Multi-Billion-Dollar Terrorists and the Disappearing Middle Class

Al Qaeda suspects at Afghan border

The US government (White House and Congress) spends $10 billion dollars a month, or $120 billion a year, to fight an estimated “50 -75 ‘Al Qaeda types’ in Afghanistan”, according to the CIA and quoted in the Financial Times of London (6/25 -26/11, p. 5). During the past 30 months of the Obama presidency, Washington has spent $300 billion dollars in Afghanistan, which adds up to $4 billion dollars for each alleged ‘Al Queda type’. If we multiply this by the two dozen or so sites and countries where the White House claims ‘Al Qaeda’ terrorists have been spotted, we begin to understand why the US budget deficit has grown astronomically to over $1.6 trillion for the current fiscal year.

During Obama’s Presidency, Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment has been frozen, resulting in a net decrease of over 8 percent, which is exactly the amount spent chasing just 5 dozen ‘Al Qaeda terrorists’ in the mountains bordering Pakistan.

Taliban members

It is absurd to believe that the Pentagon and White House would spend $10 billion a month just to hunt down a handful of terrorists ensconced in the mountains of Afghanistan. So what is the war in Afghanistan about? The answer one most frequently reads and hears is that the war is really against the Taliban, a mass-based Islamic nationalist guerrilla movement with tens of thousands of activists. The Taliban, however, have never engaged in any terrorist act against the territorial United States or its overseas presence. The Taliban have always maintained their fight was for the expulsion of foreign forces occupying Afghanistan. Hence the Taliban is not part of any “international terrorist network”.

If the US war in Afghanistan is not about defeating terrorism, then why the massive expenditure of funds and manpower for over a decade? Several hypotheses come to mind:

The first is the geopolitics of Afghanistan: The US is actively establishing forward military bases, surrounding and bordering on China.

Secondly, US bases in Afghanistan serve as launching pads to foment “dissident separatist” armed ethnic conflicts and apply the tactics of ‘divide and conquer’ against Iran, China, Russia and Central Asian republics.

Thirdly, Washington’s launch of the Afghan war (2001) and the easy initial conquest encouraged the Pentagon to believe that a low cost, easy military victory was at hand, one that could enhance the image of the US as an invincible power, capable of imposing its rule anywhere in the world, unlike the disastrous experience of the USSR.

Fourthly, the early success of the Afghan war was seen as a prelude to the launching of a sequence of successful wars, first against Iraq and to be followed by Iran, Syria and beyond. These would serve the triple purpose of enhancing Israeli regional power, controlling strategic oil resources and enlarging the arc of US military bases from South and Central Asia, through the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.

The strategic policies, formulated by the militarists and Zionists in the Bush and Obama Administrations, assumed that guns, money, force and bribes could build stable satellite states firmly within the orbit of the post-Soviet US empire. Afghanistan was seen as an easy first conquest the initial step to sequential wars. Each victory, it was assumed would undermine domestic and allied (European) opposition. The initial costs of imperial war, the Neo-Cons claimed, would be paid for by wealth extracted from the conquered countries, especially from the oil producing regions.

The rapid US defeat of the Taliban government confirmed the belief of the military strategists that “backward”, lightly armed Islamic peoples were no match up for the US powerhouse and its astute leaders.

Wrong Assumptions, Mistaken Strategies: The Trillion Dollar Disaster

Every assumption, formulated by these civilian strategists and their military counterparts, has been proven wrong. Al Qaeda was and is a marginal adversary; the real force capable of sustaining a prolonged peoples wars against an imperial occupier, inflicting heavy casualties, undermining any local puppet regime and accumulating mass support is the Taliban and related nationalist resistance movements.

Israeli-influenced US think-tanks, experts and advisers who portrayed the Islamic adversaries as inept, ineffective and cowardly, totally misread the Afghan resistance. Blinded by ideological antipathy, these high-ranking advisers and White House/Pentagon civilian-office holders failed to recognize the tactical and strategic, political and military acumen of the top and middle-level Islamist nationalist leaders and their tremendous reserve of mass support in neighboring Pakistan and beyond.

