---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 13:11:03 -0800
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Antiwar News...(# 30)
Antiwar News...(# 30)
--Afghan civilians flee hell on earth
--ANTI-WAR PROTESTS IN OVER 75 U.S. CITIES ON OCTOBER 27
--Killing Them Softly: Dollars and Starvation for Afghan Kids
--Health Catastrophe in Afghanistan
--Thousands protest U.S. airstrikes
--Kuwait MPs Demand End to U.S. Afghan Strikes
--Afghans the victims of US terrorism
--Fight War, Not Wars: The Student Anti-War Movement
--Bombing and occupation of ICRC facilities in Afghanistan
--Why America Must Stop the War Now
--Bombing Halt Now or Mass Starvation by Thanksgiving?
--Another 13 civilians die in bungled bomb attack
--Bombing errors prove major test for US resolve
--Witnesses: Bombs Kill 10 Near Kabul
--U.S. Bombs Mistakenly Hit Red Cross, United Nations Facilities in Afghanistan
--Red Cross say US destroyed aid for 55,000 Afghans
--Stray bomb hits Afghanistan
Also of interest (links only):
*Heavy U.S. Strikes Raise Civilian Toll
(Anti-war links/resources at the end.)
Afghan civilians flee hell on earth
By Muhammad Sadik, Arab News Staff
WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD, 29 October - It took a split second for a "stray" bomb
yesterday to wipe out eight members of a single Afghan family, including
three babies and other children. Images of this and other civilians and
suffering in Afghanistan continued yesterday to sicken millions of people
across the world.
The Taleban were again attacked by US warplanes; and again they showed no
obvious sign of weakening. As winter nears, the daily pattern of death and
destruction - with no apparent gain - has become firmly established.
Refugees continue to flee the hell on Earth that Afghanistan has become in
Beleaguered President Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan complained that the
civilian toll was "excessive," but opposition took on a new and dramatic
urgency in his own country when the Islamist party threatened a mass sit-in
to force Musharraf to resign. Then two other radical Muslim youth groups in
Pakistan's tribal regions publicly threatened supporters of Afghanistan's
former King, Muhammad Zahir Shah, with death.
The US operation is foundering in the face of stiff resistance from the
Taleban, rising bombing errors and mounting civilian casualties, and a
growing tide of refugees. US warplanes opened up a new front in the war
against the Taleban, dropping 10 bombs on militia positions in northeast
Afghanistan, an opposition general said. Atiqullah Baryalai, a vice defense
minister and general for the opposition Northern Alliance, told foreign
reporters "some bombs hit their targets and some did not."
It is the first time since US air raids on Taleban targets started on Oct. 7
that Taleban positions in northeast Afghanistan, close to the Tajikistan
border, have been targeted. Al-Muhajiroon group in Pakistan said three
Britons and two American Muslims were killed while fighting alongside the
Territory controlled by the opposition Northern Alliance is concentrated in
the region. Baryalai said the Alliance had given its accord several weeks
ago for US airstrikes in northeast Afghanistan.
Foreign reporters taken to the opposition-controlled Ai Khanun hill
overlooking Taleban positions heard three strikes over a three hour period
from midmorning yesterday. Jet engines could still be heard flying over the
region as night fell.
Two radical Muslim youth groups in Pakistan's tribal regions publicly
threatened supporters of Zahir Shah with death. "Any person who works for
the return of the ex-king or takes part in attempts to overthrow the Taleban
government will be killed, his house burned and his family expelled from the
zone," the groups said.
Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the head of the Jamaat-e-Islami, told a rally in the
eastern city of Lahore that the sit-in in Islamabad, for which he did not
give a date, would result in the ouster of the Musharraf government and be
the catalyst for an Islamic revolution.
And in a further sign of growing anti-US sentiment an estimated 25,000
people, organized by the hard-line Islamic Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI),
massed in Lahore demanding the ousting of Musharraf for supporting
Washington. The Organization of the Islamic Conference yesterday reiterated
its condemnation of last month's attacks on the US, but expressed concern
over civilian casualties from the airstrikes on Afghanistan.
At least 10 civilians were killed as a bomb hit three houses in the
impoverished Char Qala neighborhood in Kabul. The dead included several
children, including three babies, witnesses told reporters. One man was
decapitated. Witnesses in Kabul said the bomb, one of four dropped on the
capital early in the morning, destroyed three houses in the Char Qala area.
Eight members of one family - father, mother and their three sons and three
daughters - were among the dead. Ahib Dad, a 45-year-old father of four,
held his dead baby son in his arms and wept uncontrollably. "I heard the
sound of the plane and I came out to see which way it was going. Suddenly it
bombed our home. I lost two of my children," he told reporters.
One grieving old man added: "These are infidels they want to eliminate
Muslims and Islam. There was nothing to be bombed in this house." The
Taleban claimed last week that more than 1,000 civilians died in US raids
countrywide - a figure Washington has rejected - and an AFP tally of
civilian deaths compiled from non-Taleban sources stands at 390 - 37 of them
As the pounding of Afghanistan entered a fourth week, US forces also mounted
attacks on the key northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the Taleban stronghold
of Kandahar and the cities of Herat and Jalalabad. Three people were
Abdullah Abdullah, foreign minister for the Northern Alliance, said he
believed some militants had already begun crossing into Afghanistan and
demanded that Pakistan stop them. "Whatever it is, it has to be stopped,"
Abdullah told reporters in Jabal Seraj. "Pakistan cannot claim to cooperate
with the international alliance, get debt relief and then allow thousands to
cross and fight the people of Afghanistan."
In a parallel move, other tribesmen have since Thursday - the start of the
gathering on the border - blocked the historic "Silk Road" to China in
protest at the US attacks, stranding hundreds of cars and trucks and
threatening to blow up any vehicle that attempts to force its way through.
Police said they believed the massacre in Bahawalpur may have been an act of
terrorist revenge against the US bombings. The killings, commented Jordan's
King Abdallah, underscore concerns that "Osama Bin Ladens" around the world
are trying to pit East against West.
In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair prepared to urge a confused
British public to show "moral fibber" by holding firm in the fight against
terrorism, as ministers stressed Britain was committed "for the long haul".
"Britain is a very moral nation with a strong sense of right and wrong, and
that moral fibber will defeat the fanaticism of the terrorists and their
supporters," Blair was expected to tell the Welsh Assembly tomorrow,
according to Downing Street.
A further blow came Friday when opposition commander Abdul Haq, a hero of
Afghan resistance to the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation, was captured and
executed by the Taleban.
The ruling militia refused to allow Abdul Haq's body back into Pakistan for
burial next to his wife and children - killed in an attack blamed on the
Taleban - and buried him instead in his home village, an aide said. The
story of how he was captured and killed emerged from an account yesterday in
the Washington Post, when a US contact related how Abdul Haq entered
Afghanistan "on a brazen personal mission to recruit Taleban defectors born
of frustration over US indifference to his efforts."
The Post said Abdul Haq expected to find anti-Taleban support in border
villages, but found instead people outraged with the US campaign and the
civilian death toll. He was cornered while attempting to escape on horseback
with a party of 19 and asked for US helicopters to rescue him, said the
associate, James Ritchie, but they never arrived. "The US hung him out to
dry," Ritchie told the Post.
But US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told ABC television yesterday that
the United States did provide "air assistance" to Abdul Haq before he was
captured and killed. Rumsfeld would not confirm that air cover was given by
intelligence operatives, but said the US military was not involved and
support came "from another element of the government."
Abdul Haq "requested assistance and received it," Rumsfeld said, adding:
"The assistance unfortunately was from the air, and he was on the ground.
And regrettably, he was killed."
In Amman, King Abdullah warned in an interview with AFP that any attack on
an Arab country as part of the US-led campaign would result in a "great
"The heinous crime that was committed in the United States is a crime
against all of us," he said, but added: "In no way should the Arabs be held
responsible for these crimes. We have explained to the coalition the great
catastrophe if an Arab country is hit," Abdullah said, when asked about the
possibility of an Arab country, notably Iraq, being targeted.
Islamabad has allowed US warplanes and missiles to fly across its territory
and granted the use of air bases for emergency landings and possible search
and rescue missions into Afghanistan.
The government's stance has been backed by most Pakistanis but is opposed by
Islamic radicals and sections of the population with ethnic ties to
Afghanistan's dominant Pashtun tribe.
Pakistani authorities were monitoring thousands of armed Pashtuns camped
near the border and waiting for a call from the Taleban to cross into
Afghanistan and join the anti-US fight. They were in Bajaur tribal area of
North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and were armed with Kalashnikov
automatic rifles, small machine-guns and rocket launchers, police said.
The Interior Ministry said they are led by Soofi Muhammad, head of Tehreek
Nifaz-e-Sharia Mohammadi (TNSM) group which wants Islamic Shariah law in
Pakistan. "We will resist if the authorities try to stop us. The jihad will
start here," a spokesman for the group, Qazi Ihsanullah, told reporters.
The chief of the Organization of Islamic Conference yesterday expressed
concern over civilian casualties from the airstrikes on Afghanistan. "The
condemnation of the attacks on the US made in a resolution at a meeting of
the foreign ministers of OIC countries last month stands," OIC chief
Abdelouahed Belkeziz told reporters in Dhaka.
"But the deaths and damages inflicted by the US-led attacks on Afghanistan
are causing considerable concern around the world," said Belkeziz, who is on
a four-day visit to Bangladesh. "OIC always stands against civilian
At a meeting with Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.Q.M. Badruddoza Chowdhury,
Belkeziz said "a big fund" was being raised by the OIC to support the
"distressed people of Afghanistan", the official BSS news agency said. They
also discussed the Palestinian problem and "the need to protect the
inalienable rights of the Palestinian people", the agency said without
ANTI-WAR PROTESTS IN OVER 75 U.S. CITIES ON OCTOBER 27
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Tony Murphy 212-633-6646
Monday, October 29, 2001
email - email@example.com
Demonstrations in 20 Other Countries
Rally Photos and Interviews Available
On Saturday, people in 75 cities throughout the U.S.
demanded an end to the U.S. war against Afghanistan, as the
mounting civilian destruction in Afghanistan causes support
for the bombing campaign to crumble. They were joined by
thousands more in 40 cities in 20 other countries.
