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Afghanistan: War Without End In A World Without Conscience

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Afghanistan: War Without End In A World Without Conscience
Rick Rozoff

The largest foreign military force ever deployed in Afghanistan is now well into the tenth year of the longest and what has become the deadliest war of the 21st century.

Some 154,000 occupation troops, almost two-thirds American and the rest from fifty other nations, are waging an armed conflict that has become more lethal with each succeeding year.

At the beginning of this month Agence France-Presse calculated that over 10,000 people had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Based on official Afghan government figures and those from the icasualties website, record-level fatalities were documented in every category:

The U.S., its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies and assorted NATO partnership nations lost 711 soldiers, a substantial increase from the preceding year when the death toll was 521. The remaining 9,370 killed were Afghans. According to AFP they were:

810 government troops, 1,292 police, 2,043 civilians and 5,225 people referred to as "militants." It is uncertain how many dead in the last category properly belong in the one preceding it. The United Nations, for example, said 2,412 civilians were killed and 3,803 wounded in the first ten months of last year, a 20 percent increase over 2009.

The fighting and the killing grew in intensity as the year came to a close, with the U.S. and NATO escalating bombing raids and counterinsurgency ground operations.

Last February NATO forces launched Operation Moshtarak in Helmand province, the largest offensive to date in the war that began on October 7, 2001. At least 15,000 foreign and government troops conducted a lopsided onslaught against at most a few hundred Taliban fighters with the population of Marjah the main victim.

The next month U.S. and NATO forces began Operation Omaid to gain control of Kandahar city, capital of the province of the same name, and prepared Operation Hamkari in the province, which was repeatedly delayed in large part because of the failure of the drawn-out and indecisive offensive in neighboring Helmand. The Hamkari offensive did not get underway until September and on a less ambitious scale than Operation Moshtarak.

This month a delegation of Afghan officials, led by President Hamid Karzai's adviser Mohammad Sadiq Aziz, claimed that the still ongoing Operation Omaid has caused $100 million in damages to fruit crops (on the eve of harvest season), livestock and property. "The Om[a]id (Hope) military operation, which has been going on for some time in Arghandab, Zhari, and Panjwai districts, has inflicted severe damage to the people," Aziz said. [1]

On January 24 President Karzai himself accused NATO of cutting down as many as 4,000 trees in Ghazni province. "The president in condemning this act emphasises to the international forces that they must avoid such action, which is a crime against Afghanistan's public properties and destroys the environment," [2] read a statement issued by the president's office. Evidently the only plant to be left untouched by NATO is the opium poppy.

On a day-to-day basis U.S. and NATO increased three-prong attacks on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border: An unprecedented level of bombings, intensified special forces night raids and a dramatic escalation of deadly drone missile strikes in northwestern Pakistan.

The U.S. Navy announced on the first day of this year that the 1,000th sortie for the war in Afghanistan had been launched from the nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea on December 28. Warplanes taking off from its deck logged almost 6,000 flight hours in the last four months of 2010.

Last year the U.S. Air Force more than doubled the amount of joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) ordering air strikes in Afghanistan, who last October alone coordinated over 1,000 missions, the largest monthly amount of the war so far.

The Air Force plans to spend over $23 million to construct new facilities in Germany and Italy "for airmen who call in airstrikes for Army combat troops in Afghanistan." It is planning to double the amount of tactical air control personnel, including joint terminal attack controllers, "the airmen trained to call in airstrikes on enemy targets." [3]

A $13 million Air Support Operations Squadron complex is planned for the U.S. Army base in Vilseck, Germany and a $10 million installation is planned at the Aviano Air Base in Italy.

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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