Friday, September 19, 2008

Another "whoops" in Afghanistan

Another day, another accidental killing in Afghanistan, only this time it’s due to the action of Australian troops.

A group of Australian Special Forces commandoes surrounded the house of someone they thought was a Taliban commander on Thursday night. Only the home's owner wasn't a member of the Taliban, in fact he thought the Aussies themselves were Taliban insurgents. Concerned about the men lurking outside his house, he called the local police, including his friend, a man named Rozi Khan the former police chief and now governor for the district. No one is quite sure what happened next, but shooting started and soon Khan, two bodyguards and perhaps several local Afghani police were dead. None of the Australians were hurt in the incident.

It's not going to make things any easier for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is already under a lot of pressure from his citizens, alarmed at the large numbers of Afghani civilians recently killed by foreign forces. US-Afghan relations are already dicey due to a US air raid on an Afghani village last month that may have killed more than 90 civilians. After initially saying only a handful of civilians were killed, along with a couple dozen insurgents, the US reopened its investigation into the incident after cellphone videos came to light showing the aftermath of the raid.

The UN is reporting that nearly 1,500 civilians have been killed this year (a jump of 40% from last year) and that nearly half were killed by Western or Afghan military forces.
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