Permalink An Eye in the Sky: Death by Drone

The Creech 14 | May 10, 2009 ("CreechAFB") | The armed drones, MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers: Sanitized Remote-Control Death. | In 2009 President Barack Obama dramatically escalated the CIA’s secret air war in Pakistan and the U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan. Relying heavily on unmanned drones for surveillance and air strikes, armed drones and drone-assisted gunships have raised death and destruction to a new level. Soaring civilian casualties demand a public discussion of the legality and morality of drone warfare.  A drone is a remote-control spy plane that can also launch bombs to kill people. Variously called an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Air System (UAS) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), today the focus is on the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV). As drone technology races toward robotic weaponry, the UCAV is the lethal multi-mission drone of future warfare.

Another war crime in Afghanistan: US massacres nine children in air strike (03/05/11)


Permalink All US Aid to Afghanistan ‘Was Plundered in Washington’

The Taliban* was hardly behind corrupt deals related to US military aid to Afghanistan, Moscow-based political analyst Alexander Knyazev told Sputnik. | US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko has warned of “unanticipated consequences” from possible corruption pertaining to America’s hefty spending on Ukraine. SIGAR said that he was “not opposed to spending that” and he just wanted “to make sure it’s done correctly and there’s oversight.” Sopko especially warned about the risk of fueling graft, stressing that in Afghanistan, “corruption was the existential threat.” According to him, “it wasn’t the Taliban. It was corruption that did us in.”  With the US spending a whopping $2.26 trillion on Afghanistan-related issues, such as the national army and security, within the above­-mentioned period, this huge sum finally didn’t help America prevent the Taliban from seizing power in the South Asian country in August 2021.


Permalink How the Taliban crushed the CIA's heroin bonanza in Afghanistan

William Van Wagenen | The Taliban has not once, but twice eradicated Afghanistan's poppy cultivation, the world's largest source of heroin. Despite western accusations, it has never been The Taliban behind the Afghan drug industry, but only ever the US and its allies, with billions in profits breezily laundered through the global financial system. | In the aftermath of the chaotic US and UK withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir warned in the Washington Post of the dangers of “ignoring one important consequence of the Taliban takeover: the coming boom in Afghanistan’s narcotics trade.” Mir then boldly predicted that, “in the next few years, a flood of drugs from Afghanistan may become a bigger threat than terrorism.” This projection of an international drug trade boom seemed plausible, considering the longstanding accusations that the Taliban funded their two-decade insurgency against the occupying forces by controlling opium production. In fact, it was believed that 95 percent of heroin used in Britain originated from Afghan opium.  [W]estern displeasure towards the Taliban's efforts to dismantle the global heroin trade may seem perplexing at first glance. However, a closer examination of events in Afghanistan reveals a different perspective. Under the guise of the “War on Terror,” the 2001 US and UK invasion was driven in part by the desire to restore the heroin trade, which the Taliban had abruptly terminated just a year earlier. The western powers sought to reestablish the lucrative flow of billions of dollars that the heroin trade provided to their financial systems. In fact, “For 20 years, America essentially ran a narco-state in Afghanistan.”

Opium poppy harvest in Afghanistan at record high in 2014
Record levels of Heroin enters world market from Afghanistan
NATO helping boost Afghan heroin production: Russia
Over 20 Tons of [CIA's] Heroin Seized in Afghanistan
Connecting the Dots: Afghan Heroin, NATO, Azerbaijan Hub & Cargo Business
Afghan drugs: Opium price rises by 133%
Afghan opium poppy cultivation jumps


Permalink Afghan child: Promised sanctuary, abandoned, now dead in US custody

A 6-year-old Afghan child died while in US federal custody, raising additional questions about the circumstances surrounding recurrent similar incidents. | A 6-year-old Afghan child -- who was taken to the United States after Washington's hasty withdrawal in 2021 -- died this week while in federal government custody, making it the third such death this year, CBS News reported citing a US official. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the boy's death, which has not previously been made public, claimed that the Afghan child had a fatal disease. The authorities stated that he passed away on June 13.  The little child was one of hundreds of Afghan children who were taken to the United States without their parents. The Office of Refugee Resettlement was given custody of those children because they were brought into the country without parents or other legal guardians.  The Afghan boy's death is not an isolated incident, marking the third of an unaccompanied child in HHS custody in 2023.


