Afghanistan – Pride & Prejudice – Part XI

17 May 2024

Dr Binoy Kampmark in Middle East Monitor, “[. . .] Without McBride’s revelations, there would have been no Afghan Files published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The Brereton Inquiry, established to investigate alleged war crimes, would most likely have never been launched. That notable document subsequently identified 39 instances of alleged unlawful killings of Afghan civilians by members of the Special Forces.” click here.

3 May 2024

Matthew Weaver in the Guardian, “[. . .] Stewart was “horrified” by the chaos and dysfunction at the Whitehall crisis centre where she had volunteered to work when the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021, the tribunal was told.” click here.

12 March 2024

Frank Ledwidge in the Guardian, “[. . .] When a serving minister states under oath – as Mercer did – that he had “very little faith that the MoD had the ability to hold itself to account”, we have a serious problem, whether the reason for it is dishonesty, ignorance or incompetence [. . .] UK special forces, including the SAS, claim a unique position in Britain’s defence and security structures. They are accountable only to two people: the defence secretary and the prime minister.” click here.

20 February 2024

Joel Gunter and Hannah O’Grady, BBC News, “[. . .] Tessa Gregory, a partner at Leigh Day, the law firm representing some of the Afghan families whose relatives were killed by the SAS, said Mr Mercer’s testimony “lays bare the depth of concern that has existed for years within the army and at the highest levels of government that UK Special Forces were carrying out extra judicial killings in Afghanistan”. click here.

15th October 2023

Dan Sabbagh in The Guardian, “[. . .] Concerns were circulating about up to 80 deaths from the SAS deployment in Helmand province between 2010 and 2013, many of which involved the shooting dead of Afghan civilians on SAS night raids.” click here.

25 September 2023

Lynzy Billing in New Lines Magazine, “America’s two-decade military occupation devastated Afghanistan’s environment in ways that may never be fully investigated or addressed. American and allied military forces, mostly other NATO members, repeatedly used munitions that can leave a toxic footprint. These weapons introduced known carcinogens, teratogens and genotoxins [ . . .] into the environment, without accountability.” click here.

18 December 2022

Dan Sabbagh in the Guardian, “Ministers have announced a statutory judge-led inquiry into allegations of more than 50 summary killings by SAS soldiers in Afghanistan, a decision made after years of reports that elite British troops killed civilians in cold blood. . . The inquiry will cover the period from mid-2010 to mid-2013. click here

19 July 2022

The Guardian reports, “. . . On the second day of closing submissions, Nicholas Owens SC, [acting for the newspapers being sued by a former soldier in the Australian regiment serving in Afghanistan] said witnesses, including those called by the newspapers, were reluctant to report alleged war crimes because of a “pervasive culture” that forced new soldiers in particular to ‘toe the line’ of the regiment’s culture.” click here

13 July 2022

Hannah O’Grady and Joel Gunter, BBC Panorama report, “SAS operatives in Afghanistan repeatedly killed detainees and unarmed men in suspicious circumstances, according to a BBC investigation. Newly obtained military reports suggest that one unit may have unlawfully killed 54 people in one six-month tour. The BBC found evidence suggesting the former head of special forces failed to pass on evidence to a murder inquiry.” click here.

6 February 2022

Larry Elliot in the Guardian, ” . . . The war in Afghanistan did not end when US and UK troops left Kabul airport last year: it merely took a different, but still lethal, form. ” click here.

29 December 2021

Aubrey Allegretti in the Guardian, “. . . He [ex-PM Gordon Brown} continued: ‘It cost America trillions to fight the war in Afghanistan. It is not beyond our capacity to find $4bn to prevent starvation amid this uneasy peace. This tragedy foretold cannot be a tragedy unresolved.’ Brown also said the frantic military retreat from Afghanistan, when tens of thousands of people tried to flee on evacuation flights before the last troops pulled out, signalled the end of the notion allies could ‘impose liberal western values overnight’ in other countries.” click here.

