Days after President Trump’s announcement of a new strategy for Afghanistan, the top American officials in Kabul say that a promised increase in the United States military personnel and air power is already underway in the country.
Gen. Nicholson doesn’t provide details on the number of troops; he just emphasizes that American forces will remain in Afghanistan with no prestated timeline for withdrawal. Previous reports have suggested that the increase, which Trump has put in the hands of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a former Marine general, would amount to over 6,000 additional American troops.
This is while according to a report by the Intercept, US forces are using drones and other aircraft to kill civilians in Afghanistan. The revelations are further damning evidence that the Trump administration is continuing the Bush-era project of treating the world as a global battlefield while evading international accountability and trial.
For those who have paid close attention to the disastrous war on Afghanistan, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. What’s surprising is that the Intercept provides never-before-seen details about the covert program's high rates of civilian casualties, with nearly 90 percent of those killed in drone strikes being innocent civilians.
Under international law, this warrants an immediate UN inquiry, as it raises serious concerns about the US systematically violating international law, including by classifying unidentified people as “combatants” to justify their “accurate” killings. The assassination campaign is never a “surgically precise” and “targeted” killing program, nor is it legal and necessary. It is morally flawed, directly contradicting by on-the-ground investigations by civil society groups.
The orders to place civilian targets on kill lists and assassinate them come from the highest ranks of the US government, including President Trump himself. All while the military cleans up its dismal track record of civilian deaths by terming unidentified people killed as “enemies” or another dubious Pentagon classification called “unknown militants.”
This is not about forcing the US government to apologize and make condolence payments to victims' families; the US government often claims adherence to international law that are really tragic lies. The US should cease its ridiculous high-tech killing campaign and call it quits in Afghanistan as its criminal occupation and troop increase undermines the right to life and security.
Sending thousands more troops to the war-torn country with no end in sight is ridiculous too. It betrays repeatedly stated vows by the White House to withdraw all occupying troops. No doubt Afghan forces are as strong as they need to be to confront the Taliban insurgency on own steam. They also know far better than US forces how to avoid bombing hospitals, schools and wedding parties.
Suffice it to say, America’s longest war is not just a military and intelligence agency fight on a foreign battlefield. It is also a propaganda war against the Muslim world where the public is fed inaccuracies and lies from Washington, especially when it comes to freedom and democracy.
The influx of new troops is illegal under international law. By its own admission, the Pentagon regime has no idea whom they are killing about a quarter of the time. The policy fails to conform to international protocols. It knowingly destabilises Afghanistan, admittedly with terrible consequences./ Source: FNA