Monday, February 09, 2009

Brutal Taliban beheading shocks Poland


“And we were so close to getting him released…,” said Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, after confirming that Piotr Stanczak, the Polish engineer kidnapped four months ago in Pakistan, had been beheaded by the Taliban.

The now expected grisly video of the moment of death is being circulated on the internet adding to the utter horror that this type of story produces.

What’s worse, the voice of Stanczak appears calm on the video - it seems certain that he was presuming that he would soon be freed. He was just reading out a text that the Taliban had prepared for him: Poland to get out of Afghanistan; prisoners must be released…the usual stuff. They had let him shave and had given him back his normal clothes. It’s not the voice of someone who thinks they are about to die - in a most disgusting way - in only a few seconds time.

The recriminations have started: did the Polish government, the Pakistani government, do enough to get him freed? Prime Minister Tusk said over the weekend that they had never any intention to pay the ransom fee that the Taliban were demanding. But they certainly were in close contact with Pakistani special services who did have contact with the Taliban. How would Sikorski be so certain that they were so close to securing Piotr’s release?

I got a couple of nice emails at work today from Pakistanis saying how sorry they were about what happened to “Mr. Peter”, as he became known in the media over there. And I don’t think anyone in Poland blames Pakistanis for Stanczak’s death - only the deeply medieval and alienating Taliban - people who appear so brutal and not-of-this-world they may as well be aliens from Planet Weird Beard.

There will be questions of what, exactly, is Poland doing mixed up in this war, launched as part of Bush’s War on Terror. Obama has refused to use those words consecutively, but he seems even more keen than his predecessor to get sucked in, ever deeper. Is this sort of intervention ever constructive? Can you bomb and occupy a country out of the stone age? Were the Taliban so upset when the US invaded Afghanistan? Did the region become more stable as a result?

Is the Pope a Muslim?

The video is here - warning - I have not watched this all the way through - I just can’t look at this kind of thing - so I don’t know if this is the shorter version - which spares us the details - or the longer version, which doesn’t.

42 comments:

jannowak57 said...

There really wasn’t much the Polish government could do in this situation, since giving into any demands would just encourage the Taliban to look for the next Pole to kidnap.

I would question the common sense of his employer, who had someone moving around the countryside with only light security in what is a war zone.

The video shows what is suppose to be his last words but no actual execution.

When Obama comes calling on the Europeans there’s going to be a lot of uncomfortable people, as it’s going to be more difficult to find excuses for not fully participating in the Afghan mission. My understanding is there a noticeable lack of wear in a German rifle barrel, to the great annoyance of those who actually have to do the fighting, maybe they think they belong to the pacifist wing of NATO. The German excuse of hiding behind their history is wearing thin after all it’s been 70 years.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are going to make the Iraq adventure look like a stroll through the park before it’s done.

ge'ez said...

As far as I know, the guy was not a military adventurer or any kind of spy but rather just an engineer trying to do good things.

If my read is correct, he was not "mixed up in this war."

I have no problems in a concerted effort to whack the hell out of the Taliban.

This should have been the focused purpose of US military engagement after 9/11, not the invasion of Iraq.

roman said...

According to the information minister, Mr. Czuma, the perpetrators have been identified and their locations are known.
What's the problem? Take them out!

jannowak57 said...

The problem is the Pakistani government, which doesn’t really control its intelligence service, army and significant sections of its national territory. These assholes have nuclear weapons but no one knows who actually has control over them. Just imagine if they continue drifting towards the status of a failed state.

Anonymous said...

You will be the next to die.Beatrootmother= fucker son of a bitch.
We will find you soon.

Anonymous said...

Simon Mol was better than talibans?
You desertve to die because you defended him.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that the Taliban have accomplished by this atrocious and barbaric act is a further loss of sympathy for them and their "cause" amongst the international community.

Whilst the finger can be pointed in a number of directions, the fact remains that it was the Taliban themselves who carried out this horrific deed. The apparent incompetence of the Pakistani government made it even easier for these creatures to do what they did.

There is never an excuse for terrorism of any kind. Western apologists for the Taliban are living in a fantasy world.

