Karzai Complains about US Air-Strikes

Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded Friday that the US military cease its aerial bombing campaigns in Afghanistan, in the wake of a mistaken bombing alleged to have killed 120 civilians in Farah province south of Herat.

This demand would be provocative if it really were a demand or likely to be paid any attention to. Interestingly, veteran CNN correspondent Peter Bergen, who wrote up the interview, downplayed that element and the bullet point simply said that the airstrikes had strained Kabul’s relations with Washington.

Karzai is running for president again and so gains from appearing to talk tough to Washington about this issue, which upsets the general Afghan public a great deal. But he is so weak that he needs the US even for his personal security, and Bergen’s implication is correct, that no real change in US military tactics is likely to result from Karzai’s unhappiness.

Karzai denied that any of the casualties was caused by the Taliban, as the US military has alleged.

Aljazeera English has footage of the aftermath of the US bombing, which killed as many as 30 members of a single family.

Meanwhile, four British troops were killed by Pushtun belligerants in Helmand Province on Friday, attesting to how dangerous the situation has become.

The NYT looks at the field contesting the presidential elections in Afghanistan. None seems likely to give Karzai a run for his money. By the way, Afghanistan’s elections have been held since 2002 on a non-party basis, which is not very democratic.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani military took a leaf from the US, and began aerial bombardment of Taliban-dominated Swat Valley, risking public backlash toward Islamabad if many civilians are killed.

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