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Posts Tagged ‘human shield’

AP

By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU

DAHANEH, Afghanistan — The British jet called in by the U.S. Marines had the Taliban position in site, but the pilot refused to fire, a decision that frustrated Marines on the ground but one in line with new orders by the top U.S. commander to protect civilians.

The Marines themselves didn’t attack militants shooting at them Wednesday because women and children were in the compound, an approach meant to avoid civilian casualties at all costs.

“They did that on purpose,” sniper platoon leader 1st Lt. Joseph Cull, 28, of Delafield, Wisconsin, said of the Taliban. “They are trying to bait us.”

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has made protecting Afghan civilians his top priority. The approach is a shift away from a military mindset whose traditional first response has been to kill as many militants as possible. By holding fire McChrystal hopes to avoid the massive civilian casualty cases of past months and years and help win over Afghan villagers. (more…)

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By The Economist

ONLY days after Velupillai Prabhakaran was found dead on a battlefield in north-eastern Sri Lanka on May 19th, cracks have emerged in the Tamil Tiger rebel group that he controlled for over three decades. At issue is whether to concede that Mr Prabhakaran, whose pudgy corpse was displayed for television cameras by the army and then burned, is really dead.

On May 24th Selvarasa Pathmanathan, head of international relations for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), as the group are properly known, said its “incomparable leader and supreme commander” had been martyred. Within hours, another self-described Tiger faction, quoting the Tigers’ intelligence arm, released a statement that said, the “LTTE leadership is safe and it will re-emerge when the right time comes”. The Tigers’ intelligence chief, Pottu Amman, is the most senior rebel plausibly rumoured to have survived the murderous last stage of a two-year army offensive. In a 48-hour slaughter, which followed the escape of the last of a refugee horde whom the Tigers had sought to hide behind, several hundred rebels leaders and fighters were killed by the army. Some had attempted to surrender, including two political LTTE leaders, B. Nadesan and S. Puleedevan. They and their families are reported to have been machinegunned while advancing under a white flag. (more…)

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