Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 16, 2008

The Road War in Afghanistan

Much of the ring road -- we call it the ring road -- that links key provincial capitals to Kabul, is pretty well complete. And that's important, because, first of all, road building brings jobs to young men who might be recruited to the Taliban. But roads enable people to get commerce to centers of trade. In other words, roads promote enterprise. Enterprise provides hope. Hope is what defeats this ideology of darkness.
President Bush Discusses Progress in Afghanistan, Global War on Terror , Feb 15, 2007

Yes, these roads bring jobs. For young Chinese men.

Anyway. It seems like "this ideology of darkness" recently has some astonishing successes:

Between 100 to 150 US troops have withdrawn from a strategically important district of the the Afghan province of Ghazni, officials say.

They say that soldiers retreated from the district of Nawa after repeated attacks by Taleban insurgents.

It is not only the soldiers who fled adjusted the front:

"All police and government staffs have evacuated from the Nawah district this morning due to lackness of essential supplies," the official said, "Taliban militants took the district center without using a bullet."

The district, marked green, is of special interest because it is right next to the (blue) Afghan ring road part that connects Kandahar and Kabul (Bagram), the two biggest foreign bases, and eventually to Pakistan.


complete map
Note: the red roads are 'projects'. They do not (yet) exist in a meaningful way.

 

All the roads building plans are sold as economic development. The '4GW thinkers' also propagate roads as a tool of counterinsurgency. Joshua Foust took that road nonsense apart.

Roads are not development or counterinsurgency. Their primary use is as logistic 'lines of communication' for the occupation forces.

Positioned in Nawa, the Taliban can now easily cut off road bound logistics for the Canadian forces in Kandahar and for the British and U.S. forces in Helmand province, west of Kandahar.

A recent report described such bloody attacks:

The soldiers died as their vehicles were hit by mines and rocket-propelled grenades. At least one was dragged off and chopped to pieces, according to Afghan and Western officials, the body so badly mutilated that at first the military announced it had found the remains of two men, not one, in a  field.

The roads, instead of leading to development, are the primary target of the resistance because the occupation forces can not sustain without those.

The insurgents have made the route a main target, apparently with the intention of undercutting Afghanistan's economy and infrastructure, said an Afghan military spokesman, General Zaher Azimi.

The road has become the site of excessive carnage in the past six weeks, disrupting supply lines for U.S. and NATO forces and tying down Afghan Army forces. One of the worst attacks occurred in Salar on June 24, when some 50 fuel tankers and food trucks carrying supplies for the U.S. military were ambushed.

It is not only the military that is eaffected here:

The chill that has descended on the humanitarian relief community in Afghanistan came after a driver and the three workers, including Canadians Shirley Case and Jacqueline Kirk, were shot to death in a Taliban ambush south of Kabul on Wednesday.

Their employer, the New York-based International Rescue Committee, announced it would suspend its aid programs in Afghanistan indefinitely. The group had been active in the country for 20 years.

That aid group could work under the Taliban, but not under the U.S./NATO occupation. This is a ramification form the militarization of aid.

The roads are a primary means of occupation. They are thereby also the primary target of the resistance. This impedes any aid and development work in Afghanistan.

These attacks initiate a downward spiral:

Less road security -> less aid -> less Afghan development -> less public support for foreign occupation -> more support for the Taliban -> more attacks on the roads -> less road security.

It will hard, if it is possible at all, to break that cycle.

Posted by b on August 16, 2008 at 16:44 UTC | Permalink

Comments

you: "Roads are not development or counterinsurgency."

Foust: "I think road building is a fantastic idea. As he says, roads really do spur economic growth and enable a more thorough interconnection between communities. Roads are a great idea for their own sake, in other words—people need infrastructure."

Posted by: rbv | Aug 16 2008 17:34 utc | 1

actually foust doesn't "take apart" anything. he clearly likes the idea of building roads in afghanistan, he only doubts their impact on security.

It is not only the military that is effected [sic] here

yes, because aid workers were killed on a road, we should BLAME THE ROAD... very funny, but please post something serious.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 16 2008 17:38 utc | 2

That aid group could work under the Taliban

No they couldn't. Afghan aid workers were routinely harassed and kidnapped under the Taliban.

There's no way to deliver western aid to the afghan population without military protection.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20010519/ai_n14397189
http://wwww.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/AllDocsByUNID/a560cfad736c584385256a76007864a5

Posted by: rbv | Aug 16 2008 17:45 utc | 3

There's no way to deliver western aid to the afghan population without military protection.

sure there is. deliver it to the taliban and let them distribute/protect it.

Posted by: annie | Aug 16 2008 17:55 utc | 4

this reminds me of chavez's offer to supply cheap fuel for victims of katrina or poor people in the US. can you imagine if their form of delivering that aid came w/a militarized force that included bombing neighborhoods that it deemed hostile to that aid?

you can't just keep going around providing aid to everyone in the vicinity of your intended pipelines and areas of resource grabbing in the guise of 'security'. people aren't that stupid.

Posted by: annie | Aug 16 2008 18:04 utc | 5

sure there is. deliver it to the taliban and let them distribute/protect it.

they al;ready did that throughout the 90s and the result was a massive humanitarian crisis. what incentive would the taliban have to distribute aid to a population that hates and resents it.

more generally the taliban has no right to govern afghanistan. they're widely despised among afghans, and unlike Iraq they really do harbor al qaeda and so represent an threat to other countries.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 16 2008 18:09 utc | 6

@1, 2, 3 - I wrote: "The '4GW thinkers' also propagate roads as a tool of counterinsurgency. Joshua Foust took that road nonsense apart."

He certainly did that with regards to counterinsurgency.

As you correctly point out, I am of different opinion than Foust on roads as a development tool.

