Fifth Afghan War (2001)

The war in Afghanistan is not a noble cause

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The most noble cause of the 21st century was how Des Browne, the defence minister, described the war in Afghanistan.

This isn't just a grotesque and insulting way to describe a war in defence of corrupt government, warlords and opium poppy production. It is part of a concerted attempt to rebrand Afghanistan as the good war, the war worth fighting and dying for, the war worth spending billions of pounds to maintain.

Follow the money: the "war on terror" and the multinationals who are profiteering from it

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It started with an article on a private security company in Bosnia. Solomon Hughes then became drawn into an investigation which was to expose the ever growing profits made from the privatisation of war.

I started writing about the private security industry in July 2001, when I sold a story to the Observer newspaper about a company called DynCorp. They were hired by the US to help the "reconstruction" of Bosnia and Kosovo by running the new post-war police force.

Iraq, Afghanistan: Has the US lost?

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The occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan look ever more entrenched. But, Paul Rogers argues, the only solution for the world's most powerful nation and its allies will be withdrawal

The military and political problems of US and coalition policy in Afghanistan and Iraq are causing fresh uncertainty and dispute in Western capitals. This short term concern, however, must be seen against the background of the entire "war on terror" - and the US unilateralism that propelled it - since its launch in the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001.

Troops out - by their own choice

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A defence select committee of MPs has reported that the morale of British troops has fallen dramatically over the past several years, leading to a haemorrhaging of soldiers.

Recruitment levels have also sharply decreased, as - predictably - few want to sign up to be sent to fight in deeply unpopular wars. The stretching of troops over Iraq and Afghanistan has led them to not getting enough rest. So-called "harmony" guidelines define the amount of time troops spend on active duty in any one year, but these guidelines are being greatly exceeded according to the report.

Afghanistan: the other lost war

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Against the backdrop of failure in Iraq, Afghanistan is often promoted as the enduringly justifiable, and winnable, war. Jonathan Neale explains why this is not the case, while former US infantryman Johnny Rico speaks out about his experiences on the Afghan frontline

This is the fifth Afghan War. The first Afghan War was in 1838, when the British invaded to make Afghanistan part of the Indian empire. The Afghan barons and warlords did not resist. It was the ordinary people who rose up under the leadership of the village mullahs and slaughtered a whole British army. The British left.

Fighting the long war

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The political landscape is starting to change around the anti-war movement. The departure of Tony Blair from office much earlier than he would have preferred - itself the result of the catastrophe in Iraq and the consistent campaigning of the movement - creates a new situation.

The British government is already committed to a gradual military withdrawal from Iraq, where the troops now seem to be serving no conceivable purpose even in the government's own terms. Gordon Brown may decide to accelerate this process. Likewise, he may announce a clear intention to set up an inquiry into the circumstances under which the country went to war in 2003.

Promises, Promises

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Bush claims he wants to liberate Iraq. Dragan Plavsic examines the experience of Serbia and Afghanistan.

The assassination last month of the pro-western, neoliberal Serbian prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, a key leader of the revolution of 2000 that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic, demonstrated in stark and bloody fashion the chaotic condition of Serbia today. This situation cannot be understood without examining the devastating role of western governments and institutions, above all the US and IMF, in recent Balkan affairs.

A criminal elite

The Worst is Yet to Come?

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The Afghan tragedy continues.

One year on from the bombing of Afghanistan and you would assume from the spin emanating from Downing Street and the White House that life had returned to normal. The first postwar British tourists even departed recently for a ten-day sightseeing tour of Kabul, Herat, Bamian and Mazar-e-Sharif. But don't go booking your summer holiday in Kandahar just yet.

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