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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


Taliban's Mullah Omar reported dead
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
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
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
A profile of Mullah Omar in the Telegraph.


36 killed in attack on work crew in Afghanistan
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
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
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
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
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]
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
A profile of Afghan investigative journalist Mina Habib.

Afghan health minister seeks backing for vaccines
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’
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.


NATO Helicopters Cross Into Pakistan, Spark Firefight With Border Guards
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
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.


Pakistani Workers' Land Of Opportunity: Afghanistan?
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
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
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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