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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Index on Afghanistan : October 2006

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

"Afghanistan is considered the ‘right war’ to be fighting - that’s the propaganda. It’s a fraud, like the Iraq ‘war’." John Pilger.

The month of October in Afghanistan saw two trends. The first was the deterioration of the U.S.-NATO plan to destroy the Taliban. ‘Hearts and minds’ are being lost; killing creates more people who are determined to rid their country of foreigners. I don’t think the Pentagon actually cares about hearts and minds, or reconstruction. Selling arms to NATO countries and building airports, bases, FOBs, roads and prisons is helpful for the corporate pocket. The uncounted dead are occasionally given ‘apologies.’ This monumental contempt denies dignity and respect for life, which is the chief tenet of the Geneva Conventions.

The second trend is the growing public awareness that Afghanistan’s prisons (Bagram and Kandahar) have often been and are central to the US/UK policy of ‘rendition’ and torture. The recent Military Commissions Act has ensured that no one is accountable for crimes that have been/will be committed. The Geneva Conventions have been bypassed, and habeas corpus is dead.


1. Map of US/UK Intervention and Exploitation in Asia since 1945
2. Oil and Gas in Afghanistan
3. Strategic Imperatives: Reports & Documents; Articles; Media
4. Military Contracts: Rendition
5. NATO, General
6. NATO: participating countries: Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Latvia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Turkey, UK
7. Bases, FOBs, PRTS in Afghanistan
8. Corporate Investment in Aid and Reconstruction in Afghanistan
9. Aid and Reconstruction
10. Opium
11. Human Rights:Documents/Reports; Articles; Case Studies
12. Some of the Dead in Afghanistan
13. War Crimes? The Dying and Future Dead
14. References

Please, for earlier references on above sections, also see
Index on Afghanistan to end August ’06
Index on Afghanistan: September 2006

If source material from Index on Afghanistan is used, an acknowledgement would be appreciated.


For timeline in Afghanistan, click here

2. Oil and Gas in Afghanistan

Turkmenistan says Trans Afghan Pipeline is a Humanitarian Project
(sic) 20.10.06. News, Central Asia.

3. Strategic Imperatives: Reports/Documents; Articles; Media


"Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms"
DoD Joint Publication 1-02, through 17 September 2006 (752 pages, 2.2 MB PDF file). The US Intelligence Services also have their very own (secretive) Wikipedia (28,000 pgs.).

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan:Effects and Countermeasures
25.09.06. CRS.

Afghanistan, Five Years On
05.10.06. L. Beehner, Council on Foreign Relations.

VA Takes Nine Months to Locate Data on Disability Claims by Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
10.10.06. National Security Archive. Report Indicates that 1 in 4 Veterans of the Global War on Terrorism Claim Disabilities.


The Collapse of the Second Front
26.09.06. J. Keenan, Foreign Policy in Focus. ‘The Bush administration tried to script yet another nightmare scenario for Africa: the spread of terrorism from Afghanistan across the deserts of North Africa. In this week's focus on Africa at FPIF, Jeremy Keenan exposes this supposed second front in the “war on terror” as a fantasy worthy of Hollywood.’

President dubs alleged Pearl killer MI6 spy
29.09.06. Gulf Times. (Omar Sheikh) ‘had executed certain missions on their behest before coming to Pakistan and visiting Afghanistan to meet Osama and Mullah Omar.’

'US Paying Pakistan $70-80 Million a Month'
29.09.06. Times of India / ICH.

List of major attacks in Afghanistan
30.09.08. Yahoo News.

CIA abandoned plan to snatch Bin Laden from Afghan farm
01.10.06. Sunday Times.

War in Afghanistan Rejected in Britain
02.10.06. Angus Reid. Oppose 53%.

AFGHANISTAN: Over 300 schools closed in south

02.10.06. Irin/Relief Web.

The Rise of Jihadistan
02.10.06. Newsweek. ‘Five years after the Afghan invasion, the Taliban are fighting back hard, carving out a sanctuary where they—and Al Qaeda's leaders—can operate freely.’

U.S. eyes Latin America's help in Iraq, Afghanistan
02.10.06. Yahoo.

Bush adopts Musharraf’s policy in Afghanistan
04.10.06. The News. …” to politically engage the non-militant Taliban … the war against Taliban can never be won militarily.” The visit to Afghanistan by the top Bush leaders comes days after the White House summit between presidents Bush, Karzai and Musharraf.

Taliban lay plans for Islamic intifada
06.10.06. Syed Saleem Shahzad, Asia Times. Informative article.

Taliban Ask NATO to Leave Afghanistan; Rule Out Talks with Puppets
07.10.06. Kavkaz. The Taliban spokesman said, "Neither Osama bin Laden planned these attacks nor he financed it but being an Arab Muslim of the Middle East he (Osama) morally supported it owing to unjust US policies."

The Age of Terror - a landmark report
08.10.06. Robert Fisk, Independent / ICH. “It's always been my view that the people of this part of the Earth would like some of our democracy. They would like a few packets of human rights off our supermarket shelves. They want freedom. But they want another kind of freedom - freedom from us. And this we do not intend to give them.”

Guantánamo defense lawyer forced out of Navy
08.10.06. C. Rosenburg, McClatchy. The Navy lawyer who took the Guantánamo case of Osama bin Laden's driver to the U.S. Supreme Court — and won — has been passed over for promotion by the Pentagon and must soon leave the military.

Police 'exaggerated evidence' against British 9/11 suspect
08.10.06. S. O’Neill, Times On Line. ‘The alleged terrorist link was one of a number of false allegations made against Mr Raissi. Prosecutors claimed in court that he was the “lead instructor” for the main hijackers who crashed aircraft into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. The FBI was said to have video material showing him in the company of Hani Hanjour, one of the hijack pilots.

Mullah Omar alive and in Afghanistan, says top aide
08.10.06. AFP / Peninsular.

Afghans 'may swing to Taliban' says Nato commander
09.10.06. H. McCormack, Independent.

