Monday, July 27, 2009

Censoring in effect in Afghanistan

The Associated Press reports that the US Army will no longer report the number of Taliban killed in Afghanistan. Given that NATO troops have been found to be responsible for almost 40% of civilian deaths, the rest were killed by the Taliban, the decision to censor the number of insurgents killed in Afghanistan has probably more to do with censoring death counts, which probably includes numerous civilians in Afghanistan.

The Pakistan Army has been busy making similar announcements of eliminating Taliban in Pakistan. Independent confirmation of such claims often reveals that there were either no dead bodies to verify the count or that there were civilians amongst the dead.

On a separate note, the Afghan government is busy negotiating peace deals with some Taliban in Afghanistan. Americans are supporting the effort as well. According to spokesman in presidential palace Siamak Herawi, the Karzai government is negotiating peace deals with the Taliban in the northern Badghis province.

After condemning government of Pakistan for doing the same, why is the west supporting the Karzai government making deals with the devil?

From AP:

July 27, 2009

US military stops publicizing Taliban body count


Associated Press Writer

The U.S. military in Afghanistan has stopped releasing body counts of insurgents believed killed in operations because the tolls distract from the U.S. objective of protecting Afghans, a spokesman said Monday.

The number of insurgents killed in Afghanistan has provided a bloody scorecard for the deteriorating conflict. Attacks by Taliban fighters have risen steadily the last three years, and militants now control wide swaths of countryside.

Nearly 3,800 insurgents were killed in 2008, based on figures collected by The Associated Press. Some of those numbers came from U.S. military statements; others came from Afghan authorities. So far in 2009, more than 2,310 insurgents have been killed, according to the AP count.

The U.S. military policy on releasing insurgent body counts has changed several times during the eight-year conflict, depending on the commander in charge.

The latest decision to stop releasing body counts was made in mid-June when Gen. Stanley McChrystal took command of all U.S. and NATO troops in the country, said spokesman Col. Greg Julian.

The militant death toll "distracts from the real objectives and isn't necessary to communicate what we're trying to achieve," Julian said. "We want to separate the people from the insurgency by improving their quality of life and opportunities."

Since taking command in Afghanistan, McChrystal has said repeatedly that the military needs to protect Afghan villagers instead of chasing and killing insurgents.

Civilian deaths caused by U.S. and NATO military operations have long been a source of friction between President Hamid Karzai and the international force. Such deaths alienate Afghan villagers, causing a loss of support for the international mission and the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

The U.S. military hopes to focus more on spreading the word about military efforts to help Afghans rebuild their lives by improving access to government and economic resources, Julian said.

In northwestern Afghanistan, meanwhile, the government and a local Taliban commander agreed to a cease-fire that will allow a road construction project to move forward and presidential candidates to open offices ahead of the country's Aug. 20 election, said Seyamak Herawi, a spokesman in Karzai's office.

The agreement covers the Bala Morghab district of northwestern Badghis province, an area where the Afghan government has little or no control. The cease-fire was agreed to on Saturday and was reached with the help of tribal elders, Herawi said.

However, Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said no such agreement has been made.

"This is all propaganda by the Afghan government," he said. "We will continue our jihad and will not accept the request of the government for negotiations and cease-fire."

U.S. and NATO officials have said they expect negotiations to one day help bring about an end to the Afghan war, but that conditions are not yet right for talks to take place.


Associated Press reporter Rahim Faiez contributed to this report.

Monday, July 20, 2009

War on terror cost Pakistan $35 billion

Pakistan's foreign minister, SM Qureshi announced on July 19 that the war on terror has cost Pakistan $35 billion. How did they determine this number? Why not $40 billion or $25 billion?