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Afghanistan War Weekly: October 4, 2010


As we begin the 10th year of the war against Afghanistan, the epicenter of the war shifts to Pakistan, where multiple crises raise doubts about US policy and, indeed, the longevity of civilian rule there. Pakistan’s affliction by floods and its deep economic problems would be enough to destabilize most governments. Now a succession of events, most immediately the escalation of US drone attacks inside Pakistan, has brought US-Pakistan relations to their highest level of tension since the start of the war. Last week’s US cross-border attack on Pakistan soldiers, Pakistan’s closing of one of the two main transportation routes for supplies entering Afghanistan, and now the torching of approximately NATO 50 fuel delivery trucks waiting to cross the border are the most recent signs that all is not well.

Among the immediate questions are: Has the United States decided to send substantial numbers of ground troops over the Pakistan border? Will the United States try to gain greater control of the supply operation inside Pakistan? Will the current Pakistan government sustain its resistance to US aggression and demand that the US and its drones stay out? Is the announced return of former President, General, and Dictator Musharraf orchestrated with/by the Pakistan military? And where does the Pakistan military stand in relation to the growing tensions with the United States?

There has been little news about the US offensive in and around Kandahar this week, but there have been further developments exposing the corruption of the Karzai family, and there is more evidence that the recent parliamentary election was very corrupt. Articles on both these topics are linked below, as are articles on the coming winter food crisis in Afghanistan and the difficulties in controlling supply routes inside Afghanistan, a problem that is likely to be made worse with the shutting down of private security companies, which began this past week.

Also, in addition to the several excellent articles linked below under “featured essays,” I especially recommend the several articles in our new section, “Damaged Soldiers, Broken Army”; a new estimate from Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes raising the likely cost of the Afghanistan war to as much as $6 trillion; and closer looks at the US position on negotiating with the Taliban by Gareth Porter and Robert Dreyfuss.

Once again, if you find this newsletter useful, I would appreciate your help in expanding circulation. I would also appreciate suggestions about good articles to link here, and also comments (pro & con) that would help to make this newsweekly better. My email is fbrodhead@aol.com. This “issue” and some previous editions of the Afghanistan War Weekly are posted on the websites of United for Peace and Justice (http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=4111) and War is a Crime (www.afterdowningstreet.org/aww).

----Frank Brodhead, Concerned Families of Westchester (NY)

FEATURED ESSAYS

Hidden Wounds: Military, community not ready for wave of damaged soldiers

By Jennifer Calhoun, Fayetteville Observer [September 30, 2010]
---- Fort Bragg Spc. John Brack is broken. He's a backwoods Georgia boy who joined the Army and became a combat medic to save people. Now, he's so swallowed up by post-traumatic stress disorder that he has only one real emotion left for the world: anger. The rest, he says, he fakes. Brack is one of thousands of service members suffering from the hidden wounds of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. No one can say just how many Fort Bragg soldiers are fighting their own battles with PTSD, depression or other lingering effects of combat. No one knows how many will stay in Fayetteville and the surrounding area after their service. What is clear is that the community - military and civilian - isn't ready to provide all the resources that damaged soldiers and broken families will need. http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2010/09/30/1034698?sac=Mil

Time to Repeal Congress' Blank Check on Wars

By Barbara Lee, San Francisco Chronicle [September 30, 2010]

---- Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress passed a joint resolution broadly authorizing the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against those involved in attacking our nation and to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States. … So I have introduced bipartisan legislation for Congress to sunset and repeal the "Authorization for the Use of Military Force" over a six-month period. The repeal of the act is about Congress restoring its constitutional prerogative in determining and defining the commitments of our country while at war. Anything less does a disservice to our military service members, our nation, and our democracy. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/30-3

How Wartime Torture Can Turn into a Life of Domestic Violence

By Ann Jones, AlterNet

The following is an excerpt from Ann Jones' War Is Not Over When It's Over: Women Speak Out from the Ruins of War (Metropolitan Books, 2010):

---- I am here to listen. I listen to what people like Ahmad and Azhar tell me about war and the violence that attends it because my own life -- the only life I can know firsthand, and even that imperfectly -- has been darkened by war. That war is now commemorated with paper poppies, the Great War, in which my father served with uncommon distinction and from which he returned a hero, irrevocably changed, subject to nightmares and sudden rages and drunken assaults upon innocent furniture and my mother and me, and tearful reconciliations we were not permitted to reject. I watch the BBC coverage of the distant ritual of Armistice Day and see many people, mostly women, advanced well beyond middle age, weeping with remembrance. http://www.alternet.org/books/148325/

(Video) “War Is Not Over When It’s Over: Women and the Unseen Consequences of Conflict"

From Democracy Now [September 30, 2010] – 15 minutes

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/9/30/ann_jones_on_war_is_not

The War Addicts: 2016 and Then Some

By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch [October 01, 2010]

