The Olympic Games in Vancouver ended as they began for the people of Afghanistan: timed perfectly with NATO's use of deadly violence. Just as the Opening Ceremonies coincided with the launching of a massive new military offensive, the Games' closing celebrations coincided with new attacks in Afghanistan that claimed civilian lives. This AP article gives the headline and intro to the fact that four NATO soldiers were killed, putting less emphasis on this latest Afghan civilian carnage:
"KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Four NATO service members died Monday in separate attacks across Afghanistan, including a suicide car bomb that targeted an international military convey as it crossed a bridge in the Taliban-dominated south, the coalition said. Nine Afghan civilians also died in four bombings in the south, officials said...
"The 2-week-old Marjah offensive, involving thousands of American troops along with Afghan soldiers, is the largest combined assault since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion to oust the Taliban's hard-line Islamist regime. It is the first test of NATO's new counterinsurgency strategy since President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 new U.S. troops to Afghanistan late last year."
Sadly, all of this stepped up violence in Afghanistan took place under the cynical fraud of an 'Olympic Truce', which VANOC, the Canadian government and indeed all UN member states had endorsed. Based on the images of Canadian and U.S. troops playing ball hockey or watching the Gold Medal game from their base in Kandahar, many might have had the impression that hostilities were somewhat on hold. The reality was that hostilities were ramped up more than ever, arguably using the spectacle of the Games as cover. Surely this must rank as one of the most under-reported stories of these Vancouver Games.
The lives of dozens of Afghan men, women and children were ruthlessly snuffed out over these past two weeks. We will never know their names, their pictures will never be shown on our national news, but their families' and their country's suffering will continue, with Ottawa's complicity, until we take action together to end it.
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