The Obama White House, heavily dependent on Islamophobic pro-Israel experts, further isolated the US troops and alienated the Afghan population by tripling the number of troops, further establishing the credentials of the Taliban as the authentic alternative to a foreign occupation.

As for the neo-conservative pipe dreams of successful sequential wars, cooked up by the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams, Libby et al, to eliminate Israel’s adversaries and turn the Persian Gulf into a Hebrew lake, the prolonged wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan has, in fact, strengthened Iran’s regional influence, turned the entire Pakistani people against the US and strengthened mass movements against US clients throughout the Middle East.

Sequential imperial defeats have resulted in a massive hemorrhage of the US treasury, rather than the promised flood of oil wealth from tributary clients. According to a recent scholarly study, the military cost of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have exceeded $3.2 trillion dollars (“The Costs of War Since 2001”, Eisenhower Study Group, June 2011) and is growing at over ten billion a month. Meanwhile the Taliban “tightens (its) psychological grip” on Afghanistan (FT 6/30/2011, p. 8). According to the latest reports even the most guarded 5-star hotel in the center of Kabul, the Intercontinental, was vulnerable to a sustained assault and take over by militants, because “high security Afghan forces” are infiltrated and the Taliban operate everywhere, having established “shadow” governments in most cities, towns and villages (FT 6/30/11 p.8).

Imperial Decline, Empty Treasury and the Specter of a Smash-Up

The crumbling empire has depleted the US treasury. As the Congress and White House fight over raising the debt ceiling, the cost of war aggressively erodes any possibility of maintaining stable living standards for the American middle and working classes and heightens growing inequalities between the top 1% and the rest of the American people. Imperial wars are based on the pillage of the US treasury. The imperial state has, via extraordinary tax exemptions, concentrated wealth in the hands of the super-rich while the middle and working classes have been pushed downward, as only low paid jobs are available.

In 1974, the top 1% of US individuals accounted for 8% of total national income but as of 2008 they earned 18% of national income. And most of this 18% is concentrated in the hands of a tiny super-rich 1% of that 1%, or 0.01% of the American population, (FT 6/28/11, p. 4 and 6/30/11, p. 6). While the super-rich plunder the treasury and intensify the exploitation of labor, the number of middle income jobs is plunging: From 1993 to 2006, over 7% of middle income jobs disappeared (FT 6/30/11, p. 4). While inequalities may be rising throughout the world, the US now has the greatest inequalities among all the leading capitalist countries.

The burden of sustaining a declining empire, with its the monstrous growth in military spending, has fallen disproportionately on middle and working class taxpayers and wage earners. The military and financial elites’ pillage of the economy and treasury has set in motion a steep decline in living standards, income and job opportunities. Between 1970 -2009, while gross domestic product more than doubled, US median pay stagnated in real terms (FT 7/28/11, p. 4). If we factor in the added fixed costs of pensions, health and education, real income for wage and salaried workers, especially since the 1990’s, has been declining sharply.

Even greater blows are to come in the second half 2011: As the Obama White House expands its imperial interventions in Pakistan, Libya and Yemen, increasing military and police-state spending, Obama is set to reach budgetary agreements with the far right Republicans, which will savage government health care programs, like MEDICARE and MEDICAID, as well as Social Security, the national retirement program. Prolonged wars have pushed the budget to the breaking point, while the deficit undermines any capacity to revive the economy as it heads toward a ‘repeat recession’.

The entire political establishment is bizarrely oblivious to the fact that their multi-hundred- billion-dollar pursuit of an estimated 50-75 phantom Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan has hastened the disappearance of middle income jobs in the US.

The entire political spectrum has turned decisively to the Right and the Far-Right. The debate between Democrats and Republicans is over whether to slash four trillion or more from the last remnants of our country’s social programs. The Democrats and the Far-Right are united as they pursue multiple wars while currying favor and funds from upper 0.01% super-rich, financial and real estate moguls whose wealth has grown so dramatically during the crisis!

