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Foreign Policy


In the two months since Gen. Stanley McChrystal assumed ISAF command, we have seen a serious shift in thinking about civilian casualties and Afghan community concerns. This is most clearly embodied in the July Tactical Directive‘s much stricter guidelines on airstrikes and other uses of force that could risk civilian losses. The latest NATO airstrike in Kunduz — now believed to have killedas many as 125 people, at least two dozen of them civilians — raises questions of whether that thinking has gone far enough. (more…)

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DAHANEH (AFGHANISTAN): The US Marines came uninvited to Abdul-Hamid’s home in this southern Afghan town and made their presence felt.

They blew holes in the mud walls that surround the several small buildings in his family’s compound, broke through rooms hunting for weapons and militants, and handcuffed and blindfolded the men. Their main target: Abdul-Hamid’s neighbor and the neighbor’s sons, all suspected insurgents. (more…)

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Sept 6 (Reuters) – Following are security developments in Iraq at 1330 GMT on Sunday.

* denotes new or updated item.

* MOSUL – Gunmen stormed a family house, shooting dead a woman and her 3-year old grandchild in western Mosul, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen opened fire on a police checkpoint, killing one policeman in central Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Militants opened fire on an Iraqi army checkpoint in a drive-by shooting that killed one soldier in eastern Mosul, police said.

BAGHDAD – A car bomb wounded six people in Baghdad’s eastern Baladiyat district, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen opened fire at a police checkpoint in a drive-by shooting that killed one policeman in eastern Mosul, police said.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb wounded five people in Baghdad’s central Karrada district, police said.

BAGHDAD – A bomb attached to a car wounded three Iraqi soldiers and two civilians on Saturday in Baghdad’s northern Adhamiya district, police said.


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Sept 5 (Reuters) – Following are security developments in Iraq at 0900 GMT on Saturday.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol wounded one policeman and one civilian in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, on Friday, police said.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb killed three civilians and wounded three others in Mosul on Friday, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen shot and killed a civilian in Mosul on Friday, police said.


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The leader of a Somali Islamist militant group told VOA Somali Service in an exclusive interview Saturday that his militants will keep fighting, even though the conflict has recently led to about 2,000 civilian deaths, and turned half-a-million Somalis into refugees in their own country.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of the militant group Hizbul Islam, said his fighters will keep battling the Somali government, and African Union peacekeepers in every possible way.

He defended tactics such as firing mortars from areas populated by civilians, saying “The Mujahid (holy warrior) is like a fish … the population is his water.” Aweys added, “The population acts like a shield and we operate out of them.” He also defended suicide attacks, calling them part of the resistance. (more…)

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Los Angeles Times


Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Istanbul, Turkey — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Saturday visited the scene of a deadly NATO airstrike, a highly unusual gesture apparently meant to signal how seriously the alliance takes civilian casualties, which have been one of the most contentious issues in the war.

NATO has launched an investigation of Friday’s predawn strike on two hijacked fuel tankers in northern Afghanistan, which left dozens of people dead or injured. Local officials and relatives say many villagers were among the casualties, but it remained unclear how many of the estimated 70 dead were insurgents and how many were civilians.

Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who assumed command of all U.S. and other Western troops in Afghanistan three months ago, took swift damage-control measures. (more…)

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Sameer Ahmad Tahseen, a Kabul university student, was at his home in Kunduz province when dozens of people were killed by a Nato air strike last Friday.

He describes the anger among local residents following the attack.

I heard about the incident in the mosque. But the reports were all confused and it wasn’t clear what exactly happened.

Later on I learned more details from my father who is the editor in chief of a local newspaper.

I went to the main hospital in Kunduz straight away. The security was tight, they were not letting anyone in – only close relatives of the injured. There were many villagers from the village where the strike happened. There must have been around 60 to 80 people gathered there. (more…)

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