Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Two Unhappy Stories About U.S. Actions in Afghanistan

US accused of using 'illegal' white phosphorus in chemical attack on Taliban that killed Afghan civilians

The US faced damning claims tonight that it used white phosphorus bombs in a battle with Taliban fighters that resulted in the death of scores of innocent Afghan civilians.

Doctors in Afghanistan have found horrific burns on victims of the slaughter a week ago they believe could have been caused by the chemical, which bursts into fierce fire on contact with the air and can stick to and even penetrate flesh as it burns.a
As many as 147 civilians were said to have died from American bombs dropped in the Farah district of Afghanistan during last week’s battle, although the Pentagon insists the death toll has been exaggerated.

Tonight the US military denied using phosphorus, saying if it had been used, the Taliban were to blame.

Ugly truth about foreign aid in Afghanistan

Exorbitant sums of international aid to Afghanistan are being lavished by Western aid agencies on their own officials in the conflict-stricken country.

"In the United States, Britain, and other countries, people work and taxpayers pay money that goes to help Afghanistan to build roads, dams, and electricity lines," Ramazan Bashardost, an Afghan parliament member and former planning minister, said.

Bashardost added, "But when the money comes to Afghanistan, it's spent on those people who have cars costing USD 60,000 and who live in houses with a USD 15,000 monthly rent. This money goes to these expenses -- 90 percent logistics and administration."
Districts across Afghan capital city, Kabul, have been taken over or rebuilt to accommodate Westerners working for aid agencies or embassies.

"I have just rented out this building for USD 30,000 a month to an aid organization. It was so expensive because it has 24 rooms with en-suite bathrooms as well as armored doors and bullet-proof windows," Torialai Bahadery, the director of Property Consulting Afghanistan said.

The cupidity of aid agencies and the foreign contractors that every bedroom should have an en-suite bathroom comes despite the fact that 77 percent of Afghans lack access to clean water.