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Afghanistan: The Right War?

Sonali Kolhatkar interviewed on GRITtv, on September 12, 2008

Watch the entire interview here.

According to Human Rights Watch, civilian deaths from U.S. and NATO action have tripled in the past year. Ninety civilians were killed in just one day August 20 and now there’s news of US action claiming lives on the Pakistan border provoking a “strong protest” from the Pakistani government who this week said they reserved the right to retaliate.

Yet President Bush announced Tuesday his plans to increase U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Senator Obama countered, “his plan comes up short – it’s not enough troops, and not enough resources with not enough urgency.”

Some are declaring Afghanistan the “right war” but does that sound RIGHT to you?

Here to discuss US policy in the region –past and future — are filmmaker, Wazhmah Osman, director of the film, Post Cards from Tora Bora, …

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Afghan Civilians Bear the Brunt of Taliban Violence and US, NATO Bombings

Sonali Kolhatkar interviewed on Democracy Now, on August 22, 2008

Read/watch/listen to the entire interview here.

Interview Transcript

JUAN GONZALEZ: NATO has denied a report in the French newspaper Le Monde that ten French soldiers killed in Afghanistan earlier this week died as a result of friendly fire from allied planes. A NATO spokeswoman said Thursday that Le Monde’s claims were “completely unfounded.”

The Le Monde report had quoted French soldiers who had survived the Taliban ambush. The soldiers told the newspaper that NATO planes arrived four hours after the ambush and accidentally hit French troops.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited survivors in Kabul earlier this week and vowed to continue the fight against terrorism. He said no regrets about the sending of 700 additional troops to Afghanistan, despite the soldiers’ deaths.

At a memorial service in France Thursday, Sarkozy justified maintaining the French presence in Afghanistan.

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The Other Quagmire: An interview with Sonali Kolhatkar

Sonali Kolhatkar remembers Afghanistan, even if the rest of us don’t
Thursday, May 17, 2007 – 3:00 pm

Remember Afghanistan? The Taliban? Hamid Karzai? That weird game Afghans play involving a goat carcass? Of course not. If the Iraq War is our latest Vietnam, then Dubya’s Afghanistan adventure is our Philippine-American War: a major incursion that became a quagmire no one talks about.

One of the few media figures who bother to pay attention is Sonali Kolhatkar, host of KPFK-FM 90.7’s popular Uprising morning show. She’s involved with various Afghan charities and is the author, along with her husband, of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence. Kolhatkar will talk about the book and show slides from her visits this Saturday at the Centro Cultural de México. But first, she talked to the Weekly.

* * *

Give us a …

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Review in New Socialist

coverTroops Out Now!

Bleeding Afghanistan reviewed by Harold Lavender

Spring 2007 Issue of New Socialist. Download PDF.

Canadian troops may be fighting in Afghanistan, but (war propaganda aside) many of us know little of the real history and impact of foreign intervention. Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords and the Propaganda of Silence is therefore a work very much worth reading.

This 2006 work by Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls, coordinators of the US non-profit Afghan Women’s Mission, is rooted in the experience of the Afghani women’s movement, especially the Revolutionary Women’s Association of Afghanistan (RAWA). The book opposes the role of imperialism, warlordism
and Islamic fundamentalism. Instead, it raises the urgent need for a democratic and secular (though not anti-Islamic) society that respects and promotes women’s rights.

It does an excellent job of exposing the huge gulf between imperial rhetoric and the reality of women’s lives in Afghanistan. The authors …

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Review in International Socialist Review

ISR Issue 52, March–April 2007

The “good occupation”

Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls
Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence
Seven Stories Press, 2006
304 pages $19


WHILE OPPOSITION to the Iraq war continues to grow, the other U.S. occupation—in Afghanistan—is still considered by many to be the “good occupation.” Indeed, the argument from many conservatives and liberals alike is that the cardinal sin of the Bush administration in invading Iraq was to divert resources and attention from the real “ground zero” of the war on terror in the “failed state” of Afghanistan.

This point has been driven home as prominent Democrats, including Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who have called for a troop “surge” in Afghanistan, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates has publicly signaled a willingness to consider it.

Amid these calls for more war, Kolhatkar and Ingalls, co-directors of the non-profit …

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Review by Richard Alan Leach

Book Review: Building Pipelines, Supporting Warlords and Bleeding Afghans

Written by Richard Alan Leach

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

(this review appeared in the journals, “Toward Freedom,” and “Third World Traveler“)

Less than four weeks after 9/11, on October 7, 2001, the US attacked Afghanistan in the opening salvo of what was later justified as a new “war on terror.” The US dropped more than 10,000 bombs, including air strikes from B-2 and B-52 stealth bombers and cruise missiles from submarines in the Arabian Sea.

During a period that ultimately led to between 3000-3400 civilians killed (1) outright – and thousands more from starvation and disease as a direct consequence of the attack – then US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked by an admiring press corps if the US was running out of targets. He responded with a characteristic quip: “We’re not running out of targets. Afghanistan is.” The assembled journalists thought this …

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EXTRA: Losing interest in Afghanistan’s plight

Extra! December/November 2006 issueA new article by Bleeding Afghanistan authors Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls was published in the November/December 2006 issue of Extra!, a hard-hitting bimonthly magazine of media criticism published by the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). The article is entitled “The Propaganda of Silence: Losing interest in Afghanistan’s plight” and featured an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Bleeding Afghanistan. The statistics on media coverage have been updated for the publication.

Copies of Extra! are available on newsstands across the US.

For more information, visit

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Sonali and Jim on Alternative Radio

AR logoBleeding Afghanistan authors, Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls were recently featured on the award winning public affairs radio program, Alternative Radio. The program was founded by David Barsamian, who also wrote the foreward to Bleeding Afghanistan.

The program was a recording of a recent talk given by Sonali and James in September 2006 in Los Angeles, CA.

You can buy a CD of the program through Alternative Radio:

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Review on Winnipeg Free Press

Bleeding Afghanistan was reviewed by Michael Stimpson in the Winnipeg Free Press:

Direct Link to review

‘Propaganda of silence’ ignores U.S. Afghan role

Sun Dec 10 2006

Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence
By Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls
Seven Stories Press, 313 pages, $22

Reviewed by Michael Stimpson

THE terrorist attacks of 9/11 sparked a lot of new phenomena in U.S. popular culture. Among the most curious was an obsession over a blue garment.

Well-meaning U.S. liberals like Jay Leno’s wife and self-serving conservatives like Laura Bush agreed that a traditional women’s robe known as the burka — which covers the wearer’s head and body — represented the epitome of oppression.

Under Taliban rule, Afghan women were required to wear the burka whenever they stepped out of their homes. That made the garment, usually blue in Afghanistan, a symbol of “gender apartheid.”

To the California-based authors of Bleeding Afghanistan, the fuss over the burka …

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Interview on Wake Up Call – WBAI, New York

On Tuesday November 21st, as part of their East Coast book tour, Bleeding Afghanistan co-authors, Jim Ingalls and Sonali Kolhatkar were interviewed on WBAI Pacifica at 8 am on Wake Up Call. Hosts Deepa Fernandes and Mitch Jeserich questioned the authors about the on-going violence in Afghanistan and women’s struggles.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Wake Up Call is online at

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