ACT Alert: Afghanistan Drought
10.11.06 . Reuters/Relief Web.

FBI Agents Still Lacking Arabic Skills
11.10.06. D. Eggan, Wash. Post. Apparently, only 33 FBI agents have a “limited proficiency in Arabic. Only 1% of the agency’s 12,000 agents have any familiarity with the language. … The same challenge is facing the CIA and other agencies.” (Has any one asked the FBI what percentage speak Pashto or Dari?) … Professor Byman of Georgetown University said, "It is easier to get a security clearance if you don't have any interaction with foreigners, which is not what you want if you want better interaction with foreigners." (Does the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have better language skills?)

Hamid Karzai worked for ISI’
11.10.06. DNA / ICH.

Data Suggests Vast Costs Loom in Disability Claims
12.10.06. NYT / ICH. Nearly one in five soldiers leaving the military after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan has been at least partly disabled as a result of service, according to documents of the Department of Veterans Affairs obtained by a Washington research group.

12.10.06. A. Rashid, Eurasia Insight. ‘The initiative has generated apprehension in Afghanistan, as many officials and experts believe such a meeting might serve merely to accelerate the pace of the country’s "Talibanization."

US law experts question timing of Qaeda treason charge
13.10.06. Mr. Adam Y. Gadahn is married to an Afghan refugee. He is “in a small club of less than 40 people who have been prosecuted for betraying the United States.” There is no KBR gaol that would be big enough to hold all those who disagree with US / UK policy.


18.10.06. BBC.

Troops will be in Afghanistan for next 20 years, says commander
18.10.06. K. Sengupta, Independent. “The commander of the British forces returning from Helmand said that his forces were having to make up for the time lost by the decision of the US and UK to invade Iraq instead of concentrating on post-Taliban Afghanistan.”

Assassination attempts on Afghan leaders spike
19.10.06. MSNBC. Taliban adopts tactics seen in Iraq in bid to undermine government.

There is never going to be a Nato victory in Afghanistan
20.10.06. S. Jenkins, Guardian. “General Sir Richard Dannatt's brave call for an early British withdrawal from Iraq contained one logical flaw. It did not apply to Afghanistan, he said, because foreign troops were invited by the Kabul government. This gave them a different status from coalition forces in Iraq, "which is why I have much more optimism that we can get it right in Afghanistan". It was an odd remark since US and British forces have a standing invitation from the Baghdad government. There is a clear parallel with Afghanistan” …

Britain 'risking defeat in Afghanistan'
22.10.06. Townsend / Beaumont, Observer. ‘Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge, the former head of Britain's armed forces, has broken ranks to launch an attack on the current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, warning that British forces risk defeat in Afghanistan. … Inge also charged a lack of any 'clear strategy' guiding British operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.’

Mulla Omar threatens manifold increase in Taliban attacks
22.10.06. R. Yusufzai, Int. The News.

Severity of Injuries Requires New Forms of Rehabilitation

23.10.06. J. Blech, Der Spiegel. Never before have so many US soldiers survived such terrible injuries as during the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have suffered multiple injuries, including brain damage. More than 3,000 American soldiers have suffered brain damage in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Militias defy peace deal to impose Taliban rule on Afghan border
25.10.06. I. Wilkinson, Telegraph. Nato officials in Afghanistan said militant activity has increased 300 per cent in the border regions since the pact was signed.

Is NATO Losing the Real Battle in Afghanistan?
26.10.06. R. Morarjee, Time. ‘NATO spokesman Mark Laity defended NATO's strategy in the south, saying it was important that NATO showed they could win militarily against the Taliban. "We have shown that in combat terms we can be the winning side," he said, adding that now reconstruction and development would have to follow.’

Afghan effort hurt by Iraq, bad strategy -Italy min
28.10.06. Reuters.

Fresh fighting engulfs 'Taliban-free' region
28.10.06. T. Coghlan, Telegraph. Also audio.

Troops 'locked down' by suicide bombers
29.10.06. Independent. ‘British forces in Afghanistan face a lethal change of strategy as the Taliban turn themselves into 'human Claymore bombs'.A senior officer called the security threat "critical".’

MoD: war on two fronts leaves Army 'critically weakened'
29.10.06. M. Woolf, Independent.

Afghanistan war is 'cuckoo', says Blair's favourite general
29.10.06. Observer. ‘The remarkable rebuke by General the Lord Guthrie came in an Observer interview, his first since quitting as Chief of the Defence Staff five years ago, in which he made an impassioned plea for more troops, new equipment and more funds for a 'very, very' over-committed army.’

How the West short-changed Afghanistan
29.10.06. Fariba Nawa, Sunday Times. Four million people in the capital still do not have access to reliable services such as water and electricity … One in four children still dies before the age of five. Of the estimated 31m people in the country, 3.5m still rely on food rations … Roads, hospitals and schools are crumbling away … The mood on the streets is tinged with resentment towards foreign companies, NGOs and western governments, for the vast amounts spent on reconstruction with so little to show.” Revelations about: Louis Berger Group, Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp., Limak, BearingPoint.

Poppy Wars
30.10.06.Ann Jones, Tom Dispatch. "The only sensible way out is to legalize drugs. But nobody in the White House wants to hear that." So you see what I mean about the weird policies a government such as ours can develop when it can't talk about real facts. When it cozies up to people it professes to be against. When it attacks people whose hearts and minds it hopes to win. When it pays experts to report false conclusions it wants to hear. When it spends billions to tear down the lives of poor Afghans even as our NATO allies pray for a break in battling the Taliban so that – with time running out – they can rebuild.

Backsliding in Afghanistan
30.10.06.LA Times leader. Bit by bit, the U.S. is losing control in the country because of a resurgent Taliban, drought and inadequate aid.

Evidence suggests U.S. Bribed President Of Kyrgyzstan

30.10.06. MSNBC. Akaev agreed to let the Pentagon open an air base in his country for operations in Afghanistan.

Mile by Miles, Afghan Quagmire is Expanding
31.10.06. Abib Ullah Jan, ICH. “Pakistan is turning into another Afghanistan.”


