A suicide car bombing near an Afghanistan National Army base in Qandahar left 6 dead, three of them military and the other three civilians. Qandahar, a city of 1 million (i.e. slightly larger than Detroit), is a hotbed of Taliban radicalism. It is in the sights of the US military, which intends to invade this large urban civilian population center.
Among the dead, it is feared, are several British contractors. At least three are missing.
Many civilians in Qandahar appear to see themselves as still in the sights of the Taliban, who have a powerful position in the city.
The planned invasion of Qandahar was originally supposed to happen with the acquiescence of the Pashtun clan leaders in the area. Gen. Stanley McChrystal has backed off that pledge, according to Gareth Porter of IPS. This move is a bad sign, since presumably McChrystal could not find enough Afghan support to make good on his pledge.
A key plank of Obama’s Afghanistan policy is that Afghan troops can be trained and equipped to become a modern army. But whether that training will take place is the problem, and how good it would be. It turns out that soldiers need to adjust the sights on their rifles. But the contractors hired by the US military to teach the Pashtuns to fight neglected to teach the Afghanistan troops that they needed to adjust their sights!
In addition, four German soldiers were killed on Thursday by a roadside bomb in Qunduz Province.
The Frontier Post reports that the US is using the Russian route to bring US troops to Afghanistan, presumably because the other routes have become insecure.