Monday, April 11, 2011

The unmitigated Gall

On April 5th, M K Bhadrakumar wrote an article in the Asia Times that looked at the recent killings of UN workers in Mazar-i-Sharif. Some of the points he made were:
1. The impossibility of a Taliban presence in the city.
Indeed, anyone familiar with the Amu Darya region would know that the walk from the Blue Mosque to the UN compound itself is as eternal a walk as the footsteps that Neil Armstrong, the American astronaut, took on July 20, 1969, under the close monitoring of the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Not a bird can fly across that one kilometer without the three lords of the northern Afghan manor noticing it (or permitting it to happen) - Rashid Dostum, Uzbek strongman; Mohammed Mohaqiq, Hazara Shi'ite leader; and Atta Mohammad Noor, currently governor of Balkh province and an erstwhile Northern Alliance leader.

Dostum, Mohaqiq and Atta might have had ups and downs in their mutual often-acrimonious equations, but one thing that unites them for a lifetime is their visceral hatred toward the Taliban and their existential fear of a return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan. They do not need to be told that the Taliban and them simply cannot co-exist within one Afghan political entity.
2. The city and the whole region are in an uproar over the possible release (from Gitmo) and repatriation of Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa to Afghanistan. Why?
But then, the ISI didn't let misfortune overtake their favorite Taliban official and Khairkhwa regrouped and returned to first lay siege to Mazar and then bombard it for several months and thereafter storm it in August 1998. This time, Khairkhwa and the ISI took no chances. The Hazara Shi'ites were massacred in their thousands in revenge and for the next six days after entering Mazar, Khairkhwa ordered his men to go from door to door looking for male Hazara Shi'ites and summarily executed them.

Thousands of Uzbek prisoners were packed into transport truck containers to be suffocated or to die of heat stroke so that Khairkhwa could spare ammunition. Among those who managed to flee the city were Dostum, Mohaqiq and Atta. Mohaqiq was evacuated in the nick of time from Khairkhwa's clutches by a helicopter.
On April 9th, Carlotta Gall wrote an article for the NYT that says it was the Taliban that was seen as 'stirring the mob to violence'. Many anonymous sources were used, no historical perspective was given, no mention of Mullah Khairkhwa was made, and the conclusions supplied obviously serve the interests of the US and NATO. Ms. Gall's only interest in reporting, like that of her newspaper, is to support the war and the government, hiding behind a mask of objectivity. Unfortunately for them, the longer wars go on, the harder it is to effectively lie, and the masks slip off so often they become useless. But they seem to never learn.


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