diverted troops and much-needed expertise away from Central and South Asia, allowing the Taliban to resurface as a military force.

    But in his book “No Good Men Among The Living: America, the Taliban. and the War Through Afghan Eyes,” war correspondent Anand Gopal offers a much simpler explanation: The bloodlust of the Bush administration led to the resurgence of armed resistance.

    Gopal meticulously documents how U.S. forces — driven by the Bush administration’s desire to kill terrorists and fill cells in Guantánamo Bay — mistakenly left a trail of dead or imprisoned business owners, community leaders, and even officials in the U.S.-backed government. Meanwhile, the Taliban, which saw a complete military collapse in 2001, was rapidly gathering public support and new members.

    Along with the U.S. wars in the Middle East and Africa, casualties from U.S. airpower in Afghanistan have also been steadily increasing. Earlier this summer, a U.N. report showed a 43 percent increase in civilian casualties from U.S. and Afghan airstrikes. Local officials have accused the U.S. of bombing indiscriminately in civilian areas.

    In April, the Trump administration dropped the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan — a weapon the U.S. had never used before due to civilian casualty concerns — then declined to conduct a damage assessment.

    Trump’s policy should come as no surprise. Throughout his presidential campaign, he made little secret of his plan to increase civilian casualties, at one point saying that he wanted the U.S. to intentionally kill terrorists’ family members.

    “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” Trump said on the campaign trail. “When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.”

    Trump may not care about what other presidents’ reckless war policies wrought in Afghanistan, but he certainly seems to understand what he’s trying to accomplish.


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    Taliban responds to Trump's Afghan strategy

    Armed group warns that the US president is wasting soldiers' lives by sending thousands more troops to the country.

    The Afghan Taliban has warned Donald Trump is "wasting" American soldiers' lives after the US president approved sending thousands more troops to the war-ravaged country.

    Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Afghanistan would become a "graveyard" for the US on Tuesday after dismissing Trump's strategy as vague and offering "nothing new".

    "If America doesn't withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, soon Afghanistan will become another graveyard for this superpower in the 21st century," he said.

    In his first formal address to the US as commander-in-chief, Trump backtracked from his election pledge to end the US' longest war that has dragged on for nearly 16 years.

    Since taking office in January, Trump said he has realised that withdrawing could create a vacuum for groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) to exploit.

    Though his speech was billed as an announcement of his updated Afghanistan policy, Trump offered few specific details.

    He did not, for example, provide a number of the additional troops that would be sent to the war.

    The US currently has around 8,400 troops in the country, down from a peak of about 100,000 troops in 2010 and 2011, with around 5,000 from NATO allies assisting a much larger Afghan force in the war against the Taliban and other armed groups.

    A senior Taliban commander told the AFP news agency that Trump was perpetuating the "arrogant behaviour" of previous US presidents, such as George Bush.

    "He is just wasting American soldiers. We know how to defend our country. It will not change anything.

    "For generations, we have fought this war, we are not scared, we are fresh, and we will continue this war until our last breath."

    Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse, reporting from the Afghan capital Kabul, said the Taliban was taking a very hard line to the president's speech.

    "The Taliban has made it clear they're committed to continue fighting the enemy and are in turn giving the US latitude to do so.

    "Both President Bush and Obama said they would take the fight to the Taliban ... but it remains to be seen whether Trump's plan can yield any different results.

    "The Afghan government has been very bullish on the new strategy, but since we don't know the specifics, we don't know what Trump plans to do differently."

    The war in Afghanistan, which began on October 7, 2001, after the September 11 attacks, has claimed the lives of more than 2,200 US troops and cost more than $800bn.

    There is no official figure of the number of Afghan civilians killed, but estimates range between 25,000-30,000. According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), at least 1,662 civilians were killed between January 1 and June 30 this year.

    While Trump has refused to offer detailed figures, senior White House officials said he had already authorised his James Mattis, the defence secretary, to deploy up to 3,900 more soldiers.

