AfghanTeen Kills 4 Occupation Soldiers
- 4 British Soldiers Killed By Taliban Mujahideen Youth
Gordon Brown cowardly carried out a secret visit into Afghanistan's
violent Helmand province Saturday as four British occupation troops
were killed in a series of Taliban Mujahideen attacks one of which the
British prime minister recognised was carried out by a brave 13-year
Three British occupation troops were killed in the Mujahideen attack
in Sangin on Friday as the troops were conducting a "routine operation
against Islamic forces," according to UK defense officials. The weaker
British soldier died instantly and the two others died of the wounds
afflicted by the Mujahideen.
Another marine died of injuries he sustained in an explosion Friday in
the eastern Sangin area of the province, officials said. He had been
taking part in a routine occupation patrol and died on the way to a
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef, denied the group had used a child in
that or any other attack. He said the Taliban have enough of their own
fighters readily trained and eager to sacrifice their lives for the
sake of Allah, against the Western forces occupying their country.
He also gave a differing account of the explosions.
Yousef said that Abdul Basid, 26, was martyred in the Char Khak area
of Sangin and killed eight Canadian occupation soldiers who were on
foot patrol helping the British occupation forces. He said the
soldiers who wer e killed were not British.
In the other attack in Sangin, Yousef said the Taliban used a powerful
improvised explosive and killed five British soldiers at a bazaar.
During his cowardly unannounced trip, Brown shook hands with
occupaying men and women in camouflage uniforms at Camp Bastion in
After talks with Afghan puppet President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Brown
also announced he had agreed that a British civilian task force would
continue to occupy Afghanistan.
He added that Britain's 8,100 troops in Afghanistan were playing a
vital role in halting the spread of political Islam.
Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage
December 12, 2008
The West is indirectly funding the insurgency in Afghanistan thanks
to a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection
money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in
the south of the country.
Contracts to supply British bases and those of other Western forces
with fuel, supplies and equipment are held by multinational
However, the business of moving supplies from the Pakistani port of
Karachi to British, US and other military contingents in the country
is largely subcontracted to local trucking companies. These must run
the gauntlet of the increasingly dangerous roads south of Kabul in
convoys protected by hired gunmen from Afghan security companies.
The Times has learnt that it is in the outsourcing of convoys that
payoffs amounting to millions of pounds, including money from British
taxpayers, are given to the Taleban.
The controversial payments were confirmed by several fuel importers,
trucking and security company owners. None wanted to be identified
because of the risk to their business and their lives. "We estimate
that approximately 25 per cent of the money we pay for security to
get the fuel in goes into the pockets of the Taleban," said one fuel
Another boss, whose company is subcontracted to supply to Western
military bases, said that as much as a quarter of the value of a
lorry's cargo went in paying Taleban commanders.
The scale of the supplies needed to keep the Nato military operation
going is vast. The main British base at Camp Bastion in Helmand
province alone requires more than a million litres of diesel and
aviation fuel a week. There are more than 70,000 foreign soldiers in
the country for whom food and equipment must be imported, mostly by
road. The US is planning to send at least 20,000 more troops into
Afghanistan next year.
Other than flying in supplies, the only overland route is through
Pakistan and Taleban-controlled areas of Afghanistan.
A security company owner explained that a vast array of security
companies competed for the trade along the main route south of Kabul,
some of it commercial traffic and some supplying Western bases,
usually charging about $1,000 (£665) a lorry. Convoys are typically
of 40-50 lorries but sometimes up to 100.
Asked whether his company paid money to Taleban commanders not to
attack them, he said: "Everyone is hungry, everyone needs to eat.
They are attacking the convoys because they have no jobs. They easily
take money not to attack." He said that until about 14 months ago,
security companies had been able to protect convoys without paying.
But since then, the attacks had become too severe not to pay groups
controlling the route. Attacks on the Kandahar road have been an
almost daily occurrence this year. On June 24 a 50-truck convoy of
supplies was destroyed. Seven drivers were beheaded by the roadside.
The situation now was so extreme that a rival company, working south
of the city of Ghazni, had Taleban fighters to escort their convoys.
