[sixties-l] Antiwar News...(# 27) (fwd)

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Date: Fri Nov 09 2001 - 20:39:48 EST

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    Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2001 14:02:50 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Antiwar News...(# 27)

    Antiwar News...(# 27)

    --The miserable lives of those with nowhere to hide
    --93 killed in bombing of Kandahar village
    --Taliban 'arrest CIA agent'
    --Call for cluster bombs halt
    --British: Afghan War May Take Years
    --Wounded forced to flee as Afghan hospital system collapses
    --US jet 'hits Northern Alliance area.', kill family
    --Advice from a Vietnam Vet to Young Men (and Women) of Fighting Age
    --Families blown apart, infants dying. The terrible truth of this 'just war'
    --The bombing of non-military targets: a list
    --Britain: Reports admit this is a war for oil
    --'The Taliban are not worried about being bombed'
    --Islamabad: Life of Afghan refugee women
    --Dalai Lama critics US foreign policy
    --Three Red Cross warehouses hit in U.S. raid
    --U-S destroys Red Cross warehouses
    --U.S. Jets Hit Red Cross in Kabul
    --Red Cross warehouses hit in U.S. raid
    --Bombs Hit Red Cross Buildings
    --U.S. Planes Hit Kabul on Holy Day

    Also of interest (links only):
             *Peace protesters arrested for wearing masks
    (Anti-war links/resources at the end.)

    The miserable lives of those with nowhere to hide


    Kabul awakes to the aftermath of another night's heavy bombing

    by Kathy Gannon, Associated Press writer in Kabul, Afghanistan
    Saturday October 27, 2001
    The Guardian

    The early morning call to prayer moaned gently from the loudspeakers atop
    the mosques of this weary city yesterday, ending one of the heaviest nights
    of bombing by US jets in recent days.
    "God is great," the Islamic cleric intoned. Verses of the Koran heralded
    the start of the Muslim holy day. From the cleric came words of anger.
    "The poor children of Afghanistan are asleep, and from the sky tons of
    dynamite drop on their heads," he said. "We have been betrayed by all the
    Islamic countries of the world. Where are they?"
    Three children died in the bombing raids during the night. Two were from
    the same family, asleep when the pounding began, said Dr Zaher at Wazir
    Akbar Khan hospital, where the bodies were brought.
    A third child died in the Yakatut neighbourhood on the eastern edge of the
    city, where a US bomb had killed four guards of the UN mine clearing office
    early in the bombing campaign.
    Three more huge detonations shook the city at midday, raising clouds of
    smoke from the direction of the airport and the Khair Khana district to the
    The city's Red Cross compound was hit for the second time this month during
    the daylight attacks, security guard Abdul Shakour said. Warehouses used to
    store humanitarian supplies were damaged and stocks of rice, beans,
    blankets and oil were set alight. Staff from the International Committee of
    the Red Cross watched helplessly as bright orange flames roared through the
    "This is the second time our warehouses have been hit," said ICRC worker
    Abdul Rashid. "Of course I am sad."
    At the Friday sermon from a mosque in Kabul's Shar-e-Nau neighbourhood, an
    Islamic cleric railed against the US-led coalition. "The unbeliever hit our
    nation even on Friday. They are very unkind on our people," said the
    cleric, whose name was not given.
    Heard from the loudspeakers outside the mosque, he said: "The Muslim people
    should resist and should be patient like our prophet in past wars of Islam.
    We will win."
    The roar of the jets, thunderous explosions and booming anti-aircraft guns
    had been relentless in one of the worst nightly assaults on the capital in
    recent days.
    First one jet appeared high in the sky. Minutes later, explosions rattled
    windows and shook the ground. Initially the Taliban returned anti-aircraft
    fire only sporadically, but as the night progressed the replies increased.
    American bombing raids were numerous.
    At sunrise, sitting outside a ramshackle wooden bicycle repair shop, Jan
    Mohammed and Mohammed Saleem welcomed the new day and talked of the
    overnight bombing.
    Their homes sit barely half a mile from the airport, from where several
    powerful explosions could be heard during the night. "All the night, we
    didn't sleep. My children were crying and crying," Mr Mohammed, 50, said.
    "I kept saying to them, 'Keep quiet. It will end soon'."
    His home is a traditional mud house - baked in the sun, without a basement.
    There was nowhere to hide. "All the night the house shakes. We are fed up
    with life in this country. I thought maybe Afghanistan will become better,
    but day by day it is getting worse," he added.
    Sitting next to him, sipping sweet black tea in a chipped cup, Mr Saleem,
    38, also bemoaned his nation's fate. He said he was exhausted. "No one
    could sleep last night. Today is Friday; we should be at home with our
    families. That is our tradition. But instead, I am here to earn maybe
    50,000 Afghanis [about70p]. I have to be here."
    As they spoke, a jet roared in the sky. It was not meant for the capital;
    it neither patrolled nor stayed, but headed north.
    But in the brief moments it was overhead, people scurried for cover. Two
    people walking with their bicycles leapt on and pedaled.
    "See - this is our life," Mr Saleem said. "Everyone is running, hiding.
    They are always frightened."
    He bemoaned his nation's troubled past - first the invading Soviet
    soldiers, then bitter feuding among Islamic factions now joined under the
    banner of the Northern Alliance, and then fighting between the Taliban and
    the Alliance.
    And today: "From thousands and thousands of miles away, another superpower
    is dropping bombs on our heads."
    Before the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent US-led bombing
    campaign, Mr Saleem said he had hoped for outside help in mediating a peace
    agreement between the Taliban and the Alliance.
    Today, he has no hope. "During the civil war we were expecting Islamic
    countries and the UN would make peace, but now who will be mediator? There
    is no one. Everyone is against us," he said. "We are the unluckiest people
    in the world."


    93 killed in bombing of Kandahar village


    Air attacks hitting civilian districts in Kabul: UN

    DUBAI: Qatar's al-Jazeera television reported that US military strikes on
    Afghanistan on Tuesday had killed 93 civilians in a village near Kandahar,
    including 18 members of one family.

    The satellite channel said that at least 40 other civilians were wounded in
    the attack by US warplanes on the village some 60 km northeast of Kandahar,
    which it identified as Chukar. It said the 18 family members who died in the
    attack had fled Kandahar for safety in the village following US military
    strikes on the city, a Taliban stronghold.

    Jazeera broadcast videophone footage provided by its correspondent in
    Kandahar, Youssef al-Shouli, showing a row of corpses wrapped in white
    shrouds lined up against the wall inside a room. At least one of the corpses
    was that of a child and a second was of an elderly man. The television also
    broadcast footage of children, women and elderly men receiving treatment at
    a hospital in Kandahar.

    In a similar atrocity, fleeing refugees told Tuesday how 20 civilians,
    including nine children, were killed when a bomb from a US war plane hit a
    tractor. One survivor said refugees were on the back of a tractor at Tarin
    Kot village in southern Afghanistan on Sunday when it was hit by a bomb.
    Some of those who escaped managed to cross the border on Tuesday.

    Abdul Maroof, 28, said that after the bombings, injured people were left
    screaming for help with no hospitals nearby in the village, a six hour drive
    north of Kandahar, in Uruzgan province.

    After the initial bombing, 25 people decided to flee and climbed onto a
    trailer hitched to the back of a tractor. Faizul Mohammad said as the
    tractor was leaving Tarin Kot, US warplanes homed-in on the village and a
    bomb hit the tractor and trailer. Nineteen died in the strike.

    Mohammad lost a foot in the bombing and with six other survivors travelled
    to Kandahar in the back of pick-up trucks where they were told no treatment
    was possible. He said the injured then travelled to Chaman where Pakistan
    border guards allowed them to travel to Quetta for treatment. One of the
    injured, a women who had lost four children in the bombing later died,
    Mohammad said.

    The United Nations said Tuesday that US air attacks were hitting civilian
    districts in the Afghan capital, Kabul, because the Taliban was sending
    troops into those areas. "Reports are indicating that several bombs have hit
    residential areas in Khair Khana close to health and feeding centres," UN
    spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker told a press conference in Islamabad.

    "In addition a residential area called Macroyan has been hit. "Residential
    areas and some villages around Kabul are becoming more dangerous because
    Taliban troops are moving into those areas." It further said that a US bomb
    had destroyed an Afghan hospital as Taliban fighters resisted mounting
    attacks by US warplanes and opposition forces.

    The United States admitted at the same time that a missile had gone off
    target in an attack on the western city. "It was a military hospital in a
    military compound on the outskirts of the city," Bunker said, adding it was
    believed the bomb fell on Monday on the eastern outskirts of the city.
    Casualties were not known, she said.