Conclusion

Obama's aides jump the White House ship

But there is a deep and quiet discomfort within the leading circles of the Obama regime: The “best and brightest” among his top officials are scampering to jump ship before the coming deluge: the Economic Guru Larry Summers, Rahm Emmanuel, Stuart Levey, Peter Orzag, Bob Gates, Tim Geithner and others, responsible for the disastrous wars, economic catastrophes, the gross concentration of wealth and the savaging of our living standards, have walked out or have announced their ‘retirement’, leaving it to the smiling con-men – President Obama and Vice-President ‘Joe’ Biden – and their ‘last and clueless loyalists’ to take the blame when the economy tanks and our social programs are wiped out. How else can we explain their less-than-courageous departures (to ‘spend more time with the family’) in the face of such a deepening crisis?

The hasty retreat of these top officials is motivated by their desire to avoid political responsibility and to escape history’s indictment for their role in the impending economic debacle. They are eager to hide from a future judgment over which policy makers and leaders and what policies led to the destruction of the American middle and working classes with their good jobs, stable pensions, Social Security, decent health care and respected place in the world.

Source

United States: Following Oil Drug Cartels

Russia and China By Silence Complicit With USA Myths Hoaxes

By Tommy Tucci

The silence of Russia and China to U.S. belligerence across the world spectrum with $trillion dollar wars confiscating and theft of natural resources signals a collusion of interested government apparatus in war against humanity for greed.

Middle Eastern East Asia Natural Resources

“Neighbors China and Russia are key economic partners, providing sources of export demand and government project financing,”Reported by Central Asia Newswire

c.2001  price of a gallon of gas in the U.S. was $1.70 PBS News In Iraq Saddam Hussein had signed all the oil contracts for future production with no restrictions to Western oil interests .  Oil had more production than demand on the world markets c.2001.  The striking focus to be made here is that the invasion of Iraq by American Imperialism hoaxes ratcheted up the price of a barrel of oil. Instead of a controlled market price downward. Retail gasoline prices now are $3.50gal and climbing exponentially to possible $10gal with illegal war and occupations.

Nevertheless, U.S. arrogant Imperialists document a decade of  ‘Too big to Fail’ crime organization incompetence masking a pretext “terrorist” threat myth. A decade resulting in accelerating oil prices by illegal invasions, war on humanity, and genocides at a cost of and the confiscation of $ trillions of taxpayer labor, property, and hard assets.

Furthermore, Taliban leadership limited and curtailed all opium poppy crop in Afghanistan.  This includes halting Western private oil cartel pipeline construction.  Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership halted Western oil interest negotiations for pipelines through Afghanistan.

Obfuscation, Deception, Diversion, of USA Nation of Laws

So a vital premeditated decision to circumvent the US Constitution, Articles Bill of Rights was made by U.S.corrupt neo-con (Jewish) bureaucratic apparatus  and crime organizations.  This includes the financial and bank baron cartels self admission to control and monopololy of Middle Eastern and East Asian natural resources. The manufactured fog of war and newly created enemy “terrorists” mythology accomplishes a false calibration of limited production of natural resources and elimination of competition.  Repeating a striking parallel, the historical factual monopolistic crime organization Wall Street banking hoax.  The financing of the Bolshevik’s Communist theft confiscation and elimination of competition of Czarist  Russia c.1917.see “Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution” by Modern History Project and here Zionist Blogspot.

Subsequently, decreasing production by destruction of civilization. Conversely, increasing demand and inflated retail costs. Dr. James Petras writes; “Baghdad was considered the ’Paris’ of the Arab world, in terms of culture and art, science and education. The destruction of the scientific, academic, cultural and legal foundations of an independent state means increasing reliance on the Western multinational corporations and their technical infrastructure, thereby facilitating imperial economic penetration and exploitation.”  “Destruction of Civilization” by Dr. James Petras Global Research

