About this site: Launched in October 2001, this warlog's purpose is to demonstrate the folly of the War On Terror by taking articles only from wire feeds and mainstream news organizations, including FOX.
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Part 14 of an ongoing series of US raids that end up doing nothing but pissing off (and killing) regular Afghans.
Bennett pulls the old grade school "If you don't like America, why do you live here?" argument. Twice.
An 1100-mile border. 300 British troops. You do the math.
"Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the war against terrorism after weeks of revelations about missed clues and warnings of likely future attacks."
Americans are less safe now than on September 12th.
"THE removal of Pakistani troops from the border with Afghanistan threatens to compromise attempts by American and British forces to prevent the escape of al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters."
"The announcement yesterday that Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, will go to Pakistan next week shows that Washington is rattled that its War on Terror is going badly wrong, not least because its relations with Pakistan are unravelling."
"A dozen British special forces troopers are leading a hunt for the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, in central Afghanistan, it was confirmed yesterday."
"In what amounts to a snub to the United States, Pakistan began shifting thousands of troops yesterday from its western border with Afghanistan to the frontline with India, where intensive shelling between Indian and Pakistani forces continued yesterday."
"Reflecting a growing focus of the international war on terrorism, the Bush administration is asking Congress to allow military aid to Colombia to be used not just against drug trafficking, but against Colombia's guerrilla groups as well."
"An Afghan warlord with links to Iran and Pakistan's powerful spy agency has called for a holy war against the United States and Britain and vowed to rally like-minded radicals, such as al-Qaida, under one banner to do battle."
"Their (guerrillas') actions and vows are testimony to US military claims that the war in Afghanistan is going to be a long, drawn-out struggle against the return of Islamic extremism. But as the fight continues, some US allies argue that the tactics of the Western coalition need an overhaul."
"In a potential blow to the antiterror war, Pakistan appears to be preparing to pull troops away from the Afghan border to focus on its own dispute with India, U.S. defense officials said Tuesday."
"The Pakistani military presence has been a key element of the U.S. strategy for capturing or killing Taliban and al-Qaida fighters who may have slipped across the border. Without Pakistan's help, the United States has little short-term prospect of finishing off al-Qaida."
"Al-Qaida and the Taliban have regrouped in Pakistan's tribal areas and are planning a terrorist campaign in Afghanistan aimed at wrecking the formation of a new national government next month, a US general said yesterday."
"Senior Pakistani intelligence officials said today that recent terror attacks pointed to worrisome links between local extremists and fugitive Qaeda leaders who — far from being concentrated along the Afghan border as American officials contend — have filtered across the country into major cities."
"The government's multiple warnings that more terror attacks are inevitable might make people wonder how much has been accomplished in the war on terror."
"Authorities in eastern Afghanistan have urged people to stop firing traditional celebratory shots during marriages after U.S. warplanes mistakenly bombed a convoy of wedding guests, a local official said on Friday."
"In an interview with The Associated Press, they (Taliban leaders) said the Afghan-Pakistan border can't be sealed to stop the movement of militants. Even more advantageous, they said, is the split within Pakistan's powerful spy agency between those who share the Taliban's ideology and those who support Pakistan's alliance with America."
"Virtually the entire senior leadership of Al Qaeda and the Taliban have been driven out of eastern Afghanistan and are now operating with as many as 1,000 non-Afghan fighters in the anarchic tribal areas of western Pakistan, the commander of American-led forces in Afghanistan said today."
"WHILE coalition forces have been scouring Afghanistan in a frustrating search for al-Qaeda and Taleban, two former top-rankers in Kabul’s former fundamentalist regime have been safe in Pakistan, talking of reorganising their movement and reviving al-Qaeda."
"'We are here on a war against terrorism, a scourge against all free, liberty-loving people. We are here on a war against evil. We did not start this war, but we are going to finish it and we are that first line.'"
"Kurds in northern Iraq have created a quasi-democratic, somewhat prosperous life under the protection of U.S. jets patrolling a no-fly zone and keeping Saddam Hussein's tanks away. But faced with the question of whether that democracy could flower elsewhere in Iraq if the United States launched an invasion to topple Saddam, many Kurds are leery."
