Monday, September 22, 2008
President Hamid Karzai was quick to condemn the killings. He accused the U.S. forces of “martyring at least 70 people, most of them women and children”. On many occasions earlier, when U.S./North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces had killed civilians from the air, an anguished Karzai had asked the U.S. to exercise caution. A spokesman for the Afghan Army said officials had counted 60 children and 10 women among the dead. Karzai tried belatedly to douse public anger by sacking two top Afghan military officials who had initially claimed that all those killed in the air attack were Taliban fighters. Taliban fighters are now operating virtually at the gates of Kabul. Despite the presence of more than 70,000 Western troops, the Taliban has managed to gain territory in Maydan Shar, the capital of Wardak province, which is less than 40 km from the capital. Since July, the Taliban has also stepped up attacks on the
At the Guder camp where Pakistanis fleeing the fighting in the tribal areas near Bajur, believed to be hideouts of the Taliban, take refuge. More than 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes and have ended up in camps such as this in Peshawar and other places in Pakistan.
Kabul-Jalalabad road, the main supply route for NATO forces.
The Western media have reported regular attacks in recent weeks on truck convoys carrying materials for NATO forces heading for Kabul. The road from Kabul to Kandahar is also very unsafe. Vehicles can only move if they are protected by units of the Afghan Army. In the third week of August, the Taliban killed 10 French soldiers in Sarobi, 50 km from Kabul, on the Kabul-Jalalabad road. French President Nicholas Sarkozy had, under pressure from Washington, agreed to dispatch 700 more soldiers to Afghanistan this year, sparking a controversy in France. The war in Afghanistan is unpopular in France and the other European countries that