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Afghanistan: Global solidarity, not foreign occupation


Today, Foreign minister Murray McCully said that New Zealand troops may be in Afghanistan for another four years. This is despite the growing opposition to the continued Western occupation of the country by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, himself installed by Washington soon after its invasion of the country in 2001.

Karzai last week demanded an apology from the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) over continued civilian casualties. Adding further fuel to the fire, Yar Mohammad Khan, a cousin of President Karzai's father, was shot dead when he emerged from his house during a raid by foreign troops in Kandahar just two days ago.

As we approach the 10-year mark of the ‘war on terrorism’ it useful to reflect upon New Zealand’s participation in it.

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Following 9/11, Helen Clark committed NZDF resources to help ‘find the evildoers’. To this end, she committed the Special Air Service (SAS) for ‘direct action missions and long-range reconnaissance’, Navy frigates to patrol the Straits of Hormuz, and Air Force Orions for surveillance.  Clark was close-mouthed about the deployment of the SAS, saying that discussing such matters compromised security. 

In 2005, it was revealed that the SAS had taken some 50-70 Afghan people prisoner and had turned them over to the Afghan army. It was revealed that there were no procedures in place for NZDF soldiers to meet their basic requirements under international law. While Goff assured the NZ public that these people had not been tortured, he was unable to confirm who the people were who had been taken prisoner, and he was being informed about the situation by the Americans, who were little concerned with the Geneva convention or human rights.

The SAS deployment was exposed, and eventually, Clark found it untenable to continue its deployment or re-authorise its redeployment.

Instead, the Labour government acquiesced to a request from the US for a provinicial reconstruction team (PRT). Phil Goff, then Minister of Defence, said the purpose of this team was in part to extend the control of the central government of Hamid Karzai in Kabul into the provinces of Afghanistan.

The PRT provided the Labour government with a useful policy option: they could continue to play a role in the war and be in with the Americans, while selling the domestic constituency on a programme of ‘nation-building’, ‘peace-keeping’, and ‘reconstruction’. This domestic-sell was carried out with a well-crafted propaganda campaign and enjoyed support across the political spectrum.

The PRT had its deployment rolled over many times, despite the view by some within Defence that it was too expensive, potentially compromised NZ’s ability to respond to situations closer to home and was effectively outside of NZ’s scope of interest. Needless to say, from the Foreign Affairs perspective, participation in Afghanistan was and remains a necessity in order to secure dairy access and a long-coveted trade deal, to lend multi-nation legitimacy to what is an overwhelmingly US military occupation and to prove NZ’s loyalty to Washington.

In 2009, Hamid Karzai was elected president for a second term. This election was roundly condemned as totally fraudulent both within Afghanistan (Karzai’s major opponent Abdullah Abdullah withdrew citing insufficient electoral safeguards) and around the world, including by Goff and Key.

Following the NZ election in 2008, Key recommitted the SAS. He said at the time he wanted to see a ‘clear exit plan’. He said that he wanted to see the ‘job done’ by which presumably he meant that al-Qaeda is unable to operate.

The Labour party leader Phil Goff did a total flip-flop, rejecting a call for cross-party support of the deployment. Goff said that the government of Afghanistan was promoting ideals that most New Zealanders would find hard to defend. He said that the deployment was likely to fail. He said it was a matter of evaluating the benefits and risks. He said it wasn’t worth it. He said that the situation was much different than in when he sent them twice before.

At that time, there was discussion about the expenditure of having both the SAS and PRT deployed, and many within Defence said it was unsustainable. Nevertheless, both deployments have been rolled over for the foreseeable future.

Over the past few months, New Zealanders have gotten a better idea of what the SAS have been doing in Afghanistan. Based in Kabul, they have been at the disposal of the US forces and the Karzai government for the conduct of raids and protection services.  In December 2010, they were called out for a night mission in defence of the US Embassy. It resulted in the SAS killing several private security guards at the property next door.