The roads in Afghanistan were mostly build by foreign contractors, Chinese and Indian, and road building itself had thereby little if none economic effect for Afghans. Millions that could have pumped up local Afghan communities were spent on foreign workers.

Markets in Afghanistan are underdeveloped (except for the opium and weapons trade) as are road connections. That may be, and is often explained, as a chicken egg problem, but I doubt it.

Roads do not create markets. Historically valuable good transfer to markets creates roads. (locally but also globally: the silk road is named after the valuable product is was build for) Only after a road has been created for the valuable stuff less valuable goods are transported on them too.

yes, because aid workers were killed on a road, we should BLAME THE ROAD

No. We should blame that the road is used primarily as a tool of occupation. Only that use of the road makes it a valuable target and dangerous for others to travel on it.

Afghan aid workers were routinely harassed and kidnapped under the Taliban.

The International Rescue Committee in Afghanistan

In 1980, the IRC began by providing emergency medical relief to refugees fleeing to Pakistan to escape the Soviet invasion. We expanded our rehabilitation work in 1988, preparing for the return of refugees from neighboring countries. The IRC then continued to help Afghans during the Taliban regime, its collapse, and following Afghanistan’s first elections in 2005.

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 18:17 utc | 7

He certainly did that with regards to counterinsurgency.

Not very effectively. And in the same article he "took apart the idea that roads are evil instruments of occupation" so glibly citing him on this topic isn't so rhetorically swift. Just sayin.

and road building itself had thereby little if none economic effect for Afghans.

This is deeply idiotic. Road building is OBVIOUSLY not the end but the means to development. That Chinese laborers build the roads has zilch to do with their imputed economic benefit.

Roads do not create markets.

No but they connect markets, and quite obviously they make it easier to deliver aid.

your IRC link is uninformative. read anything coming out of UNICEF and the WHO on the Taliban and its impact on aid delivery during the 90s. you should also reread some of the international conventions on human rights and try to recognize the many clear violations committed by the Taliban.

btw the Taliban as adherents of deobandi islam have no concept of "occupation" because they have no concept of nationhood. Many of their senior leadership is pakistani, and of course theyve recruited people from all over the gulf since the 80s.


Posted by: rbv | Aug 16 2008 18:28 utc | 8

@8 - Not very effectively.

As you give no argument for that, let's just say we differ in that evaluation. And I only related to him in that regard. That certainly can not mean in any way that I confirm with other stuff he said which you seem to accuse me of.

Road building is OBVIOUSLY not the end but the means to development. That Chinese laborers build the roads has zilch to do with their imputed economic benefit.

The hundreds of millions that went to foreign contractors for road building in Afghanistan would certainly have had a huge effect on the Afghan economy if it would have been spend locally. It would have created new companies, would have taught new trades to people and would have had many secondary effects by local people spending their wages from road building in Kandahar instead of Xinjiang. The "privatizing" of these projects with chains of foreign subcontractors made no sense as development aid.

your IRC link is uninformative. read anything coming out of UNICEF and the WHO on the Taliban and its impact on aid delivery during the 90s.

I linked to an aid agency that was quoted in a piece I cited. That aid agency claims plausibly that it was in working in Afghanistan, before, with and after the Taliban. That is what I call a primary source. You may find that uninformative and therefore rely on secondary sources (with an agenda?) I prefer to go with primary sources.

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 18:45 utc | 9

Roads, physical transport - could be train, rivers, even mountain trails, or airports, etc. Not new, see ww2. - are coveted. All parties need them to effect their actions, get about, etc. So they all pussy foot around, taking partial control, or obstructing other’s actions, even levying extravagant tolls, as movement is prime; figuring they can do better without, or are keen on a part, etc.

There is no more telling symptom that Afgh. is a wreck.

Bombing of movement networks continues; the US/Nato is not keen to kill brides, grooms and tiny children, but wants to freeze ppl as dead ducks on the spot... prisoners in a small area, everyone in their place, bowing down.

Big weddings lead to a lot of movement, agitation, travel.

If ppl cannot use the same transport, oil fired vehicles, roads (Afgh has no other transport) to do their business, if movement, as in other places, is controlled by checkpoints, papers, permits, status, rip off cash on the spot, a show of defending a territory masquerading as blockage of freedom of movement (see Palestine) then you have a sadistic occupation that is pointed to killing and death, as opposed to exploitation. Plus of course all those, like the “Taliban” and warlords who cannot bypass or give up this method of control.

When the occupiers, the local potentate, business ineretsts, and even private persons, control roads and prevent trade in veggies while letting drugs pass by - ordinary ppl can no longer survive.

Posted by: Tangerine | Aug 16 2008 18:59 utc | 10

OK, look, the ring road concept is entirely supported by the Afghan people, never
mind that it also serves the purposes of occupation troops mobilizing armor, it's
absolutely essential component of Afghan life. There are no overhead power lines,
and no transmission pipelines, everything, including all manufactured goods, food,
animals, and diesel fuel for power generation, has to be delivered by local and Paki truck drivers, convoying town to town on that ring road.

Ghazni is indefensible. The US troops were there to reinforce Afghan forces who
are battling the Taliban along the mid-way stretch of road between Kandahar in
the south, and Kabul in the north. What was formerly a 2-day nightmare travel dirt track before 2001 was fully paved and bridged by the allied forces, reducing the drive to a reasonably safe and smooth 6-hours. That's H-U-G-E....

The US Marines left Kandahar and redeployed to reinforce Kabul, leaving the
UN to hold two sections of the ring road through some of the most hostile and
desolate terrain imaginable. Then Bhutto made coup on Musharraf, and US started
UAV bombing mosques and schools in Pakistan, even making cross-border attacks.