"An airborne assault on this village by United States-led troops three nights ago has raised anti-American fury among villagers, who say soldiers shot several people, killed the headman of the village and caused a 3-year-old girl to flee and fall to her death down a well."
"As with two other recent raids aimed at suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda hideouts in southern Afghanistan, this one apparently failed to net any senior figures."
"The raid has caused Afghans here to compare the tactics of the American-led coalition to brutal raids by the Soviet Army in the 1980's."
And, of course, "coalition troops were fired upon first." But it was a US raid.
"One of Afghanistan's most powerful warlords, Abdul Rashid Dostum, has been elected to a tribal council that will pick the devastated country's next government, an official said Sunday, even though militia leaders are meant to be excluded."
"The al Qaeda terrorist network is trying to establish a safe haven in Pakistan, and the United States will deal with it when the time is right, the U.S. Army's second-in-command said today."
"Attorneys for 11 Kuwaiti men held at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba have released letters and documents to support their claim that at least some of them were innocent aid workers swept up in mass arrests that followed the U.S. attack in Afghanistan."
Counterpunch probably isn't considered "mainstream" like the Times and the Post, but this piece is the first to explain how Dick Cheney backhandedly admitted that the war in Afghanistan is a failure, and that we're *less* safe now than on September 12th.
"Critics inside Congress and those on the sidelines say the agency's failure to run a pre-Sept. 11 memo up the chain of command shows weaknesses in the anti-terror campaign broader than the lapses of a few managers."
"US Vice President Richard Cheney said Wednesday the US government remains in the dark about the fate of Islamic militant Osama bin Laden who is blamed for the September 11 attacks on the United States."
"US warplanes bombed suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters who were seen setting up a mortar position overlooking a coalition base in southeastern Afghanistan, a spokesman said Wednesday."
"OPERATION Condor, the mission in Afghanistan that had been expected to lead to the first clash between Royal Marines and al-Qaeda fighters, was wound up yesterday without a shot being fired."
Operation hailed as a success.
"Anti-American anger, say Saudi analysts, will fade if US policy in Mideast changes."
"Along the ethnic fault lines of Afghanistan, peace is still a dream, and security is an illusion."
An image from the article:
Are burkas back in fashion, or are Afghan women not as "liberated" as we were led to believe?
"As Bush spoke, as many as 100,000 demonstrators marched peacefully through Berlin to protest any widening of the U.S.-led war on terror. The German government has 10,000 police in the capital in case of violence during a series of protests scheduled during Bush's 19-hour visit beginning Wednesday night. The U.S. Embassy in Berlin sent out a message to Americans in Germany cautioning them about the demonstrations.
Some 100 protests are planned across Germany on Wednesday and Thursday to coincide with the Bush visit."
"A year ago, on the eve of his first trip to Europe as president, George W. Bush invited a top Democrat to the Oval Office. 'So,' the president said. 'Tell me about Europe.' His guest was taken aback, demurring that Bush had advisers to brief him and, after all, was leaving the next morning. But Bush persisted. He asked a few general questions about policy but mostly wanted a read on individual leaders."
"Stars and Stripes, the magazine for American forces and their families, has criticised the Royal Marines for returning "empty-handed" from their search for al-Qaida and Taliban fighters."
"Influential lawmakers have begun challenging the Bush administration's handling of post-Taliban Afghanistan, fearing that the administration's reliance on regional military chiefs is undermining security and hindering the establishment of democratic institutions."
"PRESIDENT BUSH risks sparking a new row with Europe this week when he calls for Europe’s support for expanding his War on Terror to include the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein."
"Iraq said four people were wounded when U.S. warplanes attacked civilian targets on Monday, while Washington said it had launched a raid after Western jets policing a southern "no-fly" zone were threatened."
"Coalition forces scoured the desolate hills near the border with Pakistan for days and found no traces of al-Qaida and Taliban forces. Nothing in the caves, nothing in the foxholes, nothing in the abandoned observation posts looking out over the valley."
"With no known large concentrations of al Qaeda or Taliban fighters to attack, the U.S.-led campaign has evolved into a frustrating search for a scattered, hit-and-run enemy that travels more easily and furtively than its pursuer."