Our armed forces have allowed themselves to be cowed into silence
09.10.06. M. Hastings, Guardian. ‘Blair's wars have been marked by shameless attempts to stifle voices from the frontline. We have a right to hear them.’

Afghanistan 'like a human abattoir'
14.10.06. A. Woods, ‘Canadian troops pelted with rocks by hostile Afghans, French soldiers disemboweled by Taliban fighters, and paratroopers soiling themselves at the thought of facing fierce enemy fire. Increasingly, these are the accounts that are emerging from southern Afghanistan and they are not coming through official channels, nor through the newspaper reports and television broadcasts of the Canadian, British and U.S. forces who fight under the NATO banner in the war-torn country. Those reports are governed by a contract that restricts the movements of journalists and the types of information that can be reported from Afghanistan. Unlike the official accounts, those from soldiers are the descriptions that the government does not want Canadians to see. They come directly from the soldiers in the field who have relayed the grisly details of combat through Internet postings and e-mails to friends and family back home.’

Wash. Post, NY Times, Reuters provided uninformative coverage of detainee bill signing
18.10.06. Media Matters. “Although Washington Post, New York Times, and Reuters reports on President Bush's signing of the Military Commissions Act included general criticism of the legislation, they were all silent on its most controversial provision: allowing the president to detain noncitizens in the United States or abroad for any reason, indefinitely.”

MoD bans TV news access to warzones
24.10.06. D. Kennedy, Times on Line / legitgov. The row began last week after ITV broadcast the first of a series of reports showing how British soldiers wounded during the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are treated. See more here.

Travelling with the Taleban
24.10.06. D. Loyn (Loyd?), BBC. The BBC's David Loyn has had exclusive access to Taleban forces mobilised against the British army in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. See also Video. D. Loyn interview with Taliban. Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said the interview was "obscene" and accused the BBC of broadcasting propaganda on behalf of Britain's enemies.

In the Land of the Taliban
25.10.06.E. Rubin, NY Times / ICH. A fascinating article by a non-embed.

Journalists barred from entered Bajaur district to cover controversial air strike

31.10.06. Reporters Without Borders

VIDEO. Return of the Taliban. 7 ‘Frontline’ videos totaling 60 minutes.


Army "Big Brother" Unit Targets BloggersBloggers: "Big Brother is not watching you, but 10 members of a Virginia National Guard unit might be,”according to the Army. The Manassas-based Guardsmen are on a one-year assignment to clamp down on both "official and unofficial Army Web sites for operational security violations."

“As of today, May 5th, 2006, I am officially shutting down my blog... There are certin [sic] commands out there that do NOT want me to blog... they have been trying very hard to find out who I am and shut me down... I really don't want to end my military career over a blog - it has gotten THAT bad!”

Army steps up efforts to monitor military bloggers
29.10.06. L. Shane III, Stars and Stripes. currently has 1,553 military blogs in 28 countries with 1,791 registered members. For milblogs from Afghanistan, see here.

4. Military Contracts: Rendition

House Members Call for Investigation of ‘Torture Taxi’ Company
09.10.06. Triad Blogs. North Carolina’s Aero Contractors have been identified in the media as a participant in the CIA’s ‘rendition’ program. … The Representative cite a May 31, 2005, article in the New York Times that detailed Aero’s involvement in torture flights, including the detention, torture, and imprisonment of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen (see Human Rights, below).


23.10.06. New Yorker. “Flight plans prepared by Jeppesen show that from Skopje, Macedonia, the (Boeing) 737 flew to Baghdad, where it had military clearance to land, and then on to Kabul.”

Planes known to carry CIA terror suspects landed in Tel Aviv
31.10.06. Haaretz. The Shin Bet security service has confirmed it is holding Marwan Ibrahim Ali Jabur at the Shin Bet security service wing of the Kishon jail. Jabur holds a Pakistan passport and a Palestinian ID. He has visited Afghanistan. Company involved: Prescott Support (Hercules jet with registration number N8213G). This company also uses an airport in Scotland.

5. NATO: General


NATO: Security within NATO
17 June 2002.

NATO: NATO Security Committee: Directive on the Security of Information
Second revision of 2002 version (4 February 2005).

"NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions (English and

2006. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (344 pages, 3.5 MB).

"NATO Glossary of Abbreviations Used in NATO Documents and Publications"
2006 (432 pages, 1.4 MB).


No NATO deal to share quick response force costs
30.12.06. Reuters, Washington Post. … “because some rich members, who already face a bigger bill than poorer allies, do not want to pay more …”

03.10.06. S. Meyer, Index Research. Pre-war PNAC documents; illegality of war for 2 months and 13 days; General Craddock, now top NATO Commander, was head of Guantanamo; another NATO commander, Gen. McNeil, was head of the infamous Bagram prison in 2003; NATO as a US money-spinner.

How to keep NATO relevant
05.10.06. C. Kupchan, Int. Herald Tribune. “With the alliance already overextended in Afghanistan, NATO's current agenda should focus on consolidation, not on pursuing a global agenda that promises only to saddle the organization with an unsustainable range of commitments. … Moreover, NATO can hardly afford to take on global responsibilities. Its plate is already full, with the mission in Afghanistan hanging in the balance.

NATO assumes control of US Afghan force
06.10.06. R. Birsel, The Scotsman.

23.10.06. S. Saleem Shahzad, adnkronosint.

U.S. Sets Ambitious ‘Global’ NATO Summit Agenda
30.10.06. P. Taylor, Reuters / Defense News. Nuland: “"We want NATO to be able to demonstrate when our heads meet four weeks from now that we have an alliance that is taking on global responsibilities.” ‘France … Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain also had reservations about appearing to rebrand NATO as a world policeman.’

Please also see: NATO, the Bathtub of Unreadiness. History of present NATO plans; how more members = more money for corporate pockets – especially the arms industry; clandestine activities.