    In his speech, Trump also lambasted ally Pakistan for offering safe haven to "agents of chaos".

    "We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting," he said.

    "It is time for Pakistan to dedicate to civilization and order and peace."

    A commander from the Taliban-allied Haqqani network told the AFP news agency that Trump's speech was proof of "a Crusade".

    "His statement has proved that he wants to eliminate the entire Muslim [community]," he said.

    Prior to Trump's announcement, the Taliban had written an open letter warning him not to send more troops and calling for the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.


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    US invaded Afghanistan largely to restore heroin industry: Scholar


    The United States invaded Afghanistan largely to restore the heroin industry and it is now making about $1.5 trillion every year from this business, according to Dr. Kevin Barrett, an American academic and political analyst.

    US Army General John Nicholson, the commander of Resolute Support forces and US forces in Afghanistan, on Monday announced that American jets targeted drug producing facilities in Afghanistan for the first time under a new strategy aimed at cutting off Taliban funding.

    He said that the air strikes were carried out on Sunday in the southern Helmand province, adding that Taliban militants generate about $200 million per year from poppy cultivation and opium production [lies, taliban were the ones who wiped it out].

    The general said that the US military carried out the raids under a new war strategy for Afghanistan announced by President Donald Trump in August.

    “This latest announcement by the US military that the new strategy involves bombing drug labs is quite humorous given that the US went into Afghanistan in reality largely to protect the heroin industry,” Dr. Barrett told Press TV on Monday.

    “Just as the Vietnam war was heavily driven by the fact that at that time most of the world’s heroin was coming from the Golden Triangle, today the heroin epicenter has moved with the CIA’s areas of interest to Afghanistan,” he stated.

    “The Taliban had shut down opium production in Afghanistan, and it was not tolerable to the Deep State which profits to the tune of $1.5 trillion per year from the heroin industry, which is then moved in a shell-game to various banks and corporations and leveraged into vastly more money than that,” he noted.

    “So they invaded Afghanistan in large part to restore the opium industry. And indeed there was zero opium being produced before the US invasion,” the academic said.

    “The first thing in the first year the US did was to release all the drug lords, set them up, and tell them to plant away. Within two years, Afghanistan was setting world records every single year in opium production as US troops guarded the poppy fields and supported the creation of a number of labs which were refining the opium into heroin, which was then transported to the West in Global Hawks – US military vehicles that can fly all way around the world without refueling,” he noted.

    In August, Trump announced his controversial war strategy for Afghanistan. In a blatant U-turn from his campaign pledges to end the now 16-year occupation of Afghanistan, Trump said that his views had changed since entering the White House and that he would continue the military intervention “as long as we see determination and progress” in Afghanistan.

    Trump authorized an increase of thousands of troops requested by General John William Nicholson, who has said he needs about 16,000 troops in Afghanistan, and NATO countries have also pledged to help make up the difference.

    The United States -- under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency -- and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than one and a half decades, the foreign troops are still deployed to the country.

    After becoming president in 2008, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to end the Afghan war, but he failed to keep his promise.

    Trump, who has spoken against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and following occupation of Afghanistan as "Obama's war."


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    U.S. forces apologize for 'highly offensive' Afghan propaganda leaflet

    September 6, 2017

    A senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan apologized on Wednesday for a “highly offensive” leaflet which contained a passage from the Koran used in the Taliban militants’ banner superimposed on to the image of a dog.

    The Taliban said the leaflet showed American hatred of Islam, adding that it had launched a suicide attack near the entrance to the U.S. Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in revenge.

    The image, distributed by U.S. forces in Parwan province, north of Kabul, on Tuesday, showed a section of the Taliban’s banner superimposed onto the side of a dog - an animal considered unclean by Muslims. The banner contains a passage from the Koran in Arabic.

    “The design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam,” Major General James Linder said in a statement.

    “I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide,” he said, adding that an investigation would be held “to determine the cause of this incident and to hold the responsible party accountable”.

    Parwan Governor Mohammad Hasem condemned the leaflet as “unforgivable”.