The code of Islam requires the Taliban to meet force with force. They responded
by sneak attacks, blowing up bridges and destroying fuel trucks. Again, Ghazni
is the traditional seat of power, symbolic to the Afghan people for centuries.

[see last sentence of that 1880's NYTimes archive...]

That's all you should make of the news. A skirmish, trying to keep an important, but indefensible section of ring road open. Otherwise, same shit, different day.

Posted by: Gerald Untermeyer | Aug 16 2008 19:25 utc | 11

Looking at the map, the alignment is not very different from the old road. So what's the difference? A dual highway, no doubt. But no more or less exposed than the old road to attack.

I note, by the way, that there is still no new road between Herat and Mazar-i Sharif in the northwest. So "ring-road" is hardly a correct description.

Posted by: Alex | Aug 16 2008 19:38 utc | 12

@Thanks Gerald - great find :-)

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 19:48 utc | 13

@all - maybe I focused too much on roads here - not the really grave news implication.

A whole company of U.S. troops withdrew and left a province to the Talibs.

And while it was reported in the BBC, NO U.S. media picked it up so far.

In a big war a company (100-150 people) is cannon food, offed in a day or a few hours.

In the current military U.S. position in Afghanistan a company is a big assets, ruling a complete district and a retreat of a big asset from a strategic battle point that covers the main line of communication is a terrible loss of future operational abilities.

If I would command a battalion or brigade there I would be pulling out my hair over this.

rbv - bickering about details of road strategy doesn't get that. The U.S. media doesn't get it either.

To reestablish the position just given up one will need (military rule of thumb) a three times as big a force than the one that was holding it. How many battalions free to take that task does the U.S. have in A.?

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 20:16 utc | 14

Very shaky ground to compare life in Afghanistan under the so called 'Taliban' rule of religious and selfless Afghanis with that of the current mob of greedy foreign puppets who are brutally squashing every attempt by Afghanis for self determination with bombs and machine guns.

Afghanis may not have had a lot of money for consumer garbage before, but then they didn't need to grow opium to get that money.
The usual western tactic of economic siege of governments that don't lick the ass of every corporate cowboy coming through had made life hard back in the day but there wasn't prison construction boom or a foreign torture centre there either.

Whatever the constrictions on life had been, life became shorter and more brutish and death a capricious moment of 'bad luck', once loudmouth amerikans and englanders with guns and bombs arrived to 'sort everyone/everything out'.

The road will do little for afghanis still having to go to school in old tents because their liberators blew up the old schools and hospitals to create a dependent population.

That's because the roads aren't meant for them. The roads are there to generate a route for more useless garbage consumerist crap that Afghanis will be persuaded they need. The Afghani kids of now will grow up to learn that the 'old ways' don't mean shit. Your neighbour isn't your brother, he's someone that you can sell to, an economic unit.

If he doesn't buy (doesn't matter what - this year's cellphone or last seasons smack) kill him cause sure as shit when you do some other fool is going to take his place next door and maybe that one will buy what you've got to sell. If not kill him - keep killing them all, until a buyer turns up. That is message of the road and the progress and all the rest of the facile crap being pushed at Afghanis. Maybe it will work - at the moment it isn't looking good Afghanis seen this too many times before.

One thing is for sure when Afghanistan goes down that is one step closer to the end for all of us. The end - when every corner of this planet has a road and mobile phone coverage, ( a few places in Africa is about all that's left) when there is no where else to go and the parasites turn on each other because they've devoured the rest of us.
Fucking idiots coming round preaching their neo-con lies need to find somewhere else to take their shit.

Somewhere that hasn't heard it all before, hasn't seen their deceits and doesn't know the foul stench of a lackey's breath.

Don't take your foot off the pedal b. I'd be deleting the first mob of posts in here for spamming. If the rbv fool has half a brain why doesn't he assemble what he/she wants to say into one post instead of cramming out the top with his/her distortions.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 16 2008 21:27 utc | 15

If the rbv fool has half a brain why doesn't he assemble what he/she wants to say into one post instead of cramming out the top with his/her distortions.

indeed...

rvb = rhetorical belief virus?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 16 2008 22:58 utc | 16

"There's no way to deliver western aid to the afghan population without military protection."

Have they tried Fedex ?

Posted by: ziz | Aug 16 2008 23:07 utc | 17

DiD@15...Yep, that rant should be put on a flyer and passed out to the American public. rvb, please read #15 and grab a clue.

Posted by: ben | Aug 16 2008 23:21 utc | 18

This whole thread reminds me of the fable of the Three Indian Fakirs.
Most of Afghanistan outside of Kabul looks like Outer Mongolia, and
you don't need to worry about that changing for "worse" any time soon.

here
and here

(Those riding boots don't look like they came out of any Chinese factory!)
So as far as what color sandals and cell phones "everyone" there "wants",
that whole consumerism concept is entirely Western. Debs was joking!

Afghanistan needs the ring road for trade, as a "common profit zone",
like the Silk Road, if the USAIDiban would get off their dead asses.

Posted by: Hajigak Bamiyan | Aug 17 2008 2:29 utc | 19

mike whiteny - there are a number of strong pieces on georgia at counterpunch

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 17 2008 2:44 utc | 20

sorry, that should be on other thread

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 17 2008 2:45 utc | 21

b
**
Yes, these roads bring jobs. For young Chinese men.**

its what the chinese call :

"blood and sweat" money

Posted by: denk | Aug 17 2008 3:36 utc | 22

Heroin Trade Fuels Afghan Occupation

Not">http://www.typepad.com/cgi-bin/anon-www.cgi/http://www.typepad.com/t/"http://www.ahmedquraishi.com/article_detail.php?id=377">Not the Afghan president's brother, but "nephew", (son of a close personal friend) to Karzai,
this illustrates the clash of titanic unrealities in Afghanistan, with the allies
promising to rebuild the country with $10Bs, yet doing nothing, while "elected"
elites charged with promoting reconstruction and bringing law and order, are doing
exactly the opposite, both elites pocketing as much cash as fast as they can,
the Afghan reconstruction money is being sucked west by the Blackwater hole of Iraq,
and you know the heroin trade financing and distribution is via the West now too.

