Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A.P. Hill & Bobbie Lee Among the Afghans

From today’s St. Paul Pioneer Press, via the AP. ( No link, they are fugitive.)
HEADLINE: Anti_U.S. protesters riot in Afghanistan
What the HEADLINE should have been:
Afghan & U.S. Soldiers Kill 11, Own losses low

Violence may threaten upcoming elections

-Like in Iraq? Purple thumbs by the thousands are the greatest threat to tyranny.
Associated Press
I am always suspicious of the AP. They have made things up in the past.

BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Hundreds of protesters chanting "Die America!" and throwing stones tried to batter down a gate at the U.S. military's main Afghan base Tuesday, adding to anxieties in a country worried that fighting with insurgents could disrupt elections.

-Were these native English speakers? How many were speaking English? Who were they. Did the crowd have a battering ram? The ram Grond from The Return of the King, wielded by trolls and orcs? And, "adding anxieties in a country worried..." Who is worried? The entire country is worried?

The riot came just hours after an overnight battle in southern Afghanistan that a provincial governor said killed at least 50 suspected Taliban rebels and two Afghan soldiers.

-Now it is a riot. How did that happen? What’s the distinction between throwing stones and cursing and a riot? "Just hours..."? And the causal connection is what?

More than 800 people have died in a surge of insurgent attacks and government offensives since March, and U.S. and Afghan officials have warned that the violence is a threat to parliamentary elections scheduled for Sept. 18.

-Ah, the ever popular "surge" of attacks. May we have some context please, anywhere, any kind, just asking. How many of the 800 were the bad guys? The ones we want to kill, on purpose you know. Can we extrapolate the 11:1 ratio of the headline? Eight hundred divided by 12, times eleven is 733. A little help please Amir. Hello? Which "officials" gave these warnings? Names please or dates. Or references. Or, here’s a hard one, links. Eh?

Police in eastern Paktika province said a legislative candidate was killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb that blew up next to his vehicle as he drove his sick mother to the hospital. The woman was wounded, area police chief Malik Khan said.
The clash in Bagram was unusual. The area, which is an hour's drive north of the capital, has been largely peaceful since a U.S.-led military campaign toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001 for harboring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida terrorist camps.

-Uh no. The campaign only secondarily pertained to "harboring" and several thousand times more primarily had to do with the attacks on New York, Washington D.C., and, our first victory since we began to fight back with resolve, in the skies over a field in Pennsylvania.

Rioting broke out in a crowd of more than 1,000 people who gathered to protest the detention of eight villagers at the base, where thousands of U.S. and other foreign soldiers live behind razor-wire fences and land mines left from Afghanistan's civil war.

-"gathered to protest..." " Hey, Kabir, doing anything right now? Me and Aliz and Tajir and a couple of hundred others are gathering down by the razor wire to shout in a language we didn’t grow up speaking and throw some stones. There’s kebabs and flatbread later. Wanna come?"

-"...eight villagers..." What are the sympathies of the village. For us, for our adversaries. Did they get a buck for each stone thrown? And "...left over land mines"? Who believes that? "Well Captain, the mines are already there, can we use ‘em? " Captain, "What kind of mines? Where are they? How stable are they? How old are they?" "Don’t know, don’t know, don’t know, don’t know and don’t know." Captain, "Sergeant, clear out the mines please."

"Afghan civil war". I didn’t know the Russians were also Afghans. (Unless he meant the post Russian fighting.)

Demonstrators hurled stones at a passing convoy of six U.S. military vehicles, smashing some windows. As soldiers inside the cars fired handguns in the air, the vehicles sped into the base and the protesters chased behind, trying to push down a metal gate guarded by Afghan troops.

-Hurled from what distances? What kind of vehicles? Smashing...? Cracks...pits...whole on busted? Call the glass guys in the morning smashed? How many is some, just more that one? Sped how fast? Chased behind how fast? Was this a run the gauntlet, beat the infidels with goat bladders ala The Black Rose? A quick left into the gate? And what happened to the battering? Here they are just pushing with their shoulders?