U.S. President Obama has made it clear that he won't continue to allow the blunders of the Pakistani government to interfere with battling Taliban forces and crushing the terrorists who reside in that region.

ge'ez said...

Who are the Western apologists for the Taliban?

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Afghanistan and Pakistan are going to make the Iraq adventure look like a stroll through the park before it’s done.

I maybe agree. But what do you mean by “it‘s done”? Do what? And how do you measure “when you are done…”?

But it’s true that nobody wants to get involved. It is quite difficult for government to defend militarism that has such feeble reasoning behind it.

According to the information minister, Mr. Czuma, the perpetrators have been identified and their locations are known. What's the problem? Take them out!

There is a lot of controversy about who knew what… and the relationship between Polish and pakistani services...believe me, this is complicated and not all will be revealed.

I think Czuma thinks the secret service knows a lot more than it did. Politicians always think their secret service are ToP Guys who Know Weverything - think Rmsfeld, Channey, Bush at al and the intelligence on WMD. It is simply fantasy. Western intelligence services know very little about this part of the world and have few real life intelligence contacts. All they have is electronic surveillance…not high quality human stuff…

The problem is the Pakistani government, which doesn’t really control its intelligence service, army and significant sections of its national territory.

Again, correct (although Afghanistan makes Pakistan look like a normally functioning state). But has Poland control of its secret services? It certainly has lost control over long periods….(I think maybe the CIA prison thing maybe a symptom of this).

the Taliban have accomplished by this atrocious and barbaric act is a further loss of sympathy for them and their "cause" amongst the international community.

:-)

I think you misunderstand something. Taliban are not interested in what the “international community” thinks. The Taliban is not Greenpeace. It is not an NGO. It is not appealing for international support.

jannowak57 said...

If the west wants to win this, it has no choice but to expand the war into Pakistan without this the rest is just a waste of time. Having said this it would cause the collapse of the Pakistani state, which would require a commitment of resources and manpower many times greater than the thirty thousand new combat troops Obama has promised. It will soon become clear to the new administration that the Afghan war will be lost or won in Pakistan.

It’s decision time, and we get to find out what Obama is made of because both rational actions require courage, in one case tell the people it’s un-winnable and walk away or pour in the resources for a broader and riskier strategy but one capable of bringing a victory of some sort.

beatroot said...

If the west wants to win this, it has no choice but to expand the war into Pakistan without this the rest is just a waste of time.

Sorry, but I still do not get what you mean by "winning this". what do you thin k you are going to win?

Martin said...

Beatroot,

My sympathies for the death threat problem.

But Islam is a religion of peace, as John III Sobieski used to say...

beatroot said...

Who was bringing religion into this? This is nothing to do with some interpretation of the Koran. This is about a very underdeveloped region, which has different tribal, ethnic alliances. Taliban are the most dominant of these in some areas. Western troops are not going to solve that mess.

michael farris said...

Whenever the topic turns to things Afghanistani, I remember some Afghans I knew in Poland in the early 90's (there used to be a fair amount of Afghan students in Poland).

One guy mentioned that his family had fled Kabul for the mountains because of the latest civil war. According to him, warfare wasn't an unusual, catastrophic state for Afghans but the preferred mode of existence for most Afghanis. The Soviet invasion gave them a common enemy but they'd been fighting each other forever and predictably went right back to fighting each other once the Soviets were overcome. Take it for what it's worth.

I've also heard from more than one person (not first hand, no) that most Afghan students in Eastern Europe were firmly on the Soviet side during the Soviet invasion. They knew first hand how screwed up the Soviet system was and they _still_ thought that was preferable to traditional Afghan perpetual warfare and the widespread poverty and ignorance it fostered.

My point: Afghanistan is your basic lost cause and trying to nation-build there is pouring money down a rathole because not enough of the native population want a nation. That doesn't mean invading Iraq was a good idea either.

jannowak57 said...

Winning means the defeat of the Taliban or sufficienent destruction of the same in order that they are easily manageable by local security forces. It means the extension of Pakistani authority and control of the tribal areas including the destruction of the Pakistani Taliban and the foreign jihadists.