---- When, on December 1, 2009, Barack Obama addressed the cadets of West Point and, through them, the rest of us to announce the second surge of his presidency, he was at least able to slip in a date to begin a drawdown of U.S. forces. Hardly a nanosecond passed, however, before — first "on background" and soon enough in public — administration spokespeople rushed to reassure the rest of Washington that such a transfer would be "conditions based." Given conditions there since 2001, not exactly a reassuring statement. … Forever war is in their blood, so much so that they’re ready to face down the commander-in-chief, if necessary, to make it continue. This is really the definition of an addiction — not to victory, but to the state of war itself. http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2010/09/30/the-war-addicts/

Pakistan's deadly robots in the sky

By Graeme Smith, Globe and Mail [Canada] [October 1, 2010]

---- Anxious villagers are on constant lookout for the Predator drones circling Pakistan's tribal areas. Buzzing robots sail through the sky, and nobody sleeps. Poor villagers spend their meager savings on pills; at night they swallow sedatives and in the morning they take anti-depressants. They sweep their rooms and courtyards every couple of hours, trying to purge their homes of microchips. Nobody has seen the tiny chips - some say they're invisible to the naked eye, others say the electric filaments are fine enough to be woven into cloth. Every garment is suspect, every speck of dust. This is how people live in the tribal areas of Pakistan, far below the unblinking eyes of U.S. Predator drones that hunt this region for terrorists. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/asia-pacific/pakistans-deadly-...

THE WAR IN WASHINGTON

Study: Wars could cost $4 trillion to $6 trillion

By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes [September 29, 2010]

---- The authors of the book "The $3 Trillion War" noted in a conference call on Wednesday that when they first released their findings two years ago, the estimates were widely criticized as being too high. Now, the researchers believe they may have been too low. Joseph Stiglitz, who received the 2000 Nobel Prize for Economics, and Linda Bilmes, a public policy professor at Harvard University, said the number of veterans seeking post-combat medical care and the cost of treating those individuals is about 30 percent higher than they initially estimated. That, combined with increases in the cost of military medical care and the lagging economy, will likely push the true long-term cost of the war over the $4 trillion mark.

http://www.stripes.com/blogs/stripes-central/stripes-central-1.8040/stud...

Senator Concerned by Commanders’ Comments on Afghanistan Timeline

From Congressional Quarterly [October 2010]

---- The Senate’s top defense-policy Democrat called out military commanders Friday for inserting “ambiguity” into what he believes is the president’s unambiguous intent to begin reducing U.S. force levels in Afghanistan in July 2011. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told a crowd at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington that despite President Obama’s intent, in his view, to stand by the July 2011 date, “there has been some fraying at the edges, some efforts to reduce the certainty of the president’s order.” At the heart of Levin’s comments is his concern that pressure will continue to mount on the president to weaken his stance on setting such a date. http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=cqmidday-000003746669

US pressing India to buy US military hardware

From Agence France Press [October 1, 2010]

---- The United States has stepped up pressure on India to buy US military hardware worth up to 11 billion dollars, ahead of President Barack Obama’s first state visit to the country, a report said Friday. Washington’s hopes of achieving a big commercial "deliverable" from Obama's visit next month are now pinned on a fighter jet deal, the Financial Times said, basing its report on unnamed sources. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Robert Gates have pressed Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony to opt for US bids to supply over 100 multi-combat fighter aircraft to India, the paper said. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i8pm46-BcJNGUzfyZgmTi...

More from/about Bob Woodward’s “Obama’s Wars”
Biden warned Obama during Afghan war review not to get 'locked into Vietnam'

The second of three articles adapted from "Obama's Wars" by Bob Woodward. [September 28, 2010]

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/27/AR201009...

'We need to make clear . . . the cancer is in Pakistan'

This is the third of three articles adapted from "Obama's Wars," [September 29, 2010]

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/28/AR201009...

See also: Ray McGovern, “Obama's Men: Innocents Abroad, Politicos at Home,” Counterpunch [October 1, 2010] http://www.counterpunch.org/mcgovern10012010.html; and Jeff Stein, “CIA hired Karzai brother before 9/11, Woodward says,” Washington Post [September 2010]

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/09/cia_hired_karzai_brother...

USEFUL FACTS ABOUT THE WAR
US Casualties

---- 42 US soldiers and 17 soldiers from other Coalition countries were killed in September, bringing the number of US soldiers killed in 2010 to 364. The total number of US deaths in Afghanistan is now 1,311, and the total number of Coalition deaths is 2,128. The number of US soldiers wounded in July 2010 (the latest figures available) was 576, the highest monthly total so far. This brings the total US wounded since the war began to 7,266. To learn more go to www.icasualties.org.

Afghanistan Casualties

---- Between January 1 and June 30, 2010, 1,271 civilians were killed and 1,997 injured. This brings the total number of civilians killed since January 1, 2007 to 7,324. Between January 1 and June 30, 2010, 214 members of the Afghan National Army were killed, bringing the total killed since January 1, 2007 to 1,043. Between January 1 and June 30, 2010, 289 members of the Afghan National Police were killed, bringing the total killed since January 1, 2007 to 2,340. From Susan G. Chesser, “Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians,” Congressional Research Service [August 11, 2010] http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R41084.pdf, where the sources for the figures can be found.

