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General Dunford’s hard work – to kill and to apologize

15.05.2013 10:25

Dmitry Zavodin

The ongoing series of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan gets new features. If earlier the Afghan civilians died more often as a result of acts of terrorism organized by the Taliban movement, then now news reports are full of headlines about the erroneous actions of the International Security Assistance Force. In this case, the victims of attacks by the international force led by NATO on "militants' bases" increasingly become women and children, who can in no way be called terrorists.

The last message came from the Afghan province of Kunar, where on April 6 during a special operation eleven children and one woman became victims of the NATO air strike. And although the the Alliance representatives still has not officially confirmed the information about the victims, judging from the widely-publicised incident, the ISAF commander would have to apologize for the lack of professionalism of his subordinates.

On February 10, 2013 the ISAF command was taken by U.S. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford. He replaced General John Allen, who is now to head NATO forces in Europe. "Our commitment is to accomplish our mission and, more importantly - the inevitability of our success," said Dunford at the solemn accession to office.

But less than a week after Dunford's acceptance of office, the general's subordinates made him blush in front of TV cameras, making excuses and apologizing for the killing of 10 civilians as a result of a mistaken air strike. On the night of February 13, in an air strike on a supposed location of militants in Kunar province, five children, four women and one man were killed. Four children more were injured. After this incident, Afghan President Hamid Karzai even prohibited the Afghan units to ask for the NATO air support considering its "efficiency".

This all was not over with. Two weeks later, soldiers of the Australian contingent during an operation of prosecuting militants in the northwest province of Uruzgan, shot down from a helicopter two kids 7 and 8 years old, who collected brushwood and shipped it on donkeys. Australians did not spare pack animals either. Again, General Dunford had to apologize for the death of children and express condolences to the bereaved families.

It is not reported what punishment the Australian servicemen received, but apparently it was just reprimand for the murder of two children.

On March 9 during the firing of another so-called "Taliban's position" in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, three women, two children and one man were injured. On March 10 in Helmand province as a result of NATO airstrike a famous actor Nazar Helmand, who was a prisoner of the Taliban, was killed. On March 30, accidental victims of the military operation in Ghazni province were 2 children, 7 more civilians were injured. The fact that these failures were never followed by the ISAF commander's apologies, suggests that either such incidents had been found insignificant by the leadership of the international contingent or General Dunford was just tired to apologize, realizing that it is not what he had come for to Afghanistan.

It should be noted that the Taliban too do not cease to fight against the "occupiers", their victims increasingly becoming rather Afghan civilians than soldiers. On March 23, in the explosion of an improvised bomb placed by the Taliban to attack on the Afghan armed forces, four children were killed and two injured. On April 3, in an attack of Taliban militants on a court building in Afghanistan's Farah province, six people were killed and another 73 injured, mostly civilians again.

Such is NATO's "phony war" against the Taliban movement, in which mostly civilians are killed. It becomes even phonier by regular attempts of the Alliance and its controlled official Afghan authorities to establish a dialogue or to make peace with the Taliban. The situation comes to the absurd: the U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden in December 2011 said that "the Taliban is not an enemy of the U.S." One may ask, why have you started the war in Afghanistan, and what are the Operation Enduring Freedom's goals?

These questions worry the Afghans themselves. The spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Aimal Faizi, on March 19, said that the Afghan population considers the foreign troops' campaign aimless. "The people of Afghanistan asks NATO to define a mission and objectives of the so-called war against terror, as people are puzzled why ten years of war in their country had not complied with fulfillment of the objectives, but, on the contrary, resulted in the loss of thousands of innocent lives and the destruction of their homes," said the politician.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and NATO war in Afghanistan of course has its objectives. However, since they are immoral and are far from the declared "fighting terrorism" and "fighting for the Afghan people's rights", officials can not announce them.

In 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan with the specific purpose - to gain a foothold in Central Asia, and to use its influence in the region to achieve its geopolitical interests. In the broadest sense, Washington has always had the same goal ? to maintain its influence in the current unipolar world today and to prevent other power centers from competing with the metropolitan country.

That's why with the arrival of the Americans in Afghanistan, social and economic conditions were created in the country which has led to an increase in drug production by 40 times. The established narcoempire's target group became the European Union countries, Russia and China as the major centers of power able to compete with the U.S.

The Taliban have never been destroyed as a result of the operation, which would have been the only guarantee of the stability of the central government in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops, but on the contrary its ranks continue to be joined with new fighters, and the movement itself does not have even the status of a terrorist organization in the U.S. In addition, in summer of 2011, the UN striked the names of 14 influential leaders of the Taliban off its sanctions list, allowing them to move freely around the world.

The reason for such a phoney war with the Taliban is that Washington is not interested in winning over them. The Americans after their withdrawal do not need a stable power in Kabul; they need the country after the withdrawal of troops to be plunged into chaos, becoming the base for export of instability and terrorism in the neighboring countries and regions. Geopolitics - nothing personal...

In this context, Hamid Karzai's multidirectional steps become clear ? he has become a prisoner of a situation where he does not know to stay in power after 2014. He will not be able to rely on the people - the majority of Afghans are well aware for what purpose foreign mercenaries had installed military bases on Afghan soil, and perceive Karzai and his government, as part of the occupying force. At the same time the Americans will not allow to agree with the Taliban, as the main opposition force, who want chaos in the region. Consequently, Karzai regularly changes his position, trying to negotiate sometimes with ones, sometimes with others.

In early March, the Afghan president said that the U.S. authorities conducted secret negotiations with the Taliban behind the back of the official government of the IRA. According to him, a series of terrorist attacks that took place the previous day, had been organized in "America's interests" and the Taliban and the U.S. government "are working together to intimidate the Afghan people".

In response, General Dunford accused Karzai of inciting hatred against foreign servicemen and the International Security Assistance Force were placed on high alert in connection with the President's hostile statements.

But already on March 25, after the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry's urgent arrival to Afghanistan in an unannounced visit, Karzai changes his position and declares the common ground between Kabul and Washington on the issue of "dialogue with the armed opposition". The absence of a clear position of the official Afghan authorities is evidence of their inability to control the situation.

The logic of the course of events in Afghanistan brings the positions of the U.S. and the Taliban, not allowing further concealing the community of interest between Washington and terrorists. Some need chaos and destabilization, and others are willing to provide this in their struggle for power. The Nanay wrestling is coming to an end, leveling the role of the Afghan president, to whom there is no place in the future of Afghanistan.