6. NATO, participating countries


2,300 Canadian soldiers based in Kandahar. 41st and 42nd Canadian killed on 14 October.

Canadian armed forces ‘on life support’
14.10.06. Int. News. Canada currently has 2,300 troops in Afghanistan and Hillier said they need more armoured vehicles immediately. The cuts in both funding and personnel were “incredibly demoralising” and came at the same time as the remaining troops were being asked to work harder.

Video. Ambushed by Insurgents. 2.41 min.

Hastily trained Afghan teens to stand guard for Canadians
17.10.06. Montreal Gazette. Canadian troops building and guarding a road where six soldiers have died in 16 days will soon receive help in policing the treacherous region: local teenagers armed with AK-47s and only 10 days of training.

Canada sends more troops to Afghanistan
20.10.06. Canadian Forces spokesman Maj. Doug Allison said the military will not discuss how many members of the special operations regiment are being sent to Afghanistan or when they will leave for that country.

Canadian hands over NATO command
29.10.06. S. Bailey, Globe and Mail. Canadian Brigadier-General David Fraser is about to hand over command in southern Afghanistan to Dutch Major-General Ton Van Loon.

Canada commits six jets to NATO

31.10.06. Campion-Smith, Canada Star. CF-18s could end up in Afghanistan. Critics accuse government of flip-flop.


French special forces to quit Afghanistan – paper
15.10.06. Reuters/Relief Web. ‘France plans to withdraw around 200 special forces from southern Afghanistan at the start of next year following a recent upsurge of violence. … Nine French troops have died in fighting in Afghanistan. … However, the paper said the United States was also downscaling its Enduring Freedom operation and added that some 1,000 French troops deployed around Kabul under NATO control would be staying put.’


Defense Ministry Admits German Planes in Action in Afghanistan
05.10.06. Pak Tribune.

Bild Zeitung Front Page Yahoo News Photo

German soldiers shown 'desecrating' skull
25.10.06. Herald Sun.


Dutch to send 330 troops to Afghanistan
21.10.06. Boosting its presence to 1730 troops.

Prison sentence for Dutch soldier refusing to serve in Afghanistan
23.10.06. AFP / Khaleej times.


Latvia extends Afghanistan mission for 1 year
05.10.06. Int. Herald Tribune. A 36 member mission.


Afghanistan: Why NATO cannot win
30.09.06. M.K. Bhadrakumar, Asia Times. ‘Rumsfeld's mission was to request the inexperienced leadership in Podgorica to dispatch a military contingent to form part of the coalition of the willing in the "war on terror". … Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic could not make any commitments. Rumsfeld's proposal came at an awkward moment for the leadership in Podgorica, which had just scrapped the draft and was scaling down its 4,000-strong army to about 2,500.

New Zealand

More NZ troops to Afghanistan
13.10.06. People’s Daily. More than 100 New Zealand soldiers will be heading to Afghanistan on Monday, said a military official Friday. Relieving PRT in Bamyan Province.


Norway says it won't send more troops to Afghanistan
18.10.06. Reuters/Defense News. Last month officials from the U.S.-led NATO military alliance called on Norway to boost its presence in Afghanistan from its current 480 troops.


Russia warns Poland against hosting U.S. or NATO missile-defense site
03.10.06. AP/.iht.


Turkey Refuses NATO Request to Go Outside Kabul
28.10.06. Zaman.


“The notion that British squaddies are defending democracy in Afghanistan is absurd.” John Pilger.

War in Afghanistan: Britain's Vietnam
01.10.06. M. Nicol, Daily Mail. Photos, videos, emails. "You see the Taliban cutting around on dirt bikes, their weapons in one hand, their kids in the other. They think we will not shoot them. There have been some terrible incidents. It is horrible to kill a kid, nothing could prepare you for it."

British troops in secret truce with the Taliban
01.10.06. M. Smith, Sunday Times. It has now been agreed the troops will quietly pull out of Musa Qala in return for the Taliban doing the same.

A bloody choice: Iraq or Afghanistan? Britain must choose
01.10.06. R. Whittaker, Independent. “The UK, in the words of a Ministry of Defence paper leaked last week, went in with its "eyes closed". Troops expecting a PRT mission have instead found themselves battling an unholy alliance of the Taliban, drug traders' militias and local farmers whose poppy crops have been destroyed, and have taken up arms to feed their families. … British troops are all too aware that every day spent fighting the local inhabitants, and having to make up with American-style firepower what they lack in numbers, sets back the reconstruction effort by months, if not years. … General Sir Michael Rose, who led the SAS and British forces in Bosnia, said recently that with Nato's present resources and strategy "we simply cannot win.”

Betrayed: How we have failed our troops in Afghanistan
02.10.06. Eliot, Woolf, Whitaker, Independent. Military chiefs warned John Reid: 'Don't try to fight war on two fronts.' British soldiers six times more likely to die in Afghan conflict than in Iraq.

Blair defends Nato's Afghan role
05.10.06. BBC. “But the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has claimed up to 90,000 Afghans have been displaced by the fighting.”

Britain forced to use private helicopters in Afghanistan
11.10.06. Telegraph.

Look out, low flying Harrier overhead
13.10.06. Norton-Taylor, Guardian. “Last month Major James Loden of 3 Para berated the RAF for being "utterly, utterly useless". He lambasted the pilot of a Harrier fighter-bomber for firing phosphorus bombs “closer to British troops on the ground than the enemy.”

Troops may stay in Afghanistan 20 years says commander
19.10.06. New Zealand Herald.

Afghan strategy defended
22.10.06. Channel 4 Report and Video.

7. Bases, FOBs, PRTs in Afghanistan


Policharki prison

“Afghan detainees in U.S. custody at Guantanamo and Bagram are to be shifted to Afghan custody at Policharki prison.

