---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2001 14:02:50 -0800
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
"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.
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.
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
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
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
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,
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 email@example.com
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
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
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
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Office of a UN-backed demining agency in Kabul is bombed, killing four
security guards. US expressed regret following UN protest.
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/studentsnowar/files (members only)
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