Still, the Afghan people, police and militia struggle onward, with occasional success,">http://www.typepad.com/cgi-bin/anon-www.cgi/http://www.typepad.com/t/"http://patdollard.com/2008/06/massive-drug-bust-made-in-afghanistan">success, in defeating the colonialists and carpetbagger corruptionists.

Ahmad Chalabi must be grinning">http://www.typepad.com/cgi-bin/anon-www.cgi/http://www.typepad.com/t/"http://www.iousathemovie.com/register/blogads/?topicId=11130">grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Posted by: Anatol Sharifi | Aug 17 2008 16:21 utc | 23

Youth work-training seminar held

A one day seminar was held by the Afghanistan Investment Support Administration (AISA) regional office in Kandahar to improve the work capacity and business affairs of youths.

The head of AISA regional office in Kandahar, Nasrullah Malgarai, told Surgar Weekly on 16th of August that in addition to this seminar they held four seminars recently in order to improve the work capacity and business affairs of businessmen and private business owners in Kandahar.

He added that fifty businessmen and representatives of private companies attended those seminars, which taught business affairs and business contracts. Mr Malgarai explained that the AISA administration hopes to improve Afghan business affairs by organizing more of these educational and informational seminars.

The AISA reported on their new training efforts at a time when the lack of security and electrical power failures have brought reduced investment in the Kandahar region, and tens of factories have been closed.

--

Afghan United Bank inaugurates branch in Kandahar

Afghan United Bank is the third national bank inaugurating a regional branch in Kandahar province. The new branch bank was inaugurated by Governor General Rahmatullah Raofi, calling the increasing number of banks in the country a good step toward an expanding economy. Governor Raofi expressed his pleasure that on his first day as the new governor of Kandahar, he had inaugurated a regional branch of the bank.

The head of Kandahar provincial assembly, Ahmad Wali Karzai, also showed his happiness over the inauguration of the Afghan United Bank regional branch, and said he appreciated those national investors who choose to invest their money in the country for the economical progress that brings.

The head of the bank in Kandahar, Hajji Mohammad Jan, said that after the capital Kabul, Kandahar is the second largest city that Afghan United Bank has inaugurated a branch in, adding that the bank plans a new branch in Mazaar soon.

--

Taliban following foot steps of Ahmad Shah Masood!

By : Benawa.com

During the Taliban rule, when they captured Kabul and other areas from (Northern Alliance leader) Ahmad Shah Masood, bridges and roads were often destroyed in order to defend the retreat, including bridges and roads in northern Parwan, Takhar and other provinces. This wartime tactic created problems for the common people, and now the destruction of bridges and other common profit places has been quickened once again by the Taliban,
as they increasingly block common roads, plant bombs and destroy bridges.

The Taliban have increased attacks on the Kabul-to-Kandahar Highway, and continually harass supply convoys of the Afghan National Army, police and foreign forces, as well as destroying governmental buildings and burning government schools. Last month the Taliban destroyed a highway bridge in Ghazni province, which has blocked the important trade corridor for the common people. When a spokesperson for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujaheed, was asked about this, he claimed responsibility for the destruction and added that the bridge has been destroyed as a normal wartime tactic.

Elsewhere on 13th of August the Taliban destroyed a connecting bridge to the Bakwa and Delaram districts of Farah on the Kandahar-to-Herat Highway.

There were fears that Taliban will destroy the electricity turbines in Saroobi, but the Taliban spokesman rejected these claims, and added that the Taliban won't destroy facilities that might harm the common people.

--

New Kandahar governor urges local support

The newly appointed governor of Kandahar, General Rahmatullah Raofi, vowed to perform his position for the good of the province, and hoped for the help and support of local people as his primary pre-condition for success.

Former Governor Assadullah Khalid was replaced by Governor Raofi, former commander of 205th Corps in Kandahar. Raofi is a resident of Maidan Wardag province of Afghanistan.

Ensuring security in the province is the first priority, according to the new Governor, and he plans to take serious measures, paying special attention to reconstruction works, building health facilities for the people and solving security problems in the field of education.

The head of provincial assembly in Kandahar, Ahmad Wali Karzai, welcomed the new governor on behalf of the Kandahar people, and assured him that the local people will fully support him.

Karzai also spoke appreciatively of former governor Khalid for his service to the province.

The deputy head of regional independent administration of interior ministry, Abdul Malik Sadiqi, introduced General Rahmatullah Raofi as the new governor of Kandahar, urging local residents of Kandahar province to support the new governor and help him to perform his job.

Former governor Assadullah Khalid spoke at in a meeting organized for formal introduction of the new governor, thanking the people of Kandahar for their patience during his tenure as governor. As in the past, former governor Khalid once again blamed the Pakistan intelligence agency ISI for interfering in the interior affairs of Afghanistan, and for the recent terrorist attacks in the country.

Experts blame the removal of Khalid on his outspoken disagreement with indiscriminate field tactics of the occupying Canadian forces and on the recent successful attack by the Taliban against the Kandahar prison.

Posted by: Surgar Weekly | Aug 17 2008 17:54 utc | 24

rvb, please read #15 and grab a clue.

