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Afghanistan War Weekly: August 9, 2011


The violence continued in Afghanistan this week, with the crash of a US Chinook helicopter that killed 38 people as one of the most-reported stories. However, it was far from the only violent incident this week. The week saw both military and civilian casualties from several incidents around the region. Additionally, Afghans were faced with floods in some regions, and also with droughts and food shortages in other regions. Meanwhile, there have been ongoing trials of some US troops accused of killing unarmed civilians in Afghanistan, along with reports that 9/11 might have been foiled, and ongoing discussion of the legacy of US involvement in Afghanistan.
 
Violence in Afghanistan

Helicopter Crash In Afghanistan Takes Deadly Toll
31 American troops and 7 Afghans were killed in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan, the highest number of casualties in a single incident since the US-led war in Afghanistan began in 2001.
 
SEALs' copter downed by 'lucky shot,' U.S. says
The Chinook helicopter that crashed and killed 38 people was likely brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by an insurgent, according to US military investigators.
 
2 NATO soldiers killed as Afghan violence flares
One NATO service member was killed by a gunman disguised as an Afghan police officer, and another was killed in an insurgent attack elsewhere in the same region on August 4.
 
Taliban use of IEDs reaches record high in Afghanistan 
In the second quarter of 2011, the Taliban’s use of IEDs has risen 14%, according to  a recent Pentagon study.
 
Blast kills five in south Afghanistan
A bomb went off at a bazaar in Dihrawud district, Uruzgan province, killing 4 civilians and 1 police officer. The Taliban is being blamed for the attack.
 
4 Afghans gunned down in anti-NATO demonstration
4 people were killed by gunfire in southern Afghanistan during an anti-NATO protest against civilian casualties in Zabul province. 5 others were injured.
 
Bomb hits NATO supply trucks in Pakistan en route to Afghanistan
16 fuel tankers on their way to supply US forces in Afghanistan were hit in a bomb attack near Peshawar, Pakistan on August 6.
 
Afghanistan/Pakistan News
 
Will Afghanistan return to an era of warlord rule after NATO leaves? 
Even though Afghanistan has what appears to be a coherent national government, people in Afghanistan still consider warlords more powerful and effective in “getting things done.” A number of factors, including government corruption, are responsible for this situation.
 
In Afghanistan, a Village Is a Model of Dashed Hopes
The village of Alice-Ghan near Kabul was established as a home for refugees, but multiple failures in infrastructure and other essential services, as well as war and violence, have led to residents fleeing and leaving the village abandoned.
 
AFGHANISTAN: Nearly nine million face food shortages 
Droughts in northeastern and western Afghanistan have led to an additional 2 million people facing food shortages, in addition to the 7 million already faced with food shortages, according to the UN World Food Program.
 
Afghanistan Dispatch: Why Some Villages Are Pining for the Taliban
While larger towns in Balkh province, including the provincial capital Mazar-e-Sharif, have much to lose if the Taliban successfully takes over the province, some rural communities have surrendered to the Taliban without much fighting.
 
In Afghanistan, the rise and fall of ‘Little America’
The history of the town of Lashkar Gah provides many lessons about the failure of US-led nation-building in Afghanistan.
 
Floods In Afghanistan Kill 6
At least 6 people have been killed and more missing in floods that hit northeastern Afghanistan Friday.
 
Afghan Women Entering Police, Army Bear Risk of Taliban Return
1,200 women currently serve as police officers in Afghanistan, and 320 in the army. They are often at risk of violence, and some are concerned about proposed negotiations with the Taliban.
 
In Afghanistan, landmines deadly legacy of way
Since the Soviet invasion of 1979, landmines have been a fact of life in Afghanistan. Efforts to clear landmines have been complicated by war and instability.
 
Other Related News 
 
'Kill Team' Soldier Gets Three Years in Prison
Army specialist Adam Winfield, who had knowledge that soldiers in his unit were killing civilians, agreed to testify against Calvin Gibbs and Jeremy Morlock as part of a plea deal. In this particular case, 5 soldiers have been accused of setting up unarmed Afghan civilians to be murdered, and then planting weapons on them so the killings appear to be justifiable. 
 
Cost of Afghanistan and Iraq wars in trillions
Brown University’s Watson Institute of International Studies has released a report estimating the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to be between $2.3 trillion and $2.6 trillion. The estimate does not take into account costs associated with veterans’ medical and other costs, which are estimated at another $1 trillion.
 
Taliban's Bangladeshi hostages describe their ordeal
A group of Bangladeshi men, who had been working as contractors building a road north of Mazar-e-Sharif and then taken hostage by the Taliban, were released after 7 months and arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh Sunday.
 
The Limits of the Surge: Petraeus' Legacy in Afghanistan
An analysis and critique of Gen. Petraeus’ actions and policies in Afghanistan.
 
Washington Dropped the Ball on a Secret Afghan Wireless Communications Company that Might Have Prevented 9/11
Operation Foxden, a failed secret deal for an American company to construct a cell-phone and internet infrastructure in Afghanistan in 2000, might have led to improved intelligence that could conceivably have been used to foil the 9/11 plot.

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