C.2011 War Against Libya Commences African Natural Resource Monopoly

Creating turmoil, death, destruction, and illegal war on humanity under the jingoistic banner of patriotic parody and hoax of fighting terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and AFRICOM flawed dynamic. A North African natural resources theft and monopoly on oil, diamonds, gold, silver, platnium, and the famous uranium “yellow cake” and numerous strategic resources. “The vote was 10-0 with five countries abstaining including Russia and China, which have veto power in the council,“America’s hidden hand behind UN Resolution in the war against Libya.” Article Veterans Today

Fast forward to;   “Western powers launch airstrikes on Libyan military forces” Posted by Market Watch 19 Mar 2011. Western powers intervened in Libya on Saturday to prevent Moammar Gadhafi from crushing the rebellion in the eastern city of Benghazi. In a dramatic statement, French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced that French airplanes were in the air over Benghazi to prevent Gadhafi’s aircraft from bombarding the city. Sarkozy said the planes would also attack tanks on the ground if necessary to end any assault”.

West Oppose Aggression Against Libyan Civilian Population in Benghazi Hoax

Sarkozy initiates opening round of DOA flawed propaganda hoax “West defends civilians in Libya.” The same opposition comprised of France, Britian, US and Israel who mass murdered upward of 2 million defenseless civilians men, women, children, sick, and the indigent.   Mass murder and genocides in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and bulls eye target Iran as Russia and China pretend that they too are fighting terrorists by abstaining votes in the United Nations.

Response written by Lori Price paragraph;  “Except when Israel attacks the ‘civilian population’ in Gaza, or when US killer drones bomb ‘civilian populations’ 24/7 in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and any other place where there’s oil, gas or opium routes to control — then no problem! Am I the only one that sees through this hypocritical humanitarian bullsh*t and pathetic calls to oust dictators — aka previous CIA assets ‘going rogue,’ recipients of tons of US armaments? The US government doesn’t give a *damn* about civilians, anywhere! The US just wants oil production to slow to a crawl so Exxon Mobil’s profits can skyrocket. More ‘bad economy’ equals more union busting and further decimation of the working class. –LRP” legitgov.org

Busted Broken and Flawed Bankrupt Powers Eliminate Competition

The U.S.flawed DOA private gnagbanksters Federal Reserve Corporation c.1910 pushed the bankrupt, morally, physically, and financially, bureaucratic apparatus to the precipice of total war against humanity for all natural resources on the planet.  see video Radigan “Con Job.” A final fatalistic attempt to control the $ trillions of value wealth and assets of  ‘We the People.’ Eviscerating  the worlds economic and financial systems through rigged markets, ‘Divide et Imperia’ divide and conquer, and total war against humanity .

Russia today under Putin rather than opposing US world dominance monopoly and cartels seizes the opportunity of remaining neutral thereby speculating with the Russian future potential value and wealth of immense natural resources.

However, Russia was bankrupted with the defeat of CIA financed Afghanistan war and the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Ironically, Russia’s Putin strikes a mean pose to deflect the true position of the Russian Republic by permitting the U.S. to bankroll a separation wall throughout the confiscated Palestinian lands, encompassing  Russia with threatening U.S. offensive weapon technology, and standing down against invasions and occupations of Middle Eastern and East Asia sovereign nations.

China is bankrupt by US Nixon Kissinger Detente c.1970.  Translation; Nixon Kissinger detente is a formal contract between the two Nations China and U.S.  A contract for the transfer of US Treasury worthless fiat paper IOU’s in exchange for China’s  value, wealth, labor, property, and hard assets. So China remains a true non-entity without US firing a shot.

Kindergartners Versus Criminal Algorithmic Language

The conclusion reached is that the US military machine colludes with the rabid violent neo-con (Jewish) ideologues final quest at Armageddon to control the worlds natural resources labor assets and property.  “The Total DEBT of the US (& The rest of the World Exceeds the Total Assets Owned) ….. ie – The US & The Rest of the World is Technically Bankrupt.” Posted by Investment Watch.  An eternal quest that stretches and extends the mathematical impossibility of U.S. private bank con jobs, shakedowns by select exclusive Zionist interests, daylight theft confiscations of ‘We the People,’ rigged controlled markets, cities and states assaulting the citizenry liberty and free speech, outright stealing of Social Security pension funds recovering.