The coalition known as International A.N.S.W.E.R. -- Act Now
to Stop War and End Racism -- set that day, Oct. 27, as an
international day of protest, and in New York, New Zealand,
Los Angeles, Japan, Boston, England, the Philipines and more
-- in a count of at least 120 anti-war events in 20
countries -- the burgeoning anti-war movement came out in
The streets in cities all over the world saw thousands
oppose war, racial profiling, and the U.S.' new so-called
anti-terrorist law, which protesters say is a thin cover for
an assault on civil liberties.
Thousands packed the streets in New York and Los Angeles.
Orlando, Florida saw thousands gather in the Orlando Magic's
sports arena for "Operation Education." Protesters in New
Zealand held the U.S.-led coalition attacking Afghanistan in
violation of international law in an impromptu people's
court. Denver's capitol was descended upon; two rallies were
held in Washington D.C.; and in San Francisco protesters
jammed Mission High School (PHOTO -- Peter Maiden/SF
On the same day, the worldwide chorus of voices demanding an
end to the bombing was joined by the Red Cross, after its
warehouses in Afghanistan were hit for the second time and
twice in one day. Even Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf,
whose regime has acted as a U.S. war ally, called for the
bombing to end.
"Mosques, hospitals, villages and homes -- the targets being
destroyed by U.S. and British warplanes are following a
pattern that can't be chalked up to 'collateral damage,'"
said Teresa Gutierrez, an A.N.S.W.E.R. organizer based in
"The massive rallies first organized by A.N.S.W.E.R. have
blossomed into an international movement against war and
racism. The worldwide demonstrations on Oct. 27 took place
as a war -- advertised as taking place to stop terrorism --
is in fact committing terrorism."
The full list of anti-war activities -- too numerous to list
here -- includes events in the following cities:
YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
PRESTON, LANCASHIRE, UK
VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA
AUSTRALIA MELBOURNE/VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
DOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE
NORTHFIELD, NEW JERSEY
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
ALBANY, NEW YORK
ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
MAFIKENG, SOUTH AFRICA
SECHELT, BC, CANADA
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
For fuller descriptions of the 120 events held on Oct. 27,
go to www.internationalanswer.org/o27.html).
Killing Them Softly: Dollars and Starvation for Afghan Kids
The Pentagon's air drops of food parcels and President Bush's plea for
American children to aid Afghan kids with dollar bills will go down in
history as two of the most cynical maneuvers of media manipulation in the
early 21st century. Many U.S. news outlets have been eager to play along. A
New York Times editorial proclaimed that "Mr. Bush has wisely made providing
humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people an integral part of American
strategy." Four days later, on Oct. 12, the same newspaper still had nothing
but praise for the U.S. government's food aid charades: "His reaffirmation
of the need for humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan -- including
donations from American children -- seemed heartfelt."
While thousands of kids across the United States stuff dollar bills into
envelopes and mail them to the White House, the U.S. government continues a
bombing campaign that is accelerating the momentum of mass starvation in
Relief workers have voiced escalating alarm. Jonathan Patrick, an official
with the humanitarian aid group Concern, minced no words. He called the food
drops "absolute nonsense."
"What we need is 20-ton trucks in huge convoys going across the border all
the time," said Patrick, based in Islamabad. But when the bombing began, the
truck traffic into Afghanistan stopped.
In tandem with the bombing campaign, the U.S. government launched a PR blitz
about its food-from-the-sky effort. But the Nobel-winning French
organization Doctors Without Borders has charged that the gambit is
"virtually useless and may even be dangerous." One aid group after another
echoes the assessment. The U.S. has been dropping 37,000 meals a day on a
country where several million Afghans face the imminent threat of
starvation. Some of the food, inevitably, is landing on minefields.
The food drops began on Sunday, Oct. 7, simultaneous with the start of the
bombing. "As of Thursday, a Pentagon spokeswoman said more than 137,000 of
the yellow-packaged rations had been dropped," the Knight-Ridder News
Service reported on Oct. 12. "International aid organization officials say,
however, that around 5 million Afghans are in danger of starvation because
the nation's borders are sealed and food supplies are diminishing by the
day -- meaning that only a tiny percentage of the hungry are receiving the
U.S. food." The borders are sealed because of the continuous bombing.
Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld wasn't worried about provoking appropriate
derision and outrage when he told reporters on Oct. 8: "It is quite true
that 37,000 rations in a day do not feed millions of human beings. On the
other hand, if you were one of the starving people who got one of the
rations, you'd be appreciative."
Avowedly, the main targets of the bombing are the people in the bin Laden
network and their Taliban supporters. But the rhetorical salvoes will be
understood, all too appropriately, in wider contexts. "We will root them out
and starve them out," Rumsfeld said, just before closing a news conference
with a ringing declaration: "We are determined not to be terrorized."
Supposedly, bombing Afghanistan is going to make us safer back here in the
USA. But as soon as the attacks began on Oct. 7, the FBI called for
heightened alerts across the United States -- because the risk of another
deadly attack in this country had just increased. What's wrong with this
Unlike the media herd, longtime foreign correspondent Robert Fisk is
exploring key questions. "President Bush says this is a war between good and
evil," he writes in the London-based Independent newspaper. "You are either
with us or against us. But that's exactly what bin Laden says. Isn't it
worth pointing this out and asking where it leads?"
Fisk asks other questions that aren't ready for prime time: "Why are we
journalists falling back on the same sheep-like conformity that we adopted
in the 1991 Gulf War and the 1999 Kosovo war? ... Is there some kind of
rhetorical fog that envelopes us every time we bomb someone?"
In wartime, media accounts seem to zigzag between selected facts and easy
sentimentality. Michael Herr, a journalist who covered the Vietnam War,
later wrote that the U.S. media "never found a way to report meaningfully
about death, which of course was really what it was all about." Obscured by
countless news stories, "the suffering was somehow unimpressive." Accustomed
to seeing its military might as self-justifying, the USA powered ahead. "We
took space back quickly, expensively, with total panic and close to maximum
brutality," Herr observed. "Our machine was devastating. And versatile. It
could do everything but stop."
In its Oct. 12 editorial, headlined "Mr. Bush's New Gravitas," the New York
Times concluded that the current president is providing exactly the kind of
leadership we need: "As he reflected on the sorrow, compassion and
determination that have swept the country since those horrifying hours on
the morning of Sept. 11, he seemed to be a leader whom the nation could
follow in these difficult times."
Among the leadership qualities most appreciated by editorial writers is the
Bush administration's aptitude for shameless propaganda. While the Pentagon
keeps dropping tons of bombs, it scatters some meals to the winds. While the
U.S. government persists with a bombing campaign that shows every sign of
resulting in mass starvation, the president urges the young people of the
United States to send in dollar bills -- "to join in a special effort to
help the children of Afghanistan."
Health Catastrophe in Afghanistan
By Nora Belfedal
In light of the attacks on the Afghani people carried out by the United
States and the United Kingdom, humanitarian organizations and the United
Nations have sent out emergency calls for help. But ironically, the U.S.
and Britain have also sought to assist people who are in need of healthcare
as a way of emphasizing that their war is not against the Afghani people,
but against the "terrorists" who are living there.
The U.N. office in Geneva and the World Health Organization (WHO) talk of
an alarming "health crisis". The number of refugees from Afghanistan now
exceeds seven and a half million (mostly women and children) and most of
the aid workers who were previously assisting them are gone (Reuters).
The life-expectancy rate in Afghanistan is 45.3 years for men and 47.2 for
women according to WHO, while infant mortality is about 25% - one of the
lowest in the world (WFP).
After the deaths of four workers at the U.N.-funded Afghan Technical
Consultants (ATC), and of more civilians in Kabul on October 8 as a result
of the U.S. attacks, the U.N. and Amnesty International urged America and
Britain to halt their attacks in order to give humanitarian services time
to provide food and primary healthcare (Amnesty International). "We are
losing critical time to bring in the food to distribute before this coming
winter," says the Director of Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF-Holland,
Doctors Without Borders).
Answering to this request and in "respect for" the Muslim holy day, the air
strikes on Afghanistan were halted for one day - a Friday - last week.
However, more time is needed to distribute the winter supplies before the
notorious Afghan winter descends on an unprepared people.
But access to food, shelter and clothing are not the only problems the
average Afghani has to face. The spread of contagious diseases, especially
in refugee camps, has become a major concern for the Afghani people. Five
thousand cases of cholera and 100 cholera- related deaths have already been
recorded; yet not all cases can be documented (Reuters). Other deadly
diseases are also further exacerbating the heath crisis, including malaria
- which is responsible for at least 3,000,000 estimated cases per year.
In addition, UNICEF reports that polio and measles are responsible for 21%
of deaths in Afghani children and that tuberculosis is also a major health
issue. The Afghanistan National Tuberculosis Institute reports that there
are between 22,000 and 33,000 tuberculosis-deaths annually (AFP).
Many other diseases have also been recorded, including dysentery, typhoid
and yellow fever or Gulran disease (reliefweb.int). In addition, a new
Ebola-like virus - which causes its victims to bleed to death - has killed
several people (Reuters).
Most of the infections mentioned above are caused by the worst drought in
30 years, very poor sanitation and malnutrition. Only 13% of the Afghan
population has access to drinkable water says UNICEF. The drought has
destroyed most fields and killed up to 70% of cattle in many parts of the
country. According to WFP, millions of Afghans are malnourished and at risk
of starvation. Aid organizations have stocks of food, but due to the recent
U.S. strikes, cannot distribute them.