“Western troops are not going to solve that mess.” Left to their own devices nothing is going to happen other than the medieval rule of the Taliban.

What’s the consequence of doing nothing?

ge'ez said...

Even having read Fisk and more Fisk, I'm still not convinced that the Taliban can't be considerably neutralized. Of course, there will always be some such whackos remaining who can do significant damage but their hegemony can and should be challenged, and not only through military means.

varus said...

Jan57 said: If the west wants to win this, it has no choice but to expand the war into Pakistan without this the rest is just a waste of time. Having said this it would cause the collapse of the Pakistani state, which would require a commitment of resources and manpower many times greater than the thirty thousand new combat troops Obama has promised.

and then:
Winning means the defeat of the Taliban or sufficienent destruction of the same in order that they are easily manageable by local security forces. It means the extension of Pakistani authority and control of the tribal areas including the destruction of the Pakistani Taliban and the foreign jihadists.


So which is it? Destruction of the Pakastani state, or extension of its power. The arguments seem a little confused here. It is wrong thing invading a counntry wityh no reasonable means of retalliation (i.e. Afghanistan) but Pakistan has nukes and has proved its ability to launch them. Are you seriously suggesting that the west invades a nuclear power? If we go with the second option of extending Pakistani power, what will India think? Do we want to see a stronger and more embodened Pakistan. The status quo as regards Pakistani power has its merits and we should definetley think twice before changing such a situation.

jannowak57 said...

ge'ez said... “should be challenged, and not only through military means.”

Yes it should be done by a counterinsurgency effort on many levels including the construction schools, hospitals and road networks. This is an extraordinarily backward country the literacy rate is 28%.

varus said... “So which is it? Destruction of the Pakastani state, or extension of its power. The arguments seem a little confused here”

Not at all, Pakistan is key to the outcome in Afghanistan and cannot be left alone. The Pakistani government has lost control of the tribal areas including the areas that border Afghanistan and is now losing control of areas deeper in Pakistan to local Taliban. That coupled with the fact that the Pakistani government does not have control over all of it’s military and security forces which contain elements loyal to the Taliban already place a question on its stability and survival as a state. Do you think anyone in the region will tolerated the Taliban getting nuclear weapons? Pakistan without foreign intervention is already on the brink of being a failed state.

It may require knocking down the existing rotten structure and creating a new Pakistani state that is capable of exerting control over all its national territory.

If Pakistan were to collapse during a foreign intervention to secure the sanctuaries the Taliban has in the Tribal areas and destroy the last of the foreign jihadists then exactly what exactly has been lost, a state already on the path of self-destruction?

varus said... “It is wrong thing invading a counntry wityh no reasonable means of retalliation (i.e. Afghanistan)”

This is completely incorrect the Taliban had been given an option to avoid invasion and escape retribution for 911 and their complicity in the same. The US asked to have the foreign jihadists including Bin Laden rounded up and turned over to them but they refused and continued harbouring their ally. That wasn’t very smart.

jannowak57 said...

ge'ez said... “should be challenged, and not only through military means.”

Yes it should be done by a counterinsurgency effort on many levels including the construction schools, hospitals and road networks. This is an extraordinarily backward country the literacy rate is 28%.

varus said... “So which is it? Destruction of the Pakastani state, or extension of its power. The arguments seem a little confused here”

Not at all, Pakistan is key to the outcome in Afghanistan and cannot be left alone. The Pakistani government has lost control of the tribal areas including the areas that border Afghanistan and is now losing control of areas deeper in Pakistan to local Taliban. That coupled with the fact that the Pakistani government does not have control over all of it’s military and security forces which contain elements loyal to the Taliban already place a question on its stability and survival as a state. Do you think anyone in the region will tolerated the Taliban getting nuclear weapons? Pakistan without foreign intervention is already on the brink of being a failed state.

It may require knocking down the existing rotten structure and creating a new Pakistani state that is capable of exerting control over all its national territory.

