Monday, January 26, 2009


US arms intended for Afghanistan for sale to Taliban in Peshawar bazaar

by Larry Geller

Thanks to Viviane Lerner for reading so widely and catching this one.

Guess what: the US is supplying arms to the Taliban. This article is rich with intrigue and politics. First, if this report is true, it’s astounding:

The shocking intelligence assessment shared by Moscow reveals that almost half of the US supplies passing through Pakistan is pilfered by motley groups of Taliban militants, petty traders and plain thieves. The US Army is getting burgled in broad daylight and can't do much about it. Almost 80% of all supplies for Afghanistan pass through Pakistan. The Peshawar bazaar is doing a roaring business hawking stolen US military ware, as in the 1980s during the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union. This volume of business will register a quantum jump following the doubling of the US troop level in Afghanistan to 60,000. Wars are essentially tragedies, but can be comical, too. [Asia Times, Russia stops US on road to Afghanistan, 1/27/2009]

I recommend fastening your seat belts before clicking over to the above-linked article. You’ll see nothing like it in a local newspaper.

For example, the article goes on to discuss a growing relationship between Moscow and Kabul as the US tries to sideline Afghan President Hamid Karzai:

A statement from the Kremlin last Monday said Russia was "ready to provide broad assistance for an independent and democratic country [Afghanistan] that lives in a peaceful atmosphere with its neighbors. Cooperation in the defense sector ... will be effective for establishing peace in the region". It makes sense for Kabul to make military procurements from Russia since the Afghan armed forces use Soviet weaponry. But Washington doesn't want a Russian "presence" in Kabul.

Quite obviously, Moscow and Kabul have challenged the US's secret veto power over Afghanistan's external relations. Last Friday, Russian and Afghan diplomats met in Moscow and "pledged to continue developing Russian-Afghan cooperation in politics, trade and economics as well as in the humanitarian sphere". Significantly, they also "noted the importance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]" that is dominated by Russia and China.

A meeting of deputy foreign ministers from the SCO member countries (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) met in Moscow on January 14. The Russian Foreign Ministry subsequently announced that a conference would take place in late March. The Russian initiative received a big boost with Iran and India's decision to participate in the conference.

All we’ll get in our American media is news on a new “surge” of US troops to Afghanistan. Our press does not trust us with news or facts beyond the simpleminded PR level Washington puts out.

I can’t be content with the dribble of international news squished into two or three column-inches on the left side of page A3 of my morning paper—not when there is much more detailed, informative and vital news in the European or other world press on the web for the clicking. We need to have the news this Asia Times article reveals. If it is not in the American press, the American press is failing us.

Please be like Viviane. Read widely, be informed, spread the word.


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