In addition to health problems, starvation and malnourishment, cold weather
exposure is another major concern. This winter, WHO anticipates an increase
in respiratory infections, which usually account for 20% of deaths in small
children. Last winter saw more than 150 people dying every week says Dr.
Wahdati, WHO's officer in Afghanistan. He fears that the combination of
malnutrition, cold and overcrowding this year might devastate this already
Another unusual health risk in Afghanistan is hidden land mines.
Afghanistan is still littered with mines left over by the Soviets during
the war in the late 70's and early 80's. Many of the refugees heading for
aid camps either die or are in need of amputations after stepping on the
hidden mines that litter their paths.
Children are usually the first victims of the mines because the Russian
explosives misleadingly resemble toys or butterflies. Forty-five to 100
Afghans are killed or injured by mines every week. Children represent two
out of every five victims (www.globeandmail.com).
In addition, the health situation for women is particularly terrible.
Studies have shown that communal bereavements negatively affect fetuses and
that many women give birth to very low weight or premature babies
(Reuters). Afghanistan has the second highest maternal mortality rate in
the world, at 1,700 per 100,000 live births (UNICEF). In a study lead by
Dr. Zohra Rasekh, the majority of Afghani women have reported a physical
and mental health decline.
However, even if an Afghani can survive all the health risks in their
country, they rarely escape from the mental disorders that plague the
population. As a result of 22 years of non-stop war, the Afghan population
suffers from many post-traumatic stress disorders. Human rights abuses and
scenes of violence have further mentally weakened and traumatized Afghanis,
UNICEF conducted a study and found out that 72% of children have lost at
least one family member and that two-thirds of them have seen dead body.
"We are reminded daily of the physical scars of war on children, but the
results of this study confront us with the fact that the mental wounds are
as deep," said UNICEF's Executive Director.
Young children worry about their futures and that of their families, and
75% of them do not expect to live to adulthood.
Now the question is what can we do for them? The least thing we can do is
remember our brothers and sisters in our du'a (supplications) and donate
money to organizations associations like UNICEF, which can be trusted to
actually distribute supplies in an ethical manner.
Another way to help is "^to stay informed of the situation there, to try
and hear different sides of any story, and to try and come to an
independent analysis," says Austen David, Director General of MSF-Holland.
Last but not least, is to volunteer and go abroad to work with humanitarian
organizations and "stand for the dignity of all human beings." If it is
impossible to volunteer then "it is always possible to organize discussion
groups, debates, or support groups," advises Austen. Those groups should
stay in contact with organizations that will help guide them toward
properly providing for needy people in Afghanistan, and anywhere else in
the world (MSF-Holland).
AFP. Agence France Press. "Tuberculosis spreading in Afghanistan killing
MSF-Holland, "Q&A: Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis"
MSF. Medecins Sans Frontieres, "A closer look at MSF in Afghanistan and
UNICEF, "Effects of Landmines on Children"
Rasekh, Zohra Dr. JAMA, "Women's Health and Human Rights in Afghanistan"
UNICEF, "Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan Region"
UNICEF, "Afghanistan: Civil Conflict - Latest Information"
WFP. World Food Program, "Afghanistan: Fear in the camps"
Thousands protest U.S. airstrikes
By TED ANTHONY
Islamabad, Pakistan - Answering militant leaders' calls, tens of thousands
of Pakistanis marched Friday in major cities to protest U.S. airstrikes and
in the northwest near the Afghan border to back up Taliban fighters.
It was Pakistan's biggest day of public demonstrations since U.S.-led
airstrikes in Afghanistan began Oct. 7.
"This is a strange occasion of world history," said Sufi Mohammad, the
cleric in Pakistan who summoned Muslims for jihad, or holy war, in
Afghanistan. "For the first time, all the anti-Islamic forces are united
The show of support for the fundamentalist militia that rules neighboring
Afghanistan came on the Muslim holy day, typically a fertile time for
demonstrations because of the massing of people in urban mosques throughout
Nearly 40,000 people marched peacefully through central Karachi, Pakistan's
largest city, still well short of the million summoned to rally by the
pro-Taliban Afghan Defense Council. A rally in Quetta, a city of 1.2
million, drew thousands.
Others, some armed, were said to be answering Mohammad's call to flood
Afghanistan and repel any American ground incursions. His son said convoys
of volunteers would enter Afghanistan on Saturday. It was impossible to
immediately verify how many were en route.
Mohammad said 10,000 were on the way, many heavily armed. His supporters
put the number at 100,000.
"I cannot tolerate the bombing and the cruelty of Americans. I must go.
Muslims cannot keep silent," said Mamoor Shah, 18, a medicine salesman who
arrived with hundreds of others - some heavily armed - in the northwestern
village of Temergarah on Friday night.
Though most of Pakistan's 145 million people are going about their daily
business, President Pervez Musharraf's decision to back the U.S.
anti-terrorism effort against Afghanistan has outraged many in the Islamic
Some militant leaders have called for holy war against the United States,
and hundreds have responded, vanishing across the border into Afghanistan's
rugged terrain. Others have poured into urban streets, denouncing America
and Musharraf for cooperating in the effort to root out suspected terrorist
Osama bin Laden's installations.
The rally in Karachi, a city of 12 million, choked streets. The only
reported disorder: damage to a KFC billboard, a symbol of American culture.
In the border city of Quetta, site of some of the worst disorder in recent
weeks, about 10,000 people packed a mountain-encircled soccer stadium after
Friday prayers. Demonstrators sat on the soccer field waving banners -
"Osama is our hero" and "There are no terrorists in Afghanistan."
Kuwait MPs Demand End to U.S. Afghan Strikes
Tuesday October 23, 2001
By Ashraf Fouad
KUWAIT (Reuters) - Half the members of Kuwait's
50-strong elected parliament urged the United States
Tuesday to end its military campaign against
Afghanistan (news - web sites).
Expressing growing regional concern, 25 members of the
only elected parliament in the Muslim conservative Gulf
Arab region issued a carefully worded statement after
some MPs spoke out strongly against the United States
during a session.
The statement called on the United States ``to end this
war and seek solutions which lead to the arrest of the
perpetrator of this crime (on Sept. 11) and present him
to justice in an honest and fair trial, guaranteeing
full rights for all parties.''
The United States began its military campaign against
Afghanistan and its ruling Taliban on Oct. 7 to flush
out Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden (news - web
sites), blamed for the Sept. 11 hijacked airliner
attacks on New York and Washington.
The MPs' statement put further pressure on the pro-
Western government which has been trying to perform the
difficult task of supporting the United States without
alienating Islamists and tribal groups.
Kuwait has condemned the attacks on the United States
and said it supports the U.S. war on terrorism, but
some influential Islamist politicians are opposed to
the campaign and have warned the government against
The statement said a global accord on the definition of
terrorism and a modality for conviction of alleged
terrorists were among prerequisites for cooperation
with the military campaign.
Kuwait's liberals criticized the government after the
September attacks, accusing it of hesitation in
supporting Washington and failing to offer full
assistance to the United States, which led the 1991
Gulf War (news - web sites) military coalition that
ended a seven-month Iraqi occupation of Kuwait.
Many in the Islam world have been angered by the
strikes, which the Taliban claim have killed scores of
civilians. Analysts said a prolonged war was angering
ordinary Gulf citizens, even those who are normally
opposed to the Taliban.
Islamist MP Waleed al-Tabtabae said in parliament
Tuesday the strikes would only lead to fresh terrorist
``Hitting the innocent makes us and Muslims hate the
U.S. policy even more. Hate leads to more terrorist
operations which we reject,'' the Sunni Muslim MP said.
The Iran-educated Shi'ite clergyman Hussein al-Qalaf,
who has long been opposed to the Taliban, condemned the
U.S-led attacks and, like the statement, called for
action against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
(news - web sites).
``Is the American blood expensive and the Muslim Arab
blood cheap? Why does America fail to confront the
crimes of Sharon (against Palestinians), where is the
Afghans the victims of US terrorism
The Irish Times
October 17, 2001
By Vincent Browne
All the news bulletins and news channels nowadays have "anchormen" or
"experts" parading in front of huge maps of Afghanistan, explaining the
detail of the military assault on the country.
We are told of the type of bomber used and from what base, the aircraft
carriers from where the tomahawk missiles are fired. Sometimes we are
told of the "payload delivered".
And not a hint of the devastation these "payloads" deliver to the people of
Afghanistan. The awful terror they bring, the devastation, the injury, the
We have become morally desensitised to the abominations that are
clinically conveyed to us night after night on our television screens.
Nobody at any of the news conferences challenges George Bush or Tony
Blair or Donald Rumsfeld or Colin Powell about the outrages they are
perpetrating. We are all part of the consensus that it is OK to bomb a
country to a pulp with the vastness of the military might the world has ever
Nobody asks Tony Blair about the "human rights of the suffering women
of Afghanistan" that he talked about in that speech at the Labour Party
conference two weeks ago.
How did the world get to believe that terror and slaughter delivered by a
bomb in a car was an atrocity, while much more terror and much more
slaughter delivered by airplane or missile is morally OK?
Remember all the talk some years ago about the godfathers of violence
who sat in their comfortable, middle-class homes in Dundalk or
Buncrana, while their cowardly minions delivered mayhem to the streets
of Belfast or Derry or Claudy or Omagh?
What about the godfathers of violence sitting in their stately mansions in
the White House or Downing Street or Chequers or Camp David, and their
minions dropping far larger bombs from the security of thousands of feet
beyond range of retaliation, causing far more mayhem in the homes and
streets of Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad?
And all for what?
Is it believable that the attack on America of September 11th could have
been planned, directed and co-ordinated from caves in Afghanistan? Or
that the organisation that was responsible for that attack originates in
Afghanistan? A great deal of the emerging evidence suggests otherwise.