It is indeed a rant. I'm sorry those three unecessary line breaks ruined your afternoon Debs. Maybe a nap would suit you better than a public tantrum.

very simply debs, there are no corporate interests in afghanistan. no oil rigs, no gas pipeline, no coca cola factory, and there never will be any of these things. rest assured, your navel-gazing US-centric "anti-imperialist" boilerplate has no audience outside of backwaters like this ridiculous website.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 18:05 utc | 25

"those three unecessary line breaks"

there he goes again

Posted by: b real | Aug 17 2008 18:14 utc | 26

@ rbv

would you also deny that there is no strategic importance to Afghanistan? That its location right in the center of three former soviet states, Pakistan, Iran, and China has nothing to do with the US wanting to occupy that area? Would you also deny that the business of the US is business?

this website is many things to many people, ridiculous it is not. should you wish to continue in your one dimensional thinking, why not simply stay at little green footballs? there you will constantly get re-inforcement that your way is the right way.

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 17 2008 18:27 utc | 27

dan of steele

do not worry your head over types like rbv. their world is a dying one. the tragedy lies in the fact they are trying to take us down with it

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 17 2008 18:59 utc | 28

Asia Times

Russia takes control of Turkmen (world?) gas
By M K Bhadrakumar

http://tinyurl.com/64t5xe

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 17 2008 19:08 utc | 29

@Surgar Weekly - you have posted here several times. I appreciate that. Really.

A comment to the stories you posted (i.e. not to you):

The first one: "Afghanistan Investment Support Administration" gives training seminars in "business contracts" - ain't there more important issues? To what laws do those contracts refer? There are century old rules on how to do do business in Afghanistan, why do those people need lessons in those.

Second: "The head of the bank in Kandahar, Hajji Mohammad Jan" That would be a son or relative of Haji Habibullah Jan? Interesting ...

"Taliban following foot steps of Ahmad Shah Masood" - they certainly do not. Masood was one of their worst enemies (offed by them a few days before(?) or on 9/11) - the tactic of destroying bridges (lines of communications) is certainly one every party in a conflict might use. It is not, as the story suggests, one of 'retreat'.

The new governor in Kandahar: "Experts blame the removal of Khalid on his outspoken disagreement with indiscriminate field tactics of the occupying Canadian forces and on the recent successful attack by the Taliban against the Kandahar prison."

Not really the recent prison attack. The Canadians wanted the old guy to be fired a year ago. They said so and there was some diplomatic rumble between Karzai and Canada about this when the Canadians said it publicly. Karzai did not want to be seen as the puppet he is and delayed the firing. No its done and the Canadians are happy to bribe the new guy.

Posted by: b | Aug 17 2008 19:30 utc | 30

your navel-gazing US-centric "anti-imperialist" boilerplate has no audience outside of backwaters like this ridiculous website.

lol! marvelous! i've noticed lately how the empire extremists have been ramping up the ad hominem attacks on a lot of the blogs. one wonders what interest they would have in posting here at all if they truly believed this was a backwater 'ridiculous' sight.

you're a threat b, and posters such as r'giap and debs w/their incredibly floral descriptions and rages against the empire give courage to the more ordinary amoungst us. actually we are very well rounded in terms of the range of talents we possess!

i love it here. it kind of excites me in a way how dire the threat must be to inspire these little rampages against us by the stanch defenders of the murderous empire!

boilerplate? lol! kudos to you debs!

when there is no where else to go and the parasites turn on each other because they've devoured the rest of us.

reminds me of an EXCELLENT video i watched last night, i totally recommend. the story of stuff. (move to the distribution, externalizing the costs segment) you can't even begin the process w/out roads. roads to exploitation. one message of the video..."if you don't buy you don't have value". you might as well be dead as far as they are concerned. slaves paying for our lifestyle.

Posted by: annie | Aug 17 2008 20:48 utc | 31

one wonders what interest they would have in posting here at all if they truly believed this was a backwater 'ridiculous' sight

Annie, it's strictly for laughs. Don't think for a second that I take anything you say seriously. As for ad hominem, you're soaking in it!!

would you also deny that there is no strategic importance to Afghanistan?

Yes I would. the fact that it's near some other more significant states doesn't impress me. So is Mongolia. It's a barren country with no resources, the US already has bases all over the world including thousands next door in kyrgyzstan. So why bother with Afghanistan? Is the idea to threaten china or russia? to what possible end? china makes the dvd players and russia sells all the oil. And whats in it for canada? and germany? are they reviving the 3rd reich?

sometimes things are simply what they seem. It's in NATO's interest to promote a stable government in afghanistan. That it may be in chevron's interest (and it isn't) isn't even secondary to me, and the fact that it dominates your attention is proof to me of your horrendous faith.

and who or what is a green football? don't involve me please in your silly feuds with some rival website.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 21:17 utc | 32

one wonders what interest they would have in posting here at all if they truly believed this was a backwater 'ridiculous' sight

Annie, it's strictly for laughs. Don't think for a second that I take anything you say seriously. As for ad hominem, you're soaking in it!!

would you also deny that there is no strategic importance to Afghanistan?

Yes I would. the fact that it's near some other more significant states doesn't impress me. So is Mongolia. It's a barren country with no resources, the US already has bases all over the world including thousands next door in kyrgyzstan. So why bother with Afghanistan? Is the idea to threaten china or russia? to what possible end? china makes the dvd players and russia sells all the oil. And whats in it for canada? and germany? are they reviving the 3rd reich?

sometimes things are simply what they seem. It's in NATO's interest to promote a stable government in afghanistan. That it may be in chevron's interest (and it isn't) isn't even secondary to me, and the fact that it dominates your attention is proof to me of your horrendous faith.

and who or what is a green football? don't involve me please in your silly feuds with some rival website.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 21:19 utc | 33

Russia takes control of Turkmen (world?) gas

Big whoop. The Russians have controlled turkmen gas for as long as there's been turkmen gas to control. So what? They still have to sell it to a monopsony (the EU) or flare it off for fun.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 21:38 utc | 34

rbv,

simply google little green footballs if you are interested. i will not link to that vileness.

the strategic importance of Afghanistan goes back for centuries. right now it is important because of its location near the Caspian sea oil and gas deposits. really, why is it in NATO's interest to promote a stable government in Afghanistan? If that were the desired result, we could have left the Russians alone to do that instead of sponsoring bin Laden and his friends to sabotage the effort. Has NATO become some kind of humanitarian organization that has no ulterior motives? Where is the threat to Europe from a bunch of dirt poor tribesmen trying to survive in a land far far away?