"I won't name the company, but they are from the Panjshir Valley [in
north Afghanistan]. But they have a very good relation with the
Taleban. The Taleban come and move with the convoy. They sit in the
front vehicle of the convoy to ensure security," said the company
The Taleban are not the only ones making money from the trade;
warlords, thieves, policemen and government officials are also taking
A transport company owner who runs convoys south on the notoriously
dangerous Kabul to Kandahar highway said: "We pay taxes to both
thieves and the Taleban to get our trucks through Ghazni province and
there are several ways of paying. This goes to a very high level in
the Afghan Government.
"Mostly the [Afghan] security companies have middlemen to negotiate
the passage of the convoys, so they don't get attacked. They pay on a
convoy by convoy basis to let the convoy pass at a certain time. They
have to pay each of the Taleban commanders who control each part of
the road. When you hear of an attack it is usually because a new
small [Taleban] group has arrived on the road."
Lieutenant-Commander James Gater, a spokesman for Nato forces in
Afghanistan, said that the transport of Nato supplies was contracted
to commercial firms and how they got them into the country was their
"I can confirm that we use two European-headquartered companies to
supply food and fuel, though for contractual reasons it is not
prudent for us to name them. They provide their own security as part
of that contract. Such companies are free to subcontract to
whomsoever they wish.
"We are aware they do prefer to subcontract from the countries in
which they are operating. In Pakistan they prefer to use Pakistani
trucking companies, in Afghanistan they prefer Afghan trucking
companies. That is a commercial decision for them."
A representative for the Swiss-based Supreme Global Solutions
confirmed that the company held supply contracts with the military in
However, last night the company denied paying protection money. "We
categorically reject any suggestion that we now, or have ever, paid
money to any individual for the safe passage of our convoys.
Furthermore, we do not permit our subcontractors to do so on our
behalf," it said.
British diplomat paints bleak view of Afghan war
By James Cogan
With insurgent activity rising and casualties at an all-time high,
the representatives of the US and NATO occupation of Afghanistan are
growing increasingly pessimistic about the prospect of establishing a
stable client-state. This year has already registered the largest
annual number of US and NATO casualties236 dead and over 1,000
wounded so farsince the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001.
The sharpest expression of the demoralisation in Washington and
European capitals was the assessment made last month by the British
ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, to the French
deputy ambassador, Francois Fitou. A memorandum by Fitou, relating a
discussion he held with Cowper-Coles on September 2, was leaked in
full to the French publication Le Canard enchaîné.
Cowper Coles, according to Fitou's memo, did not mince words about
the position that confronts the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Their very presence, he reportedly said, "is part of the problem, not
As the seventh anniversary of the US-led invasion of the country
approaches, the British ambassador commented:
"The security situation is getting worse. So is corruption and the
[Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai] has lost all trust...
The foreign forces are ensuring the survival of a regime that would
collapse without them. In doing so, they are slowing down and
complicating an eventual exit from the crisis."
All that could be hoped for, Cowper-Coles allegedly advised, was that
the replacement of Karzai's regime with an "acceptable dictator"
would allow NATO forceswhich currently include some 8,000 British
and close to 3,000 French troopsto withdraw in five to 10 years.
"This," the diplomat was cited as saying, "is the only realistic
outlook... and we must prepare public opinion [in the US and Europe]
to accept it".
The British government claimed that Cowper-Coles's conversation with
Fitou had been "exaggerated" and the views expressed in the memo did
not represent its attitude. The possibility has been raised in the
British media that the leak was in fact part of a campaign by
sections of the French establishment for its government to abandon
its participation in the US-led occupation. Two countries with
frontline troops have already announced a timetable for their pull-
out. The Netherlands is scheduled to withdraw its force of close to
2,000 from the volatile province of Uruzgan by August 2010. Canada,
which has lost close to 100 dead, has said it will withdraw its 2,500
troops from Kandahar province by the end of 2011.
Whatever the veracity and motives of Le Canard's leak, both its
publication and Cowper-Coles's alleged reference to the installation
of an "acceptable dictator" dovetail with an ever more open
discussion in both Europe and the United States over how to salvage
the situation in Afghanistan. One option being increasingly discussed
is to do a deal with the main leaders of the anti-occupation
insurgency and incorporate them into the Afghan government.