Last Wednesday the New York Times published a lengthy portrait of one
of the organisers and perpetrators of the September 11th attack,
Mohammed Atta. Atta came from a middle-class family in Cairo, where his
father was a lawyer.
He went to Hamburg for several years to get a degree in urban planning
and he later worked there. "Officials" were quoted as saying there was
"strong evidence" Atta had trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan in the
late 1990s, but we are not told what that evidence is or what it is he could
have been trained in that would have had any relevance to what happened
on September 11th.
It is clear, however, that his radicalism emerged while he was in
Hamburg, where he associated with people from the Turkish, Arab and
African communities. He went to Florida in 2000 and trained as an airline
There is evidence that he received a large sum of money from someone
in The United Arab Emirates, who "may" have had an association with
Osama bin Laden.
A report in Monday's Los Angeles Times quoted FBI sources as saying
there were several people involved in plotting further attacks on the US
and they were "at large in the United States and across Europe and the
The Los Angeles Times also reported that several people suspected of
involvement either in the September 11th attack or in planning further
attacks were from Saudi Arabia and were resident either there or in the
CBS News on Monday evening quoted Prof Vali Nasr of the University of
San Diego as saying the Saudi government had "appeased" Islamic
extremists by funding and promoting a radical form of Islam that sees the
US as the enemy.
Other reports from the US suggest that the real source of terrorism is Iran,
where there are several persons wanted by the US, and, of course, Iraq
remains a major suspect as a terrorist sponsor.
So what is the point of the assault on Afghanistan? Yes, Osama bin laden
and some of his associates are there, but if the vast bulk of those
suspected of terrorism by the US are either in the US itself or in Hamburg
or Iran or Saudi Arabia or Iraq, what good will it do if everyone in
Afghanistan is obliterated?
How will it reduce the terrorist threat to US if the vast majority of
terrorists are in places other than Afghanistan?
If the anthrax attacks are the work of terrorists, does anyone believe that
the packages containing it were sent from Afghanistan?
And just one other thing. If the point of the assault on Afghanistan is not
to defeat terrorism but get Osama bin Laden and bring him to "justice", why
has the latest offer by the Taliban to send him to an agreed third country
What would it matter if he were taken to one of America's allies such as
Egypt or even Pakistan or Turkey and "brought to justice" there?
The reality is that Afghanistan is being devastated and hundreds are
being slaughtered, on the net issue of bringing bin Laden and his
associates to justice in the US rather than to some other third agreed
country. That's what the slaughter is about. And that's putting it at its
Fight War, Not Wars: The Student Anti-War Movement
City On the Hill
University of California at Santa Cruz
October 24, 2001
by Kristin Lee
Women's/Queer Desk Writer
Father, father, we don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
for only love can conquer hate.
You know, we've got to find a way
to bring some loving here today
--The All Star Tribute's 2001 remake of Marvin Gaye's 1971 song "What's
protesting the Vietnam War.
UC Santa Cruz has always been criticized for relishing in the spirit of the
"make love, not war" mentality. The recent world events are complicating
that perception. Students now find themselves in a political atmosphere
similar to the Vietnam War.
Despite the presence of cell phones and digital cameras, a recent campus
protest drew comparisons to late 1960s protests against the Vietnam War.
Students sporting peace signs, banners, and drums chanted, "An eye for an
eye makes the whole world blind" and "Not our government, not our war,"
flooding the UCSC campus last week.
>From coast to coast, a new generation of collegiate Americans are
gathering to protest the actions of their government. A new era of
activists are awakening from their sedated peacetime slumber into a
tumultuous time of conflict.
During this time of global crisis, college students around the country are
questioning US foreign policy and reactions to Afghanistan and the Sept. 11
According to the New York Times, there have been rallies on more than 100
campuses. These rallies are often organized by groups of dedicated
activists that are veterans of the affirmative action and labor struggles
of recent years. The Peace Movement has benefited from the recent surge of
student protests that culminated in the anti-globalization IMF protests in
Strategy: Provide Alternatives
The common strategy among the protests is to encourage alternatives to
bombing. Protestors are also focusing on the importance of educating the
American public about the history of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle
East. Only then is it possible to recognize U.S. foreign policy as a
catalyst for the terrorist attacks.
Carl Bloice, a longtime activist and board member of The Committees of
Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, advocates for the
acknowledgement of the role the United States government played in
supporting the Taliban and other Afghan reactionary forces. "It is quite
clear at this point a new alliance of reactionaries is being hatched under
the rubric of 'nation
building.' It will only bring increased suffering to the people of
Afghanistan and increased stability to the region."
Instead of employing military force in Afghanistan, activists have
suggested prosecuting Osama bin Laden and other terrorist suspects in an
international war tribunal such as the one currently prosecuting Slobodan
Milosevic. They cite United States sanctions against Iraq and Israel's
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Western economic
policies throughout the third world for creating anti-American sentiment.
UC Santa Cruz: Gaining Momentum
At UCSC, the opposition to violent governmental actions is mounting. The
history, politics, and sociology departments along with a number of student
organizations have each held teach-ins.
Student alliances, such as the Afghanistan Student Association and the
Muslim Student Association, have been active in educating students.
The most attended anti-war demonstration at UCSC was the October 11
walk-out/teach-in, held on the one-month anniversary of the World Trade
Center catastrophe. An estimated 1,200 students walked out of their classes
and marched from the Bay Tree Bookstore to the base of campus.
The teach-in included a range of speakers including professors, community
activists, and students as well as an information table equipped with
activist resources. The teach-in focused on educating the community on the
context of the attacks.
Manuel Schwab, a UCSC politics teaching assistant and featured speaker at
the Oct. 11 teach in, emphasized the need for education regarding the
"There is a tendency for people to become outraged in times of war
regarding international relations," Schwab said. "But they invariably find
that the politics that are troubling in a time of war are the politics
they've quietly condoned in a time of peace."
Schwab felt encouraged by the education occurring at the teach-in.
"The thing that I found encouraging about the teach-in was the amount of
really well-informed, educated speakers who approached their anti-war
perspectives not from the 'stop the bombing, bombing is wrong perspective,'
but from a really informed standpoint. If that continues, I think we're in
great shape," he said.
Aside from the teach-in, anti-war strategies are being exercised by campus
The Middle Eastern Education Coalition has set up a letter writing campaign
in front of the UCSC Upper Quarry Plaza. The letters are being sent to
government representatives, including Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane
Feinstein, as well as local representative Sam Farr. With help from the
Santa Cruz Resource Center for Non-Violence, MEEC created a letter that
protests U.S. military action in Afghanistan, condemns hate crimes and
discrimination against Arab and Muslim communities, and opposes any efforts
that diminish civil liberties. MEEC has collected over 1,590 letters of
protest in the past week. The group also seeks to educate students about
the Middle East and South Asia.
Diego Sotelo, a member of MEEC, seeks to foster compassion and
understanding towards those in the Middle East. "Because many United States
citizens consider people from these areas as fundamentally different, it
makes it easier for them to deal with the bombings," Sotelo said.
"We're trying to bring it home to them that we're all essentially the same
Sotelo is incredulous that life in the United States still continues at a
normal pace while Afghanistan is in such a state of chaos.
"I can't believe we're still in school while this is going on.
Participating in the anti-war movement is the only thing that makes me feel
like I'm doing something to end the terror," Sotelo said.
UC Berkeley: Divided
Other UC campuses like UC Berkeley are famous for their involvement in
antiwar politics and activism. Berkeley has had the most prominent activism
of the UCs. Sproul plaza, made famous by the 1960s Berkeley demonstrators,
is once again a hotbed of student protest.
Susan Lopez-Embury is an activist with RISE to PEACE (Peace through
Education, Action, Consciousness and Empowerment), a group of students in
the peace and conflict studies department.
"I am saddened by the military response our country has taken,"
Lopez-Embury said. "This inevitably means that people who had nothing to do
with the Sept. 11 tragedy will die unnecessarily."
Valerie Kao, founder of the Student Peace Action Network at UC Berkeley,
noticed the difference emerging amongst student opinion. "For the first
time there is a pretty strong conservative activist contingency on campus,
which helps make dialogue possible among people with diverse views," she said.
Jenessa Peterson, a UC Berkeley philosophy major, has had the opportunity
to attend daily teach-ins protests and forums. Peterson is unclear of the
overall political stance of the campus.
"Berkeley seems to be divided. I think most students are still questioning
things," she said. "The people you encounter at the teach-ins are those of
us who haven't decided if we're for or against the bombings."
Kao linked student opinion to recent media coverage of the situation.
"I think the majority of the students actually don't know or haven't
decided where they stand on this . A lot of what they know about the
situation they get from the mainstream media, which is currently debating
the caliber of military action, instead of questioning whether military
action is the right approach in the first place," Kao said.
UC San Diego: Not Anti-American, Just Anti-War
>From the Socialist Party to the Green Party, the College Democrats to
various fraternities and sororities, organizations at UC San Diego are
uniting to explore anti-war alternatives. The campus has had a variety of
teach-ins, including a hip-hop event that featured an educational session
taught by two members of the popular hip-hop group Jurassic 5.
Mara Lee, an activist with the Peace Coalition, seeks to help the community
understand that peace activists are not anti-American, just anti-war.
"We are focusing on helping students realize that they can redefine their
identity as American citizens," she said. "The Peace Coalition wants to
make the statement that you can be both pro-America and anti-war."
New York University: Tense
The New York University campus community has a unique vantage point on the
current situation. Even before the Sept. 11 attacks, NYU's campus was one
of the most politically active in the country. Yet the post -Sept. 11
political climate has been subdued.