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 17 2008 21:42 utc | 35

PS, if Germany's aim is to snuggle up with the US before the big push to take Moscow, why are they inking all kinds of deals with Gazprom (north stream, wingas merger, asset swaps of every kind, etc etc etc) .. this also applies to ISAF member Italy (cf ENI / Gazprom lovemaking)... gazprom's lead financiers are RBS and Calyon (aka the UK and France) and their biggest source of project financing the US bond market.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 21:46 utc | 36

right now it is important because of its location near the Caspian sea oil and gas deposits

EVERYTHING ON EARTH IS NEAR AN OIL DEPOSIT. This is not evidence that all human activity is motivated by the need to control oil flows. and its still unclear to me exactly HOW the flows are to be controlled... is the idea that having troops near the caspian helps guarantee that oil and gas will flow, that the price will be lower , what? it's just ridiculous. look, the US hates chavez and vice versa, but the US is still his biggest customer, everyone's happy and no invasions are planned there.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 21:49 utc | 37

Where is the threat to Europe from a bunch of dirt poor tribesmen trying to survive in a land far far away?

From people like Bin Laden (remember him?) He and some other very dangerous people live and work among them.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 21:54 utc | 38

rbv

fuck off

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 17 2008 22:05 utc | 39

@ 36

yet.


Posted by: Hamburger | Aug 17 2008 22:08 utc | 40

fuck off

Only when I'm good and bored. Lucky for you that time draws nearer.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 22:10 utc | 41

dick cheney sd that

it is hard enough looking for sense in this world, your nonsense needs to be repudiated, brusquely

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 17 2008 22:16 utc | 42

repudiated, brusquely

I repudiate you , suh, brusquely!

har har!

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 22:17 utc | 43

roads and history, wars and natives

google rail+roads+united+states+chinese+workers

http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/immigration/themes-railroads.html

This massive work could never have been completed without Chinese and Irish laborers, who comprised the bulk of the workforce. Chinese laborers were brought in by the Central Pacific Railroad in large numbers. Indeed, by the height of the construction effort in 1868, over 12,000 Chinese immigrants were employed, comprising about 80 percent of the Central Pacific's workforce. The work ethic of the Chinese impressed James Strobridge, the foreman of construction, as did their willingness to do the dangerous work of blasting areas for track in the treacherous Sierra Nevada, an effort that cost some Chinese laborers their lives. Chinese workers even helped lay a record ten miles of track in just twelve hours, shortly before the railroad was completed. The Chinese dedication to the Central Pacific was even more impressive in light of the racial discrimination they experienced. California law prevented them from obtaining full citizenship, but still mandated that they pay taxes to the state of California. In addition, the Chinese were paid only $27 a month (later rising to $30 a month), significantly less than the $35 a month that Irish laborers on the Central Pacific earned for doing the same work.

The Union Pacific was built primarily by Irish laborers from the Eastern Seaboard who were veterans of the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Mormons also supplied labor, due to their desire to see the railroad pass near to Salt Lake City, and thereby to incorporate heavily Mormon Utah into the rest of the country. Although the Irish did not suffer from the same kind of racial discrimination as the Chinese did on the Central Pacific, they were still paid relatively little for hard work in dangerous territory. Irish laborers were killed by Native American war parties, who attacked laborers and construction parties for their efforts to build a railroad that Native Americans believed threatened the continued existence of their culture and violated treaties granted by the US government.

no comment

Posted by: constant | Aug 17 2008 22:17 utc | 44

ok , someone from the peanut gallery please explain why all these 'western' businesses (eon, gasunie, rbs goldman, citigroup etc) are so closely affiliated with russian and chinese interests if a full scale NATO offensive is being planned. has the pentagon not told wall street of its evil plan?

incoherent horseshit, very funny tho so MORE PLEASE!!!!

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 22:22 utc | 45

if you really want to learn rbv, drop the attitude. if you want to teach, then do so. right now you are merely annoying.

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 17 2008 22:31 utc | 46

Dan, I've already been told to fuck off, and have suffered BRUSQUE REPUDIATION. It's a bit to late to affect high-mindedness.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 22:47 utc | 47

ps dan, i'd love to teach the world-politics-as-game-of-risk contingent a few things, but if any of them were smart enough they'd already know that big business LOVES these 'rival powers' they imagine to be in a contest with the dreaded US imperium.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 17 2008 22:50 utc | 48


This is not evidence that all human activity is motivated by the need to control oil flows.

strawmen are so boring. why don't you just say 'human activity isn't motivated by the need to control oil flows' if that is what you mean? but that isn't what you mean is it? what you mean is it is not as important as we make it out to be. so, how important do you think it is? say..compared to american intervention 'helping the little guy'.

Don't think for a second that I take anything you say seriously.

drip drip. i'd love to teach... a few things, if any of them were smart enough ..... they imagine .... dreaded US...

you may want to consider no one here is taking anything you say seriously.

Posted by: annie | Aug 17 2008 23:31 utc | 49

fuck off

Only when I'm good and bored.

actually it doesn't always work like that around here. sometimes it isn't always up to the poster whether they get to post here or not.

