Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Home | Friday 12th December 2008 | Issue 659

Back to the Full Issue


As far as anti-arms actions goes, it’s hard to beat the news from Pakistan from the other day. Three actions over four consecutive days have destroyed some 200 US Humvees and armoured personnel carriers, as well as other weapons heading for US troops engaged in the occupation of Afghanistan (sorry, we mean, at the invitation of ‘Mayor of Kabul’ President Karzai). In one of the major blowbacks from the war in Afghanistan, groups fighting under the banner of ‘The Taliban’ have virtually taken over the northwestern border of Pakistan. On the Afghan side of the same border, the original Taliban that were so famously routed from Mazar Al Sharif in 2001 by the US and the Northern Alliance, are back in force, controlling most of the South and East of the country.

How things have changed in the last eight years. Back then most Afghans were glad to see the back of the Taliban, asking themselves “what could possibly be worse than that humourless shower of bastards?” Well, eight years later they’ve got their answer: The Americans.

Meanwhile some elements of the Taliban have softened their image a little- allowing some music and wedding parties here and there. And they’ve also been paying close attention to what their ‘Islamic brothers’ have been getting up to in Iraq over these last years, and now the hills of Afghanistan are alive with the sound of car-bombs. The Taliban have taken over from the Iraqi insurgency as the biggest killer of US soldiers (after obesity that is).

What’s going on in Afghanistan hinges on its neighbour Pakistan much more than anything that US or British squaddies get up to in the country. Pakistan, having nurtured both the Taliban and Al Qaeda for years, got bullied into supporting the US war since 2001. They’ve been playing a double game ever since. Ironically both the Americans and the Taliban rely on Pakistan for their supplies. Whilst the US base in Tarbella is a launching pad for aerial assaults, and US weapons reach Afghan bases through Pakistan, Pashtun men regularly cross the porous North-Western Frontier into Afghanistan to fight the Americans.

The ‘War on Terror,’ as viewed from the Northwestern Frontier Province, is a very weird place indeed. For a region that is probably the least developed in the whole of Asia, a war is being fought that could be the template for a slew of future wars which will look like scenes straight out of The Terminator. Remote control warriors sit in pre-fab buildings in Arizona controlling unmanned Predator Drones armed with Hellfire missiles that use smart targeting to hunt down terrorists from high in the skies. Needless to say the vast majority of the casualties of the Predators are civilian, as almost every week there are stories of yet another wedding party being hit by US remote missiles.

Somehow even though it’s politically unacceptable to allow US troops to fight in Pakistan, Playstation warriors who drop the kids off at school, commute to work and spend the day targeting towel-heads before coming home to dinner with the family is somehow alright. As villages that don’t have electricity or running water are ripped apart by the most sophisticated killing machines on the planet, the rage that these atrocities cause serve as the best possible recruitment campaign for the Taliban. Meanwhile, on Planet Washington president elect Obama promises to withdraw troops from Iraq to push them on to the new front line in Afghanistan, leaving the US sucked into an unwinnable war just like the one that the Soviets fought in the '80s.

Keywords: barack obama, iraq


Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.