    “Those who have committed this unforgivable mistake in the publicity, propaganda or media section of the coalition forces will be tried and punished,” he said.

    The incident highlights one of the challenges facing international forces in Afghanistan, most of which are from non-Muslim cultures, despite the efforts Western forces have generally taken to avoid stoking anti-foreigner sentiment.

    The risk of a backlash against international forces has grown more pronounced with a rise in civilian casualties caused by increased U.S. and Afghan government air strikes since the beginning of the year.

    The Taliban, fighting to restore strict Islamic rule to Afghanistan and drive out foreign forces, issued a statement saying the leaflet made clear “that this war is a war between Islam and unbelief”.

    The insurgent movement claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the U.S. base at Bagram Air Field north of Kabul that local officials said wounded four Afghan civilians, although the Taliban itself said 20 Americans were killed.

    In 2012, U.S. commanders were forced to apologize after copies of the Koran and other religious texts were mistakenly burned at Bagram Air Base near Kabul. The incident triggered large demonstrations in Kabul and other provinces in which several people were killed.

    On another occasion, a film of U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters
    caused widespread offense, prompting an investigation and criminal charges.

    So-called information operations conducted by government and coalition forces have long been used to try to persuade local people to turn against the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

    Above the picture of a lion and the dog, the leaflet urged people to report insurgents to the authorities.

    “Take back your freedom from the terrorist dogs and cooperate with coalition forces so they can target your enemy and eliminate them,” it said.



    Funny how these westerners call the natives fighting against these raping and murdering invaders as dogs. To the people in the country the invaders are the dogs.

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    U.S. On Track To Drop Three Times More Bombs On Afghanistan This Year: Report

    As of Oct. 31, the U.S. Air Force had dropped 3,554 bombs on the country — more than 2.5 times the number dropped in the entirety of 2016.

    By Dominique Mosbergen - 11/21/2017

    President Donald Trump continues to escalate a war that he had roundly criticized before taking office.

    “We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan,” Trump tweeted in 2013. “Let’s get out!”

    On Monday, NBC News reported that the U.S. Air Force was on track to triple the number of bombs dropped in Afghanistan in 2017 compared with last year.

    As of Oct. 31, the U.S. had dropped 3,554 bombs on the country
    , the report said. That stands in contrast to the 1,337 bombs from all of 2016 and the 947 bombs dropped on Afghanistan in the entirety of 2015.

    Trump announced earlier this year that the U.S. would expand its military presence in Afghanistan in an effort to wipe out the Taliban ― despite his “original instinct ... to pull out” of America’s longest war.

    “[D]ecisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office,” Trump said in an August speech.

    In September, the Pentagon said 3,000 additional troops would be deployed to the war zone, bringing the total number of U.S. troops there to at least 14,000.

    Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said on Monday that Trump had emboldened him with “new authority” to launch a bombing campaign against opium labs that have been lining the Taliban’s pockets with cash.

    “In striking northern Helmand and the drug enterprises there, we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances,” Nicholson told reporters in a teleconference, speaking from Afghanistan. “These new authorities allow me to go after the enemy in ways I couldn’t before.”

    Despite the increase in bombing, however, the Taliban’s presence in Afghanistan has not waned ― and according to some experts, has continued to grow.

    Nicholson said this week the number of Afghan districts controlled by the Taliban was “roughly the same as last year.”

    But Bill Roggio, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, refuted this statistic, telling NBC that the Taliban now “controls or contests about 40 percent of Afghanistan — more than twice the area it had in 2015.”

    The Afghan Taliban said in August that Trump was “wasting” American lives with his new war strategy. “If America doesn’t withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, soon Afghanistan will become another graveyard for this superpower in the 21st century,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told Al Jazeera.

    Some Afghan government officials, however, have lauded Trump’s decision to ramp up U.S. military intervention. U.S. airstrikes have been “saving Afghan military lives,” Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan ambassador to the U.S., told NBC. Earlier this year, Mohib called Trump’s new war policy a “10 out of 10.”


