How the US media whitewash 20 years of occupation of Afghanistan

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America’s coverage of Afghanistan is another tale from an all-American action film, with American soldiers locked in a race against time to save the Afghan people from their villainous foe.

If you knew nothing about the war that has ravaged Afghanistan since 2001, and your only point of reference was the reports aired on US cable news networks over the past two weeks, then you might be forgiven for believing that two decades of US military occupation was responsible for protecting the Afghan people from the forces of evil.

Stories that touch the hearts of American viewers, including images of American servicemen cradling babies, handing out water bottles to dehydrated men and women, and safely rounding panicked asylum seekers across the tarmac to outgoing C-17 evacuation flights are juxtaposed with those who reaffirm their exaggerated fears of “Islamic” extremism.

And when news outlets don’t dig up boilerplate stories about the 2001 Taliban and repost them as if it were news today, they are releasing a single, unnamed source. reports, and even those that later turned out false.

What we are seeing on our TV screens is the latest narrative in an all-American action film, with American soldiers locked in a race against time to save the Afghan people from their villainous foe, a dichotomy reinforced in a story that frames Kabul, “civilized” Afghanistan, and the rest of the country an “uncivilized”Taliban breeding ground. “

The US media capitalizes on this once-a-year TV audience boon by simultaneously seeking out the most chauvinist and Islamophobic tropes imaginable, which together are designed to deter Americans from switching channels and maximizing revenues for advertisers. business.

More precisely, they distort the reality of the conflict and the American occupation. Forgotten are the CIA torture dungeons, violent nightly raids on Afghan homes, brutal village operations, and the ubiquitous presence of B-52s, gunships and armed drones in the skies above.

Whether you turn on CNN, Fox News, or NBC, you’ll see footage of American soldiers kissing and holding Afghan babies or handing out water and candy to young Afghan children. It is only in America that twenty years of bloodshed and violence in a foreign land can be repackaged into a noble humanitarian mission.

But rather than save the Afghan people from the so-called “bad guys,” the US military and its allies have been responsible for the lion’s share of civilian casualties and war crimes over the past two decades, as illustrated by a 2020 United Nations report that find they accounted for 52% of the 1,400 civilians killed and 2,400 injured in the first six months of 2019, with the Taliban responsible for 39%.

The higher death toll among civilians caused by US and Afghan forces is a direct result of their addiction to airstrikes, a reality affirmed in a recent report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which determined they were responsible for nearly 4,000 civilian casualties over the past five years, with children accounting for 40 percent of the death toll.

Almost all of these airstrikes and casualties have occurred far from the reach of US television cameras in Kabul and in rural areas of the country, where about three-quarters of the Afghan population live.

“In these regions, I have met newborn babies who will never remember their mother or father. Boys who saw the bodies of their grandparents removed from the rubble, ”says Azmat Khan, author of Precision Strikes, which documents how the Pentagon has vastly underestimated civilian casualties resulting from its air operations.

“The true extent of civilian deaths from the war in Afghanistan is still unknown. There are so many that have not been counted, ”she said.

In 2011, Lieutenant-Colonel David Flynn admitted to execute an order for three Afghan villages to be wiped off the face of the earth, including Tarok Kolache, who was “flattened” with 49,200 pounds of rockets and bombs.

A few months ago, the Austrian-Afghan journalist Emran Feroz visited a young Afghan whose father, a taxi driver, was killed, along with four of his passengers, by an American drone strike in the province of Khost. He was told: “They [Americans] killed a lot of people. Their place is not here.

Neither this now fatherless man, nor the remaining 75% of the population who suffered the most civilian casualties are running towards the arms of the American soldiers waiting in the Afghan capital, but you wouldn’t know if your only source of information was the American news media.

The predominantly rural population of the country were not employees or beneficiaries of the US government or the corrupt puppet regime it installed in Kabul. Instead, they were ruthlessly and ruthlessly bombarded and attacked by these same forces. Their mothers, fathers, wives and children are now buried in the countryside.

Additionally, the media fixation on the evacuation of asylum seekers from Kabul whitewashes the fact that US military operations in Afghanistan have been responsible for creating more than 6 million Afghan refugees, most finding refuge in neighboring Pakistan and Iran, not in the Afghan capital.

A 2020 report by the United Nations revealed that nearly half of all displaced Afghan children suffer from acute malnutrition and have very limited access to even basic health services. No evacuation flight is planned for them. They are unworthy victims, of course.

These are the horrors that America’s mainstream media shields from their viewers, leaving them completely in the dark about the horrors of America’s longest war and hyperventilating on a one-dimensional moral panic when it comes to the Taliban.

Polls show ordinary Americans know very little about Afghanistan, a country the United States has occupied and bombed for two decades, and current media coverage of the Kabul evacuation is likely to do so again. know less.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views and editorial policies of TRT World.

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Source: TRT World



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