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Afghanistan War Weekly, August 15, 2011

As details continued to emerge about last week’s helicopter crash in Afghanistan, a high level of violent incidents in Afghanistan continued to take place. Additionally, Pakistan saw many deadly attacks this past week, with a high level of civilian casualties. US opinion has long been shifting against the war, but several developments in relation to the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan seemed to point to the government’s reluctance to leave Afghanistan completely, including the breakdown of secret peace talks and plans to maintain control of a major prison beyond the established deadline.

Violence in Afghanistan

Suicide bombers kill 22 in Afghanistan raid,0,3573479.story
At least 22 people were killed in an attack on the headquarters of Parwan provincial governor Abdul Basir Salangi, which was carried out by a group of 6 Taliban militants. Salangi survived the attack.

Afghanistan: 8 Kidnapped Security Officials Found Dead
8 security officials who had been kidnapped in Bamiyan province Thursday were found dead in Wardak province on Friday.

What happened on night of deadly Afghanistan helicopter crash?
More details on last week’s Chinook helicopter crash that killed 38 people.

Policeman, four Taliban die in Afghanistan attack
One policeman and 4 Taliban insurgents were killed when militants attacked government offices in Qarabagh district in Ghazni province, and opened fire on a nearby police checkpoint. The Taliban claims that 8 police were killed in the attack, but that number was not confirmed.

Personnel die in Afghanistan
8 NATO service members were killed in 2 days in 2 separate roadside bombings in southern Afghanistan.

Afghanistan News

Afghan prison transfer delayed
The US will remain in control of Afghanistan’s high-profile Parwan Detention Center well into 2012, despite plans to transfer control of the prison to Afghans in January 2012. The prison has housed suspected insurgents for the past 10 years. US officials have said that they do not believe Afghans have the capability to maintain an effective legal system to keep the Taliban in check.

Afghanistan vows to "set standards" on child labor in mines
Although the government of Afghanistan has laws in place barring children from working in mines, there are many challenges in enforcing the policy, especially given that Afghanistan’s natural resources are believed to be a potential source of great wealth.

What may be a bigger threat to Afghanistan than insurgency? Land disputes.
Illegal land grabs are the root of disputes that can lead to major violence in Afghanistan. Warlords commonly steal people’s land with which to reward their supporters.

Afghanistan Farmers Reportedly Ditch Poppy For Beekeeping (VIDEO)
According to the British Forces News, many Afghan farmers have made the switch from poppy cultivation to beekeeping with the help of local beekeepers and international aid.

The birth of hope for Afghanistan's mothers
In the maternity ward of Gereshk District Centre hospital, Helmand province, young mothers and medical professionals grapple with the issues that lead to Afghanistan’s high rate of maternal mortality.

Pakistan News

18 Pakistanis killed on Independence Day
18 Pakistanis were killed in attacks along the border with Afghanistan on Sunday. 14 civilians were killed at a restaurant when a bomb exploded in the town of Dera Allah Yar, while 16 more were injured. A journalist was shot and killed by gunmen in the same province, and three paramilitary soldiers were killed by rocket fire during an independence day celebration, where 25 other people were wounded.

Mortar attack from Afghanistan kills child in South Waziristan
A child was killed and 2 others wounded in a mortar attack originating from Afghanistan, which struck a house in South Waziristan.

Other Related News & Opinion

Secret peace talks between US and Taliban collapse over leaks
After the leak of confidential and important details regarding secret peace talks between the US and the Taliban, the talks have been compromised and Taliban negotiators have become unreachable.

US confronted Italy about 'payments to Taliban': WikiLeaks
According to diplomatic cables leaked to WikiLeaks, the US confronted Italy about the possibility that Italy paid Taliban fighters not to attack Italian troops in Afghanistan. Italy is denying the allegations.

AFL-CIO Opposes Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq as "Costly Mistake"
Following the lead of grassroots labor organizing from a number of labor groups around the US, the AFL-CIO announced its opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

War crosses memorial has run out of space on Lafayette hillside
A hillside in Lafayette, CA, has been the site of a war memorial filled with white crosses (and other religious symbols) representing each American soldier killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, the organizers of the memorial say there is no more room on the hill. Volunteers will continue to maintain the memorial, but no new markers will be added.

A rare loss because we noticed
While the helicopter crash that killed 38 people was a loss to the US, it is no more or less of a loss than that felt by the Afghan people being attacked by the US and NATO. Lack of empathy is the root cause of American apathy regarding the war. Commentary by Tony Norman.

Drones Alone Are Not the Answer
US drone attacks in Pakistan are ineffective and counterproductive in the fight against al-Qaeda. Commentary by Dennis Blair.


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