If Pakistan were to collapse during a foreign intervention to secure the sanctuaries the Taliban has in the Tribal areas and destroy the last of the foreign jihadists then exactly what exactly has been lost, a state already on the path of self-destruction?

varus said... “It is wrong thing invading a counntry wityh no reasonable means of retalliation (i.e. Afghanistan)”

This is completely incorrect the Taliban had been given an option to avoid invasion and escape retribution for 911 and their complicity in the same. The US asked to have the foreign jihadists including Bin Laden rounded up and turned over to them but they refused and continued harbouring their ally. That wasn’t very smart.

ge'ez said...

Scarey fucking world we're living in with an economic crisis to boot.

jannowak57 said...

The economic crisis will effect everything and one real danger is that some jerk is going to use nationalism to hold their country together but be unable to contain the nationalist gene once it’s out of the bottle (i.e. China or Russia).

beatroot said...

I really don’t think the west, and Obama in particular, is learning the lessons of history in this region.

For a start, Afghanistan is not a failed state, it never was a sate in the modern sense of the term in the first place. Kabul maybe the capital of the country but it never had any control over the many regions, ethnicities, and tribal leaders that make it up.

So what the US is doing is trying to nation build a nation that was not there in the first place. This is simply impossible. Nations are made from the inside not the outside.

But back to the War on Terror. This was not about creating a state, it was about punishing someone - anyone - for 9/11. This is plain by Rumsfeld and other complaining that there “just ins‘t enough targets” in Afghanistan…hence the need to create the situation in Iraq. That is on record.

The current mission in Afghanistan is bound to fail because they have no measure of what they want to achieve other than “beating the Taliban…” It’s actually very similar from what the Soviets were doing in the same country. Trying to form an administration that is geopolitically sympathetic to their aims. And look what happened to them. Same with the British before them and so on…

Obama is blind to history. And that will be a failing that will come back to haunt him and every other nation that gets involved…including Poland.

beatroot said...

Oh...and welcome back Mikey Farris...we missed you!

jannowak57 said...

I agree with the assertion that Afghanistan has never been much of a nation to start with but so long as they remained a bunch of backwoods primitives feuding amongst themselves nobody cared. That all changed when they decided to be a haven for international terrorism.

Lessons of history ……. very similar from what the Soviets were doing…I think not.
Today the Taliban is opposed by 68% of the Afghan population who clearly don’t want their return. A huge training and supply effort mounted by the US (CIA) with virtually an unlimited budget beat the Soviets. Oh yes the Afghans got to be the cannon fodder. The Taliban has no such resources today or certainty that they will have their safe havens very much longer.

Poland’s investment has been and is likely to remain very small with the outcome in Afghanistan being irrelevant to Poland anyway. Until the US proves itself to be totally useless to Poland’s geo-strategic needs such supportive actions will continue…ready for the next American adventure.

varus said...

Beatroot said: Obama is blind to history. And that will be a failing that will come back to haunt him and every other nation that gets involved…including Poland.

This inferrs that Obama was responsible for getting the US involved in Afghanistan. He wasn't even a Senator then. Surley he is just dealing with the situation. And to be honest what options does he or us (the west) have? We can not simply withdraw fron the region after creating chaos as then the situation would be worse then it was before Nov 01. He is right to be deploying more troops to Afghanistan as the job was never done properly in the first place. in the last 7 years the mission in Afganhistan has been put on hold. If the right resources were put in to the region in the first place then perhaps we would have a stabile Afghan state by now.

jannowak57 said...

“We can not simply withdraw from the region after creating chaos”


I agree with the sentiment that we should not withdraw from the region. But considering the state the Afghan people were in under the Taliban what was this “chaos” we in the west created?

beatroot said...

Varus - hi...

This inferrs that Obama was responsible for getting the US involved in Afghanistan.

Of course he was not to cakll for getting in there...but he has always said that invading Iraq meant taking our eye off Afghanistan...so the war there is central to his strategy in the region. And it will fail.


And jan, taliban were popular with many because they brought order. In some areas. Admitedly, that chaos was akin to the dark ages, but some traded that shit for a bit of stability.

Bit since the invasion the region has become further inflamed and pakistan has been further weakened. This whole thing is a mistake. And as far as Afghanistan is concerned...well that country will just have to this out for itself.

ge'ez said...

I think the Taliban were popular more so because they resisted the heathen European Soviets and because of their role in protecting the poppy trade.