Joseph Azum, a politics and ethics major, describes the campus atmosphere
as increasingly tense. "For a long time after the attacks, most of the
campus was just grieving and politics were the farthest thing from anyone's
mind," he said. "Of course, in the past several weeks the climate has
NYU's anti-war protests have recently become more visible. The NYU Peace
Coalition has organized lectures and handed out information. The Campus
Green Party and the Arab Student United have made strides to help educate
people about what is really occurring. But according to Azum, there have
not been traditional protests.
"The activism here is less about making noise as it is about making sense
and really hammering home the possible consequences of engaging in a
prolonged military action.," Azum said.
Azum's representation of the NYU campus highlights a common student dilemma
of being pro-military action, but not pro-war.
"Seeing as how support of the war is tacit, you don't hear much pro-war
rhetoric," Azum said. "No one on this campus is ignorant enough to not
understand the necessity of military action. However, we are also not
ignorant enough to realize the irony of how the U.S. is just now starting
to take action against the Taliban and Al-Queda," Azum said.
At NYU and elsewhere, that is what is being protested more than anything --
the hypocrisy of bombing a nation in the name of good only when it's
convenient for U.S. interests.
University Of Pittsburgh: Sassy
Leftist activists at the University of Pittsburgh have placed printable
anti-war leaflets on their politically savvy website. The leaflets: "The
Top Five Lies About This War" and "More Civilians are Dying: Are You
So, Where Does This Leave Us?
While specific anti-war protest tactics vary slightly amongst the nation's
college campuses, the focus on education and promoting alternatives to
military action is consistent.
Berkeley's Kao encourages the public to be patient in forging a suitable
solution to the conflict.
"One of the questions people ask anti-war protestors frequently is ''what
do you suggest?'" Kao said. "Yet there is no quick-fix solution."
Santa Cruz's Sotelo wants citizens to acknowledge the consequences of
"People need to understand that the eye for an eye mentality isn't working.
If we keep bombing Afghanistan, it only fuels the fundamentalists' anger.
We're asking for retaliation. It's pathetic," he said.
Activist Carl Bloice advocates for a greater understanding of motives
behind the conflict.
"The reason a new reactionary bloc is being put together by the CIA for
Pakistan intelligence is that the Bush administration's objective has been
far about more than bring retribution for Sept. 11 or containing
terrorism," Bloice said. "Much of the world has awakened to the fact that a
much bigger game is being played here and is inextricably tied to the
question of control over the
mineral resources of Central Asia."
Bloice noted the similarities between today's anti-war movement and that of
Vietnam, emphasizing the importance of ''speaking truth to power.'
"It is critically important that the anti-war movement be able to speak of
the dangerous course that the Bush Administration has embarked upon while
making clear its total opposition to attacks on civilian non-combatants and
its revulsion at the anti-human messages of the perpetrators at the attack
and their accomplices," Bloice said.
UCSC teaching assistant Schwab recognizes there is only the necessity for
an educated community of citizens, but the way that education can serve as
a catalyst for change. "I think step one of any political movement should
be to educate oneself. People seem to think that this is an overwhelming
task, but they can start to understand the groundwork in a day or two of
readings," he said. "Understanding gives all the tools to counteract. To
really understand the history is the only way to effectively exercise your
In light of the President Bush's suggestion of sending ground troops to
Afghanistan, it is unlikely the current global conflict will be a short
one. In this time of global crisis, advocates of peace need to become more
vocal to be heard by a government that supports military action and doesn't
acknowledge the global community.
Ravi Rajan, UCSC assistant professor of environmental studies, made a plea
for peace in his speech at the UCSC walk-out that was celebrated with
resounding student applause. Rajan said, "For, at the end of the day, the
world is round, and what goes around, comes around. Whatever we do, let us
not enter into a holy war whatever the provocation. Instead, let us
brandish our humanity and grace, and turn the other cheek in the hope that
one day, it will result in a kiss."
For more information on the anti-war movement: www.protest.net,
Bombing and occupation of ICRC facilities in Afghanistan
26 October 2001
Press Release 01/48
Geneva (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) deplores
the fact that bombs have once again been dropped on its warehouses in Kabul.
A large (3X3 m) red cross on a white background was clearly displayed on the
roof of each building in the complex. Initial reports indicate that nobody
was hurt in this latest incident.
At about 11.30 a.m. local time, ICRC staff saw a large, slow-flying aircraft
drop two bombs on the compound from low altitude. This is the same compound
in which a building was destroyed in similar circumstances on 16 October. In
this latest incident, three of the remaining four buildings caught fire. Two
are said to have suffered direct hits.
Following the incident on 16 October, the ICRC informed the United States
authorities once again of the location of its facilities.
The buildings contained the bulk of the food and blankets that the ICRC was
in the process of distributing to some 55,000 disabled and other
particularly vulnerable persons. The US authorities had also been notified
of the distribution and the movement of vehicles and gathering of people at
The ICRC also deplores the occupation and looting of its offices in
Mazar-i-Sharif which were taken over by armed men three days ago. Office
equipment, including computers, and vehicles were stolen. ICRC
representations both to local authorities and to the Taliban ambassador in
Pakistan have had no effect.
The ICRC reiterates that attacking or occupying facilities marked with the
red cross emblem constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law.
Why America Must Stop the War Now
by Arundhati Roy
The Guardian (UK), 2001-10-23.
As darkness deepened over Afghanistan on Sunday
October 7 2001, the US government, backed by the
International Coalition Against Terror (the new,
amenable surrogate for the United Nations), launched
air strikes against Afghanistan. TV channels lingered
on computer-animated images of cruise missiles,
stealth bombers, tomahawks, "bunker-busting" missiles
and Mark 82 high drag bombs. All over the world,
little boys watched goggle-eyed and stopped clamouring
for new video games.
The UN, reduced now to an ineffective acronym, wasn't
even asked to mandate the air strikes. (As Madeleine
Albright once said, "We will behave multilaterally
when we can, and unilaterally when we must.") The
"evidence" against the terrorists was shared amongst
friends in the "coalition".
After conferring, they announced that it didn't matter
whether or not the "evidence" would stand up in a
court of law. Thus, in an instant, were centuries of
jurisprudence carelessly trashed.
Nothing can excuse or justify an act of terrorism,
whether it is committed by religious fundamentalists,
private militia, people's resistance movements ^ or
whether it's dressed up as a war of retribution by a
recognised government. The bombing of Afghanistan is
not revenge for New York and Washington. It is yet
another act of terror against the people of the world.
Each innocent person that is killed must be added to,
not set off against, the grisly toll of civilians who
died in New York and Washington.
People rarely win wars, governments rarely lose them.
People get killed.
Governments moult and regroup, hydra-headed. They use
flags first to shrink-wrap people's minds and smother
thought, and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury their
willing dead. On both sides, in Afghanistan as well as
America, civilians are now hostage to the actions of
their own governments.
Unknowingly, ordinary people in both countries share a
common bond ^ they have to live with the phenomenon of
blind, unpredictable terror. Each batch of bombs that
is dropped on Afghanistan is matched by a
corresponding escalation of mass hysteria in America
about anthrax, more hijackings and other terrorist
There is no easy way out of the spiralling morass of
terror and brutality that confronts the world today.
It is time now for the human race to hold still, to
delve into its wells of collective wisdom, both
ancient and modern. What happened on September 11
changed the world forever.
Freedom, progress, wealth, technology, war ^ these
words have taken on new meaning.
Governments have to acknowledge this transformation,
and approach their new tasks with a modicum of honesty
and humility. Unfortunately, up to now, there has been
no sign of any introspection from the leaders of the
International Coalition. Or the Taliban.
When he announced the air strikes, President George
Bush said: "We're a peaceful nation." America's
favourite ambassador, Tony Blair (who also holds the
portfolio of prime minister of the UK) echoed him:
"We're a peaceful people."
So now we know. Pigs are horses. Girls are boys. War
Speaking at the FBI headquarters a few days later,
President Bush said: "This is our calling. This is the
calling of the United States of America. The most free
nation in the world. A nation built on fundamental
values that reject hate, reject violence, rejects
murderers and rejects evil. We will not tire."
Here is a list of the countries that America has been
at war with ^ and bombed ^ since the second world war:
China (1945-46, 1950-53), Korea (1950-53), Guatemala
(1954, 1967-69), Indonesia (1958), Cuba (1959-60), the
Belgian Congo (1964), Peru (1965), Laos (1964-73),
Vietnam (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-70), Grenada (1983),
Libya (1986), El Salvador (1980s), Nicaragua (1980s),
Panama (1989), Iraq (1991-99), Bosnia (1995), Sudan
(1998), Yugoslavia (1999). And now Afghanistan.
Certainly it does not tire ^ this, the most free
nation in the world.
What freedoms does it uphold? Within its borders, the
freedoms of speech, religion, thought; of artistic
expression, food habits, sexual preferences (well, to
some extent) and many other exemplary, wonderful
Outside its borders, the freedom to dominate,
humiliate and subjugate ^ usually in the service of
America's real religion, the "free market". So when
the US government christens a war "Operation Infinite
Justice", or "Operation Enduring Freedom", we in the
third world feel more than a tremor of fear.
Because we know that Infinite Justice for some means
Infinite Injustice for others. And Enduring Freedom
for some means Enduring Subjugation for others.
The International Coalition Against Terror is largely
a cabal of the richest countries in the world. Between
them, they manufacture and sell almost all of the
world's weapons, they possess the largest stockpile of
weapons of mass destruction ^ chemical, biological and
nuclear. They have fought the most wars, account for
most of the genocide, subjection, ethnic cleansing and
human rights violations in modern history, and have
sponsored, armed and financed untold numbers of
dictators and despots. Between them, they have
worshipped, almost deified, the cult of violence and
war. For all its appalling sins, the Taliban just
isn't in the same league.
The Taliban was compounded in the crumbling crucible
of rubble, heroin and landmines in the backwash of the
cold war. Its oldest leaders are in their early 40s.