Guards used sticks to drive back the mob as other troops fired into the air with assault rifles and shouted at the protesters to go home. Most of the protesters then dispersed.
It was not clear if there were any casualties, though an Associated Press reporter was hit and kicked by protesters who accused him of being a spy for the Americans and an AP photographer was punched by other demonstrators.

-Not much of a "mob" or "riot" if some guards, outside the fence, chased them away with sticks. Or the guns in the air, yes. I see...and the "Go Home!!" That did it. AP reporter and photographer kicked and hit. I suggest they sue Newsweek. Is Amir talking about himself here?

The eight detained men were "suspected of planning and conducting attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces" and had "materials used to make improvised explosive devices in their possession," the U.S. military said in a statement.

-Ah, the innocent villagers loyalties come a bit into focus.

The demonstrators said they were angry that U.S. troops arrested the villagers late Monday without consulting local authorities.
"We have supported the Americans for years. We should be treated with dignity," said Shah Aghar, 35. "They are arresting our people without the permission of the government. They are breaking into our houses and offending the people. We are very angry."

-Who is Shah Aghar, 35. And, "for years...?" For years means quite a lot of years. Counting since 2001 is only four. Years? Consulting the villagers. Would they still have waited around to be picked up following the "consultation"? Again, who is Shah Aghar?

In the south, Uruzgan Gov. Jan Mohammed Khan said Afghan and U.S. troops inflicted heavy casualties in attacking a guerrilla base in the Dihrawud district. He said two Afghans and at least 50 rebels were killed and about 25 suspected insurgents were captured.

-Would that the headline was, Afghan and U.S. Soldiers Kill 50, capture 25

A U.S. military statement Monday said heavy fighting in that area had killed one American soldier, an Afghan trooper and 11 rebels. Three Americans and one Afghan soldier were wounded, it said.

-Rebels? Confederate soldiers...? Men of the CSA? A.P. Hill and Bobbie Lee’s boys? I thought they were villagers. The Gilligan’s Island village of the Kush.

Here's another perspective. From a paper I do not know, the Arab News. They describe themselves as the Middle East's Leading English Language Daily:

KABUL, 26 July 2005 — One US soldier and an Afghan serviceman were killed in “heavy fighting” yesterday that also left 11 insurgents dead in south-central Afghanistan, the US military said.
About 15 to 30 insurgents fired on a US-Afghan patrol with guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades near a village in Uruzgan province, also wounding three American troops and an Afghan soldier, it said in a statement.
“Attack aircraft and helicopters responded to the scene of the incident,” said the statement about the clash west of Deh Rawood.
“The helicopters fired on enemy forces as Afghan and US forces searched the village house-to- house.”
Eight militants had been captured as US and Afghan forces searched the area, the statement said, and four rocket-propelled grenades, two AK-47 assault rifles and a radio had been confiscated.

Note the loyalties of the villagers now. No Professor, no Mr. Howell, no CSA soldiers. No rebels at all. Insurgents when shooting and firing, militants when captured. Nothing about breaking into houses though. Who is Shah Aghar again? No details about the "guns" or "mortars" though. Interesting that although the volume of fire might sound potentially intense, casualties don't reflect heavy or/and accurate fire. Speculation only though. "15 to 30"..., and how large was our patrol? Important details. "Attack aircraft"...fixed wing asets...? "Eight captured". Nothing about terrain...eight is either half of them, or one fourth of them. Was their escape route cut off? I'd bet good intelligence took the patrol there initially. Unless the baddies attacked entirely without cover and were caught in the open. Unlikely, they are not stupid.

Again, the real story obscured by the first thirteen paragraphs of a fourteen paragraph story is the killing and capture of Taliban terrorists. The picture of the shouting Afghans before they went out to lunch is just to sell papers.

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