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As Special Forces commit more atrocities

U.S. occupation of Afghanistan disintegrates

Published Apr 7, 2010 2:39 PM

On the eve of what is supposed to be a major U.S.-NATO offensive against the resistance stronghold of Kandahar, the more than eight-year-old occupation is crumbling.

Afghan puppet President Hamid Karzai promised local elders in Kandahar he would call the operation off if they were too worried about its results. He also stunned one Parliament member when he said, “If you and the international community pressure me more, I swear that I am going to join the Taliban.” (New York Times, April 4)

Also, U.S. Special Forces troops have been forced to admit to more war crimes in Afghanistan. The admission followed a familiar pattern. Afghan survivors accused U.S. troops of shooting three women to death in an operation in February. These three included a pregnant mother of 10 and another pregnant mother of six children.

The military command first denied it and tried to blame it on an earlier stabbing. Finally, the officers had to admit that these trained killers had slaughtered the women. In addition, the guilty troops pried their bullets out of the women’s bodies in an attempt to cover up their war crime.

The standard procedure is that the NATO military command denies its forces killed civilians. It apparently hopes the story will vanish. Only when Afghans or the reporters manage to dig out the facts are the U.S. or NATO officers compelled to reveal the truth.

For example, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who for political reasons is publicly committed to reducing civilian casualties, had to apologize for the killing of civilians during the well-covered Marjah offensive in February.

The latest exposure created more problems for the occupation. The New York Times summarized the situation in an April 5 article: “The disclosure could not come at a worse moment for the [U.S.] American military: NATO officials are struggling to contain fallout from a series of tirades against the foreign military presence by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who has also railed against the killing of civilians by Western forces.”

On March 28, President Barack Obama landed in the infamous Bagram air base and gave a pep talk to U.S. troops in Afghanistan while wearing a bomber jacket. He also met with Karzai in Kabul and chided the Afghan leader for his failure to eliminate corruption — or at least that was the public explanation of Obama’s comments. Both presidents refused to speak with reporters after their meeting.

Puppet and puppet master

Karzai’s record as the Afghan president under occupation, just like McChrystal’s history of organizing search-and-destroy missions in Iraq, belies his claim that humanitarian concerns compel his complaints about civilian deaths. Chicago’s long history of scandals makes it unlikely that Obama is shocked to discover corruption.

In a March 30 article in Asia Times, Indian career diplomat M. K. Bhadrakumar gave one explanation for what was really behind the words. Karzai was flirting with improving his relations with Beijing and Tehran, Bhadrakumar wrote, and Obama was warning him to stay in line. This idea was picked up in the New York Times in an April 4 article. This possibility and Karzai’s statement regarding joining the Taliban raise questions about the relationship between the puppet Afghan government and its U.S. imperialist puppet masters.

The U.S. occupation created the Karzai presidency. Even with the full backing of U.S.-NATO troops, Karzai was scornfully known as “the mayor of Kabul.” His power was and is limited to the capital, and he undoubtedly would be pushed aside — most likely by the Taliban — should the U.S.-NATO forces suddenly withdraw. Nevertheless, he had made enough deals and exerted enough power to fix the national elections last year.

It appears Washington would prefer to replace Karzai as its agent in Afghanistan. Like the British Empire, U.S. imperialism has shown it has no permanent allies. In the 1960s Washington arranged the assassination of its favored Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic, and also overthrew the Diem regime in Vietnam — both when these ruling groups had grown too unpopular to be useful. In the 1990s, for similar if less urgent reasons, Washington expedited the removal of its client dictators Mobuto Sese Seku from Zaire (now Congo) and Suharto from Indonesia.

But in Afghanistan, who can the U.S. find to replace Karzai?

From his side, Karzai knows he is already out of favor in Washington, and that his presidency and perhaps his life will be over when the U.S. rulers find an alternative. Thus he has opened discussions with Iran and China to try to find more outside support.

With 100,000 troops and a like number of “contractors/mercenaries,” the U.S. still has the upper hand. And the Pentagon can still do much damage in the region. But that is far from being in firm control of its own puppet, let alone of Afghanistan.