    The Pentagon also acknowledged on Tuesday US bombs missed their targets in
    two separate incidents over the weekend, striking a residential area
    northwest of Kabul and an open area near a senior citizens home outside

    Earlier in the day, a US-led bid to score quick wins over Taliban forces
    ahead of Afghanistan's winter snows met stiff resistance.US forces and their
    Afghan opposition allies pursued a three-pronged attack on Taliban frontline
    positions in the north, on the Islamic regime's southern power base of
    Kandahar and targets in and around the capital, Kabul.

    But an assault by opposition forces backed by US military advisers ran out
    of steam, while bombing north of Kabul failed to silence the Taliban missile
    batteries that killed at least two civilians in a rebel-held town.

    The defiant Taliban fighters repulsed an offensive by opposition troops
    during heavy fighting around their key northern stronghold of
    Mazar-i-Sharif. US fighter jets flew in support of an opposition force,
    which was accompanied by small teams of US commandos, but the rebels failed
    to capitalise on a three day bombardment and made no ground.

    US aircraft dropped at least seven bombs on Kabul late Tuesday as night
    attacks resumed, an AFP reporter said. One plane was heard in the night sky
    around 8.50 pm (1620 GMT), followed by the sound of a large explosion within
    the limits of the city and mild anti-aircraft fire from the Taliban
    militia's gunners. Three more explosions were heard to the north or
    northeast near the airport almost one hour later around 9.35 pm as one or
    more jets roared overhead, apparently at a high altitude. Anti-aircraft fire
    intensified during the second attack. US-led forces attacked Kabul twice
    before dawn Tuesday morning, but most of the daylight raids that followed
    concentrated on Taliban positions on the frontlines to the north of the
    city. --Agencies

    Behroz Khan adds: More than 52 people are reported dead and 30 injured in
    the latest US air strikes on different cities and towns of Afghanistan on
    Tuesday while Pakistani tribesmen sent the first convoy of food, medicine
    and warm cloths to Afghanistan.

    Reports reaching Peshawar and contacts with Taliban officials in Jalalabad
    and Kabul revealed that US-led air attacks continued throughout the day in
    Kandahar, Kabul, Paktia, Kunarh, Uruzgan and Herat provinces, mainly
    targeting residential areas.

    In Kabul, sources said, as many as 24 persons have been killed in the fresh
    air strikes including some Pakistani nationals, who are believed to have
    recently joined Taliban forces as part of their jihad to fight against the
    American ground troops. Taliban sources, however, did not confirm the
    killing of 19 Pakistani nationals, as reported by different sources and
    Kabul-based media personnel.

    As many as 15 persons have been reported dead and 23 others injured in the
    fresh attacks on Tareen Kot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan, the native
    province of Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar.

    Taliban officials in Jalalabad and Kabul claimed that more than 80 persons
    have been killed and as many of them injured in Tuesday's bombing of the
    populated areas in different cities, with inflicting more loss to human
    lives in Kandahar, Kabul and Uruzgan.

    "The residential area of Darul-Aman in Kabul city has been severely hit,
    which killed at least 24 persons and scores of others injured. We have been
    facing difficulties in dealing with the rush of victims in hospital", said a
    Taliban health department employee. "Our hospital are short of life saving
    drugs, surgery tools and other necessary arrangements", the employee said on
    condition of anonymity.

    In Kandahar, Taliban officials in Peshawar and Jalalabad said five persons
    have been killed and 25 others were injured, several of them critical, near
    the city entrance. "Five persons were killed and 25 others injured when a
    bomb hit the convoy of truck carrying food stuff and fuel for the city
    dwellers", informed a Taliban official.

    More details of the damage and loss to human lives are being collected, he
    said. The US planes also bombed Kunarh province of Afghanistan for the first
    time and dropped several bombs in Paktia province, which the anti-Taliban
    forces believed could be used as launching paid to install former king Zahir
    Shah in the post-Taliban scenario.

    "The Americans are bombing Paktia, Khost and the rest of the area out of
    frustration as the local tribesmen refused to stage rebellion against
    Taliban", said a Taliban official in Jalalabad. In Paktia, locals informed,
    Gora Tangay was again bombed for the second consecutive day on Tuesday while
    several bombs have been dropped in Azra and the border area closed to
    Pakistan's Kurram Agency.

    "Why are the human rights organizations keeping mum on the killing of
    innocent Afghans and destruction of cities, towns and villages in the guise
    of punishing terrorists", asked the Peshawar-based vice consul of
    Afghanistan, Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

    The American and their allies, he said were killing unarmed people and
    destroying our national assets in the name of targeting military
    installations, which the Afghan official said, was against all civilized

    Pakistani tribesmen in the remotest Tirah valley claimed to captured anther
    45 armed fighters of the anti-Taliban forces and confiscated their weapons.
    The tribesmen claimed that these Afghans were buying weapons in Dogar area
    of Khyber Agency, pretending as pro-Taliban fighters, when the locals got
    suspicious of their move and arrested them.

    "Later they proved to be anti-Taliban fighters and affiliated with Commander
    Abdul Haq", claimed a tribal, Zarbat Shah Afridi. The Zakhakhel Afridis had
    claimed last week the arrest of another 65 loyalists of the Northern
    Alliance, who had reportedly set up camps in the mountains to monitor
    Taliban movements.

    Meanwhile, the first convey carrying food, quilts, medicine and blood for
    the affected people of Afghanistan left Bajuar Agency for Jalalabad on
    Tuesday. "We have collected Rs. 10 million in cash and 85 truck loads of
    relief goods for the suffering people of Afghanistan. We will hand over
    these goods and the cash to Taliban officials in Jalalabad", said, Maulana
    Faqir Muhammad and Maulana Hafiz Muhammad Jan, while talking to reporters
    before heading for Afghanistan. The Political Authorities of Bajuar Agency
    allowed the 30-trucks convoy to cross into Afghanistan.

    Agencies add: Taliban militia on Tuesday claimed 52 civilians were killed
    and 37 injured when US jets bombed a village near the southern city of
    Kandahar overnight. Abdul Hanan Hemat, head of the Taliban's Bakhter
    information agency, said Chakoor Kariz village, 15 kilometres southeast of
    Kandahar, was bombed around 1900 GMT Monday.

    "They (US pilots) might have confused the village for a military camp or a
    military base but it was a settlement of nomads who had gathered there to be
    close to water," he said. His claims could not be independently confirmed
    and US officials have dismissed similar Taliban allegations as propaganda.

    Earlier Tuesday, Hemat said a US bomb fell on a mosque in the western city
    of Herat, killing and injuring people praying inside. Traces of chemicals
    have been found on the bodies of Afghans injured in US bombing raids, the
    Taliban ambassador to Islamabad said Tuesday.

    The ambassador, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, made similar comments to Taliban
    officials in Kabul who raised suspicions that the United States was using
    chemical weapons. Zaeef told a press conference that according to the health
    authorities in Kandahar, the Taliban's southern stronghold, "symptoms of
    chemicals have been noticed on the bodies of those injured in American

    The head of the Taliban's official news agency in Kabul on Monday said
    chemical weapons had been used but that he had no firm information. Zaeef
    said on Tuesday that Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born militant under attack
    by U.S. forces along with his Afghan protectors, was still alive.

    Asked if bin Laden was still alive after the last few days of bombing raids,
    Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef simply said: "Yes." Taliban confirmed on Tuesday
    that a Japanese journalist had been arrested for illegally entering the
    country and said they were investigating whether he was a spy.

    Zaeef said the journalist had been arrested in eastern Kunar province and
    had been taken to Jalalabad for questioning. "He entered Afghanistan
    illegally. He doesn't have any legal documents to enter Afghanistan. It is
    the right of any country to detain who enters illegally into that country,"
    Zaeef told a news conference.

    "In this critical situation, Britain, America and some other countries claim
    that they would or have sent spies for Afghanistan," Zaeef said. "In this
    critical situation, of course, anyone is suspected which enters Afghanistan
    illegally," he said.

    Zaeef said he did not know the name of the journalist, who has been
    identified in the Japanese media as Isamu Iida, a 45-year-old freelance


    Taliban 'arrest CIA agent'


    27th October 2001

    The Taliban claim they have arrested a CIA agent.

    The man, identified as Major Mazhar Ayub, was apparently captured after he
    entered the Spinbuldock mountains near the Pakistan border.

    Taliban officials say they have recovered incriminating documents, including
    maps of Afghanistan, and electronic communication equipment from him.

    They alleged that Ayub was a US army officer who had fought in Vietnam,
    worked for CNN and was currently engaged with UNCHR in relief work at
    refugee camps in Pakistan.

    Ayub was alleged to have been supplying information about Taliban troop
    movements to US military officials based in Pakistan.

    Taliban spokesman Qari Abdul Vakil told the Bakhter news agency: "It is our
    policy to hang spies and this case will be no different."

    The Taliban has publicly hanged five commanders belonging to the opposition
    Northern Alliance.