According to the Afghanistan Ministry of the Interior, during the past six months 1,119 civilians were killed and 2,473 were wounded, while 959 police were killed and 2,473 were wounded. The Ministry claimed 4,012 insurgent attacks during the six-month period. Also, 3,098 insurgents were killed, 2,800 were arrested, and 632 were wounded. [FB - The “killed” to “wounded” insurgent ratio raises some questions.] http://www.juancole.com/2010/09/afghan-villagers-demonstrate-against-us-...

Pakistan Casualties

---- According to an on-going study by the New America Foundation, the United States has launched 78 drone strikes in northwest Pakistan this year, bringing the total number of such strikes since 2004 to 174. The study states that between 1,166 and 1,790 people have been killed, according to “reliable press accounts.” Of these, the study estimates that two-thirds of the deaths have been “militants” and about one-third were “civilians.” NB the “estimating” and labeling is usually done by local government and/or military personnel; local civilians often give much higher numbers for civilian deaths. The study can be read at http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones

The Cost of the War

---- According to the website www.costofwar.com, expenditures on the Afghanistan war have reached $338.8 billion, and the total for both wars is $1.089 trillion. For a useful resource on the costs of war, go to “Bring Our War $$ Home” at www.bringourwardollarshome.org/index.html

Public opinion about the war in Afghanistan

---- Nearly six in 10 Americans continue to oppose the war in Afghanistan amid a growing pessimism about the situation the United States faces in that country, according to a new national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that 44 percent of the public believes things are going well for the United States in Afghanistan, down from 55 percent in March.

According to the poll, 58 percent of Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan. [September 29, 2010] http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/09/29/afghanistan.poll/

---- The majority 54% of Americans think the U.S. should not be involved in Afghanistan, while only 38% think it should. 55% of Americans think things are going badly for the U.S. in Afghanistan, while 38% believe things are going well. The poll results represented the highest level of opposition to the U.S. war, and lowest level of support, measured by the poll in the 5 times the question was asked beginning one year ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_public_opinion_on_the_war_in_...

DAMAGED SOLDIERS, BROKEN ARMY
Army's largest base reeling from four apparent suicides in one weekend

By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN [September 29, 2010]

---- Four soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas died over the week. In all four cases, it appears the soldiers, all decorated veterans from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, took their own lives. If confirmed as suicides, it would be on top of 14 other suicides on the base this year. http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/09/29/texas.fort.hood.deaths/index.html

Surge in Military Suicides Tops Pentagon's 'Emergency' Issues

By Paul Bedard, [September 29, 2010]

---- A dramatic surge in troop suicides has become the Pentagon's top "emergency" issue, though the brass doesn't know how to curb the tragedies. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that while suicides have been on the rise since 2004, the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, they have really jumped recently, forcing he and his top aides to look for a solution. http://politics.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2010/9/29/surg...

See also: Mark Benjamin, "Everyone just wants to kill people at any cost," Salon.com [October 1, 2010] http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/10/01/facebook_messages...

Charlie Savage, “Case of Accused Soldiers May Be Worst of 2 Wars,” New York Times [October 3, 2010] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/04/us/04soldiers.html?hp

THE WAR IN KABUL
U.S. Tactics Toward Karzai's Brothers Diverge

By Adam Entous, et al., Wall Street Journal [September 27, 2010]

---- While federal prosecutors in New York try to build a corruption case against Afghan President Hamid Karzai's elder brother, Mahmood Karzai, U.S. officials are still wrestling with how to deal with another sibling—the powerful Ahmed Wali Karzai. …The different tactics the U.S. is using to deal with the president's two most influential brothers reflect an evolving approach to tackling corruption in Afghanistan. American officials say some high-profile abuses will be dealt with quietly while others, deemed more damaging to the war effort, will be pursued head-on. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870369420457551829111283051...

Afghan poll body declares thousands more votes invalid

From Agence France Press [October 2, 2010]

---- Afghanistan's electoral body Sunday cancelled thousands more votes cast in last month's parliamentary poll due to evidence of fraud. Head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) Fazil Ahmad Manawi said, "overall, 141 polling centres have been invalidated so far and the votes of 202 other centres from different provinces will be reviewed," he said. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gRVR_1IzwToso00Xx9RnQ...

UN: Pakistan floods curb food aid to Afghanistan

By Heidi Vogt, Associated Press [October 4, 2010]

---- Pakistan's devastating floods have interrupted delivery of food aid to neighboring Afghanistan that would have fed about a million people this winter, the U.N. World Food Program said Monday. Many people in rural areas of impoverished, war-ravaged Afghanistan risk starvation, and the poorest subsist on bread and tea through the long, harsh winter. The World Food Program normally tries to move its aid there in autumn, before winter weather blocks mountain roads for months. …About 80 percent of the agency's food aid for Afghanistan typically passes through Pakistan. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101004/ap_on_re_as/as_afghan_food_aid_short...

