Showing posts with label Afghanistan war. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Afghanistan war. Show all posts

Monday, February 04, 2013

The War-Lord

"If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game...It's a joy for me because I'm one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think I'm probably quite useful,"  Prince Harry comparing war in Afghanistan where real people die to playing a virtual reality video game.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Afghan resources

Afghanistan's immense mineral wealth is estimated to be worth around £2trn, according to the Kabul government. Afghanistan's mineral wealth extends over a huge range of valuable resources: iron, gold, copper, niobium (used in hardening steel), uranium, marble, cobalt, mercury, caesium, molybdenum (a metal which can withstand high temperatures and is used to make various alloys), and other rare earth minerals. The country has especially valuable deposits of lithium, the metal used in the world's batteries. Indeed, a Pentagon official is on record suggesting that Afghanistan could be "the Saudi Arabia of lithium".

As far back as 2008, China agreed a deal to develop the Aynak copper mine in Logar province. This is said to be the world's second largest deposit of high-grade copper. The Afghan National Police has deployed 1,500 officers to guard the mine. As part of its agreement to develop a massive copper mine in Aynak, the China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) is being asked to build a 575-mile railway from the mine, south-east of Kabul. One branch would head to the Pakistani border, another in the opposite direction through the capital and connecting with the new Hairatan line in the north. The deals are not confined to minerals. In late December, China's state-owned National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) won a contract for three oil fields in Zamarudsay, Kashkari, and Bazarkhami in the northern provinces of Sari Pul and Faryab, which will make it the first foreign company to exploit Afghan-istan's oil and natural gas reserves. The intention is that CNPC will build a refinery within three years, and this will be guarded by dedicated units of Afghan police and army.

Chinese state firms have also been involved with seven infrastructure projects, including roads in Kondoz and Jalalabad. They have also won contracts for telecommunications systems in Kandahar and Kabul. And last year, the Asian Development Bank announced it had allocated more than $200m for the development of the gas wells of Sheberghan, and an attendant pipeline.

Italy, Turkey and Germany are also actively pursuing deals. PricewaterhouseCoopers is advising the Ministry of Mines in Kabul, and the US bank JP Morgan is active, having put together a consortium that won rights to the Qara Zaghan gold deposits. An Indian consortium has secured the rights to two blocks in the huge Hajigak iron ore field, the other block going to a Canadian firm. The Afghan government is also negotiating with the Indian-led consortium that won the contract for the equally huge iron deposits at Tajigak in central Afghanistan for the companies to fund a 560-mile railroad – likely through Iran – to bring out the heavy ore. India will also contribute to the establishment of an Institute of Mines in Kabul, and last October signed a strategic partnership with Afghanistan.

China, Iran, Pakistan and India all have government or corporate plans for separate rail projects across Afghanistan. Turkmenistan is completing its own plans for another line, and it was Uzbekistan that built the first major rail link, a 47-mile line from the border town of Hairatan to Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of Afghanistan. "We would be able to import and export to Russia, Turkey, and even European countries," says Noor Gul Mangal, Afghanistan's deputy public works minister. Opening new transport gateways would also reduce Afghanistan's dependence on neighbouring Pakistan as its only link to sea ports.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/an-ios-investigation-to-the-chinese-and-the-indians-the-spoils-of-a-terrible-war-7576426.html

Monday, August 08, 2011

War Brutalises

Further to this blog post

Socialist Courier reads that the Ministry of Defence is investigating claims that a soldier sliced fingers off dead Taliban fighters to keep as souvenirs. The allegations relate to a soldier from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who was serving in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Aghanistan - Opium for the people

Despite the presence of more than 30,000 international troops , the World Drug Report says more than 90% of illegal opium (compared to 70% in 2000 and 52% a decade earlier,), comes from Afghanistan. Helmand province alone cultivates almost half the world's illegal opium.

Thomas Pietschmann, the report's author, says production in Helmand has now outstripped that of entire countries.

"The province of Helmand itself is around 70,000 hectares under cultivation, which is three times the total area under cultivation in Myanmar (Burma). So only one province, three times as important as the whole of Myanmar, the second-largest opium-producing country," Mr Pietschmann says.

Harvests have been rising significantly since the US/British overthrow of the Taliban regime five years ago and last year's rise in Afghanistan pushed global production up by a massive 43% compared to 2005 .

Meanwhile the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports U.S. and/or NATO forces are killing Afghan civilians at a faster rate than militant insurgents .

Why are we there , again ? To bring law and order and stability , was it ?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What Price Slaughter

The American journalist had an interesting article on the value placed on different people's lives .

He begins with reference to history when in the days before child labour laws, the business of insuring working-class children, who were then quite valuable to poor families, achieved enormous success. The courts assessed the literal value of an earning child to a family.

During the Vietnam War, as part of the American pacification program, U.S. officials made what were called "solatium payments" for wrongful deaths caused by American forces. Back then, the U.S. valued Vietnamese adults at about $35 , while children's lives were worth about $15.
The practice continues in its wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan .

For example :-

9-year-old boy, shot by one of our soldiers who mistook his book bag for a bomb satchel - $500
An Iraqi journalist shot on a bridge - $2,500 to his widow .

In early March , a platoon of elite Marine Special Operations troops in a convoy of Humvees were ambushed by a suicide bomber in a mini-van and one of them was wounded. As the convoy made a frenzied escape it layed down a deadly field of fire along a ten-mile stretch of road. Their targets, according to a draft report of the U.S. military investigation of the incident were Afghans, on foot and in vehicles who were "exclusively civilian in nature" and had engaged in "no kind of provocative or threatening behavior." In the process, the Marines were reported to have murdered "12 people -- including a 4-year-old girl, a 1-year-old boy and three elderly villagers" -- and wounded 34 - And the blood money payed ? - $2,000 per death to family members as condolence payments .

The family or spouse of a loved one murdered on 9/11 was also given a monetary value by the U.S. government -- on average $1.8 million, thanks to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund , created by an act of Congress, and thanks to 33 months of careful, pro bono evaluation of the worth of an innocent American life on the basis of the victim's estimated lost lifetime earnings. The total September 11th payout figure was in the range of $7 BILLION

In Iraq , total official payments for wrongful deaths, as well as for injury and collateral property damage, caused by American troops, had reached $20 million by the end of 2005. The figure now stands minimally at $32 million, made unofficially "at a unit commander's discretion."

The value of an innocent civilian slaughtered by al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001 to his or her family: $1.8 million.
The value of an innocent civilian slaughtered at Haditha, Iraq, by U.S. Marines: $2,500.
The value of an innocent civilian slaughtered by U.S. Marines near Jalalabad, Afghanistan: $2,000.

To the American military, all human life has a value - But it is calculated in dollars and cents .
And , of course , for the American government , the life of one of its citizens is much more valuable than the life of any foreigner .

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