– Afghanistan: more than 300 US soldiers killed this year (Telegraph):
The latest death pushed to the number of American soldiers killed in Afghanistan so far this year to 301, according to the icasualties.org website.
The number is nearly twice the 155 American soldiers killed in 2008, when total foreign troop deaths numbered 295 for the entire year.
Those soldiers could still be alive …
Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’
Lie and send a few hundred US soldiers to death, get the Nobel Peace Prize!!!
More lies here: Barack Obama Lies 7 Times In Under 2 Minutes!!!!!
The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen gestures during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday, Dec. 14, 2009. America’s top military officer is expressing concern about the “growing level of collusion” between Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan and al-Qaida and other militants across the border in Pakistan.(AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
KABUL (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officer warned on Monday the first U.S. troops headed to Afghanistan as part of President Barack Obama’s surge can expect more fighting and casualties, hours after 15 Afghan police were killed.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Kabul as the latest of a clutch of high-ranking U.S. officials seeking to explain Obama’s new strategy to Afghans in the days since Obama announced a further 30,000 troops.
Mullen, who said he will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai later in the day and intends to visit Islamabad later in the week, said he remained “deeply concerned by the growing collusion between Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda.”
He said he had met with U.S. Marines in Camp Legune in North Carolina before coming to Kabul and warned them to prepare for a tough fight.
“I told my troops headed here to steel themselves for more combat and more casualties, even as I urged them to use the time before deployment to learn all they can about the Afghan culture … local dialects,” Mullen told reporters in Kabul.
“For the veterans among them, (I told them) to expect Afghanistan to be a different place than it was when they were last here. The insurgency has grown more violent, more pervasive and more sophisticated,” he added.
Record numbers of U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year, most of them by insurgent-laid home-made bombs in the south and east of the country.
In one of the bloodiest days for the Afghan police force in many months, 15 policemen were killed in two separate attacks — in one attack in Helmand province, three police turned on their own colleagues killing seven of them in their beds.
Mullen said he had met with the Afghan interior minister and discussed the challenges of training police and producing a quality force at a time when their numbers need to aggressively increase in order to meet ambitious recruitment targets.
“We’re all very focused on this,” Mullen said, adding that the issue of corruption within the police was the main focus of efforts to train and improve them.
“None of us underestimate the challenges and that kind of loss can’t be sustained and they must be properly trained.”
Mullen said U.S. Marines who deployed in Afghanistan in May — when Obama last ordered a major increase — had achieved success in Helmand province because of the way they had partnered with Afghan security forces.
The commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has made the expansion and improvement of the Afghan army and police one of the main planks of his strategy.
Afghanistan’s Defense Minister has said between 8,000 and 10,000 Afghan soldiers are headed for Helmand province, where U.S. and British commanders complain they do not have enough Afghans to help hold territory that they clear of fighters.
Obama announced his new strategy this month as the latest attempt to turn the tide of the insurgency and put the United States and its allies on the front foot as the war enters its ninth year but support for the conflict among Americans wanes.
Obama also said U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will start in July 2011. U.S. officials have repeatedly stressed to Afghans that the withdrawal that follows would not be sudden.
Mullen reiterated Washington’s intention to start scaling back militarily, but said U.S. involvement in Afghanistan would continue for the foreseeable future.
“Eventually, beginning in July 2011, our troop levels will thin and we will not have as large a military presence here. Obama made it abundantly clear: our national commitment to Afghanistan will endure but our military presence will not.”
He said he would leave for Pakistan later in the week to meet with his counterpart there, General Ashfaq Kayani.
He said he was impressed by advances Kayani made in south Waziristan but intended to discuss improving coordination between Kabul, Islamabad and Washington in eliminating safe havens.
(Additional reporting by Ismael Sameem in KANDAHAR and Ahmad Elham in KUNDUZ; Writing by Golnar Motevalli; Editing by Peter Graff and Bill Tarrant)
Golnar Motevalli in KABUL
Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:48am EST
The endless war on terror:
– Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’
Murray asserts that the primary motivation for US and British military involvement in central Asia has to do with large natural gas deposits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As evidence, he points to the plans to build a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan that would allow Western oil companies to avoid Russia and Iran when transporting natural gas out of the region.
Murray alleged that in the late 1990s the Uzbek ambassador to the US met with then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to discuss a pipeline for the region, and out of that meeting came agreements that would see Texas-based Enron gain the rights to Uzbekistan’s natural gas deposits, while oil company Unocal worked on developing the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.
“The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.
“There are designs of this pipeline, and if you look at the deployment of US forces in Afghanistan, as against other NATO country forces in Afghanistan, you’ll see that undoubtedly the US forces are positioned to guard the pipeline route. It’s what it’s about. It’s about money, it’s about oil, it’s not about democracy.”
“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department’s head of personnel. “I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”
“I’m not much for this war. I’m not sure it’s worth all those lives lost,” said Sergeant Christian Richardson as we walked across corn fields that will soon be ploughed up to plant a spring crop of opium poppy.
Opium production rate has soared to 6,900 tons in Afghanistan in the past 10 years ‘despite‘ the presence of 100,000 foreign troops in the country for nearly eight years.
A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said on Wednesday that Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium that has devastating global consequences.
The UN report also noted that Afghanistan’s illegal opium production is worth 65 billion dollars.
The heroin and opium market feeds 15 million addicts, with Europe, Russia and Iran consuming half the supply, UNODC reported.
– Top US commander in Afghanistan: The Taliban have gained the upper hand:
The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict by increasing the number of troops in heavily populated areas like the volatile southern city of Kandahar, the insurgency’s spiritual home. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that means U.S. casualties, already running at record levels, will remain high for months to come.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)