    Call for cluster bombs halt


    Thursday, 25 October, 2001

    Cluster bombs can spread shrapnel over large areas

    Two British charities have urged the United States and British governments
    to halt the use of cluster bombs in Afghanistan, fearing further civilian

    The chief executive of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund Andrew
    Purkis, in a letter to the British Times newspaper warned that the weapons,
    designed to spread shrapnel across a wide area of targets, posed a serious
    threat to civilians.

    "There must be an urgent rethink of this action. There is evidence from
    Kosovo and the Gulf War that the components of these weapons are prone to
    missing their targets and fail in significant numbers to explode.

    "They then pose a serious long-term threat to civilians and ground forces
    alike," he said.

    Mr Purkis' call was echoed by director of aid agency Landmine Action Richard
    Lloyd, who said that the Afghan people already faced the overwhelming threat
    of starvation.

    "The presence of highly sensitive unexploded cluster munitions will increase
    the number of casualties caused by the severe landmine problem in
    Afghanistan for years to come, and will deny people facing starvation the
    use of their land," he said.

    Hidden danger

    Cluster bombs each contain about 200 smaller bomblets weighing 1.5
    kilograms, which are designed to spray out shrapnel and set fire to any
    combustible material nearby.

    Officials from the United Nations Mine Clearance Programme also appealed to
    the United States for information about the cluster bombs dropped on Monday
    night around the northwestern city of Herat in Afghanistan.

    Civilians in villages close to Herat reported seeing several unexploded
    cluster bombs - recognisable by their yellow markings.

    Mine-clearing teams in Afghanistan are only able to identify and destroy
    cluster bombs with difficulty and at great danger.

    Villagers afraid

    UN officials say they need information on where the bombs were dropped and
    how to safely clear them so that villagers may leave their homes.

    Dan Kelly, manager of a UN mine removal programme in Afghanistan, said on
    Wednesday that the bombing had left people near Herat afraid to venture from
    their homes and effectively trapped within their villages.

    "The villagers have a lot to be afraid of because these bomblets, if they
    did not explode, are very dangerous," he said.

    "And they can explode if the villagers so much as touch them."

    The cluster bombs fell during a US attack on Monday night. United Nations
    officials had already confirmed a military hospital, a nearby village and a
    mosque in a military camp were hit in the attack.

    So far nine people are confirmed dead in the raids on Herat since Monday.

    The Taleban say that up to 1000 civilians have been killed since bombing
    raids began. However, the Pentagon has denied such figures.


    British: Afghan War May Take Years


    Saturday October 27, 2001

    LONDON (AP) - As British troops prepare for war inside Afghanistan, defense
    chiefs have warned they are committed to the anti-terror campaign for ``the
    long haul'' - whether it takes months, years or decades.

    Adm. Sir Michael Boyce, Britain's chief of defense staff, was quoted in
    several Saturday newspapers as saying the Afghanistan campaign could last
    years, while the fight against international terrorism could take half a

    ``We are in it for the long haul,'' the admiral said, according The
    Independent newspaper. ``If it takes three or four years, then it takes
    three or four years.''

    Boyce called the military operation the toughest Britain had faced since the
    Korean War, and likened the anti-terrorism campaign to the Cold War.

    ``The war against communism took 50 years to win, and I wonder if we
    shouldn't be thinking of it like that,'' he said, according to The Daily

    Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said in a radio interview Saturday that the
    resilience of the Taliban to sustained Allied assaults will be a key factor
    in the length of the campaign.

    ``I don't really think it's sensible to put a timetable on it,'' Hoon said.

    ``It could be that the Taliban's fanaticism takes them through into the New
    Year,'' Hoon told the British Broadcasting Corp. ``It could equally be that
    as a result of the sustained pressure being brought to bear on them, that
    they collapse overnight.''

    Hoon was speaking from Oman, where he was visiting British troops as they
    completed military exercises. Britain said Friday that 600 of its special
    forces troops now in Oman will be available for operations in Afghanistan.

    Plans calls for 200 commandos operating from two assault ships, with 400 men
    from the same unit on standby in Britain.

    The defense secretary gave further indications that plans call for sporadic
    lightning strikes by small, elite units, rather than an invasion and
    occupation of Afghan territory.

    ``Some days there will be a range of action that will be publicized,'' he
    said. ``On other days the action will be less obvious, and people will be
    asking what's happening.''


    Wounded forced to flee as Afghan hospital system collapses


    Lack of medical aid forces sick to cross border

    by Rory Carroll in Quetta
    Saturday October 27, 2001
    The Guardian

    Civilians wounded in allied bombing raids are fleeing into Pakistan for
    treatment because the medical system in southern Afghanistan has effectively
    collapsed, refugees said yesterday.
    Hospitals in the city of Kandahar, the Taliban's spiritual home, are
    operating at a fraction of capacity despite spiralling numbers of injured
    because there are no longer enough trained doctors, nurses or drugs.

    Parents with mutilated children have been turned away and told to hire
    smugglers to take them across the border to Quetta, a Pakistani frontier
    city at least six hours away by car. Refugees interviewed in Quetta's civil
    hospital yesterday said they were the lucky ones. Those too wounded or poor
    to make the journey have been left to die in their homes in Kandahar.

    "It is unbelievable, there were no surgeons available when we visited
    hospitals last week. They were too afraid to work and those doctors who were
    there did not seem trained. They did not have enough equipment," said Abdul
    Halim, 30, a wheat farmer.

    Some doctors had opened private clinics in their own homes and charged
    extortionate fees for operations, he claimed. "Those who cannot pay just go
    home to die."

    Groaning beside Mr Halim on a bed was his friend Ziaul Haq, 18, whose right
    foot was crushed in a bombing raid last week while scrounging for work in
    Kabul's Pagwanagsaj bazaar. The flesh and muscles were shredded, leaving
    just bone, but his family had enough money for his trip to Quetta via
    Kandahar. Mr Haq would not speak.

    Injured Afghans rely on a network of relatives in Pakistan, many of whom
    fled here years ago as refugees from previous wars. Lacking that network can
    amount to a death sentence, said Mr Halim.

    Many doctors had vanished into the mountains, presumably to treat Taliban
    soldiers, he said, but would brook no criticism of the Islamist regime. "We
    are fighting a war."

    Ward B of Quetta's civil hospital has been put on 24-hour alert to receive
    the trickle of refugees, most of which were traumatised, said Dr Shoaid

    "We have seven at the moment but expect more to come. I think the medical
    system in Kandahar has broken down because nobody wants to stay."

    Treatment at Pakistani state-run hospitals is free, though food is not.
    "Some are showing signs of malnutrition because they don't have the money to
    eat properly," said Dr Mengle.

    A Taliban defector said word had gone out that doctors were urgently needed
    in the Kandahar area and that at least one Quetta surgeon was due to answer
    the call today.

    In another bed at ward B Abdul Wasaj, 10, lay absolutely still, trying not
    to shift his skinny frame lest it inflame the broken hip that encased his
    left leg in plaster.

    He had been playing football in front of his Kandahar home at 10am nine days
    ago when a bomb blast threw him several feet in the air, he said. "I heard a
    boom and then I went unconscious."

    The blast created a thick dust cloud that shrouded dozens of wounded, said
    his father, Ghulam Gilani, 40. "It took a while to find him because he
    wasn't crying out like the others were and he was buried in sand. I thought
    he must be dead."

    Mr Gilani carried his son to a hospital which could do nothing and so he
    took his son to Quetta, without anaesthetic. "He cried all the way."

    Two miles away another hospital, the Al-khidmat Al-Hajeri, was treating
    survivors from the Ullah family, which buried 11 relatives in the town of
    Tarin Kot after an air strike last weekend. Dery Gul's two daughters
    suffered deep cuts but her own face was swaddled in bandages, her eyes
    burned. The Pentagon has admitted several bombs have gone astray since the
    air campaign started but the patients were convinced they had been
    deliberately targeted.


    US jet 'hits Northern Alliance area.', kill family

    Ananova. 27 October 2001

    A US fighter jet is reported to have killed an Afghan family after
    mistakenly firing on territory controlled by the Northern Alliance.

    Sky News reports that an F-18 Hornet hit the village of Ghanikhil inside
    Northern Alliance territory.

    The missile apparently destroyed a house, killing a family of 10.

    Villagers said 19 civilians and one Northern Alliance soldier had been

    The American military says it is targeting very precisely but has also
    previously acknowledged that some bombs have gone astray and caused some
    civilian casualties.


