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Afghanistan War Weekly: August 1, 2011

This week there was an even higher level of violence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. US officials had varying theories as to the implications of these high levels of violence, including the idea that tactics used by the Taliban recently were a sign of US and NATO successes in the region. However, civilian casualties and suffering in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been significant problems.

Violence in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Mayor Assassinated
The mayor of Kandahar was killed in a suicide bomb assassination attack on Wednesday.

NATO airstrike kills four Afghan police officers
In Nuristan province, a NATO airstrike killed at least 4 police officers and wounded 12. NATO claimed the attack was the result of bad intelligence and is conducting an investigation.

Insurgent attacks in southern Afghanistan kill 21
At least 21 people were killed by 7 suicide attackers in coordinated attacks north of Kandahar, including a car bomb attack on a maternity hospital that killed 3 women and 10 children.

Coalition holds line on Taliban attacks, data show
According to the NATO command in Kabul, the Taliban’s switch from direct attacks on NATO troops to terrorist attacks and assassinations is a sign of progress resulting from the troop surge that began this past winter.

Roadside bombs kill 17 in south Afghanistan: officials
17 civilians were killed by roadside mines in Helmand province, in 2 separate explosions involving a bus and a tractor. 16 of those killed were bus passengers, including women and children. The tractor driver was also killed and 4 others were injured in the same incident. Security forces responding to the blasts were then attacked by Taliban insurgents.

Taliban Reportedly Smothers 8-Year-Old Boy in Afghanistan
The 8-year-old son of an Afghan police officer was found dead after the Taliban had threatened his father.

BBC seeks inquiry into Afghan reporter's death
Journalist Omed Khpalwak, who worked for the BBC and Afghan news agency Pajhwok, was killed in a suicide bomb attack/gun battle in Uruzgan. The BBC is demanding a NATO investigation into his death.

British helicopter gunship injures five children in Afghanistan
5 Afghan children working in a field were injured by a British Apache helicopter which was intended to attack suspected insurgents nearby. None of the children are believed to have suffered life-threatening injuries, but all are being treated at the hospital in Camp Bastion.

Afghan security forces say foiled Kabul airport plot
An attack on Kabul International Airport has been foiled by Afghan security forces.

12 Police, Child Killed in Southern Afghanistan Suicide Blast
12 police officers and 1 child have been killed in a suicide attack outside Lashkar Gah, one of the regions where Afghan forces have recently taken over security operations from foreign troops. Dozens of civilians were also wounded.

10 Afghan guards killed in coalition convoy attack
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 10 Afghan guards guarding a convoy in Ghazni.

Afghanistan News

Top Afghan official held as Taliban spy
The Afghan Intelligence Service announced that a senior Defense Ministry official has been arrested. The official is believed to have leaked information that helped the Taliban stage suicide attacks in Kabul.

Bit By Bit, Afghanistan Rebuilds Buddhist Statues
The giant Buddhas that were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 are slowly being rebuilt by teams of archaeologists and sculptors in Bamiyan.

Afghanistan Disputes US Report on Aid Money
A recent US report alleges that the Afghan government is mismanaging US aid money, but Afghanistan’s finance ministry disputes the report.

The writing on Kabul's walls,0,2145482.story
Afghan graffiti artists express their political opinions on the walls of Kabul’s buildings.

Jailed Afghan kids need health, study help: Official
Youths in juvenile rehabilitation centers in Afghanistan lack adequate education, health care, food, and other necessities. Many children in Afghanistan resort to crime due to desperate conditions, and there is a lack of coordination between NGOs working with Afghan children.

Taliban declares open season on politicians
An interview with Fawzia Koofi, Member of Parliament, on the risks facing Afghan politicians.

Pakistan News

US drone strike kills four militants in NW Pakistan
4 militants were killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan.

Militants set 10 NATO tankers on fire in Pakistan
Militants torched 10 NATO oil tankers en route from Karachi to Peshawar, injuring 5 people, including 3 of the drivers.

Up to 100,000 flee Pakistan border offensive
Thousands of families fled Kurram district near the Afghan border after the start of a Pakistani offensive against militants who have training camps in the region.

Other News

Mullen focuses on Afghanistan-Pakistan border havens
Adm. Mike Mullen has said that the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region is one of the most dangerous in the world, and is the “epicenter” of terrorism. He also believes that Pakistan needs to take more action against certain insurgent and terrorist groups in that region, in order to maintain the US’ relations with Pakistan.

British troops 'could spend year in Afghanistan'
The length of the tours for some of Britain’s military units serving in Afghanistan could increase to 12 months.

Talks on long-term Afghan-U.S. partnership stalled
The negotiations on what the US-Afghanistan relationship will look like after 2014 have hit an impasse, due to conflicting demands and interests.

Getting Bin Laden
A very detailed account of what happened during the covert mission and attack that killed Osama bin Laden.

At cross-purposes: Establishment to redesign war on terror policy
Budget concerns are affecting the way the US might fight the “war on terror.”

Bulgaria Mulls Withdrawal of Troops from Afghanistan
Bulgaria is considering withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. Bulgarian troops are mainly involved in non-combat operations and are not involved in transferring security to Afghan forces. The withdrawal would be carried out in stages.

Pak, US, Afghan tripartite talks on August 2
The US, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are scheduled to hold talks in Islamabad on August 2.

Opinion & Commentary

Censorship of war casualties in the US
The lack of media coverage of the casualties of war is one of the main factors behind US apathy and even support for the US-led wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. Commentary by Ted Rall.

China and the Afghan endgame
China’s relationship to the war in Afghanistan is tied to US-Chinese relations, as well as to China’s investment in Afghanistan’s natural resources. Commentary by Zhu Feng.

Editorial: Contractors in Afghanistan, Iraq wasting money
Even if US and NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan, the use of military contractors is highly problematic and wasteful.

The costly errors of America's wars
The US has made a mistake in using heavy military force to fight the “war on terror,” because these methods are highly ineffective against terrorists, especially compared to intelligence and diplomacy. This commentary by Michael Shank argues that the military-industrial complex and war profiteering are largely to blame for the US dependence on militarism to fight terrorism.

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