Permalink 97 of Afghans Live in Poverty: Griffiths

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths said that 97 percent of Afghans are living in poverty with 20 million people are facing food insecurity and hunger. | Griffiths made the remarks on the situation of Afghanistan at a UN Security Council’s meeting. 💬 “97 percent of Afghans live in poverty. Two-third of the population needs humanitarian assistance to survive. 20 million people face acute hunger,” he said.  With winter around the corner, millions of Afghans are facing dire situation. 💬 “I am looking everywhere for work. No one give us a job. We are eight people in the family. My mother is a teacher. My father was a colonel but he has been retired. They wouldn’t pay hid ransom," said Zabiullah, a resident of Kabul.  Analysts suggest that there is a need for aid in areas to provide job opportunities to the people. 💬 “In case, we want to reduce poverty in the country. We are in need of aid in the fields that can provide jobs so that the people can be helped," said Mir Shikib Meer.  The World Bank has reported that the real GDP of Afghanistan will contract further, with an accumulated contraction of close to 30-35 percent between 2021 and 2022.


Permalink 6 Million Afghans Facing Famine as US Refuses to Return $7 Billion in Seized Funds

💬 “Biden should immediately reverse his executive order,” said one humanitarian. “With millions of Afghans impoverished and starving, the U.S. must return to the Afghan people what is rightfully theirs.

The United Nations aid chief on Monday led calls for a resumption of the humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan that ended after the Taliban reconquered the war-ravaged nation one year ago—pleas that came as six million Afghans face famine and the Biden administration continues to refuse to return billions of dollars in frozen funds.  “The people in Afghanistan continue to face extreme hardship and uncertainty,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths told the world body’s Security Council.  Noting that the U.N.’s Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan is currently facing a more than $3 billion shortfall, Griffiths called on donors to immediately provide $754 million in aid to help Afghans survive the coming winter.


Permalink Pentagon to train former Afghan pilots for deployment in Ukraine

According to the source, this involves not only the former pilots but also other Afghans who served in special units. | The Pentagon will train former Afghan pilots in California to send them to Ukraine via Poland, a military-diplomatic source told TASS on Monday.  According to the source, this involves not only the former pilots but also other Afghans who served in special units.

💬 "As we know, the Pentagon began recruiting former Afghan pilots who ran to the US together with the Americans a year ago. Their training now kicks off in California with plans to dispatch all of them to Ukraine via Poland afterwards," the source said.

Russia practically eliminates remnants of Ukraine’s Air Force — source (TASS)


Permalink U.S. Claims to Have Killed Ayman Zawahiri in Drone Strike

Both the U.S. military and the Biden government claim, without evidence, to have killed "Al Qaeda emir" Ayman Zawahiri in a drone strike on a residential property in Kabul, Afghanistan. What is clear at this time is that some act of violence by U.S. assets may indeed have taken place. Zabihullah Mujahid, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan spokesman issues this statement:

💬 On the second day of the first month of the current year 1444 Hijri, an air strike was carried out on a residential house in Sherpur area of Kabul city. The nature of the incident was not revealed at first. The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found that the attack was carried out by American drones. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns this attack on any pretext and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement. Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan and the region. Repeating such actions will damage the available opportunities.”


Permalink British commandos may have committed war crimes – BBC

One SAS squadron possibly killed up to 54 people unlawfully in a six-month tour in Afghanistan, the broadcaster alleged.

The BBC claims it has found evidence of killings allegedly committed by the British Special Air Service (SAS) in Afghanistan in the early 2010s, a new Panorama documentary details. A pattern appears to have emerged of unlawful killings of Afghans by a squadron of SAS commandos during night raids, with as many as 54 victims over a period of just six months. The allegations, which could turn into accusation of war crimes, were angrily denied by the UK Ministry of Defence, which said claims of unlawful conduct by commandos had previously been properly investigated.

