Socialist Worker, November 2, 2010
New files reveal brutal role of British in Afghanistan
Yet the whole purpose of the war in Afghanistan was to reassert US military power as a means of cementing US supremacy against its current and future challengers
By Siān Ruddick
The Ministry of Defence has released detailed reports of British troops’ actions in Afghanistan—and they reveal a lot about the crisis of the occupation.
The reports show how, from 2006 to 2009, British troops killed and injured civilians in attacks at checkpoints, roadblocks and house raids.
The reports were released in response to a Freedom of Information request made by the Guardian newspaper after Wikileaks revealed vast military logs from British and US forces in Afghanistan.
The detail of the reports shows that British soldiers are jumpy—and vicious. They have been heavily ideologically shaped by the war, and have come under sustained attack from the Afghan resistance.
Civilian deaths have risen 11% from 144 at this time last year to 160 in 2010. The increase has coincided with the rising number of incidents in which U.S. and NATO attack helicopters mistakenly fired on Afghans who turned out to be civilians, the previously unreleased statistics show.
The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 1, 2010
The reports have brought into question the actions of three units who were involved in two thirds of the incidents—the Coldstream Guards, the Royal Marine commandos and the Rifles.
On 15 November 2006 a Royal Marine commando patrol fired “warning shots” to make a vehicle stop. Somehow these managed to kill two passengers and seriously injure two others.
On the morning of 21 October 2007 a single Coldstream Guards patrol fired on three separate vehicles, including a minibus.
At least three civilians were injured and one subsequently died.
A US report shows that the injured were translators who work with military.
Another report shows that British troops fired at someone riding a motorbike in 22 October 2008.
The rider fell into a ditch and caught fire. The report concludes that “unfortunately” they died.
Children have also been killed as cars “failed to stop”.
Afghan people are sick of being told where to go, at what time, where to drive and when to stop—all administered by a corrupt government and foreign forces of occupation.
These tragedies merely confirm the mess that the occupation is in.
Another sign of the weakness of the occupation is that Nato has been forced to ask Russia to join forces against the Taliban.
Yet the whole purpose of the war in Afghanistan was to reassert US military power as a means of cementing US supremacy against its current and future challengers.
British and US troops must be withdrawn immediately so Afghan people can decide their own future.
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