For ten years, the New Zealand Defence Force has been carrying out US foreign policy in Afghanistan. When the rational for the war shifts from ‘fighting terrorism’ to ‘bringing democracy’ to ‘stabilising’ it, the New Zealand government quickly falls into line with the current rhetoric.

Now we are told that troops will need to be in Afghanistan for four more years. It could take two years to withdraw troops, says McCully. The Americans want the SAS to stay and they want to redeploy the PRT to another (read: more dangerous) region.

Dick Cheney said that the ‘war on terrorism’ was going to last fifty-years or more. We sit poised on the anniversary (October 8, 2011) of a decade of occupation in Afghanistan: New Zealand’s longest ever war. The NZ soldiers want to stay and fight, the politicians want to stay and fight, and nobody seems much to care anymore that everyday more ordinary Afghani people die at the hands of an uninvited foreign occupation. It seems very clear that New Zealand troops will be there until the bitter end.

Unless we fight back.






Hi interested in your data

Hi interested in your data that shows that the majority of the population want rebuilding assistance by military engineers and co as well as military support withdrawn.

Also interested in what you predict would be the outcome of this complete withdraw on their domestic political and security situation, ie do they have the resources and infrastructure to protect the fragile democracy they now enjoy, or will it again regress into another playground for warlords and religous extremists like the Taliban to flourish and supress the populace and in particular woman who are only just now enjoying the freedoms we take for granted.

Cheers, Katie.

Cheers, Katie.

Katie, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Either you have no idea whatsover of what is going down in Afghanistan because you make comments that have no resemblance to what the original poster has written, or you have chosen to misrepresent what is really happening for your own politcal agenda.

The only democracy that the men, women and children share in Afghanistan  is death, dealt out by US led international thugs, their bombs and drones and heavy artillery make no distinction of age or sex. That you would try to justify that, is real Barf material.

The so called taliban had stamped out the opium trade so they had to be dealt to. Now of course one may see the opium trade back in full swing complete with heroin making facilities. So much for freedummy and democrappy.



Bad strawman.How about

Bad strawman.

How about addressing Katie's points rather than attacking her?

Bad Strawman

What points did Katie make that were relevant to the original post?

All this whining about woman and a fragile democracy entirely ignores the reality of what is happening there, which has nothing to do with democracy for anyone.

Weapons of mass destruction and those that wield them in the invading forces have no discrimination. They murder, torture and rape.

So tell me again in amongst all of the death, screaming and torture exactly what is it that women in Afghanistan are enjoying? Most of the womens faces that I see there are distorted masks of grief and tears.

These supporters of what is going down probably would not know a babies bum even if it were shoved in their face.


@Anony moose

If you weren't such a misogynist, you might have picked up on the relevance of Kaite's points, but alas you obviously can't see the forest for the trees. Her main point being, is it better to have Western military support within Afghanistan or is it better to have an Afghanistan that is more like Bangladesh where the United Nations estimates that, under Islamic Law (Sharia), almost half of all Bangladeshi women suffer from domestic violence and many also commonly endure rape, beatings, acid attacks and even death.

Being the Nazi that your are, I am sure you would prefer the latter.


Oh ho!

Eric, you be careful with the Nazi epiphet, old chum.

It is thoroughly Nazi to invade other countries and expect them to comply with the proscribed culural correctness of central command.

Afghanistan belongs to Afghanis, got it?

If they wish to rape and murder their women it is up to Afghan women to rise up to the challange.  And they are.  And they will.   Its a natural cycle.  Do consider yourself a superior godlet to demand changes in a society you neither understand nor have the wit to realise has seen these cycles before?

Did we have our Blue Stocking revolution and bra burning with the assistance of a foriegn invading army?

Talking over your head now, aren't I.  Or are your camouflage fascist green 'politically correct' overalls pulled up over your ears and you cannot hear?

Are you a knave to twist the words of a the wise or just without clear judgement?


"rebuilding assistance by

"rebuilding assistance by military engineers"

Where are military engineers doing rebuilding work in Afghanistan?

