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Uprising in Afghanistan after Korans burnt by US soldiers

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Mass protests against the occupation and the puppet government have broken out as Afghan people are outrage over another insult by foreign troops

Thousands of Afghani people have protested across the country in anger about the burning of copies of the Koran at a NATO military base. News leaked out that occupying soldiers had taken copies of the Koran from prisoners held at the base and burnt them in a pit. The charred remains of the Islamic holy book were found by Afghani civilian workers who were helping to clean the base.

Protests have broken out across most of the country. Demonstrations outside Bagram airforce base saw protesters throwing rocks and fleeing from gunfire fired at them which wounded 26 people. Four US soldiers have been killed and several wounded in a spate of attacks on occupation forces. Two International Security Assistance Forces men were also executed at the Afghan interior ministry. A number of police stations have been surrounded and attacked by protestors in the north of the country, with clashes between police and demonstrators reported in most towns.

This new uprising could seriously threaten the continued occupation of the country. One 18-year-old protester in Kabul told reporters; "When the Americans insult us to this degree, we will join the insurgents," Already the Taliban has claimed a serious of bomb attacks, including one at a Kabul airport which killed civilians.

Apology not good enough

Trying to manage what is a public relations disaster, US President Obama apologised for the burnings, only to be criticised by the prospective Republican Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. "There was nothing deliberately done wrong here" he argued, “This was something that happened as a mistake." He turned the tables on the Afghani people, demanding an apology for the deaths of US soliders instead; "Killing Americans in uniform is not a mistake. It was something that [is] deliberate.’’

Whilst politicians and general scramble for damage limitation and Nato soldiers hunker down in their bunkers shooting at protestors, the problem is that this is not the first outragous action which has undermined the "battle for hearts and minds" by western forces. The images of abuse from Abu Ghraib in Iraq, the massacre of innocent civilians in Fallujah (and the leniant sentences handed out to the soldiers responsible), the regular killing of civilians by drone attack across Afghanistan, the video of US soldiers urinating on dead resistance fighters, the list goes on. These 'incidents' are not an accident, they are the product of the mentality of an occupying forces that holds those they occupy in contempt.

The fact is that foreign soldiers in Afghanistan act with impunity. They do not fear the law and they do not fear any serious retribution. The entire nature of the war is dehumanising, the Afghan's are seen as backward, primitive and almost child like, whilst the western soldiers see themselves as part of the kind of civilising mission that was supposed to have become unpopular after India became independent in 1947.

The recent wave of anti-occupation protests is also aimed at President Karzai, who remains in his job after massive electoral fraud in the 2009 elections. Karzai is now synonymous with the western presence in the country, despite his increasingly regular outbursts that he is more sympathetic to the resistance and wants to open talks with them, the majority of Afghan people see right through him. He is desperate to save his skin, he knows the occupation can't last forever and - unless a miracle happens - the time difference between the last US soldier leaving and the end of his reign will probably be counted in days, not years.

What most of the top brass of the military and any sensible politician knows is that they can't win. Afghanistan, far from being "the good, winnable war" that Obama painted it to be, is untameble by foreign powers. The country remains underdeveloped, the president is kept in place by fraud (including buying votes, threats and armed coercion against supporters of the opposition candidate) as well as western bayonets and the Islamists still lead a popular movement against the occupation.

A defeat for the occupation forces in Afghanistan will undermine the confidence and political ability of the west to wage its imperialist wars and occupations. Self determination for the Afghan people is a right that must be defended by all progressive people internationally.