Massive Guerrilla attack in Afghanistan; 4 Marines Killed

Breaking News: Guerrillas in western Afghanistan deployed a roadside bomb to kill 4 US Marines on Saturday.

Pushtun guerrillas mounting an insurgency against the Karzai government and against NATO troops in the Pushtun areas of Afghanistan staged a daring prison break on Friday. They set off bombs at a prison in Qandahar, killing 15 prison guards and allowing 1100 inmates to escape, including 400 captured guerrillas. Although the US refers to the guerrillas as ‘Taliban’ it is not clear that they are seminary students are actually linked to the Taliban movement of the 1990s. Many appear to be disgruntled Pushtun villagers.

The jailbreak spoke eloquently of the weakness and incompetence of the Karzai government, which many observers believe is in the process of collapsing under the weight of its own corruption.

The collapse seems to be accelerating even though the number of foreign troops in the country has grown enormously, to some 30,000 US and 30,000 NATO soldiers. Foreign donors recently pledged $20 bn in aid, though $10 bn of that came from the US and European donors seemed distinctly wary of having their money go into the pockets of the Afghan bureaucrats and those of their extended families.

In May, more US and allied troops were killed by guerrillas in Afghanistan than in Iraq.

Aljazeera International interviews Hamid Karzai and reports on Afghanistan:

Scroll down at our Global Affairs blog for Barnett Rubin’s excellent postings on Afghanistan in recent weeks.