Afghan wrestles with protecting NATO supply routes

Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy Newspapers [October 4, 2010]

---- Afghanistan's top security officials are urging President Hamid Karzai to establish a new military-run trucking system to take control of critical NATO supply routes now protected by a rag-tag network of unsavory private security firms slated to be disbanded by year's end. With the Karzai-imposed deadline looming to shutter the nation’s private convoy protection companies, Afghanistan officials told McClatchy Newspapers on Sunday that they are calling the creation of a new state-run military brigade equipped with its own trucks and thousands of soldiers to ferry essential NATO supplies around the country. But Afghan leaders have yet to figure out how to confront the most vexing issue facing Afghan supply routes: How to co-opt powerful local highway barons who alternatively protect and attack NATO convoys depending on whether or not they are paid to look after the supply routes. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/10/03/101527/afghan-wrestles-with-protec...

See also: Heidi Vogt and Rahim Faiez, “Afghan starts to close private security firms,” Associated Press [October 3, 2010] http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101003/ap_on_re_as/as_afghanistan/print; and Waheedullah Massoud, “Afghanistan bans foreign security firms,” Agence France Press [October 3, 2010] http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101003/wl_asia_afp/afghanistanunrestsecuri...

U.S. tax money goes to Taliban

By Colum Lynch, Turtlebay [September 30, 2010]

---- A prominent U.S. contractor in Afghanistan may have inadvertently funneled millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer dollars to Taliban insurgents in the form of bribes and protection money, according to a review by the inspector general of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/09/30/us_tax_money_goes_to...

See also: Jean Mackenzie, ”Funding the Afghan Taliban,” Global Post [August 7, 2009]

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/taliban/funding-the-taliban

Afghan colonel vital to U.S. despite graft allegations

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post [October 4, 2010]

---- U.S. officials say Razziq, who is illiterate and just 32, presides over a vast corruption network that skims customs duties, facilitates drug trafficking and smuggles other contraband. But, he also has managed to achieve a degree of security here that has eluded U.S. troops elsewhere in the country: His force of 3,000 uniformed policemen and several thousand militiamen pursue the Taliban so relentlessly that Spin Boldak has become the safest and most prosperous district in southern Afghanistan. Despite the allegations of graft, which he denies, Razziq represents the Obama administration's best hope for maintaining stability in this important part of Afghanistan. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/03/AR201010...

NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE ARMED OPPOSITION
Petraeus Cites Karzai-Taliban Peace Talks, While American Troops Escalate War

By Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation [September 28, 2010]

---- It's hard to know what to make of General Petraeus's announcement yesterday that senior Taliban officials are engaged in negotiations with President Karzai…. Everything else about American policy in Afghanistan suggests an effort to upset or derail a political settlement. At the same time the talks are taking place, US forces have drastically stepped-up the bombing of Pakistan's tribal areas. … Most worryingly, Petraeus also issued "veiled warnings," according to the Times, that American ground forces might cross the border, too, representing essentially an invasion of Pakistan by the United States. http://www.thenation.com/print/blog/155046/petraeus-cites-karzai-taliban...

US Still Taking a Hard Line on Peace Talks with Taliban

By Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service [October 1, 2010]

---- Following serious setbacks to the U.S. military’s war plan in Afghanistan, the Barack Obama administration has taken the first tentative step toward a negotiated settlement of the conflict by actively seeking to ascertain the willingness of the Taliban to enter into negotiations, according to a source familiar with the administration’s thinking about the issue. But the administration is still sticking to demands on the Taliban that it knows are not realistic, in a manner that is strikingly similar to the demands stated publicly by the United States in the early stage of the Vietnam War. Obama has yet to make a crucial political decision to separate a military settlement with the Taliban from the negotiation of a settlement between the Taliban and the Hamid Karzai government, according to the source. http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2010/10/01/us-still-taking-a-hard-lin...

See also: Carlotta Gall, “Karzai Names Peace Panel for Taliban Negotiations,” New York Times [September 29, 2010] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/29/world/asia/29afghan.html?ref=world; and Sayed Salahuddin, “Taliban reject Karzai's peace council as "failed,” Reuters [September 30, 2010]

http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE68T2O620100930,

THE WAR ON THE GROUND

U.S. struggles to counter Taliban propaganda

By Ernesto Londoño, Washington Post [October 1, 2010]
---- The Taliban in recent months has developed increasingly sophisticated and nimble propaganda tactics that have alarmed U.S. officials struggling to curb the militant group's growing influence across Afghanistan. U.S. officials and Afghan analysts say the Taliban has become adept at portraying the West as being on the brink of defeat, at exploiting rifts between Washington and Kabul and at disparaging the administration of President Hamid Karzai as a "puppet" state with little reach outside the capital. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/01/AR201010...