The perspective of this mathematical impossibility is the historical fact that U.S. can invade murder indigenous peoples and confiscate all the worlds natural resources assets property and not ever hope to recover the $78 trillon of monetized debt obligations.  Equation and analogy $1 trillion of U.S. fiat monetized debt obligation would accelerate the theft and confiscation of $1 million generated wealth daily for 2,740 years, before Rome was founded, into the future.. Now,  take $78 trillion of monetized debt that equals $78 million daily of theft, rigged markets, and confiscation of real value wealth and natural resources for 2,740 years into the future.

So then it cannot be argued or disputed that China and Russia wisll be better served by admitting to this mathematical impossibility.  A reality that any four year old child can explain 2+2=4 and 2-2=0.  The analogy of pre-schoolers versus over educated cavalier Nobel laureates, dismissive academics, computer programmers, rigged market gangbanksters, crime organization bank barons, military satraps, and corrupt corporate media.

Operating cryptic algorithmic language with ultra high speed computer programs ignoring pre-school basic arithmetic resulting in obfuscating US Constitution Laws, deflection Articles Bill of Rights, illegal wars, and the deception of a zero  sum demise.  Russia China and USA pretend that they are fighting terrorists while they are self immolating.and destroying the planet.

Go to source link for references and video: http://www.opinion-maker.org/2011/03/us-following-oil-drug-cartels/

Pentagon Continues To Hide US Afghan War Losses

FACTS ON THE GROUND

Dear Jeff,

The American casualty figure is quite high, but they lie about it.

For example, if you remember a few weeks back the corporate media reported that a translator shot dead two US soldiers in Maidan-Wardak province. The truth was otherwise.

The US forces went to a village and searched houses. They were no men in the houses, so the Americans pulled the women out. The Afghan women yelled at the Afghan Army puppets, “why don’t you remove us from our houses instead of these “infidels”? You are not men or Afghans!”

Once the the Afghan army soldiers heard this, their commander ordered the troops to open fire on the Americans. There were 100 Afghan soldiers. They shot 25 American soldiers dead and many were wounded. The soldiers fought against the US troops from 2 am to 10 AM the next morning until the US airplanes bombed the soldiers positions and killed four of the Afghan troops.

The remaining soldiers and their commander retreated to the mountains and joined the Taliban.  The Afghan translator also opened fire on the Afghan soldiers and they shot him back.

Dr. Mohammad Miraki

So, this is a glimpse into the facts hidden by the government. The person telling about the US casualties of 25 soldiers killed in Maidan-Wardak province visited the site of the fighting.

In Marjah, as well, 15,000 troops are fighting against only 300 fighters, yet they were brought to their knees.

One more thing…since that incident, there has been a steady stream of Afghan policemen and soldiers joining the resistance in Maidan-Wardak Province.

Dr. Mohammed Miraki

Source


What the New York Times unwittingly reveals about the war in Afghanistan

afghanistan_warOver last two weeks, the New York Times has published a series of articles on conditions facing US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

In describing soldiers’ lives and calling attention to the hellish conditions in Afghanistan, the Times articles reveal considerably more than what one suspects their authors set out to explain. For anyone reading them with a degree of historical consciousness, they depict a colonial war waged against an entire population, by US troops who see little purpose behind the violence they are unleashing on the Afghan population.

On April 20, the Times carried an article titled “Pinned Down, a Sprint to Escape Taliban Zone.” Beginning with a description of a US platoon ducking for cover amid a Taliban ambush that claimed the life of one of its members, it states, “Another pitched firefight in a ravine in eastern Afghanistan had begun, shaped by factors that have made the war against the Taliban seem unending: grueling terrain that favors ambushes and prevents American soldiers from massing; villages in thorough collaboration with insurgents; and experienced adversaries each fighting in concert with its [sic] abilities and advantages.”

