US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison in Gamberi, Afghanistan in 2017.

When NATO first invaded and occupied Afghanistan in October 2001, Mrs Cherie Blair and Mrs Laura Bush were wheeled around TV networks to repeat ad nauseum that ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ was above all, a war for women’s liberation. The enemy was the most barbaric ever known. A year later I was informed by an Afghan woman that rapes had increased sharply since then. She said the Taliban were brutes but they punished rape very severely, occasional castrating the rapists in public before executing them. When I said as such at a public meeting an English NGO woman who was in and out of asked for proof. I had none and said as much, but I asked in turn whether her NGO was monitoring the number of brothels being built and bonded women being brought in as prostitutes. This had happened on a mega scale in the former Yugoslavia, the first war of NATO expansionism. Senior UN officials had been involved in women-trafficking in Bosnia and had been outed by a courageous whistle-blower who also wrote a book.

Why should Afghanistan be any different? It wasn’t. Another BBC investigation has revealed systematic rape of women (including policewomen) by state and government employees. I’m still waiting for the Green Zone NGO women to tell us whether they knew about this or participated in the cover-up? We now have evidence.


A BBC Panorama investigation (safe now that NATO forces have withdrawn) broadcast on 12th July, provides clear evidence that should lead to General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith being charged with war crimes. He took charge as Director Special Forces – the highest ranking UKSF officer in the country – in February 2012.

Panorama has revealed that he was briefed about the 54 illegal executions carried out by an out of control SAS squadron. Despite this, General Carleton-Smith allowed the unit to return to Afghanistan at the end of 2012. As Leah Montebello informs her readers on the CITY AM website:

“BBC Panorama has discovered General Carleton-Smith failed to tell the military police that the same SAS unit had earlier been suspected of carrying out dozens of executions and unlawful killings. Under the Armed Forces Act, it is a criminal offence for a commanding officer to fail to inform the military police if they become aware of potential war crimes.”

Stop the War who agitated on these issues and demanded an end to the occupation, have been vindicated again.

13 Jul 2022 by Tariq Ali

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