NATO says it captures more Afghan insurgent leaders; 438 militants detained in September

Eric Talmadge, Associated Press [October 1, 2010]

---- NATO said more than 438 suspected insurgents were detained in September, and 114 insurgents killed. NATO said security forces last month captured or killed more than 105 Haqqani Network and Taliban leaders, including shadow governors, leaders, sub-leaders and weapons facilitators. http://wire.antiwar.com/2010/10/01/nato-claims-insurgent-captures-2-roma...

THE KANDAHAR OFFENSIVE
Thousands of Afghans displaced by fighting

By Nasrat Shoaib, Agence France Press [September 29, 2010]

---- Hundreds of families have been displaced by fierce clashes in southern Afghanistan as NATO-led forces fight to eradicate the Taliban from the militants' heartland, officials said Wednesday. People are fleeing insurgent-infested districts around Kandahar city as Afghan and US-led NATO forces step up military operations against the Taliban, said the director of Kandahar's refugee department, Mohammad Azim Nawabi. "More than 900 families have arrived from Arghandab and Zhari districts to Kandahar city in the past month." http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100929/wl_sthasia_afp/afghanistanunrestref...

CIVILIAN CASUALTIES

(Video) Afghans say civilians died in raid

From AlJazeeraEnglish [September 28, 2010] – 2 minutes

---- Residents of village in Laghman Province say they fired on NATO forces in self-defense during the Sunday raid. http://www.youtube.com/aljazeeraenglish#p/u/79/jiI-TdJwSjA

'Afghan children' die in Nato raid

From Aljazeera English [September 29, 2010]

---- A Nato raid in Afghanistan's eastern Ghazni province has killed four children and wounded three adults, an Afghan official has said. Sher Khan Yousafzai, the chief of Andar district, said helicopter-borne Nato forces fired on the locals in an orchard near one of the district's towns. …Wednesday's incident comes days after Nato was accused of killing 13 civilians in Laghman province on Sunday. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/09/2010929114014622446.html

US Apologizes for Checkpoint Killings

By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [October 03, 2010]

---- NATO is scrambling to do damage control tonight after a number of weekend incidents led to the deaths of Afghan civilians, including several children. US troops killed two civilians, including an eight-year-old girl in a shooting in Logar Province, while NATO air strikes in the Helmand Province killed another three civilians and wounded a number of children. NATO troops also shot and killed a child in Kandahar Province. All told 13 civilians were killed over the weekend in a series of attacks by both NATO and Taliban forces. http://news.antiwar.com/2010/10/03/nato-kills-afghan-children-in-several...

THE GENERAL CRISIS IN PAKISTAN

Pakistan government on rocky ground amid flooding, terrorism, plummeting economy

By Karin Brulliard and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post [September 29, 2010]

---- CIA Director Leon Panetta met in Islamabad with Pakistan's intelligence chief Wednesday amid a month-long escalation in U.S. air attacks against insurgent strongholds and new reports of Pakistan-based terror plots against the West. The attacks have added to political tension in Pakistan, where the fragile civilian government is staggering under domestic criticism of its response to floods that have left millions homeless and threats by the Supreme Court to reopen corruption cases against high-level officials. U.S. and Pakistani officials dismissed speculation that the military, which has ruled Pakistan for much of its 63-year history, is contemplating a takeover. But Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the chief of staff of the Pakistani army, …forcefully demanded that the government crack down on corruption, take control of the plummeting economy and improve its faltering response to the flood disaster. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/29/AR201009...

Malaria threatens 2 million in Pakistan as floodwaters turn stagnant

Declan Walsh, The Guardian [UK] [October 3, 2010]

---- More than 2m cases of malaria are expected in Pakistan in the coming months in the wake of the country's devastating floods, aid workers have warned. Two months into the crisis, large areas remain submerged in southern Sindh province, creating stagnant pools of standing water that, combined with the heat, are powerful incubators of a disease spread by mosquitoes that breed and hatch in the pools.

More than 250,000 cases of suspected malaria, including some of the fatal falciparum strain, have been reported, according to the World Health Organisation. Aid agency Plan International worries the figure will surpass 2m. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/03/pakistan-malaria-floods

Conflict/Tension with the US

Pakistan won't act against the Taliban

By Patrick Cockburn, The Independent [UK] [October 3, 2010]

---- Pakistan has highlighted the hold it has over the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan by stopping their supply trucks from crossing the Afghan frontier. The ban is in retaliation for US helicopters making an attack on the Pakistani side of the border and killing three Pakistani soldiers. The US is making a somewhat desperate attempt to close down the Afghan Taliban's bases on the Pakistani side of its 2,500km-long border with Afghanistan. The US military's hope of a year ago that a surge in troop numbers inside Afghanistan would turn the tide in the guerrilla war is fading fast. The Taliban have extended their grip in the north and west of the country. The one option left to America and its allies is to try to force the Pakistan army to act decisively against the Taliban in Pakistan. It is not going to happen. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/patrick-cockburn-pakis...

