2014-12-29 14:44:46

Democracy Now! - December 29, 2014

On today's episode of Democracy Now!

The U.S.-led NATO occupation has formally ended its 13-year combat mission in Afghanistan. The move leaves Afghan forces in charge of security, though more than 17,000 foreign troops will remain. This includes more than 10,000 U.S. troops, who will continue to see a combat role despite the nominal change. Last month, President Obama secretly extended the U.S. role in Afghanistan to ensure American troops will have a direct role in fighting, along with jets, bombers and drones. The transition follows the deadliest year in Afghanistan since 2001. According to the United Nations, almost 3,200 Afghan civilians have been killed. More than 5,000 members of the Afghan security forces have also died, the highest toll in 13 years of fighting with the Taliban. We are joined by two guests: Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare; and Matthieu Aikins, a Kabul-based journalist whose recent report for Rolling Stone magazine is "Afghanistan: The Making of a Narco State."

Peace activist Kathy Kelly is about to begin a three-month prison sentence for protesting the U.S. drone war at a military base in Missouri earlier this year. Kelly, along with another activist, was arrested after offering bread and an indictment against drone warfare. Kelly is the co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

In the 13 years since the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the country’s opium production has doubled, now accounting for about 90 percent of the world’s supply. To learn more, we are joined by Matthieu Aikins, a Kabul-based journalist whose latest report for Rolling Stone magazine explores Afghanistan’s heroin boom. "What has happened in Afghanistan over the last 13 years has been the flourishing of a narco-state that is really without any parallel in history," Aikins says. "This is something that is extraordinary, that is catastrophic, that has grave danger for the future and yet there has been virtually no discussion of in recent years."

Some 20,000 people, including a sea of uniformed officers, gathered in New York City on Saturday for the funeral of NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos, one of the two killed in a targeted ambush one week before. It was said to be one of the largest police funerals in New York City history. Controversy erupted as hundreds of police turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio as he delivered a eulogy inside the church, protesting his earlier comments on police brutality and racial profiling. It was the second time officers have turned their backs on de Blasio since the two officers were killed. We are joined by Adhyl Polanco, an NYPD officer who says those who shunned de Blasio do not represent the feelings held by many police officers. Polanco previously blew the whistle on superiors who told officers to meet a quota under "stop and frisk," or face punishment — a move that led to his suspension without pay and later modified assignment.