    Advice from a Vietnam Vet to Young Men (and Women) of Fighting Age


    By Dr. Shepherd Bliss
    October 22, 2001

    I come from a fighting family. We gave our name to Ft. Bliss, Texas. I
    enlisted and became on officer in the U.S. Army during Vietnam.
    When you kill someone, it is forever. They die, but the killing continues,
    inside you. When your nation kills people, especially innocent women and
    children, it is forever. The killing can continue, within you, when it is
    done in your name.
    Our nation is still not over Vietnam, the war of my generation, or Iraq,
    the war of another generation. Now your generation, those of you of
    fighting age, has its own war.
    You will be defined by that war and what you do during it, as my entire
    life was defined by the Vietnam War, and what I did during it. What you do
    in the days to come in response to this war will determine who you will become.
    You can support the war, try to deny it, or work for peace with justice.
    Whatever you do, you will live with it for the rest of your life, your choice.
    I implore you not to make the same mistake that I made and enlist in a war
    that kills innocent civilians. Don't get caught up in a war hysteria that
    you could regret for the rest of your life. War trauma creates guilt,
    shame, and post traumatic stress syndrome.
    At my vets group I listen to combat vets, which I am not. 30 years later,
    they are still trying to heal from the people they killed, still haunted by
    those they murdered. War wounds go deeply.
    Since Sept. 11 we Americans have felt vulnerable, helpless, fearful, and
    angry. But America's appropriate grief after the Sept. 11 attack was
    transformed into a war frenzy.
    I have no sympathy for the unjustifiable Sept. 11 suicide attack, nor for
    the ruthless Taliban, nor for any terrorism. But I am concerned about
    killing innocent people. I think our focus should be on finding the
    perpetrators of the Sept. 11 crime and bringing them to justice.
    As a young man, testosterone pumping through my body, the thought of war
    was exciting. It was a challenge, something big enough for my big
    energy. I'm an old man now, as are those who would send you into war. War
    is no longer exciting to me. My main message to you is simple, War is Hell.
    I will be forever grateful to the Student Peace Union that finally reached
    this young soldier. The SPU organized me out of the army. They saved my
    soul, before I killed anyone, but I came so close. Don't lose your soul.
    During Vietnam the enemy was "the communists."
    Now it is "Terrorism." But terrorism is a symptom. Terrorism has no
    country. You cannot wage war on terrorism, because it is a methodology.
    Terrorism is transnational and global. You cannot use terrorism to end
    The U.S. did not win the Vietnam War and will probably not win in
    Afghanistan. Most scenarios would probably not lead to a moral or political
    victory for the U.S.
    The U.S. military attack on foreign soil that has killed civilians will
    worsen rather than improve our national security, uniting more people
    against us. What we need is real defense. Our Department of Defense has too
    often been a War Department on other people's soil.
    Lets focus on defending ourselves. Our security system failed. It is
    focused too much out there, rather than here at home. We need protection,
    not provocation.
    May we mourn the innocent dead, wounded, and homeless and see beyond our
    borders to develop a species-wide identity that transcends narrow nationalism.
    May the innocent people who happen to live in Afghanistan and the Middle
    East not be punished for the crimes of others.
    May this tragedy open our eyes to our larger international context and our
    responsibilities as U.S. citizens to work for peace. May we condemn
    without reservation all terrorism, including that used by governments.
    May this tragedy not shut us down, which terrorism too often does. A broken
    heart can be an open heart.
    I would like to close with two brief poems, the first from Deena Metzger -
    "There are those who are trying to set fire to the world,/ we are in
    danger,/ there is time only to work slowly,/ there is no time not to love."
    The second is from Rumi, a Muslim poet who was born in what is today
    Afghanistan, "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,/ there is a
    field./ I'll meet your there."
    And as the old book says, "Thou shalt not kill."
    Shepherd Bliss is a Vietnam Era vet and peace activist. He taught college
    for 20 years, is now an organic farmer, and can be reached at sb3@pon.net


    Families blown apart, infants dying. The terrible truth of this 'just war'


    25 October 2001
    by Richard Lloyd Parry in Quetta

    Sami Ullah was asleep when it happened, and so his friends and neighbours
    had to tell him about the bomb that struck his house and what it did to him
    and his family. How the American planes, which had been over earlier in the
    evening, had returned after everyone went to bed and how, instead of the
    Taliban base two miles away, they dropped their bombs on a residential area
    of the town of Tarin Kot.

    Mr Ullah's injuries are obvious enough even now deep cuts caused by the
    collapsing house and the fragment of something in his belly that might be
    bomb shrapnel. One of his cousins was also pulled alive from the rubble but
    no one else was. In the 11 hours between the explosion and the moment when
    he finally regained consciousness, the bodies of Mr Ullah's wife, his four
    children, his parents, and five of his brothers and sisters had been lifted
    from the rubble of their home and buried.

    What do you say to a stranger who tells you he has just lost every member of
    his immediate family? All you can decently do is ask questions.

    When did it happen? On Friday night or early Saturday morning. Where? In a
    suburb of Tarin Kot, capital of the Afghan province of Oruzgan. And why? But
    Mr Ullah, who is not familiar with the phrase "collateral damage" or "just
    war" does not have an answer.

    In the 19 days of the bombing campaign, many terrible things have been
    reported but the scenes at the Al-Khidmat Al-Hajeri hospital, where Mr Ullah
    lay last night, are the most pathetic I have seen. In one ward lay a woman
    named Dery Gul, about 30 years old, with her 10-year-old daughter, Najimu,
    and a baby named Hameed Ullah. The little girls have bruised and cut faces;
    the cheek of the baby is cut neatly in a T shape, as if by a knife. But to
    understand how lucky they were you only have to look at their mother.

    Her face is half-covered with bandages, her arm wrapped in plaster. "The
    bomb burned her eyes," says the doctor. "The whole right side of her body is
    burned." The reason Ms Gul is so battered and her daughters so lightly
    injured, they say, is because she cradled them.

    >From the Pakistani city of Quetta, where the injured people were carried
    late on Tuesday, the town of Tarin Kot is just a dot in the middle of the
    map of Afghanistan, traversed by a single road, surrounded by contour lines.
    But even if it amounts to no more than a few thousand mud houses with a
    handful of administrative buildings, it is a provincial capital an Afghan
    York or Norwich. Yes, the people in the hospital yesterday said, of course
    there were Taliban there; but, no, they were miles away from Sami Ullah,
    Dery Gul, the little girls and their dead relatives.

    There had been bombing earlier in the evening, Sami Ullah said, and the
    military camp had been hit. "There were four bombs that hit the Taliban," he
    said, "but many more bombs fell on the houses."

    While some of the villagers were pulling their neighbours out of the rubble,
    more bombs had fallen, and more people had been hurt "about 10 people were
    injured, and 20 were killed". But the danger appeared to have passed by the
    time the family went to sleep. If the planes roared overhead, they did not
    wake them and perhaps those who died 12 in Sami Ullah's house, eight in
    the home of the mother and her girls did not even know what had happened
    to them.

    What then went wrong? The Pentagon has already admitted this week bombing an
    old people's home in Herat with a simple targeting error. Two weeks ago,
    bombs killed dozens in the village of Karam where, according to the local
    people, there had once been an Osama bin Laden camp which had moved years
    before. Other stories like it suggest that in some cases American
    intelligence is simply out of date.

    But there is a third possibility that the Taliban are deliberately moving
    military personnel and equipment close to civilian areas, turning their
    oblivious inhabitants into de facto human shields.

    In another hospital in Quetta yesterday, a nurse told of how nine days ago
    the Taliban had turned up at her family's house and ordered them to leave.
    "They said it was for our own safety, because there was a barracks a few
    hundred metres away," she said.

    "But after we had left they moved Taliban soldiers in and stayed there
    themselves. Afterwards the bombs did fall, and my house was destroyed and
    the civilian people who stayed behind were hurt too."

    "We heard the bombs falling often," said Mr Ullah, as I start to run out of
    questions, "but we didn't feel afraid because everyone said that American
    bombs were accurate, and that they would bomb the Talibs, but not the
    innocent people."

    The American broadcasters have a phrase which they repeat in reporting
    civilian casualties in Afghanistan: "The claims cannot be independently
    confirmed". And, of course, there is no way to check on anything that the
    people at the Al-Khidmat Al-Hajeri hospital say.

    But if this is all a hoax perpetrated by the Taliban, why does Mr Ullah
    speak of them with such disdain? And would even the Taliban mutilate a baby
    to win a political point? I believe that Sami Ullah and Dery Gul and her
    girls are what they appear innocent victims of an increasingly cack-handed
    war, and that there will be many, many more of them before it is close to
    being over.


    The bombing of non-military targets: a list

    Islamabad | Friday

    HEAVY US bombing of Kabul on Friday left two young girls dead in a village
    near the city's airport and destroyed two Red Cross warehouses.
    Taliban officials claim over 1 000 civilians have died since US airstrikes
    began on October 7 but only a handful have been confirmed independently.
    Following is a list of incidents where there is evidence from witnesses or
    non-Taliban sources of non-military targets being hit by US bombs:
    October 26
    Two sisters, aged six and 11, are killed when their mud-brick family home
    in the village of Wazir Abad, three kilometres west of Kabul airport, was
    flattened by a US bomb. A Kabul hospital said a man was also killed when a
    bomb hit a communications centre in the east of the city. US bombs destroy
    two Red Cross warehouses, wiping out stocks of food and cooking oil
    intended for widows and disabled people, Red Cross officials said.