It seems to me that Afghanistan hasn't become much less of a playground for warlords and religious extremists - Karzai's government is full of both.



Check your facts Kate

Kate I would suggest you google a group called the 'Revolutionary Afghan Women's Association' or RAWA, they are the oldest women's rights organisation in the country and have been struggling against horrendous and systematic oppression since the 1970s. That is, through the war with the USSR, the civil war, the taleban and the current occupation. Crediting the Western forces with bringing women's rights to Afghanistan is simply an insult to these many brave activists who have been risking their lives for a long time trying to improve the conditions of women in Afghanistan.

Were you aware that the Karzai government has legalized rape within marriage? Maybe you should do some fact checking. Hopefully this article will be of interest to you:

Hamid Karzai has been accused of trying to win votes in Afghanistan's presidential election by backing a law the UN says legalises rape within marriage and bans wives from stepping outside their homes without their husbands' permission.


The final document has not been published, but the law is believed to contain articles that rule women cannot leave the house without their husbands' permission, that they can only seek work, education or visit the doctor with their husbands' permission, and that they cannot refuse their husband sex.

Wow there seems to be alot of

Wow there seems to be alot of hostility and overly emotive sensationalist fantasy to what is really a very simple question. I will simplify it a bit, what would be the consequence if all foreign involvement, military and otherwise, completely packed up and left today?

Would the country degenerate to the detriment of the civilian populace (who are all that really matter in this equation) or would their situation and future prospects improve. It is an important question as sometimes a lesser evil is preferable to the alternative, regardless of how odious it's political ideologue and ulterior motivation might be.

U should draw a distinction

U should draw a distinction between the U.S troops and the rest as well. The afghani's love the british and kiwis and want them to stay they do a ton of rebuilding work and have trained there own afghani cops and forces in a professional way. The SAS don't go around shooting civilians i believe there account of what happened.

Demand U.S troops out sure, but demanding N.Z troops and the n.z cops out who are training the afghanis is just shitting on the locals and all the good they have achieved with them. What a waste it will be.

Don't know about the British,

Don't know about the British, but the Kiwis haven't done a "a ton of rebuilding work" they are there do do security work (which is appropriate work for soldiers to be doing).

The PRT's development work is very limited (as noted on the NZ Defence Force website), and the locals aren't impressed by what little has been done, according to the only person I know who's been their and canvassed locals for their views.

Locals are happy with the PRT's security work in Bamiyan, specifically.



If foreign troops were to

If foreign troops were to simply leave the situation would potentially deteriorate, yes. Nevertheless you're projecting a political position onto me which I haven't personally claimed to support. I was just pointing out that your view on women's rights in Karzai's Afghanistan is basically wrong. Women suffered terribly under the taleban however there is plenty of reactionary filth in Karzai's government who are happy to impose a violent partiarchy there. What's more improvements in the conditions for women in Afghanistan have very little to do with the military dictats of of the western war machine and a lot to do with the struggles of women.

I think your problem is that you view the western forces in Afghanistan as fundamentally different to the warlords and fundamentalists. They are not. They are only there to further establish greater military influence in the region and because the capitalist nation-state has a natural tendency toward imperialist aggression. I feel no need to pick a side between imperialists, Islamists, warlords or any other reactionary scum with guns.

Suggested solutions?

I think anyone calling for troop withdrawls should have a reasonably detailed post-withdrawl plan to share, given what's at stake. Otherwise it's just sloganeering & the usual run of cliched polemic ('should be ashamed', 'scum', 'filth', etc). "The situation would potentially deteriorate, yes" doesn't really cut it as an answer to Kate's totally reasonable question.

How about, without personal abuse, someone promoting troop withdrawl also suggests a viable plan to prevent what seems to many the probable escalation of violence. That way we can better consider whether troops should leave.

I don't doubt US incompetence is at the heart of this fiasco, so not too keen on a rehash of that. Let's bury ideology for a moment. Would rather hear solutions.


Um ... er ...