Bagram Prison

(see Human Rights)

Detainees in U.S. prison held without charge
02.10.06. M. Pennington, AP / The Olympian. Inmates staged an 11-day protest, demanding to be allowed to pray together and to have water to clean themselves before praying, as demanded by Islam. Before that they used dust instead. Their request eventually was granted. The U.S. military points to other improvements. Spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick said that chamber pots have been replaced with internal plumbing and privacy screens for personal hygiene. There now are opportunities for education - reading, writing, math - and voluntary work-for-pay. … Bagram has expanded and acquired its own notoriety over abuse allegations. … The United States plans to turn over the Afghan nationals in its custody to the Afghan government by next summer. They will be sent to a new high-security wing at the Afghan government's main Policharki prison in Kabul.

The “Salt Pit”

“The facility was established as an interrogation center following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. In addition to serving as a detention facility, the site was reportedly also used to train Afghan counterrorism forces. Eventually the site was expanded to serve as a CIA's substation which was accessible only to CIA agents and a small number of Afghan guards. Before the Salt Pit became operational it is believed that CIA interrogations took place in a number of heavily secured metal shipping containers at Bagram air base.”


51 US, 8 UK, 66 Puppet Troops Killed During 7 Days in Afghanistan
07.10.06. Kavkaz. Among the tallies of the attacks, the Taliban questions Western media silence for the bombing of Afghani civilians on September 25, in Nouristan, by American forces to avenge their losses.


Afghanistan's border base sees frequent clashes with Taliban
18.10.06. Xinhuanet. The Bermel military base is located in the east of Afghanistan's eastern province Paktika. About 400 to 500 Afghan soldiers are deployed in the base, which lies on a desert-like plain and is surrounded by high walls and thorny wire netting. Civilian houses are scattering one or two kilometers away.


US airbase: Torture reported at prison here (Human Rights).

FOB base W of Kandahar

Dragoons latest unit in Afghanistan to bear brunt of violence
08.10.06. L. Perreaux, Canada Com. Few Canadians soldiers know more about recovery from trauma than the soldiers of Charles Company of the First Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. … The company's comeback has been a slow painstaking process that isn't over. A somber realism hangs over the soldiers of Charles Company as they fend off ambushes and return to their dusty moonscape of a forward camp west of Kandahar.


Blood & guts: At the front with the poor bloody infantry
01.10.06. Independent. Sangin.

Camp Bastion and Gereshk

'In their minds, all they want to do is kill English soldiers'
14.10.06. James Meek, Guardian. (Meek is the author of The People’s Act of Love, Canongate, 2005) “In the Gereshk camp, there is desert all around, but you can't see it. Inside the ramparts, the troops live in roomy, well-lit, air-conditioned tents. There are hot showers and gleaming, stainless steel toilets, cleaned by imported south Asian labour. The scoff house serves freshly cooked food, up to steak and gateaux, three times a day. Birthday cakes on request. There's a large gym, live Premiership games on Sky, a shop, internet terminals and a surprising absence of dust. Apart from the odd interpreter, and the sky, there is nothing Afghan there at all.

It was hard to remember, tucking into sausage and bacon for breakfast, that outside the compound, pig-free Helmand was observing the fast of Ramadan. Leaving the compound was like leaving a spacecraft and stepping on to a strange planet, with helmets and flak jackets in place of spacesuits. …

"You do sometimes wonder what goes on in their little minds, don't you?" said Private Al Hartley. "You'll just see, like, one bloke pop up and start shooting at you, and you'll go like that. Ph!" He shrugged. "There's, like, 30 of us and he's standing in the middle of a field, not trying to get into cover, just actually shooting at us, because, in his mind, all he wants to do is kill English soldiers."

Meek on Loden: “Loden is unusual: an intellectual with an automatic rifle. Two years ago he wrote a 25,000-word master's thesis on The Need For An Ideological Response To Islamic Extremism. … Having addressed Islamic extremism through the library and through the bullet, he believes that US and British strategy is wrong from the foundations up. …’You can improve homeland security from a purely physical point of view, you can increase security at airports, but that isn't exactly addressing the issue. Yes, it's making terrorist attacks harder to conduct... It's not addressing the rationale for it.

The west had to give more support and publicity to Muslims who were trying to reform Islam from within, he said. The implications of extremism spread way beyond the Middle East. He talked of the notion of "sacred space", the notion that land conquered by Muslims in God's name must remain Muslim and, if lost, recovered. "That means Spain, bits of France... all over the place.’ “

Musa Qala

British troops pull out of Afghan district as security scaled down
17.10.06. Scotsman. ‘Troops withdrew from Helmand province's Musa Qala district after an agreement was reached with the provincial governor and tribal elders. The MoD said soldiers handed over control to local militia and the move marked an improvement in the security situation.’ The Times (17.10) noted that ‘All 16 British soldiers who have died in action in southern Afghanistan this year have died in one of four districts in northern Helmand — Musa Qala, Sangin, Nowzad and Kajaki.’

Lashkar Gar

Troops turn away from 'ink spots' for control
31.10.06. A. Loyd, Times on Line. “Development was all but non-existent in Helmand by the time the Marines arrived, its concept still pinned on the failed idea of “ink spots”, whereby isolated northern towns, including Musa Qala and Sangin, were supposed to be the seeds of an expanding stability rather than the scenes of fierce fighting and rancour.” (Loyd is author of My War Gone By, I Miss It So)

8. Corporate Investment in Afghanistan

Canadian Capital in South Asia
09.10.06, H. Walia, Dissident Voice. “Afghanistan has been the single largest recipient of Canadian bilateral aid with almost $1 billion allocated from 2001-2011 This “War on Terrorism,” with its resulting occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, are the most extreme forms of terrorism, making a war on terrorism “profoundly self-contradictory” as stated by Howard Zinn. Meanwhile, Canadian exports to Afghanistan has increased over 100 fold in the past five years, growing from 167,000 Cnd $ to over 19,000,000 Cnd $, according to Industry Canada statistics. Canadian corporations such as Bell Helicopters and CAE (one of Canada’s largest defense contractors) have profited immensely.”