Posted by: annie | Aug 17 2008 23:36 utc | 50

See, now ya done did it, rbv...

ya drew the attention of our annie, and you shall now pay for your meanness.
She'll chew you up like a puddty tat. And me and they rest of the boys will sit back and laugh...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 18 2008 0:09 utc | 51

rbv sounds suspiciously like slothrop. just saying.

and these attacks will continue because the work b does here with MoA certainly is a threat.

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 18 2008 1:12 utc | 52

rbv
**ok , someone from the peanut gallery please explain why all these 'western' businesses (eon, gasunie, rbs goldman, citigroup etc) are so closely affiliated with russian and chinese interests if a full scale NATO offensive is being planned. has the pentagon not told wall street of its evil plan?

incoherent horseshit, very funny tho so MORE PLEASE!!!! **

funny you havent noticed, it has been going on for decades already

[you can substitute russia for china.....]
"U.S. big business wants it both ways with China. Boeing wants to sell its planes there. Intel wants it to buy computer chips. Philip Morris wants to market its cigarettes. But they all want to diminish China as a world power, tear pieces off if they can, and make sure that China’s modernization does not strengthen its socialist state property. It’s the job of President Clinton and the foreign policy establishment to facilitate commercial relations with China while also letting the Pentagon, the CIA, and the other agencies of imperialist aggression do their thing"

the anglos always wanna have their cake and eat it too,

or as one yank put it, "how do we exploit the chinese[russians] and screw them at the same time !!"

Posted by: denk | Aug 18 2008 3:35 utc | 53

British Kill 4 Civilians in Afghanistan

British troops accidentally killed four civilians and wounded three others with rockets during an operation against Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan, NATO and British officials said Sunday.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said women and children were among the casualties, but it did not detail whether they were dead or wounded.

The British Ministry of Defense said British paratroopers were involved in the episode in the Sangin district of Helmand Province on Saturday.

Posted by: b | Aug 18 2008 10:13 utc | 54

annie - would you also deny that there is no strategic importance to Afghanistan?

rbv - Yes I would. the fact that it's near some other more significant states doesn't impress me. So is Mongolia. It's a barren country with no resources, the US already has bases all over the world including thousands next door in kyrgyzstan. So why bother with Afghanistan?

CIA World Fact Book - Mongolia:

Natural resources:

oil, coal, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc, fluorspar, gold, silver, iron

CIA World Fact Book - Afghanistan

Natural resources:

natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones

The U.S. military trains the Mongolian military ...

Also:


JOHN J. MARESCA, VICE PRESIDENT UNOCAL
In testimony before a House committee, February 12, 1998:
...
The Caspian region contains tremendous untapped hydrocarbon reserves, much of them located in the Caspian Sea basin itself. Proven natural gas reserves within Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan equal more than 236 trillion cubic feet. The region's total oil reserves may reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil -- enough to service Europe's oil needs for 11 years. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels . . .

[An] option is to build a pipeline south from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. One obvious potential route south would be across Iran. However, this option is foreclosed for American companies because of U.S. sanctions legislation. The only other possible route option is across Afghanistan, which has its own unique challenges. The country has been involved in bitter warfare for almost two decades. The territory across which the pipeline would extend is controlled by the Taliban, an Islamic movement that is not recognized as a government by most other nations.

From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of our proposed pipeline cannot begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders and our company.

Posted by: b | Aug 18 2008 10:47 utc | 55

I don't see how reprinting an editorial from 'workers world' proves your point. neither you nor the editorialist seem to understand what motivates businessmen (hint:it isn't patriotism but money) it isn't in anyone's interest to weaken his main trading partner.
As anyone knows, the west's commercial relations with Russia and China are generally as customers, not vendors, but more usually as collaborators. I gave you a few examples of joint ventures between russia and "the west".
both China and Russia compete with, partner with, buy from and sell to western multinationals. Nowhere are these relations coerced or coordinated with the military of any western state. It's not in Citibank's interest to "diminish Russia as a world power" because Russia's world power is irrelevant to Citi's profitability.
In those cases where russia, venezuela etc have appropriated 'western'oil resources, the US gov's response has been a shrug, not even a diplomatic note.
and why would yank bankers want to weaken China when they profit so richly from their bond issues?
http://english.gov.cn/2007-05/30/content_631186.htm

exactly who is exploiting whom when billion dollar bond deals by chinese oil firms are brokered by Western banks? maybe it's win-win... or is that too boring a narrative for you?

yes, I'm familiar with the mythical 'pipeline thru afghanistan' that no one outside the afghan government seems interested in building. Like the unicorn, it will never be captured on film (....a pity) Also, Unocal doesnt exist any more, so I don't think they'll be leading the effort.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 18 2008 13:20 utc | 56

How to makes friends in Kandahar (NOT).

Posted by: b | Aug 18 2008 15:18 utc | 57

Afghan road war in pictures

Posted by: b | Aug 18 2008 15:24 utc | 58

rbv
** why would yank bankers want to weaken China when they profit so richly from their bond issues?**

how about ceos of lockheed martin who mourn an "enemy shortage" after the ussr was gone, admirals who want to justify their budget for another aircraft carrier and their own relevance, how about rabid panda hunters like cheney , rumsfeld, i wont be surprised there are those who do big bussiness in china but enjoy screwing china every now and then, just for the fun of it....

everybody who read beyond the funnies page knows it, "There are many powerful Americans who would love a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident to ignite a Cold war with China", [tinyurl.com/5k952d], hardly top secret stuff.

Posted by: denk | Aug 19 2008 3:10 utc | 59

First Afghan drug convictions

The Afghanistan special court against narcotics use has, for the first time, convicted and sentenced several Afghan drug smugglers to sixteen years imprisonment, and in one trial the court also ordered a convicted smuggler to pay a hefty fine.