The response of the trapped American troops is to call in air and artillery support, raining down bombs and mortar shells on Afghan positions above the riverbed where US troops are trapped. The targets apparently include not only barren mountainsides where insurgents are taking cover, but villages as well. The Times adds, “soldiers with heavier machine guns and automatic grenade launchers focused on Afghan buildings in three villages—Donga, Laneyal, and Darbart—from where the trapped platoon was taking fire.”

Halfway through the article, the Times explains that the local population is hostile because the US-backed Afghan government threw them all out of work by banning logging in the area. It notes that the “Taliban pay the best wages in the valley now,” adding that the US forces have taken over a sawmill as their base in the region.

white phosphorous weapons light up night sky

white phosphorous weapons light up night sky

The reader later learns that US forces are using ammunition containing white phosphorus—a chemical weapon that burns human flesh down to the bone—and that a Times photographer is with the troops in the fighting. The article does not say whether the Times has agreed to censor itself in exchange for obtaining permission for its staff to accompany the troops into battle.

After several Afghans are killed and the Afghans withdraw, the soldiers search for and ultimately find the body of one of their number, who has gone missing. The company commander says, “There is nothing I can say or anybody else can say that will bring Dewater back. But the best thing we can do for him is to continue to do the type of stuff that you guys did the other day.”

The commander is apparently referring to an incident described in a previous Times article. The April 17 piece, “Turning Tables, US Troops Ambush Taliban With Swift and Lethal Results,” explained, “The ambush, on Good Friday, has become an emotional rallying point for soldiers in Kunar Province, who have seen it as both a validation of their equipment and training and a welcome bit of score-settling in an area that in recent years has claimed more American lives than any other.”

The bulk of the April 17 article consists of a detailed account of how US soldiers “killed at least 13 insurgents, and perhaps many more, with rifles, machine guns, Claymore mines, hand grenades, and a knife.”

In the April 20 article, the Times explains that village elders later “arrived at the outpost to say that the Americans had shot up a search party of local men who were looking for a lost girl.” The US commander simply dismissed the elders’ claim as “one of the most ridiculous lies he had ever heard.”

The Times repeatedly notes the population’s hostility to the US occupation. In another article in this series, the April 13th “In Afghanistan, Soldiers Bridge 2 Stages of War,” reports, “Villagers have bluntly told the American military that its presence is not wanted…. In one village, the soldiers found an old woman carrying an assault rifle under her shawl; in another, they found a 12-year-old boy with a rocket-propelled grenade.”

What emerges from the Times‘ accounts, whatever its intentions, is a description of an imperialist occupation. The Times takes for granted that local population’s hostility to the US occupation should be repressed, that its livelihood can be taken away at will, and that local inhabitants can be killed without trial. As for American soldiers, their grief at the death of their comrades is apparently handled with recommendations to get on with killing Afghans.

The Times‘ coverage comes shortly after President Barack Obama—whose election was in part motivated by popular opposition to war, due to his initial statements against the Iraq war and the Bush administration—announced plans to escalate US fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan. On March 27 he announced plans to send at least 21,000 more US troops to Afghanistan and to intensify US attacks inside Pakistan.

The April 13 article makes clear that Obama’s policy will entail stepping up the fighting detailed in his later articles. The Times writes, “New construction is visible on a string of small American bases between Kabul and the Pakistani border. The officers said the infrastructure will house many of the 21,000 additional American soldiers due to arrive later this year and will serve as an on-ramp for fresh combat forces to flow into the field and fill many current gaps.”

US forces will present Afghans with an ultimatum: join a US-sponsored militia or face US attack. In an April 15 article titled “In Recruiting an Afghan Militia, US Faces a Test,” the Times notes, “The military is borrowing a page from a similar program that helped bring about the recent calm to Iraq, where the Americans signed up more than 100,000 Iraqis, most of them Sunnis and many of them insurgents, to keep the peace.”

In Afghanistan, US forces are bringing Afghan village elders to meetings and telling them that “time is running out” to decide whether they will join a US-sponsored militia. Those who fail to join the US will be treated as targets. An Afghan working for the Americans told reticent village elders, “If you don’t take it, we are just going to associate you with the Taliban.”