💬 “Neither investigation found sufficient evidence to prosecute. Insinuating otherwise is irresponsible, incorrect and puts our brave Armed Forces personnel at risk both in the field and reputationally,” the ministry said.

However, the BBC claimed that Royal Military Police (RMP) investigators had been stonewalled by the military leadership. Then-head of the UK Special Forces, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, failed to share with the probe evidence of misconduct he had in his possession, the broadcaster said. The new documentary updates a previous BBC investigation into SAS night raids in Afghanistan. An anonymous source had shared with the outlet hundreds of contemporaneous military reports, including operational accounts that the squadron had filed after missions.


Permalink Guantanamo: Afghan national released after 15 years in detention without charge

Assadullah Haroon Gul was returned to his home country of Afghanistan after the US complied with a court order that ruled his detention unlawful.

An Afghan prisoner who was held in US custody for nearly 15 years without charge was released from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre on Friday and returned to his home country of Afghanistan. Assadullah Haroon Gul, held at Guantanamo under the name Haroon al-Afghani, departed the prison and flew on a US Air Force plane to Qatar, which for years has served as an interlocutor between the Taliban and the US. Qatari officials then handed him over to Taliban government representatives in Doha, a senior US official told The New York Times. Soon after this, Afghan government media released photos of Gul meeting with Taliban officials in Qatar.



Permalink US assassination drone strike kills 8 in east Afghanistan

At least eight people have been killed and three others wounded in the latest assassination drone strike carried out by the US forces in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar. Afghan border police spokesman, Edris Mohmand, identified the victims as Taliban militants, adding that the aerial assault took place in the Lal Pur district of the province on Sunday morning. The Taliban have made no comments on the incident yet. The US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan have recently increased their air raids against civilian areas. The United States carries out targeted killings through drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.


Permalink Fox News: Bin Laden Already Dead

December 26, 2001 - Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader. "The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead," the source said. Bin Laden, according to the source, was suffering from a serious lung complication and succumbed to the disease in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief.


Permalink Civil Claim Filed Against Bush And Other High-ranking Officials Dismissed

Federal Court Gives “Early Christmas Present” to War Criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Others, Immunizing Them From Civil Inquiry Regarding Iraq War. Late Friday, a federal judge dismissed a civil claim filed against George W. Bush and other high-ranking officials regarding their conduct in planning and waging the Iraq War, and immunized them from further proceedings.

“This is an early Christmas present to former Bush Administration officials from the federal court,” Inder Comar of Comar Law said. Comar brought the claim on behalf of an Iraqi refugee and single mother, Sundus Shaker Saleh. “This was a serious attempt to hold US leaders accountable under laws set down at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946. I am very disappointed at the outcome.”

The tribunal at Nuremberg, established in large part by the United States after World War II, declared international aggression the “supreme international crime” and convicted German leaders of waging illegal wars. The case alleged that George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz committed aggression in planning and waging the Iraq War. Specifically, the lawsuit claimed that high-ranking Bush officials used the fear of 9/11 to mislead the American public into supporting a war against Iraq, and that they issued knowingly false statements that Iraq was in league with Al-Qaeda and had weapons of mass destruction, when none of those things were true. “The decision guts Nuremberg,” Comar said. “Nuremberg said that domestic immunity was no defense to a claim of international aggression. This Court has said the opposite.”

Patrick Martin & David North The New York Times calls for torture prosecutions || The editorial published Monday in the New York Times, headlined “Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses,” marks a new stage in the political crisis triggered by the publication of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture authorized by the Bush administration. The language of the editorial, beginning with the headline, is remarkably blunt in condemning the torture carried out in CIA secret prisons under the Bush administration. [...] In effect, the most influential newspaper in the United States has declared that the Bush administration was a criminal government.