    Who is harvesting the opium in Afghanistan and benefiting from it? Evidence is quite clear.

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    Leaked Video Shows US Troops Doing a Drive-By Shooting on Afghan Civilians

    US Central Command has launched an investigation after a video was leaked online allegedly showing a US troop shooting into the cab of a civilian truck.

    by Matt Agorist - January 12, 2018

    On the 5th of April, 2010, WikiLeaks released a classified US military video which showed the indiscriminate murder of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad—including two Reuters journalists. This video served as a wake-up call to Americans who remained willfully ignorant of the horrors of war. Now, another video has surfaced showing that US troops are still assuring that there will be a steady production of “terrorists” for years to come.

    This week, a video was leaked to Politico allegedly showing a US troop firing a shotgun into the cab of a civilian truck. There appears to be no combat situation taking place and the fired shot is seemingly unprovoked and nothing short of attempted murder.

    U.S. commanders have since launched an investigation into the video as it appears that the person firing the round most likely violated the military’s rules of engagement. It also serves to set back the little—if any—progress the US has made inside Afghanistan.

    As Politico reports, the shooting briefly appears during a gritty montage of combat footage allegedly recorded by U.S. troops battling the Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate. An anonymous user recently uploaded the video to YouTube under the title “Happy Few Ordnance Symphony,” then quickly removed it.

    “The amateur video posted on a public website gives us serious concern,” the U.S. Central Command told POLITICO in a statement. “The video in question is not official, not authorized and does not represent the professionalism of the service members of U.S. Central Command.

    “We are conducting an investigation into this video, and will take appropriate actions as a result of this investigation,” it added.

    According to the report:

    { The 3-minute, 9-second video doesn’t say where it was recorded, but the YouTube caption suggested it was shot in 2017. In the past year, U.S. troops have been engaged in intense combat with the Islamic State in Nangarhar Province, the group’s main Afghan stronghold, where teams of special operations advisers are fighting alongside elite Afghan troops to wrest key districts from the militants.

    The troops in the video wear uniforms typical of U.S. special operations forces like the Green Berets, SEALs, Rangers and Marine Raiders, and are seen firing machine guns, grenade launchers, rockets, miniguns, mortars and calling in air or artillery strikes. The video, which is also set to music, is typical of the unauthorized combat montages that some troops create to share among themselves, often using footage shot from helmet-mounted video cameras.

    But in addition to the rare glimpse of such shadowy operations up close, the brief scene of the truck shooting, 20 seconds in, sets it apart.

    The clip in question shows a military vehicle approaching a truck with a white cab and black cargo cabin, of the type Afghans often call “Jingle trucks.” Military sources identified the first vehicle to POLITICO as a version of the M-ATV armored vehicle specially outfitted for special operations forces. }

    Based on the footage, it was not clear if the driver was hit with the round. Also, although the video appears to show the recoil of the shotgun, no casing can be seen exiting the weapon. But the window is clearly broken out as the vehicles pass each other.

    “With the shotgun engagement, you figure it is a lethal round, as you are in combat, but from the video you cannot conclusively determine,” one former special operator with experience in Nangarhar said. “It could readily have been a beanbag, hammer, or other non-lethal round, as when it hits glass you are going to get a similar effect.”



    These are their so called "elite" and "special" forces, nothing more than blood thirsty animals.

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    Pentagon bans release of data on Afghanistan War

    The Pentagon has restricted the release of crucial information on progress being made in the war in Afghanistan, the US government's top watchdog said. The move comes amid a spike of attacks by the insurgents.

    The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) releases a quarterly report which includes unclassified information on the amount of territory controlled or influenced by the Taliban and the Afghan government.

    However, SIGAR has now been told by the Pentagon not to release such information. For the first time since 2009, the US military has also classified the actual and authorized total troop numbers and attrition rate for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).