Many of them are disfigured and handicapped, missing
an eye, an arm or a leg. They grew up in a society
scarred and devastated by war.
Between the Soviet Union and America, over 20 years,
about $45bn (30bn) worth of arms and ammunition was
poured into Afghanistan. The latest weaponry was the
only shard of modernity to intrude upon a thoroughly
Young boys ^ many of them orphans ^ who grew up in
those times, had guns for toys, never knew the
security and comfort of family life, never experienced
the company of women. Now, as adults and rulers, the
Taliban beat, stone, rape and brutalise women, they
don't seem to know what else to do with them.
Years of war has stripped them of gentleness, inured
them to kindness and human compassion. Now they've
turned their monstrosity on their own people.
They dance to the percussive rhythms of bombs raining
down around them.
With all due respect to President Bush, the people of
the world do not have to choose between the Taliban
and the US government. All the beauty of human
civilisation ^ our art, our music, our literature ^
lies beyond these two fundamentalist, ideological
poles. There is as little chance that the people of
the world can all become middle-class consumers as
there is that they will all embrace any one particular
religion. The issue is not about good v evil or Islam
v Christianity as much as it is about space. About how
to accommodate diversity, how to contain the impulse
towards hegemony ^ every kind of hegemony, economic,
military, linguistic, religious and cultural.
Any ecologist will tell you how dangerous and fragile
a monoculture is. A hegemonic world is like having a
government without a healthy opposition. It becomes a
kind of dictatorship. It's like putting a plastic bag
over the world, and preventing it from breathing.
Eventually, it will be torn open.
One and a half million Afghan people lost their lives
in the 20 years of conflict that preceded this new
war. Afghanistan was reduced to rubble, and now, the
rubble is being pounded into finer dust. By the second
day of the air strikes, US pilots were returning to
their bases without dropping their assigned payload of
bombs. As one pilot put it, Afghanistan is "not a
target-rich environment". At a press briefing at the
Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary,
was asked if America had run out of targets.
"First we're going to re-hit targets," he said, "and
second, we're not running out of targets, Afghanistan
is ..." This was greeted with gales of laughter in the
By the third day of the strikes, the US defence
department boasted that it had "achieved air supremacy
over Afghanistan" (Did they mean that they had
destroyed both, or maybe all 16, of Afghanistan's
On the ground in Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance ^
the Taliban's old enemy, and therefore the
international coalition's newest friend ^ is making
headway in its push to capture Kabul. (For the
archives, let it be said that the Northern Alliance's
track record is not very different from the Taliban's.
But for now, because it's inconvenient, that little
detail is being glossed over.) The visible, moderate,
"acceptable" leader of the alliance, Ahmed Shah Masud,
was killed in a suicide-bomb attack early in
September. The rest of the Northern Alliance is a
brittle confederation of brutal warlords,
ex-communists and unbending clerics. It is a disparate
group divided along ethnic lines, some of whom have
tasted power in Afghanistan in the past.
Until the US air strikes, the Northern Alliance
controlled about 5% of the geographical area of
Afghanistan. Now, with the coalition's help and "air
cover", it is poised to topple the Taliban. Meanwhile,
Taliban soldiers, sensing imminent defeat, have begun
to defect to the alliance. So the fighting forces are
busy switching sides and changing uniforms. But in an
enterprise as cynical as this one, it seems to matter
hardly at all.
Love is hate, north is south, peace is war.
Among the global powers, there is talk of "putting in
a representative government". Or, on the other hand,
of "restoring" the kingdom to Afghanistan's 89-year
old former king Zahir Shah, who has lived in exile in
Rome since 1973. That's the way the game goes ^
support Saddam Hussein, then "take him out"; finance
the mojahedin, then bomb them to smithereens; put in
Zahir Shah and see if he's going to be a good boy. (Is
it possible to "put in" a representative government?
Can you place an order for democracy ^ with extra
cheese and jalapeno peppers?)
Reports have begun to trickle in about civilian
casualties, about cities emptying out as Afghan
civilians flock to the borders which have been closed.
Main arterial roads have been blown up or sealed off.
Those who have experience of working in Afghanistan
say that by early November, food convoys will not be
able to reach the millions of Afghans (7.5m, according
to the UN) who run the very real risk of starving to
death during the course of this winter. They say that
in the days that are left before winter sets in, there
can either be a war, or an attempt to reach food to
the hungry. Not both.
As a gesture of humanitarian support, the US
government air-dropped 37,000 packets of emergency
rations into Afghanistan. It says it plans to drop a
total of 500,000 packets. That will still only add up
to a single meal for half a million people out of the
several million in dire need of food.
Aid workers have condemned it as a cynical, dangerous,
public-relations exercise. They say that air-dropping
food packets is worse than futile.
First, because the food will never get to those who
really need it. More dangerously, those who run out to
retrieve the packets risk being blown up by landmines.
A tragic alms race.
Nevertheless, the food packets had a photo-op all to
themselves. Their contents were listed in major
newspapers. They were vegetarian, we're told, as per
Muslim dietary law(!). Each yellow packet, decorated
with the American flag, contained: rice, peanut
butter, bean salad, strawberry jam, crackers, raisins,
flat bread, an apple fruit bar, seasoning, matches, a
set of plastic cutlery, a serviette and illustrated
After three years of unremitting drought, an
air-dropped airline meal in Jalalabad! The level of
cultural ineptitude, the failure to understand what
months of relentless hunger and grinding poverty
really mean, the US government's attempt to use even
this abject misery to boost its self-image, beggars
Reverse the scenario for a moment. Imagine if the
Taliban government was to bomb New York City, saying
all the while that its real target was the US
government and its policies. And suppose, during
breaks between the bombing, the Taliban dropped a few
thousand packets containing nan and kebabs impaled on
an Afghan flag. Would the good people of New York ever
find it in themselves to forgive the Afghan
government? Even if they were hungry, even if they
needed the food, even if they ate it, how would they
ever forget the insult, the condescension? Rudi
Guiliani, Mayor of New York City, returned a gift of
$10m from a Saudi prince because it came with a few
words of friendly advice about American policy in the
Middle East. Is pride a luxury that only the rich are
Far from stamping it out, igniting this kind of rage
is what creates terrorism. Hate and retribution don't
go back into the box once you've let them out. For
every "terrorist" or his "supporter" that is killed,
hundreds of innocent people are being killed too. And
for every hundred innocent people killed, there is a
good chance that several future terrorists will be
Where will it all lead?
Setting aside the rhetoric for a moment, consider the
fact that the world has not yet found an acceptable
definition of what "terrorism" is. One country's
terrorist is too often another's freedom fighter. At
the heart of the matter lies the world's deep-seated
ambivalence towards violence.
Once violence is accepted as a legitimate political
instrument, then the morality and political
acceptability of terrorists (insurgents or freedom
fighters) becomes contentious, bumpy terrain. The US
government itself has funded, armed and sheltered
plenty of rebels and insurgents around the world.
The CIA and Pakistan's ISI trained and armed the
mojahedin who, in the 80s, were seen as terrorists by
the government in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Today,
Pakistan ^ America's ally in this new war ^ sponsors
insurgents who cross the border into Kashmir in India.
Pakistan lauds them as "freedom-fighters", India calls
them "terrorists". India, for its part, denounces
countries who sponsor and abet terrorism, but the
Indian army has, in the past, trained separatist Tamil
rebels asking for a homeland in Sri Lanka ^ the LTTE,
responsible for countless acts of bloody terrorism.
(Just as the CIA abandoned the mujahideen after they
had served its purpose, India abruptly turned its back
on the LTTE for a host of political reasons. It was an
enraged LTTE suicide bomber who assassinated former
Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989.)
It is important for governments and politicians to
understand that manipulating these huge, raging human
feelings for their own narrow purposes may yield
instant results, but eventually and inexorably, they
have disastrous consequences. Igniting and exploiting
religious sentiments for reasons of political
expediency is the most dangerous legacy that
governments or politicians can bequeath to any people
^ including their own.
People who live in societies ravaged by religious or
communal bigotry know that every religious text ^ from
the Bible to the Bhagwad Gita ^ can be mined and
misinterpreted to justify anything, from nuclear war
to genocide to corporate globalisation.
This is not to suggest that the terrorists who
perpetrated the outrage on September 11 should not be
hunted down and brought to book. They must be.
But is war the best way to track them down? Will
burning the haystack find you the needle? Or will it
escalate the anger and make the world a living hell
for all of us?
At the end of the day, how many people can you spy on,
how many bank accounts can you freeze, how many
conversations can you eavesdrop on, how many emails
can you intercept, how many letters can you open, how
many phones can you tap? Even before September 11, the
CIA had accumulated more information than is humanly
possible to process. (Sometimes, too much data can
actually hinder intelligence ^ small wonder the US spy
satellites completely missed the preparation that
preceded India's nuclear tests in 1998.)
The sheer scale of the surveillance will become a
logistical, ethical and civil rights nightmare. It
will drive everybody clean crazy. And freedom ^ that
precious, precious thing will be the first casualty.
It's already hurt and haemorrhaging dangerously.
Governments across the world are cynically using the
prevailing paranoia to promote their own interests.
All kinds of unpredictable political forces are being
unleashed. In India, for instance, members of the All
India People's Resistance Forum, who were distributing
anti-war and anti-US pamphlets in Delhi, have been
jailed. Even the printer of the leaflets was arrested.
The rightwing government (while it shelters Hindu
extremists groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad
and the Bajrang Dal) has banned the Islamic Students
Movement of India and is trying to revive an
anti-terrorist Act which had been withdrawn after the
Human Rights Commission reported that it had been more
abused than used. Millions of Indian citizens are
Muslim. Can anything be gained by alienating them?