12 December 2021

Michael Savage in the Guardian, “. . . He [Tom Tugendhat MP said that questions remained over the evacuation of nearly 200 dogs and cats from Kabul. Pen Farthing, a former British Royal Marine who operated the Nowzad animal charity, flew with the animals in a chartered aircraft. However, Marshall said that finite resources on the ground had to be deployed to ensure the animals reached the plane. “The Foreign Office officials made it clear that there was absolutely no diversion of resources,” said Tugendhat. “They also made it clear that the military opened the gates and took time to get those animals in. How those two statements are compatible, I don’t understand.” click here.

10 November 2021

Dan Sabbagh in The Guardian ” British soldiers and Ministry of Defence officials were aware of – and failed to properly investigate – a series of alleged massacres of 33 Afghan men by SAS soldiers at the peak of the conflict about a decade ago, a court has heard. ” click here.

29 August 2021

Rajeev Sayal in The Guardian, “A former head of the British Army has said it is “unfathomable” that the UK government appeared to have been “asleep on watch” when it came to ensuring the safety of Afghans who helped soldiers and officials. Gen Lord Richard Dannatt’s comments followed the final flight containing UK troops and diplomatic staff from Kabul, bringing to an end Britain’s 20-year engagement in Afghanistan.” click here.

15 August 2021

Sam Hancock in The Independent, “. . . Taliban fighters have officially entered Kabul, with negotiators for the militant group now thought to be in the presidential palace preparing for a “peaceful transfer of power”. Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani is reportedly in the process of relinquishing power before an interim government, led by the Taliban, is formed, an official told the AP news agency.” click here

1 August 2021

Emma Graham-Harrison in the Guardian, “. . . President Biden has promised that the US will not abandon allies in Afghanistan, as it did during its hasty exit from Vietnam. The government is scrambling around for ways to get the tens of thousands of visa applicants to safety, while they are still being vetted, and is reportedly in talks with governments in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf about hosting them.” click here.

4 July 2021

Julian Borger in the Guardian, ” As in Vietnam, the US is leaving after a peace deal with an enemy it tried to destroy and failed. As in Vietnam, the emboldened enemy is not expected to keep the peace. Saigon held out for two years against the North Vietnamese army after the American withdrawal. Some US intelligence estimates do not even give Kabul six months. ” click here.

11 May 2021

From the ‘Action on Armed Violence’ website, “The road to almost 1,600 children being killed or injured by airstrikes in Afghanistan was paved, in part, in late 2017, when then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced that the Rules of Engagement for airstrikes against the Taliban had been loosened, enabling the US Air Force to conduct more airstrikes . . . Such heavy bombardment resulted in the deadliest year of airstrikes for children in Afghanistan on record, AOAV can reveal. In 2018, 236 minors were killed by airstrikes. Another 256 were injured, leaving a total of 492 child casualties This was an 85% increase on the year before, resulting in a rate of four child casualties every three days.” click here

17 April 2021

The Guardian editorial: ” Britain’s former prime minister Harold Macmillan is said to have told colleagues that the first law of politics should be “never invade Afghanistan”.  . . . Western ambitions were long on idealised visions of the postwar order, but short on a grasp of regional realities and military capabilities. The Taliban regrouped and rearmed. Long attritional years of civil conflict followed. This week, almost 20 years in, Joe Biden has decided America has at last had enough of an unwon and unwinnable war. He is bringing the troops home. America’s allies, including Britain, will now follow the US through the exit door.” click here.

22 December 2020

Andrew Quilty in Democracynow,org, “. . .  In December 2018, one of the death squads attacked a madrassa in Wardak province, killing 12 boys, of whom the youngest was 9 years old. The United States played key roles in many of the raids, from picking targets to ferrying Afghan forces to the sites to providing lethal airpower during the raids.” click here.

