Anti-American protests erupted in Afghanistan for a third straight day on Thursday to protest against the burning of copies of the Koran at a US-run military base, witnesses said.
More than 600 people chanting “Death to America” marched in the Laghman provincial capital of Mihtarlam east of Kabul, while about 300 students took to the streets in the eastern city of Jalalabad, AFP journalists said.
On Wednesday at least nine demonstrators were shot dead and dozens wounded in violent protests across the war-torn country, where the United States heads a 130,000 foreign military coalition trying to put down a Taliban insurgency.
The Afghan interior ministry blamed at least one of the deaths on “foreign guards of Camp Phoenix”, a US military base in eastern Kabul attacked by protesters, but most were attributed by local officials to clashes with police.
US officials have apologised repeatedly for the burning of the Korans, which were sent to an incinerator pit at the Bagram airbase north of Kabul.
[…]“When the bomber blew himself up, the explosion shook everything,” Mr Sayedi said. “It broke glass everywhere.”
Three hotel guards were killed and 10 others, including an Afghan policeman, were wounded, he said. Foreigners staying at the two-storey hotel escaped through the rear of the building, he said. The inn burned and several nearby buildings were damaged.
“We heard a very big explosion that shook all of Kunduz,” said Ahmadullah, a 30-year-old shopkeeper in Kunduz, who lives about 10 yards from the building. “It was a very strong explosion.”
Ahmadullah, who uses just one name, said he and his family ran out of the neighbourhood to a relative’s house nearby. Worried that they were still too close to the fighting, they moved even farther away to seek protection in another relative’s house.
“All my children were so scared,” he said. “We have never been so close to a suicide bombing.”…
Noam Chomsky of MIT discusses the Green Movement in relation to the regional politics of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and the United States of America.
A US-led airstrike has targeted a house in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 13 civilians, including eight children, police officials say.
According to police officials, the US-led forces carried out the aerial attack on Wednesday in Khost Province, east the war-ravaged country, a Press TV correspondent reported on Thursday.
Those killed included eight children, two women and three men. Children have increasingly fallen victim to US-led operations in Afghanistan over the past months.
Following the US-led military attack, a large crowd of Afghans held an angry protest rally against the foreign forces.
Earlier, a NATO air attack killed two children in Ghazni province. Afghan people held an angry protest against the US-led forces in the country.
In early March, a US-led air strike claimed the lives of nine children, aged between seven and nine, in Darah-Ye Pech district in Kunar province in northeast Afghanistan.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the US-led airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of Afghanistan over the past few months, with Afghans becoming increasingly outraged over the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults.
Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the Afghan government and US-led foreign forces. The loss of civilian lives at the hands of foreign forces has drastically raised anti-American sentiments in Afghanistan.
The surge in violence in the country comes despite the presence of nearly 150,000 foreign troops that claim to be engaged in a so-called war on terror.
The US-led war in Afghanistan, with civilian and military casualties at record highs, has become the longest war in the US history.
هذه اللقطات أصابتني في مقتل تقريبا @Guardian Afghanistan, 2009 Adam Ferguson: ‘As a photographer, you feel helpless. Around you are medics, security personnel, people doing good work. It can be agonisingly painful to think that all you’re doing is taking pictures.’ Photograph: Adam Ferguson/VII Network
Adam Ferguson, Afghanistan, 2009
I was one of the first on the scene. The Afghan security forces normally shut down a suicide bombing like this pretty quickly. I was able to get to the epicentre of the explosion. It was carnage, there were bodies, flames were coming out of the buildings. I remember feeling very scared because there was still popping and hissing and small explosions, and the building was collapsing. It was still very fresh and there was a risk of another bomb. It was one of those situations where you have to put fear aside and focus on the job at hand: to watch the situation and document it.
This woman was escorted out of the building and round this devastated street corner. It epitomised the whole mood – this older woman caught in the middle of this ridiculous, tragic event. I wish I could have found out how her life unravelled, but as soon as the scene was locked down, I ran back to the office to file.
As a photographer, you feel helpless. Around you are medics, security personnel, people doing good work. It can be agonisingly painful to think that all you’re doing is taking pictures.
When I won a World Press award for this photograph, I felt sad. People were congratulating me and there was a celebration over this intense tragedy that I had captured. I reconciled it by deciding that more people see a story when a photographer’s work is decorated.
Source: The shot that nearly killed me: War photographers – a special report
In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq citing two justifications: to depose Saddam Hussein and to destroy Iraq’s banned weapons program. Within a year, Hussein and his accomplices were imprisoned, and it had been discovered there was no Iraqi banned weapons program. Having achieved its goals, why didn’t the United States leave? Seven years later, this question haunts the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
In 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan, citing two justifications: to find Osama bin Laden, and break up al Qaeda. Bin Laden is now dead, and al Qaeda broken.
So why doesn’t the United States leave?
By autumn, American forces will have spent a full decade in Afghanistan — conducting patrols, bombing the heinous, bombing the innocent. The United States has roughly 100,000 soldiers and air crew in Afghanistan, almost as many as the peak force in Iraq. The U.S. presence in Afghanistan constrains the Taliban, and the Taliban are an awful group. But the Taliban are a central Asian problem afflicting Afghanistan and Pakistan — their existence does not in any way threaten the United States’ national interest.
Having fulfilled its goals in Afghanistan, why doesn’t the United States leave?