How the West short-changed Afghanistan
29.10.06. Fariba Nawa, Sunday Times. Revelations about: Louis Berger Group, Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp., Limak, BearingPoint.

How the West short-changed Afghanistan
29.10.06. Fariba Nawa, Sunday Times. Revelations about: Louis Berger Group, Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp., Limak, BearingPoint.

Corporate Mercenaries
30.10.06. “Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) sell security and military services at home and overseas. Over the last 10 years these companies have moved from the periphery of international politics into the corporate boardroom, becoming a ‘normal’ part of the military sector. … Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former UK defence and foreign secretary, is a non-executive director of ArmorGroup. In 2005 the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development awarded the firm armed security contracts in the Afghan capital Kabul.” For further information on security companies in Iraq, see here.

9. Aid and Reconstruction

"You have to win the populace over, not kill it."
Sami Zafiri, Human Rights Watch.

In Afghanistan, US troops tackle aid projects and skepticism
03.10.06. Pak Tribune. Swings and roundabout in Nuristan. Good ‘flavour’ article.

U.S. forces fighting back with new approach in Afghanistan
02.10.06. McClatchy. ‘The failure to make good on pledges of massive reconstruction has soured many Afghans on President Hamid Karzai and his U.S. supporters. … So U.S. commanders retooled their approach earlier this year without direction from Washington. … Infrastructure is virtually nonexistent in the countryside, where a majority of Afghans live in abject poverty. Many districts lack power, running water, telephones and roads. Some don't even have buildings to house the local administrators and police that the Americans are trying to help install. Many police officers are illiterate and have little or no training. … The 120 reconstruction projects include 26 new compounds to house district administrative and police offices and schools, along with roads, clinics and bridges.’ A story about Sturek and his men.

NATO Commander Calls for More Reconstruction in Afghanistan
04.10.06. VOA.

Food aid for Afghanistan's poor to be phased out

08.10.06. C News.

5 years after U.S. invasion, Afghanistan unsettled
19.10.06. Kansas City. On a recent morning, Maj. Mark Roper and a squad of National Guard soldiers moved out through the security barricades that protect Camp Phoenix, a major U.S. military base here. … to visit a handful of U.S.-funded reconstruction projects in the surrounding town of Udh Kheyl …’

UK 'broke pledges' on Afghan aid
23.10.06. A. Leithead, BBC. The governor of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan has criticised the UK government for lack of development projects in the area.

AFGHANISTAN: Drought-stricken farmers appeal for urgent assistance
30.10.06. Reuters. Farmers in the northwestern Afghan province of Faryab say they are desperate for help to survive the winter after the devastating drought that destroyed this year's crops.

10. Opium

Rumsfeld urged to alter Afghan drug trade policy

24.10.06. D. Leinwand, USA Today. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said in an Oct. 12 letter to Rumsfeld that the U.S.-supported poppy eradication program in Afghanistan is a failure.

Tomgram: Ann Jones on Bush's Poppy Wars in Afghanistan

29.10.06. Tom Dispatch. “Two years ago in Kabul I interviewed an American consultant sent by the administration to assess the "drug problem" in Afghanistan. His off-the-record verdict: "The only sensible way out is to legalize drugs. But nobody in the White House wants to hear that." He admitted that the sensible conclusion would not appear in his report. So you see what I mean about the weird policies a government such as ours can develop when it can't talk about real facts. When it cozies up to people it professes to be against. When it attacks people whose hearts and minds it hopes to win. When it pays experts to report false conclusions it wants to hear. When it spends billions to tear down the lives of poor Afghans even as our NATO allies pray for a break in battling the Taliban so that -- with time running out -- they can rebuild.”

11. Human rights: Documents/Reports; Articles; Case Studies

"Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes … we are leading this fight by example." George Bush (June 26, 2004). See article by Edward Herman.


Selected Procedural Safeguards in Federal, Military, and
International Courts

updated September 18.09.06.

Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006: S. 3931 and Title II of S.
3929, the Terrorist Tracking, Identification, and Prosecution Act of 2006


Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court
Updated 26.09.06. CRS.

Some 15,000 families displaced by fighting in southern Afghanistan
03.10.06. UNHCR.

Fate of transferred Afghan prisoners unknown: report
10.10.06. Jurist. 40 prisoners were ‘captured by Canadian forces in and around Afghanistan [JURIST news archive] and later transferred to local or US authorities. … more prisoners may have been caught and transferred since. … Ottawa had signed an agreement [text] with the Afghan government in Kabul allowing the transfer of captives in exchange for guaranteed humane treatment. The agreement did not, however, preclude any subsequent transfers of detainees to the United States.’

VA Takes Nine Months to Locate Data on Disability Claims by Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
10.10.06. National Security Archive. Report Indicates that 1 in 4 Veterans of the Global War on Terrorism Claim Disabilities. … newly released data suggests official estimates dramatically understate the future cost of the current Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. If the current trend continues, then VA could receive as many as 400,000 disability claims from the 1.6 million deployed active duty and reserve service members in the Global War on Terrorism.’ See:
The Military Commissions Act
See also JURIST report (17.10) on the MCA here.

Afghanistan: ICRC deplores increasing number of civilian victims
27.10.06. ICRC Press Release.

Afghanistan: NATO Should Do More to Protect Civilians
30.12.06. Human Rights Watch. ‘A leading human rights organization said NATO-led troops are not doing enough to prevent civilian casualties in Afghanistan and called on the Western military alliance to establish a program to compensate victims' families. ISAF Should Establish Victims Compensation Fund. A leading human rights organization said NATO-led troops are not doing enough to prevent civilian casualties in Afghanistan and called on the Western military alliance to establish a program to compensate victims' families.’


“We don’t torture.” Dick Cheney, Press Conference (24.10.06).

Following shows the 'rendition' connection between the U.S.,U.K., Afghanistan & Guantanamo.