Pakistan Lodges Official Protest Over US Incursion

By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [September 27, 2010]

---- Pakistan’s government lodged an official protest today over yesterday’s brief US invasion of its tribal regions, a raid by US attack helicopters which left at least 60 “suspects” dead and large numbers of Pakistanis outraged. Though the Zardari government has regularly shrugged off CIA drone strikes against its territory, the invasion of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with military hardware is something else entirely, and the rare occasions in which this has happened in the past have sparked considerable anger. Though the US at the time claimed it has an “agreement” with the Pakistani government about such incursions, the nation’s Foreign Office insists there has never been such a deal and that it considers the attack a violation of its sovereignty. The victims of the attack were, according to NATO officials, believed to be the same people responsible for an attack earlier in the day in the Khost Province of Afghanistan. Khost borders Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency, a common target of US drone strikes. http://news.antiwar.com/2010/09/27/pakistan-lodges-official-protest-over...

See also: Karen DeYoung and Karin Brulliard, “U.S. tense over Pakistan,” Washington Post [September 30, 2010] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/30/AR201009... Julius Cavendish, “Pakistan anger as cross-border raids kill up to 60 militants,” [September 28, 2010]

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/pakistan-anger-as-crossbord...

NATO Strike Fuels Pakistani Backlash

By Matthew Rosenberg and Zahid Hussein, Wall Street Journal [October 1, 2010]

---- Coalition helicopter gunships fired on targets inside Pakistan for the third time in a week, suggesting a new willingness by allied forces in Afghanistan to strike at insurgents across the border and raising new tensions with Pakistani allies. Thursday's airstrike killed three Pakistani border guards and brought a swift and angry response: Pakistan promptly closed a key border crossing for trucks carrying nonlethal supplies to coalition forces in landlocked Afghanistan, and Pakistani officials openly questioned their often strained alliance with the U.S. … Of more immediate concern to officials on both sides of the border was what appeared to be rising tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan after a week of helicopter attacks across the mountainous, often ill-demarcated frontier. U.S. and allied military officials in Afghanistan, who only months ago were urging patience with Pakistan, have recently become more hawkish in their private statements about Taliban havens inside the South Asian nation's tribal areas, saying they are more of a problem than previously thought. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870411600457552311101570512...

For a good map of Afghanistan supply routes inside Pakistan, go to: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/49347000/gif/_49347055_pak_afgh_co...

See also: Juan Cole, “28 More US Fuel Trucks Set Ablaze in Pakistan, 6 Killed, as Convoy Boycott Continues,” Informed Comment [October 4, 2010] http://www.juancole.com/2010/10/8802.html

Will the General Crisis Lead to a Generals’ Coup?
Crisis in Pakistan: Possible Army Coup in Works, as US and Pakistan Clash

Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation [October 1, 2010]

---- Pakistan, it seems, is playing its trump card in the current crisis with the United States. The trump card, of course, is Pakistan’s control of the vital lifeline that supplies the more than 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan with everything they require, including fuel. More than 80 percent of US supplies pass by land from Pakistan to Afghanistan over mountain passes at places like Torkham. Without Pakistan’s help, the entire American effort in Afghanistan would collapse overnight. …Since Pakistan has had a long history of creating, arming and training militants and terrorists, including the Taliban, it’s likely that those who carried out the attack on the tankers were acting on behalf of the Pakistani army and its intelligence service, the ISI. Meanwhile, the army and the ISI appear once again on the brink of a coup d’état to oust Pakistan’s corrupt and discredited civilian government and either install a military dictator or rule from behind the scenes. http://www.thenation.com/print/blog/155128/crisis-pakistan-possible-army...

(Video) Inside Story - Plotting a comeback

From AlJazeeraEnglish [October 03, 2010] – 24 minutes

---- Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former military ruler announces new plans to return to power. What are his chances ? http://www.youtube.com/aljazeeraenglish#p/u/6/V1pJQwJpFkg

Drone Attacks to the Rescue!
FB - The United States now explains the great increase in drone attacks in Pakistan as a response to “intelligence” that a terrorist attack, initiated in North Waziristan, is aimed at “someplace in Europe.” The alleged threat is supposedly modeled on the Mumbai attack in India, and it supposedly centers on a handful of Islamists from Germany who have been trained in Pakistan and are led by “Mauritani.” Most European governments have announced color-coded warnings, and the United States has issued a vague “warning” to the 100,000 US tourists now in Europe and anyone who might think of going there. One result of the bizarre “warnings” (perhaps their intention) may be to increase the level of support from Europeans for the US terror bombing of Pakistan, now very unpopular in Europe. Below, I have pasted in links to a few articles illustrating these developments.