Permalink "Authorized" US drone strike kills 5 in Pakistan’s North Waziristan

At least five people have been killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan’s northwestern restive tribal region near the Afghan border. Two missiles were fired on Saturday at a compound in Mada Khail neighborhood of Datta Khail area in North Waziristan. Local security officials confirmed the drone strike in Pakistan’s volatile northwest, warning that the death toll is expected to rise. It is difficult to verify the exact number of the dead as the area is off-limits to journalists. The US military carries out targeted killings through drone strikes in several Muslim nations such as Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia. Pakistan has borne the brunt of the notorious attacks, with large numbers of its citizens being killed.


Permalink US done attack kills 8 people in eastern Afghanistan

At least eight people have been killed in a US assassination drone strike in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nuristan along the Pakistani border. Security officials said on Tuesday that the attack was launched by pilotless aircraft firing missiles at a target in the Wanat Waygel district in Nuristan Province. According to local officials, the victims were Taliban militants. The US-led forces have increased their air raids against civilian areas in Afghanistan in recent months. The United States regularly uses drones for assassination strikes and spying missions in Afghanistan, as well as in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border. The Taliban militant group has vowed to escalate the attacks on Afghan forces and US-led troops, their bases, diplomatic missions, and vehicle convoys before the foreign forces exit the country at the end of 2014.


Permalink Obama decision to withhold 'thousands' of pictures of prisoner torture abuse to be challenged in court

Photos allegedly depict soldiers raping and sexually abusing prisoners. Thousands of images depicting U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan may be released this week following the Senate's 'torture report'. The images, part of a collection from 203 investigations into detainee abuse by U.S. military, are said to depict horrifying methods of torture. One photo reportedly shows an American soldier raping a female prisoner, while other pictures allegedly depict sexual assaults on prisoners with truncheons, wire and a phosphorescent tube. Some of the photographs were initially set to be released in 2009, but were blocked after President Obama backtracked, stating that it could pose a safety risk to troops on the ground. In May 2009, Obama claimed publishing the pictures would inflame anti-American feeling in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Permalink 8000 Afghan civilian casualties reported in US-led war in 2014: UN

The United Nations says nearly 8,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded this year in the US-led war. On Wednesday, Mark Bowden, the UN humanitarian coordinator, appealed for USD 405 million to cover the costs of humanitarian programs for Afghan people in 2015. More than 100,000 people have been forced from their homes in Afghanistan while 4,000 families are currently facing a tough time without adequate housing as winter is approaching, Bowden said. Half a million Afghan children die each year of preventable disease across the war-torn country, he added. Some 1.2 million children are “acutely malnourished” and food insecurity affects almost eight million people in Afghanistan, the UN coordinator said. [...] The United States, Britain, and their allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, as part of their so-called war on terror. Although the offensive removed the Taliban from power, insecurity remains across the country.


Permalink US air raid kills 4 in eastern Afghanistan

At least four people have been killed in yet another airstrike by US-led forces in eastern Afghanistan. The attack occurred in a region in Nangarhar province on Monday. According to local sources, the victims were riding a motorcycle when they were hit by US forces. [...] Earlier on Sunday, a US assassination drone attack killed at least five people and wounded three in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar. The US carries out targeted killings through drone strikes in several Muslim countries, such as Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia.


Permalink Opium poppy harvest in Afghanistan at record high in 2014

The total area of the cultivation has increased from 209,000 hectares to 224,000 hectares, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report. The cultivation of opium poppy in Afghanistan has risen by 7% reaching a record high in 2014, Afghan media reported on Wednesday citing UN experts. The total area of the cultivation has increased from 209,000 hectares to 224,000 hectares, which means that opium poppy farming that provides funding for the Taliban is booming in all parts of the country, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report quoted by the Afghan media. The UNODC said in its 2014 Afghanistan Opium Survey that opium production could "potentially increase 17%, with yields estimated to reach 6,400 tons in 2014 compared to the previous year's total of 5,500 tons." According to the UNODC, Afghanistan produces some 90% of the world's illicit opiates worth some $850 million, or 4% of the country's estimated GDP. The Unites States has spent $7.6 billion [allegedly] to combat opium production in the war-torn country since 2001.

Michel Chossudovsky The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade
Alfred W. McCoy Can Anyone Pacify the World's Number One Narco-State?


