Karzai calls for rethink, as Taleban attacks mount

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THE Afghan ‘government’ has called for a rethink of the US-led fight against the Taleban, after heavy casualties to civilians caused by US air attacks has resulted in a rising popularity for the Taleban movement.

Seventeen people, including women and children were killed in a US bombing raid in the eastern province of Konar last week.

President Hamid Karzai issued a statement, through his spokesman last Tuesday, on the civilian casualties.

Jawed Ludin, told a press conference in the capital, Kabul: ‘The president is extremely saddened and distressed to hear the report that recent military operations in Konar by the coalition forces resulted in the death of civilians.’

‘We cannot explain to our own people that they should suffer in our fight against terrorism.’

The President’s problem is that he is in just nominal control of the country, while the US forces are able to operate as they like, because they are the real power.

He continued to call for new ways of conducting the US-led fight against insurgents in Afghanistan.

Again, finding ‘new ways’ is impossible since the Afghan army counts for zero. The US knows only one way of conducting the campaign, and that is to try to keep US casualties down, by using massive aerial firepower, killing mainly Afghan civilians, their children, and livestock.

Karzai’s spokesman acknowledged this fact when he added: ‘Together with our coalition partners, the government of Afghanistan would like to emphasise that we do need to rethink some of our strategies, especially those that can produce tragic results like the death of civilians.’

Ludin added that the government had opened an investigation into the incident.

The US military said that it regretted that civilians were killed in the air strike, but sought to excuse their deaths, on the grounds that the air strike had struck a valid target, and that enemy ‘terrorists’ were among those killed.

The bombing was part of an operation in Konar province where US forces were frantically attempting to rescue a number of colleagues stranded in the mountains where they had been under fire from militants.

The Taleban, however were still able to shoot down a US Chinook helicopter killing all 16 US soldiers aboard.

It was the heaviest number of deaths US forces had suffered in a single incident in Afghanistan since the toppling of the Taleban in 2001, and marked a failure of the US policy of using devastating firepower.

Recent months have seen a sharp rise in activity by the Taleban in south-eastern and eastern Afghanistan.

The Afghan government has become so worried by the rise of the insurgency that it has urged Australia and Britain to rush troops to Afghanistan.

Four years after the fall of the Taleban government the Taleban leader, Mullah Omar is alive, free, and leading the Taleban forces. At the same time, the Al Qaeda leader, Osima bin Laden, the architect of the attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11 2001, is thumbing his nose at the US from the Afghan-Pakistan border area.

This is despite many millions of US dollars having been put on his head, and countless attempts to search for and destroy him.

No wonder, a combination of these US failures, and US inflicted civilian casualties, has seen a big revival of the Taleban movement.

Afghanistan, under the control of the US-led coalition has meanwhile become the leading world producer of opium and heroin, and the leading exporter of these drugs to western Europe.

The US and its coalition partners in Afghanistan have failed, and are heading for defeat, as the latest appeals by their puppet, Karzai, for an immediate change in tactics, confirm.