Officials: Flurry of Drone Strikes Against Pakistan Because of ‘Terror Plot’

By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [September 29, 2010]

---- The “credible but non-specific” information about a Mumbai-style terror plot being planned somewhere and involving someone may have only emerged publicly last night, but officials are saying it is the reason behind the dozens of US drone strikes against Pakistani territory launched this month. Officials are saying that the drone strikes as well as NSA wiretaps and a flurry of other measures by European nations all came as they try to flesh out exactly what the plot actually was/is and attempted to foil it. Which is something of a switch, as usually the US drone strikes against Pakistan are cited as a reason for terror plots as opposed to something aimed at stopping them. http://news.antiwar.com/2010/09/29/officials-flurry-of-drone-strikes-aga...

U.S. Probes Scope of Suspected Terror Plot

By Siobhan Gorman, Wall Street Journal [September 28, 2010]

---- U.S. investigators are probing whether a suspected terror plot against Western European targets extends to the U.S., officials said Tuesday. Intelligence collected primarily points to potential threats targeting European countries, including the U.K., France and Germany, U.S. officials said. Several U.S. officials said they haven't seen a terror threat as serious as the suspected European plot for many years. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870479100457552036073316191...

CIA backed by military drones in Pakistan

By Greg Miller, Washington Post [October 3, 2010]

---- Beyond the drone strikes, the U.S. military has also become more aggressive in recent weeks along the border, carrying out helicopter raids that on at least three occasions crossed over into Pakistani air space in pursuit of targets accused of firing on American troops. "It's moving from using [drones] as a counterterrorism platform to an almost counterinsurgency platform," said Riedel, a counterterrorism expert at the Brookings Institution. …The new use of CIA drones to strike targets on behalf of the American military alters the scale of an operation that depends on permission and cooperation from Pakistan. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/02/AR201010...

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Last week’s US cross-border attack on Pakistan soldiers, Pakistan’s closing of one of the two main transportation routes for supplies entering Afghanistan, and now the torching of approximately NATO 50 fuel delivery trucks waiting to cross the border are the most recent signs that all is not well.

I'm curious about the 50 NATO delivery fuel trucks, for it's been reported that 27 NATO supply trucks for fuel and possibly other supplies were attacked on Friday, with warning shots being fired, first, so that the drivers would know to flee; and I haven't seen any reports about more NATO supply trucks having been torched last week. I posted some articles about this yesterday and one is by Eric Margolis, who only said that two convoys were attacked, while another article from WSWS said 27 trucks were attacked. These were attacks on Friday.

They also mentioned increased CIA drone attacks in the month of September, around 20 or 21 of these attacks, but also helicopter gunship attacks on the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan; criminally infringing against Pakistan's sovereignty and killing some Pakistani military or paramilitary forces. The articles also said that the Pakistani government reacted by politically condemning these attacks by the U.S. or NATO forces and by preventing ISAF supply trucks or convoys from being able to cross over to Afghanistan. Someone I think to be a Pakistani said that this is Pakistani leadership posturing like in the past and relations will surely return to the usual, between that political "leadership" and ISAF, the U.S. and NATO; and that writer is probably right. But the attacks in Pakistan have nevertheless caused Pakistani anger among the population and apparently some, if not many, Pakistani military people is apparently "for real".

The attacks on the NATO delivery trucks also occurred in southern and not northern Pakistan, according to the articles I posted links for and excerpts from for the following article by Stephen Lendman yesterday.

http://warisacrime.org/content/obamas-hard-line-neo-con-agenda

Among the immediate questions are: Has the United States decided to send substantial numbers of ground troops over the Pakistan border? Will the United States try to gain greater control of the supply operation inside Pakistan? Will the current Pakistan government sustain its resistance to US aggression and demand that the US and its drones stay out? Is the announced return of former President, General, and Dictator Musharraf orchestrated with/by the Pakistan military? And where does the Pakistan military stand in relation to the growing tensions with the United States?

For some or most of the questions, see the articles I posted links for and excerpts from yesterday. As for U.S. ground forces moving into Afghanistan, I came across an article about the CIA's "secret" army of 3,000 or so troops moving into Pakistan. But I'm not sure what the article is; perhaps it was yesterday or two days ago and I'm just not seeing it linked in the home page of Web sites that I regularly use.

There are a few articles that nevertheless tell readers of increased war by the West in Pakistan; in addition to the articles I posted links for and excerpts from, as stated further above.

"Nato tankers set ablaze in Pakistan

Twenty Nato lorries destroyed in the third attack on the crucial supply route between Pakistan and Afghanistan"

AlJazeera.net, Oct. 3, 2010

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m70398

Actually, those 20 trucks were apparently hit on Monday, Oct. 4th in the West, because the piece refers to the attacks last Friday. So we now really are talking about at least 47 NATO supply trucks having been attacked within Pakistan since and including last Friday's attacks, which is close enough to 50 to basically call it 50. A few trucks off at this number is not a difference to criticize. Either number means roughly half of 100, 5% of 1,000, et cetera.