Anti narcotics officials of the justice special force said they captured the drug suspects and accused them of smuggling twenty five kilograms of heroin. According to the officials, the drug convicts were members of a smuggling group, and each was sentenced for sixteen years in prison. One of the convicts was also ordered to pay nearly one million Afghanis cash as punishment, in addition to his sixteen year imprisonment.

The officials added that the nine person drug smuggling group included several corrupt government security officials, and a Jihadi General who were performing their jobs before being arrested. The smugglers claimed to be falsely accused by their enemies, but justice officials had a video tape as evidence, showing the drug suspects dealing with policemen and security officials who were also arrested and are waiting to be tried.

These convictions become the first time an Afghan anti narcotics court has tried, convicted and sentenced smuggling suspects, instead of merely arresting and then releasing them. Field experts have criticized the Afghan government for failing to try the many corrupt policemen, security officials, high-ranking members of government and their family members involved in drug smuggling, but anti narcotics officials claim that due to a lack of evidence, they can't take legal action against them.

--

Helmand terrorist leaders captured

The governor of the unstable southern province of Helmand stated they have captured two leaders of the terrorist group who were involved in killing tribal leaders in the province and deteriorating relations between tribes.

Governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal, speaking to Radio Azadi, said that both captured criminals have confessed to their crimes and admitted to leading a terrorist group. Governor Mangal said investigators have found enough evidence and documents from the two suspects to prove their involvement in terrorist attacks.

According to the Governor, the two men also confessed to involvement in an explosion during the ceremony for selecting pilgrims for Hajj held last year in Helmand province, and said they had planned to perform additional terrorist attacks.

Governor Mangal also identified tribal leaders killed by this terrorist group, and said that police have captured other suspects related to the two terrorist leaders, but he did not give specifics, or mention if the captured men were tied to a political group or from a foreign country.

With the capture of these terrorist leaders, government and security officials hope for a reduction of unrest and violence in the province, and will begin immediate efforts to capture their other terrorist allies, based on the two men's confessions.

Helmand is one of the southern unstable provinces of Afghanistan where terrorist issues are being reported daily by the local press.

--

Karzai frees political prisoners

On the eve of the eighty-ninth annual Afghanistan Independence Day, President Hamid Karzai ordered the release of political prisoners, and those prisoners with more than three years left on their sentences.

Officials of the Justice Ministry said that those prisoners accused of internal domestic security violations, robbery and kidnapping will not be freed.

Every year on the Independence Day celebration, the president orders the release of political prisoners as a gesture of good will, but this is the first time anyone can recall when all prisoners accused of political crimes and those with long sentences remaining were released.

Officials say that representatives of different security and justice administrations are appointed to investigate the justice files of each convict, and the release process will start this week, with female prisoners given priority over male prisoners.

The officials said that most of the political prisoners were captured and accused of having either relations with the Taliban, or were indirectly caught up after dragnets involving terrorist attacks.

Posted by: Surgar Weekly English | Aug 19 2008 6:00 utc | 60

The Independent
Date: 19 October 2001

End of Taliban will bring rise in heroin
By Richard Lloyd Parry in Islamabad

The defeat of the Taliban would result in a surge in opium production, which has beenvirtually halted in Afghanistan by the Kabul regime over the last year, United Nations officials have warned.

A new UN survey reveals that the Taliban have completed one of the quickest and most successful drug elimination programmes in history.

The area of land given over to growing opium poppies in 2001 fell by 91 per cent compared with the year before, according to the UN Drug Control Programme's (UNDCP) annual survey of Afghanistan. Production of fresh opium, the raw material for heroin, went down by an unprecedented 94 per cent, from 3,276 tonnes to 185 tonnes.

Almost all Afghan opium this year came out of territories controlled by America's ally in the assault on Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance. Because of a ban on poppy farming, only one in 25 of Afghanistan's opium poppies was being grown in Taliban areas.

However, while poppy cultivation dropped, exports of refined opium and heroin from the Taliban-controlled areas remained unchanged because of stockpiles.

Some UN officials privately believe that the Taliban have not received enough credit for controlling drugs, and that under any post-Taliban regime cultivation, consumption – and the amount of opium and heroin on world markets – would inevitably increase.

"These are things which no one can say," said one UN official who worked in Afghanistan before the terrorist attacks of 11 September. "No other government in the world would have been able to do that. When I travelled through Badakshan [a province largely controlled by the Northern Alliance] you often saw the poppies."

In its early years the Taliban justified the cultivation of opium on the basis that it was a drug consumed abroad by unbelievers.

But in 2000, the regime changed its mind and vigorously enforced the ban, apparently in the hope of winning credit with the UN and strengthening its claim to Afghanistan's seat in the General Assembly, currently occupied by the Northern Alliance.

Posted by: Surgar Daily English | Aug 19 2008 16:41 utc | 61

@Surgar - yes - this graph is amazing - wonder how much of the profits go to the CIA ...

Posted by: b | Aug 19 2008 17:49 utc | 62

Iwonder what's so impressive about that graph esp. as opium production increased dramatically throughout the taliban's rule:

http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2004/Afghanistan-Drug-Trade5apr04f1.GIF

maybe it shows that taliban is qualified to coerce afghan farmers, but we knew that.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 20 2008 6:26 utc | 63

how about ceos of lockheed martin who mourn an "enemy shortage" after the ussr was gone

he is outnumbered 100 to 1 by CEOs eager to do business with both china and russia, and a million to one by US consumers eager to buy cheap chinese merchandise. Maybe the promoters of "Cold War II" should be reading the business section instead of the funnies.

Posted by: rbv | Aug 20 2008 6:29 utc | 64

rbv.

in the land ruled by the MICE -- militarial industrial congressional establishment, one marketing mgr of lockheed martin is worth 1000 ceos from whatever.

you are in self denial mode, i rest my case.

Posted by: denk | Aug 21 2008 7:46 utc | 65

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