There seems to be no logical explanation for the fact that time after time again one comes across reports of US-led coalitions dropping ordinance upon the heads of innocent people, instead of specifically targeting militants and terrorists. Unfortunately, this is a rather commonplace occurrence just like the ever rising temperature of our planet, triggered by the irresponsible behavior of all sorts of elites…
Just recently, a spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, Nasrat Rahimi announced that yet another “erroneous” US airstrike on August 7 in the Afghan province of Logar resulted in the death of 9 people, with another 15 Afghan police officers wounded.
It should be noted that this wasn’t the only incident involving US-led coalition forces that resulted in the deaths of Afghan law enforcement officers over the last couple of weeks. A similar incident occurred at the end of June in the northern province of Kunduz, where an ill-conceived drone strike resulted in multiple deaths of law enforcement agents and civilians on June 26, as was reported by the Associated Press.
The civilian death toll in Afghanistan in the first 6 months of 2018 reached 1,692 people, according to the latest UN report. However, what is even more disturbing is that more than of all civilian casualties were attributed to airstrikes of the Afghan Air Force. The remaining 45% perished under the bombs and missiles of the so-called Western coalition.
Therefore, it is not surprising that, even in its report, the UN calls on the Western coalition in Afghanistan and, above all, the US to take all possible steps to prevent civilian deaths in the course of repeated air strikes.
Previously, NEO has already studied the inadmissible price that civilians across the Middle East continue paying for Washington’s military presence in the region. There has also been a study on the impact of habitual drug use in the US military and the way it affects the fighting capacity of its forces, especially in the course of Washington’s operations in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and other Asian countries.
Considering this fact, one can’t help but ask if the US military command is capable of actually refuting the connection between the ever growing drug addiction levels registered in the US Air Force and the unprecedented number of “erroneous” strikes that have resulted in a massive number of civilians dying across Afghanistan every week? And what can the international community do to stop the killing spree in Afghanistan and other regions of the world, where Washington continues fueling conflicts under the pretext of fight terrorism?
It’s pretty clear at this point that the the so-called war on drugs the White House is allegedly waging in Afghanistan is nothing more than a PR stunt with nothing aimed at actually addressing the underlying cause of this problem. In fact, the US does everything it can to sustain the tremendous growth of drug production in Afghanistan by wasting funds allocated on the reconstruction of Afghanistan to bribe Afghan tribes into producing and exporting an ever increasing volume of narcotics.
According to an official report released by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRA), the level of drug production and smuggling across the country has increased by 90% recently. Moreover, more than 320,000 hectares of land in various provinces of Afghanistan – both under the Taliban control and those “supervised” by the US coalition – are used for opium poppy cultivation. The mind-boggling resources that are allegedly being allocated by Washington toward combating drugs, and the above mentioned 90% increase in the drug industry, does not add up together.
The fact that Afghanistan is used to increase the production of raw opium and the sponsor ship role of the US in this process has recently been examined in the quarterly report of the Special Inspector General for the reconstruction of Afghanistan (SIGAR), John F. Sopko. The special body put under the control of SIGAR has conducted an audit of the funds allocated for the restoration of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. According to SIGAR experts, by turning their back on drug trafficking, Americans are buying the loyalty of local tribe leaders. It’s been stated that a special investigation established that none of the US-sponsored anti-drug programs resulted in a visible decline in opium production levels. In turn, drug-alternative development programs were flawed in their design as they relied on short-term perspectives, thus being unable to provide a viable alternative to opium production, and at times even contributed to an increase in its production.
At the same time, the ineffectiveness of the American anti-drug strategy is only a part of the larger problem. According to preliminary estimates presented by SIGAR, at least 10% of all funds allocated to Afghanistan over the past decade (126 billion dollars) has been spent inappropriately.
This special report has been submitted to Congress, however, no discussion of it has ever taken place within its walls.
However, US servicemen are not the only ones to commit military and humanitarian crimes in Afghanistan on a daily basis. The Sydney Morning Herald has exposed the activities of Australian special forces units deployed in the country. The report came on the back of a special investigation initiated by highly decorated Australian General Jeff Sengelman, launched back in 2016. The report states that there’s been cases of unauthorized and illegal use of violence on the part of Australian servicemen which demonstrated blatant disregard for human life and dignity. Presumably, this situation occurred due to the lack of accountability among commanding officers in the field.
It should also be recalled back in 2016, the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Court announced its intention to launch an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan, including those committed by US military personnel. At the same time, the ICC prosecutor’s office has repeatedly drawn attention to violations of the rights of Afghan prisoners, while stating that the crimes against them were allegedly committed with particular cruelty and with the intention to humiliate and violate human dignity. However, even in the light of such accusations it was clear that this office would hardly dare to seriously press charges against the US. This is all the more evident today, when the Trump administration has strengthened its undisguised pressure on international organizations and sovereign players across the globe.
So will the global public remain silent in the light of all of Washington’s violations of international and humanitarian law under the growing pressure of the White House, which seeks to replace international institutions with its own way of brutally policing the world?
Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”