    October 23
    At least 52 civilians killed in the bombing of Chakoor Kariz village, near
    Kandahar, according to Taliban officials. The Arabic news station Al
    Jazeera put the death toll at over 90 and broadcast film of what it said
    were victims of the attack in hospital in Kandahar. The Taliban claims the
    village was mistaken for a terrorist training camp, as others have been
    October 22
    Nine people died in the village of Shakar Qala near Herat after US
    warplanes dropped a cluster bomb on it, the UN said. Eight died instantly
    and a ninth was killed after picking up one of the bombs, according to a UN
    demining team which visited the village after the attack.

    October 22
    A US bomb struck a military hospital in a military compound in Herat,
    western Afghanistan, according to the UN. The US acknowledged a bomb went
    astray over the city and landed near an old people's home. The Taliban
    claims a 100-bed civilian hospital in the city was destroyed by bombing, as
    well as the military clinic.

    October 21
    At least 20 civilians, including nine children, killed when the tractor and
    trailer on which they were fleeing US attacks on the southern town of Tirin
    Kot was bombed, according to survivors of the attack now hospitalised in
    Pakistan. The Taliban reported two similar incidents near Kandahar and
    Jalalabad, both on October 17.

    October 21
    A stray US bomb lands on the neighbourhood of Parod Gajaded in the Khair
    Khana district of northeastern Kabul, killing ten people, nine of them from
    the same extended family, witnesses told a reporter who visited the scene
    shortly after the bombing.

    October 18
    Five members of the same family are killed when six houses are destroyed by
    US bombs in the Kalae Zaman Khan area of Kabul, witnesses and relatives
    told AFP at the scene. An eight year old girl was killed in the eastern
    suburb of Macroyan. Other residential areas were struck the same day but
    casualties could not be confirmed.

    October 16
    US bombs hit warehouses of the International Committee of the Red Cross in
    Kabul, destroying supplies and injuring at least one worker. The compound
    had a large red cross on the roof. After a Red Cross protest, the US
    admitted dropping a 1 000 pound bomb close to the warehouse, saying Taliban
    vehicles were in the area. A World Food Programme warehouse in Kabul has
    also been damaged in raids.

    October 13
    A US bomb missed a target at Kabul airport and struck a nearby village,
    killing at least four people, according to witnesses. The Pentagon
    confirmed the bomb had gone off course due to technical error.

    October 11
    At least 160 people reported killed in Kadam, a mountain village near
    Jalalabad. A reporter who visited the remote village saw dozens of
    collapsed houses, one unexploded bomb and more than 18 fresh graves. But
    the numbers of dead could not be confirmed. The US said it had attacked
    caves in the area which were packed with ammunition.

    October 11
    Residents of a village near Kabul airport said a 12-year-old girl died when
    a bomb landed near her house, causing it to collapse.

    October 9
    Office of a UN-backed demining agency in Kabul is bombed, killing four
    security guards. US expressed regret following UN protest.

    October 7-26
    Since the start of the campaign US attacks have targeted power plants,
    telecommunications facilities and broadcasting infrastructure. Power in
    Kabul has been intermittently cut. Kandahar has been without power or water
    since the start of the second week of bombing. Kabul's telephone exchange
    has been badly damaged and the Taliban's Radio Shariat has been forced off
    air. - Sapa-AFP


    Britain: Reports admit this is a war for oil


    By Chris Marsden
    27 October 2001

    Britain's media has hardly distinguished itself during the US bombing of
    Afghanistan, other than for its willingness to parrot the official line
    emanating from Washington and London. But it has proved increasingly
    difficult for the press barons to maintain a united journalistic front.

    A combination of factors^the growing concern within Europe over the
    direction of the US campaign, or lack of it; a fear that the US will be the
    sole beneficiary of the war; and even a reaction against the mounting
    absurdities that constitute the official raison d'tre for targeting
    Afghanistan^have given rise to a number of reports that depart from the
    formulaic invocation that the ongoing military campaign is "a war against

    The most significant of these reports was an item on the October 25 edition
    of Channel Four television's flagship seven o'clock news programme. Reporter
    Liam Halligan was introduced by the programme's anchorman posing the
    question, "But is there another, less well advertised motive for the bombing
    of Afghanistan?" Halligan answered in the affirmative, adding, "The Gulf War
    was largely about oil. You won't hear it said often but, inadvertently, this
    one is too."

    Halligan called oil "an important subtext to the struggle over Afghanistan".

    He noted that the US, which consumes 22 million barrels a day, is by far the
    world's biggest oil importer. He remarked upon the present reliance on the
    Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia, which produces seven million barrels a
    day, but also drew attention to the production of four and a half million
    barrels a day in the former Soviet Union.

    Halligan continued, "Apart from Russia, it's these newly independent Central
    Asian states that are key. Already 20 billion barrels of oil reserves have
    been found in Khazakhstan^and there could be much more. The oil and gas so
    far discovered in these parts is worth $3 trillion dollars in today's

    Getting this oil to Western markets was, Halligan stated, "the culmination
    of the Great Game. The struggle for influence in Central Asia is the last
    great oil rush, as the West tries to reduce dependence on the Gulf."

    Channel Four went on to explain the importance of Afghanistan in this
    regard. Russia had built its own pipeline from Kazakhstan to the Black Sea.
    In order to compete, Western oil corporations could build pipelines along a
    number of routes. But by far the most economical would be from Central Asia
    through Afghanistan, to Pakistan.

    That, said Halligan, was "a major reason the US unofficially backed the
    Taliban in the mid-90s, when American oil men were planning such a pipeline.
    But when the Taliban turned it's back on Uncle Sam, Western oil money got

    As well as Channel Four's coverage, two articles have appeared in the
    Guardian newspaper that deserve to be noted. The Guardian, which is
    considered home to Britain's liberal intelligentsia, is generally supportive
    of the war, but critical of certain aspects of its conduct. This was
    reflected in an op-ed piece by the radical environmentalist George Monbiot
    entitled "America's pipe dream", which sets out to explain how "A
    pro-Western regime in Kabul should give the US an Afghan route for Caspian

    Monbiot takes pains to reassure Guardian readers that he is on-message as
    far as the Labour government's rationale for supporting the war is
    concerned. He concludes his article with the bizarre couplet, "I believe
    that the US government is genuine in its attempt to stamp out terrorism by
    military force in Afghanistan, however misguided that may be. But we would
    be nave to believe that this is all it is doing."

    The first statement is an expression of Monbiot's political cowardice, for
    his entire article contradicts the Bush administration's claim to be
    motivated by a desire to "stamp out terrorism". Again facing both ways at
    once, Monbiot insists, "The invasion of Afghanistan is certainly a campaign
    against terrorism, but it may also be a late colonial adventure." He
    explains, "Afghanistan has some oil and gas of its own, but not enough to
    qualify as a major strategic concern. Its northern neighbours, by contrast,
    contain reserves, which could be critical to future global supply. In 1998,
    Dick Cheney, now US vice-president but then chief executive of a major oil
    services company, remarked: 'I cannot think of a time when we have had a
    region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the
    Caspian.' But the oil and gas there is worthless until it is moved. The only
    route which makes both political and economic sense is through Afghanistan."

    The West's options for moving oil are limited by its desire to prevent a
    strengthening of either Russia or Iran. It has an added benefit, in that
    "pipelines through Afghanistan would allow the US both to pursue its aim of
    'diversifying energy supply' and to penetrate the world's most lucrative
    markets" in south Asia.

    Monbiot's article acknowledges a debt to the work of Ahmed Rashid, the
    author of the recently published, Taliban^Militant Islam, Oil and
    Fundamentalism in Central Asia, and a correspondent for the Far Eastern
    Economic Review and the Daily Telegraph. Rashid documents how in 1995, the
    US oil company Unocal started negotiating to build oil and gas pipelines
    from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan to Pakistan and on to the Arabian
    sea. This required "a single administration in Afghanistan, which would
    guarantee safe passage for its goods." Monbiot notes, "Soon after the
    Taliban took Kabul in September 1996, the Telegraph reported that 'oil
    industry insiders say the dream of securing a pipeline across Afghanistan is
    the main reason why Pakistan, a close political ally of America's, has been
    so supportive of the Taliban, and why America has quietly acquiesced in its
    conquest of Afghanistan."

    Relations with the Taliban were only broken off two years later, after the
    US embassy bombings in east Africa. But US designs on Afghanistan continued.
    Monbiot cites a statement by the US energy information administration
    immediately prior to the September 11 outrages: "Afghanistan's significance
    from an energy standpoint stems from its geographical position as a
    potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from central Asia to
    the Arabian sea. This potential includes the possible construction of oil
    and natural gas export pipelines through Afghanistan". He concludes his
    examination, with the related observation, "If the US succeeds in
    overthrowing the Taliban and replacing them with a stable and grateful
    pro-Western government and if the US then binds the economies of central
    Asia to that of its ally Pakistan, it will have crushed not only terrorism,
    but also the growing ambitions of both Russia and China. Afghanistan, as
    ever, is the key to the western domination of Asia."

