Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Making friends imperialist style

Canadian soldiers apparently catch undue blame:

New U.S. Afghan strategy will cost billions, take years

PANJWAII, June 3 (CP) - Some Afghan farmers are complaining Canadian soldiers are shooting at them while they work their fields after dark.

They say unless the shooting stops, they will be forced to leave their village homes nestled in the heart of the insurgent badlands of southern Afghanistan.

But the Canadians are adamant the firing isn't coming from them. They believe soldiers from Afghanistan's army may be firing at people suspected of planting roadside bombs.

In one recent case, Canadian solders did kill a man relaying their movements to insurgents... (link)
That last sentence is intriguing and has serious implications for international law. If the man was not actively relaying troop positions when he was killed, in which case he would be a combatant, then he was hors de combat, n'est-ce pas? Why didn't the Canadian forces alert the supposedly respected Afghan police or army - you know, those competent security forces we are training? It is fairly clear that the article refers to a targeted assassination, which are illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

Meanwile, in Wardak province, US special forces find that locals are not happy with their presence:
Locals Wary Of U.S.-Afghan Patrol Program
June 3 - Soraya Sarhaddi

Afghanistan's Nerkh district, an hour's drive west of Kabul, looks like a tranquil paradise, with snowcapped mountains, lush orchards and humble homes enclosed inside mud walls. But looks can be deceiving...

In this dangerous enclave, a U.S. Special Forces team and the Afghan government are trying to create a neighborhood watch program that many officials say is vital to securing Afghanistan. One of the program's most pressing tasks is to turn public opinion around inside this Taliban haven, where it's hard to tell farmers from militants — they all glare at the Green Berets as they rumble past in armored vehicles...

But in this district, where "Death to America" is spray-painted in Dari on mud walls, they are more likely to run into militants who prefer gunfights to conversation... (link)

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