NATO or ISAF supply convoys of [hundreds] of trucks evidently pass from Pakistan to Afghanistan every day, so 47 or 50 aren't going to make a big difference for NATO or ISAF. And NATO agrees with that, according to the AlJazeera article. But it's a decent score for the resistance, which doesn't have anywhere near the military power of the invader and aggressor West. So I won't mock the resistance. They did a lot more than I could possibly ever do. :)

"NATO Expands Afghan War Into Pakistan"

by Rick Rozoff, rickRozoff.wordpress.com, Sept. 28, 2010

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21228

"Pakistan under Attack: Now NATO gunships"

by nation.com.pk, Sept. 28, 2010

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21230

"America's Undeclared War on Pakistan:
Deadly Drone Attacks Reach Record High"

by Rick Rozoff, rickRozoff.wordpress.com, Sept. 26, 2010

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21204

There has been little news about the US offensive in and around Kandahar this week, but there have been further developments exposing the corruption of the Karzai family, and there is more evidence that the recent parliamentary election was very corrupt. Articles on both these topics are linked below, as are articles on the coming winter food crisis in Afghanistan and the difficulties in controlling supply routes inside Afghanistan, a problem that is likely to be made worse with the shutting down of private security companies, which began this past week.

There's been some news at Uruknet.info about the offensive "in and around Kandahar this week", the corrupt "Karzai family", and the corrupted elections in Afghanistan; and there've surely been some reports at [some] other Web sites. I'm not sure how much information those articles provided, because of only having read the titles and very short excerpts; but there've been some. And we have to check a number of Web sites that don't rely only or mostly on Western news media, if we want to follow events well.

I haven't yet heard or read anything about "the coming winter food crisis in Afghanistan" and the supply route problems [in] Afghanistan for NATO. I've read about the supply route problems from Pakistan to Afghanistan, but not the problems for the routes [in] Afghanistan; and this is the first time I've seen any mention about food supply in Afghanistan being predicted or certain for this coming winter.

Also, in addition to the several excellent articles linked below under “featured essays,” I especially recommend the several articles in our new section, “Damaged Soldiers, Broken Army”; a new estimate from Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes raising the likely cost of the Afghanistan war to as much as $6 trillion; and closer looks at the US position on negotiating with the Taliban by Gareth Porter and Robert Dreyfuss.

Yeah, whoah. $6TN for the war on Afghanistan, alone; besides Iraq? I knew that Joseph Stiglitz had said several years ago that the present wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, that is, the two theater Wars (supposedly) on Terrorism, would really cost around $3TN for the U.S., possibly $6TN for the U.S. [and] its allies, in total. But the new mention of $6TN for the war on Afghanistan seems, until reading his words, to be only for the war on Afghanistan. If it is only for that war, then I guess it's the total cost to the U.S. and the rest of allied NATO countries, and, I think (am not sure), the rest of NATO has been mostly fighting the war in Afghanistan; until Obama was elected President. If that's true, then I guess most of this $6TN is a bill for mostly other NATO countries; not the U.S. Maybe not, though.

The cost for the U.S. would've also increased, since U.S. "investments" in that war have increased under Obama, and we'd also have the question of how much the total for both wars would now be. What's the total cost (for both wars) now; $9TN, less, more?

Lastly, I can't comment on the many articles linked in the article here, but will suggest to also check other sources. www.globalresearch.ca, www.uruknet.info, www.informationclearinghouse.info, and other sources. F.e., the article here refers to several Washington Post and WSJ articles, and the WP has been aka CIA's favorite or one of the CIA's favorites, and I doubt that the WSJ is particularly reliable. And The Independent and Guardian of England aren't the most reliable sources; they also publish bogus propaganda, even Patrick Cockburn gets some things screwed up now and then. And AlJazeera isn't always reliable. The AP and AFP have also provably produced or published bogus propaganda "news", as has also Reuters.

It's important to read from more sources, certainly including non-"msm" ones.

The political situation in Pakistan is more likely to be as stated in an article that I believe may be by a Pakistani that I included a link and excerpt from, as stated in my prior post. As he said, the political condemnations right now may very much be a repeat of the past, when the political criticisms quickly subsided and relations returned to "normal" between Pakistani political leadership and the U.S., NATO, ISAF.

That some resistance fighters torched nearly 50 NATO or ISAF supply vehicles since and including last Friday is nothing for NATO, for hundreds of these trucks pass from Pakistan to Afghanistan every f*cking day.

News media are very good at propaganda. It's not journalist ethics, but it's usual and easy for them; and it pays well for them. We need to be very careful about what we read or hear, and what the sources are. The attacks were a good score for supposedly resistance fighters, but the Taliban has apparently claimed responsibility for only one, maybe two, of these attacks; not all of them. And we apparently do not have anyone else claiming responsibility, which is very suspect. The Taliban would claim responsibility for all of the attacks, if the Taliban were responsible.

In a very dirty war, expect a lot of dirtiness. In a wholly dirty war, expect a hell of a lot of dirtiness.

I believe that there'll be a food crisis, which wouldn't be unusual on this planet dominated by fiendishly greedy elites, but we should be careful about many things fed to us through so-called news media.

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