--Opposition forces claimed Friday they broke though Taliban defenses and captured the key northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. The report could not be independently confirmed, but if true it would represent a major victory in the U.S.-led campaign. (AP)
--Seventh batch of the Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat-i Muhammadi (TNSM) has entered Kunar Province of Afghanistan to fight alongside Taliban agaist U.S.-led forces, a local daily said. "The News" reported Friday around 15,00 fighters on board 75 vehicles crossed into Afghanistan to strengthen ranks of the militia against outside forces. (IRNA)
--Police in Pakistan have shot dead four pro-Taleban protesters taking part in a nationwide strike against the US-led war in Afghanistan. The demonstrators were blocking a railway line in the town of Shahdan Lund, 500 kilometres (350 miles) southwest of Islamabad. (BBC)
--The World Bank will host a three-day conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, to target new proposals for reconstruction in post-war Afghanistan. In a press release, the Bank said the "Preparing for Afghanistan's Reconstruction" conference will cover the immediate post-crisis recovery, including stimulating agriculture recovery and employment generation. It will look to scale up quickly existing programs such as food security, education and de-mining, once the conflict ends. It also will cover the development of social and infrastructure areas, including managing urban redevelopment and rebuilding irrigation system and roads. The conference will be held through November 27 to 29. (IRNA)
--''We know that Ramadan is a special time,'' Wolfowitz said in an interview with radio reporters. ''It's a time to concentrate even more than we do anyway -- which is a lot -- on things like humanitarian operations.'' (AP)
--British ministers privately expressed frustration yesterday with the US prosecution of the war against terrorism, the first sign of serious differences between London and Washington since the attacks on September 11. Although Tony Blair saw his quick trip to Washington this week as an opportunity to cement Britain's position as the No 1 ally of the US, unease is growing in Whitehall.
There is concern on both the military and diplomatic fronts over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the bombing strategy; perceived lack of US consultation with its allies; and insufficient US focus on the humanitarian crisis.
The British government is also intent on opposing the expansion of the war beyond Afghanistan and is horrified at elements within the Pentagon pushing for an all-out assault on Iraq. (Guardian)
--United Nations Thursday sought a probe to ascertain whether indiscriminate and excessive use of force by the allied forces in Afghanistan is resulting in civilian deaths, and violation of humanitarian law. In his report, titled "Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan", Special Rapporteur of UN Commission on Human Rights, Kamal Hossain, said, "the international coalition needs to review the conduct of military operations so as to strictly comply with international humanitarian law and to demonstrate that these operations are not directed against the Afghan people." (Jang)
--Tony Blair rejected a plea yesterday by Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf, for bombing of Afghanistan to stop during Ramadan. (Independent)
--The German government came to the brink of collapse yesterday when Joschka Fischer, the Foreign Minister, threatened to resign over his Green party's reluctance to support the country's first combat mission since the Second World War. (Independent)
--Let us also keep sight of the underlying causes of tensions too. This is the time to promote reconciliation by encouraging moderation and compromise and adopt a just and balanced approach in resolving the Israel - Palestine, the Kashmir conflict and such other conflicts in other parts of the world. We should also remember that building a moderate state and democratic structure in Afghanistan could have marginalised the Taliban and the Osamas of this world well before they unleashed their terror against the people of Afghanistan and of New York. Finally, it is hoped that 'Operation Enduring Freedom' keeps to its original mandate. A campaign which was to be 'measured, targeted, proportionate and limited', has unfortunately hit relief agents like the Red Cross, the United Nations and the Red Crescent. (Benazir Bhutto: Jang)
--Afghanistan Online (11/9/2001).
Two more students were murdered during a protest held at the National University in
Medellin that was held in conjunction with protests at other universities in Columbia.
Protesters were demanding
respect for their anti-war sentiments and were marching in defiance of the murder of the
Carlos Giovanni Blanco, who was murdered in protests the previous day during a protest
against the USA war in Afghanistan and the drug war in Columbia.
The two students, David Santiago Jaramillo Urrego and Juan Manuel Jimenez Escobar,
who were murdered were students of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of "Antioquia".