    "In essence, you can ask me almost any question and I will have to say, it is classified or non-releasable, I mean you go down the list, it is just amazing," SIGAR head John Sopko told Reuters, adding that the Department of Defense did provide him with reasoning for the move. He noted that the decision could lead some to conclude that information is being withheld because progress isn't being made, which may not be true.

    Meanwhile, the Pentagon has pointed fingers at who is responsible for the decision to limit the amount of classified information available to the public. It says the step was made by the NATO-led Resolute Support coalition, and that the Department of Defense lacks any authority to overrule that decision.

    "The Department continues to work with SIGAR, US Forces-Afghanistan, and NATO Resolute Support to resolve concerns about restrictions on information that was previously unclassified," Lieutenant Colonel Michael Andrews said.

    Former officials and experts cited by Reuters said the move was worrying because Afghanistan and the US had set a public benchmark which would now be difficult to measure. In November, the top US general in Afghanistan set a goal of driving back Taliban militants enough to control at least 80 percent of the country within two years. In its most recent quarterly report, SIGAR said that 43 percent of Afghanistan's districts were either under Taliban control or being contested.

    The withholding of information comes after US forces in Afghanistan restricted the amount of data they provided on the ANDSF last year, including casualties, personnel strength and attrition rates.

    At the time, the US military said the data belonged to the Afghan government, which did not want it to be released.

    On Monday, US President Donald Trump rejected the notion of peace talks with the Taliban, following a string of fatal attacks in Afghanistan. The move appeared to be a contradiction of his own strategy to end the war.

    Last year, Trump ordered an increase in US troops to Afghanistan, as well as airstrikes and assistance to Afghan forces. Earlier this month, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said the strategy was working and pushing Taliban militants closer to peace talks.

    However, Haley's comment came before a Taliban suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden ambulance in Kabul on Saturday, killing more than 100 people and injuring at least 235. That attack followed a Taliban assault on the city's Intercontinental Hotel, which left 20 people dead.



    how typical for a dying empire to hide the facts to safe face while their dead pile up. No empire has come out intact after going in Afghanistan, a decade later the mightiest army and super power is still struggling despite all their war crimes against the innocents.

  19. #19
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    Jan 2007


    Afghan Military Strike Kills at Least 70 at Mosque

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan military helicopters bombed a religious gathering in the northern province of Kunduz on Monday, killing at least 70 people and wounding 30 others, according to a local official in the area

    The official, Nasruddin Saadi, district governor of Dasht-e-Archi, said that the helicopters attacked a religious ceremony for which about 1,000 people had assembled in a mosque and surrounding fields around noon.

    Witnesses reached by telephone said that the mosque was also a madrasa, or religious school, and that members of the Taliban had been present at the assembly, which had been organized to recognize graduates, appoint mullahs and elevate junior mullahs.

    Mr. Saadi also said that the event was religious in nature and that the security forces had decided to attack because armed militants were in attendance.

    However, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry denied that the gathering had been for religious purposes. “The Taliban and other insurgent groups were planning to attack Afghan forces, but their plan was discovered by our forces,” he said. “During the attack by our helicopters, 21 terrorists, including a Taliban commander, have been killed,” he added. “It isn’t a residential area, and only terrorists and the Taliban were active in the place. There wasn’t any civilian in the area.”

    Nonetheless, witnesses said that children and other civilians were among the victims.

    The district of Dasht-e-Archi is a Taliban stronghold that has often been the scene of heavy fighting. In May, an American drone strike in the district killed Mullah Abdul Salam, the Taliban “shadow governor” of Kunduz.

    In 2016, an Afghan airstrike killed another prominent Taliban commander, Mawlavi Muawiyah, in Dasht-e-Archi, along with 21 other fighters, according to the military. American airstrikes in the area have repeatedly been blamed for civilian casualties, and Afghan forces are increasingly taking over air operations there.

    A 40-year-old farmer from the district, who gave his name only as Mohammad, said that there had been a small number of armed Taliban fighters among the crowd at the assembly, but that most of the attendees were civilians, including madrasa students and graduates. He said that many children had been present, and that the first rockets fired by the helicopters had hit a group of youngsters. The farmer was unable to say how many had been killed or hurt, but added that one of the wounded was his nephew, age 10.

