The NY Times reports Joint Chiefs chairman criticizes air strikes in Afghanistan. “The United States cannot succeed in Afghanistan if the American military keeps killing Afghan civilians, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Monday.”
“We cannot succeed in Afghanistan or anywhere else, but let’s talk specifically about Afghanistan, by killing Afghan civilians,” Admiral Mullen said, adding that “we can’t keep going through incidents like this and expect the strategy to work.”
Of course, but will the Obama adminstration actually stop the air strikes?
According to the LA Times, “Afghan officials, including President Hamid Karzai, say the tactic is overused in populated areas. But the Obama administration has rejected Karzai’s calls for an end to airstrikes, saying they are an essential part of the Western arsenal.”
The LA Times investigates Who is to blame for Afghan civilian deaths? “Afghan officials say at least 140 civilians died, two-thirds of them children and teenagers, in what may prove the most lethal episode of civilian casualties since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.”
At some point in the late afternoon or early evening, the decision was made to call in airstrikes, a measure most often taken when Western commanders believe an outpost or a field contingent is in danger of being overrun…
The aircraft summoned to Garani, two F-18 fighter jets and a B-1 bomber that U.S. officials said were based outside Afghanistan, took aim at three targets. In strikes that came about 20 minutes apart, three village landmarks, the mosque and two large compounds, were hit, residents said…
American officials have advanced the theory that the Taliban killed large numbers of villagers with grenades, infuriating local people who describe buildings clearly blown apart by far larger external blasts.
“We blame America,” said Saeed Barakat, a father who has three girls in the burn unit as a result of the attack. “With all their technology, they don’t determine who is a fighter and who is an innocent. Now my house is gone. My wife is dead. My children are burned.“
Spiegel reports the German Army can’t protect Afghan girls’ schools. “Six girls’ schools were closed in the northern province of Kunduz following” letters received by the schools that threatened more “acid and gas attacks” on the teachers and students. “The German army, which has led a reconstruction team in Kunduz since 2003, doesn’t feel able to protect the schools, and the German government doesn’t know how to respond to the threats.” If an army cannot protect people, then what good is it?
Elsewhere, the NY Times reports Ahmed Wali Karzai, the corrupt younger brother of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, claims he narrowly escaped assassination by the Taliban fighters “laying in wait for his motorcade while traveling from the eastern city of Jalalabad to the capital.”
It was likely a drug deal gone bad, in my opinion. According to McClatchy, Karzai “routinely manipulates judicial and police officials to facilitate shipments of opium and heroin… People who accuse Ahmed Wali Karzai of ties to the drug trade often don’t stay around very long.”
Four at Four continues with an update on Pakistan, news from Iraq, the Tamil Tiger leader claimed to be killed, and Alaska’s melting glaciers.