20 November 2020

Rory Callinan in The Guardian: “. . . she [Shaharzad Akbar, chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission] singled out the UK armed forces’ role, saying: “In particular, the AIHRC calls on the UK to open an independent inquiry to review and investigate the allegation of unlawful killings by UK special forces.” click here

23 October 2020

Giovanni Torre in The Daily Telegraph [PAYWALL ITEM], ” A United States Marine Corps helicopter crew chief has accused Australian special forces of shooting dead one of seven bound Afghan prisoners because there was only space for six on the US aircraft due to collect them. . . .” click here.

17 August 2020

Paul Daley in The Guardian, ” Since 2016 Paul Brereton, the Australian defence force inspector general, has been conducting an inquiry into allegations of war crimes by a small number of special forces troops in Afghanistan. Brereton – who is reported to have interviewed some 250 former and serving special forces soldiers – is due to imminently report to the federal government.” click here

2 August 2020

Dan Sabbagh in The Guardian, ” The UK defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has been ordered by a court to explain why the government withheld evidence suggesting SAS soldiers executed 33 civilians in Afghanistan in early 2011. ” click here.

19 March 2020

Andrea Germanos in ‘Amnesty International on Wednesday rebuked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over new comments bashing the International Criminal Court and threatening court staff—and their family members—investigating alleged war crimes committed by United States forces in Afghanistan.’ click here.

6 March 2020

Jason Ditz in’Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reacted angrily to the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling to investigate US war crimes, declaring the group “an unaccountable political institution masquerading as a legal body.” Pompeo said it was reckless to even suggest an investigation after the Afghan peace deal was reached, and vowed the US would take “all necessary measures” to shield US personnel from the investigation.’

29 Feb 2020

Shereena Qazi reports in AlJazeera: ‘US officials and Taliban representatives have signed an agreement after months of negotiations in Qatar’s capital that is aimed at ending the United States’s longest war, fought in Afghanistan since 2001.’. source.

24 Feb 2020

The New York Times, Sirajuddin Haqqani: What We, the Taliban Want. I am convinced that the killing and the maiming must stop, the deputy leader of the Taliban writes. source NYT 20 Feb 2020

9 December 2019

Peter Beaumont in the Guardian, “The 2,000 pages of documents reveal the bleak and unvarnished views of many insiders in a war that has cost $1tn (£760bn) and killed more than 2,300 US servicemen and women, with more than 20,000 injured. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have died in the conflict.” source.

16 November 2019

Patrick Cockburn in the Independent, ” Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British ambassador in Kabul at the time, wrote in his memoirs that the worst mistake made by the Foreign Office in the previous 30 years was the invasion of Iraq, and the second worst was “its enthusiastic endorsement of Britain’s half-baked effort to occupy Helmand in 2006”. The allegation that war crimes were committed – to be claimed in a BBC Panorama programme on Monday evening – is in keeping with Britain’s dismal record in these conflicts.” source.

10 October 2019

UNA, “The United Nations said on Wednesday that “Multiple” airstrikes by the US military on alleged methamphetamine drug labs in a remote area of western Afghanistan earlier this year, killed or injured dozens of civilians who should not have been treated as military targets.” Source.

19 September 2019

The Guardian citing Reuters, ” A US drone strike intended to hit an Islamic State hideout . . . has killed at least 30 civilians who were resting after harvesting pine nuts . . . Afghanistan’s defence ministry and a senior US official in Kabul confirmed the drone strike, but did not share details of civilian casualties. ” Source

16 September 2019

Lilly Pucket in the Independent, ” We’re certainly not going to sit still and let them carry out some self-described race to victory,” said US Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, to reporters last week . . .” Source

8 February 2019

Simon Tisdall in The Guardian, ” The idea, promoted by successive US administrations and Nato partners such as Britain, that Afghanistan could become a model nation-building exercise has long since been exposed as a neoliberal fantasy.” Source

4 February 2019

Ian Cobain in MiddleEast Eye, ” The British army operated rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan that at times allowed soldiers to shoot unarmed civilians who were suspected of keeping them under surveillance, a Middle East Eye investigation has established. ” Source

1 January 2019

Robert Kaplan in the New York Times, ” No other country in the world symbolizes the decline of the American empire as much as Afghanistan.” Source.