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Afghanistan War Weekly, May 23, 2011


This week, violence was on the rise in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, with insurgent attacks on a hospital, a police bus, and a road crew; forces firing on protesters in Taloqan; and a planned sit-in in Karachi to block supplies to NATO forces. Also in the news were developments relating to the status of women in Afghanistan and to low morale and health hazards facing US and NATO troops in the region. However, the most contentious story this week has been the controversy over whether Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has been killed, or whether he is still alive in a different location.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions on these stories. Please feel free to email me.

--Sharon Miller

CONFLICTING REPORTS ON MULLAH OMAR

Taliban's Mullah Omar reported dead
http://www.edenmagnet.com.au/news/world/world/general/talibans-mullah-om...
Taliban leader Mullah Omar was reported dead, but the Taliban claims he is still alive.

Rumors swirl as Afghans say Taliban's Mullah Omar has moved
http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/23/2230820/rumors-swirl-as-afghans-sa...
A spokesman for Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has confirmed that Mullah Omar has disappeared from Quetta, Pakistan, but could not confirm whether or not he had been killed.

Mullah Omar Alive: Taliban
http://news.outlookindia.com/item.aspx?722840
The Taliban claims that despite reports of his death, Mullah Omar is alive and in a safe place.

Mullah Mohammad Omar: profile of the one-eyed Taliban leader
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8531476/Mullah-Mohamm...
A profile of Mullah Omar in the Telegraph.

AFGHANISTAN

36 killed in attack on work crew in Afghanistan
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/afghanistan/la-fg-afghanis...
36 road construction workers were killed by insurgents in Paktia province. 20 more were injured, and most of the casualties were Afghans.

Police open fire to disperse Afghan protests
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/19/us-afghanistan-protests-idUSTR...
After night raids conducted by Afghan and NATO forces killed 2 men and 2 women, demonstrations took place in Taloqan, Afghanistan to protest the raids. On the first day of protests, NATO forces fired on demonstrators, killing at least 14 and injuring at least 80.

Troop morale in Afghanistan plummets, report says
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hg5ISgKQ4CP7uXk3v4HVdt...
US soldiers and marines in Afghanistan report plunging morale and the highest rates of mental health problems in 5 years.

Afghan Official: Talks with Taliban Will Not be at Expense of Women
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/Afghan-Labor-Minister-Talks-wit...
While the Kabul government is looking into reconciliation with the Taliban, human rights advocates are concerned that this might lead to a repeat of the Taliban’s oppression of women.

Details Emerge About Suicide Bombing at Afghan Military Hospital
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/world/asia/24afghanistan.html
A Pakistani suicide bomber killed 6 people and injured 20 others at an Afghan military hospital with the help of an Afghan medical student and three other men, including at least one soldier from Afghanistan’s military.

Afghanistan Conflict : Suicide Attack on Police Bus [PHOTOS]
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/148032/20110518/afghanistan-conflict-sui...
14 people were killed and 20 were injured in a suicide attack on a minibus filled with police cadets in Jalalabad on May 18.

Afghanistan female journalist has notebook, will report
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/18/world/la-fg-afghanistan-journali...
A profile of Afghan investigative journalist Mina Habib.

Afghan health minister seeks backing for vaccines
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/17/health-gates-afghanistan-idUSL...
Acting Health Minister Suraya Dalil is seeking international funding for vaccinations in Afghanistan in order to reduce Afghanistan’s child mortality rate.

NATO: Taliban’s false claims are ‘acts of desperation’
http://channel6newsonline.com/2011/05/nato-talibans-false-claims-are-act...
German Army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz has said that the Taliban has claimed responsibility for attacks that were actually carried out by other insurgent groups. Blotz believes these claims help the Taliban raise funds to carry out deadlier and more dramatic attacks. However, the Taliban remains a serious threat in Afghanistan.

PAKISTAN

NATO Helicopters Cross Into Pakistan, Spark Firefight With Border Guards
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-17/pakistan-troops-clash-with-nato...
2 NATO helicopters entered Pakistani airspace near a border post in North Waziristan province, triggering a firefight that injured 2 soldiers and adding to tensions between the US and Pakistan.

Imran to ‘punish’ Nato forces for US drone strikes
http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=48165&Cat=4&dt=5/21/...
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) staged a sit-in at the Native Jetty Bridge in Karachi to block NATO supplies from reaching Afghanistan. The sit-in was a protest against NATO drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions.

OTHER NEWS

Pakistani Workers' Land Of Opportunity: Afghanistan?
http://www.npr.org/2011/05/18/136369025/pakistani-workers-land-of-opport...
Laborers from Pakistan are increasingly looking for work in Kabul, and often accept lower wages than their Afghan counterparts. This is due to economic uncertainty and instability within Pakistan.

Iraq, Afghanistan wars spawn new disease
http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2011/05/18/Iraq-Afghanistan-wars-spawn-ne...
Iraq-Afghanistan War lung injury is a risk for US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq due to hazards posed by weapons and other environmental factors.

Judge tosses part of Blackwater suit
http://www.sacbee.com/2011/05/20/3641155/hearing-to-decide-if-blackwater...
A federal judge tossed out parts of a lawsuit filed by two former Blackwater employees, but allowed key claims to proceed to trial. The part of the suit that is proceeding to trial concerns fraudulent bills submitted to the US government for security in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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