Seventeen villagers were killed in a “precision” US bombing raid on Friday of last week. Not in Iraq, but in Afghanistan — a country that was “liberated” over three and half years ago.
Typically, it took several days for the US military to admit to the killings in the Kunar province, where it had lost the biggest number of soldiers in a single action since toppling the Taliban in 2001.
The south and east of Afghanistan have witnessed a dramatic upsurge in attacks on US troops and on the forces of the puppet Afghan government of Hamid Karzai.
This comes a year after presidential elections were supposed to mark a stride towards stability and development. Afghanistan under the US and Britain remains a shattered country.
Elaheh Rostami Povey has recently returned from Afghanistan. She says, “39 percent of the population in urban areas and 69 percent in rural areas have no access to clean water. One child in eight dies because of contaminated water.
“People living in Kabul and other urban areas have electricity only a few hours a day.
“Around 40 international organisations are operating in Afghanistan. There are also foreign embassies and the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force). They are all under heavy armed protection and are situated in central Kabul and a few other urban centres.
“They have their own supplies of electricity, water and gas. Afghan people are resentful that they do not have such essential utilities.
“Life expectancy is 44 years. One woman dies from pregnancy-related causes every 30 minutes.”
All this in a country that has been forcibly handed to the institutions that the G8 leaders tell us can make poverty history.
Next week Socialist Worker will have an exclusive report by Elaheh Rostami Povey from Afghanistan.