Bombings at Qandahar kill over 30, wound 40; NATO convoy Attacked; ISI Backs Karzai

A suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a NATO convoy in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday morning. There are reportedly casualties but early reports did not specify them.

Roadside bombs set by anti-government guerrillas in Afghanistan killed 36 civilians in a 24-hour period ending Tuesday, with a single bombing of a bus near Qandahar accounting for 30 of the dead (and 39 of the wounded). Another bomb in Qandahar killed 5 civilians. Yet another bomb killed a woman in Spingar, Nangarhar.

In addition, 22 Taliban are alleged to have been killed in fighting with Afghan Army and NATO forces in Farah Province. Tuesday’s death toll is thus likely around 60 if all deaths from political violence were tabulated.

Some key statistics:

  • About 1,500 Afghan civilians were killed from January to August, 2009
  • This death toll was up 20 percent from the same period last year (2008)
  • About 1,000 or 2/3s of these deaths were at the hands of insurgents
  • The other 500, or 1/3, were killed by NATO military action, especially aerial and drone bombardment.
  • 370 NATO (including US) soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this year
  • Over 3/4s or some 280 of these were killed by roadside bombs set by Taliban or other insurgents.

    ABC News reports that many high Afghan officials are opposed to the idea of the US sending more foreign troops to Afghanistan. They say they want to see the Afghan army better equipped and trained instead.

    Meanwhile, in Pakistan US drones killed 12 persons in Waziristan. The dead included local commanders of the Pakistan Taliban Movement, along with some unidentified foreigners (typically foreigners associated with the Pakistani Taliban are either Arabs or regional Muslim radicals– from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan or Xianjian). One of the strikes was on Dandey Darpakhel village, the site of a seminary linked to Siraj Haqqani, the son of old-time warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani, whose network in neighboring Afghanistan targets NATO and Afghan troops.

    The US is also concerned about the Taliban Council (Shura) in the northern city of Quetta, capital of Baluchistan, which allegedly includes Mulla Omar, the leader of the ‘Old Taliban’, according to Pamela Constable of the Washington Post. High Pakistani officers deny that Quetta is an insurgent capital, though anyone who knows Pakistan and Quetta will be astonished at the denial. Constable’s article hints that the Pakistan high command is little interested in the Quetta Taliban because the latter carry out no operations inside Pakistan, being mainly concerned with the corridor up to Qandahar on the Afghanistan side, within which they attack NATO (especially Canadian) and Afghan Army targets.

    The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence is pressuring the US to recognize Hamid Karzai as president. Karzai’s chief rival, Abdullah Abdullah, is viewed by Islamabad as a Tajik whose primary foreign ties are to India, so he is the last person Pakistan would like to see made president. Islamabad does not much care for Karzai, either, but at least he is a Pashtun and his constituents, at least, are closer to Pakistan than are Abdullah’s. (During the late 1990s when Pakistan was supporting the Taliban, Abdullah Abdullah was part of the Northern Alliance bottled up in the northeast, and the NA took military and intelligence help from India, Iran and (ironically) Russia. Islamabad suspects that a strong link still exists between the major Tajik politicians of the Northern Alliance and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s CIA.

    And, indeed, the fix increasingly seems to be in for Karzai. The BBC alleges that UN secretary-general, Ban ki-Moon, has dismissed Peter Galbraith from his position as deputy to UN envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide. Mr. Galbraith denies the report. The BBC says that Galbraith’s conviction that Karzai stole the election and that there should be a complete recount of ballots angered President Karzai. Mr. Eide is also alleged to believe that Afghanistan is too politically fragile to survive substantial questioning of the vote outcome or even a runoff election between Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah (which it is feared would exercerbate tensions between Pashtuns and Tajiks). Others in the UN mission are said to agree with Galbraith that the elections were deeply flawed, and they allegedly blame Mr. Eide for ex post facto rewarding Karzai’s bad behavior by attempting to bestow legitimacy on him.

    Riz Khan at Aljazeera English asks if the detention facility at Bagram Base near Kabul is the new Guantanamo Bay? He points out that the Obama administration is opposing the right of habeas corpus for prisoners there.

    End/ (Not Continued)

  • Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Responses | Print |

    8 Responses

    1. Off-topic request – Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's 2005 fatwa declaring that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are against Islam would be kind of like the President and Chief Justice of the US jointly stating that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons is unconstitutional.

      Yet very little attention seems to be paid to this fatwa. Is it not credible?

      Presumably the Ayatollah had to also publish the reasoning behind the fatwa. Can this be examined?

      Is the fatwa conditional? I.e., is production of nuclear weapons justified if the enemies of Islam are producing them?

      etc.

    2. ref : “many high Afghan officials are opposed to the idea of the US sending more foreign troops to Afghanistan. They say they want to see the Afghan army better equipped and trained instead. Well, of course they would! Having learned from US how "military-industrial complex" works, how our crony capitalists skim billions of funding dollars and then distribute but a crumb to secure their vested interests via political patronage, you betcha they're gonna be all gung-ho about the Western delusion of "training 400,000 Afghans to kill other Afghans so NATO doesn't have to," (Civil War being the obvious, finite solution to the Western dilemma of open-ended, infinite Military Occupation unsupported by their own electorate). It's not so much "when they stand up, we'll stand down" as it is "drain a little bit of our treasure and give it to them for a little while, rather than draining our treasure ad infinitum" in pointless endeavour. voila! Victory’, with honor.

    3. People with illusions about the UN often forget that it is, in fact, a dictator's club.

      If Ban ki-Moon dismissed Peter Galbraith for angering President Karzai, then he was merely acting on behalf of his constituency.

      His constituency is made up of people like President Karzai, not people like you and me. We forget that fact at our peril.

    4. Bagram the new Gitmo?

      More like the original, and likely to damage the US reputation worse than Abu Ghraib, at least in terms of actual numbers and war crimes. If we were seeking revenge in Iraq, US enthusiasm for breaching our own laws in 2002 was even greater

      GIven that the Obama admin will have to take the hit, make apologies and do the damage control when the Bagram shoe drops, it's not surprising they want to kick the can down the road as far as possible.

    5. Such a hypocritical difference between how the Western media and governments, and its 'experts' had chosen to react to the Afghan elections, as compared to how they had chosen to react to the Iranian elections…

      Why didn't they support a "Green revolution" in Afghanistan? LOL!!!

    6. Arun,

      I do not think the Fatwa is conditional. When it comes to the deliberate killing of innocent civilians, what the use of nuclear weapons ultimately ends up doing, is Islamically haram. It is very clear in Islam that there are no conditions which would make the possession or use of these kind of weapons of mass destruction halal.

    7. Ayatollah Khamenie in his holy Friday Prayer less than 6 months ago, threatned his people with bloodshed and murder. He was not kidding. More than 4000 people were arrested, jailed, killed, raped, and murdered simply because they were peacefully demonstrating.

      Do you really think he cares what's haram or Halal in Islam? Many Islamic clergies have called him a disgrace to Islam including Ayatollah Montazeri, Sanai, Dastgheybi and so on….so his fatwa has no merit…

    8. As an aside, A new study recently revealed that large percentage of Muslims throughout the ME, also can trace their roots to Jewish heritage.

      Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes

      link to pnas.org

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