Afghanistan: the Union flag is lowered

On 26 October the Union flag was lowered over Camp Bastion, in Helmand province, Afghanistan. 453 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, 615 have been seriously or very seriously wounded and 2,187 wounded in action. The US military death toll stands at 2,349 soldiers. The war has cost British governments about £40bn. The number of Afghan civilians killed in the first half of 2014 was almost 5,000 people, a rise of 25% on 2013 levels. We were told that British forces were leaving Afghanistan after 13 years, and that the US combat mission would end on 31 December 2014, but things are not like that at all.

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US to stay in Afghanistan

US forces will continue to occupy Afghanistan until at least the end of 2016. In June, President Obama announced that around 9,800 troops will remain after the end of this year when combat forces are supposed to be withdrawn. That number is intended to be halved by the end of 2015. In an agreement with the Afghan government, the US will retain without trial around 50 prisoners at Bagram air base and be able to incarcerate anyone else they regard as ‘enduring security threats’.

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Afghanistan elections offer little change

Predictably, the April presidential elections in Afghanistan were hailed as a successful display of democracy by the imperialists and the Afghan government. In reality, there were over 900 serious complaints of corruption to the Independent Complaints Commission; even more than in the 2009 election, when at least a quarter of the votes were considered fraudulent. Over half the present complaints are about the Electoral Commission itself, which was meant to ensure a ‘free and fair’ election. Initial results suggest just 6.6 million people voted out of an estimated electorate (there are no precise figures) of 12 million. In six provinces fewer than 10,000 people voted. Mohamed Younas, an unemployed young man in Kabul, told ABC News that he didn’t vote because ‘All our candidates’ hands are dirty with the blood of the people’. JIM CRAVEN reports.

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Afghanistan: ‘mission accomplished’?

Among Prime Minister David Cameron’s most crass utterances must be his December declaration that the British campaign in Afghanistan was ‘mission accomplished’ – the same ill-fated phrase used by President Bush after the invasion of Iraq! Even the most deluded apologist for imperialism would concede that the Taliban are poised to re-take large parts of the country; that Al Qaeda (never a significant presence in Afghanistan) is now expanding exponentially in parts of the Middle East and Africa and that Afghanistan is governed by a non-democratic bunch of gangsters. Labour Defence Secretary John Reid launched Britain’s present phase of the invasion, hoping ‘not a shot would be fired in anger’. Some 26 million rounds of ammunition later 447 British service personnel have been killed, together with over 3,000 from other occupying forces and tens of thousands of the Afghan people. Almost three-quarters of the Afghan people have no access to safe water, half of them do not have enough to eat and, of those children that survive to the age of five, 60% suffer from malnourishment. Meanwhile, according to one estimate, 90% of development aid is siphoned off by the rich elite, putting Afghanistan equal top of Transparency International’s league of corruption. As for Britain’s campaign to eradicate opium production, poppy harvests have reached record levels.

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British atrocities in Afghanistan

In November 2013, a British marine, known only as Sergeant A, was found guilty of murder by a military tribunal. Together with two other marines, he had been charged with shooting an injured Taliban fighter in September 2011. The three marines dragged the badly wounded fighter out of sight of an observation balloon, scoffed at any idea of administering first aid and killed the fighter with a shot to the stomach. Sergeant A said, ‘There you are, shuffle off this mortal coil you cunt. It’s nothing you wouldn’t have done to us. Obviously, this don’t go anywhere fellas. I’ve just broken the Geneva Convention.’ Marine B said ‘Yep, rog: if it ever comes to light, it’ll have been a warning shot.’

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More Articles ...

  1. Imperialist shambles in Afghanistan/FRFI 235 Oct/Nov 2013
  2. Afghanistan Karzai scuppers peace talks/FRFI 234 Aug/Sep 2013
  3. Afghanistan: Anti-occupation forces launch spring offensive/ FRFI 233 Jun/Jul 2013
  4. Imperialists struggle to avoid defeat in Afghanistan /FRFI 231 Feb/Mar 2013
  5. Afghanistan: murder and mayhem/ FRFI 230 Dec 2012/Jan 2013
  6. Afghanistan and Pakistan – drones and the new doctrines of war / FRFI 228 Aug/Sep 2012
  7. Afghanistan agreement – death squads to continue / FRFI 227 June/July 2012
  8. Afghanistan: more imperialist atrocities /FRFI 226 Apr/May 2012
  9. Afghanistan – failing imperialists try to divide opposition/FRFI 225 Feb/Mar 2012
  10. War in Afghanistan threatens whole region / FRFI 224 Decr 2011/Jan 2012
  11. Afghanistan: Taliban strike at will / FRFI 223 Oct / Nov 2011
  12. Afghanistan: problems mount for imperialists / FRFI 222 Aug / Sep 2011
  13. Afghanistan - Imperialist strategy failing / FRFI 220 April/May 2011
  14. Afghanistan: imperialists raise level of violence in advance of talks / FRFI 218 Dec 2010 / Jan 2011
  15. Afghanistan: imperialists losing the war / FRFI 217 Oct/Nov 2010
  16. Afghanistan: Imperialists divided / FRFI 216 Aug/Sep 2010
  17. Afghanistan – Obama’s surge threatens Kandahar / FRFI 215 Jun/Jul 2010
  18. Afghanistan – new imperialist onslaught / FRFI 214 Apr / May 2010
  19. Afghanistan war unwinnable / FRFI 212 Dec 2009 / Jan 2010
  20. Afghanistan: Imperialist propaganda cannot mask paralysis / FRFI 211 Oct / Nov 2009
  21. Fighting thin air
  22. Imperialism out of Afghanistan
  23. WAR IN AFGHANISTAN Deeper into the mire
  24. War in Afghanistan and Pakistan escalates / FRFI 209 Jun / Jul 2009
  25. AFGHANISTAN: bowing to the empire
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