Afghans to Fight in “Perpetuity” Says U.S. Official
“It’s the last place we will be fighting,” a senior U.S. military official said when asked about a new shift of forces from the south of Afghanistan to its east. “And the Afghans will be fighting there in perpetuity. It’s a bad neighborhood.”
In another case of the new guys being as bad as the old guys, because in fact, they’re the same guys, a recent Taliban turncoat who joined the U.S.-allied Afghan side tells the New York Times, “The government is telling me to fight the Taliban and protect your area so we must ask people for help in order to take care of myself and my friends.”
According to the Times, “[h]e and other militiamen who have declared for the government and hope to join the local police, a group known as arbakai, insist that people give the money voluntarily. Judging by the public outcry, however, the donors see things differently. They are often forced to hand over a tenth of their earnings, just as they were when the Taliban ran things. In Kunduz, where the police training program has been operating since late last year, radio talk shows have been flooded by angry callers complaining about the arbakai militias, meetings of elders have denounced their behavior, and even provincial government officials have expressed concern.”
Investigative journalist Gareth Porter of IPS reports that figures released by Gen. David Petraeus on the spectacular success of black ops raids fall apart when scrutinized. Porter writes, “it turns out that more than 80 percent of those called captured Taliban fighters were released within days of having been picked up, because they were found to have been innocent civilians, according to official U.S. military data.”
Robert Fisk offers this scathing assessment in a new piece for The Independent that also accuses Algeria of supplying Qadhafi’s forces with armored vehicles and mentions Turkish plans to possibly send several battalions of troops into Syria “to carve out a ‘safe area’ for Syrian refugees.” He writes:
"While Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu played out their farce in Washington – Obama grovelling as usual – the Arabs got on with the serious business of changing their world, demonstrating and fighting and dying for freedoms they have never possessed. Obama waffled on about change in the Middle East – and about America’s new role in the region. It was pathetic. ‘What is this "role" thing?’ an Egyptian friend asked me at the weekend. ‘Do they still believe we care about what they think?’"
Steven Aftergood, the FAS Project on Government Secrecy