They were murdered by two gunmen (government?) who entered the education center in the
afternoon of November 8. This happened the day after a medical student from the National
University of Bogota was murdered in the middle of a student protest.
Rather than ushering in an entirely new era, the September 11 attacks and the war on terrorism mark a flashpoint in the ongoing crisis of the unipolar world order. The US presides (or pretends to) over a world racked by poverty, growing inequality, sectarian strife and environmental degradation, but seems scarcely disturbed by the contradictions. In the 1990s, US unilateralism showed itself in the pursuit of unpopular policy goals like harsh sanctions on Iraq, generous military aid to Israel and compulsory structural adjustment for indebted economies, matched by the obstruction of more popular initiatives on everything from the International Criminal Court to environmental protections to arms control.
--Elliott Colla & Chris Toensing
(Middle East Report Winter 2001).
1. The Afghan community in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan region reiterates its strong condemnation of the terrorist acts perpetrated on September 11, 2001 in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Community members convey their outrage, and express their deepest sympathy with the victims' families and the American people.
--Nov. 4 Statement (Copied from Afghanistan Online 11/9/2001).
4. Urge our representatives to devote our government’s best efforts in collaboration with governments throughout the world, to addressing and overcoming those conditions such as poverty, malnutrition, disease, oppression, and subjugation that tend to drive some people to acts of terrorism (Abstain – Armstrong, Hawley, Olds, Dean)
--Resolution No. 61,310-N.S. (Berkeley City Council 10/16/2001).
The U.S. government is relying on a seldom-used but powerful legal tool, an 18th-century law on sedition, to investigate the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
--AP (CNN 11/9/2001).
As part of its broad investigation into terrorism, the Department of Justice has decided to monitor communications between some federal detainees and their attorneys.
With the spotlight shining on Bayer's price-gouging for Cipro, the
Department of Health and Human Services had to take action. It cut a deal with the company to lower Cipro prices, agreeing on a price tag of 95 cents a pill. That supposedly cut-rate price turns out to be twice what the same government, indeed the same government agency, pays the same company for the same drug under another program.
--Russell Mokhiber & Robert Weissman (Essential Org 11/8/2001).
In launching Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. is taking a huge gamble. It is throwing its power into the middle of one of the most unstable regions in the world. Its geostrategic aims in the current war may be apparent, but they are no guarantee that the U.S. will reach its goals. Bush may have promised that "we will not fail," but the contradictions inherent in the situation may blow the whole thing up.
--Lance Selfa (Intl. Socialist Rev. Nov.-Dec. 2001).
We thus see a clear example of how human rights, democracy and egalitarian social development are directly opposed by deliberate Western policies to further the economic interests of Western corporate elites. In this case, a faction whose policies of brutal repression are extensively documented and well known was being covertly supported at the expense of the Afghan people in the name of US strategic and corporate interests. This support only ceased when it became clear that the Taliban was incapable of establishing the sort of conditions necessary for the security of the proposed pipeline. Evidently, the human rights of the Afghan people are not a very significant factor in the formulation of Western policy toward Afghanistan. AI summarises the crisis aptly: "Civilians are the targets of human rights abuses in a war they have not chosen, by one faction after another... They are pawns in a game of war between armed groups inside Afghanistan backed by different regional powers", with the leading perpetrator of abuses and massacres - the Taliban - having been covertly supported by the United States for several years. "Meanwhile, the world has watched massacres of civilians without making any meaningful effort to protect them."
--Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed (Intl. Socialist Rev.Reprint).
"It is being perceived in the whole world...as if this were a war against the poor, miserable and innocent people of Afghanistan," Musharraf told a news conference after talks with French leaders in Paris.
--Times of India (11/8/2001).
The former Canadian minister went on to say that the UN peace process was severely under-resourced, and needed substantial international support for it to succeed. "You can't start a peace initiative on a shoestring. We need to see that the Afghan process is under way, that civil society structures are properly resourced," he said.