Permalink US-led strikes leave 6 dead in eastern Afghanistan

At least six people have been killed after US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan carried out separate airstrikes in the eastern part of the war-ravaged country during the past 24 hours, Press TV reports. Local officials said an unmanned aerial vehicle launched an airborne attack in the mountainous eastern province of Khost on Monday, leaving four people dead. Two other people lost their lives in a similar airstrike in the eastern province of Laghman earlier in the day. The US-led forces have recently increased their air raids against civilian areas in Afghanistan. On September 26, a drone attack in the eastern province of Nangarhar left at least six people, including two women, dead and a woman injured. Four people were also killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Kunar on September 23. [...] The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country, despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops.

PressTV: Two killed in US drone strike in Afghanistan


Permalink US air raid kills 14 civilians in NE Afghanistan

At least fourteen civilians, including women and children, have been killed in yet another airstrike by US-led forces in Afghanistan. An airstrike, which took place in Afghanistan's northeastern province of Kunar, left at least 14 people dead, most of them women and children. Local officials have told Press TV that the overnight air raid in the Badil District of the province also left 13 people injured. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has strongly condemned the latest civilian casualties by US forces in Kunar Province. Meanwhile, Afghan officials have launched an investigation into the deadly incident. The US military headquarters in Kabul has not yet commented on the matter. [...] According to the United Nations office in Kabul, over 2,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan over the past six months.


Permalink US-led strikes leave 17 dead across Afghanistan

At least 17 people have been killed after US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan carried out separate airstrikes across the war-ravaged country during the past 24 hours, Press TV reports. Local officials said US unmanned aerial vehicles launched two airborne attacks in Charkh district of the eastern province of Logar, situated some 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of the capital, Kabul, early on Saturday, leaving eight people dead. Police said six other people lost their lives in a similar airstrike in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Kunar. Earlier on Friday, three civilians died when US-led forces conducted an airstrike in Logar Province. Two other people also sustained injuries in the incident. The US-led forces have recently increased their air raids against civilian areas of Afghanistan. On August 19, a drone attack in the eastern province of Ghazni left at least eleven people dead and seven others injured.


Permalink US air strike kills five special operations troops in Afghanistan

In what may be the bloodiest “friendly fire” incident involving US troops in 13 years of war and occupation in Afghanistan, five special operations soldiers were killed Monday in an air strike they themselves had called in against Afghan insurgents who ambushed their patrol. The incident took place in a remote area of southern Zabul province, which borders Kandahar and is a center of armed opposition to the US-backed regime in Kabul. The deaths came just days before the June 14 second round of Afghan presidential elections and in the wake of US President Barack Obama’s announcement of plans for a drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan, now numbering approximately 33,000 out of a total of nearly 50,000 US, NATO and other foreign forces that occupy the country.


Permalink US media campaign targets released Afghan war POW Bowe Bergdahl

In the 72 hours since he was released by the Taliban in exchange for five prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has come under increasingly vitriolic attack from right-wing US political circles and the media, which have denounced him as a deserter and traitor. There have been calls for him to be tried and even shot. Media outlets from CNN to NBC and the other major broadcasters have repeatedly run interviews with soldiers who served with Bergdahl accusing him of deserting his post. Some of them have placed the blame on Bergdahl for the death of six US troops who, they claim, were killed during a six-month intensive search for the missing soldier. The media has also made a great deal of recent Twitter posts from Bob Bergdahl expressing sympathy for Afghans killed in the war and their families and calling for the release of all detainees being held at Guantanamo. Prior to his disappearance, Bowe Bergdahl made clear in letters to his family and discussions with fellow soldiers his revulsion over the US war in Afghanistan and his sympathy for the Afghan people. There is little doubt that the primary factor behind the vitriol against the Bergdahls is their antiwar sentiment and the fear in ruling class circles that it will further fuel already broad popular opposition to the war in Afghanistan and the general warmongering policy of the Obama administration.

Rolling Stone: 13 Things You Need to Know About Bowe Bergdahl
Outside the Beltway: Lone American P.O,W. From Afghan War Freed In Prisoner Swap With Taliban

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