    “Children come to any gathering where there is a free lunch,” he said.

    A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that the death toll was far higher than the official figure and that no insurgents had been present at the gathering, which was strictly religious in nature. Many Taliban commanders are also mullahs.

    “Bombing civilians and then calling them mujahedeen is a habit of the Americans and their slaves,”
    Mr. Mujahid said, adding that 150 people had died in the military strike. “Those responsible for killing civilians and insulting religion will be brought to justice.”


  20. #20
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    Another Record Breaking Year for Opium Production in U.S. Occupied Afghanistan

    November 2, 2017

    Now officially a national federal emergency, the opioid crisis is gutting America. The roots of this complex issue lie in supply, not demand, and while we are beginning to see major pharmaceutical executives being indicted for conspiracy and bribery of doctors, we have a long way to go to turn this thing around.

    Pharmaceutical and synthetic opioids are a major part of the catastrophe, but the other side of the supply chain is actual opium, and the world’s biggest opium market just happens to be occupied Afghanistan, the epicenter of the global heroin trade. The United States military has been operating in Afghanistan as part of the war on terror for over 16 years now, and opium production in the war-torn nation continues to increase, year-over-year, coinciding with the rise of the opioid crisis.

    2017 looks to be another record year for opium production in Afghanistan. As reported by Business Insider:
    “The country has produced the majority of the world’s opium for some time, despite billions of dollars spent by the US to fight [produce] it during the 16-year-long war there. Afghan and Western officials now say that rather than getting smuggled out of Afghanistan in the form of opium syrup, at least half of the crop is getting processed domestically, before leaving the country as morphine or heroin.” [Source]

    This particular article goes on to attribute the high production of opium, morphine and heroin on the Taliban, suggesting that the U.S. has been spending billions in taxpayer dollars directly fighting the drug war in Afghanistan.
    “Those forms are easier to smuggle, and they are much more valuable for the Taliban [CIA], which reportedly draws at least 60% of its income from the drug trade. With its increasing focus on trafficking drugs, the Taliban [CIA] has taken on more of the functions a drug cartel.” [Source]

    What is not mentioned, however, is the fact that international trade in illegal drugs from war-torn countries is essential to geopolitics, implying that the U.S. military is being used to create an environment where the drug trade is allowed to flourish.
    “It’s clear that drug trafficking is a major factor in world scheme, and some people put it up as maybe number three, after oil being number one, and then arms number two, and then drugs number three. Actually there’s a certain amount of interaction between those because very often where you’re having illicit trafficking of arms, the planes that take arms in one direction, the arms are paid for with drugs and the planes come back with drugs.” ~Peter Dale Scott

    This suggestion coincides with production data since the U.S. invasion, and with statements made by a former U.S. who in 2015 stated that the CIA was actively involved in the Afghan drug trade.
    “I’m ashamed to say that I have participated in these drug smuggling operations on many occasions. For a long time, I tried to convince myself that we were doing it for the right cause, but this burden is destroying me inside and I just can’t stand it anymore” he admitted before the court audience.

    “The CIA has been dealing drugs since its creation. They’ve been smuggling drugs everywhere in the world for the past 60 years, in Taiwan in 1949 to support General Chiang Kai-shek against the Chinese commies, in Vietnam, in Nicaragua, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg” he launched out during the court trial. “We helped the Mujahideen develop poppy cultivation to fight the Soviets, but we took back matters in our own hands in 2001 when we invaded Afghanistan under Bush” he pleaded. ~John F. Abbotsford, a 38-year old Afghan war veteran [Source]

    If you’re hoping or expecting a sudden end to the opioid crisis just because President Trump has called for the government-funded production of anti-opioid television commercials, you’re hope is misplaced. Afghanistan is a major key in this puzzle, as are the pharmaceutical companies.




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