by Gabriel Carlyle
October 05, 2007
On 7 October 2001 US and British forces invaded Afghanistan, killing thousands of civilians. But following the Taliban’s “defeat” in December 2001, Afghanistan dropped out of the media, and off the anti-war movement’s agenda.
Six years later, despite the mounting carnage, Afghanistan remains the establishment’s “good war” [i], which even The Independent cannot bring itself to oppose.[ii]
Here is some of the reality behind the spin.
1. War was not the only option in 2001.
The US and Britain chose to invade Afghanistan in spite of Taliban offers to extradite bin Laden[iii], and dire warnings from the international aid agencies regarding the likely humanitarian impact.
Over 2,000 civilians were killed directly by US/UK forces during the invasion itself.[iv] Indirect deaths – as the bombing disrupted vital aid supplies and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes – were later estimated at between 10,000 – 20,000.[v]
2. Following the 2001 invasion, militias with horrific human rights records were ‘brought to power with the assistance of the United States’ (Human Rights Watch), and the political process was manipulated by the US in order to install a weak leader (Hamid Karzai), who was dependent upon foreign backing and the appeasement of these warlords.[vi]
In the 2004 Presidential elections voters in many rural areas were told by warlords and regional commanders how to vote[vii], while during the campaign period for the September 2005 parliamentary elections, Human Rights Watch ‘documented pervasive intimidation of voters and candidates, in particular women’.[viii]
Over half of the members of the Afghan parliament are linked to armed groups or have records of past human rights abuses.[ix] read more