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
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
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
... 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
Multinational Force: U.S.
What is behind this crazy U.S.
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
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.