It should no longer be a matter of dispute that US Special Forces in Afghanistan are responsible for an increasing number of murders, whether part of targeted extra-judicial killings or the result of bad intelligence. From the attack on a bridal shower in Gardez on February 12, 2010 that killed numerous civilians, including two pregnant women, to the growing list of executions of insurgents in the Kandahar area, Special Forces have become the US military version of death squads.
As noted in an April 25 article in The New York Times, the offensive against supposed Taliban forces in Kandahar has already commenced, with the “opening salvos of the offensive…being carried out in the shadows by Special Operations forces.” It’s as if Dick Cheney, who asserted that the US would have to operate in the shadows in prosecuting its global war on terror, is still the guiding political force behind such military operations, notwithstanding the fact that the Obama Administration has dispensed with references to the war on terror. Nonetheless, it is terror, promoted by Washington policymakers and perpetrated by Pentagon planners, that is spreading throughout Afghanistan.
On a certain level, it should not be at all surprising that military campaigns under the command of Gen. Stanley McChrystal engage in such terrorist tactics. Death squads and ethnic cleansing were part and parcel of the “surge” strategy that McChrystal oversaw in Iraq. Now, in Afghanistan, the promulgation of what’s called the Joint Prioritized Engagement List (JPEL) gives license to execute extra-judicially anyone whose name shows up on the list. If bribing or coercing Afghan tribal leaders fails to convince them that they need to align with the occupiers against indigenous insurgents, they may then be consigned to the JPEL.
While the residents of Kandahar are almost unanimous in their resistance to any US/NATO direct assault on the city, the US military is trying to erode insurgent strength by stealth attacks on the outskirts. As reported in the aforementioned article in The New York Times, McChrystal will rely on Afghan military and police forces to undertake much of the actual operation in the city itself. Given the track record of the Afghan government forces, especially in the recent Marja campaign, this may only lead to desperate US military intervention which, in turn, will lead to more civilian deaths.
Creating more enemies in the indigenous population of Afghanistan and Pakistan will obviously complicate the long-term US imperial interests in the region, whether geopolitical or economic, the latter based on guaranteeing pipeline priorities for the US and its allies in the region. China, in many respects, has been outmaneuvering the US in closing economic deals, even with the Afghan government. Thus, beyond the disaster capitalism that benefits vulture corporations like Halliburton and KBR, the US seems to be administering self-inflicted wounds with its addiction to war.
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