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And, yes, I DO take it personally: A grab-bag of perspectives and stories about what's happening in Afghanistan
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

A grab-bag of perspectives and stories about what's happening in Afghanistan


there's been a noticeable increase in violent activity here in afghanistan over the past few weeks as the warm weather takes hold... just like an increase in temperature causes atoms and molecules to move faster, those committed to death and destruction, sadly, tend to do the same...
Burqa-Clad Suicide Bomber Kills 16 In Afghanistan

A suicide bomber apparently wearing a burqa detonated in a busy bazaar in southwestern Afghanistan Thursday, killing 16 people including four policemen, a provincial governor said.

Growing number of insurgent attacks seen in Afghanistan

Attacks by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan have risen sharply, NATO said yesterday, expressing concerns that Pakistani agreements with the Taliban may be creating safe havens for militants.

NATO spokesman James Appathurai said attacks were up 50 percent in April compared to the same period last year - a significant jump that could indicate the militants are getting help on the Pakistani side of the border.

UN: Foreign agents behind spate of Afghan killings

A U.N. rights official has alleged that foreign intelligence agents have taken part in secret raids in Afghanistan that have killed civilians.

U.N. special rapporteur Philip Alston told reporters Thursday he is aware of at least three such recent raids in the country's south and east. He said no one was taking responsibility for the killings.

More must be done to avoid Afghan deaths

Afghan forces, international troops and Taliban insurgents need to do more to avoid civilian casualties or many more innocents will be killed in the ongoing conflict, a U.N. rights expert said on Thursday.

U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston said the level of complacency over civilian killings was "staggeringly" high and a great many deaths could be avoided.

"The bottom line of my report is that there are many killings which are avoidable," he told a news conference at the end of a 12-day visit to Afghanistan.

Some 200 civilians have been killed by international and Afghan forces so far this year, he said, while Taliban insurgents have killed around 300 in the same period.

Alston called for more accountability from the more than 50,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, who together with Afghan government troops are engaged in daily battles with a resurgent Taliban mainly in the south and east of the country.

Press conference by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

My focus is on extrajudicial executions or what might be called unlawful killings. The principal actors whose conduct I have been examining include the Government, particularly the police, the international military forces and the anti-government elements, including the Taliban. The bottom line of my report is that there are many killings which are avoidable.

I have summarized my findings with the following statement: police killings must cease; widespread impunity within the legal system for killings must be rejected; the killings of women and girls must end; the international military forces must ensure real accountability for their actions; and the United Nations itself must give greater prominence to human rights in its activities.

In terms of the international military forces, it has been reported that as many as 200 civilians have been killed in the first four months of this year, often in joint operations with Afghan security forces.

finally, this most interesting perspective...
Is Nato repeating the USSR's mistakes?

Zamir Kabulov, Russian Ambassador in Kabul

"There is no mistake made by the Soviet Union that was not repeated by the international community here in Afghanistan," Mr Kabulov said, listing the problems.

"Underestimation of the Afghan nation, the belief that we have superiority over Afghans and that they are inferior and they cannot be trusted to run affairs in this country."

His list goes on.

"A lack of knowledge of the social and ethnic structure of this country; a lack of sufficient understanding of traditions and religion."

Not only that, but he says the country's new patrons are making their own new mistakes as well.

"Nato soldiers and officers alienate themselves from Afghans - they are not in touch in an everyday manner. They communicate with them from the barrels of guns in their bullet-proof Humvees."

And he admits to some satisfaction, watching those who once backed the mujahideen now suffering in the same way.

"To some extent, yes, I would not hide that. But I am even more satisfied by not having Russian soldiers among Isaf [Nato's International Security Assistance Force] because I don't want them to suffer the same results, implications your soldiers are suffering."

pick a perspective, any perspective...

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