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Our provocation of the Afghanistanwars “was an excellent idea”. Listen to high-rank US-political-adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and understand the brutal inhuman thinking of the US-Elite (and other elites in this world for whom lives of common people do not count at all), which costs and has costs millions of lives for global domination: American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. Brzezinsk: ” That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.” Civilian suffering is the one way the “Vietnam analogy” really does apply to Iraq and Afghanistan. Destabilising a county, pushing it in a war with endless victims up to today (including soldiers from the rich world and the US) and massive destruction and billions spent for war instead for welfare and ending poverty, and one of the most prominent political adviser comments: “That secret operation was an excellent idea.” It is time that those who stand for peace and humanity stop this brutal nonsense and unite us globally against these global operations to bring through, what the states had decided 1948 with the adoption of the General Declaration of Human rights: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. (..) Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

May 1, 2013

US Kandahar Afghanistan

Afghanistan civilian death casualties data: Afghan Police and local residents stand around a mini van carrying the bodies of the victims who were killed by a US soldier in Panjwai district in Kandahar. Photograph: I. SAMEEM/EPA

According to this 1998 interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the CIA’s intervention in Afghanistan preceded the 1979 Soviet invasion. This decision of the Carter Administration in 1979 to intervene and destabilise Afghanistan is the root cause of Afghanistan’s destruction as a nation.


The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan

Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski,
President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser
Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998
Posted at 15 October 2001

Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

B: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

Translated from the French by Bill Blum

From Vietnam to Afghanistan: The War Victims We Forget

Civilian suffering is the one way the “Vietnam analogy” really does apply to Iraq and Afghanistan.
  Note: The following is an introduction to Nick Turse’s article, “Will America Ever Grapple With the Atrocities It Committed in Vietnam?”

In late December 2001, not long after Washington’s second Afghan War began, there was that  wedding celebration in eastern Afghanistan in which 110 of 112 villagers were reportedly killed by American B-52 and B-1B bombers using precision guided weapons.  Then there were the more than 40 Iraqi wedding celebrants (27 from one extended family, including 14 children) who died when U.S. planes  struck their party at a village near the Syrian border back in May 2004, and the Afghan bridal party of 70 to 90 who were  taken out by a U.S. airstrike on a road near the Pakistani border in July 2008.  (The bride and 46 of those accompanying her died, according to an  Afghan inquiry, including 39 women and children.)  Added to this list should be the 24 unarmed Iraqi men, women, and children, ranging in age from 3 to 76, murdered by U.S. Marines in November 2005 in the  long-forgotten Haditha massacre. And the 14-year-old girl whom American soldiers  gang-raped and murdered along with her family in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, the next year.  And then there was the headline-grabbing case of those 16 civilians, nine of them children, 11 from one family, reportedly  slaughtered (and some of their corpses burned) by Staff Sergeant Robert Bales in two southern Afghan villages in the course of a single night in March 2012.

Let’s not forget either the 12 Iraqis, including two Reuters employees, shot dead (and two children badly wounded) on a Baghdad street in July 2007 by the  laughing crew of an Apache helicopter, as revealed in an infamous video  released by WikiLeaks.  There were also the 60 children (and up to 30 adults) who  died in the Afghan village of Azizabad on an August night in 2008 while  attending a memorial service for a tribal leader who had been, villagers reported, anti-Taliban.  That, too, was thanks to air strikes. There were also those three (or more) Afghan civilians hunted down “ for sport” in the summer of 2010 by a self-appointed U.S. “kill team” who were collecting  trophy body parts.  And there were the  10 boys, including two sets of brothers, collecting wood for their families in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province early in 2011, who  were attacked by U.S. helicopters.  Only one wounded boy survived.  Or most recently, the 11 Yemeni civilians, including women and children, in a Toyota truck  killed by a U.S. airstrike and initially labeled “al-Qaeda militants.”

Such a list, of course, only  scratches the surface of a reality that we in the United States have hardly noticed and so have to expend no effort whatsoever to ignore.  Unlike for the victims of 9/11 or more recently of Newtown, there will be no memorials, no teddy bears, no special rites, no solemn ceremonies.  Nothing.  The distant dead of our wars have largely paid the price in silence and anonymity for what the U.S. intelligence community  likes to call the last superpower’s duty of being a “global security provider” — and which elsewhere often looks more like inflicting mayhem on local populations.

In addition, the particular form of “security” we’ve brought to such areas via the U.S. military continues even after we leave.  U.S. troops are gone from Iraq, for example, but the violence our invasion and occupation set loose has never ended. Iraq Body Count has just issued its  report on rising deaths from violence in that country in 2012, both among the Iraqi police (922) and civilians (4,471). It concludes: “In sum the latest evidence suggests that the country remains in a state of low-level war little changed since early 2009, with a ‘background’ level of everyday armed violence punctuated by occasional larger-scale attacks designed to kill many people at once.” We bear genuine responsibility for this, but no longer care a whit. civilian casualties

Annual Afghan casualty figures have fallen for the first time since the invasion. How many people have died?
British dead and wounded in Afghanistan, month by month
Get the Afghan civilian casualties data

US Kandahar Afghanistan

Afghanistan civilian death casualties data: Afghan Police and local residents stand around a mini van carrying the bodies of the victims who were killed by a US soldier in Panjwai district in Kandahar. Photograph: I. SAMEEM/EPA

A NATO airstrike on Monday left 11 Afghan civilians (10 of whom were children) dead. But 2013 might mark an improvement in Afghanistan‘s conflict if the number of civilian casualties continues on its current trend.