Intelligence reports by leading US and European think tanks have
assessed that the insurgency has three major components: the
supporters of the former Islamist Taliban regime of Mullah Mohammed
Omar, which was overthrown by the US invasion in October 2001; the
ethnic Pashtun tribal force loyal to warlord Jaluluddin Haqqani,
which has controlled significant areas of southern Afghanistan since
the end of the Soviet occupation in 1988; and the Hezb-e-Islami
movement of former Afghan prime minister and warlord Gulbuddin
Hekmatyar, which is believed to have re-established influence across
the ethnic Pashtun regions of eastern Afghanistan.
The driving force of the insurgency is the legitimate and deeply-felt
sentiment among ordinary Afghans that the US-led occupation is the
latest attempt by a colonial power to subjugate the country for its
own economic and strategic purposes. Karzai's government is viewed as
nothing more than Washington's puppet. This sentiment is not confined
to Afghanistan. The Taliban, Haqqani movement and Hezb-e-Islami all
have support over the porous border in the Federally Administrated
Tribal Agencies (FATA) of Pakistan, where the population has
centuries-old relations and ties with the Afghan Pashtun tribes.
Moreover, there is broad sympathy throughout Pakistan and the Muslim
world with the war against the US-led occupation. Since 2001, the
Afghan insurgency has had little difficulty raising finances and
recruits in Pakistan. US intelligence also alleges that significant
numbers of Islamist militants from across Central Asia and the Middle
East are fighting in Afghanistan. The entrenched character of the
insurgency; the failure of years of military operations on both sides
of the Afghan-Pakistan border to end it; and the dwindling support
within NATO for the war are driving the calls for a political
settlement. No doubt as in Iraq, the aim is to divide anti-occupation
forces by making a deal with some insurgent leaders.
On September 30, Hamid Karzai revealed that for the past two years he
has been requesting the Saudi Arabian monarchy to assist in arranging
peace talks with Mullah Omar. Omar is on the US government's most
wanted list for providing sanctuary to the Al Qaeda network of Osama
bin Laden. Karzai nevertheless guaranteed him safety inside
Afghanistan and called on him to "come back to your country and work
for your people's happiness"an implicit offer of a share of
political power. Given the complete dependence of Karzai's government
on the US military, it is highly unlikely such an offer was made
without Washington's knowledge and consent.
The US commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, pointedly
refused to distance himself from Karzai's remarks when directly
questioned by journalists the following day. He said only that
opening up negotiations with Omar was a "political decision that will
ultimately be made by the political leadership". [Mullah Omar has
since declared his unwillingness to talk with the US occupiers. -WVNS]
In more than a hint that the US was prepared to consider the return
of Taliban-backed factions into the Afghan government, McKiernan
stated: "Ultimately, the solution in Afghanistan is going to be a
political solution, not a military one."
In a further sign that such a policy is being considered, the Bush
administration is reportedly consulting with Seth Jones, a leading
analyst for the Rand Corporation, over a "new strategy" in
Afghanistan. Rand recently published a major report, which argued
that the most effective way historically to end guerilla wars was
through a political compromise that gave political power and position
to the insurgent organisations. The British commander in Afghanistan,
Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, made an explicit overture to the
Taliban in an interview with yesterday's Sunday Times.
"We're not going to win this war," he said. "If the Taliban were
prepared to sit on the other side of the table and talk about a
political settlement, then that's precisely the sort of progress that
concludes insurgencies like this. That shouldn't make people
All the governments that have troops deployed in Afghanistan are well
aware that any moves toward rehabilitating the Taliban would shatter
the ideological justifications they have given for not only the war,
but also the attacks they have made on civil liberties and democratic
rights over the past seven years. Quotes could be found from
virtually every senior political leaderespecially in the US and
Britainin which they declared that Islamist organisations like the
Taliban were not only "evil" but the greatest threat to the security
of so-called Western democratic values.
However, under conditions of a rapidly deteriorating global economy
and growing social tensions, the continuation of the Afghan war will
require more troops, more money and its extension over the border
into Pakistan. In the corridors of powers in both Washington and the
capitals of Europe, a sentiment has begun to emerge that a political
means has to be found to stem the rising costs, and stabilise the
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