Adds that War on Terror is "going well."
Western intervention has done little for the Afghans and less to beat terrorism
Quote: "... we know as much about Operation Condor as we do about its predecessors - Anaconda, Ptarmigan, Snipe - and before that, Tora Bora: very, very little. Follow the reports for the past six months and there is a ludicrous pattern of claims of victory, then a few discordant details trickle out and, finally, an admission of failure."
"... villagers and the anti-Taliban Afghan leaders who are now in charge of the district said the people who were killed here were just farmers and workers who had come to help with the harvest. Another teenager was among those killed. The boy, Mira Jan, a farmhand was 14 or 15, too young still to grow a beard. He was shot through the stomach while sleeping outside in the muddy front yard of the farmhouse where he worked. A 27-year-old farm laborer was also badly injured by gunfire in the chest and leg and was taken to a hospital, a seven-hour drive, villagers said."
"On Thursday night, US AC-130 and helicopter gunships came to their (British) rescue, pounding the mountaintop for 20 minutes. The result was 10 Afghans dead, three seriously injured, and another 12 villagers missing. None are Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters."
"A contingent of Green Beret trainers landed in this ex-Soviet republic Sunday, adding Georgia to the list of countries where U.S. troops have deployed in the 8-month-old counter-terror campaign."
"Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan is falling short of the devastated country's needs, with emergency food programs facing a funding crisis and returning refugees overwhelming the United Nations, aid workers said Sunday."
The direct victims of American bombs and missiles have commanded most political and media attention, though no one is certain how many even of these there were.
"A Guardian report in February estimated these casualties at between 1,300 and 8,000 deaths. A Guardian investigation into the 'indirect victims' now confirms the belief of many aid agencies that they exceeded the number who died of direct hits.
As many as 20,000 Afghans may have lost their lives as an indirect consequence of the US intervention. They too belong in any tally of the dead."
"Afghanistan's remote terrain, a tight-lipped military and the deployment of spin prevent a real assessment of British operations: Charting the progress of British forces in pursuit of al-Qaeda in southern Afghanistan"
Turns out the "humanitarian" food drops were "largely ineffective and at times counterproductive." (Article taken from the Boston Globe.)
"The commander of British forces in Afghanistan says the war there against al-Qaeda and the Taleban is 'all but won'."
"From the start of the war, there has been grumbling in the US media that this is the 'unwitnessed war'. They have a point: the Pentagon has not gone out of its way to help."
"AMERICA’S carefully honed counter-terrorist strategy is running into serious trouble where it least expected problems. Kazakhstan, the richest, biggest and most liberal of the landlocked Central Asian autocracies, is cracking down on all opposition so hard as to provoke big problems with Washington."
"The war on terror launched by President Bush in response to the September 11 attacks has already cost the US military nearly $12.5 billion and is expected to gobble up even more money before the fiscal year is through, according to a top Pentagon official."
"'A MONTH too late' is the mantra among British Marines in Afghanistan as they search fruitlessly for Taleban and al-Qaeda fighters through some of the most inhospitable terrain in the world.
Far from being a military triumph, it is now clear that Operation Anaconda in March allowed significant numbers of guerrillas to flee across the Pakistani border."
Flashback: Tommy Franks called Anaconda "an unqualified and absolute success."
"As US and allied troops scour southeastern Afghanistan for Al Qaeda and Taliban holdouts, a potentially explosive standoff in the north between two powerful warlords has entered a second tense week.
That internal struggle, a top Afghan military official said, has more chance to derail the country's transition to lasting peace than sporadic hostilities from the scattered remnants of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network."
"Foreign donors are failing to pay a promised $4.5bn aid package aimed at rebuilding Afghanistan, the country's reconstruction minister has claimed."
"THOUSANDS of (Pakistani) tribesmen carrying Kalashnikovs responded with thunderous shouts of Allahu akbar (God is greatest) yesterday as a firebrand mullah called on them to kill American soldiers."
"A US bomb or missile strike injured at least 30 civilians in Daberee village of eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province, the Afghan Islamic Press reported Tuesday."
