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U.S. Stance Allows Kidnapping, Rape, Looting and Murder to Continue in Afghanistan

January 26, 2002

It is inexplicable that the multinational peacekeeping force in Afghanistan has been limited to 5,000 men, and confined in operations to the capital city of Kabul.

I wrote recently how the absence of a peacekeeping force and resulting lack of security in many parts of the country has meant food aid cannot get to many of the people who need it.

Now it has become clear that ethnic-based retribution against Pashtuns involving looting, kidnapping, rape and murder is also becoming endemic in certain parts of the country: the central Afghan government does not have an army to stop it.  Some of these atrocities are being committed by troops of newly installed Afghan government officials.

Multinational Force: U.N. vs. U.S.

Not surprisingly, a U.N. official, Francesc Vendrell,  just called for the multinational force to be expanded to 35,000 soldiers and deployed across the country. 

Everyone made a big deal of the fact that at the recent donors conference, $4.5 billion was pledged for the future reconstruction of Afghanistan.  If these countries are so interested in helping, why aren't they doing anything right now when terrible human rights violations are taking place?  Why haven't these nations expanded the multinational peacekeeping force to the size necessary to accomplish its mission?

Unfortunately, it seems the United States is to blame.  In tell-tale language, the New York Times explained that

... the call today by Mr. Vendrell to expand the present security force of 4,500 soldiers came close to challenging the position of the United States, which has opposed a major buildup of the international force.

What delicate language!  Of course Mr. Vendrell is challenging that position.  It's almost as if the newspaper didn't want to be responsible for even reporting a direct challenge to the now seemingly almightier-than-God Bush administration.

Multinational Force: U.S. Opposition

What is behind this crazy U.S. stand? 

Earlier in the war, European nations were eager to send thousands of troops to restore order and facilitate food aid shipments, and the U.S. opposed the idea. 

The Pentagon said such a force would get in the way of our effectively waging war throughout the country.  That excuse essentially made no sense back then, and is completely inapplicable now: our military operations are confined to a few mountainous areas where we're going after pockets of Taliban/al Qaeda resistance, and sealing up tunnel complexes. 

I'd like to hear Donald Rumsfeld "explain" anew our opposition to a larger peacekeeping force.

It's a great accomplishment that we got rid of the Taliban, but that doesn't end our responsibility in Afghanistan.  Make no mistake about it, we're morally responsible for the ethnic retribution and other horrors that are going on, since our intervention put the warlords back in power all over the country.

Some would argue that before the war, the Pashtun-based Taliban were oppressing the non-Pashtuns, and now, it's just the other ethnic groups getting back at the Pashtuns.  The difference is, the crimes are now taking place under our watch.

We have blood on our hands from the 3,500 civilians we've killed in airstrikes, as well as from the untold number of starvation deaths caused by our bombing's disruption of food shipments and creation of refugees.  We now have additional blood on our hands from the victims of ethnic-retribution violence -- violence which could be prevented, but for our strange opposition to expanding the multinational peacekeeping force.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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