Times change. Just because the British and Soviets were routed doesn't mean that will be the case with the US. As 57 pointed out, the Soviets failed to maintian their rule because of the US.

The Taliban's popularity will wane more and more as the general populace is won over by the construction of schools, roads, support for crops other than poppy - and as Afghanis see the Taliban as attracting and causing trouble, the antithesis of stability.

The Taliban cannot be allowed to wreak havoc in two countries, and especially in Pakistan.

roman said...

beatroot,

as far as Afghanistan is concerned...well that country will just have to this out for itself.

A failed state is a haven for terrorists and thus your simple solution of leaving them to their own designs is somewhat dated and ignores completely the lessons of recent historical events.
With the recent advent of easily available sources of dangerous
WMD technology, a failed state cannot be ignored at the peril of its neighbors and the world order in general.
Shrugging our shoulders and walking away is no longer an option.

Renegade Eye said...

The effect of the fighting on the Pakistan border, is thousands of civilians were killed, and few Taliban.

From this post on my blog: The transmission of radio channels, the continuous supply of arms, ammunition and strategic support for the Taliban and their minimal losses clearly show that sections of the Pakistan Army and Intelligence agencies have no intention of curbing this savagery, rather they support them by all means.

SellCivilizationShort said...

"And I don’t think anyone in Poland blames Pakistanis for Stanczak’s death - only the deeply medieval and alienating Taliban..."

For that matter, do Poles see Stanczak as a goodwill ambassador of the Polish people or as an engineer just trying to make money in a risky business? Obviously many Poles work abroad, and many Poles take on dirty and dangerous jobs. Is death on the job seen as a reasonable risk?

beatroot said...

Well, actually, some Polish politicians have tried to stir up some anti-Pakistani sentiment about this. I group of Pakistani senators were scheduled to come and visit the Senate here, but that has now been cancelled. “Did the Pakistani government do enough etc etc…?” has been muttered. What is the link between the Pakistani secret services and the Taliban and terrorism in general?

http://tiger.berkeley.edu/sohrab/politics/isi_problems.html

http://www.cfr.org/publication/11644/

Roman
Sovereignty dated, is it? Oh well…

A failed state is a haven for terrorists and thus your simple solution of leaving them to their own designs is somewhat dated and ignores completely the lessons of recent historical events.


I am not sure who is not learning lessons from (even recent) history. Iraq, for instance. Haven for terrorists? Wasn’t before the US’s glorious mission to free them Iraqis…but certainly was after the invasion and occupation. So who is not learning the lessons of history, my friend?

roman said...

beatroot,

I agree that Iraq may be the single biggest exception since it was, in fact, only a failed state after the Baath government was routed. Corrupt and murderous yes, but never a failed state. Much to the dismay of many suffering from Bush Hate Syndrome who were hoping for complete disintegration, Iraq is now starting to regain its independence and sovereignty.
I was referring to Afghanistan, the autonomous northern regions of Pakistan and Somalia. We all know that the 9/11 attack and countless others were possible because the Taliban leadership (they controlled about 75% of the country) allowed terrorists to set up camps and thus became accomplices in mass murder. The autonomous regions of Pakistan are no better. It is amazing to me that the USA has shown as much constraint as it has in dealing with this issue. Why the constraint? It is because Pakistan does have a central government and thus deserving of a measure of respect for their sovereignty! Problem is that even they do not have control of these northern areas and so, in effect, the result is the same. That is why these territories are called "autonomous". The USA will need to keep sending remote controlled bombs to "take out" Al Qaida and Taliban fighters in this region until such time as the Pakistan government assumes full responsibility for this area.
BTW, those early warning radar and anti-missile batteries for Poland are looking better and better now that the Pakistan government is found to be "shaky" at best.

Anonymous said...

you barbaric piece of monkey shit. you say that you and your shitty-ass terrorist group can scare people by posting anonymously on a website . go fuck yourself you cave dwelling pussy . you just keep hiding in that little hole in the ground you dug for yourself . it just saves us the trouble of digging one for you . your all wastes of air and space and need to just be removed from the world . i take shits on monuments to your fake-wannabe-god allah .

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