Afghanistan Falling into Chaos and Violence

October 2nd, 2007 - by admin

Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers & BBC News – 2007-10-02 23:34:44

UN: Violence in Afghanistan up almost 25 percent in ’07
Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON (October 1, 2007) — Afghanistan is currently suffering its most violent year since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention, according to an internal United Nations report that sharply contrasts with recent upbeat appraisals by President Bush and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai.

“The security situation in Afghanistan is assessed by most analysts as having deteriorated at a constant rate through 2007,” said the report compiled by the Kabul office of the U.N. Department of Safety and Security.

There were 525 security incidents — attacks by the Taliban and other violent groups, bombings, terrorism of other kinds, and abductions — on average every month during the first half of this year, up from an average of 425 incidents per month in 2006.

Last year was the most violent since the U.S. post-September 11 offensive that ousted the hard-line Taliban Islamic militia from power and drove Osama bin Laden and his al Qaida terrorists into neighboring Pakistan.

The U.N.’s Half-Year Review of the Security Situation in Afghanistan underscored the continuing resurgence of the Taliban, which many experts attribute to Bush’s decision to shift troops and resources to Iraq, the U.S. failure to capture the militia’s top leaders, and the refuge the militia has secured in the lawless tribal region of neighboring Pakistan.

There are currently about 40,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Bush and Karzai met for talks Friday in New York and later touted advances made since the Taliban’s ouster, including reduced childhood mortality rates, and increases in the numbers of health clinics and children going to school.

“Afghanistan, indeed, has made progress,” said Karzai. The following day, he offered to meet the Taliban’s spiritual and political leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar and to offer militia members Cabinet seats if it would bring peace.

The U.N. report said that the nature of the Taliban insurgency has changed significantly since 2006.

Guerrillas have been staging fewer conventional attacks on U.S.-led NATO forces and Afghan troops and relying more heavily on suicide attacks, improvised explosive devices, assassinations, intimidation and abductions, it said.

“The Afghan National Police has become a primary target of insurgents and intimidation of all kinds has increased against the civilian population, especially those perceived to be in support of the government, international military forces as well as the humanitarian and development community,” said the report.

The Taliban and associated groups have engaged in fewer large-scale clashes with foreign and Afghan forces because they suffered large numbers of casualties, including many mid-level and senior commanders, in conventional battles last year.

“Another reason must be the realization that these types of attacks are futile against a modern conventionally equipped military force supported by a wide range of air assets,” said the report, which also noted improvements in the Afghan National Army.

A U.S. diplomat, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the Taliban appeared to be trying to counter a U.S. and NATO counter-insurgency strategy – which is to undercut public support for the guerrillas through stepped up delivery of reconstruction and humanitarian aid.

“The insurgents are also trying to separate the people from the government. They are doing that by making people very reluctant to go and actively or passively support the government,” he said. “We’ve got an enemy who is quick on his feet, responsive and adaptable to the changing environment.”

McClatchy Newspapers 2007

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Kabul Hit by another Suicide Bomb

KABUL (October 2, 2007) — At least 13 people, including several children, have died in a suicide bombing on a bus in the Afghan capital, Kabul, government officials say. Afghan police estimated that the death toll might be as high as 15.

It is the second large suicide blast in the city since Saturday, when 30 soldiers were killed. The Taleban said they carried out both attacks. More than 3,000 people have been killed this year as Afghan and foreign forces battle Taleban fighters.

Tuesday’s attack was carried out early in the morning on a bus carrying policemen to work in the western part of the city. However, the bus also contained the families of policemen, dropping their children to school. There were reports that as many as four of the dead were children. Others were severely injured in the blast.

“Thirteen Afghans lost their lives – eight police and five civilians, including a mother and two of her children,” Health Minister Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatemi told the AFP news agency.

“This was an anti-human act that scars the heart of every Afghan,” said Mr Fatemi, after visiting the scene of the blast. “I hope the Afghan nation never forgives the perpetrators. I believe God will never forgive them,” he added.

‘Destroying the Country’
Eyewitnesses said the bomber tried to get onto a bus picking up policemen. Police already on the vehicle were suspicious and shot him, after which the injured bomber blew himself up, causing casualties both on the bus and in the street. The bomb ripped off the roof of the bus and blew out the sides. A BBC reporter at the scene said body parts were scattered across a wide area.

On Saturday, an attack on a military vehicle killed up to 30 soldiers.

Responding to the attack, President Hamid Karzai said he wished he could ask insurgent leaders why they were trying to destroy the country.


Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.