Resistance to the US occupation continues in Afghanistan.
March 27, 2013, 10:45 EST
Afghanistan witnessed explosions on March 26, 2013, on the second day of a surprise visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry. At least eight suicide bombers reportedly attacked the police headquarters in the eastern city of Jalalabad, killing five policemen. Kerry’s visit to Afghanistan seeks to continue the tenure of US power in the war-torn country by any means necessary.
Specifically, Kerry is expected to address the allegations of abuse by US troops in Wardak province, and to reassure Karzai that he is indeed the US’s number one man, following the latter’s accusations that the US is colluding with the Taliban behind his back. Kerry’s visit seems to have paid-off, as Karzai has backpedaled from the comments that he made earlier. "Now, the media took that to say that I said there is a collusion. I never used the word 'collusion' between the Taliban and the US, and those were not my words,” Karzai recently declared. “Those were the [words] picked up by the media."
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the March 26 attack. According to media reports, eight suicide bombers stormed the headquarters of a special unit of the Afghan police. The attack left five policemen dead and involved the blowing up of a car bomb. This followed the detonation of a truck bomb in the capital of Helmand province on March 25. These events point to a complex dance of power between the US, Karzai, and the Taliban, all of whom are jockeying for power and influence in the region.
As reported by alternative media site Democracy Now, the US has formally handed control of Bagram Prison to Afghanistan following more than a year of delays. The detention center has been dubbed "the other Guantánamo" after reports of prisoners being tortured and abused there. The exact terms of the transfer deal remain murky but the United States has reportedly received assurances from Afghan officials they will not release prisoners deemed to pose a security threat. The US will continue to play a role in determining which prisoners are released and will maintain custody of some unknown number of Afghan prisoners and about three dozen non-Afghan prisoners.
After the March 26 attack, the death toll of US troops in Afghanistan has climbed to 2,061.
The US aim in all these to-ing and fro-ing is to ensure the safe exit of the bulk of its troops. Leaving landlocked Afghanistan may prove more challenging than entering it. The Afghans have a history of giving the invaders a rough send off, a fate the Americans want to avoid. At the same time, the US wants to maintain some troops even after the 2014 withdrawal date. This is the love dance they are involved in with Karzai, the Taliban and indeed Pakistan.