Every day that the war goes on, raging emotions are
being let loose into the world. The international
press has little or no independent access to the war
zone. In any case, mainstream media, particularly in
the US, have more or less rolled over, allowing
themselves to be tickled on the stomach with press
handouts from military men and government officials.
Afghan radio stations have been destroyed by the
bombing. The Taliban has always been deeply suspicious
of the press. In the propaganda war, there is no
accurate estimate of how many people have been killed,
or how much destruction has taken place. In the
absence of reliable information, wild rumours spread.
Put your ear to the ground in this part of the world,
and you can hear the thrumming, the deadly drumbeat of
burgeoning anger. Please. Please, stop the war now.
Enough people have died. The smart missiles are just
not smart enough. They're blowing up whole warehouses
of suppressed fury.
President George Bush recently boasted, "When I take
action, I'm not going to fire a $2m missile at a $10
empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to
be decisive." President Bush should know that there
are no targets in Afghanistan that will give his
missiles their money's worth.
Perhaps, if only to balance his books, he should
develop some cheaper missiles to use on cheaper
targets and cheaper lives in the poor countries of the
world. But then, that may not make good business sense
to the coalition's weapons manufacturers. It wouldn't
make any sense at all, for example, to the Carlyle
Group ^ described by the Industry Standard as "the
world's largest private equity firm", with $13bn under
Carlyle invests in the defence sector and makes its
money from military conflicts and weapons spending.
Carlyle is run by men with impeccable credentials.
Former US defence secretary Frank Carlucci is
Carlyle's chairman and managing director (he was a
college roommate of Donald Rumsfeld's). Carlyle's
other partners include former US secretary of state
James A Baker III, George Soros and Fred Malek (George
Bush Sr's campaign manager). An American paper ^ the
Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel ^ says that former
president George Bush Sr is reported to be seeking
investments for the Carlyle Group from Asian markets.
He is reportedly paid not inconsiderable sums of money
to make "presentations" to potential
Ho hum. As the tired saying goes, it's all in the
Then there's that other branch of traditional family
business ^ oil. Remember, President George Bush (Jr)
and Vice-President Dick Cheney both made their
fortunes working in the US oil industry.
Turkmenistan, which borders the north-west of
Afghanistan, holds the world's third largest gas
reserves and an estimated six billion barrels of oil
reserves. Enough, experts say, to meet American energy
needs for the next 30 years (or a developing country's
energy requirements for a couple of centuries).
America has always viewed oil as a security
consideration, and protected it by any means it deems
necessary. Few of us doubt that its military presence
in the Gulf has little to do with its concern for
human rights and almost entirely to do with its
strategic interest in oil.
Oil and gas from the Caspian region currently moves
northward to European markets. Geographically and
politically, Iran and Russia are major impediments to
American interests. In 1998, Dick Cheney ^ then CEO of
Halliburton, a major player in the oil industry ^
said, "I can't think of a time when we've had a region
emerge as suddenly to become as strategically
significant as the Caspian. It's almost as if the
opportunities have arisen overnight." True enough.
For some years now, an American oil giant called
Unocal has been negotiating with the Taliban for
permission to construct an oil pipeline through
Afghanistan to Pakistan and out to the Arabian sea.
From here, Unocal hopes to access the lucrative
"emerging markets" in south and south-east Asia. In
December 1997, a delegation of Taliban mullahs
travelled to America and even met US state department
officials and Unocal executives in Houston. At that
time the Taliban's taste for public executions and its
treatment of Afghan women were not made out to be the
crimes against humanity that they are now.
Over the next six months, pressure from hundreds of
outraged American feminist groups was brought to bear
on the Clinton administration.
Fortunately, they managed to scuttle the deal. And now
comes the US oil industry's big chance.
In America, the arms industry, the oil industry, the
major media networks, and, indeed, US foreign policy,
are all controlled by the same business combines.
Therefore, it would be foolish to expect this talk of
guns and oil and defence deals to get any real play in
the media. In any case, to a distraught, confused
people whose pride has just been wounded, whose loved
ones have been tragically killed, whose anger is fresh
and sharp, the inanities about the "clash of
civilisations" and the "good v evil" discourse home in
unerringly. They are cynically doled out by government
spokesmen like a daily dose of vitamins or
anti-depressants. Regular medication ensures that
mainland America continues to remain the enigma it has
always been ^ a curiously insular people, administered
by a pathologically meddlesome, promiscuous
And what of the rest of us, the numb recipients of
this onslaught of what we know to be preposterous
propaganda? The daily consumers of the lies and
brutality smeared in peanut butter and strawberry jam
being air-dropped into our minds just like those
yellow food packets. Shall we look away and eat
because we're hungry, or shall we stare unblinking at
the grim theatre unfolding in Afghanistan until we
retch collectively and say, in one voice, that we have
As the first year of the new millennium rushes to a
close, one wonders ^ have we forfeited our right to
dream? Will we ever be able to re-imagine beauty?
Will it be possible ever again to watch the slow,
amazed blink of a newborn gecko in the sun, or whisper
back to the marmot who has just whispered in your ear
^ without thinking of the World Trade Centre and
Bombing Halt Now or Mass Starvation by Thanksgiving?
Monday, October 29, 2001
Institute for Public Accuracy
915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * firstname.lastname@example.org
SARAH ZAIDI, email@example.com, http://www.cesr.org
Research director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, Zaidi is
Pakistani. CESR has produced three comprehensive fact sheets on Afghanistan
since September 11. She said today: "Relief officials on the ground are
warning that millions -- literally millions -- of Afghan civilians will
starve to death this winter unless the U.S. military suspends its attacks
and allows the UN to re-establish effective food distribution. We are
talking about women, children and the poorest of the poor, who have no
means to access food in this war zone."
JIM JENNINGS, firstname.lastname@example.org
President of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization,
Jennings was in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan this May and will soon
return to resume humanitarian work. He said today: "This is a race against
time and we are losing. Even before September 11, there was a major
humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with millions of people facing severe
food shortages. And even before the bombing began, Afghanistan had the
largest number of refugees in the world -- and refugees depend on aid for
survival. The interruption of vital food deliveries and the withdrawal of
the staff of humanitarian agencies because of the bombing have created a
dire situation for the already vulnerable population -- 70 percent were
already malnourished. The Pentagon is claiming progress, but it has
acknowledged the food drops are minuscule and it is dragging out its
bombing campaign. Distribution and timing are crucial -- you could have
food in Kabul and not distribute it to the people who need it in the
countryside. Time is of the essence: we must act now before winter. The
bombing has to halt, we need to get food in or Afghan people will begin
starving in great numbers at about the same time Americans sit down for
their Thanksgiving feast."
DOMINIC NUTT, email@example.com, http://www.christian-aid.org
Spokesperson for Christian Aid, Nutt recently arrived in London from
Islamabad. He said today: "The simple fact is that less than 20 percent of
what needs to is getting into Afghanistan and even less is getting
distributed. The only way to deal with this is to have a pause in the
bombing to stockpile food for the winter. The UN is estimating that 7.5
million people need food aid. People are starving now in some areas,
according to our source of information from within Afghanistan. It was
actually starting when I was in Afghanistan this August -- in Herat and
Ghor Province. Every village I went to had been affected by drought. Camps
were having deaths from hunger and hunger-related diseases. There are
coping mechanisms, but after three years of drought they run out -- people
have eaten the seed stock. About 85 percent of the people live in rural
communities -- the roads are bad enough when the weather is good, you can't
get food to those rural areas in the winter. It's going to get worse and
worse; you could see entire villages wiped out. Governments have
effectively sponsored the Taliban regime; it's a bit hypocritical, we
think, for them to say that now it's crucial that they bomb the Taliban.
Can't you wait four weeks for us to feed millions of innocent people at
risk of starvation?"
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Another 13 civilians die in bungled bomb attack
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
29 October 2001
In the second fatal bombing error in less than 24 hours, US strikes on
Afghanistan killed at least 13 civilians yesterday among them seven
children who died as they sat eating breakfast with their father.
The children were killed in the Qali Hotair neighbourhood of northern Kabul,
the Afghan capital where the US was apparently aiming at military targets on
the northern and eastern edges of the city. Reports told of a man who lived
in the house next to where the seven children were killed, hugging the body
of his own son who was also killed as other corpses lay in the dust.
The latest civilian casualties came as the US entered its fourth week of
strikes against targets inside Afghanistan.
On Saturday, American missiles killed up to nine civilians when a missile
mistakenly hit two villages in territory controlled by the anti-Taliban
Northern Alliance. The Pentagon said that it had no immediate comment on
reports of the casualties.
Witnesses in Kabul said the missile strikes took place at 7am yesterday
morning as the US also launched raids against targets in Mazar-i-Sharif,
Kandahar, Herat and Jalalabad.
The mother of the seven dead children stood watching as the bodies of the
youngsters were pulled from a smouldering building and wrapped in shrouds.
"What shall I do now? Look at their savageness," she said. "They killed all
of my children and husband. The whole world is responsible for this tragedy.
Why are they not taking any decision to stop this?"
The attack on Kabul happened a day after an apparent errant bombardment hit
two villages behind the rebel military alliance's battle lines north of the
capital. A third village behind Taliban lines was also hit. Witnesses said
up to nine civilians were killed and another 10 were injured.
Kate Rowlands, the British programme director of the Italian-run Emergency
Surgical Centre for War Victims, which is inside Northern Alliance
territory, said the centre was starting to see increasing numbers of
civilian casualties. Those injured inside the territory held by the Taliban
were crossing the front line on donkeys to seek treatment.
"Myself and staff are deeply shocked, especially when you see a
four-year-old child and old people coming in,'' she said. "We are totally
against any form of war or violent attacks that involve the death and
mutilation of innocent civilians."
While the Pentagon said it could not confirm the casualties, the Northern
Alliance confirmed that some of the strikes had hit the wrong targets.