Oxfam's fact-finding mission's report on Afghanistan warned that tens of thousands may be dead by the end of next month, with more than 100,000 children dead by the end of winter. A statement released on Tuesday called on the parties to the conflict to put resources into addressing the humanitarian crisis, stressing that, in the zeal to protect itself from the scourge of terrorism, the world could not ask the Afghan people for further sacrifices.
--IRIN (UN 11/8/2001).
These ideologues at Heritage and elsewhere, by the way, earlier this year teamed up with deep-pocket bankers--many from Texas, with ties to the Bush White House--to stop America from cracking down on terrorist money havens. How about that for patriotism? Better that terrorists get their dirty money than tax cheaters be prevented from hiding theirs. And these people wrap themselves in the flag and sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" with gusto.
--Bill Moyers (The Nation 11/19/2001).
FBI and military intelligence officials in Washington say they were prevented for political reasons from carrying out full investigations into members of the Bin Laden family in the US before the terrorist attacks of September 11....
They said the restrictions became worse after the Bush administration took over this year. The intelligence agencies had been told to "back off" from investigations involving other members of the Bin Laden family, the Saudi royals, and possible Saudi links to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Pakistan.
--Greg Palast & David Pallister (Guardian 11/7/2001).
The 4910 Collective et al. are targeting CNN because free press is essential to the functioning of democracy. When the media allows itself to be controlled both by complicity with the government and directly by corporate interests, it silences the debate necessary to create an aware and informed public. Furthermore, we denounce our government’s continuing efforts to erode our Constitutional rights and civil liberties all in the name of protecting freedom. We not only call for opposition to the war, but also for solidarity with Arab and Muslim communities and strongly object to violence, verbal or otherwise, against the members of these communities and the Anti-war supporters.
--Call to Action (Protest Nov. 10).
"We are now getting food to about two million people," he [Mike Huggins, a 34-year-old Australian who helps organize the shipments for the United Nations World Food Program] said, riding shotgun in a Land Cruiser to the wheat warehouse in Nowshera, outside the frontier city Peshawar, close to the foot of the Khyber Pass. "We need to be getting food to about six million. And people need to understand that this is not a refugee story. It's a food crisis in Afghanistan.
We urge the US government to cease its
present war with Afghanistan and request that the
United Nations Security Council establish an
international tribunal to try those suspected of
terrorism. The UN should determine the nations whose
judges are represented on the tribunal. The Security
Council should also establish a UN force to arrest
terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks, and use
other measures deemed necessary, such as economic
sanctions on nations and banks that refuse to comply
with the freezing of suspects' assets. Such
international mechanisms to challenge global networks
of terrorism can provide citizens of the United States
with more security than our present policy, and will
not continue a war in Afghanistan that is
counter-productive and a humanitarian disaster.
--Concerned Faculty and Staff for Peace
in Afghanistan (UMass & 5 colleges via email 11/7/2001).
In only seven weeks, budget experts say, the federal government already has committed or spent a staggering $65 billion to beef up intelligence, the military, and homeland defense. Money is being allocated for everything from AWACS and F-15s patrolling the skies of America, to buying smallpox vaccine and Cipro. And that is only a down payment.
--Lisa Myers (MSNBC 11/7/2001?).
If the US government were serious about ending terrorism, the first step would certainly be closing the School of the Americas at Fort Benning in Georgia. The US government could drastically decrease human rights violations throughout the hemisphere merely by ending the funding of this academy. The SOA is responsible for training the likes of Manuel Noriega, Pinochet’s cronies, Romero’s assassins, and countless others. The existence of the School of the Americas is undeniable proof of US hypocrisy regarding the ''war on terrorism.''
--Student Appeal from Brown Univ. on Mobilization to Fort Benning, Georgia, November 17-18
But America cannot drill its way to energy independence. In fact, the government's own estimates show the Arctic Refuge holds just a 180-day supply of oil, which would take at least 10 years to reach consumers. By contrast, raising automobile fuel efficiency by only three miles per gallon would save more oil in a decade than could ever be recovered from the refuge.
--Biogems (Action alert).
Scarier still, there's always the chance the white-power guys in the U.S. wouldn't have to do this all by themselves. Fueled by a shared anti-Semitism, the white supremacists of America's hinterland have forged links with extremists in Europe—and perhaps even the Middle East.