    The next day, Andy Rowell wrote in the Guardian on the same theme in his
    article "Route to riches". He begins, "As the war in Afghanistan unfolds,
    there is frantic diplomatic activity to ensure that any post-Taliban
    government will be both democratic and pro-West. Hidden in this explosive
    geo-political equation is the sensitive issue of securing control and export
    of the region's vast oil and gas reserves."

    Rowell draws attention to an article in Military Review, the journal of the
    US army, which states, "As oil companies build oil pipelines from the
    Caucasus and central Asia to supply Japan and the West, these strategic
    concerns gain military implications." He cites Unocal's insistence that
    "construction of the pipeline cannot begin until a recognized government is
    in place in Kabul that has the confidence of governments, lenders, and our

    All three reports are based on information that is both freely available and
    common knowledge within the media and the political establishment. Indeed
    Rowell described Rashid's work on the Taliban and the US as "the book Tony
    Blair has been reportedly reading since the conflict started." Far from
    saving the mass media from opprobrium, therefore, these reports stand as an
    indictment of a more general readiness to regurgitate whatever lies and
    propaganda they are asked to by the powers that be.


    'The Taliban are not worried about being bombed'


    By Robert Fisk in Peshawar
    27 October 2001

    The doctor thinks before he speaks, long moments for reflection and concern.
    His is not the usual story from Kabul and he is too well known to speak
    freely. He asks me three times not to publish his name.

    When I ask him what he'd like to be called, he says he hates falsity. So he
    will be the Doctor, a children's doctor as it happens, who tells his story
    wearing a little round white hat and a big, sad smile. He doesn't like the
    Taliban. But he doesn't like the Americans. He speaks with great precision.
    When I ask him what the Americans have destroyed at Kabul airport, he
    replies at once. "Three military aircraft and a Russian-made Tupolev TU-152
    airliner of Ariana airlines." I trust him.

    In a city without newspapers, Kabul whispers radios. "We follow all the
    stations because they begin at different times the Voice of America in
    Pashtu at 7pm, then we turn to the Pashtu service of the BBC at 8pm," the
    doctor says. "The best programme is on the BBC Dari (Persian) service it's
    Majalaya Osyayeh Miona (Central Asia Magazine) which knows what is happening
    in Afghanistan and the worst is Iranian Radio which is very wrong. Before
    the American attack, it concentrated on anti-Taliban propaganda. But after
    the attack, it said nothing about the Taliban it was just against the
    American attacks and there was a lot of anti-Pakistan propaganda."

    And despite all the Taliban prohibitions, some Kabul families still watch
    television. "They watch it underground, in basements, with wires leading up
    to little dishes. And when they saw Powell and Musharraf together, holding
    hands and being friends, well the majority of people when they saw this
    when they realised there was to be US-Pakistani co-operation they felt it
    was a new aggression against them." The US Secretary of State Colin Powell
    and Pakistan's self-proclaimed president Pervez Musharraf met in Islamabad
    on 16 October.

    It's not difficult to comprehend the suspicions in those Kabul basements as
    the radios and television sets mutter ever so softly. The Iranians hate the
    Taliban, but they hate the Americans even more. The Pakistanis helped to
    create the Taliban. Now the Americans are friends with the Pakistanis. The
    Doctor pauses while I work out the underground equations.

    "You must understand something," he says suddenly. "Most people, neutral
    people who're not connected with political groups, they hate the American
    policy and if the Taliban would change just 20 per cent of their policy
    against the people, then the people would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with
    them. We are waiting for an end to the Taliban policy against women and
    against education. You see, people will never forget what Pakistan has done
    to undermine Afghanistan they see Pakistan as the eternal enemy."

    The Doctor wonders if I see what he is trying to say. That Afghans can trust
    only themselves, I ask? He nods vigorously. "Among educated people, 11
    September created a new situation. We knew that America helped to create the
    Taliban and Osama," no one in Afghanistan bothers to add "bin Laden"
    "and we call them the 'kids' of America and Pakistan. When the first night
    of attacks came, we didn't know what to expect. It was very sudden but the
    bombs were on target. There were no injured civilians. Later, the Americans
    started hitting civilians. Some were very badly wounded and were taken to
    the Jumhuriyet hospital in the centre of the city. But we were blocked by
    the Taliban from going to the hospital. We had no contact."

    The Doctor complains bitterly that Afghan hospitals have neither medicine
    nor equipment "better to have treatment at home," he says at one point
    but he is more resentful of the subsequent bombing of Kabul. "On the second
    night, our neighbour's house was hit. People were buried when a wall
    collapsed on them but they were not killed. They came out smiling. When
    military targets were attacked, the Taliban blocked us from going there,
    just like they did the hospitals. Then the Taliban announced that people
    were not to come out of their houses. We had to remain close to home. Then
    they told us to stay inside our houses." When mountain homes were destroyed
    above Kabul, the Doctor asked if he could help the wounded. The Taliban
    blocked the roads again.

    "At the beginning, 90 per cent of the bombing was on target, but then the
    Americans started using 1,000lb bombs and areas were badly damaged. When
    they hit the television transmitter towers, our houses shook and the earth
    moved and we smelled a lot of smoke. Then Radio Shariat (Taliban Radio) went
    off the air but the next day I saw them re-assembling a new antenna. The
    Taliban always did this. Every time something was destroyed, they replaced
    it at once. They would go round and collect up all the wrecked equipment.
    The Taliban were very relaxed about this." Here the Doctor pauses again.
    "I'm trying to describe the Taliban reaction to the American bombing. You
    know? They weren't interested in the attacks. It was very intriguing and
    strange for me to see this.

    "The Taliban told many people that they were going to have the victory.
    Every night, the Americans bombed around Kabul. But each night, the circle
    of bombing got closer and closer to the centre it got narrower and
    narrower." The Doctor says that the four Afghan de-mining officials killed
    in the American attacks died because their offices had been rented from
    Radio Afghanistan they were killed, he says, when the transmitters were

    "At night, we heard very heavy sounds, propellers, like low planes and we
    were told these were 'discovery' aircraft. What are 'discovery' aircraft?" I
    told the Doctor I thought these were pilotless reconnaissance aircraft to
    photograph the bomb sites, "drones" in military parlance, the only kind of
    plane the Taliban can shoot down so far, at least.

    The Doctor's tale is chronological. On the first Friday, the Americans
    resumed their attacks after Muslim evening prayers, hitting a petrol storage
    depot. "It was like an earthquake the ground moved again." Then the
    Americans turned to a transport depot, old trucks and buses left behind by
    the Soviets in 1990, then the empty barracks of the so-called Babajan
    battalion. Babajan long ago left Kabul. He is now a fighter in the equally
    so-called Northern Alliance.

    "The next target was a mile to the north of Kabul in a small valley where
    the 015 Battalion looks after food storage for the Taliban. The Americans
    bombed and destroyed all the stocks of food. They used six heavy bombs which
    exploded at short intervals and the nearest houses their windows, doors
    and roofs were all blown off." The Doctor shakes his head repeatedly. He is
    not going back to Kabul until the war ends.

    "Some people in Kabul, some of my friends, think that the Americans will
    invade. Other people believe hope that if (the former king) Zahir Shah
    comes, he can do something and this will be the end of the war. The more
    educated people think the Americans will stay a long time in Afghanistan. As
    for me, I see the Pakistanis and the Americans and the Taliban and Osama as
    all the same.

    "If Osama acted like a terrorist, then so are the Americans, acting like
    terrorists now. So what if Zahir Shah comes, don't you think American
    advisors will be behind him? My own feeling is that the Americans are being
    very stupid. Watch and you will see."


