The events in Afghanistan are so horrific it is hard to imagine anything worse being perpetrated against the people. But like out of some futuristic horror film the agony for the Afghanis is not yet over. The grim statistics of the consequences of the most recent illegal war are filtering out now, as are the stories about the fate of the Afghanis left behind.

Those labelled "illegal combatants" were gathered up, shaved and imprisoned. Then hoods were thrown over their heads and they were shackled, drugged and transported 27 hours by air from their isolated homeland to the outskirts of America - Communist Cuba and a prison called "Camp X-Ray". There they were dressed in orange jumpsuits and placed in 6' X 8' cages made of chain-link-fencing placed on concrete slabs with metal roofs. They bake under the sunshine or get soaked when it rains. They'll be tried in secret by a special military tribunal.

Back home in Afghanistan the survivors are surrounded by the aftermath of the bombing perpetrated on them during Operation Enduring Freedom, as described in a Massacusetts think-tank study excerpted below:

[begin quoting]

~ USA bombing killed civilians at a rate four times higher than the NATO bombardment of Kosovo and Serbia three years ago.

~ Half as many bombs were dropped in the campaign to drive the Taliban from power as in the effort to oust Slobodan Milosevic, but civilian casualties were higher because of an increased use of so-called "dumb bombs".

~ More than 12,000 bombs were dropped over Afghanistan in 4,700 sorties between Oct 7 and Dec 10, and between 1,000 and 1,300 civilians were killed.

~ In contrast NATO warplanes dropped 23,000 bombs in 13,000 sorties in the 78-day Yugoslavian campaign in 1999, which killed about 500 civilians.

~ The death toll of civilians in Afghanistan contradicts the notion that the campaign has been cleaner than earlier missions. "Despite the adulation of Operation Enduring Freedom as a finely tuned or bull's-eye war, the campaign failed to set a new standard for accuracy" says co-director of the study.

~ Decisions to strike al-Queda and Taliban leaders in their houses meant the targeting of residential areas in which there was little margin for error.

~ The Pentagon switched from precision, laser-guided bombs to munitions guided by a Global Positioning System. GPS bombs are much cheaper than laser-guided weapons, can be used more reliably in all weather conditions and launched from greater distances - BUT they are less accurate.

~ 40% of the 12,000 bombs that hit Afghanistan were GPS-directed and 20% were laser-guided. The remaining 40% were "dumb bombs", such as the 500-pound munitions dropped by B-52s.

~ In the Kosovo campaign two-thirds of the bombs dropped by NATO forces were laser-guided and only one-third were unguided. As well, four 15,000-pound "daisy-cutter" bombs have been used in Afghanistan while none were used in the Balkans.

~ The Pentagon swapped accuracy for the sake of economy. In addition, the emphasis by planners on hitting "emerging targets," such as columns of Taliban fighters, led pilots to rely on "dumb bombs" that did not require crews to take the time to derive the input GPS co-ordinates or to train lasers on a target in order to guide bombs.

[end quoting Globe and Mail, Jan 19, 2002]

Orwellian themes and news stories about Afghanistan are included in this section of Orwell Today.

Fears for children in Afghan cold (28,000 people at risk). BBC, Feb 18, 2005


Nauru hunger strike a tragedy (Afghan men sew lips together; 280 asylum seekers including 93 children). Sydney Herald, Dec 22, 2003. Go to CANADA REJECTS NAURU REFUGEES

Soldiers playing Santa in Afghanistan (hand out shoe boxes of trinkets to destitute of war-ravaged nation)., Dec 20, 2003
Canadians hand out 2,000 Christmas gift boxes to impoverished Afghan children at one of poorest refugee camps in Afghanistan at the hillside camp in Kabul, where internally displaced people, or IDPs as they are known, live destitute lives in makeshift housing. Shoeboxes filled with toys, candy, toothpaste and other toiletries - were quickly snatched by children and parents alike...Roughly 8,000 people live on the hillside, many in tents made from discarded plastic sheeting, with no heat or clean drinking water and little food. One widow, who collected boxes for her five children, said they'll each get a toy, but the rest would be sold in Kabul to buy food. "We will keep some of these things for us, for our children, and some of them will be sold downtown for some money," said Bibi Gul, whose husband was killed by mujahedeen militia during Afghanistan's last civil war. "You see my house - it is a piece of plastic on the hill. We have lived here for more than a year with no heat, no food," she said through an interpreter...Operation Christmas Child has been collecting shoebox gifts for needy children worldwide for more than a decade. Six million children in 95 countries received boxes last year - 740,000 of which came from Canada...For some of the soldiers distributing the boxes, there was joy amid the frenzy..."It feels good. I'm glad I'm here," said one soldier who didn't want to be identified as he tried to keep up with the children's reaching hands. "This kind of stuff actually makes the tour worthwhile."

FEEDING FREEDOM'S FOES (instead of grain embargo to USSR)

3,000 troops to Afghanistan & Bosnia (to fight non-existent enemy). National Post, Jun 28, 2003. Go to 12.Ministry of Peace (War) & ARMY TO AFGHANISTAN & BOSNIA? & OPIUM WARS WITHIN

Guantanamo for "worst of the worst" (101-yr old Afghani man). London Independent, Nov 5, 2002 (and 16-yr old Canadian boy). Aussie News, Nov 5, 2002. Go to 39.Interrogation & Torture & 34.Ministry of Love

More Guantanamo suicide attempts (slit wrists with plastic forks). Orlando Sentinel, Oct 3, 2002. Go to 7.Systems of Thought


~ IN AFGHAN FIELDS, poem by Jackie Jura

Afghan opium at record levels., Sep 17, 2002

Afghan valley yields bitter crop (farmers yearn for land laid waste by war). Toronto Star, Mar 4, 2002.

Kabul damaged in powerful quake (7.2 magnitude - shook 5 countries). Washington Post, Mar 4, 2002.

Analysis: How thermobaric bombs work. BBC, Mar 4, 2002

USA uses new 'thermobaric' bomb in Afghanistan (causes extensive damage far beyond strike area). Yahoo! AFP, Mar 3, 2002

In Cuba, prisoners get lesson in women's rights (It's "yes miss, no miss, may I please miss"). National Post, Jan 22, 2002

British fear for detainee rights (USA says treatment same as any American would get). National Post, Jan 21, 2002

Afghanistan civilian toll notably high (500-lb 'dumb bombs' & 15,000-lb 'daisy cutters' blamed). Globe and Mail, Jan 19, 2002. Go to 13.Weapons

USA defends handling of Afghan captives (6'x8' cages fall below minimum for humane treatment). BBC News, Jan 19, 2002. Go to 7. Systems of Thought

Hundreds massacred, hospitals, mosques destroyed. PakNews, Dec 10, 2001

USA bombs fall on anti-Taliban region (hundreds of starving civilians killed). New Zealand Herald, Dec 04, 2001

USA drops 7-tonne bombs on Afghanistan (destroys internal organs within 600-metre range and sends psychological message). National Post, Nov 7, 2001

Out of classroom, into trenches (12 yr old boy carries shells to gunners). National Post, Oct 23, 2001

Afghans claim village flattened by US air raid (200 innocents killed in firestorm on mud huts) National Post, Oct 15, 2001

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~