--James Ridgeway (Village Voice Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2001).
Unprecedented secrecy has accompanied the largest roundup of Americans since the Palmer raids in the 1920s and the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans in World War II. The Justice Department has arrested or detained an estimated 800-plus Middle Easterners and Arab-Americans in this country alone. Yet information about charges or suspicions has not been available, suspects’ and witnesses’ names have been withheld, search warrants have been sealed, court appearances have been closed, and gag orders have muzzled lawyers.
--Paul McMsters (First Amendment Center 10/22/2001).
--There has also been talk about a possible parallel government in Afghanistan, with Taliban ruling the entire southern belt and a UN-led government in the north - a division of Afghanistan in a way. This second arrangement looks more likely, as there are no signs of collapse within the Pashtun camp so far. (Jang News)
--Pakistan has told the Taleban's main spokesman to stop criticising foreign governments during his press briefings. Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan told Reuters news agency that the Taleban's ambassador to Islamabad, Abdul Salam Zaeef, had been called in on Tuesday and told "not to violate the third country rule". Mr Khan was referring to conventions that prevent diplomats from voicing attacks on other countries. (BBC)
--Since the time of Alexander the Great, Afghanistan's combatants have used a crisscross network of hidden irrigation channels as secret redoubts and routes for launching ambush attacks. (Scripps Howard)
--British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that capturing or killing a "psychotic" Osama bin Laden will not prevent his Al-Qaeda network from launching fresh terrorist attacks. (NNI)
--"Before the bombing, the Taliban was always saying that Americans were enemies of Muslims and of Islam, and we did not believe that," Khan [an Afgan refugee] said as he paced the dingy halls of the government hospital here. "But nowadays, when [the U.S.-led forces] are killing innocent people, we believe that what the Taliban was saying about America is true: They are trying to kill Muslims and finish Islam." (NNI)
--The Afghan nationals who have either crossed the Pak-Afghan border or are waiting to let them allow crossing it asked a question from the reporters that why did not US forces attack Afghanistan before September 11 to arrest Osama bin Laden? (Jang News)
--(Afghaniston Online 11/7/2001).
"THE PRESIDENT is fully satisfied that anybody who is continuing to be held is being held for a wise reason," presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer said the other day about the people who have been detained since Sept. 11. The remark compounded the doubts it was meant to allay. How does the president know that all is well? Has the Justice Department merely told him so, or has he insisted on the detailed accounting of the arrests -- now said to number 1,182 -- that the department has declined to give the public? If in fact he has received such an accounting, and it is as benign as he and Attorney General John Ashcroft say, why won't he make it public?
--Editorial (Washington Post 11/7/2001).
In opinion polls and interviews in several countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, many people who said they were horrified by the Sept. 11 attacks added that the horror then does not justify the bombing of Afghanistan now -- even if their governments continue to back the U.S. campaign. In a war that Bush has described as a battle between good and evil, many said it is not so simple.
--(Washington Post 11/7/2001).
Many ask, if not military force and war, then what should the U.S. do instead to respond to these horrific attacks against innocent civilians? The U.S. must not sacrifice its core values in the process of defending them from acts of terror. Rather, the U.S. should demonstrate its enduring commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in the ways it responds to these acts of terror and pursues justice.
--Friends Committe on National Liberation (9/26/2001).
My view is that the political factors motivating the mass murder and suicides of September 11 involved the oil industry and globalization in the Arabian Peninsula. Here is the story.
--George Caffentzis (Autonomedia).
