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Proletarian issue 51 (December 2012)
US and British war crimes in Afghanistan
One victim screamed “We are children! We are children!” before being shot to death by an American ‘hero’.
As the war in Afghanistan drags on, despite the imperialist powers having long since admitted it to be unwinnable, more and more cases have come to light that reveal gross yet routine abuses by the invading soldiers towards the people of the country.

The very low level of coverage by the western media of these horrific acts (few articles, short articles, well-hidden articles etc), as well as the muted reporting tone and bland language used, shows once again just how biased, chauvinist and downright racist our ‘free’ and ‘impartial’ press really is.

As the poppy appeal was banging its annual drum in a pro-war campaign for recognition of British soldiers’ ‘bravery’, more details were revealed about acts of harassment, abuse, molestation and murder carried out by imperialist troops.

We all heard about the case of US marines urinating on the bodies of dead resistance fighters. Is this the ‘democracy’ our governments want to bring to the people of Afghanistan? In fact, though, this war was never about democracy or the elimination of terrorism, but about the control of energy pipelines and resources in a vital geostrategic region and the encirclement of China, Russia and Iran.

Sickening details

One of the cases recently uncovered concerns the illegal execution of a wounded resistance fighter last year in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has belatedly opened an inquiry into the killing (the first of its kind concerning serving British troops in the country), but the seven soldiers arrested will only be tried by a military court martial, with no jury. Video footage taken from another soldier’s laptop shows that the prisoner was wounded, unarmed and posed no threat. The video records the soldiers discussing what to do with their prisoner. (‘Royal Marines arrest: laptop may provide evidence’ by Nick Hopkins, Guardian, 13 October 2012)

One of the most horrifying cases concerns US Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. On 7 March 2012, he is alleged to have gone on two separate shooting sprees, during which 16 Afghan civilians, nine of whom were children, were murdered and six more were wounded. One victim screamed: “We are children! We are children!” before being murdered by this all-American ‘hero’.

Although the US has tried to minimise the damage by claiming he was a ‘rogue’ and ‘lone’ element, several witnesses have affirmed that he was actually part of a gang, and that the attacks were premeditated and clinically carried out. (See ‘Kandahar slaughter preplanned, executed by squad – Afghan top brass’, rt.com, 17 March 2012)

There was an outpouring of rage that lasted several weeks in Afghanistan when locals discovered that Sergeant Bales had been whisked out of the country instead of being brought before an Afghan court to stand trial for murder.

“I was hiding behind a curtain with my friend. A bullet hit me,” recalled thirteen-year-old Sadiquallah, one of seven Afghan survivors who testified via a video link to Bales’s preliminary hearing in Washington.

“Khamal Adin, a witness from the second massacre site, the village of Najiban, told the judge how he came to his cousin’s house on the morning after the rampage and found bodies piled together and burned.

“Adin said he found an aunt dead in a doorway with a gunshot wound to her head. Inside, he found the bodies of six of his cousin's seven children, his wife, and other relatives. The fire that burned the bodies was out by then, but he said he could still smell smoke ...

“The court then asked Adin to describe the injuries. He said: ‘Everybody was shot on the head ... I didn't pay attention to the rest of the wounds.’” (‘“He just started shooting me” witnesses reveal details of Kandahar massacre’, rt.com, 11 November 2012)

Maddened acts of a defeated army

We are nearing the end of the war and the complete defeat of Nato in Afghanistan, but war crimes are still a daily part of the Afghan people’s lives and will be so as long as the occupation continues.

The Taliban pointed out on 7 November that the newly re-elected President Barack Obama and the US authorities“must by now know that they have lost the war in Afghanistan”, whileTaliban media spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid called on Nato to “leave our sacred land” “without further lying and delays”, according to anAFP report. The US should “stop acting like police in the world and focus on solving their own people’s problems”,a statement posted on the Taliban’s website read.
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