Saturday, April 26, 2008

WHO REALLY TRIED TO ASSASSINATE KARZAI TONIGHT-- A TERRORIST FOR SURE, BUT WHICH BRAND?

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I loved my two long visits to Afghanistan, the better part of a year when taken together, though split up by over a year in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Two things you learn about Afghanistan really fast is that every single male is armed at all times-- armed and ready to shoot at the slightest provocation-- and that almost everyone is stoned out of their head on hash as strong as acid. It was like traveling back in time for me-- like to Biblical times. And I loved every bizarre moment of it. Now that tourism is being touted and encouraged, I have to admit, Afghanistan is probably one of the last places on earth I would consider visiting. And I'm no wimp when it comes to travel. Last December I was wandering around Myanmar's Irrawaddy Delta, skipping right past signs that said travel is prohibited to foreigners. Last week I finished my travel plans to Mali.

But Kabul? Not me. According to a late night bulletin from AP in the NY Times "Automatic gunfire broke out at a ceremony in Kabul on Sunday, forcing the Afghan president and other dignitaries to take cover." From what I can gather, a couple of members of parliament were either killed or wounded. The Taliban took credit. Although...

The incident comes the day after Karzai lashed out at the Bush Regime's disastrous record of non-accomplishment in his country. The NY Times ran an interview with Karzai just hours before the attempted assassination in which he was very critical of the Americans and British. NATO sources claims he was posturing in the lead up to elections.
Mr. Karzai said that he wanted American forces to stop arresting suspected Taliban and their sympathizers, and that the continued threat of arrest and past mistreatment were discouraging Taliban from coming forward to lay down their arms.

He criticized the American-led coalition as prosecuting the war on terrorism in Afghan villages, saying the real terrorist threat lay in sanctuaries of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

The president said that civilian casualties, which have dropped substantially since last year, needed to cease completely. For nearly two years the American-led coalition has refused to recognize the need to create a trained police force, he said, leading to a critical lack of law and order.

The Times was sure to lard it's story with anti-Karzai propaganda from the CIA which doesn't appreciate his demands for independence: "Complaints have been rising for months among diplomats and visiting foreign officials [Cheney and Rice] about what is seen as Mr. Karzai’s weak leadership, in particular his inability to curb narcotics trafficking and to remove ineffective or corrupt officials. Some diplomats have even expressed dismay that, for lack of an alternative, the country and its donors may face another five years of poor management by Mr. Karzai."

Did Bush or Cheney order a hit on Karzai? Is there anything these two wouldn't do?


UPDATE

There's more this morning-- mortars as well as bullets were flying. One legislator and one tribal chief were killed and 11 others were wounded, several crtically. Two suspects were killed and others were arrested. And Matt Dupee at the Long War Journal has a few more pieces of the story:
Afghan security personnel stormed the location of the gunmen and arrested nine men. Witnesses also claim three armed men were shot and killed during the raid. At least 100 people have been rounded up for questioning, according the head of Afghan intelligence. Taliban spokesman Zabibullah Mujahid called several media outlets claiming responsibility for the attack. “We fired rockets at the scene of the celebration. We had placed six personnel in the area,” he said from an undisclosed location. “Our aim was not to directly hit someone. We just wanted to show to the world that we can attack anywhere.”

I'm sure Cheney would never call the Jalalabad Daily JIhad and announce he had ordered the hit. So we'll wait and see if anything substantive comes out... ever.

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