--With its use of the 15,000-pound ''daisy cutter'' bomb in Afghanistan, the United States has unleashed one of its most powerful weapons - billed as the world's largest conventional bomb. (AP)
--''We attacked while the Americans were bombing,'' Nadeem said in a satellite telephone interview. ''It was not only us who killed. It was mostly the Americans.'' (AP)
--All his verbiage boils down to: when the people suffer enough from the bombing, the Taliban will fall. (Rational Radical)
--The Arabs [led by bin Laden] and not the Taliban are controlling important parts of Afghanistan and fighting major battles on frontlines, disclosed "The News" Tuesday. (IRNA)
--Stepping up efforts to create a post-Taliban dispensation in Afghanistan, the US has appointed veteran US diplomat James Dobbins as the representative to Afghan opposition groups to help the opposition factions form a broad-based government. Dobbins would work closely with UN envoy to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi, US assistant secretary of state for South Asia Christina Rocca, and US undersecretary of state for political affairs Richard Haass - who will continue as the US policy coordinator regarding the future of Afghanistan, state department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Monday. (Hindustan Times)
--The Northern Alliance has completed its list of nominees for the membership for an assembly entrusted with the task of forming the transitory government to fill the vacuum developed after the collapse of the Taleban regime. (Syed Anwer)
--A French journalist detained in Afghanistan and released over the weekend says the Taleban are filling their jails with political prisoners, in particular former allies they now suspect of favouring their downfall. Michel Peyrard, who works for the French magazine Paris Match, was detained on 9 October together with two Pakistani colleagues. (BBC)
--However it [Mazar-e-Sharif) is renowned in its own right as a unique historic and religious centre, a holy place for both Sunni and Shia Muslims and identified as the birthplace of the ancient religious philosopher Zoroaster. (BBC)
--The Afghan opposition leader Hamid Karzai, who is on a pro-US mission deep inside the country, last night claimed that his attempts to start a revolt against the Taliban were rapidly winning local support. Mr Karzai, who slipped into Afghanistan a month ago and escaped a Taliban ambush last week, told his brother by satellite phone that his "work" was going well. "More people are joining me", he said from the southern province of Oruzgan. (Guardian)
--The media also err, Nejati said, in describing the Pashtuns as the country's majority group. He cites both UN figures and the CIA Fact Book on Afghanistan, which give population estimates of 38 percent for the Pashtuns, 26 percent for the Tajiks, 19 percent for the Hazaras, and 9 percent for the Uzbeks. ''That does not make them the majority.'' (Boston Globe)
--(Afghanistan Online 11/06/2001).
Now more than ever it is rewarding to re-read Conrad - and as an added bonus to watch Francis Ford Coppola's reading of Conrad in the recently released director's cut of Apocalypse Now. The New Afghan War increasingly runs the risk of being configured as The New Vietnam. Washington has said from the beginning this is not Gulf War II. But now, deeply frustrated because they are unable to break the Taliban - those medieval architects of a pan-Islamic utopia - the Pentagon is contemplating a Desert Storm-style invasion the next Afghan spring. This won't be Gulf War II: this will be Vietnam II.
--Pepe Escobar (Asia Times 11/6/2001).
Well, I think that the most important thing to understand, and I think that what everybody in Berkeley is beginning to see is that the bombs have actually made it impossible for ordinary people in Afghanistan to survive. The world food program is already estimating that half a million people are on the brink of starvation, and 7.5 million refugees will be created by the end of the winter.
--Snehal Shengavi (CNN Talkback Live 11/5/2001).
--In a speech to the troops, former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani said they would be marching on Kabul in the very near future, and would eventually capture all of Afghanistan. (BBC)
--"But, please forget about forming a government for us! We have already a government which is the legitimate government of Afghanistan and I am representing it." He reminded the Americans that the choosing of the type of the future government for Afghans is "an inherent right of the Afghan people." He further claimed that "in fact there is no need for forming a government." (Frontier Post)
--A group of new refugees said that hardened stand of Taliban leaders led to country's ruin.
