we need to get outta there. let em have that shit hole
I remember back when "terrorist training camps" were kind of a joke. We all knew they existed, but didn't know they would result in an event such as 9/11.
No more. Leave Afghanistan or stay, we need to forever retain the ability to strike. I like the fact that we strike in Pakistan, and I am afraid that our willingness to talk with the Taliban will lead to a false sense of security and peace which in turn will lead us right back to 9/10/01.
By Mirwais Harooni and Hamid Shalizi
KABUL | Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:38am EST
(Reuters) - Six people were shot dead and dozens wounded in protests in Afghanistan which flared for a second day on Wednesday in several cities over the burning of copies of the Koran, Islam's holy book, at NATO's main base in the country, officials said.
The American embassy said its staff were in "lockdown" and travel had been suspended as thousands of people expressed fury over the burning, a public relations disaster for U.S.-led NATO forces fighting Taliban militants ahead of the withdrawal of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.
The U.S. government and the American commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan apologized after Afghan laborers found charred copies of the Koran while collecting rubbish at the sprawling Bagram Airbase, about an hour's drive north of Kabul.
The apologies failed to contain the anger. Thousands of Afghans took to the streets again, chanting anti-American slogans and some raising white Taliban flags in the capital.
Winning the hearts and minds of Afghans is critical to efforts to defeat the Taliban. Similar incidents in the past have caused deep divisions and resentment among Afghans towards the tens of thousands of foreign troops in Afghanistan.
Seven foreign UN workers were killed during protests that raged across Afghanistan for three days in April 2011 after a U.S. pastor burned a Koran in Florida.
A senior Afghan security official, citing reports from police, told Reuters that Western security contractors working at a U.S. military camp in Kabul opened fire on protesters and wounded several.
Witness Rahimullah, 17, said his brother, Ghafar, 23, was shot by one of the contractors in the right leg when he was throwing stones during the demonstration.
"He is right now in Daoud Khan Hospital," Rahimullah said of the central Kabul hospital.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said it had ordered an investigation into the shooting.
"As a result of shooting at protesters by foreign guards at Camp Phoenix, one person was killed and 10 others were wounded," the ministry said in an emailed statement.
Later, wounded protesters along the busy Jalalabad road on the fringe of Kabul said Afghan police had fired on them.
Twenty-one people, including 11 policemen, were wounded in the capital, said Mohammad Zahir, head of Kabul police's crimes unit. They included the city police chief, Ayoub Salangi, who was hit in the ankle by a stone.
In Parwan province, home to Bagram, four people were shot dead by Afghan police and 10 were wounded while attacking offices, provincial officials and the interior ministry said.
A protester was shot dead by police in Logar province, east of the capital, the governor's spokesman, Deen Mohammad Darwish, said. Hundreds protested in front of the governor's office. Some threw stones.
Afghan health ministry spokesman Ghulam Sakhi Kargar said one person also died in hospital in Kabul from gunshot wounds received during one of two shooting incidents at protests in at least four areas of the snow-bound capital.
Critics say Western troops often fail to grasp the country's religious and cultural sensitivities. Muslims consider the Koran the literal word of God and treat each book with deep reverence.
Demonstrations by as many as 2,000 people broke out as word of the Bagram find spread.
Police said most injuries were caused by flying stones and sticks hurled by protesters. Demonstrators had charged police lines and nearby military bases at a protest on the edge of Kabul, burning tyres and smashing vehicles and building windows.
Protesters shouted "Death to America!" and "Death to (President Hamid) Karzai" as black smoke rose over a large demonstration on the outskirts of the Afghan capital.
"When the Americans insult us to this degree, we will join the insurgents," said Ajmal, an 18-year-old protester in Kabul.
Demonstrators set fire to part of a housing compound used by foreign contract workers. A Reuters witness said the fire damaged part of a guesthouse at the Green Village complex, where 1,500 mostly foreign contractors live and work.
Outrage also spilled over in the Afghan parliament, where several members shouted "death to America" inside the legislative chamber.
The protests spread to several cities.
In Jalalabad, to the east, some protesters burned U.S. flags and shouted "Death to America." Others set ablaze fuel tankers near the city's airport.
Demonstrators praised the leader of the Afghan Taliban, the secretive Mullah Mohammad Omar, screaming "Long live Mullah Omar!," Reuters witnesses said. Five people were wounded, the governor's spokesman said.
In neighboring Pakistan's largest city Karachi, around 100 Islamic seminary students protested against the Koran burnings.
"Pakistan's government should summon the American ambassador and demand an apology. And if he doesn't apologize, he should be kicked out of the country," said Abdul Basit, a protest leader.
Others took a harder line.
"No forgiveness for the descrators of the Koran," a section of the crowd shouted. "Only death."
(Additional reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman in KABUL and Imtiaz Shah in KARACHI; Writing by Rob Taylor; Editing by Michael Georgy and Ron Popeski)
For what it's worth, I doubt at this point that our military can do much to change that part of the world, since we've tried and we still know that the chaos will return as soon as out troops leave.
After 9/11, we had to deal with an intransigent governing body, the Taliban, which refused to give up Bin Laden, and which was perfectly happy to harbor him while he cooked up new atrocities. Our capacity to get them to change their minds was very limited, and therefore, we had to force them to give him up or expell him. Our way of doing that was a quick overthrow of the Taliban, followed by an attempt to impose democratic rule. This might have worked if we were prepared to spend several decades educating multiple generations of Afghans in the nuances of representative government, as we did with South Korea (which had a similar experience with tribalism, autocracy and limited contact with the modern world). However, we were not prepared to spend fifty years turning Afghanistan into South Korea, and I'm not entirely sure that we could have, given the differences between Islam and Buddhism. Failing that, we needed a quicker solution, one that removed the threat of Afghanistan as a base of operations for jihadis, but didn't entail a long occupation or commitment of boots on the ground.
The British used to identify a large minority group in a colony and train and arm it, so that it could maintain control, but whose numerical disadvantages made them dependent on the British for support. This is how the Sunni became the rulers of Iraq. However, it often backfired spectacularly, such as when they tried to support the Arab minority in Palestine against the Jews, and found themselves fomenting a civil war. This was our second attempt, but Karzai is not sufficiently effective to maintain the peace that we want.
The third option is the punitive expedition. Simply put, we could have hit the Afghans hard, destroyed as much of the country as possible in as short a time as possible, and warned them that if they messed with us again, we'd be back in force to finish the job. We'd have left the countryside in ruins and created a humanitarian disaster, but we'd also have let the world know that were were not to be trifled with. The example of this paradigm occurs throughout history, from the Greek's destruction of Troy, Alexander's destruction of Thebes, Rome's destruction of Carthage, Jerusalem and the various tribal strongholds of northern Europe, and various other atrocities. Of course, the survivors would hate us, but they would also fear us, and, as Machiavelli famously wrote, it is better to be feared than loved. Also, given the nature of our enemies, they'd have understood and expected this response, as it is what they would have done if the roles were reversed. The rest of the world would have screamed bloody murder, but let's face it, they were going to do that no matter what we did.