2012, the latest year for which numbers are available, has shown the first drop since the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) first began collecting on civilian casualties. Though the total number of casualties fell by 9%, the number of deaths fell by 12%, while the number of injured actually rose by 2%. Last year’s figures bring the total number of civilians who have lost their lives in the armed conflict over the past six years to 14,728.

7,559 Afghan casualties were documented by UNAMA, of which 2,754 were deaths and 4,805 were injuries. The Taliban and other anti-government elements have been blamed for 4 out of every 5 civilians who were killed in Afghanistan last year – continuing a rising trend since 2007. The number of civilian deaths resulting from pro-government forces has by contrast fallen by 23%.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) killed the most Afghan civilians according to the UN, accounting for 41% of deaths in conflict. Between 1 January and 31 December 2012, UNAMA recorded 868 civilian deaths from IEDS. More noticeable however, is the number of targeted killings – 698 in 2012, up 62% from 2011 United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan says:

Particularly disturbing were targeted killings of women by Anti-Government Elements demonstrated by the killings of the head and deputy head of the Laghman Department of Women’s Affairs in August and December 2012 […] Civilians continued to be targeted in places including crowded markets, locations where tribal elders gathered and civilian Government offices.

The report also suggests this might be part of a broader strategy from the Taliban:

[I]n a statement released in August 2012, the Taliban identified civilian Government employees as lawful targets. The deliberate targeting and killing of civilian members of the Government administration is a violation of international humanitarian law which stipulates that military objects only may be the lawful objects of attack.

While we are pretty good at providing detailed statistical breakdowns of coalition military casualties (and by we, I mean the media as a whole), we’ve not been so good at providing any kind of breakdown of Afghan civilian casualties. There has been some work done. Human Rights Watch has published breakdowns of civilian casualties, and academics such as Mark Herold at the University of New Hampshire have done detailed reporting on very specific periods of the operation.

Unama point out the difficulties with collecting the data:

A key reason for the difference between the 2011 and 2012 data is that civilian casualty statistics often change following the public release of such figures, as UNAMA only reports civilian casualty figures verified through multiple sources. This verification is a rigorous and time-consuming process, which is affected by the security situation. UNAMA also takes steps to verify new cases identified through its monitoring – regardless of when the incident occurred. Once new cases are verified, UNAMA adds the cases its database. The numbers often change on a daily basis as new information is added (eg. injured victims dying, confirmation of the civilian status of victims, as well as new incidents).

“Late” reporting is common and often occurs when UNAMA is verifying incidents in those areas which are extremely difficult to access or those incidents in which there is wide discrepancy between communities, government and security forces about what occurred. Sometimes, as has happened, it can take more than a year to fully verify. UNAMA publicly reports civilian casualty figures through its mid-year and annual Protection of Civilians reports, press statements as well quarterly reporting to the UN Secretary-General. These documents are available online.

You’ve noticed the gap in media reporting – asking us why we publish military deaths but not civilian casualties. The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) publishes statistics on civilian casualties, splitting them into deaths caused by government/military forces, anti-government forces and so on. True, they’re not very visible on the UNAMA site and are not updated regularly in a visible way – but they do seem to be the best we can get. They published a report in February this year which has provided these details.

Obviously, collecting accurate statistics in one of the most dangerous countries in the world is difficult. But the paucity of reliable data on this means that one of the key measures of the war has been missing from almost all reporting.

But several of the older statistics in this report are different to what they were cited as being a few years ago. For example, the 2013 report claims that there were 3,131 conflict-related civilians deaths in Afghanistan in 2011. The 2012 report however puts this number at 3,021. It is not clear whether these numbers have been updated, revised or simply misquoted. Where there is an inconsistency between the numbers, we’ve highlighted it and added a comment in the google spreadsheet attached.

We’ve summarised the numbers above using the latest report from UNAMA. Take a look and let us know what you think – and what you can do with it.

Data summary

Deaths in Afghanistan

Click heading to sort. Download this data

Anti-govn’t forces
Pro-govn’t forces
% change
% Anti-govt forces
2006 699 230 929 75.24
2007 700 629 194 1,523 63.94 45.96
2008 1,160 828 130 2,118 39.07 54.77
2009 1,630 596 186 2,412 13.88 67.58
2010 2,037 427 326 2,790 15.67 73.01
2011 2,332 410 279 3,021 8.28 77.19
2012 2,179 316 891 2,754 -8.84 79.12
TOTAL, 2007-2012 10,737 3,436 2,006 16,179 n/a 66.36

Download the data

DATA: download the full datasheet with details going back to 2006

More open data

File:President Barack Obama visits LTC Alex Tugushi (March 2 2012).jpg

File:Coalition military casualties in afghanistan by month.svg

File:Gregory Sher ramp ceremony.jpg

Coalition deaths in Afghanistan by country

 USA: 2,084*
 UK: 441
 Canada: 158*
 France: 88
 Germany: 56
 Italy: 52
 Denmark: 43
 Australia: 39
 Poland: 39
 Spain: 36*
 Netherlands: 25
 Romania: 20
 Georgia: 19
 Turkey: 14
 New Zealand: 10
 Norway: 10
 Estonia: 9
 Hungary: 7
 Sweden: 5
 Czech Republic: 5
 Latvia: 3
 Finland: 2
 Jordan: 2
 Portugal: 2
 South Korea: 2
 Albania: 1
 Belgium: 1
 Lithuania: 1

TOTAL: 3,173



Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1.

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

  • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

  • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

  • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

  • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

  • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

  • Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

  • (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
  • (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
  • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

  • (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  • (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  • (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  • (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
  • (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

  • Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  • (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  • (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

  • Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  • (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  • (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  • (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

  • (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

  • Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

  • (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  • (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  • (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

  • Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

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