    Islamabad: Life of Afghan refugee women


    October 27, 2001
    By Cilocia Zaidi

    ISLAMABAD - There is probably more international concern about women of
    Afghanistan than there is for women in any other country of the world today.
    Much of this concern has been prompted by the shock of whatever the world
    heard or saw of the plight of Afghan women, living a life devoid of all
    contact with the outside world.
    In December 1979, Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union, and millions
    fled to Pakistan and Iran. The peak occurred in 1981, when 4,700 people
    crossed the border into Pakistan seeking refuge and shelter.
    The rural women, who were used to freedom of movement within their villages,
    suddenly found themselves confined in the refugee camps with no space of
    their own. Many of them complained of physical hardships, with intolerable
    heat and insufferable chilly nights, no water, or shade to protect them from
    the onslaught of the weather. They had to suffer shortage of food,
    non-existent health facilities, unhygienic conditions, dust and filth and
    shortage of fuel and medicines.
    The worst was the psychological need to have a privacy and some one kind to
    share their trauma of tortures, having left all their belongings back home,
    their loved ones being killed or lost, and their pain of being away from
    their homeland.
    At the height of the exodus, there were 3.5 million Afghan refugees living
    in three provinces of Pakistan.
    The refugees and the local inhabitants competed for water, firewood, and
    grazing ground for their herds of animals.
    Eventually these refugees created large villages that were just a vast area
    of mud shanties, much different from their homes back in their country.
    The women, especially the young ones built these mud shanties, which gave
    them a sense of confidence and security. But with many of their men away
    fighting, these refugee women had to face many problems and leart to cope
    with the things in a different ways.
    Too much free time and an uncertain future has created a conducive
    atmosphere for drug culture in the refugee camps. Male and females were
    drawn to addiction due to their frustrations. Under the cover of these mud
    dwellings, a spurious drug trade flourishes, which is difficult even for the
    authorities to check.
    When bourgeois urban women became refugees, many found themselves leaving
    modern houses and apartments for cramped quarters of refugee camps or
    crowded section of Pakistani cities. Living conditions in exile were
    especially hard for these urban women. Instead of one family per house,
    there were sometimes five to six families, with 15 to 30 people living in a
    house designed for five to six persons. Rural women may have been able to
    recreate something of their own home atmosphere in the camps, but this was
    not possible for many urban women.
    There are many refugees who would like to go back, but are staying because
    of their children, particularly girls. They do not trust the situation in
    Afghanistan, as there is practically no education for girls. And even if
    peace returns, much of Kabul and other cities are destroyed and these
    families have no homes to return to.
    What Afghanistan now faces is that a very conservative attitude towards
    women has emerged.
    There are greater number of disabled Afghan refugees. To become disabled is
    something that changes ones life. And for a Afghan refugee women, it is a
    terrible tragedy. It is therefore, important for those claiming to work for
    humanitarian assistance, to come up with ideas that will give these women a
    place in the society that is not necessarily charity.
    It has been over 20 years these refugee women have been coping with living a
    decent life, without much help from the much publicized multibillion dollars
    donor alerts being ringed out again and again.
    Visiting the mud dwellings of Afghan Basti in Sector H-8 is enough to know
    the plight of these poor refugee women, who wait all day for their children
    to return with trash foods collected from garbage dumps. There is no
    clothes, no shoes , no hope for a better meal, let alone schooling. What
    future these women could think of their children?


    Dalai Lama critics US foreign policy


    By CHRIS WHITE STRASBOURG, France, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Tibet's Nobel Prize
    winning, exiled spiritual leader on Wednesday criticized the Western
    response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

    "You can eliminate people but you cannot eliminate human thought," the
    Dalai Lama said at a news conference. "The way to defeat terrorism in the
    long run is through thought, argument and reasoning. Once you commit
    violence it is unpredictable and it causes side effects."

    His comments came after he spoke before the European Parliament.

    Tibet's spiritual leader refused to condemn the U.S.-led bombing of
    Afghanistan, however.

    "They (the Americans and the British) know more about these things than I
    do," he said. He compared the joint action with the two World Wars and
    said, "This is a sign of civilization."

    He said the day after the Sept. 11 "unthinkable" attacks on New York and
    Washington, he wrote to President George W. Bush.

    "On the 12th, I wrote a letter, which expressed my sadness and my sympathy,
    and I told President Bush that the best way to counter terrorism is the
    non-violent way," he said.

    But the Dalai Lama criticized what he described as the United States' lack
    of concern for "democratic principles" in its foreign policy.

    "As far as domestic policy is concerned, they think democracy, democracy,
    democracy," he said. "But American foreign policy is not much concerned for
    democratic principles."

    Tibet's spiritual leader has lived in exile in India since 1959 when he
    fled his homeland. China had invaded Tibet nine years earlier.

    Since then, he has campaigned for greater freedom in Tibet; Beijing regards
    him as a troublemaker, however, and criticized the European Parliament for
    inviting him to address them Wednesday.

    Dialogue remained "the only sensible and intelligent way of resolving
    differences and clashes of interest," the Dalai Lama said.

    The parliament gave the Dalai Lama four standing ovations for his speech in
    Tibetan on the virtues of non-violence.

    While he called for a conference of non-governmental organizations, writers
    and thinkers together with religious leaders to consider the next stages of
    the war on terrorism, European Parliament President Nicole Fontaine said
    the parliament had called for a solution to the Middle East peace process
    and for "positive non-violent measures to be put in place once the military
    action in Afghanistan is over."

    Her comments came when Britain, a member of the European Union, and the
    United States were conducting airstrikes on Afghanistan in retaliation for
    the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that killed some
    6,000 people.


    Three Red Cross warehouses hit in U.S. raid


    US criticised for ineffectiveness of bombings and civilian deaths


    - Britain and France pledge ground troops for direct offensive on Taliban
    and al-Qaeda

    With the United States intensifying its bombardment of targets in Kabul and
    coming in for criticism for its use of cluster bombs and the apparent
    ineffectiveness of the bombings, Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement
    announced their capturing of a major Afghan opposition commander.

    Meanwhile, both France an Britain have committed to supplying ground troops
    for use in planned efforts to hit Taliban troops and smoke out Osama bin
    Laden and members of his al-Qaeda network.

    The International Committee for the Red Cross expressed concern over the
    growing number of civilian casualties resulting from the US air strikes in


    U-S destroys Red Cross warehouses



    The United States has destroyed two Red Cross warehouses in the Afghan
    capital Kabul.

    The Red Cross says the bombing has wiped out vital stocks of food and
    cooking oil intended for widows and disabled people.

    There are no immediate reports of casualties.

    The latest bombing campaign comes as Britain mobilises 200 Royal Marines in
    the Gulf for a ground mission in Afghanistan.

    Four hundred others are on high alert in Britain.

    Meanwhile Taliban forces in Afghanistan have captured a prominent commander
    of the opposition Northern Alliance, Abdul Haq.

    He was captured after American military helicopters were reportedly
    unsuccessful in trying to protect him after Taliban fighters surrounded his
    hiding place south of Kabul.


    U.S. Jets Hit Red Cross in Kabul


    October 26, 2001

    WASHINGTON- As warplanes struck Afghanistan Friday for the 20th day, plans
    for a larger ground campaign got a boost, with Britain announcing it will
    send 200 commandos to the war on terrorism.

    U.S. jets bombed the Afghan capital of Kabul, hitting a Red Cross compound
    for a second time this month and damaging food and other humanitarian

    At the Pentagon, a senior officer said a Red Cross warehouse may have been
    damaged but he had no details. Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem said U.S.
    officials were looking into the matter.

    He offered no details on Friday's airstrikes. He said Thursday's attacks
    targeted Taliban forces as well as cave complexes where Taliban or al-Qaida
    troops were believed to be hiding.

    Stufflebeem said 10 different target areas - including ammunition depots and
    other military sites - were struck Thursday by bombs and missiles from about
    80 warplanes, including about 70 Navy F-14s and F-18s launched from aircraft
    carriers in the Arabian Sea. A small number of Tomahawk cruise missiles also
    were fired Thursday, he said.

    Struggling with longer-range problems, the Pentagon asked private companies
    to help develop high-tech solutions the military would need in the fight
    against terrorism - including ways to defuse biological and chemical

    "The current methods are crude and cause collateral damage," the Pentagon
    said Thursday of bomb disposal methods. Instead, the military is seeking
    ways to expose the inner workings of such bombs so they can be neutralized
    without releasing their deadly contents.

    Three big explosions shook Kabul at midday Friday, raising clouds of smoke
    from the direction of the airport and the Khair Khana district to the north.
    One of the blasts struck the same Red Cross compound that was hit during an
    Oct. 16 attack, according to security guard Abdul Shakour.

    He said warehouses used to store humanitarian supplies were damaged and
    stocks of rice, beans, blankets and oil were on fire.

    In Great Britain, officials said they will raise their participation in the
    campaign. They are already flying refueling and reconnaissance aircraft in
    support of U.S. airstrikes and have fired Tomahawk cruise missiles from a
    submarine in the Arabian Sea.

    Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told Parliament that 200 commandos of the
    Royal Marines would be based on assault ships in the region, ready for
    operations in Afghanistan. Another 400 commandos would be on standby in
    Britain, he said.

    The United States has said it is not planning a large ground effort in
    Afghanistan, in comparison to some previous wars, but is using smaller
    assaults to root out al-Qaida terrorist cells and the Taliban. Last weekend
    more than 100 U.S. special operations troops raided an air field and Taliban
    compound in southern Afghanistan to collect intelligence. Other U.S. teams
    have been working in the north to help rebels opposing the Taliban, and
    agents have worked in the south to try to win defections from the Taliban.