They said it is correct that at present they are no other option but to stand behind Taliban as US attacks on their mother land is a matter of prestige and honour.They said that nothing can be seen in Afghanistan in proper order and Taliban leaders are responsible for all this mess. (Frontier Post)
--The future Afghan government should be a broad-based one encompassing all segments of the Afghan society with the full exception of the 'foreign stooges,' says ex-King of Afghanistan Muhammed Zaher in a statement. (Frontier Post)
--Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has started recruitment of ex-Khad agents who have been serving during Dr. Najibullah period in Afghanistan to achieve objectives that have not been obtained through military means, a local daily said Monday. "The Frontier Post" reported that after the killing of Commander Andul Haq, the US is preparing a former Afghan Army general to spearhead the job. The daily added the former general and several others have been offered lucrative salaries and many of them are already in Afghanistan working on their campaign. While on the other hand, the newspaper also said that the US was pursuing its plans to divide Afghanistan into north and south and in this direction, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is hectically consulting main coalition partners. North part of Afghanistan would be known as the Northern Republic of Afghanistan, and would be recognized by the international community as an independent country, the daily further disclosed. The US and Russia would play a key role for providing and creating regular army duly equipped with all types of modern weaponry, including tanks and fighter planes, it continued. According to the plan, the newspaper stated, war on terrorism would continue from the northern side. Rest of Afghanistan would be known as the southern part of mainly Pukhtoons. But for this objective, the Americans are striving hard for the fall of Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif. However, this plan would ultimately materialize or not is a question mark at the moment. (IRNA)
--UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi in Tehran on Monday continued intensive consultations with a third day of meetings with individuals and groups, Spokesman Eric Falt said. Brahimi told reporters that one of the problems that the Afghans have been suffering from is foreign interference, with countries deciding what should take place and what should not take place. "I hope that in future, we will help Afghans but make sure that it is their will that is translated into reality," he said. Asked about the possibility of return of former King Zahir Shah, the special representative said,"I think we should leave it to Afghans to decide who does what and who takes what position in the future government." According to UN Information Center (UNIC), Brahimi also met with a group of five Afghan students active in cultural, social and political circles. One of them, Sardar Muhammad Rahimi, 25, editor of the student magazine 'Puhantun' who said, "We believe that the United Nations should be more active in the present situation. Afghanistan is experiencing the most critical period in its history and it will determine the future of our country." Brahimi expressed UN readiness to help Afghans, but also reminded the students that `only an Afghan solution will work'. Brahimi is expected to meet President Mohammad Khatami tomorrow and then address a press conference at Azadi Hotel. The UN special representative is scheduled to report to the UN General Assembly special meeting on Afghanistan in New York on November 12. (IRNA)
--Delta Force has long complained about a lack of creativity in the Army leadership, but the unexpectedness and the ferocity of the Taliban response "scared the crap out of everyone," a senior military officer told me, and triggered a review of commando tactics and procedures at the United States Central Command, or CENTCOM, at MacDill Air Force Base, in Florida, the headquarters for the war in Afghanistan. "This is no war for Special Operations," one officer said—at least, not as orchestrated by CENTCOM and its commander, General Tommy R. Franks, of the Army, on October 20th. (Seymour Hersch, New Yorker 11/5/2001)
--The Taliban are filling their jails with political prisoners as they round up anyone suspected of favouring their downfall, according to a French journalist released from the Taliban's custody at the weekend. (Jang)
--The anti-Taliban army facing its enemy on the critical front north of Kabul, known to the rest of the world as the Northern Alliance, likes to call itself the United Front. But it is becoming increasingly clear that there are, in fact, two anti-Taliban armies. One, on show on a bare, dusty mountainside near the mouth of the Panjshir valley over the past few days, is a well-equipped, uniformed, regular fighting force, earnestly training for war and thirsting to launch an offensive on the Afghan capital.
The other is an army of irregular, local part-timers, working by day and cycling to the frontline by night, with rubber galoshes on their bare feet instead of boots. Beneath their bravado they are deeply ambivalent about taking part in an attack on the Taliban, uneasy about killing - many on the Taliban side are their former friends - and desperately hoping the US will finish the war for them.
The question for Afghanistan, and for the less and less secret band of US military advisers here is: which is the real Northern Alliance army? (James Meek, Guardian)
--The Saudis have quietly but firmly conveyed to Pakistan, and through Islamabad to the United States, that if bombings were not stopped in Afghanistan during Ramazan, the Kingdom could face massive rallies and upheavals, involving hundreds of thousands of Muslims, gathered from all over the world, for the last days of the holy month. (Jang)
--Afghanistan Online (11/5/2001).