Though the US strikes on Saturday were aimed at the Taliban front line north
of Kabul, they instead struck three villages Ghanikheil and Raqi on the
opposition side and Nikhahil, which is behind Taliban lines.
Villagers in Ghanikheil said two mud houses had been hit. In one of them, a
family was preparing for a wedding, they said. In the worst-hit house, the
villagers said that a woman aged 20 was killed and six people were hurt.
Four others were hurt in the second house, they said. "The sound was huge.
The plane swooped down I could hear it dive,'' said Amin Ullah, aged 70.
"I heard the huge explosion."
The Northern Alliance's "foreign minister", Abdullah Abdullah, has called
for better co-ordination of US targeting, using information provided by his
forces. "I would say that it could be much more effective than it is," he
said. "It has paralysed the Taliban. As a military force the Taliban are
paralysed. But ... there is lots of room for improvement."
Bombing errors prove major test for US resolve
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington, Richard Lloyd Parry in Islamabad and Phil
Reeves in Jerusalem
29 October 2001
The US government insisted yesterday that its Afghan campaign was going
according to plan, despite repeated bombing errors including the killing of
seven children at their home in the capital, Kabul.
It was also a bloody Sunday in Pakistan, where 16 Christians and a policeman
were murdered in an attack on a church service, and in Israel, where
Palestinian gunmen killed five people in drive-by shootings.
With anxiety growing about the direction and accuracy of the American
campaign, the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said yesterday: "It is
going very much as expected, it is going very much as predicted ... it's not
After refusing to comment on reports of intensive raids around Kabul
yesterday causing at least 13 civilian casualties, including the seven
children and their father, Mr Rumsfeld said the US was receiving "better
intelligence" and was closing in on specific targets.
Sixteen Christians were killed when five masked men sprayed St Dominic's
church in Bahawalpur, central Pakistan, with gunfire as a service was
ending. A police guard was also murdered in the attack, which was the worst
act of violence in Pakistan since the assault on Afghanistan began three
weeks ago. Although no one claimed responsibility, it realised the worst
fears of the Pakistani Christian community that it would become a target for
Thousands of pro-Taliban volunteers are said to be on the Afghan border,
ready to help Afghanistan against possible American ground attacks.
In Israel, five people died in two separate drive-by shootings in the north
of the country. Two attackers were also killed. Despite the attacks, Israel
began to withdraw its forces last night from the Palestinian administered
towns of Bethlehem and Beit Jala, according to government officials and
There have been four separate reports of accidental US strikes on civilian
targets in Afghanistan in the past 48 hours, including the bombing of a
village in the area controlled by the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.
In one incident, a stray bomb hit mud houses outside Kabul yesterday,
killing 13 people, including eight members of one family. The children's
mother was quoted as saying: "They killed all of my children and husband.
The whole world is responsible for this tragedy."
The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said yesterday that the Government was
considering stopping the bombing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan,
although he did not rule out continuing the campaign.
Witnesses: Bombs Kill 10 Near Kabul
By KATHY GANNON
Associated Press Writer
October 28, 2001
KABUL, Afghanistan -- ombs smashed three houses in a warren of sun-baked mud
homes on the northern edge of this battered capital Sunday, killing at least
10 people, according to neighbors and witnesses.
The Associated Press saw the bodies of four children and two men in the
neighborhood of Qali Hotair. Neighbors said the dead were eight members of
one family and two of another, and that several others were hurt.
In one mud house, a father hugged the dead body of his young son, who looked
barely 2 years old. He wailed and cried, rocking the body of the son.
Nearby were the bodies of three other small children, their sweaters covered
in dust. Their mother's pale-blue burqa, or long veil, was draped over them.
In another room, a man's body was covered with a white cloth. His neighbors
and family were preparing to wash the corpse, in keeping with Islamic
In nearby homes, there were scenes of wild grief. One woman slapped her
hands hard against her head until someone stopped her, holding her hands.
Others beat their chests and wailed.
"My children they cry all the time. It never stops," said neighbor Zarmeen
Bibi, speaking from behind her dirty gold burqa, the
head-and-body-concealing veil women are required to wear.
Within hours, the dead were already being buried. A procession of men in the
traditional shalwar kameez -- long tunics and baggy trousers -- carried one
body shrouded in a black cloth toward the hillside graveyard. They walked
slowly, ignoring those around them.
The women, who are not allowed to take part in funeral rites, watched from a
"I have lost all my family. I am finished," said one, heedlessly pushing up
her burqa to speak. Others hugged her.
"My husband, my son. I have lost all my family. What can I do?" she
"They are targeting our houses, oh my God. Why are they doing this?" another
A neighbor boy, 13-year-old Shafiqullah, said he saw two women, one with her
small daughter, taken to the hospital
"Then I saw them dig another one, I think it was a daughter, from under the
rubble," he said, hugging himself. "I am afraid always when I see the jets.
I don't know where it will land."
The neighborhood shakes every night from the bombing, said Shafiqullah, who
like many people in Afghanistan uses only one name.
One man, who said he had children of his own, looked down at the bodies of
the dead children laid out side by side.
"Believe me -- at night when I hear the planes, I picture my children," he
said, his eyes welling. "They sleep in a row and I see something like this
... I worry will something happen to them because of a mistaken bomb."
U.S. Bombs Mistakenly Hit Red Cross, United Nations Facilities in Afghanistan
October 27, 2001
BOB FRANKEN, CNN ANCHOR: Fighter jets from U.S. carriers are among those, of
course, pounding the Taliban front lines of northern Afghanistan, but it's
been a tough week. Sometimes targets have been missed. The Pentagon said,
for instance, that bombs mistakenly hit a Red Cross compound, and it was the
second time yesterday. And the United Nations says that earlier, one if its
demining centers has also been hit.
It's been a tough week for the United States military, and we have CNN
military analyst and retired Air Force General Don Shepperd, who joins me
now. And let's talk about that, General. You have watched as the pointed
questions have started coming from the Pentagon. You've watched as the
analyses have begun that, in fact, the military operation has bogged down --
That it is not doing what it set out to do.
What's the response?
MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): Yes, those questions are
coming, Bob, and they're going to continue to come. This is going to be a
series of ups and downs.
I don't think it's sunk in yet on the American public what the president,
the secretary of defense, the secretary of state said early on in this
conflict. This is going to be a long conflict. This is not going to be the
Taliban vanishing in two days or two weeks or two months. It may be two
decades or even longer before this is all wrapped up worldwide. This is
difficult, and it's not unusual in a war. It happens in every war, almost
the same way -- early enthusiasm and then some disappointment, wondering why
it isn't wrapped up sooner.
FRANKEN: But operatically, forget about the enthusiasm, operationally is
this a down right now?
SHEPPERD: The hitting of the targets -- the hitting the wrong targets for
the second time is something that has to be answered by the Pentagon. They
say it's a targeting error. We need some more explanation on that, and I'm
sure it will come from the Pentagon next week. But that does sound like a
downer for sure.
We've had some other downers: the execution of the opposition leader, Haq --
that's certainly a downer -- and the fact that the Northern Alliance has not
moved rapidly. That may be a downer.
The effect of military force takes time. One side gets gradually weaker as
the other side gets stronger, and you have a crossing of the lines at some
point. I don't know what point that's going to be in this conflict, but it's
going to happen. The Taliban is going to go.
FRANKEN: This is a tough question to ask an Air Force general, but have they
maxed out in terms of the effectiveness of the air campaign? Is it time now
that they must begin the ground campaign?
SHEPPERD: The timing of the ground campaign, if a large ground campaign
comes, it will be left to General Franks. He only can answer that question.
He knows what's available to him -- all the way from special operations
forces, all the way up to full divisions from the United States and other
allies. He is going to decide that, but by no means have we maxed out the
air campaign. These airstrikes so far, by comparison, have been very light:
100 strikes a day spread over all of Afghanistan.
In the Gulf War, there were 2,500 a day; in World War II, 20,000 a day. Now,
this has been a very, very small air campaign to date, and we are at the
very early seconds of what may be a long war, Bob.
FRANKEN: Well, we're running out of time, but is it fair to say that this is
different in the fact that Afghanistan doesn't have the things to bomb that
those other places did?
SHEPPERD: Yes, we are going against dug-in troops now; not many fixed
targets. The air defense, as far as the missiles and the radars, are gone.
Some of the warehouses are gone. We are now against the front line troops,
and that's the tough part. The reason is you have to know where your troops
are, and where the other side is, and in this coalition alliance out there,
this is the difficult phase of finding them and then digging them out, and
FRANKEN: General Don Shepperd giving us the perspective of somebody who has
been here, planning combat before, providing military analysis -- thank you
very much, general.
Red Cross say US destroyed aid for 55,000 Afghans
27 Oct 2001
The international Red Cross says it deplores the latest bombing of its
warehouses in the Aghan capital, Kabul.
The Red Cross said the buildings contained the majority of food and blankets
intended to distribute to around 55,000 Afghans.
The US Defence Departmant has admitted that warplanes mistakenly dropped
eight tons of bombs on the warehouse.
The Pentagon say that one missile missed its target and hit a residential
Stray bomb hits Afghanistan
There's increasing international concern at the number of civilian
casualities in Afghanistan.
Earlier today, a stray U-S bomb killed at least 10 people when it hit a
northern village in territory controlled by anti-Taliban forces.
At least six people were injured.
Last week, nine civilians were killed when US warplanes dropped cluster
bombs on a village in the Taliban-controlled western city of Herat.
And yesterday, the U-S accidentally bombed six Red Cross warehouses.
Also of interest:
Heavy U.S. Strikes Raise Civilian Toll
WASHINGTON - The United States has launched some of its heaviest
air strikes yet against targets in northern and southern
Afghanistan, bringing new reports of civilian casualties Sunday
and with them risks of fresh strains to the unity of the U.S.-led
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