imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Mass rioting reveals depth of Afghan opposition to US occupation

by By Bill Van Auken Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 8:03 PM

The mass rioting that broke out in the Afghan capital of Kabul Monday has exposed the intensity and breadth of popular opposition to the four-and-a-half-year US-led occupation of Afghanistan and the fragility of the hold on the country by Washington and the puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai. According to official and press reports, at least 20 people died Monday in clashes between demonstrators, US troops and Afghan security forces, while more than 140 were wounded. A doctor at the Khair Hana Hospital in northern Kabul told the New York Times that a seven-year-old child was among the dead, while several other school children were severely wounded.

The upheavals were touched off by a traffic incident, in which a US military cargo truck, part of a convoy speeding to the capital from the US base at Bagram, slammed into cars caught in a traffic jam, killing at least one person. When an angry crowd gathered, witnesses said, the US troops, supported by Afghan police, opened fire, killing at least four more civilians. Some witnesses and at least one Afghan newspaper claimed that some of the US soldiers appeared drunk.

Ghulam Rauf, a shopkeeper, told the Los Angeles Times that he first saw the convoy of about six military vehicles racing towards a taxi that was crossing the intersection.

“As the first vehicle crashed into the taxi, two other [American] vehicles started hitting other cars on the sides of the road,” he said. “They destroyed all the vehicles that were standing there.

“And the soldier sitting on top was dancing and singing and shouting. Then they drove toward shops and into mobs of people standing there. They drove over them, and I saw people shouting, ‘Help!’ because their legs were cut open as the vehicles drove onto them.”

Rauf and other witnesses said that when Afghans crowded around the vehicles and attempted to block the US convoy from fleeing the scene, soldiers opened fire with roof-mounted heavy weapons.

News of the incident spread rapidly through Kabul, bringing crowds of thousands of young men and students into the streets chanting “Death to America,” “Down with Karzai” and “Down with Bush.”

The speed with which the demonstrations erupted reflected seething anger over the recent killing of civilians in US air strikes as well as growing unrest over the repressive character of the occupation and the impoverished social conditions for the masses of the Afghan people.

The rioting dwarfed similar outbreaks touched off a year ago over revelations of the desecration of the Koran by US guards at the Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba and again last February in response to the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. It marked the most intense violence in the Afghan capital since the US invasion in 2001 toppled the Taliban regime.

Some of the demonstrators were shot dead when the crowds attempted to march on the presidential palace and the US Embassy compound and were turned back by gunfire. Television news videos showed demonstrators ducking for cover amid the sound of gunfire as US military vehicles sped past them in the streets. Some of the protesters were reportedly armed and exchanged fire with foreign troops and Afghan security forces. The vast majority, however, were unarmed civilians, including many schoolboys carrying their book bags.

The protesters turned their rage on other targets, setting dozens of police posts on fire and attacking foreign aid organizations, the United Nations headquarters, offices of multinational companies and the Serena Hotel, a recently opened luxury hotel in Kabul that caters to foreign guests. The crowd attempted to storm the hotel, but was turned back by firing from inside. All of the hotel’s ground floor windows were smashed in the fighting.

The local office of Roshan, a mobile phone company, was burned down, as were the headquarters of CARE International’s Afghan operations, which put the damage in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The offices of Oxfam and ACTED, a French non-governmental organization, were also looted.

“They attacked everything that was written in English,” Frederic Roussel, director of ACTED, told the French news agency AFP. “I saw them attack a pizzeria simply because it had a sign written in English.”

The attacks on aid agencies, however, were not merely a matter of anti-foreign sentiment. Large numbers of Afghans are bitterly angry over the failure of US-led aid and reconstruction efforts to spell any discernable improvement in the conditions of life for the masses of working and poor people.

More than 90 percent of the Karzai regime’s budget is funded by foreign aid. Yet many see this money flowing into the bank accounts of government officials and contractors. The official unemployment rate remains at more than 35 percent. Only 20 percent of the population has access to clean water, and barely 6 percent to electricity.

US and NATO troops evacuated American and European embassy personnel and aid workers to secure military bases during the rioting.

In the wake of the rioting, the US-backed regime deployed tanks at key intersections, and thousands of troops armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers roamed the streets of Kabul. A curfew was declared in the Afghan capital for the second night in a row Tuesday. A spokesman for the NATO “peacekeeping” force said that foreign troops were continuing to conduct patrols, but were maintaining a lower profile at the request of the Karzai government.

The Kabul upheavals were widely seen as a turning point in Afghanistan. Karzai has long been derided by his critics as the “mayor of Kabul,” because of the government’s inability to secure any territory outside of the capital. But now Kabul itself, long seen as an island of relative stability, has burst into flames.

“I have been in Kabul for nine months and there has never been anything like this before,” wrote Tim Albone,” correspondent for the Times of London, who narrowly escaped an attack by rioters. “There is a real feeling in the air that today Kabul changed. There has been fighting in the south but this has mainly been between the militias and the American forces.

“Today it was angry teenagers—kids who have got nothing else to do. They are angry because they see all of the money being pumped into Afghanistan but still have no jobs.

“They are angry at the Americans who they see driving around as if they own the place and appear to have caused this accident and then tried to drive away.

