01:22 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Afghan child stands beside a shelter at a refugee camp in Kabul

    Activist: European Deportations, US War Effort Threaten Afghan Lives

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    The increased US war effort against the Taliban and Daesh in Afghanistan is unlikely to bring peace to the war-torn country.

    In fact, according to peace activist and coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence Brian Terrell, the US is escalating the war with no discernible military objective and Afghan refugees are forcibly being sent back to the life-threatening conditions of their home country.

    ​Over the last two weeks, US strikes on villages, convoys, government offices and hotels have killed 128 people — mostly civilians — in Kabul, the country's capital and largest city. On Monday, Daesh militants raided an Afghan military training base, killing 11 soldiers. Around 100 people died when an ambulance filled with explosives blew up in Kabul on Saturday, and just a few days ago, the Taliban killed 22 people in an Intercontinental hotel in the country's capital.

    "Back in the summer, the US military official announced that their ‘gloves were off.' In December, the US and Afghan forces conducted 455 airstrikes in Afghanistan — that's 15 a day. In December of last year, there were only 65 airstrikes a month. So, we're seeing this uptick in [Daesh] and the Taliban, but it is more than being matched by US forces attacks in Afghanistan," Terrell told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.

    "This is a new war. The gloves are off, if you will, and we've got these authorities we need to be able to go and target the Taliban network… The Taliban have never had to face a sustained targeting campaign focused on disrupting their illicit revenue activities… it's not over. In fact, it's only just begun. And this will be a very long winter for the Taliban, as we will continue to disrupt their revenue sources again and again and again," said a top official with the US Central Command last month, referring to Afghanistan's massive illegal narcotics trade.

    On Monday, US President Donald Trump made promises very similar to ones made by past administrations.

    "We're going to finish what we have to finish," Trump told reporters Monday at the White House. "What nobody else has been able to finish, we're going to be able to do it."

    "Innocent people are being killed left and right, bombing in the middle of children, in the middle of families, bombing, killing all over Afghanistan. So we don't want to talk with the Taliban. There may be a time, but it's going to be a long time," Trump added.

    Another horror of the situation is that European countries, Pakistan and Iran are returning Afghan refugees to Kabul — which they consider to be a safe space.

    "There are Afghan deportations going on constantly from the European countries. Pakistan says they want 2.7 million refugees returned to Afghanistan next month, because the determination has been made that Kabul is now safe and there is no threat to people's safety to return to Kabul," Terrell explained. Many governments do not recognize that Daesh is not limited to Iraq and Syria, he lamented.

    In fact, thousands of Afghans are being forcibly returned to a country where they are at high risk of being tortured, kidnapped or killed. 

    "In their determination to increase the number of deportations, European governments are implementing a policy that is reckless and unlawful. Wilfully blind to the evidence that violence is at a record high and no part of Afghanistan is safe, they are putting people at risk of torture, kidnapping, death and other horrors," Anna Shea, Amnesty International's Researcher on Refugee and Migrant Rights, wrote in an October report by the organization.

    "[Kabul] is a city where the resources are being stretched to the maximum. There isn't enough water. There is no sewage treatment. There is very little in the way of schools and healthcare. The air quality is considered one of the worst in the world," Terrell explained.

    "Our diplomats and even the US military no longer travel on the roads in Afghanistan. We only travel from place to place by helicopter. It's not deemed safe for our diplomats and soldiers to be on the ground and this is the same with British and German diplomats," he added.

    However, these are exactly the conditions that Afghans are returning to.

    "These returns brazenly violate international law and must stop immediately. The same European countries that once pledged support for a better future for Afghans are now crushing their hopes and abandoning them to a country that has become even more dangerous since they fled," wrote Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International's Afghanistan researcher, in an October report published by the nonprofit.


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