Taliban targeting NZ soldiers

Zabiullah Mujahid

“We are killing the New Zealanders because they are helping the Americans. They have come to kill and arrest our people.”

“We will find them and kill them, there’s no safety for them,” Those were the words of Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, as stated to a Herald on Sunday correspondent. “Yes we knew our target was New Zealand forces, because they are with our enemy and the others who came to our country with guns and weapons. We are killing the New Zealanders because they are helping the Americans. They have come to kill and arrest our people.”

It really couldn’t be said much clearer than that. Regardless of what New Zealand soldiers are doing in Afghanistan they are seen by the Taliban, and likely by other Afghans as well, as part of an occupying force. ” but we do not have any other enmity towards the people of New Zealand,” Muhahid stated “The families of those killed should tell the Government of New Zealand not to send soldiers to kill Afghans, because this fight does not belong to New Zealand. This is an American fight and they have persuaded other countries to become involved.”

[Read more…]

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Barbara Sumner Burstyn and the war in Afghanistan

If you looked at the headlines last weekend you would have heard about an “outburst” that prompted a “fury” on social media. Terrible things had been said, apparently, and everyone was outraged.

These were the comments in question;

“Oh, so fallen soldier Jacinda Baker liked boxing and baking – did they forget she also liked invading countries we are not at war with, killing innocent people and had no moral compass”

“She 100 per cent does not deserve our respect for her flawed choices. We are not at war. We are helping America invade another country for their oil. No more than that.”

“Go to war, expect to be killed. You can’t have it both ways – oh nice little career with the military and shock horror when you get blown up.” [Read more…]

Green Left Weekly: Atrocity in Afghanistan fuels opposition to occupation

This article, by Tony Iltis, originally appeared on Green Left Weekly and will be republished in the April Spark.

For the US military and the pro-war Western corporate media, the March 11 slaughter of 16 civilians, nine of them children, as they slept in their homes in the villages of Alkozai and Najeeban in Panjwai district, Kandahar province, was an aberration.

For Afghans, it was just the latest massacre.

There are differing accounts of what happened. The US maintains the killings were the work of a single “rogue” soldier. Eyewitnesses, however, insist there was more than one attacker. [Read more…]

Open letter to Keith Locke MP

Hi Keith

I read this in the Herald, attributed to you:

“We are proud of the good peacekeeping and reconstruction work that our Provincial Reconstruction Team has done in Bamian Province, and we mourn the loss of one of its members.”

If those words are not misquoted, then I’m really angry at your misrepresentation.

What’s going on here?

You’ve read all the books and been constantly active in the anti imperialist movement for literally half a century. You must be much more acutely aware than most people that the so called Provincial Reconstruction Team that the New Zealand state sent to Afghanistan is not about peacekeeping, or reconstruction , or is, in any way, “ours”.

You must similarly know that unless someone belongs to or chooses to identify with the New Zealand ruling classes, or is a bought hack journalist, or has not had access to the most rudimentary understanding of class politics, that: “our Provincial Reconstruction Team” is not based in Afghanistan for peacekeeping, good or otherwise.

Death in war is an understandable trigger for human emotions. So lets get the whole picture here. How many Afghanistan people have been killed by New Zealand invaders of their country?  When do we mourn and how do we begin to try and make amends?

People die every day in the course of their calling. The NZ army officer killed by Afghanistan people trying to evict invaders from their land is the first invading New Zealand trooper to die there since 2003. How many industrial deaths have there been in New Zealand since that time? How many flags were lowered, how many media voices theatrically quavered and how many Prime ministers broke routine for those working class victims of the class war?

Let the ruling classes do their barbarous inhuman dirty work alone and unaided.

Our little time on this earth has more urgent and honorable calls on it; to revive the antimperialist antiwar movement in this country.

Don Franks

New WP pamphlet on Afghanistan

New Zealand’s involvement in the occupation of Afghanistan has been commonly perceived as a humanitarian role. John Edmundson demolishes that myth and looks at what the occupation is really about.

The Situation so far

On 10 August 2009, Prime Minister John Key announced that the SAS (Special Air Service) would return to Afghanistan. This announcement had been predicted for some time so came as no surprise. The troops are being deployed in three rotations over 18 months and the full deployment involves 70 soldiers over that time period. At the same time, over that 18 months the NZ Army’s Provincial Reconstruction Team – NZ’s major commitment to the war – are being gradually reduced and eventually withdrawn, their work to be replaced by civilian work on agriculture, health and education. But the SAS deployment may in fact last much longer. The war in Afghanistan is going badly for the US -led coalition and few military people or civilian analysts are prepared to go public with an estimate of how much longer it could go on. A time frame as short as 18 months seems unlikely and if the war continues for years, there will be further requests for extensions to the troop commitment. With the Obama administration massively expanding the war effort, not just through increased troop numbers in Afghanistan, but an increasing involvement in Pakistan also, the war could well drag on for years.  read more

Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan

 

Activists gathered in Auckland today outside the US consulate to protest the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraqi women condemnig the occupation

Marking the anniversary of the Iraq invasion 7 years ago the protesters demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all foreign troops, including and especially the NZ SAS and other military in Afghanistan.

The Workers Party had a PFLP banner, as part of a solidarity campaign with the Palestinian liberation movement

Workers Party with the PFLP banner

The protested ended on a fitting note, with old shoes being hurled at the Consulate.

It is 8 years since NZ troops joined the US led invasion of Afghanistan

The SPARK interviews long serving anti-imperialist activist and Workers Party secretary Daphna Whitmore

Spark: It’s been 8 years since New Zealand troops were sent to Afghanistan – why did the Labour-Alliance government send them in the first place?

It needs to be understood in the context of New Zealand’s involvement with US and British imperialism. New Zealand is a partner in this bloc, and Labour enthusiastically signed up to the so-called War on Terror. When it comes to involvement in military adventures Labour governments have been just as warmongering as National.

Daphna Whitmore

Daphna Whitmore (left)at May Day march 2009

The Alliance Party split over the issue of support for the invasion of Afghanistan, with the majority of its members rejecting the war. It highlighted the problem of being in government with an outright capitalist party like Labour.

Spark: New Zealand companies aren’t trying to make major sales in Afghanistan – why all the risk and expense over such a long period of time?

 In its last term the Labour government did scale back the involvement, recalling the SAS and sending instead “reconstruction” forces. This tended to obscure the reality – that these are military forces, participating in an occupation. It dressed it up to look like it was simply a humanitarian mission. [Read more…]

Christchurch Forum: Oppose NZ intervention in Afghanistan

New Zealand soldiers have been deployed in Afghanistan for longer than in any other overseas deployment in the army’s history. Now the government is sending in the SAS again. Whereas most people in NZ opposed the invasion of Iraq by Western powers, many still see Afghanistan as the “good war” and there is little public debate about what is really happening in that country and how Western intervention, including the role played by NZ, has brought new misery to the people of Afghanistan.

Come along and hear what has really been happening in Afghanistan since the invasion at the end of 2001 and why NZ armed forces, along with all other Western armed forces, should be withdrawn.

Monday August 31 7:30pm
WEA, 59 Gloucester St
(map)

Troops out now!

Papakura army base

Around 50 people protested outside Auckland’s Papakura army base, against the deployment of SAS troops to Afghanistan.

The protest was organised by Global Peace and Justice Auckland

Stop the SAS return to Afghanistan

Picket outside of the Court of Appeal, corner of Molesworth and Aitken St WELLINGTON  8AM – 9.30 AM

The picket coincides with the Court of Appeal hearing for an anti-warwpbanner protester convicted of burning the NZ flag at anti-war protest in 2007. It also coincides with the government’s announcement of the return of the SAS to combat in Afghanistan. All welcome…and please pass it on…

Organised by Peace Action Wellington