“I’ve spoken to friends who work in Iraq and they say that there was one day when it all changed. That could have been the case here. They have realized that they can take on the police and take on the Americans. They could easily do it again.”

The rioting in the capital has unfolded against the backdrop of intensifying violence throughout the country, particularly in the Pashtun heartland of the south, where guerrillas have mounted a major offensive against foreign occupation and Afghan government forces. Another five Canadian soldiers were wounded in the area Monday when their convoy was ambushed.

More than 400 people have been killed in counterattacks by US forces in the last two weeks alone. While the Pentagon routinely classifies all the victims of US-NATO bombing raids and other military operations as “Taliban,” many of those who have lost their lives are civilians, including women and children.

In the latest attack on Monday, warplanes dropped two 500-pound bombs on a mosque killing at least 50 people. While a spokesman for NATO claimed that all of the victims were Taliban fighters, the Taliban itself said that none of its members had died and that all of the victims were civilians.

The attack follows last week’s air strike on the southern village of Azizi, which claimed the lives of at least 34 civilians along with a number of Afghan resistance fighters.

Significantly, the rioting in the capital involved mainly ethnic Tajiks, the dominant population in Kabul. Some of those participating in the demonstrations carried posters bearing the image of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Tajik Northern Alliance guerrilla commander, a bitter opponent of the Taliban, who was assassinated in 2001.

Violent attacks on US-led occupation forces as well as aid workers have also been reported in the north and east as well as in the western province of Heart, which borders on Iran. All are dominated by groups opposed to the Taliban. What is emerging is a nationwide movement of resistance to the US occupation.

Washington’s position is further complicated by the fact that it has aggressively antagonized two regional powers—Iran and Russia—that maintain substantial influence in Afghanistan and the ability to facilitate the growth of such a movement. It has likewise created an increasingly untenable position for its ostensible ally, the military regime in Pakistan, by cross-border military attacks that have stoked Pakistani anti-American sentiments.

With the situation in Afghanistan spinning out of control, the Pentagon has quietly reinforced the US occupation, raising the number of American troops deployed in the country from 19,000 to 23,000. Another 9,000 European and Canadian NATO-led troops are also supporting the occupation, but they operate under different rules of engagement than the Americans, with their governments having agreed to deploy them for “peacekeeping” and reconstruction, rather than waging full-scale counterinsurgency campaign.

Karzai delivered a televised address in the wake of the rioting, attempting to strike a hardline pose. He described the rioters as “opportunists and agitators,” calling them “enemies of Afghanistan.”

Yet, a measure of the crisis that the incident has created for the US-backed government is Karzai’s demand for an investigation into the accident and for those responsible to be held accountable. Likewise, Afghanistan’s parliament convened in a special session to pass a resolution demanding the immediate arrest of the US soldiers responsible for Monday’s deadly crash, while also denouncing the demonstrators.

The widow of a man killed in the incident, who was brought to parliament as a representative of the victims, was unimpressed by the gesture. Samira, a mother of two girls and a boy, told the Afghan news agency Pajhwok, “They asked us to come here just to tell us that they were sorry. This is all just a show.”

Another victim, whose 17-year-old brother was killed in the incident, told the news agency, “If the situation continues unchanged, the people may raise against them.”

Meanwhile, the independent Kabul daily Cheragh commented: “The 29th of May was a general day of mourning and tragedy for Kabul residents.... The incident was painful and shameful because the peacekeepers and protectors of people’s lives and properties carried out a terrorist act and killed dozens and injured hundreds of people.... Yesterday people learnt some new meanings of the terms like ‘cooperation’ and ‘human rights’.... [T]hey came to realize how much importance their international friends give to them....”

The pitched battles in Kabul erupted just two days after US President George W. Bush gave a speech to the graduating class at the US Military Academy at West Point proclaiming once again that the American military had brought “freedom” to the Afghan people.

“Difficult challenges remain in both Afghanistan and Iraq, but America is safer and the world is more secure because these two countries are now democracies and they are allies in the cause of freedom and peace.”

As the events in Kabul have once again demonstrated, however, the US-installed regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq have no genuine base of popular support and are viewed by the large sections of the population in both countries as stooges of US occupation.

-World Socialist Web Site

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
The Devil (Bush) on Afganistan The Devil (Bush) Thursday, Jun. 01, 2006 at 12:32 AM

Local News

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Cleanup J13 4:14PM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why J09 8:54PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme ) J09 12:44PM

Google, World's Biggest Censor, Was Founded By The CIA J09 10:25AM

For a World Free of Nuclear Risks J09 8:29AM

Corrupt CDC Ignores Meat Fish Recalls J09 4:55AM

The (Temporary) End of Globalization J09 3:03AM

Aternatives to Abortions such as Plan B the pill, condoms and IUD J08 4:03PM

U.S Congressional Legal Minds Know Better Than Allowing Texas To Murder Hank Skinner J08 3:37PM

ACLU in many US states defends in court KKK and American Nazis Sometimes for Money J07 11:28PM

Judge Brett Kavanaugh: 12 Of Many Reasons To Oppose Him J07 9:00AM

Insensibilité engrammée J07 2:37AM

Silver Lining J07 12:21AM

The Shortwave Report 07/06/18 Listen Globally! J05 4:38PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy