Sunday, January 7, 2007

Afghanistan: Still a war going on

Germany and Spain are resisted pressure from the US at the NATO summit to commit more troops to Afghanistan (Bush pide a los países de la OTAN que 'acepten las misiones difíciles' y refuercen Afganistán El Mundo 28.11.06).  Belgium is also questioning the state of the NATO mission in that country.  Understandably so.  The real moment of opportunity in Afghanistan was 2001.

Now we (the US and NATO) are stuck with a nearly five-year-old government under Hamid Karzai that has scarcely been able to assert its authority beyond the capital city of Kabul.  And now faces an open-ended, escalating counterinsurgency war.

The official Air Force press release covering November 26 (around the time of the NATO summit), CENTAF releases airpower summary for Nov. 27 [the date reported on is a day earlier than the title] CENTAF reports "52 close-air-support missions (including British) were flown in support of ISAF and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols."  They specify strikes "near" Kandahar, "near" Musah Qal'eh, "near" Asadabad and "near" Lashkar Gah.  The "near" is a standard formula in these press releases.  It would be interesting to see even for a single days independent press confirmation on the dozens of air strikes being carried out in Afghanistan each day, and how often "near" a city or town means "right in the middle of".

The press release also specifies that the air strikes included the use of rockets, cannon rounds and 540-lb. bombs.  It's safe to say that pretty much any time a 540-lb. bomb goes off "near" a town or village or city, some civilian noncombatants will be among the "terrorists" counted as killed.

See also:

New roads, but few are able to walk them by Susan Taylor Martin St. Petersburg Times 11/26/06

Hope not enough to finish schools by Susan Taylor Martin St. Petersburg Times 11/27/06


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