How about a United Nations spaceport?  Only with the approval of the locals, of course.  And could they object to such a massive obviously beneficial and honourable investment?  Make the rockets out of opium sourced biodegradable plastics, perhaps ...

Anthony, unfortunately I

Anthony, unfortunately I haven't gotten around to drawing up a detailed plan for disengagement. I have put it on my to do list but at the moment it is below both learning to fly a plane and building a yacht. When I finish my PhD in military theory I will get in touch but that might be some time away.

Seriously though, I'm going to put the food away so maybe you should crawl back under the bridge you came from.


That's pretty much what I expected. Leaden sarcasm, issue avoidance & calling me a troll. Bye, and good luck with your life. 

Maybe if you weren't

Maybe if you weren't projecting a political position onto me which I haven't claimed to endorse, and if your criteria for holding an opinion on the occupation of Afghanistan weren't so absurd, I would be more keen to discuss. Later troll.

you folks

you folks might be interested in this


Sometimes a dirty job must be done ...

Afghanistan is a hard one to call ... Iraq is easy.  Iraq was a perverse invasion via illegal unconstitutional aggression.  Iraq was and is a war crime.

Afghanistan, though, has had, and still does have broad approval.  Wheels within wheels.  If they want to be run by the Taliban then thats their sovereign right, I guess.  As long as they do not become a haven for international terrorists in the same way that the cesspits beneath the Pentagon are havens, then all will be well.  We can still trade with them.  They have      v  a  s  t       mineral resources.  Not so much oil, but all the other goodies that a modern technocrat economy craves for.  And that, boys and girls, is what it is all about.  Is that a surprise?

In the same way, when the Yanks first got into orbit around NZ, they saw the Maui oil. They wanted it.  So they murdered Norman Kirk.  Then the discovered more oil elsewhere, and lost interest.  They just keep us now for cheap whores and access to Antarctica.  Taking us was easy.  It took a full-on coup and mass murder to subdue Chile (because of copper).  But NZ was an easy job, "like taking candy from a baby."  Because we are a nation of shameless sheep fuckers,easily distracted.

But those goodies belong to the Afghan people, not American fascist interlopers.  And that as I understand it is the real policy of HRH.  Let the Afghan warlords govern their own country, have control of their own resources, and grow rich in the usual way. 

Its none of our business, really, is the growing understanding.  But, for the moment, for the foreseeable future, we are there, and we should stay there.  Same in East Timor.  Its a job, and it  needs doing.  It is a legitimate job.

There are many ways of influencing a country, even entire peoples.  You do not need to murder their children - that actually only generates a culture of endless conflict - and that is the goal of Bush and others who desire 50 years of intercultural strife that will also see the NZ maori decimated as communists because of their communal ownership traditions.

Now hear this ...

The USA is broke (the Axis war booty of WWII has run dry) so now they need to control the drug trade - Afghanistan and probably Mexico too.  Air America is back in business - smacked back in Vietnman, they needed Rambo to win the war in their dreams.

Back again, oh yes.  Now with the "War on Terror' - the war founded on a lie (like Vietnam and the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, among so many "false flag" ops that the Nazis before them were fond of.  The Pentagon is on record for ordering the USAF to stand down against the attackers (let them in).  Anyone's refusal to accept that the Pentagon manages and creates the "War on Terror" is tantamount to a declaration of sub-human intelligence, or collaboration.

So, if for no other reason, we need to stay close to the cowboys just to wither them with scorn.

Anyway, Anthony, when we say that 'someone' or 'such and such' is filth its because they are mother fucking septic huas. Its not polemic.  Its visceral disgust.

 Also interested in what you


Also interested in what you predict


Also interested in what you predictwould be the outcome of this complete withdraw on their domestic political and security situation, ie do they have the 70-576 tes resources and infrastructure to protect 70-632 test  the fragile democracy they now enjoy, or will it again regress into another playground for warlords and religous extremists like 70-431 test the Taliban to flourish and supress the populace and in particular woman who are only 70-452 test just now enjoying the freedoms we take for granted.