The Times is well aware that this fighting along the Afghan-Pakistani border regions will also spill over into Pakistan, with disastrous consequences for that country. It writes, “Taliban militants are teaming up with local militant groups to make inroads in the Punjab, the province that is home to more than half of Pakistanis, reinvigorating an alliance that Pakistani and American authorities say poses a serious risk to the stability of the country…. As American drone attacks disrupt strongholds of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the tribal [border] areas, the insurgents are striking deeper into Pakistan—both in retaliation and in search of new havens.”

The Taliban also obtain support by appealing to peasants’ hostility to big landowners, who make up a substantial section of the Pakistani ruling class. The Taliban have forced unpopular landlords to leave, taking over the rents paid by the peasantry and control of local mines. They strike, the Times noted, “at any competing point of power: landlords and elected leaders—who were usually the same people—and an underpaid and unmotivated police force.”

In an unusual piece of class analysis that seemed out of place in its pages, the Times added, “after independence in 1947, Pakistan maintained a narrow landed upper class that kept its vast holdings while its workers remained subservient, the officials and analysts said. Pakistani governments have since failed to provide land reform and even the most basic forms of education and health care. Avenues to advancement for vast majority of rural poor do not exist”.

Source

US Afghan air strike hits wedding party killing Bride

US airstrike in Afghanistan

US air strikes have been blamed for many civilian deaths

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said about 40 people were killed in a US air strike in southern Kandahar province.

Many more were wounded when a wedding party was hit. US officials confirmed civilian deaths and are investigating.

“We cannot win the fight against terrorism with air strikes,” Mr Karzai said in comments directed at US President-elect Barack Obama.

Mr Karzai has repeatedly criticised the high level of civilian casualties in such bombings.

The latest civilian deaths underline the challenges facing the US president-elect and future commander-in-chief.

Demand

The incident happened late on Monday evening in Shah Wali Kot district, a remote part of Kandahar province.

Map

International forces had been involved in an operation against the Taliban – an air strike was called in but the missile struck a wedding party by mistake, killing as many as 40 people, women and children among them.

“My wounded son was in my arms, right here, bleeding,” the father of the bride, Roozbeen Khan, told AFP news agency. “He died last night.

“I lost two sons, two grandsons, a nephew, my mother and a cousin.”

Villagers said a wedding lunch had just ended when someone, perhaps a Taliban fighter, fired at international troops on a nearby hill, AFP reported. The soldiers returned fire and called in air support.

A spokesman for US forces confirmed there had been civilian casualties and expressed sorrow for what had happened.

An investigation is under way into what went wrong.

In a statement, Mr Karzai demanded an end to civilian casualties.

“My first demand from the US president, when he takes office, would be to end civilian casualties in Afghanistan and take the war to places where there are terrorist nests and training centres,” he told reporters.

The BBC’s Ian Pannell in Kabul says there may be little sympathy for the Taliban in many parts of Afghanistan, but there is even less sympathy for coalition forces when incidents like this leave innocent Afghans dead.

It is likely to loom large in the new relationship between Presidents Karzai and Obama when the new US administration is sworn in, our correspondent says.

Deaths

Correspondents say that civilian casualties are hugely damaging to foreign forces trying to wage a “hearts and minds” campaign in Afghanistan.

Afghan civilian holds a picture of family members allegedly killed by the US

The issue of civilian casualties is hugely controversial

Last month the US military said that air strikes on 22 August killed 33 Afghan civilians, many more than previously acknowledged.

And in another notorious incident, an Afghan parliamentary investigation in July found that a US air strike in the same month killed 47 civilians in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

Regional officials said those casualties were also attending a wedding party and that the bride had been killed.

Figures released in September by the United Nations said there had been a sharp increase in the number of civilian casualties – some caused by the coalition but most by the Taliban – in Afghanistan in 2008.

It said that from January to August 2008, 1,445 civilians were killed – a rise of 39% on the same period last year.

Source