Gearin' up for WWIII.
"Al Qaeda was not destroyed in the war. Afghanistan was. Is our country doing anything significant to rebuild the country, nation-building, all those things? Anything that would suggest that when we move on to Iraq it might do some good? Iraq might emerge better? If the model of going into Iraq is Afghanistan, boy, you can understand why people might be very worried."
"Biding their time on the instructions of elusive leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban are regrouping in mountain hide-outs, waiting for the Afghan government to falter, a Taliban intelligence official in hiding said Sunday."
"A JORDANIAN man who volunteered crucial information to the FBI about the September 11 attackers faces deportation from the US after spending nearly seven months in solitary confinement."
"AL-QAEDA and Taleban forces have been devastated to the extent that they cannot take on coalition forces in Afghanistan any more, the commander of the Royal Marines said yesterday."
"Commanders in eastern Afghanistan said they have received credible reports that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and one of his top lieutenants are hiding in Pakistan, Newsweek magazine reported."
"The new American strategy for wiping out enemy fighters in the most lawless area of Afghanistan calls for mounting continuous counterinsurgency operations on both sides of the border with Pakistan that could last beyond this summer, senior officials at the Pentagon say."
"Britain is negotiating with Pakistan on how to tackle the problem of Taliban and al-Qa'ida fighters seeking refuge there, including the possibility of cross-border raids by the British forces in Afghanistan."
"A group of influential tribal leaders from seven of Afghanistan's 33 provinces say they're so dismayed at the process by which the loya jirga, or national assembly, is being formed that they will boycott the all-important gathering this June. The leaders are also demanding that the meeting, which will select a 111-person Afghan parliament, be postponed for 18 months."
"U.S. Special Forces scouring Pakistan's lawless frontier region for fugitive Taliban and al-Qaida have angered heavily armed tribesmen, who warn they are ready to do battle if the American soldiers don't leave soon."
"A PENTAGON general with a key role in running the war against terrorism who was publicly chastised by Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, has suddenly requested early retirement.
'It is a square hole and I am a round peg,' said Lt Gen Gregory Newbold, who is stepping down as director of operations on the joint chiefs of staff and returning to civilian life in the summer.
He suggested that he would be happier working in the power tools section of a DIY store."
"But in the swirl of speculation, some rumours are suddenly slightly louder and more frequent than others, to the point where it is worth at least attempting to take stock of the options."
"Britain is to lodge a protest with the United Nations based on evidence that Saudi Arabia is sheltering an aircraft which was allegedly used to supply arms to Osama bin Laden's forces in Afghanistan."
"Royal Marines sealed off all known exits last night from a key Taliban and al-Qa'ida base in the Afghan mountains that has become the focal point of one of the biggest land offensives of the war."
"Afghanistan's leader faces off with a regional warlord and former ally of the US, as a British-led operation that includes US special forces begins a new sweep in southeast Afghanistan."
"The US based human rights group says its teams have discovered a new grave in northern Afghanistan which may contain the remains of Taleban fighters who surrendered to Northern Alliance forces in November and December last year."
"The United States is moving parts of more than two battalions of the 101st Airborne Division to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, providing the latest and strongest sign that a major battle is brewing in that region, a senior defense official said yesterday."
"Fighting raged Wednesday between rival warlords in northern Afghanistan, both of them officials of the interim government. A local commander said at least six fighters were killed and 15 were wounded.
Atta (one of the warlords) was one of the top generals in the northern alliance that - with the help of a U.S.-led air campaign - drove the Taliban from power last year."
"The revelation is an embarrassment to Fox, which has been trying to combat claims of conservative bias in its coverage of world events."
"The story behind the purported Atta-Iraqi meeting is ... an illuminating window into the murky world of intelligence in the war on terrorism—and how easily facts can become distorted for political purposes."
"There are unconfirmed reports that hundreds of coalition soldiers have launched a large operation in eastern Afghanistan."
"They have hunted through caves in Afghanistan and credit card bills in America but so far the very best of US intelligence has been thwarted by 19 al-Qaeda hijackers, revealing just how little America knows about the 11 September attacks."