    On Thursday, American warplanes unleashed the heaviest strikes on Kabul in
    several days and hit Taliban troops north of Kabul and near the northern
    city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

    Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged the
    campaign over Afghanistan has included the use of cluster bombs, munitions
    normally carrying up to 200 three-pound bomblets that spray shrapnel at the
    velocity of a bullet.

    The cluster bombs penetrate armor. Myers said he was unaware of a United
    Nations report earlier this week that unexploded cluster bombs had trapped
    residents in a west Afghan village.

    The Pentagon also asked private industry for anti-terrorism ideas that could
    lead to solutions within a year or 18 months. Among the ideas the military
    seeks are ways to detect chemical or biological warfare agents before they
    are released - with the goal of gaining a two-minute warning against several
    deadly agents, including nerve gases and bacteria such as anthrax and the

    The request also sought help in protecting and sustaining small commando
    forces in hostile terrain, mapping caves and improving devices that can
    essentially see through walls.

    The Pentagon is also asking for a system that can recognize the Afghan
    languages of Pashtu, Farsi and other Arab and South Asian dialects from
    10-second to 30-second snippets of conversation. That system would be
    incorporated into an existing Automated Speaker Recognition System.

    Another high-tech snooping tool the Pentagon needs is a way to use voice
    prints to identify specific individuals. The military also wants a software
    modeling system to show patterns of terrorist activity, which then could be
    used to disrupt terrorist networks.


    Red Cross warehouses hit in U.S. raid


    26 October, 2001
    By Tahir Ikram

    ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Three Red Cross warehouses have burst into flames
    after they were hit in a U.S. attack on Kabul, the Afghan capital, for the
    second time this month.

    Mario Musa, spokesman of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said
    on Friday, "It has happened again. At 11:30 a.m. huge explosions took place
    and three of our warehouses are on fire now."

    He told Reuters he had no immediate report of casualties but since Friday is
    a holiday, he expected very few people to be in the warehouses.

    "At least I hope there are very few, we have very sketchy information and
    the staff there is very demoralised," he added.

    U.S. bombs also hit ICRC warehouses in Kabul on October 16.

    In Geneva, the ICRC said it deplored the bombing of its warehouses and
    declared the attacks as a violation of humanitarian law.

    "The International Committee of the Red Cross deplores the fact that bombs
    have once again been dropped on its warehouses in Kabul. The ICRC reiterates
    that attacking....facilities marked with the red cross emblem constitutes a
    violation of international humanitarian law," the ICRC said in a statement.

    Musa said the warehouses had essential food supplies, tents, tarpaulins,
    blankets and other aid supplies for the people of Kabul, dependent largely
    on foreign aid to survive.

    "This material is lost again," Musa said.

    In Geneva, spokesman Kim Gordon-Bates said the warehouses were a
    distribution centre for a programme to feed up to 8,000 families of disabled

    "We did warn the Americans of this operation (the distribution) and that
    they could expect movements of lorries and gathering of people," he said.
    "Today there was no movement but the previous day there had been."

    There was no immediate comment from the Pentagon on Friday's strike, which
    has dealt a serious blow to aid delivery in Kabul, devastated by 20 years of
    war and under relentless bombardment since October 7.

    All the international staff of aid agencies in Afghanistan were told by the
    Taliban to leave soon after the deadly September 11 attacks on the United

    At the time of the October 16 incident, the ICRC said the warehouses were
    clearly a civilian facility, marked with a large red cross on the roof. An
    Afghan ICRC employee was injured. ICRC officials also say they have notified
    the U.S.-led forces of the exact locations of their warehouses.

    The Pentagon had said a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet jet dropped 1,000 lb (454
    kg) bombs that inadvertently hit one or more ICRC warehouses.

    Scores of civilians have been killed in Kabul and many more elsewhere in
    Afghanistan since the United States launched its military campaign against
    the Taliban for sheltering Osama bin Laden, the main suspect behind the
    September 11 attacks.


    Bombs Hit Red Cross Buildings


    October 26, 2001

    US bombs have again hit warehouses used by the International Committee of
    the Red Cross in Kabul.

    The aid agency confirmed three of its warehouses were on fire after being
    struck in the latest wave of US attacks.

    "It has happened again. At 11:30 a.m. (Afghan time) huge explosions took
    place and three of our warehouses are on fire now," said ICRC spokesman
    Mario Musa.

    Food supplies

    He said he had no immediate report of casualties but being a Friday holiday,
    he expected very few people to be in the warehouses.

    US bombs last hit ICRC buildings in Kabul on October 16. Musa said the
    warehouses had essential food supplies, tents, tarpaulins, blankets and
    other aid supplies intended for the impoverished people of Kabul.


    U.S. Planes Hit Kabul on Holy Day


    October 26, 2001

    AP: International - KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - U.S. jets struck Kabul on
    Friday, rocking the capital city with huge explosions and blasting a Red
    Cross compound for a second time this month. The Taliban said they captured
    and executed a noted opposition figure, accusing him of spying for the
    United States and Britain.

    During late night bombing Thursday, three children were killed - two from
    one family living in the northwest area of the city and a third from the
    east part of town, officials at the Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital said. The
    United States has repeatedly said it is not targeting civilians and regrets
    any loss of life.

    The Taliban's Bakhtar news agency reported Friday that Abdul Haq, a
    guerrilla leader in the war against the Soviets, was captured after slipping
    into Afghanistan and executed by the Taliban for treason.

    The death - if true - deprives the Afghan opposition of a central figure in
    internationally supported efforts to put together a post-Taliban coalition

    Haq had gone to Afghanistan with peace proposals on behalf of former king
    Mohammad Zaher Shah, an aide to the former monarch said in Rome. The United
    States and other Western countries have urged the former king to play a
    major role in forming a government to replace the Taliban.

    Bakhtar said Haq, who has one foot, was captured early Friday after
    villagers in Logar province, some 30 miles east of Kabul, tipped off Taliban
    intelligence to his whereabouts.

    There was a firefight between Haq's party and the Taliban, leaving four
    Taliban soldiers and three civilians injured, the agency said.

    Bakhtar said Haq was later ``killed by the Taliban'' under a religious
    decree that stipulates death for anyone spying for Britain and the United
    States. It wasn't clear how Haq was executed.

    According to Bakhtar, Haq was found with two satellite telephones, U.S.
    dollars and documents. The news agency didn't say what the documents were.

    ``At the same time Abdul Haq was captured one jet and two helicopters came
    to try to help him but they failed,'' the agency said.

    In Peshawar, Pakistan, Haq's nephew, Mohammed Yousuf, said ``Bakhtar news
    agency is lying. Know that he is alive.''

    Asked how he knew that, he replied: ``We don't have any source but we know
    that he's alive.'' He said Haq went to Afghanistan six days ago along with
    six or seven people, most of them his relatives.

    In Rome, Hamid Sidiq, a spokesman for the former king, said: ``Commander Haq
    was on a mission for peace, not for war. He was not going to fight anyone
    but to talk to tribal elders to inform them about the peace initiative of
    his majesty, the king.''

    If the report about Haq's death is confirmed, he would be the second key
    opposition figure killed in two months. Northern alliance leader Ahmed Shah
    Massood was assassinated in a Sept. 9 suicide bombing.

    Despite days of U.S. bombing aimed at crucial supply lines north of Kabul,
    Taliban forces appeared to hold their ground. Opposition commanders
    complained the attacks were too weak to break the Taliban lines.

    After another night of sometimes intense bombing, three huge detonations
    shook Kabul at midday, raising clouds of smoke from the direction of the
    airport and the Khair Khana district to the north. It was unclear where the
    third explosion occurred.

    One of the blasts struck a compound of the International Committee of the
    Red Cross, according to security guard Abdul Shakour. He said warehouses
    used to store humanitarian supplies were damaged and stocks of rice, beans,
    blankets and oil were on fire. The compound was hit during an attack Oct.

    Following the attack, bright orange flames roared through the ICRC warehouse
    as the ICRC's Afghan staff stood and watched helplessly.

    ``This is the second time our warehouses have been hit,'' ICRC worker Abdul
    Rashid said as he watched the flames. ``Of course I am sad. We had special
    programs over the next several days to distribute these items to the
    disabled people.''

    During a sermon at a Kabul mosque Friday, the Muslim holy day, an Islamic
    cleric said the ``infidel hit our nation, even on Friday. They are very
    unkind to our people.'' He urged the faithful to be patient because ``we
    will win.''

    President Bush launched the airstrikes Oct. 7 after the Taliban refused to
    hand over Osama bin Laden, chief suspect in the September terrorist attacks
    in the United States.

    Also of interest:

    Peace protesters arrested for wearing masks
    Denver Post
        The ACLU has taken on the case of peace marchers who were
        arrested in Denver simply for concealing their identity. "The
        police had a standing order that day that anyone who appeared
        at the march with their face covered would be detained," said
        Mark Silverstein, of the ACLU. (10/23/01)

    Anti-war resources:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/studentsnowar/files (members only)

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