Video. CIA Secret Prisons Investigated. BBC Newsnight, 8 min. President Bush has admitted that the CIA is running a secret detention programme for what he termed "al Qaeda leaders". “Newsnight's Peter Marshall has been investigating the men in CIA custody, many of whom are unaccounted for.” Interview with author of Ghost Plane.

U.S. prison in Afghanistan shrouded in cloak of secrecy
02.10.06. AP / e-ariana. ‘Bagram's estimated 500 inmates are mostly Afghans, but also are believed to include Arabs, Pakistanis and some Central Asians. They wear the same orange jump suits and shaven heads as the "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo, but lack even the scant legal rights granted to the inmates at that facility, such as the right to appear at military hearings that assess whether they pose a security threat. In some cases, they have been held without charge for three to four years, rights workers say. New legislation would extend anti-torture protections to all prisoners in U.S. custody.’ … At least two of the eight people reported to have died in U.S. custody since the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 were at Bagram. At least 15 U.S. servicemen have been charged with prison abuse following the deaths in 2005 of those two Afghan nationals, Dilawar and Habibullah. … ‘half those incarcerated at the U.S. base, located an hour's drive north of Kabul, shouldn't be there’

Afghan detainees launch legal challenge to US military commissions bill
03.10.06. The Jurist. “Lawyers representing 25 detainees in US custody at Bagram Airbase [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in Afghanistan filed a habeas corpus [LectLaw backgrounder] petition [PDF text; press release] Monday calling for their release and permission to meet with attorneys, two requests not afforded to terrorist suspects under controversial detainee legislation approved [JURIST report] by the US Congress last week. The Center for Constitutional Rights [advocacy website] filed the petition on behalf of the men, saying that in passing the military commissions bill [JURIST news archive], Congress has endangered the rights [CCR report] of detainees.”

U.S./Afghanistan: Detainees Still In Legal Limbo Despite New Law
03.10.06. R. Synovitz, Radio Free Europe. “U.S. President George W. Bush is expected to sign legislation soon allowing the U.S. military to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely without filing formal charges.”

Guantanamo Detainees Go to Afghanistan
12.10.06. R. Faiez, Forbes. Sixteen Afghans and one Iranian released from years in captivity at Guantanamo Bay prison arrived in Afghanistan on Thursday. Mejadedi said many of the detainees, who are now free, had served up to four years in Guantanamo. He said "most" of the prisoners were innocent and had been turned in to the U.S. military by other Afghans because of personal disputes. … Dr Shah said, "All these people (the other prisoners) and all those Afghans still in Cuba, they are innocent.” … Rahman said he was kept awake for 38 hours while being questioned about ties to terrorists. "The last time they tortured me like that was four months ago," he said. "They were kicking us all the time, beating us with their hands." Sadir said that 74 Afghans remain in Guantanamo.

US to release 8 Pakistan detainees from Guantanamo, Bagram
13.10.06. Jurist. 6 Pakistanis released from Bagram. There are now 14 Pakistanis being held at Bagram.

Gitmo interrogations spark battle over tactics
24.10.06. B. Dedman, MSNBC. Part I of II. The inside story of criminal investigators who tried to stop abuse.

Can the ‘20th hijacker’ of Sept. 11 stand trial?
24.10.06. B. Dedman, MSNBC. Part II. Aggressive interrogation at Guantanamo may prevent his prosecution. Also audio.

In limbo: Cases are few against Gitmo detainees
24.10.06. B. Dedman, MSNBC. Only about 70 out of 775 will face military trials, Pentagon says.


Following are some people who suffered U.S. ‘rendition’ via Afghanistan.

Benyam Mohammed

CIA tried to silence EU on torture flights
26.10.06. Norton-Taylor, Guardian. Benyam Mohammed, an Ethiopian brought up in Notting Hill, West London, was ‘rendered’ to Afghanistan, where he was tortured. Benyam was detained in Pakistan early in 2002, and then flown to Morocco, where he says he suffered appalling torture. He is being held at Guantánamo Bay.” This article gives important details from Stephen Gray’s book about involvment of Germany, Prestwick Airport, Diego Garcia.

Capt. Amanullah
Bagram Prison 14 months; (then Guantanamo). 11 months in solitary confinement, then was shifted to a cage shared by 16 other Afghans who were forbidden to look at one another, let alone talk. … Amanullah, who in the 1980s commanded thousands of anti-Soviet mujahedeen, funded by the U.S., claims he was set up by former communists in Afghan intelligence.

Moazzam Begg

Abandon Hope, All Who Enter Here
19.10.06. M. Begg. Moazzam Begg was held at both Bagram (about a year) and Kandahar.

El Masri

El-Masri testifies before Spanish judge investigating renditions
09.10.06. The Jurist. ‘A federal judge Thursday dismissed [order, PDF] a highly-publicized lawsuit [materials] brought by the ACLU against CIA Director George Tenet and other agency officials and employees on behalf of Khalid El-Masri.’ El Masri alleges he was held at The Salt Pit.

“On board, Masri has said, he was chained to the floor and injected with sedatives. After landing, he was put in the trunk of a car and driven to a building where he was placed in a dank cell. He spent the next four months there, under interrogation. Masri was released in May, 2004, on the orders of Condoleezza Rice, then the national-security adviser, after she learned that he had mistakenly been identified as a terrorism suspect.”

UK Muslim cleric urges appeals court to overturn conviction
30.10.06. Jurist.

Abdurahman Khadr
“Khadr, who is described as the son of a founder of Al Qaida and a reluctant participant in its training activities, was arrested as a 17-year-old during the war in Afghanistan in late 2001 carrying a weapon, and spent some months in detention in Baghram airbase near Kabul, before being transported to Guantanamo. … Almost 150 suspected CIA flights have reportedly been identified as having travelled through Portugal.”

