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Afghanistan:   4 | Search
US and British deaths in the Afghan War were low because it wasn't really a US or British war. The US and British provided air cover for forces of the Northern Alliance who fought long and bloody battles over a period of two months to capture the major cities.
The first major ground battle started in November 9th 2001 when the Northern Alliance started their seige of Mazar-I-Sharif. When the Taliban tried to take Mazar in 1997, 2,000 Taliban fighters who were captured were later sumarilly executed. In revenge when the Taliban finally took the city in 1998, they engaged in what Human Rights Watch has described as "the single worst examples of killings of civilians in Afghanistan’s twenty-year war", with thousands of ethnic Hazaras rounded up and summarilly executed. While its not known how many were killed in the US backed siege, reports from soon after the Northern Alliance entered the city showed a level of factional killings that resembled the previous times that the city fell. RAWA has ducumented the mass slaughter of Pakistani nationals who were trapped in the city. 10 UNICEF trucks were also captured by the Northern Alliance and some of the drivers were executed.
The seige of Kabul started almost immediately after the fall of Mazar and by November 12th, Kabul had fallen to the Northern Alliance. The corporate media showed glowing pictures of Afghan men now free to shave their beards and Afghan women no longer required to wear burkas. Many Afghans worried about the past human rights abuses of the Northern Alliance forces which now controlled the city. Farooq Tariq of the Pakistan Labour Party wrote that "in order to force the Taliban out of Kabul, Washington had to rely on supporting one group of Afghan religious fundamentalists against another. The NA might make some changes in its outlook initially, but it will not change its fundamental aim of maintaining an Islamic state in Afghanistan."
On November 26 2001, the Northern Alliance, backed by US airpower captured the city of Kunduz from the Taliban. The mainstream press gloated at the fall of the last Taliban stronghold in Northern Afghanistan. But, soon reports came in of possible widespread killing of prisoners who surrendered when the city fell. In December, the UK Guardian reported that following the capture of Kunduz, "dozens of Taliban prisoners died after surrendering to Northern Alliance forces, asphyxiated in the shipping containers used to transport them to prison". In 2001 the ICRC found a mass grave near Mazar-e-Sharif containing over 600 bodies thought to be of prisoners from Konduz. The UN briefly attempted to investigate reports of mass graves, but in August 2002 the U.N. special representative in Afghanistan stated that "the weakness of the Afghan government and the risk to investigators or witnesses make it almost impossible to investigate reports that there are mass graves in northern Afghanistan." In November 2002, the UN found evidence that General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a leading Afghan warlord and strong US ally, "tortured witnesses to stop them from testifying against him in a war crimes inquiry" surrounding the mass graves. Scottish filmmaker Jamie Doran released a movie in late 2002 titled "Massacre at Mazar" offering eyewitness testimony and footage of the US backed war crimes in Afghanistan.
6/14/2003: Women continue to fight for basic human rights in Afghanistan. IMC NYC Sound working group interviewed RAWA member Tahmeena F. and Anne Brodsky, author of "With All Our Strength: RAWA" in late May.
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Thu Apr 1 2004 (Updated 08/19/10)
Casualties in Afghanistan Since October 2001 (Last Updated 8/19/2010)
US: 1230 ( 155 in 2008, 317 in 2009, 283 in 2010) | Coalition: 775 (139 in 2008, 187 in 2009, 154 in 2010)
Afghan Civilians (During Air War): 3000-3400 (In Past Few Years): 2000+ a year
Sources: icasualties, Cursor
Tue Nov 27 2001
U.S. Bombs Al-Jazeera
On 11/13/2001, the US dropped two 500lb bombs on the offices of Al-Jazeera news network, which in turn accused the US of deliberately targeting the building after being told of its exact location. Al-Jazeera had been criticized by the US government for its coverage of the war, since unlike the US media it was willing to show pictures of civilian victims of the US bombing. On Oct 14, New York Daily News columnist Zev Chafets wrote: "dealing with Al Jazeera is a job for the military. Shutting it down should be an immediate priority." Protesters gathered at the Federal Bldg in SF on 11/14 to oppose the US attacks.
Al-Jazeera in English
Sat Oct 20 2001
Is it Food or a Bomb?
10/22/2001: The US continued to bomb Afghanistan for weeks despite a dearth of Taliban military targets. The Taliban reported that as many as 1,500 civilians were killed during the five weeks of attacks and Al Jazeera showed pictures of children, women and the elderly wounded and killed in the US attacks. At the time, US military officials and the corporate media contended that these numbers were "grossly exaggerated", but independent estimates after the war ended confirm that the air attacks resulted in thousands of civilian deaths. US bombs didnt kill all their victims immediately. Many cluster bombs were dropped in populated areas. In total "1,228 cluster bombs containing 248,056 bomblets" were dropped on Afghanistan during the war. Because some cluster bombs don't immediately explode, they are known to kill and maim people years after hitting the ground. Adding to the danger of the cluster bombs in Afghanistan are the similarities between the yellow food parcels dropped by US planes and the yellow casings of cluster bombs. The US military admitted the bombs and food packages were of the same color and size but claimed that Afghan children would be easilly able to identity between the two based off the shape.
10/7/2001: US missiles were launched at Afghanistan cities from bombers, aircraft, ships and submarines (both US & British). The attacks began around 9:30PM (9:30AM PDT) in Kabul. When Bush's declaration of war speech was simulcast at football stadiums around the country, many Americans celebrated the attacks which would cause death and destruction.
  • 4 UN workers have been killed by US bombs. The workers were in Afghanistan helping remove millions of mines left over by 15 years of conflict. Read more.
  • Power has gone out in Kabul as missiles hit the city.
  • Women in Afghanistan are speaking out against continued US support of oppressive regimes in their country. The US military use of opposition forces against the Taliban are setting the stage for exactly what caused Osama bin Laden to gain power.
  • Food aid groups speak out against US military "humanitarian aid," arguing that it is "risky, random, expensive and likely to meet only a fraction of the need" of the full-scale human crisis being caused by US bombing raids.
  • Political stability in the region continues to be impacted by the destructive US-led war effort.
  • Pakistani government announces that 50 missiles went through their airspace on the way to Afghanistan on Sunday.
Afghanistan:   4