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Afghan occupation failing, says Commons study

Issue No. 2061

A parliamentary committee has rung alarm bells over Afghanistan, warning that the occupation faces defeat unless the war is escalated.

The report by the House of Commons defence committee found that the occupation was failing at every level.

The Afghan army is too weak to confront the growing insurgency and Nato countries are not providing enough troops.

Earlier this year Nato was boasting that they had defeated a planned spring offensive by the Taliban.

Now they are forced to admit that the resistance has changed its tactics, targeting convoys and isolated military bases, rather than engaging in large scale battles.

'We are concerned at reports that violence is increasing and spreading to the relatively peaceful Kabul and the Northern Provinces,' the report warned.

'We are also concerned about the increased use of improvised explosive devices and suicide bombings in Afghanistan.'

Yet there is growing evidence that the occupation is the cause of the violence.

Giving a lie to Nato's claim that the Taliban are causing most civilians deaths, the report concludes that the mass killings of Afghans by Nato and its allies is undermining support for the occupation.

'Civilian casualties undermine support for ISAF [occupation forces] and the government of Afghanistan, and fuel the insurgency, further endangering our troops and the objectives of their mission.'

The committee's call for more troops came as South Korea has begun withdrawing its soldiers after a huge anti-war campaign.

The report says that if the mission is to succeed, 'its size and strength must be very great, and in our view considerably greater than the international community is at present willing to acknowledge'.

The warning came as defence secretary Des Browne ordered a further 100 soldiers to Afghanistan, bringing the total number of British soldiers there to 7,800.


Four British troops killed in Basra

Four British troops have been killed in Iraq after mortars hit their base, but their deaths barely made the pages of the pro-war press.

The latest casualties bring the number of British soldiers who have been killed this year to 36.

British troops are under siege in their airport base outside Basra since being driven out of the southern Iraqi city. The occupation is increasingly isolated since attempts to install a 'friendly' local regime failed.


Pakistan: ruling weakens military

Tensions inside Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led 'war on terror', continued to rise this week as President Musharraf was forced to concede defeat in his long running battle with judge Iftikhar Chaudhry, who has been reinstated to his position as chief justice.

Chaudhry had been suspended after acting in defence of many people that the state randomly accuses of terrorism, and then imprisons. He had also blocked privatisation plans and spoken out in favour of a return to democracy.

The US created a further political storm this week as it threatened to launch military strikes against 'Al Qaida targets' inside Pakistan.


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Tue 24 Jul 2007, 18:14 BST
Issue No. 2061
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