Omar Amed Khadr

The Americans say that while being interrogated at Bagram Air Base, Khadr (age 14-15) confessed to entering a US occupied section of Afghanistan, to gather surveillance intelligence on the local airport.” He was sent to Guantanamo, but “was not kept with the other child detainees. Khadr was treated as an adult. Khadr has been reported to have been kept in solitary confinement, for long periods of time; to have been denied adequate medical treatment; to have been subjected to "short shackling", and left bound, in uncomfortable "stress positions" until he soiled himself. In a press conference on January 16, 2005, Khadr's lawyers described how Khadr's captors took Khadr's still bound body and wiped his hair and clothes in his urine and feces.”

US Army Col. Richard Basset will begin an investigation from Guantanamo.

David Hicks “had had his head "rammed in" when detained by US forces in Afghanistan, rendering him unconscious.” Hick’s lawyer says that US inquiry into jail abuse was a cover-up.

Abdur Raheem Muslim Dost
Illegal detention of ex-Guantanamo prisoner, an Afghan scholar. “Abdur Raheem Muslim Dost, 45, along with his younger brother Badruz Zaman Badr have spent three-and-a-half years in the US custody at Bagram Airbase, Kandahar Airport and then at the Camp X-Ray in Cuba.”

Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi

Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program
19.10.06. Democracy Now. … “Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi provided some of the false information under interrogation that was used as an argument by Colin Powell to take this country to war in Iraq. That happened after he was rendered to Egypt. He was brought back into U.S. custody, was held in Afghanistan. And now, he’s completely disappeared.” Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi confessed after being tortured.

Marine Corps Issues Gag Order in Detainee Abuse Case
15.10.06. LA Times. ‘The U.S. Marine Corps has threatened to punish two members of the military legal team representing a terrorism suspect being held at Guantanamo Bay if they continue to speak publicly about reported prisoner abuse, a civilian lawyer from the defense team said Saturday.’

Murat Kurnaz
In the US air base in Kandahar, Murat Kurnaz says that:
• interrogators repeatedly forced his head into a bucket of cold water for long periods;
• interrogators gave electric shocks to his feet;
• he was held for days shackled and handcuffed with his arms secured above his head;
• on one occasion, a military officer loaded his gun and pointed it at Murat Kurnaz’ head, screaming at him to admit to being an al-Qa’ida associate;
• he witnessed other detainees being beaten, one of whom apparently died as a result. The Washington Post (04.10) reports that the German govn. aided in the ‘rendition’, that German soldiers abused him and that ‘the Americans found his treatment funny.’ He was released 08.096. The German government is “probing claims” that he was abused in Afghanistan.

Abdul Rahim Al Ginco: Expecting U.S. Help, Sent to Guantánamo
15.10.06. T. Golden, NY Times.

Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna

Londoner was victim of secret CIA rendition

22.10.06. Grimston, Sunday Times. On December 8, 2002 the same plane (Gulfstream V) was used to render two British residents arrested in Gambia, west Africa, to a CIA prison in Afghanistan, from where they were also taken to Guantanamo. Documents show that the transfer of the pair, Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna, took place shortly after the Foreign Office declined consular responsibility for them as they are not British passport holders, although they have residency status in this country.

12. Some of the Dead in Afghanistan

“It’s OK to kill Taliban in their own country, just as it was OK to kill communists whomever they were. The vermin factor again. Now and then, the ‘insurgents’ turn out to be families of 20 or 30, many of them children.” John Pilger

300 militants killed in Operation Mountain Fury in Afghanistan
01.10.06. People’s Daily Onine. Operation ‘Mountain Fury,’ in Logar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika and Paktia provinces. “Afghanistan has plunged into the worst spate of violence since the Taliban regime was toppled in late 2001.”

Afghanistan a Lost Cause for Canadians
02.10.06. Angus Reid. Poll: Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan are dying for a cause we cannot win. Agree 59%.

Probe finds Nato offensive killed 53 Afghan civilians
04.10.06. The Int. News. President Hamid Karzai appointed the
commission to investigate civilian casualties in ‘Operation Medusa’ in the southern province of Kandahar. … The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said around 1,000 ‘militants’ were killed and others were forced to retreat. "Our findings show that 53 people have been martyred, nine others have been wounded, eight mosques have been destroyed and a number of people's houses and orchards have been destroyed."

German Journalists Killed in Afghanistan
07.10.06. AP / Forbes.

Afghan violence worst in five years
08.10.06. ITV.

Taliban chief beheads 8 ‘spies’ working for British
15.10.06. D. Nelson, Sunday Times.

NATO regrets civilian deaths after air strikes in Afghanistan
18.10.06. CBC. 22 civilians killed. See also here.

Afghans Working For U.S. Military Executed
20.10.06. CBS.

NATO says 48 ‘militants’ killed in the south; police seize marijuana, opium
25.10.06. AP / Int. Herald Tribune.

NATO Bombs Afghan Village Kills At Least 85 Including Women And Children
26.10.06. Xihuana.

U.S. Army finds 7 war Iraq, Afghanistan death cases incorrectly reported to families
30.10.06. “The Army did not release the names of all seven soldiers whose cases were initially reported incorrectly.”

‘Enduring Freedom’ Casualties
30.10.06. CNN. “There have been 491 coalition deaths -- 339 Americans, one Australian, 41 Britons, 42 Canadians, three Danes, three Dutch, nine French, 18 Germans, nine Italians, one Norwegian, one Portuguese, four Romanians, 18 Spaniards, two Swedes -- in the war on terror as of October 30, 2006.” *Who else, beside contract workers, are eliminated from this ‘official’ count? See here. Accidental deaths, deaths reported but not confirmed, subsequent deaths of wounded soldiers – these are not on the official tally.

13. War Crimes? The Dying and Future Dead

International Criminal Tribunal For Afghanistan at Tokyo
10.03.04. Final Written Opinion of Judge Niloufer Bhagwat

16.10.06. Leuren Moret, UNObserver.

14. References

Grey, Stephen, Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program, C. Hurst and Co., 2006. See review here


Sarah Meyer is a researcher living in the U.K.
She is a member of the BRussels Tribunal Advisory Committee.

The URL to Index on Afghanistan: October 2006 is:

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