Schneider on Obama and Afghanistan: Bombings in Jalalabad, Qandahar, Kill 27, wound 109; Acid Thrown in Schoolgirls Faces

A suicide car bomber hit a US convoy near the eastern Pushtun city of Jalalabad, killing one US soldier and at least 20 civilians and wounding 67 other persons.

Earlier, another suicide bomber had attacked a government intelligence office in the southwestern Pushtun city of Qandahar, killing 6 and wounding 42.

There is a special place in hell for the Taliban in Qandahar who threw acid on the faces of two schoolgirls in Qandahar. Aljazeera English reports that the tactic emptied the girls school that they attended. While the Aljazeera reporters were working on this story, the blast, above, occured and they caught the aftermath on film.

More on the horrible incident here.

Aljazeera English interviews Mark Schneider of the International Crisis Group on Obama and Afghanistan. Schneider says that suicide bombings were up 600% in 2007 compared with 2005, and that the frequency and area of attacks have expanded. The neo-Taliban are now striking even in the major cities, having earlier been largely active in rural areas.

Obama’s plan to put more US and NATO troops into Afghanistan may sour relations between his administration and NATO allies. Two-thirds of Britons want their 8000 troops out of Afghanistan.

In Peshawar, A Pakistani Pushtun city not so far from the border with Afghanistan, an American aid worker was killed along with his driver.

Also in Peshawar, an Iranian diplomat was kidnapped. The Taliban are hyper-Sunni and have killed many Shiites.

Former NATO commander Wesley Clark has advised that the US should let Pakistan deal with its own Taliban.

Saudi King Abdullah met on Wednesday in New York with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Asaf Ali Zardari, seeking a solution to the problem of terrorism in the region. In 2003-2006, Saudi Arabia suffered a wave of al-Qaeda terrorist attacks, causing the government to take the problem very seriously and to take significant stteps toward destroying al-Qaeda in the kingdom. King Abdullah has been helping President Karzai in the latter’s quest to negotiate with the Taliban.

On Pakistan and Afghanistan See the recent contributions of Manan Ahmed and Barnett Rubin at our Global Affairs blog, including Manan’s translation of a column by A. Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb. Don’t miss Philip Cunningham’s piece on Obama.

And, Tom Engelhardt’s “Don’t let Obama break your heart” is essential reading.

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